To Be Bold

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 29

Gold Nugget
Verse 10: 
The bloodthirsty hate the blameless, but the upright seek his well-being.

Commentary
 You can’t make everybody like you. Accepting that early on will free us from much disappointment. They say that you should never mention politics and religion certain settings. Pointing out your position to certain people may put you at odds with them without even knowing it. Well, I say some things that we may be at odds about are best put right out front. Just the same, establishing out front that they may share those positions can be twice as productive. One of these places where religion is considered taboo is in a job interview. So much for that concept, I can hardly wait for an opportunity to present itself in an interview where we can talk about my faith. My position is that of today’s “gold nugget”, The bloodthirsty hate the blameless, but the upright seek his well-being. Although this verse is very descriptive, it can be summed up as follows; People that are unjust will not appreciate the just, but the just will be grateful and helpful to the just.

I would rather a potential employer know just where I stand and what he can expect from me, than to avoid the defining foundation of who I am and have it be an issue later. If they are just, they will respond quickly to my openness and embrace our shared faith. If they are not appreciative and respectful of this defining character, I would just as soon know this up front as well. Those that love God will love me as a brother. Those that love God I must and will also love as a brother or sister. This may not fit well with many people’s belief, but it has worked well with me. I can’t tell you what a blessing it has been allowing God to be a part of who I am in the workplace or any other so called taboo arena. I have seen too many coworkers and even clients and interviewers come to tears as we begin to talk about the love of God and deep spiritual things. I have just learned to accept that the unjust will not appreciate the just, but the just will be grateful and helpful to the just.

Prayer
Lord, help us to be as Paul requested in 1 timothy 2:8, I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting It’s my prayer that we would be bold in our faith and don’t fear those that will not accept us. Amen

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The True Gift

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 24

Gold Nugget
Verse 11: 
Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.

Commentary
The bible teaches us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23). If we believe this to be true, then we agree that all of us are guilty of sin before God. If so, what does that mean to us? What is the penalty? The bible tells us also that, “the wages (cost) of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). So we conclude that the scriptures teach us that all of us are guilty of sin and the penalty is death. It seems hopeless unless God changes His mind about what the wage or cost of sin is, but He hasn’t changed what the penalty is. Here enters the true Christmas story. Follow closely as the angel tells Joseph what Jesus’ purpose on earth is in Matthew 1:21, And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins. So we see understand that all of us have sinned and the penalty is death. To replace the hopeless state, he gave the gift of His only begotten son to free us from this trap. As mentioned earlier, God did not change the penalty; He just changed who would pay it. The bible teaches us that Jesus bore the sins of the world and paid our penalty with His death on the cross. This is the true gift to be acknowledged during this Christmas season. Revisiting the verse mentioned earlier, we will read it in its entirety, “the wages (cost) of sin is death”… but, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23). As we gather this day and tomorrow, we can share this true meaning of Christmas with others and in so doing, we may just do as today’s “gold nugget” says and Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.

  • Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
  • Romans 6:23a – For the wages of sin is death
  • Matthew 1:21 – And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.
  • Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Prayer
Lord, I pray that we will have the boldness to share these three powerful scriptures with others this Christmas and from now on as often as the opportunity is made available. Amen

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Motives

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 20

Gold Nugget
Verse 6: Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?


Commentary
One morning I sat through a familiar repeat with an acquaintance as he ran through story after story that all featured his goodness. It was literally like it was a presentation of his greatest hits. It wasn’t an isolated incident. This is the norm when I am around him. I also know that he is like this with everyone. Today’s “gold nugget” says, Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?  Although the guy I mentioned earlier is probably the extreme, the scripture tells us that “most” men will behave this way and that a faithful (or good and just person) is hard to find. Why is it that a good person is hard to find? It’s simple. They don’t proclaim their goodness; therefore you may not be aware of what good they have done.

Some people wear their “goodness” around their neck. It is part of our nature to want to be acknowledged for our works, but should not be at the extent of promoting it ourselves. Another scripture in Proverbs tells us how we get our natural need for acknowledgement without advertising it ourselves. “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth;” (Proverbs 27:2a) When someone else speaks of your goodness, it brings more credibility than if it comes from you anyway. Some people do their good deeds in front of others to be seen. Jesus addressed this when He said, “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. (Matthew 6:1) In summary, let us just do good to please God and let go of any other motives and expectations. If we live our lives to please God, we will be understood by those that understand Him and we will never be fully understood by those that do not understand God. Can we be satisfied with that?

Prayer
Lord, remind us of what we do good for. All we do, we do to please you and show your love to others. We do not need glory and will surely not steal it from you. Amen

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Covering Sin

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 17

Gold Nugget
Verse 9: 
He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.

