Proverbs 5-8; Matthew 7

Who are the people in your life that want you to do well? To persevere? To succeed? Who cheers you on and stands in your corner? A parent? A coach? A spouse? A friend? A sibling? Strangers on the Strava app? Proverbs 5-8 and Matthew 7 are overflowing with counsel, encouragement, wisdom, guidance, love.

My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
    listen carefully to my wise counsel.
Then you will show discernment,
    and your lips will express what you’ve learned.

Proverbs 5:1-2, NLT

So now, my sons, listen to me.
    Never stray from what I am about to say

Proverbs 5:7a, NLT

My son, obey your father’s commands,
    and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
21 Keep their words always in your heart.
    Tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, their counsel will lead you.
    When you sleep, they will protect you.
    When you wake up, they will advise you.
23 For their command is a lamp
    and their instruction a light;
their corrective discipline
    is the way to life.

Proverbs 6:20-23, NLT

Follow my advice, my son;
    always treasure my commands.
Obey my commands and live!
    Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes.
Tie them on your fingers as a reminder.
    Write them deep within your heart.

Love wisdom like a sister;
    make insight a beloved member of your family.

Proverbs 7:1-4, NLT

“I call to you, to all of you!
    I raise my voice to all people.
You simple people, use good judgment.
    You foolish people, show some understanding.
Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you.
    Everything I say is right,
for I speak the truth
    and detest every kind of deception.
My advice is wholesome.
    There is nothing devious or crooked in it.
My words are plain to anyone with understanding,
    clear to those with knowledge.

Proverbs 8:4-9, NLT

I notice it in abundance, poured out and over me, and I’m grateful.

“Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

Matthew 7:6-11, NLT

13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

Matthew 7:13, NLT

24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.

Matthew 7:24, NLT

The Lord is for me. He loves me. He values me. He wants me to succeed because it brings him delight, pleasure, and glory. He wants me to follow him and model him. He is working to change me into his image. He loves me so much, he doesn’t want to leave me as he found me, but wants to bring me into life, abundant life because he is so good. And I am so grateful.

Courtney (66books365)


Leave a comment

Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan

Proverbs 1-4; Matthew 6

I still remember the first book given to me as a gift. The book was written by David Wilkerson and was called, “The Rebel’s Bible.” It was a collection of stories and experiences that called for courage and boldness when it mattered. We were staying with some friends as my dad was transitioning in both location and job. I was fourteen. The lady we were staying with gave me the book because she was thrilled that I took notes every Sunday as the pastor preached. She wanted to encourage me to continue. She inscribed Proverbs 3:1-6 on the inside of the book. I still have that book. For some strange reason I sought God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:6 NASB

With the seeking of God came the trusting of God – that means honouring and acknowledging Him in all that I did. It became my choice to “invite” God into my everyday life and conduct. I began to practice the presence of God in the regular and even mundane things that happen every day.

“Ask counsel at his mouth, aim at his glory, be evermore in the sense of his presence, and light of his countenance.” – Trapp

“The measure in which I have trusted Jehovah and acknowledged Him, has been the measure of walking in the paths of real life.” – G. Campbell Morgan

Prayer was key to my relationship with God. I found myself seeking Him in the quiet places of my life.

 But as for you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. – Matthew 6:6 NASB

It was good to be alone with God because it helped me eliminate the distractions of the world. It was the one activity that maintained my healthy relationship with God.

I started with a consistent place, just like the movie, The War Room, described. Jesus had His special quiet place too where He could be alone with God.

God loves and rewards such special times set aside just for Him. It is here where I clearly and tangibly encountered God’s love for me. It is here where I learned what the Holy Spirit’s voice sounds like. By asking God questions, I discovered His will. My life became centred around His nearness and goodness.

Father, thank you for making the path to You so clear and inviting. You pointed the way, I walked where You asked me to walk and then you made Your promises come true. I see You making my paths straight and I see You rewarding me. I am amazed by who You are and love that You love me as much as You do. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

1 Comment

Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, reading plan

1 Kings 10-11; 2 Chronicles 9; Mattew 5

Solomon had it all–he was powerful, wealthy, intelligent. The Queen of Sheba pays him a visit, and she is wowed by all she sees–all that she’s heard about Solomon is true. But despite all that, he was living in a deficit, a weakness and drain he either didn’t seem to notice or didn’t take seriously.

