The Needy

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 31

Gold Nugget
Verse 9: Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
                                                                                                                             
Commentary
Of all of our spiritual depth and maturity, the work mentioned in today’s “gold nugget” demonstrates true religion. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.  True religion as also mentioned in James 1:27 says, Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world It is important to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. It shows the compassion we have for God and our desire to please Him. Many Christians feel that avoiding doing certain things is what makes a good Christian. We need to be reminded that it isn’t as much what we don’t do that defines us as Christians as much as what we actually do that defines us.

I like how this “gold nugget” doesn’t just tell us to feed, clothe and shelter the poor.  It says, Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. That is to say, it isn’t just the things we do to meet their natural needs, but to take a sincere interest in their mental and spiritual needs. When we get the right attitude about meeting spiritual needs, we will find that we are meeting the needs of more than just the poor. Again the verse says, “plead the cause of the poor and needy”. Some people that are in need may be financially established. We are called to minister to the “needs” of everyone. That may be financial or spiritual. Let’s open our minds today and take on the proper perspective towards religion and supplying needs to those who lack.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for opening our minds to be complete ministers that meet the needs of those around us in whatever way they present themselves. Amen

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Crippled Christians

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter

Gold Nugget
Verse 10: The bloodthirsty hate the blameless, but the upright seek his well-being.
                                                                                                                             
Commentary
It’s okay if you like me, it’s okay if you don’t. We usually have an abundance of concern on whether we are liked or not. We seem to want everyone to like us. We are approval needy and the more approval we get, the "happier" we are. It is said that you can’t make everybody like you all the time. Even though we know this is true, it doesn’t stop us from trying anyway. We shouldn’t try to make everybody like us all the time. It’s not that we don’t want to; it’s just that we can’t (if we are going to do any good). Politicians strive to make everyone like them. The more people like them, the more votes they will get. Because of their attempts to push only views and concerns that everyone agrees with; they will not address any of the controversial and yet critical issues. If they address how we need to stop abortion, they will lose half of their approval rating. If you convince everyone to like you, you will not accomplish anything for the Kingdom of God. As a matter of fact, if some people like you, you should be concerned. Today’s “gold nugget” says, The bloodthirsty hate the blameless, but the upright seek his well-being.

Standing for truth in today's culture will cause many to hate you. Too many of us are spiritually crippled because we will not take a stand on issues that offend. We should stand against, sexual immorality (both heterosexual and homosexual), abortion, vulgarity, lying, stealing, drunkenness and all sorts of indulgences of the flesh that harm others and disregard God. Many of those issues are avoided by today’s Christian. If we can’t stand up for those things because we need to be approved by everyone, we are crippled Christians and need to be healed so we can walk with Him.

Prayer
Lord help us to be more concerned with pleasing you, than staying neutral and pleasing everyone. We want to be healthy Christians that walk in obedience, not crippled Christians who can’t even stand. Amen

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Besetting Sin

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 27

Gold Nugget
Verse 12: A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.
                                                                                                                             
Commentary
There is a term among Christians that you may or not be aware of. The term is “besetting sin”. Its definition is that of any sin that seems to (or at least attempts to) overtake you on a regular basis. The definition of besetting is something that is tempting, harassing, or assailing you. It is most referenced to a scripture in Hebrews 12:1b “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Notice the word before beset. It refers to sins that so EASILY beset us. I can speak for me and those that have shared the same thoughts, that each of us have a particular area or areas in our life that the enemy seems to have a short track to. If we acknowledge this, there are some things that we can do to fortify those areas. If you do not agree that the enemy has the short track in some area/areas in your life, you’ll not take any means to fortify a particular area. Why would you? I know some areas that I am especially weak in. These are areas that seem to easily beset me and I have to take special measures to fortify them. If I am to “lay aside these sins that so easily beset me”, I am going to have to do as the prudent man does in today’s “gold nugget”, A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished. We must understand that the bible teaches us to crucify the flesh daily. The “old man is dead” is a daily proclamation and endeavor. We assume that as long as we don’t take in anything bad to our lives, we won’t be spiritually unhealthy. That way of thinking is just as fouled as saying, “If I don’t take anything bad into my body, I won’t be unhealthy.” Starving is avoiding bad things to the point of death. You must take things spiritually healthy into your life as sure as you must nourish your body. So a healthy combination of avoidance and nourishment is the key to avoiding the besetting sin and running the good race. I know the areas of weakness in my life that so easily beset me and if I am to be successful, I will go miles out of my way to avoid getting close enough to allow the enemy to reach out and snag me while continuing in prayer, study and fellowship with the saints.

