Category Archives: Proverbs

Ruth 2:14-4:22; I Samuel 1

Women of the Bible: the stories of Ruth and Hannah

 When reading Scripture, I often visualize myself walking in the shoes of the principal characters of the narratives. I can imagine, for instance, being Ruth the Moabite woman living in Bethlehem with her mother-in-law. Rising early and walking to a field where she hoped to pick up the leftover grain to bring home sustenance for Naomi and herself. Listening to the wise council of the one woman she trusted with all her heart, the one who taught her to love and believe in the God of Israel. Risking her virtue and physical safety to join with strangers, she a foreigner in a small, but tightly woven community where everyone knew your story without knowing you. What could that have been like? The part of me that relates is the yearning I had as a young girl to know who to depend on for sustenance, guidance, and comfort. Grateful for those times when others showed concern and genuine caring. Yet, always longing for stability when, even as a young woman, I continued to need protection and provision. I’ve often testified that God answered the prayer of this unbeliever when He sent to me a husband who satisfied my need for security. How wonderful that even though I was not then aware of my future salvation, God knew. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,” Romans 8:29.

Like a Cinderella story, Ruth found her charming prince and Naomi held her precious grandson against her shoulder. And from that fortuitous pairing of Ruth and Boaz came the future King David and the messianic lineage of Jesus Christ. I, too, had my prince and then my own little darling to raise.

In Hannah’s story, my heart was torn reading that after God answered her prayer for a child, she could give up of that same child for another to raise. Hannah’s anguish over being barren, year after year, may be difficult to understand in America today. Young adults are waiting longer to marry and longer still to have children. We praise the family who limits conceiving their number of children to two or less. We value resources such as food, fuel, forests, and air as if these elements preserve our future. Yet, are we not, as C.S. Lewis once argued careening toward the “abolition of man?” Still, what is the first commitment made by most Christian parents who love the Lord God? We dedicate our children to God – to raise them in the “admonition of the Lord.” We stand publicly before our congregations to declare we will raise our children in a godly home, and we ask for their support in teaching and modeling for our children how to obey and love God. Yet, Hannah’s desire for her son to know God went so much deeper. She held the hand of little Samuel, a child of two or three years old, and took him to actually live in the sanctuary and be raised by the aging priest, Eli.

“And she said, ‘O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord [Eli], I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord…For this child I prayed and the Lord granted me my petition…Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he shall be lent to the Lord,” I Samuel 1:26-28.

In dedicating my own daughter, did I truly give her over to the Lord? I thought I did. I still feel the joy and pride of her memorizing Scripture for the Bible Bowl, attending Vacation Bible School, singing in the Children’s Choir, coloring pictures of Jesus and the Cross, creating her own Christmas and Easter cards, and writing stories and poems for her Christian school English teachers. But did I hamper her learning to trust in God by my own need for validation as a mother? Why was it so hard to believe that God loved her more than I ever could?

These are questions that I ponder being a parent. There is no end to my negative self-talk, my mother-guilt, especially since my daughter passed away. Yet I am comforted knowing that “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him,” (Biblegateway.com). As her mother, I can rejoice that God ‘lent’ her to me for a while like Hannah could rejoice despite knowing how short the time she would have to nurture her son.

Scripture is for our instruction in righteousness and for strengthening our faith, for courage, healing, and peace. God’s Word also reminds me that women in the Bible were important to His plan of redemption and the birth of the Church. I am comforted by the real stories of people who walked with God, obeyed, and worshiped Him, and were rewarded with renewed joy and greater faith. Ruth’s loyal love to Naomi, Hannah’s sacrificial gratitude for Samuel, and the many other heroines of the Old and New Testaments are the precious jewels of Proverbs 31 which declares, “For her worth is far above rubies…a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

Precious Lord God, You alone fashioned me and every other child inside of mothers whom You loved. You know the first and last day we will walk this earth. Thank You, Lord, that You rejoice and sing over us from that first reunion with You and into eternity. May the Lord bless us and favor us, our family, our children, and their children while we wait for that day we are together again with Jesus, our Lord.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp6aygmvzM4

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Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, Psalms, Romans, Ruth, Uncategorized

Proverbs 11-13; Psalm 8; Romans 13

I am not too sure that I have met anyone who yielded pomp and power and was liked. I would like to say that favour is not obtained by wealth and I think that is true. I am almost absolute in believing that love is not commanded by authority or even dignity. I think there is an element of goodness found in each arena but violence has no room when it comes to being righteous. That is not to say that righteous people are all loved, but rather there is a love for the well-being of those who are righteous.