Commentary
I love today’s scripture. It reminds us of the intentions we should have towards other that fall. In today’s society we approach people about their sin less than we used to.  This scripture isn’t saying that we shouldn’t approach people who sin. Today’s “gold nugget” says, He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends. It isn’t saying that we should pretend that the person who sinned didn’t do wrong. It isn’t even saying that we shouldn’t approach them about it. What it is saying is apparent from the latter part of the verse, he who repeats a matter separates friends.

As I mentioned, in today’s society we approach people about their sin less than we used to, but somehow there isn’t a shortage in how much we will repeat it to others. People still love to gossip. It is still pleasurable for many of us to share someone else’s mistakes. Somehow it makes us feel better about ourselves. We don’t think about the damage we cause in the relationships between the person that sinned and the person we are telling it to. Again, "he who repeats a matter separates friends. He who lets an offense go without spreading it is by default, covering it. He who covers a transgression seeks love.If someone I know sins, it isn’t in his best interest for me to go spreading it around. By exercising discretion we “cover a transgression”

Prayer
Lord, help me to be mindful of how I should handle those that err from the truth. It isn’t going to bring them back into obedience by spreading it around. I know that I want to be restored in love when I err. Help me to consider that when dealing with others. Amen

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Highway to Heaven

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 16

Gold Nugget
Verse 17: The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul.


Commentary
When I add a destination in my GPS, my navigation tool will tell me that my current route includes tolls. Although this may be the easiest route, it may cost me more than I want to pay. I can tell it to avoid the tolls, but it may be a less convenient route. The journey through this life is much the same. The easiest route will cost you the most in the end. In Matthew 7:13-14 we read, Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it. The wide road to destruction is easily accessible and most people choose that path, but the path to everlasting life is narrow and few choose it. Today’s “gold nugget” says, The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul.  We may find that the highway to heaven is not always the smoothest, most convenient or most trouble free route, but the destination makes the traveling conditions worth every mile. Conversely, I wouldn’t trade the any hardships or tribulations that I suffer as a Christian or all the things I might miss as I “depart from evil” for the open highways of this world, because of the “toll” it will take and eventually cost me. I choose to depart from evil and preserve my soul.

Prayer
Lord, I know that I miss some of the things this world has to offer as I serve you, but I choose to depart from evil to please you and preserve my soul. Amen

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Honest Work

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 13


Gold Nugget
Verse 11: Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase.

Commentary

The old saying, “Cheaters never prosper” (or as Zazu said in the Lion King, “Cheetah’s never prosper”), is a plagiarizing of today’s gold nugget that says, Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase.When it comes to truth lessons, God said it first. Lying, cheating and ill-advised shortcuts may seem prosperous, but ultimately the result is diminishing. It may seem beneficial to claim that extra deduction or slight fudging of some numbers, but in truth we are taking prosperity into our own hands instead of leaving our wellbeing in God’s hands.

The later part of today’s gold nugget says, “he who gathers by labor will increase”. Hard work has always been the respectable thing. Currently we are finding the present white house administration being challenged with this reality. After ever increasing unemployment benefits and stimulus packages, even the liberal president is concerned people are choosing to avoid work and live off the government. Maybe our country should turn from its current social agenda toward a biblical truth that says, “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

 

Prayer
Lord, help me to be committed to hard work while upholding a standard for truth and honesty. Amen

 

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To Rebuke or Not to Rebuke

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 9

Gold Nugget
Verse 8: Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.

Commentary
To rebuke or not to rebuke… that is the question. It isn’t always easy drawing the line between when you should confront someone and when you shouldn’t. The truth is, every rebuke isn't appropriate, even when someone is in the wrong. We all know people who have no regard for God. We know people who do not want our opinion or our instruction. To them, your words will only irritate and provoke them. I'm not talking about people that we don't know if they will receive our correction. We don't avoid correcting based on the unknown. It's those who we now good and well will not be receptive. They are like the first part of today's gold nugget that says, Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you...

So, when is the right time to rebuke? When the person being confronted or others affected by the issue could benefit or learn from your correction, then proceed with love. Those who love truth will receive it from you when it is delivered in love. Not only will they accept your correction, they will love you for it. Consider the second part of today’s “gold nugget”, Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.

Prayer
Lord, I know there is an appropriate time to confront someone. Help me to have the wisdom and love to know when it is the right time and when it isn’t my place . Amen

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The Strongman

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 7

Gold Nugget
Verse 26: For she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men.

Commentary
Proverbs chapter seven paints the illustration of the young man that is lured away by the seductress. An evil woman with evil intentions lures him into her bed with empty promises. Trading peace and safety for pain and death, the man doesn’t see his own demise. He isn’t aware that it will cost him his life (verse 23). This scenario doesn’t seem applicable to most of us. Maybe we are neither the seductress nor the foolish young man, but we must remember that this story is an illustration of a greater lesson. Although it could be said that this book was written with a focus on younger men, it can be applied to anyone. Knowing the original target audience was to that of young men, we find it speaking in terms that they would understand. If you talk to a man about wisdom and hard work, he may not show great interest in your passion, but if you talk to him about the desires for woman and money, his ears will perk up. That is exactly what Proverbs does.

