Category Archives: Proverbs

Proverbs 31; Ecclesiastes 1-2; Matthew 14

What a great reading today – sets the tone for the day. The ideal woman is described through her activity as a wife. I was reading that the traditional hymn sung praising the mighty deeds of a warrior was transposed to extol a heroic wife – the focus on her exploits. As beautiful as all of this is, nothing really matches the words from her children and her husband as they praise her. What a portrait of a household ruled by Woman Wisdom and if you will, the home of those she has discipled. I love calling my wife a woman of wisdom.

Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:  – Proverbs 31:28  ESV

The man of wisdom himself, Solomon, takes the idea of being transparent seriously. I have so much to learn from him in this area.  I notice whenever he uses the word “you” in advice or warning, he actually sounds like he is speaking to himself. While he is talking to himself about things he should be doing, he finds himself not doing it. Have to remind myself not to do that when I am preaching.

The words of the Preacher,[a] the son of David, king in Jerusalem. – Ecclesasties 1:1  ESV

No matter what my need is, Jesus comes to me in my hour of need. He is watching over me even when I cannot see Him. The storm and the miracle of walking on water is a great picture of what Jesus still does in my life when I am sailing through my own storms which happen in the dark so often.

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” – Matthew 14:27  ESV

I am meant to recognize the metaphor. If I allow myself to face my storms alone, that is on me.

Father, I look at this amazing woman of wisdom and I see this wise man filled with wisdom, and I cannot help but realise how You sent Jesus, Your wisdom personified, to walk with me in life. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ecclesiastes, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, Uncategorized

Proverbs 29-30; Psalms 60 & 33; Matthew 13

“His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to people?” He replied , “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of heaven, but others are not.  To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have abundance of knowledge.  But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.  That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see.  They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.” Matthew 13:10-13 NLT

I pray for the Holy Spirit to give me insight and wisdom when reading God’s word.  I find that especially in this, He meets me where I am.  He prods me to dig deeper.  I have learned that the more I read of it, the more hungry I am for it.  The more understanding I have.  But, it is not for knowledge alone.  Am I being changed? Is my heart in the right place?  Am I fearful or discouraged? Those are usually red flags for me that I haven’t picked up my bible in too long.

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.  I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it.”  Matthew 13:16 NLT

Once I get into his word, my eyes are opened. And I wonder what took me so long.  Why was I scrolling through Instagram or filling my mind with other things? Distraction after distraction. And I wonder why I am weary and tired.  He is always ready and waiting for me to turn to Him.  “But if the source of our satisfaction is anything other than God’s word, a relationship with Jesus, and the power and friendship of the Holy Spirit, our souls will suffer.  What we are truly thirsting for is God.  He is our source of living water.  Nothing else will be able to weep into every part of us. Nothing else will be able to refresh, restore and transform us.  Nothing else will ever truly satisfy our soul.” Lysa Terkeurst

“For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does.  But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.  We put our hope in the Lord.  He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  Let your unfailing love surround us Lord, for our hope is in you alone.” Psalms 33:4, 18-22 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for your word.  Thank you that it is truth. I pray for a deeper love for your word. Amen.

“With God’s help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes.” Psalms 60:12 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

 

 

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Proverbs 9-12; Matthew 8

As I read through today’s passages, the theme of “storms” stood out for me—maybe because they really are such a part of life. They come in all intensities. Some are threatening but never materialize. Some hit but then blow over quickly leaving minimal damage. Then there are the ones that hover for days and leave great destruction in their wake. That’s the kind of storm that changes the landscape of everything familiar. By the grace of God, I am thankful I’ve survived them all! But, I certainly did not do it in my own strength. However, those storms are when I’ve learned some of the most profound lessons from God about God.

I must admit, some of the storms have been of my own doing.