Prayer
Lord, help us to be aware of the areas in our lives that the enemy is prone to attack us, and give us the wisdom and knowledge on how to fortify those areas. Amen

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Partiality in Judgment

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 24

Gold Nugget
Verse 23: These things also belong to the wise: it is not good to show partiality in judgment.
                                                                                                                             
Commentary
I’ve heard recently an old line I’ve heard many times before. While discussing a certain manager, I heard some employees saying, “If he likes you, you can do no wrong, but if he doesn’t, you can’t do anything right". I understood where they were coming from. I’ve seen that in business and beyond for many years. Some people will come to a conclusion early on about particular people, and from then on they are either “liked” or “disliked”. The hard worker will remain unnoticed and the bad employee will seem to get all the privileges. Some people are quick to play favorites and lack wisdom in how they handle business with those they “like” or “dislike”. We should be more practical and biblical in how we deal with others. Whether we are in a management position or not, we are all in position to pass judgment on someone in one way or another. We should be as today’s “gold nugget” warns, “These things also belong to the wise: it is not good to show partiality in judgment.”

Even if we are not in a position of authority over someone, we still have a tendency to do the same thing to those that are in authority over us. Some people decide whether or not they like their boss early on and from that point forward, their boss can’t do anything that meets with their approval. We will badmouth that person to everyone and avoid giving them any credit or recognition when they do well. They did not meet our immediate approval and our judgment will be dictated without wisdom and love. Whether we “like” or “dislike” someone is not always with intelligent or Godly reason. That demonstrates how weak we are in the way we treat people. Any behavior that results in showing partiality is ungodly and calls for our immediate repentance.

Prayer
Lord, help us to reflect you and be fair and just in our interactions with others. Help us to avoid showing partiality in judgment. Amen

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A Generous Eye

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 22

Gold Nugget
Verse 9: He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.
                                                                                                                             
Commentary
Sometimes we see the scripture before us and doubt its validity. I know that’s a challenging statement, but really we do. Consider today’ “gold nugget”, He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor. When we see a verse like this, it seems to lack consistency. If those who give to the Lord will be blessed, what of those rich people we know who give nothing to the poor and yet get richer and richer? I mean, where is the value in this verse if the people that don’t acknowledge it or apply it get more and more? It’s all about perception. If you were challenged by those statements and could see the issue I described, we both need to be reminded of God’s perspective. His ways are higher than our ways Isaiah 55:9. He sees things differently than we do Psalm 116:15. What He considers blessed is often different than what we consider blessed.

You can’t tie blessing to a monetary value. You can’t buy joy, peace, or contentment. Even the Beatles knew you can’t buy love. God rewards in the spiritual realm, where whether you believe it or not, where you really want and need it. We can give in the spiritual or natural realms and yet both of them be with spiritual intent. If that is so, the spiritual blessings that will follow you will be more than you can count or measure. So give! In the natural and in the spiritual… just give. The One who watches over you will reward you in the spiritual and the natural as He sees fit. Thank God we have a just and giving God!

Prayer
Lord, help us to have a giving heart to those that are in need. Remind us of the gifts and blessings you have poured out on us and encourage us to pour them out on others. Amen

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Need a Second Opinion?

