Monthly Archives: July 2022

Proverbs 17-20

The Bible tells us you reap what you sow. This is so evident in the Proverbs. You sow evil, you reap evil. You sow goodness, you reap goodness. It is so practical, yet hardly ever followed or thought about. Some things we just want. Wealth is one of them. Last night (Friday) was the Mega Millions drawing for over a billion dollars. A lot of people were dreaming about what they could/would do with it. Some were funny, other not so much. One kid said he would definitely buy a Tesla because they can drive themselves, and he wasn’t old enough to drive. Another man said if he won, he would not share it with his wife and kids, but most said they would help others, plenty to go around. Whether we realize it or not, these are Proverbs at work.

Those who return evil for good will meet their own evil returning (Proverbs 17:13 MSG)

It’s stupid to try to get something for nothing, or run up huge bills you can never repay (Proverbs 17:18 MSG) Another version (NLT) says: It’s a poor judgement to guarantee another person’s debt or put-up security for a friend. (My mother quoted this verse to me many times, and I saw what happened when she tried to help others, and then they defaulted. She ended up paying, especially with family. I quoted this verse to my son, and, if he ever has children, I hope he will pass it on as well. It saves a lot of hard feeling from sprouting.)

Better to be poor and honest than a rich person no one can trust. (Proverbs 18:1 MSG)

Wealth attracts friends as honey draws flies, but poor people are avoided like a plague. (Proverbs 19:4 MSG)

Lots of people flock around a generous person; everyone’s a friend to the philanthropist. (Proverbs 19: 6 MSG)

Mercy to the needy is a loan to GOD, and GOD pays back those loans in full. (Proverbs 19:17 MSG)

Hold tight to collateral on any loan to a stranger, beware of accepting what a transient has pawned.
Stolen bread tastes sweet, but soon you mouth is full of gravel. (Proverbs 20:16-17 MSG)

Money can be used for good, and it can be used for evil. Money draws people. Lack of money unfortunately keeps people at arms distance. Especially those who always have their hand out. We all desire good relationships. But, we must be careful of who we invite into our lives. There are takers and there are givers and anywhere in between. Like money, friends invite life or death.

Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten on to a slight and –good-bye, friend! (Proverbs 17:9 MSG)

The start of a quarrel is like a leak in a dam, so stop it before it bursts (Proverbs 17:14 MSG)

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. (Proverbs 17: 17 MSG)

Answering before listening is both stupid and rude (Proverbs 18:13 MSG)

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit– you choose. (Proverbs 18:21 MSG)

Find a good spouse, you find a good life—and even more: the favor of God!
The poor speak in soft supplications; the rich bark out answers.
Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family (Proverbs 18: 21-24 MSG)

When you are down on your luck, even your family avoids you—yes, even your best friends wish you’d get lost. If they see you coming, they look the other way – out of sight, out of mind (Proverbs 19:17 MSG)

Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget (Proverbs 19: 11 MSG)

Gossips can’t keep secrets, so never confide in blabbermouths. (Proverbs 20: 19 MSG)

People are hard to distinguish sometimes. Real motives can be disguised, whether good or bad. The only way that I can have a true friend, is to be a good friend. I can only do this with the help of God, and using His wisdom. He can help me see things I wouldn’t otherwise see. He can help me to forgive. He can help me want to be loving, kind and generous. So, to me, the best relationship to concentrate on, is my relationship with God.

God’s name is a place of protection—good people can run there and be safe. (Proverbs 18: 10 MSG)

Grow a wise heart—you’ll do yourself a favor; keep a clear head—you’ll find a good life. (Proverbs 19: 8 MSG)

Fear of God is life itself, a full life, and serene—no nasty surprises (Proverbs 19:23 MSG)

Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart; a wise person draws from the well within.
Lots of people claim to be loyal and loving, but where on earth can you find one?
God-loyal people, living honest lives, make it much easier for their children. (Proverbs 20:5-7 MSG)

Ears that hear and eyes that see – – we get our basic equipment from God! (Proverbs 20:12 MSG)

Don’t ever say, “I’ll get you for that!” Wait for God; he’ll settle the score. (Proverbs 20:22 MSG)

God hates cheating in the marketplace; rigged scales are an outrage.
The very steps we take come from God; otherwise, how would we know where we’re going? (Proverbs 20: 23-24 MSG)

God is in charge of human life, watching and examining us inside and out. (Proverbs 20:27 MSG)

If I try to live a life pleasing to God, wealth, health, relationships with others will still come, perhaps with some trials. It is so much easier for me to know God is with me, and will help me to discern what my next steps should be. I can rest knowing that the God of Joseph, Abraham, Jacob and Isaac is the same God that walks with me. He can still open the seas, take undeserved situations and give undeserved favor. I can wrestle with the things of God but choose not to let go, no matter the cost. I can be close to death, and God can provide a ram in the thicket, to spare my life. Without God there is no hope, with God, I see all things as possible. I have hope in all things, even if I can’t see beyond the darkness.

