Richer vs Poorer

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 29

Gold Nugget
Verse 7: “The righteous considers the cause of the poor, But the wicked does not understand such knowledge.”

Commentary
Some folks can't understand why some people make so many sacrifices for others who are in need. Despite what people may think, lower income families give more to charities than rich people. See the study done by ABC 20/20. The fact is, people are more likely to help when they can relate to the challenges that someone is going through. A person who has been through cancer is going to be most supportive to the person that has just been diagnosed. A person that lost a spouse is going to be very sympathetic with a grieving widow/widower.

All that being said, this scripture does not mention the person who considers the poor as being poor themselves. What it does say about the person, is they are righteous. "the wicked does not understand such knowledge", they don't understand and can't relate to the poor. Another interesting observation is the scripture doesn't say that the wicked person is rich or poor. The wicked do not see outside of their own interest. The important truth here, is whether you are rich or poor, if you are righteous you will consider the needs of those in need. Likewise, wicked people, whether they are rich or poor do not consider the needs of those in need. God has given us His heart towards people who need money, shelter, counsel or just any form of love. We are the righteousness of Christ; we should walk in that calling.

Prayer
Lord, I want to be sensitive enough to those who are in need around me. Whether their need is financial, emotional or anything that I can possibly do to help, I want to be available to them as you have been. Amen


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Guilty Conscience

Reading for Today: Proverbs Chapter 28

Gold Nugget
Verse 1: 
The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” 

Commentary
I would rather sleep in a single bed with a clear conscience than to sleep in a king size bed with a guilty one. I have known people that are always on the defense because of their guilty conscience. So much so that they make issues even when there isn’t one. Like today’s “gold nugget” says, The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” When you have a clear conscience it makes you bold. I remember once when I had put off my vehicle inspection over and over. Way longer than I care to admit. I don’t remember the circumstances why I put it off, but I remember all the stress trying to avoid getting a ticket. Driving at night was a preferred option. The fear of passing a police officer, hoping he wouldn’t see was a daily occurrence. Even to the point where I would turn down a road if I saw a police car, only to find it wasn’t one. (The wicked flee when no one pursues)  As the second part of the scripture states, once I finally got the vehicle inspected, I wanted to pass a police officer. I was as “bold as a lion.” Having a guilty conscience will ruin every area of your life. Another issue that stems from people with a guilty conscience is the accusing position they take with others. When they see someone in a certain situation, they factor what they themselves would do in that situation and assume others would react the same way. It's said that one of the signs of infidelity is the guilty partner will begin suspecting the innocent partner of the act that they alone are guilty of. Those that have a clear conscience also assume that their partner is just as innocent as they are. That is the definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13 (Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things). If you have ever had a guilty conscience and came clean, you can testify of the liberating effect it has in your life. If you have something weighing on you, it’s time to clear your conscience and rid your life of a cancerous disease. If you don’t, it will spread through your life killing everything in its path.

Prayer
Lord, we thank you for your forgiveness that is so readily available to us all. Help us to cling to your mercy and embrace the purifying effects of confessing our sins. We know that you are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Amen

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The Scout

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 15

Gold Nugget
Verse 3: 
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” 

Commentary
Do you ever feel like your hard work goes unnoticed? What about your character, abilities and everything else you have to offer? Does it seem unvalued? What about your affliction and suffering? Does that go unnoticed also? Does your suffering of rejection and abuse go without justice? Being underappreciated is a horrible position for anyone to be in. Being abused and not having a champion is a hopeless place to be as well. Remember today’s “gold nugget”, The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.There was once a young man that played football in a small school district in Texas. As linemen often do, he was under appreciated. His parents didn’t think much of his skills, he wasn’t popular and even his coach said he was too slow to make it in football. One Friday night he had to play as a starter for an injured player. He was making such huge holes that the running back set the district rushing record for a single game. At the end of the night a coach from a major university walked on the field to try and recruit the player he wanted for his team.  To everyone’s surprise, he didn’t have any interest in the running back that was being carried off the field on his teammate’s shoulders. He wanted the guy that made it all happen. He saw what nobody else had ever seen before in that offensive lineman. After several years and a free ride in college, he went on to play professional football. Nobody thought this guy had anything to offer and no one championed him when he was rejected, but his day came. We must not give up. God is the great "Scout" and He is watching. If what we do - we do for Him, He will see everything through. He sees when you are under appreciated and He sees when you are downright rejected and abused. Trust Him. He is a just God. Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. Although we are not to take pleasure in people’s suffering (not even those that have hurt us), be sure that whoever afflicts His children will answer to Him. That will have to be enough for us. Also, He says that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6) Hang in their brother and sister. God sees your pain and has a redemptive plan for you. Don’t give up!
  