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 20

Gold Nugget
Verse 18: Plans are established by counsel; by wise counsel wage war.
                                                                                                                             
Commentary
Solomon wrote this proverb and gave good advice that we all should follow. If only his son, Rehoboam, would have taken this advice, it would have forever changed the history of Israel. Soon after taking rule over the kingdom, Rehoboam came into a real political crisis. Although his father was considered the wisest person to ever live, he had taxed the people very heavily. The people cried out in protest, demanding to know if Rehoboam would follow in his father’s footsteps. Being caught in such a difficult situation he knew that wisdom was in council. His father had taught him that for sure. Seeking such direction, he went to the council his father had established. They advised him to consider the needs of the people. Instead of taking the councel of the elders, he got a second opinion. He went to his peers. He asked the people he grew up with what he should do. They suggested he refuse the people’s attempt to push him around and make demands. This met more with his youthful pride and he announced to the people that he would take it even a step further than his father and tax heavier with tougher rule. The end result was the division of the Kingdom of Israel. Divided into two kingdoms, they were sure to fall. If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. (Mark 3:24) …and fall it did. It is known in the scriptures and in history that Israel and Judah (the other half of after the split) would later fall into slavery. It would never fully recover.  If only Rehoboam would have followed his father’s advice as he wrote in today’s “gold nugget”, Plans are established by counsel; by wise counsel wage war. Although he found good council in the older, wiser men, he chose to please himself and his friends to his own demise. When making decisions in life, we should consider the life of Rehoboam. Let us not think so highly of ourselves that we will not submit to wisdom and direction from those who have obtained it. Furthermore, poor council is worse than no council. Finding those that will agree with your position is not confirmation that you should continue with your own ideas. If you seek wisdom, you will find it. When you find it, take it!
  
Prayer
Lord, there have been times where we needed council and you provided it, only to have us seeking a second or third opinion until we found one we preferred. Help us to recongnize good council and adhere to it when you send it.  Amen

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Tough Love?

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 19

Gold Nugget
Verse 19: “A man of great wrath will suffer punishment; for if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.”
                                                                                                                             
Commentary
Although the concept of “tough love” is easier to administer than grace and mercy, today’s “gold nugget” is a case where not rescuing or aiding someone is the right thing to do. (Or should I say the right thing not to do?) “A man of great wrath will suffer punishment; for if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.” When we are talking about a stranger’s scenario it is easier to say, “He made his bed. He needs to lay in it.” Although this scripture may apply in that particular case, our attitude plays a vital role in whether we are reacting justly or not. If we are reacting without compassion when we say, “He made his bed. He needs to lay in it.”, we should be very sorrowful for our lack of compassion. If we do not have compassion, it is not our place to make such statements. While it is easy to judge that someone will not learn unless they suffer consequences, we sometimes reserve such judgment for those further away from our hearts. When it comes to our family or especially our children, we often take a different position. What is the difference? Well, it’s pretty obvious, I know. Our family is our family, but the difference comes right back to compassion. We have compassion for our child that repeatedly failed to do their homework and shouldn’t be allowed to go to their friend’s for the weekend. In today’s families we are more likely to “rescue” our loved ones from the punishment that today’s scripture says should befall them. Just as lack of compassion leads us to an easy position of “He made his bed. He needs to lay in it”, compassion with lack of wisdom will lead us to rescuing a loved one time and time again. When it comes to people (family or foe) we need to exercise both compassion and wisdom and never one without the other.
  
Prayer
Lord, help us to posses the wisdom to know when we should rescue someone and when we should allow space for them to learn and repent. Keep us from being enablers to those who continue to do wrong.  Amen

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Unjust Reward

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 17

Gold Nugget
Verse 13: Whoever rewards evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.”
                                                                                                                             
