Archive for category Proverbs
Today’s readings are:
In Genesis, we have the story of the tower of Babel. It’s short, so here it is:
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
On the surface, it might be confusing why God would not want them to be able to do anything if unified. But, it’s interesting they used man-made materials (bricks and tar) rather than natural (God-made) materials. Does this tell us something about their hearts and their motivation. They were trying to make a city and a name for themselves.
I think it’s important to note that we are able to do anything if we are unified. This is a message for the church today! But, not to make a name for ourselves, but always for the glory of God and the building of His kingdom.
In Matthew today, we have one of Jesus’ most famous sermons, the sermon on the mount. “The Sermon on the Mount is probably the best-known part of the teaching of Jesus, though arguably it is the least understood, and certainly it is the least obeyed” says author John Stott.
There’s also a good reminder for us as Christians in today’s reading. We are to be the salt and light of the earth. If we lose our “flavor”, what good are we? Let’s be salt and light today.
I am amazed by the story of Noah. It’s so hard to take it in. How bittersweet it must have felt for Noah to realize that God honored him above all others and saved only he and his family to restart mankind.
In Matthew, Jesus just had the encounter with satan in the wilderness and now is preparing to begin his ministry on earth.
Today’s Psalm is actually a song written by David. I sure wish I had the chord chart!
Keep reading along. We’re going through the entire Bible in a year!
Here’s the reading list for today:
Well, here it is. Genesis 3. The fall of mankind. I cringe each time I hear Eve’s response:
“The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
Did you see it? God never said anything about “touching” the fruit. Already she is twisting what God said. And, she falls for the serpent’s deceit.
Also – some folks (usually men) like to point out that it was Eve that first took the fruit. Well, I would like to point out that Adam was standing right there next to her when she did. He didn’t say a word. He’s just as guilty as her:
“She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”
Buckle in – we’re just getting started. Are you with us? We’re reading the entire Bible in a year.
The thing always blows my mind when I read Genesis 1 is the power and majesty of our God! When you stop to think about all the incredible detail and amazing vastness and unbelievable tenuity of what God did – all in 6 days?! Boom. Mind blown.
And, in Matthew 1 – I love the fact that Joseph was a kind man and even though his wife-to-be was suddenly pregnant, and she was telling him some unbelievable story about how she got pregnant, he did not wish to disgrace her. But, an angel came in a dream and explained everything. He had trust in God to accept the potential risk of reputation to stay with God’s plan. And look how he was blessed. Can you imagine raising a child you knew was the son of God? Boom. There it goes again. Mind blown.
Hope you’re reading the Bible in a year along with us! You won’t regret it.
I love watching “man on the street” type of videos. They can be very eye-opening. I wonder how people would respond to the question, “What does God hate?”
I think we’d hear things like murder, adultery, blasphemy, rape, etc. Today in Proverbs 6, we are given the list of six things God hates:
16 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
Some made the list (murderer or hands that shed innocent blood) but some may surprise you: haughty (which I had to look up – it means “having or showing excessive pride or arrogance”) eyes, liars, wicked heart, lack of self-control, liar (again).
To be honest, I was disappointed that religion didn’t make the list. I suppose it’s a good thing I’m not God!
From the writer’s comment “seven that are detestable to Him”, I get the impression that there is a special emphasis on the last one in the list, which is “a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” I think we are to be especially vigilant for this type of person. They can do a severe amount of damage in a short time.
Contrast these to the things God loves (found in Galatians chapter 5): love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.
God, I wish to do those things you love. Yet, like Paul writes about in Romans chapter 7, I usually find myself doing the things I hate, and not doing the things I want to be doing. I love Your mercy, God, and declare that I need You more than ever. Help me today to be found doing those things that please You.
grace & peace,
This morning I woke up with the word “freedom” on my mind. Perhaps it had something to do with last night’s election results, perhaps it was not. I wondered if I would find anything in today’s reading in Proverbs chapter 4.
Here is what jumped out at me today:
21 For a man’s ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths
22 The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast.
23 He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.
These verses spoke to me about freedom. A man may think he has freedom apart from God. Yet, his ways are in full view. Just because a man does not choose to believe or follow God’s law, he is still held accountable. Without God’s law, we are not free. We will be bound by our evil deeds. We will be led astray by our own sinful nature (our own great folly).
Do you desire freedom? Then submit yourself to God. It goes against our nature, but that is the sweet irony of a life committed to God.
It reminds me of this passage in Matthew 16:
24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
Lord, I long for this kind of freedom… a life free of the snare of sin, free to walk with You uninhibited by my own selfish desires.
grace & peace,
Today’s reading brought me to this treasure in Proverbs chapter 4:
23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
God wants our hearts. The heart is the center of our faith and belief in Him. It is the basis for our relationship with our creator:
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).
TD Jakes said:
Finally, my brother, guard your heart. The enemy wants to embitter and corrupt you. Guard your heart against contamination by lust and loneliness, bigotry and arrogance, and everything in between. Your enemies may even hide in good deeds done for evil motives. Only you can mount this guard because no other man can discern your motives and intentions.