29 The way of the Lord is a refuge for the blameless,
but it is the ruin of those who do evil.

Instead of following “the way of the LORD”, I chose my own way and I can assure it was a storm I could have avoided. All the signs were there: the dark clouds, the wind, and the change in barometer. Instead of heading to my refuge to wait it out, I headed straight into the storm. That storm was probably the beginning of wisdom for me. (Job 28:8–And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”)

Then, there was the storm that was not of my doing. Choices were made by others that changed the course of my life and took me in a completely different direction. That storm is where I learned to stand on the truth of God. Sometimes the weather was so bad I couldn’t see in front of me but God was my lighthouse that led the way. That storm changed the landscape of everything familiar. At the end of that storm, there were people no longer in my life and I realized the great pain of letting go was God’s way of showing me how to let him in. Through that I found a life I didn’t know was possible.

25 When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone,
but the righteous stand firm forever.

Then there was the one that I thought was a storm, but turned out to be a blessing. Oh yes, while I was going through it, it looked like a storm and I thought I would drown. But truthfully, when it was over, all I could do was marvel at God’s faithfulness. There was a purpose to that storm unlike any of the others. I went into it gripped with fear but THAT one, above all the others, was where I witnessed Jesus rebuke the winds and the waves. I witnessed a miracle!

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

As long as I have breath in my body, the opportunity for storms in my life exists. But God has shown me how to weather them. He’s taught me where to go (under his wings), what to do (trust him), and to ride out the storm with him as my captain. I know that he alone is my safe haven.

Heavenly Father, I am so thankful for your faithfulness in my life. I would not be where I am today without your guidance as we passed through some choppy waters. I thought for sure I was going to go under but you always kept my head above water. Forgive me for the times I doubted. In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Daniel 10-12; John 20

Daniel 12 and John 20 juxtaposed to each other.

And one key word sings: RISE.

But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise[i] will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”  Daniel 12 NIV

“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake…those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens…those who lead many to righteousness like the stars for ever and ever.”

Awake and Shine like Stars forever and ever.

 

One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”  Daniel 12 NIV

“astonishing…”

My heart awakes.

13 “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” Daniel 12 NIV

“You will rest…then… you will rise”

RISE.

 

For as yet they did not [b]know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. John 20 NKJV

“He must rise.”

RISE

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to [c]Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the [d]disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.  John 20 NKJV

I have frequently pondered the joyful astonishment in this section of John 20. The quick recognition. The beloved realization.

“I am ascending….”

Lord, there is so much grief, sorrow, and loss in this world and in this life. Yet, in You, we rise. Holy Spirit, only You can make resurrection life real and tangible to me; to all those who are lost; to Your people who suffer; to me who can be wrapped in the whirlwind of the world.  Your truth is astonishing. You are astonishing. Joy, gladness, everlasting life, goodness- is utterly astonishing. Astonish me, Lord. I love You. Help my life to reflect You and my love for You. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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Proverbs 19-21; Psalm 40; Romans 16

When I accepted Christ, I was a mess!  I was in the process of getting a divorce, I was fighting rejection, brokenness, and had hit rock bottom. My friend described it as being so low you have to reach up to touch bottom.  That is what it felt like to me.  I didn’t know how to go on with my life.  I kept making the same mistakes over and over.  Life seemed hopeless.  I somehow knew to cry out to God.

1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
3 He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)

He truly lifted me out of the pit of despair those many years ago and he did set my feet on solid ground.  We started our journey together and my life has totally changed because of his faithfulness.  He asked me to trust him.  It didn’t happen overnight but has been a steady build of our relationship.

12 Ears to hear and eyes to see—both are gifts from the Lord. (Prov 20:12)

I tried to go a different path once several years later.  It was one of those paths that looks beautiful and draws you in.  It wasn’t long before I looked around and realized I was going somewhere he didn’t want me to go. I had the choice to continue down that path if I wanted.  I couldn’t do it—I turned around and ran back to my Abba Daddy.  There is nothing more beautiful than Him and nothing worth losing the peace I get from being in his presence.