When the righteous thrive, a city rejoices,
and when the wicked die, there is joyful shouting.

A city is built up by the blessing of the upright,
but it is torn down by the mouth of the wicked.
– Proverbs 11:10-11 HCSB

So when I reflect on who I am and my purpose I find myself reflecting on my identity and calling to lead, however, not on my own, but rather with God. I know that I am weak – how can I not? One look at the stars on a clear evening sky ensures that, yet not one second later, God seems to be whispering in my ear that He is pleased to walk with me and share His glory with me.

What is man that You remember him,
the son of man that You look after him?
You made him little less than God[c][d]
and crowned him with glory and honor. – Psalm 8:4-5 HCSB

That is why Paul is so keen to straighten us up. His world was all about earthly power. The Christians were wise to stay away from persecution by paying their taxes, doing what was good, and be subordinate to authorities established by God. But this is what warms my heart and strengthens my soul – Paul wanted those like me to acknowledge the debt of love I owed to other followers of Jesus – Paul turned the laws of the Roman State on their head.

Do not owe anyone anything,[b] except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments:

Do not commit adultery;
do not murder;
do not steal;[c]
do not covet;[d]

and whatever other commandment—all are summed up by this: Love your neighbor as yourself.[e]

Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10 HCSB

How easy it is for me, when chaos strikes the world, to forget about the debt of love I owe to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Gospel calls me to love my neighbour and this comes from the debt of love prescribed by Paul.

I am challenged once again, as I have been so many times in the Old and New Testament, on the one most important commandment. I believe we call it The Great Commandment – Love God, Love People.

Father, my head knows how powerful love is, my heart knows how hard that is to do. I do believe that love can change not only my life, but my family’s, my workplace, my church and my neighbourhood. How does that look in my life? How can I be seen standing with You and still be relevant? I know what others think is normal is not normal to You – You ask more from me and You ask me to give my all, just like Jesus did. Teach me every day on how to love You, healthily and then from a place of health, teach me to love others. Thank you.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 5 day reading plan, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, Psalms, reading plan, Romans

Leviticus 11-12; Psalm 13-14; Proverbs 26; 1 Thessalonians 5

In summarizing the reading from Leviticus 11, I came away realizing I may not be as diligent in my walk with God when it comes to defiling my character. There is a lesson in mortality as the penalty of sin that is illustrated here. The law demanded constant watchfulness. In the same spirit I believe I need to watch and pray.

I would also like to give you my general thoughts on Psalm 13.  I have had times when God seemed distant. Not really sure why even though I could come up with a few thoughts that we may all agree on. There are other times when everything is right and yet God is far away, does not speak, I seek Him but He seems to be hiding.

This is David in Psalm 13. Out of the depths of his heart he repeats five times the haunting cry, “How long?” and “How much longer?” Psalm 13 tells me what to do when God seems distant.

Enough with the summaries, here are three short and to the point orders.

Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 GNT

I spent some time with the second point – “pray at all times.” This is about maintaining an attitude of prayer, being aware of God’s presence and staying in constant communion and close relationship with the giver of joy.

It is my posture of unceasing dependence on God. I am abiding in, trusting in, depending on and acknowledging His presence in my life at all times.

 Father, You are my joy. When I spend time with You my life is filled with joy. “I rely on your constant love; I will be glad, because you will rescue me. I will sing to you, O Lord, because you have been good to me.” How many times has something not supposed to go right and yet You stepped in and made sure I was safe, cared for and protected. For all those times I missed You doing what You do best, I thank you. You are the difference in my life and You matter most. I love You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

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Filed under 1 Thessalonians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Leviticus, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, Psalms, Uncategorized

Lev. 10; Psalms 11,12; Proverbs 25; 1 Thess. 4

“You must distinguigh between what is sacred and what it common, between what is ceremonially unclean and what is clean.  And you must teach the Israelites all the decrees that the Lord has given them through Moses.”  Leviticus 10:10&11 NLT

The Israelites were set apart to do God’s work. I think on Courtney’s post from March 26.  She described Bezalel’s job as Holy Work.  This has stayed with me.  It has helped me to remember that there is purpose in the seemingly meaningless tasks.  The laundry, the dinner, the cleaning…the things that no one sees.  Than there are the hidden ugly places of my heart.  I don’t always want to do the hard and holy work of letting the Holy Spirit work on these areas.  When I do I am more freed up to love and serve.

“Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you.  You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.  For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.  Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.  Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1&2, 11&12 NLT

The Lord has chosen me.  It’s easy to get caught up in comparing myself to others.  But, this just derails me from my purpose.  Sometimes I wish I had a different story, especialy when I’m in the middle of it.   And I can’t always see how God is going to use it.  But, I know that he will use it for good, if I let him.  If I surrender it to him.

“I trust in the Lord for protection.  So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right.  The foundations of law and order have collapsed.  What can the righteous do?”  But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven.  He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.” Psalms 11:1-4 NLT

Dear Father, Help me to learn to trust you more.  Forgive me for when my heart is far away from you.  Give me fresh eyes to see your goodness.  Amen.

“The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over.  Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed, preserving them forever from this lying generation, even though the wicked strut about, and evil is praised throughout the land.” Psalms 12:6-8 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Exodus 28; John 7; Proverbs 4; Galatians 3

Distracted driving! This is a term that has come to the forefront in the past few years. Thanks to technology, we can communicate with any one at any time. This has created quite an issue with drivers and become dangerous. For myself, I can remember being tired and driving home from work with glazed eyes just staring ahead. Once I got home, I wasn’t even sure how I got there. I have missed turns because I was having a conversation and not paying attention. Sometimes I really, really struggle to resist looking at my phone because someone texted me while I was driving. I am sorry to admit I have, on occasion, given in and tried to read and drive. That is not only dangerous to me, but it is also dangerous for anyone around me. I need to keep my eyes focused on the road before me at all times and be aware of my surroundings. This knowledge creates wisdom.

20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil. (Prov. 4:20-27)

Solomon has been credited with writing most of the proverbs. He is also known as the man who asked God for wisdom. (1 Kings 3:9). The dictionary defines wisdom as “knowledge, and the capacity to make due use of it” (Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary). These words are a warning for our protection.  Pay attention! Remember my words, keep them in your heart, for your very life is at stake!

First, Solomon tells us to guard our hearts for everything flows from it. How true is that statement! I have let my heart make decisions for me that turned out to cause so much pain in my life. I have had to learn when it is okay to share it and when I must guard it. I need to watch what I say and speak loving, kind words—not words considered acceptable by the rest of the world. These words not only hurt my heart, they hurt the heart of our God.

I learned the hard way what happens when you do not keep your eyes on the path before you. I followed my heart into a situation that took me away from God. I took my eyes off Jesus! It seemed the right choice at the time, but God showed me that someone was taking advantage of my compassionate heart and I was being manipulated into doing something I thought was the loving thing to do. I looked away for an instant and paid the price–it led me straight into sin. Have you ever noticed that when you are driving and you look away, the car steers where your eyes are directed? We are not to turn to the right or the left but follow the path before us. We cannot let ourselves be distracted.

36 “Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: holy to the Lord. 37 Fasten a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban. 38 It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate, whatever their gifts may be. It will be on Aaron’s forehead continually so that they will be acceptable to the Lord. (Ex. 28:36-38) NIV

Jesus paid much too high a price for us to not listen to his words, his wisdom, which comes from his Father. Because of him, we have the Holy Spirit in us. Because of him, we have “HOLY TO THE LORD” written on our souls—not our foreheads. We do not need a priest to bear our guilt, Jesus did it on a cross. It was the greatest gift of all time. Because of him, we are acceptable to the LORD.

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal 3:28-29)

Lord Jesus, thank you for leaving us your wisdom. Thank you for the example you lived before the eyes of the disciples that has been passed down to us. Because of you, we are heirs to a great promise and a great future. We must keep our eyes focused on you at all times looking neither to the right or the left so we will not be distracted. Help us to guard our hearts, for streams of living water flow from within us as it says in John 7. Let it flow from us to the places you want it to go. I pray this in your precious name, Amen.

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Exodus, Galatians, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Proverbs