Prayer
Lord, I need you to remind me that you “got this”. I know that you can make something of my life and tend to my tormenters. I will put my confidence in you and refuse to resort to ungodly means of retaliation against those that have hurt me. Amen

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To Everything - Turn, Turn, Turn

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 10

Gold Nugget
Verse 5: 
He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.” 


Commentary
To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

These words were made famous to many by The Byrds in the mid 1960’s. Although recorded several times before and since, Pete Seeger first put the lyrics to music in 1959. Even then Pete Seeger wasn’t the originator. The originator was the very same person that wrote today’s “gold nugget”, He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.” There is a time to work and a time to rest. In addition to Proverbs and others, Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. In this book he originated the words that Pete Seeger would put to lyrics 3,000 years later.
Observe these words taken straight out of the bible (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? There is a time for everything. Picking fruit too early or too late not only taste bad, but ruins it. The same goes for things in our lives. Sometimes waiting too long or not long enough to do or be something can leave a bad taste and be ruined. Whether it is a relationship,  job or anything that has a great impact in your life, waiting too long or not long enough can cause sure destruction. We often want things right now that we need later and also wait to do things that should be done right now. Ironically, as I am writing this devotion, I received a text message with my sisters Facebook status that read “Those that are looking for Mr. Right should not settle for Mr. Right Now”. Funny how appropriate that fit in with the today’s devotion.   
  
Prayer
Lord, I know that I want things right now that are better for later just as sometimes I want to do things later that need to be done right now. Help me to seek the wisdom in your Word that shows me how to tell the difference. Amen

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Sleepy Time

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 6

Gold Nugget
Verse 10,11: 
10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep—  11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.

Commentary
Many companies will entitle you to a vacation as a benefit to your employment. One of the hardest things to do is to go back to work after a good vacation. It’s just as difficult for many folks to try and get up after our daily vacation of sleep through the night. The “sleep vacation” is so much better than the daily grind and many of us start our day with the battle of choosing which we will do. This is a horrible way to start the day. It is much better when you have control over your will and avoid the fight altogether by choosing to get up and get on with the responsibilities we have. This takes discipline and is accomplished after consistently choosing the right thing over the convenient thing. Many people lose this battle so often that they end up unemployed, and then the lack of interest in getting out of that bed increases. The cycle of choosing sleep and loafing causes destruction in every area of our lives whether it is in your employment or  in our relationships. Not carrying our fair share of the load will cause sure destruction. Today’s “gold nugget” says, 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep—  11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man. For those of you that are fully employed, be sure that you do not escape the value of this proverb. There are many aspects to being lazy that will cause destruction. Being too lazy to tend to issues with your spouse, children, extended families, etc will cause destruction in your relationships. Being too lazy to be involved in adequate food intake to food burning ratio can cause destruction of your body. Being too lazy to have an active prayer life, bible study time and healthy relationship with the church will cause spiritual destruction. It’s never too late to make these necessary changes in your life. Make a decision today to “Wake up” and get your business in order. Your spiritual, mental and physical health depends upon it.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for giving me a much needed wakeup call in these areas. I feel the difference it made in my spirit, mind and body. To you belongs all the glory.  Amen

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Getting Things Lined Up

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 2

Gold Nugget
Verse 10-11: 
When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you,

Commentary
When you get things lined up right, the right things fall into place. As today’s “gold nugget” says,
When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you, Preservation and sustainability are promised as a result of wisdom entering your heart and your soul being receptive to knowledge. In order to ensure these two benefits, you must ensure the presence of the two pre-requisites. Pre-requisite number one assumes you have wisdom in your heart. The old saying “You are what you eat” applies here. If you are consuming wisdom it will begin to define who you are. In order to consume wisdom you must be setting at the table and digesting the truth in His Holy Word. Pre-requisite number 2 assumes that the knowledge found in His Holy Word is received as pleasant to your soul. If your heart rejects its truth, it isn’t “pleasant to your soul”. In order to benefit from the wisdom and understanding in the bible, we must commit to reading it and have a heart to understand it without prejudice to our own interest or desires. When the Word of God is committed to and accepted without restraint, wisdom “enters your heart”, knowledge is transferred to the open heart and “Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you,. We have grown accustomed to picking and choosing the convenient parts of scripture that fit well with our perspectives and priorities. When we start taking it as it is written and allow it to transform us by the renewing of our minds, then we really begin to reflect what God want this world to see.

Prayer
Lord, I want to accept your Word and all of its precepts. I don’t want to just acknowledge the parts that are convenient for me. Challenge me to conform to your Word and I will know that the benefits will be preservation and sustainability. Amen
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