Father God, You have been with me since conception. I may not have realized it at the time, but you watched over me and kept me from getting into harms way when I was not even following you. I am so glad you used an unpleasant situation to get my attention. I am so glad you got it! I pray you never lose it again. You have been my confidence, my strength, my joy and peace. Thank you for loving me into eternity. Thank you for your many blessings; friends, family, health, and wealth, even though it may not be physical dollars, it is enough! You are an amazing mystery. Just when I think I have something figured out, you change the goal posts. You are never boring to me. Thank you for all things, even those things I don’t know about. In Jesus’ precious name I pray, Amen.

Carol (carolvorwe)

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Proverbs 14-16 

I could not get past chapter fourteen – too much wisdom and advice. Although it goes all over the place, each expression is worth meditating on.

An honest life shows respect for God;
    a degenerate life is a slap in his face. – Proverbs 14:2 MSG

An honest life means that I am showing my true colours – whether in grace or in sin. In grace, others see my reverence for God and that gives Him honour and establishes that He is God in my life and to Him all honour is due. I think my actions speak with every step I take and people point and say, “Here is one who honours God.” That does not happen as much as I would like. I think I would even take a few persecutions just to know that people see God in me.

Lives of careless wrongdoing are run-down shacks;
    holy living builds soaring cathedrals. – Proverbs 14:11 MSG

I am called to evaluate what are true riches and true honour. I am sure what outward appearances have to do with wisdom, so I am looking more at graces and even comfort when I evaluate.

The hotheaded do things they’ll later regret;
    the coldhearted get the cold shoulder. – Proverbs 14:17 MSG

Not only am I taking this as instruction for me, but I want to hang out with those who have a reputation for wisdom and honour and take focused care to bridle their passion.

Foolish dreamers live in a world of illusion;
    wise realists plant their feet on the ground. – Proverbs 14:18 MSG

Here I can truly say that wisdom has become the honour of the wise. I want to be wise.

It’s criminal to ignore a neighbor in need,
    but compassion for the poor—what a blessing! – Proverbs 14:21 MSG

A practical application of wisdom is compassion. It is a character trait to have mercy on the poor. This kind of action is honourable and I know that I am happy when I am in this place because I believe it pleases God.

The wise accumulate wisdom;
    fools get stupider by the day. – Proverbs 14:24 MSG

There is no resting – and if I am getting wiser and developing better character, imagine what I could do with wealth. I would be even more honourable and useful. Wisdom gets results and when I get results, I get honoured.

The mark of a good leader is loyal followers;
    leadership is nothing without a following. – Proverbs 14:28 MSG

They say that 80% of Harvard’s leadership courses come from the Bible – here is a perfect example of something I thought I learned in university but it comes straight from the Bible – my loss.

Father, I want to be wise, and as You grow me I pray that others will see Your wisdom in me and decide to follow me. That would be a blessing.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Proverbs 11:12-13:25 

Sometimes I get so caught up in what’s going on around me that I lose sight of a kingdom focus.

The grass needs to be cut. Laundry needs to be washed and folded. Supplies and planning for a next school year are on my mind. I need to get the oil changed in the car … plan a menu for the week … go by the store. Pay this bill … plan that outing … put out that fire …

When I read through Proverbs, I try to fit the teachings into what’s around me, but the lessons lift my gaze to a kingdom where the things that are valued can be possessed, but not touched.

A kindhearted woman gains honor,
    but ruthless men gain only wealth. (Proverbs 11:16, NIV)

Honor straddles two realms. It is gain. But it can’t be measured or held. Wealth is also a type of gain that can be hoarded and held, but not taken past the grave.

When I read through Proverbs, honesty, generosity, honor, diligence, prudence, righteousness, and more are the sweet and juicy fruits and gains of a heart’s focus, a person’s choices and actions. These traits show true prosperity.

One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
    another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. (Proverbs 11:24, NIV)

A dear woman at my daughter’s church turns 101 years old today. She’s a fixture of the church and community–even one of these old country roads bears her family name. She invests her love by serving others. She’s an amazing seamstress and wears lovely clothing that she made herself. A neighbor of mine down the road spoke of her and her sewing skills, and I was taken by surprise that he knew her and had had his clothes altered by her! She attended my daughter’s piano recital. She always took time to greet us after church service and offer a kind and encouraging word to my daughter when she was finished playing. She gives gifts freely and randomly. She is loved dearly by the community and celebrated–because of her kindness.