If Samson had guarded his heart, Delilah wouldn’t have weakened him. Had Samson guarded his heart with the breastplate of righteousness that Paul talked about, he would have continued to be productive in Israel. But in the heat of his passion and the weariness of his life, Samson “told her all his heart” (Judges 16:17). What a tragedy! Samson’s weakness caused him to pollute his heart with lust and loneliness, and he gave it to someone other than God.
Lord, I give You my heart. Help me guard it. Help me to keep it pure and reserved only for You.
grace & peace,
The coolest thing about reading the Bible is how you can read the same passage on two different days and get completely different meaning. Concerning the weight of this week’s Presidential election and all the craziness surrounding McCain vs Obama, I found great comfort in verses 21 through 26 in Proverbs 3 today:
21 My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight;
22 they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble;
24 when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.
Lord, Your timing is impecable. Thank You for the comfort of Your words this morning.
grace & peace,
Looking back on my life, I’ve seen a disappointing pattern. First, I find myself in crisis and I cry out to God. While in crisis mode, I seek Him with all my heart, praying and searching His Word for answers. He rescues me and over time, my dedication to seeking Him daily with all my heart diminishes. I find myself relying upon my own abilities and my own resources more and more. Until finally, God has very little to do with my daily routine. I’d even go for days without so much as a short prayer of thanks before a meal.
After a while, another crisis happens. At times, I lost everything – my family, my career, my belongings, my confidence, even my desire to live. Then, the cycle repeats.
I found myself drawn to three verses in chapter 30 of the book of Proverbs this morning:
7 “Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD ?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
As I’m maturing in my faith (yes, a bit late in life) I find these words to be so full of rich wisdom. They resonate deep within me as a breathy “yes” escapes across my lips.
As further evidence, I have known several people in my life who have more money than they know what to do with. Most of them do not have a strong testimony about what God has done for them. Instead they boast about their own successes or those of their family. They don’t seem to need God – they feel as though they can go out and buy anything they need. Yet, in most cases, I see these people as miserable and always seeking the next thrill. Perhaps that’s why Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to go to heaven. (see Luke 18:18-29)
In this season of my life, my terrifying emotional roller-coaster experiences have smoothed out significantly. There are still moments I tend to rely on myself, but I have learned that I can’t get far that way. And, I’m good with that.
I now know that whether He blesses me with much or with just enough, I will not turn my back on Him. I recognize my complete bankruptcy without Him. I know I will never amount to anything meaningful if I pursue anything but Him with my whole heart.
Lord, thank You for how you’ve crashed through the wall and rescued me time and time again. Thank You that You love me too much to let me go off too far on my own before you cause me to seek You again. I need You, Father. Your correction and discipline is painful for a moment, but I am so grateful for it. Keep me from falsehood and lies and give me only my daily bread.
grace & peace,
While reading Proverbs chapter 29 today, a particular verse jumped out at me:
6 An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one can sing and be glad.
The phrase “a righteous one can sing and be glad” caught my attention. I stopped reading and began to meditate on this one short verse.
I thought about how much emotion is embodied in that small phrase. As a musician and a worship leader, I notice when I hear people singing or whistling or humming. I watch for people singing. It seems I don’t hear it too often, but when I do, it makes me smile. A person caught singing or humming to themselves is a usually person at ease, full of joy.
Why then is it so rare to see? Well, the first part of the verse talks about the consequences of sin. What is an evil man? At first, I thought of an unremorseful felon, or a sadistic murderer. But, as I thought about it, an evil man is simply one who has unconfessed sin. A man carrying around some secret or even an unknown sin such as unforgiveness or pride, is one who is weighed down and who’s joy is blocked. Eventually, unconfessed sin festers and affects every part of one’s life.
As Christians, we should be going about our business with real joy and peace – filled with songs and smiles and peace. We have the promise of forgiveness, salvation, blessing and unconditional love from our heavenly Father. No weapon formed against us will prosper. God is for us, so who can be against us? Who can separate us from the love of God? And the promises go on and on…
Don’t feel like singing? Don’t feel glad? Perhaps it’s time to stop the “busyness” and ask God what it is that is robbing us of our joy. Then – stay still long enough to listen for His answer. He is calling us to walk in joy and peace. He doesn’t want us to be weighed down with financial worries, family concerns, snared by addictions, defeated by our past, troubled with health issues. This is how Satan would have us exist – chained up and miserable.
If you’re not a Christian and want to know more about these promises, I’d recommend you find a Bible-believing church in your area and go and start asking questions. Or, you can start here.
God – free me of my busyness. Be so persistent in me with your calling that I must stop and commune with you all the time. Help me to return to a constant state of prayer – never ceasing. Tell me those things that are blocking my joy. I turn over to You all those things that have been weighing me down and robbing me of my joy. Help me to once again be filled with peace and the joy of the Lord. Your yoke is easy, Your burden is light. I trade my burdens with You, Lord. I’m sorry, Lord, for how I have been acting. I am grateful for how You have blessed me. Forgive me for acting like I don’t even know You. I love You, Lord.
grace & peace,