Tag Archives: Proverbs

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

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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

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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

 

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1 Kings 4; Proverbs 1-2; Psalm 43; Romans 9

I was at a curriculum fair in April. I looked at a seller’s books–the seller also being the author of a set of history books. (I’m using a different product next year, but I love books, so I stopped to look.)

She told me how her history book is just like the one I’m using, but it has even more information. I opened the pages and saw even more color coded facts, a rainbow of information spanning one page to the next, page after page, this tome. I closed the book, overwhelmed by all the facts seemingly strung along–the information weightier than the book itself, all this knowledge. And how to make order of it? Was there a system behind the colors? There were so many other vendors, I walked on.

I recently read a graphic novel memoir–the layout of the book and its weight denied the rich story contained inside. Through pictures and dialogue, I was hooked into a story that was heartbreaking, haunting and vivid.

There’s an audience for just the facts, and an audience that craves connection.

These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.

Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
    to help them understand the insights of the wise.
Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
    to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
    knowledge and discernment to the young.

Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
    Let those with understanding receive guidance
by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
    the words of the wise and their riddles.

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:1-7, NLT

How often have I read through Proverbs like a long list? Just the facts? Not connecting? These opening verses gave me real pause.

These proverbs read like an invitation to connection, just stepping into the next words of verse eight, “My child …”

Lord, I want to clear my mind of all the clutter and lists and information–I want to be still at your feet and hear your voice. Help me to drink in the sweetness of your word, savor it and be nourished and refreshed by it.

Courtney (66books365)

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Proverbs 26-28; 1 Thessalonians 3

Proverbs reads like a vicious tug of war. Fools, lazy, greedy, jealous–the words are pounded with a judge’s gavel at each line. Some of those titles I’ve worn myself, and others I’ve recognized in relationships. The words are barbed, and the strike rips open memories that give new meaning to Throw Back Thursday.

Lately life has felt like a tug of war. And whether it’s been over responsibilities or relationships, I feel pulled in many directions, yanked, torn. The days carry me one foot in front of the other, and I find myself advancing towards deadlines and skirmishes. I try to clear my head and shake out the onslaught of weighty things–just run my race. Put some blinders on. One foot in front of the other.

Those who trust their own insight are foolish,
    but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe. Proverbs 28:26, NLT

I turned eagerly to the reading today because (because of a flare-up of a child’s chronic condition; a workload I’m not sure I can carry; backed-up toilets and a house gone haywire; rows of cards in the store and the battle I face at this time every year; invisibility) I need God.

I desperately need God.

My God, my Father. My God, my healer. My God, my savior. My God, my strength.

I found comfort in 1 Thessalonians 3.

We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know that we are destined for such troubles. Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come—and they did, as you well know. That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless.

But now Timothy has just returned, bringing us good news about your faith and love. He reports that you always remember our visit with joy and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you. So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 3:2b-8, NLT.

Lord, I don’t always know what to do. I don’t always handle pressure well. And sometimes I get so distracted by troubles that my faith gets misplaced. Help me to walk in wisdom. Thank you that you see me, and you’ll never forsake me.

Courtney (66books365)

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Proverbs 26-28; 1 Thessalonians 3

People who conceal their sins will not prosper,

but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

Blessed are those who fear to do wrong,

but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble. Proverbs 28:13-14

Before I was a believer, I thought that if I kept my ‘junk’ – my insecurities, envy, jealousy, anger, and the other sins of my heart – hidden from people that it would be as if it didn’t exist. I could put on a good face, a mask of innocence, and convince people that I was doing okay.

I came to a realization that no matter how well I kept it all hidden from my family and my friends (and I was probably deluding myself about how well I was keeping things secret anyway), I wasn’t keeping anything hidden from God.

He has full access to my heart, mind, and soul. He knows when sin has entered my heart, regardless of whether or not it shows to people. He knows when I am being stubborn and He knows when I am truly repentant.

Now that I follow Christ, I strive to walk in the freedom offered through salvation which Jesus granted to me through His finished work on the cross. I do my best to avoid what people consider the ‘big sins’, but in my humanness I still often commit sins of wrong attitudes.

I believe that God understands that I am going to sin, as much as He hopes that I wouldn’t; and, because of that awareness, He gives me second, thirds, fourth, etc. chances. Because He loves me so much, He extends His gift of grace to me each time I bring my failures to Him and lay them down at His feet.

When I confess my sins to Him, He forgives me and offers me mercy, allowing my past to no longer dictate what my future will look like. He heals my heart, gives me wisdom, and alleviates the trouble that may have been stirred up by my bad choices and He helps my destiny flourish. He gives me a testimony of His goodness and made me an overcomer.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your mercy and Your love. Thank You for Your forgiveness, and for helping me be transparent and vulnerable before You. Please, check my spirit when I sin in my heart so that I am more aware of my need to confess.And, grant me continuing grace as I journey through life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Proverbs 6-7; Psalm 7; Romans 11

A Turkish friend is very superstitious. The other day, as we walked across a field dotted with ant hills, she stopped, bent over and picked up a pinch of dirt from seven different ant hills and placed them in a small baggie in her wallet. “This will bring me good luck and more money,” she explained.  Once she wore a small brightly colored ribbon tied around her finger. This, she said was to bring good fortune to her son.

My friend is not a backward person. She’s beautiful, gracious and intelligent and is not above following superstitions in an attempt to improve her lot in life. She’s not alone; players and sports fans across the country adopt pregame rituals to try to appeal to some greater power. My friend thinks  of me as a little square for not embracing superstitious practices.  Why would I resort to such rituals when I know that the God who made me holds me in the palm of his hand?

I can be at peace with the future, because the God has told me that he will never let me go. He will never cease hearing my prayers and answering them. But sometimes I can forget the truth. Hardship, stress, and temptations all work to distract me from the reality of the Father’s love. Solomon understood this when he wrote:

“My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck.”  Proverbs 6:20-21

“Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 7:3

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 3:3

Another friend who has memorized 30 specific scriptures. In the morning, she lays on the floor, calms her soul and repeats and meditates on those passages. She allows God to write his word on the “tablet of her heart.” I have another friend who reminds herself of God’s love every time she sees a heart. That simple physical reminder has drawn her closer to God. I wear a simple gold cross around my neck. In itself, it has no power, but like my wedding ring, it reminds me of who I belong to.

How do you “bind” God’s word to you? Do you have a daily practice or habit that has helped you keep your heart close to God?

klueh

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