… a kindhearted woman gains honor … one person gives freely, yet gains even more …

Lord, help me to keep a kingdom focus. I need you and your word–a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Courtney (66books365)

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Proverbs 8:12-11:11

I worked the finish line of a triathlon with a group of women. We handed out finisher medals, bottles of water, managed stats, and took off the athletes’ ankle timing straps. While we waited, we shared (mostly running) stories and got to know each other a little better. Very soon, I realized the company I kept: these women were swimmers, cyclists, marathon, duathlon, triathlon, and ultra running athletes. One woman started running ultras in her 50s. Another woman was 65 and a frequent marathon runner. Spending time with them not only inspired me, it completely reset my mindset on what I thought was possible at my age and experience.

Yesterday as I read about wisdom, for the first time, I saw her as a sister. Today, she tells me about herself, and I have that same wonder and awe I felt at the race.

I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;
    I possess knowledge and discretion.

13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil;
    I hate pride and arrogance,
    evil behavior and perverse speech.
14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
    I have insight, I have power.

15 By me kings reign
    and rulers issue decrees that are just;
16 by me princes govern,
    and nobles—all who rule on earth.
17 I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me find me.

18 With me are riches and honor,
    enduring wealth and prosperity.
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
    what I yield surpasses choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
    along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
    and making their treasuries full.

22 “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,
    before his deeds of old;
23 I was formed long ages ago,
    at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
24 When there were no watery depths, I was given birth,
    when there were no springs overflowing with water;
25 before the mountains were settled in place,
    before the hills, I was given birth,
26 before he made the world or its fields
    or any of the dust of the earth.
27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
    when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
    and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
29 when he gave the sea its boundary
    so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
30     Then I was constantly at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
    rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
    and delighting in mankind.
(Proverbs 8:12-31, NIV, emphasis mine)

She speaks, and it sounds like a secret, a promise, a reward. But it’s no secret. It was there all along.

“Now then, my children, listen to me;
    blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
    do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
    watching daily at my doors,
    waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
    and receive favor from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
    all who hate me love death.” (Proverbs 8:32-36, NIV)

I reflect on choices that I’ve made, that people I know and care for have made. I felt a sadness in some instances because the consequence brought sadness (or worse). Examining the steps one chose, I wondered then how the Lord loves us–how he wants us to grow and make good choices: choosing him. And how choice can bring sadness (or worse) apart from him. But still, we have choice (and what a magnificent, terrifying, enormous, eternal responsibility to steward!).

As I read on, wisdom sets a table and offers an invitation. Folly does too. Wisdom, prudence, insight follow in these beginning proverbs. Folly does too.

Which table do I choose? Whose company do I keep? Wisdom calls and truly resets my mindset on what is possible–even at my age.

Courtney (66books365)

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Proverbs 5:15-8:11 

I was in a store recently, and amid the visual feast, the crowd of people, the murmur of background noise, a couple familiar notes called out from a sensory mix. An old, familiar song–one I knew by heart. Just a couple of notes, and I honed in on them, casting aside everything else that clamored for my attention. It actually felt like reaching through a great crowd, to single in on a reaching hand and grasp it, pulling it close to me. Some words stand out on a page to me like that. Before I even get through a reading, these words stand out, call out–old … familiar … ones I’ve kept in my heart, part of a broader focus.

For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
    and he examines all your paths.
22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
    the cords of their sins hold them fast.
23 For lack of discipline they will die,
    led astray by their own great folly. (Proverbs 5:21-23, NIV, emphasis added)

And

My son, keep my words
    and store up my commands within you.
Keep my commands and you will live;
    guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
Bind them on your fingers;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
    and to insight, “You are my relative.” (Proverbs 7:1-4, NIV, emphasis added)

And

Does not wisdom call out?
    Does not understanding raise her voice?
At the highest point along the way,
    where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
beside the gate leading into the city,
    at the entrance, she cries aloud:
“To you, O people, I call out;
    I raise my voice to all mankind.
You who are simple, gain prudence;
    you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.[d] (Proverbs 8:1-5, NIV, emphasis added. Notation for “set your hearts on it” is “instruct your minds.”)

Lord, thank you for passages that call out to me from all of life’s distractions, to grasp your hand in the crowd, and for this time to focus in on your voice. You repeat these words to me–discipline, wisdom, prudence–to get my attention. In my heart’s desire for a sister, you offer me wisdom, and this is a great tenderness and mercy.

Courtney (66books365)

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