When speaking about the need for wisdom, Proverbs describes wisdom as a beautiful woman. Other places it describes wisdom as gold, silver or rubies. Whether women or riches, you are speaking the young man’s language. Likewise, when warning of foolish behavior, proverbs compares it to a harlot that will cause poverty and death. Either way, you stand a better chance at getting his attention through these illustrations. We may think we are immune to this trap. We consider ourselves neither harlot nor foolish, but today’s “gold nugget” reminds us that “she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men. That is to say, those that thought themselves strong became her victims. Any of us, whether we see an applicable weakness in this lesson or not can ultimately be trapped. All we have to do is take our eyes off of the Lord and we will begin to open up the door to the snares of the enemy. Don’t put your confidence in how “strong” you are, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall”, but put your confidence in how much you can stay focused on Jesus.

Prayer
Lord, I don’t want to be the foolish young man that thought so highly of himself that he didn’t posses the humility to see when a trap was laid before him. Help me to stay humble before you and keep my eyes steadfast upon you. Amen

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The Dimmer

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 4

Gold Nugget
Verse 18: 
But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.”

Commentary
I remember my mom giving the illustration years ago that walking with the Lord is like being in a room with a dimmer switch. When the room is dark you can ever so gently begin to turn the switch on until you can barely make the images out around the room. With that, you can see where things are. You can then navigate the room easier without stumbling. Just when you think you know the room like the back of your hand, someone adjust the switch. Allowing more light into the room, you then see stains in the carpet and rips in the furniture. After a time, you clean the carpet and mend the furniture, only to find the switch has been adjusted allowing more light into the room. It’s then that you see the cracks in the walls and cobwebs in the corners. On and on it goes. You think that everything that needs work is complete only to continue finding more work to be done. You could be saddened and feel like you will never accomplish your goal, but you remember where you started and where you are now. You know that the work that has been done is not in vain.

We are much the same. When we come into a relationship with Jesus, we are what the bible teaches, moving from walking in darkness to walking in the light. Today’s “gold nugget” says, But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” The Lord doesn’t reveal all of the areas that need attention at once. If we are sensitive to Him, we will find that He reveals things to us in the order that He considers priority based on His plan for our life. He will shine enough light into our lives to see a need for growth, repentance and change. He then expects us to react to what we see and seek Him for change. Just when we feel like we are perfect, He will adjust the switch allowing more light to reveal the stains in the carpet and rips in the furniture. We will with joy, rush to work in those areas, seeking a clean and honorable temple for Him to dwell in. He may reveal the cracks in the walls to me in my life, while revealing the stains in the carpet in your life. I must be careful to allow God to set the priorities for growth in your life even if they are different than mine. It doesn’t matter so much the order as it matters the commitment to growth and purity.

Thanks, Mom...

Prayer
Lord, continue to adjust the switch in my life and allow your revealing truth about me to shine in. I pray for humility in receiving the truth and desire for change and growth to honor you with how I react. Amen

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Having Charity

Reading For Today: Proverbs Chapter 3

Gold Nugget
Verse 27-28: 27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it," When you have it with you.

Commentary
I've always liked this scripture. I appreciate it's straight to the point message. Don't be so quick to measure whether or not someone is worthy of your charity. I would hate to think the Lord only gives gifts that we deserve. I am convinced that He often gives us good gifts purely because of His love for His children and how He often dotes on us. There is a balance with this concept and another one of my favorite verses which happens to be in this very chapter, "3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, 4 And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man." This "favor" is hinged on our obedience and is by far the majority of what will bring favor from God (and man), but often times He just blesses us for no apparent reason. Often times when we haven't deserved it. Isn't He so loving? If this is the case, why do we measure someones worth in order to give charity to them? What if we measured whether or not we would help someone not by whether they deserved it or not, but by whether we have it or not. "27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so." If God has blessed us to the point where we have the ability to bless others; by all means we should. "28 Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it," When you have it with you." Let us reason with the mind of the Lord. We should exercise wisdom, but that doesn't mean without compassion. Believe that your charity may win someone over. When that person with the torn and dirty clothes is holding the sign at the intersection, be sensitive to the Lord. He may move you to give. If you feel compassion and give, let whether or not they use it for food or something negative stay between them and God. Offer your charity to the Lord and whether or not they deserve it will not be of importance.

Prayer
Lord, I want to be a blessing to others. If I am able to bless others with finances, gifts or any possible way - I want to do it. Help me to remember how often you blessed me without my deserving it. Amen

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