The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, “You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.” Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord.

In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been.

The Lord was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the Lord’s command (1 Kings 11:2-4, 9-10, NLT, emphasis added).

Solomon was a very smart man, but how did he get this so wrong? His father was DAVID. Maybe he didn’t think some rules applied to him. Maybe he didn’t really consider the consequences of his actions–it was in the name of love after all.

Self, take warning. Guard your heart. What places in my life have I not taken seriously that the Lord wants me to guard and submit to him?

In the New Testament reading, Jesus has a lot to say about the law, anger, adultery, divorce, vows, revenge, and love for enemies. Actions are birthed from thought, and thought provokes a choice.

28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:28, NLT).

He knows the power of the heart. He knows how small choices of disobedience can take one so far off course, leading away from God instead of closer to Him.

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless (Matthew 5:13, NLT).”

God has always given people choice. And thankfully, with that choice, He has also given guidance and warning because He is a loving father. The warning He gave to Israel was for the nation and for the individual. Jesus speaks to the body of believers: A word not just for a time, but for all time; a word not just for a body but every body.

Lord, I’m thankful for how much you love me. You are a father who loves and leads. I don’t want to take your word as a broad guideline for mankind, but as a tender counsel for my very heart.

Courtney (66books365)

From the archives. Originally published June 6, 2019.

Leave a comment

Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan

1 Kings 9; 2 Chr. 8; Matt. 4; Ps. 135-136

“I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules, then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever.” 1 Kings 9:3-5 ESV

Solomon had started out with good intentions. He wanted to lay a foundation for the Lord. He became known as one of the great builders in Israel’s history. He also rebuilt cities. And his wisdom and power brought honor to the Israelites and to God. But, he got carried away by the world. His heart turned away from the Lord towards false gods. How many times do I begin with good intentions as well?

Thus was accomplishment all the work of Solomon from the day the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid until it was finished. So the house of the Lord was completed.” 2 Chronicles 8:16 ESV

What am I building that will last for eternity?

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his steadfast love endures forever…to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalms 136:1&4 ESV

Steadfast = Fixed on a direction, Firm on purpose.

Dear Father, help me to hold steadfast to your word so that I won’t be persuaded by things of this world. Thank you for your unwavering presence in my life. That you are always with me no matter what the future holds. Amen.

“It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 ESV


Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Matthew, New Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

2 Chronicles 6-7; Matthew 3; Psalms 98-99

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 3:2 ESV

Repentance – a turning from sin, a recognition of wrongs done, contrition that leads to a change of direction

John the Baptist was calling the people to repent of their wrongs. He knew what God had assured Solomon of centuries before.

 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV

When Solomon oversaw the building of the temple, he was creating a place for God to reside with his people, a place that they could come in corporate worship and repentance and cry out to him. There they knew he would hear them.

As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

2 Chronicles 7:1-3 ESV

God’s presence visibly filled the temple and I have no doubt that each witness of that event felt the security of his promises. I cannot imagine the overwhelming, instant response to worship and give thanks. The presence of God was a visible, tangible response to the sacrifices and humble prayers, but skip ahead to the world that John the Baptist was paving the way for.

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Matthew 3:11-12 ESV

That same awesome presence of the Holy God that had filled Solomon’s Temple, was walking around in dusty sandals in Israel. And, in just a few short years would be indwelling all who believed as a seal of the promise of salvation.

What a picture of the triune, eternal, holy God!

He still responds to those that come to him in repentant humility with his awesome presence and promises.

Praising him today with the psalmist:

O Lord our God, you answered them;
    you were a forgiving God to them,
    but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
Exalt the Lord our God,
    and worship at his holy mountain;
    for the Lord our God is holy!

Psalm 99:8-9 ESV

Erin (6intow)

1 Comment

Filed under 2 Chronicles, Matthew, Psalms