Commentary
Recently we had a very vivid reminder of just how dangerous and violent a world we live in. After the deadly shooting in Tucson Arizona, the media has been in a frenzy over how this could have happened. Although the country has been in a moral decline for many years, we can’t imagine that something like this could happen. To make matters worse, I don’t think we are reacting in a way that would spark any change. It was very disturbing to see that some people are going to extents to make this a political issue of conservatives being negligent and somehow encouraging such behavior. Even more disturbing was a particular spokesperson claiming that the mental illness that led to these killings is no different than any other illness. She went on to say that early treatment would have prevented this tragedy. By the time she was done, some people were cheering her attempts to prove the current health care situation in place by republicans is to blame. In an attempt to push liberal views, she has made this cold blooded killer into a victim. In that, she has exemplified today’s “gold nugget”. Whoever rewards evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.” Although there are some mental illnesses that should be treated just as any other sickness, there are some people that have issues of a spiritual nature. People that may be spiritually bankrupt should not be lumped in with those suffering from a serious physical ailment. Many times people have such an agenda of their own that they can overlook and even condone bad behavior if it somehow works in their favor. They will support or reward evil as if it is good or pure for their own personal gain. The example used in today’s devotion is one of extreme measure, but it shouldn’t keep us from learning a valuable lesson for our own growth. We need to make sure that we don’t do anything to reward or encourage bad behavior. Although we surely wouldn’t defend the person responsible for the story in today’s devotion, we don’t want to support, encourage or reward someone that did anything bad… even if on a smaller scale.

Prayer
Lord, sometimes we are in situations where we know someone has done wrong, but somehow there is someway that we can benefit from the scenario. Help us to resist the temptation to let something go that we should take a stand against.  Amen

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Plans

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 16

 

Gold Nugget

Verse 6: “Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.”

Commentary

Today’s devotion would benefit from some vocabulary words. The first of two words that we would do well to understand in context is the word ‘thoughts”. In the text, the phrase “your thoughts”, are referring to “your plans”. There is an old saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” Although I understand the meaning of this old saying, and it does have value, it also can be unfair towards God. He probably would not want us to picture Him laughing at our plans. It is better said, commit you plans unto God. Our lives have been committed to do His will - His way. Until we do, our plans are simply ours, and not His. 

The second word that we would do well to understand in context is the word ‘established”. That simply means, your plans will be established, meaning accomplished. When we make plans without consideration and submission to God, we set our course with ourselves at the wheel. When we do this, we forfeit any expectation that God will see it through. On the other hand, when we make plans having already committed our ways to Him, then our plans will be for Him. Then we can have confidence He will see them through. Or as todays “gold nugget” says, “Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.”


Prayer

Lord, help me to always plan with you as the focus of my intentions. It is when I plan with me at the center, that I have already planned incorrectly. Amen

 

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Special Glasses

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 14

Gold Nugget
Verse 6: A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, but knowledge is easy to him who understands.

Commentary
In the fictional movie “National Treasure”, the main character is trying to find clues around the country that point to treasure hidden by the Founding Fathers of the United States. In a particular scene, the hero finds a special set of glasses designed by Benjamin Franklin. Making slight adjustment in the multicolored lenses, they are able to read clues written on the back of the Declaration of Independence. Although the clues had always been there, they were not visible to the naked eye and had passed unseen for over 200 years. Seeing these hidden truths required this special set of reading glasses. Despite all of his amazing discoveries and adventures, the hero would never have found the treasure if he did not discover the glasses and how to use them. All of his efforts would have been, as his father warned him, in vain and foolish. His efforts would have left him as foolish as the man in today’s “gold nugget”, A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, but knowledge is easy to him who understands. The bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians that the things of God cannot be seen by human eyes. To see the things of God we must see with spiritual eyes. There are many people that are just like the scoffer mentioned in Proverbs. They will seek wisdom and never find it, because they are seeking with carnal eyes, but as the latter part of the verse says, he who has spiritual eyes will see wisdom easily.

Back to 1 Corinthians, concerning spiritual things Paul says in chapter 2. For the sake of time, we will read just a few select verses. Feel free to read the whole chapter if you have time. It is an amazing passage.

:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. :10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. :12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. :14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Prayer
Lord, help us to remember that our only means of knowing wisdom and truth is through spiritual revelation. In that, remind us that we must seek you with our heart in submission to what you reveal and avoid at all cost using our carnal eyes to gain understanding . Amen

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Worldly Gain

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 13

Gold Nugget
Verse 7: There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.”