30 No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the Lord. (Prov 21:30)

21 You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. (Prov 19:21)

Five years ago the company I worked for was closed.  I had been there for 23 years.  We knew it was coming for six months before it actually happened.  I would say that has been the greatest tool God has used to show me he is sovereign.  I went on so many interviews and wouldn’t get offered a job.  I don’t even want to admit how many times I was on the floor in tears wrestling with fear.  I knew God was in control, I just didn’t know where he was going to take me.  But looking back, I could see exactly what he was doing.  For the year I was unemployed, I was able to volunteer at a food pantry where the people who worked there ministered to my heart while I was able to help hand out food to people in far worse financial conditions than me.  I was able to be with my mother during her final months of life and I was able to be at the bedside of two dear friends as they passed away.  I had planned to be back to work in several months.  God had a different plan.  When all he had planned for me to do was complete, I got another job.  God provided everything I needed during that year.

29 The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old. (Prov 20:29)

Yes, there is a blessing that comes from years of walking with the Lord.  I have gained experience through the trials I’ve encountered along the way.  There is one mountain in particular that has gotten in the way more than the others.  In my reading one day recently, I felt God assure me we would conquer this one area that keeps tripping me up (Acts 3:10).  You see, God is patient.  Sometimes there are things we hold on to like a life jacket even after we’ve been rescued.  We know we are safe but not quite ready to take the jacket off.  He has given me hope that this too will give me reason to sing a new song, a hymn of praise to my God.

Lord, I know there are days I take everything you’ve done for me for granted, and I don’t ever want to do that.  When I remember who I was and how far you’ve brought me, I can do nothing but lift my heart, my hands, and my voice in praises to you.  I sing songs with all the Saints—“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”  Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Proverbs 8-10; Psalm 144; Romans 12

I was reminded this week of the importance of caring enough for my wife that I need to be listening to her – really listen.  There is so much more peace in our home and I am such a hero when I do, that I cannot understand why I am not an expert on such matters by now.

Listen carefully
to my instructions,
    and you will be wise. – Proverbs 8:33   CEV

The same can be said of my relationship with God.  Listening means spending time with God.  I believe I have shared this before, but I believe God’s love language is – time.  It is when I stop spending time with Him that other voices have an opportunity of creeping in and messing with my mind.  Voices that even go so far as challenging the authenticity of my relationship with God.

Why do we humans mean anything
to you, our Lord?
    Why do you care about us? – Psalm 144:3  CEV

Ann-Marie and I went to visit a new couple from our church this week.  We wanted to call them and drop in and thought it might be too soon for that.  What a joy to be invited two hours later by them!  We talked all night about our relationship with God and how He has woven our faith from experiences gone by. Sometimes caring is exactly that – spending time with others, hearing their voice, celebrating new friendships.

Take care of God’s needy people and welcome strangers into your home. – Romans 12:13  CEV

Father, I know in my head that You care for me, from time to time I wonder why You or any one else would matter to care.  As the evil one may want to take Your care away from me, allow me to practice to care for others, to listen well, to spend time with You so that I might be equipped, ready to accept the invitation from You or someone else to care for them in their moment of need.  There are not enough praise words in our language to speak to Your love for me.  I know how much You care – enough for a cross, a death, a burial and the joy of my heart – a resurrection.  Thank you Lord. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Proverbs 6-7; Psalms 7; Romans 11

“Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And is by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.” Romans 11:5&6 NIV

After reading Romans 11, this question from a devotional comes to mind …“Do I scoop out grace with a shovel or a spoon?”  If I am honest, it’s a spoon more often than not.  But when I look into my own heart, I know how ugly it can be.

“O Lord my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; And deliver me, Lest they tear me like a lion, Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver.” Psalms 7:1&2 NIV

I’ve learned that forgiveness takes trust…

Trust that He has a plan greater than my hurt.

Trust that He will never fail of abandon me.

Trust that He loves me and has my best interest in mind.

Trust that He will bring justice.

I like how Lysa TerKeurst describes forgiveness.  “A complicated grace that uncomplicates my anger and helps me see beautiful again.”

“My defense is of God, Who saves the upright in heart.” Psalms 7:10 NIV

Father, thank you for your forgiveness. Help me to freely give it to others.  So that my heart does not become hardened and bitter.  To You be the glory.  Amen.

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:33-36 NIV

Amy(amyctanner)

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