Tag Archives: Proverbs

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)

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover

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)

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover

Proverbs 29-31; 1 Thessalonians 4

“And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”  1 Thessalonians 2:13

Sometimes I treat the Bible like a coffee table decoration. I may read through the words as if they were nice theories or a self improvement project or gloss through the difficult passages and patronize them by passing them off as antiquated and therefore, irrelevant. God’s word is far too powerful to remain in the box that I attempt to keep it in. In reading the Word, God invites me to sit with him, wrestle with my questions and doubts and dance with hopes and dreams. All these things I lay before God in the light of his Word.

God’s Word asks me if I truly believe that I am a sinner in need of forgiveness? Do I really, REALLY believe that Christ died on the cross and physically rose from the dead so that I might live? When the truth of Jesus Christ sets in, I awaken from my stupor and the world changes; I change. His resurrection brings light and joy into unexpected places.

Following Christ is not a quest to be a better person or to find fulfillment; those things might happen, but they are not the end. God wants something much greater, wilder, and more beautiful for me; He wants holiness.

“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God who gives the Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8.

Holiness is the odd combination of laying aside my idea of righteousness to accept that of Jesus and leaning forward in gratitude to live the life He has called me to. It means being transformed by his love into the his likeness. It’s being willing to let go of my ego long enough to be to take risks and believe that God’s power will win the day. A holy life focuses on God and not man’s ability to get things right or wrong.

The people that I know who live holy lives are “clothed in strength and dignity” that comes from God and isn’t stuffy and judgmental. Quite the opposite. They are people who can laugh and have grace for themselves and others. Think of the woman in Proverbs 31. Knowing and living the truth of the Gospel opens the door for the Holy Spirit to do that kind of work in ordinary lives.

Lord, I believe you are who you say you are. Help me when unbelief slips in. Keep me focused on you today. Holy Spirit, please be at work in and through me today. Amen.

Klueh

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Uncategorized

Proverbs 24-25; Psalm 41; 1 Thessalonians 2

3It takes wisdom to have a good family.

It takes understanding to make it strong.

4It takes knowledge to fill a home

with rare and beautiful treasures. Proverbs 24:3-4 (ICB)

As a mother my desire is to have a great relationship with my kids. I want my home to be a place of safety, full of wonderful things and even better memories. I want my kids to be connected at the heart with me, their Daddo, each other. And, most importantly I want them to love Jesus with all their being.

There are many days I feel like a failure in all this; days when my bad mommy moments vastly outweigh the good ones. I am probably my own worst critic. It’s probably better than I sometimes think it is. I choose to hold on to the hope that my kids remember more of the positive moments, the fun times, and forget the times I’ve lost my patience and my self-control went the way of the dodo.

28A person who does not control himself

is like a city whose walls have been broken down. Proverbs 25:28 (ICB)

When I lose self-control, yell, scream, lecture, spank…I immediately witness the tiniest thread of connection my daughters and I have in that moment disintegrate like a hiker walking through a spider web stretched across the trail. Even if my calm, steady voice paired with “the look” isn’t working to get their attention, the tension-filled, impatient, MOM voice and ugly face, turns them away from me even faster.

7But we were very gentle with you. We were like a mother caring for her little children. 8Because we loved you, we were happy to share God’s Good News with you. But not only that, we were also happy to share even our own lives with you. 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 (ICB)

I don’t want to go through life feeling like I had a good day simply because I didn’t make front page news. I want to know that my family had a good day because I was gentle, caring, I was patient and full of self-control, even if my kids weren’t. I want them to experience my love first hand, not just hear the words come from my mouth. I want to show them who Christ is through my example. I want my family to be happy that we share our lives together. I want my house to be filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

On Sunday, I actually had it together. I had some alone time, with God (an important key), and then miraculously got everyone dressed, fed and out the door on the way to church 10 minutes early. Once I got us all belted in and we were on the road, I looked in the rear view mirror at my oldest and asked her how the morning was. She thought for a moment and told me it was a good morning. I asked her why. She said, “Because, we didn’t fight.”

The treasure chest filled up a little bit more…

Yesappa, Thank You for showing me how it can be when I rely on Your wisdom and understanding to build my family up and fill my home. Help me in those moments that I struggle to see what You see. Help me love my kids more like You love them. Help me discipline like You discipline Your children. Give me strength to choose self-control and patience, and make me into a gentle mother. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Thessalonians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, Psalms

Proverbs 3-5; Romans 10

When reading Proverbs, I understand Ezekiel’s appetite, “Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat this scroll I am going to give you and fill your stomach with it.’ So I ate it, and it tasted like honey.” Ezekiel 3:3

There are Proverbs that I want to grab hold of, memorize, ponder and turn into personal prayers. I hear God’s warning to protect that which he regards precious, my heart:

“Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Another Proverb stands out and I flashback to playing dress up at my grandmother’s house: I am 5 years old, standing in a discarded pair of white high heels and trying on old church hats and admiring myself in the mirror.

“(Wisdom) will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor.” Proverbs 4:9

Grace is the glorious crown Jesus has put on my head. I mentally don it as I begin the day, It isn’t make believe; it is reality. Grace bestows a beauty that no make up artist or plastic surgeon can come close to. It shines through in the darkest of places and it is the very righteousness of Christ covering me. I am the undeserving sinner who is now a child of the King. The garland of grace transforms all who bow down to receive it.

My hunger for God’s truth, his Word increases.

“The word is near you, it is in your mouth and in your heart. That is the word of faith we are proclaiming: that if you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is in your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10

Lord, your love is my glory, my crown. Thank you for your life giving grace. May your Word be alive and at work in me today so that I live in the truth of who You are and what You have done. Amen

Klueh

 

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Uncategorized