Commentary
As we head out for work this morning, let us keep a good understanding of what we head out for. The old cliché, “Are you living to work or working to live?” would be a good reminder of our priorities. As I head out to my job today, I am going because it is what enables me to make the life for my family as best I can for this time. Because my kids need food, clothing and shelter, I use this job to meet those needs. The needs that they have require that I work and provide. However, there is a such thing as pursuing more than we need. As today's gold nugget says, There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.”


As humans, we "need" certain things that would really exceed the real need category. My daughter needed money for an out of town game today. By definition this would not be considered a need. She doesn’t have to be in basketball. That is not a requirement for her education. However; I consider it a need. She needs certain things in her life that she enjoys. We don’t need flavor in our food, but God made apples sweet anyway, just to bless us. Adam didn’t need a woman to keep breathing and live, but God said, “It isn’t good that man should be alone.” So, He made Eve. I need to let my kids have certain things. I need to take my wife out to dinner and a movie sometimes… and sometimes I need to watch football! The point I’m trying to make is, how far are we going when we redefine what we want into what we need? I actually like my job - as far as jobs go, but I’m not going to let my wants push me further into using it for more than providing the needs and acceptable wants for my family. I not going to use it to try and stack money to the ceiling and attempt to impress the world.

Prayer
Lord, I’m thankful for my job and hope I use it to meet the needs of my family in a way that would please you. I don’t want to use it to pursue worldly gain. Amen

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Truth Lasts

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 12

Gold Nugget
Verse 19: The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

Commentary

Honest really is the best policy. "Truth, Justice and the American Way", was the catch phrase of the comic book superhero, Superman. A statement like that today would be considered offensive to some. Some people today would take issue with even a fictional character standing for American values. At one time, standing up for truth and justice, was the American way. My how things have changed. Regardless of whatever direction our country takes, truth and justice are the Christian way. It is the way of our King and His everlasting kingdom. Like today’s gold nugget says, The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”

The truth last forever, but every lie has an expiration date on it. Some people will lie today, knowing it will be expose tomorrow. They know that they will benefit from it today and assume it will not matter later. However, every lie is toxic and destructive. It’s best that we embrace the long term benefits of walking in truth.

 

Prayer
Lord, I want to always walk in the truth and represent truth in this world that desperately needs it. Amen

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Brutish

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 11

Gold Nugget
Verse 12He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his peace.

Commentary
In today’s “gold nugget”, He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his peace, the word despises is translated from the word “Buwz” (booz) which means – “to belittle someone or openly count them as insignificant”. One of the most critical elements to every human being is their own self worth. From the lowliest to the most elevated, all of us are concerned with our self worth. We all want to be of value. A perfect illustration is that of a person who has been left by a partner. When a man or woman is broken hearted by their spouse leaving them, what is so devastating is the feeling of being devalued. Of all the things we are called to do as Christians, we are never called to devalue or belittle someone. Even when they may be in moral bankruptcy, our words of direction and possibly even correction, should never be demeaning. We are supposed to be humble people that make a habit of exalting and esteeming others as greater than ourselves. No one has ever been won to Christ through intimidation, belittling or downgrading. We are called to illuminate not eliminate. If we read today’s “gold nugget” we see that those who are without wisdom belittle others, but a wise man will not speak derogatory of people. Even the most vile “neighbor” was counted worthy to die for, so who are we to treat them as if they were not worthy of the same toll that was paid for us. The issue to stress in our hearts today is the need to maintain a godly perspective towards even the worst of sinners. Your loving attitude to them will work more towards their salvation than anything else. Even though they know you do not support sin, they will not be able to deny your sincere love for them. This is the impact that we should make in their lives.

Prayer
Lord, although we should be bold about the truth and what your Word says concerning sin, we also know that being bold doesn’t mean being a brute. Let your love shine bright through our words and attitudes. Amen

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Engaged

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 7

Gold Nugget
Verse 3Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

Commentary
If ever you have known a woman who has lost her wedding ring, you have seen a woman broken hearted… or one that wanted a new ring anyway. I’ve seen them cry and feel as if the marriage has lost significance because the symbol of the ring. She keeps it and guards it closely. Unless she is applying lotion to her hands or washing dishes, there aren’t many reasons she will take it off. It is dear to her. When she first received it she stormed the town to show everyone what she was given and everyone was in awe. Whether the ring had great monetary value or not, most importantly was what the ring symbolized. It symbolized how her life would never be the same. How she would be different moving forward and for the rest of her life. Her behavior was going to change. She was no longer available to anyone else. She was now reserving herself for her one and only. Yes, this ring meant more than can be put into words. If we can understand the importance and meaning of this earthly treasure, than we are asked to apply that understanding to a spiritual concept. Concerning the Lord, His wisdom and the priority we should have to obeying Him, he ask us to view our relationship with Him in the exact same way. We are expected to treasure His Word and wisdom as today’s “gold nugget” says, Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. He wants us to treasure Him and His teachings and instructions as a woman would view that engagement ring. The scriptures teach us that we are engaged to Him and we should treasure His truths. We should storm the town to show everyone what was given to us. We should see ourselves as never being the same. Our behavior is going to change. We are no longer available to anyone else. We are now reserving ourselves for our one and only.

Prayer
Lord, I am thankful for your instructions and wisdom that is available to me through your Word. I want to wear it proudly and forsake all the worldly distractions that are set before me. Help me to maintain this for you. Amen

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Being Chastened

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 3

Gold Nugget
Verse 11: 
My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction;

Commentary
As parents we all have had to chasten (discipline) our children. It’s not always an easy job. Naturally we want to love and please them, but we are tasked with the difficult responsibility of ensuring their training. In the process of ensuring good training we know that our children hurt from the necessary methods. As painful as it may be to see them hurt, we also know that we must hold fast to the measures. All of this, as hard as it may be for both parties, will produce the results that are needed. What can make it all go south very quickly is the attitude that our children may respond with. I want my kids to know that I am not being mean or taking any pleasure in their suffering. If they choose to resent or reject me or my intentions, it hinders and even prevents anything good from coming out of my efforts. I do not want my children to despise my chastening or detest my correction. As our parent (Father), God is tasked with the difficult responsibility of ensuring our training that also includes chastening. Considering our perspective towards disciplining our children and applying it to our relationship with God, we should take the direction of Solomon who says in today’s “gold nugget”, My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction; Whatever we see in our life that may be potential chastening or correction from God should bring us to repentance and not resentment. Know this, God loves us and knows what’s best for us. We should not reject His correction and chastening. He is trying to make us into a people that will be pleasing in His sight and useful for His service.

Prayer
Lord, I see some things in my life that appear to be you chastening me and I want to accept it with a humble and yet joyful heart. I know you are working out your plan in me. Amen

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New Year's Resolve

Reading For Today: Proverbs Chapter 1

Gold Nugget
Verse 10: “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent
.”

Commentary
It's good to start off the new year very aware that we will receive opposition from others that do not share our desire to allow the New Year to be a new start for many of us. I hope that there are many of us out there that want to take this opportunity to make some changes in our lives. Whatever bad habits or behaviors we may have fallen into in the past year, it is likely that there are some people that we fell into it with. We cannot assume that those people share our new found desires or resolutions to walk away from those things. They will most likely expect you to continue with them. If they have not resolved to change, they will likely take issue internally with your change and how it magnifies their offense. The best relief for them will be to get you back into it, but we must, as today's "gold nugget" declares, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” We have to be very careful and be ready to take whatever measures are necessary and totally remove ourselves from their company if that's what it takes. We don't want to be foolish and claim that we are not influenced by others. That is a foolish place to come to in our minds. We like to think that peer pressure belongs to teenagers, but that just isn't so. Read Psalm 1 if you can and see that God is very concerned with the company you keep and how it will affect you. The reality is we are pressured by our peers. The solution is to change our peers from those that pressure us to do wrong to peers that pressure us to do right. The company you keep can be the biggest element to ensuring your success in you New Year's Resolution.

Prayer
Lord, I also need to be reminded that I want to surround myself with those that will encourage and even pressure me to walk in the faith, walk in love and walk in obedience. Amen

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