Richer vs Poorer

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter

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 that 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 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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Hear Me Oh, Lord

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 28

Gold Nugget
Verse 9: "One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination."

Commentary
Today's "gold nugget" touches on a controversial issue. Does God hear our prayers? Now some folks say that He does not hear the prayers of a sinner lest the sinner is praying repentance. Some say that God hears all prayers. One thing we may need to clarify is the definition of "hear". Hear cannot always be taken literally. Often times hear is used in scripture as "understand". "He did not hear", meaning "He did not "understand". Other times it is used as "receive". "He would not hear instructions from the Lord", meaning "He would not "receive" instructions from the Lord". Sometimes it is used literally as the physical act of hearing with your ears. This is important to understand concerning the Lord and hearing. God said this in the book of Isaiah, "And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood." (Isaiah 1:15) Here we see that God Himself said that He will not hear. As a matter of fact, due to the sinful state of Judah, He refused to even look upon them. Did that mean He couldn't see them and hear them? Well, of course He could see them but, He refused to look upon their willful disobedience and refused to hear their prayers or receive their contaminated worship. It is apparent that God does not receive our prayers when we are in willful disobedience. Today’s “gold nugget” says, “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination” We need to understand and accept that our spiritual state of obedience (receiving His laws) or disobedience (turns away from hearing the law), does effect God’s willingness to participate and engage with us in fellowship and communion. We can literally turn God off to us. That is an extremely disturbing thought and makes me shutter as I write these words, but I believe it to be truth. He said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you", but I want more that just His omnipresence (God’s ability to be everywhere at once), I want His presence from an intimate relationship. I can’t stand the thought of being such an offense to Him that he stops up His ears and covers His eyes. I will confess before you now, lest you think it doesn’t happen or can’t happen to you; I have caused Him to do this very thing. I have caused Him to cover His eyes and stop up His ears, but I don’t want to ever cause it again. My desire to be close to Him has grown stronger over the years and I want to please Him more than I used to. So if you think that walking in disobedience from the laws He’s written in your heart and maintaining daily prayer, daily reading of your bible and regular attendance in church will keep you in good standing with God, you’re wrong. Remember the devotion, “Earning Grace”. Obedience is what God wants more than sacrifices.

Prayer
Lord, I forgive me of my sins. I want you to be able to listen to me and look at me without being offended by my disobedience. I commit today to remember your laws and purpose to walk in them. Thank you for your mercy and forgiveness. Amen

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The Avengers

Reading for Today: Proverbs Chapter 24

Gold Nugget
Verse 29: "Do not say, "I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work.”  


Commentary

Of all the things we've learned walking with the Lord, today's "gold nugget" is a lesson that even the most seasoned Christians seem to let creep back into their hearts. I have seen older Christians seek to return an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. When someone does us wrong; they're going to pay for it! As Christians, we know better than to wish or inflict harm on the innocent, but to those that have it coming - well, we have a different perspective on them. We want justice, even if we have to make sure it happens. This lesson seems to get shelved in light of so-called "meatier" Christian principles. In reality, taking our own vengeance is as immoral as anything we might do. Having vengeance in your heart will cause you to spiritually decay. Consider the instructions given earlier in this chapter; "17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; 18 Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him."Not only should we avoid taking revenge, but we shouldn't rejoice when those who hurt us suffer from their sin. Verse 12b "will He not render to each man according to his deeds?" If God is rendering a man according to his deeds, do not take pleasure in their suffering. As verse 17 says, "He will turn away His wrath from Him". We don't want to avoid taking pleasure so that God will keep His hand of wrath on our enemies, but we don't want Him to turn away His wrath because of the evil He sees in our hearts. When all else fails, remember the simple and well know scripture - "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

Prayer:
Lord, help me to trust you with all of my passions. I don't want to take vengeance against those who have hurt me. I don't want to see them suffer, either. If you see fit to discipline those that hurt me, I will morn for their sin and pray for them. I will not take pleasure in their pain. Amen

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Boundaries

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 23


Gold Nugget
Verse 20-21: "20 Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat; 21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.”  

Commentary
For Christians that have been in the faith for many years, we may have a tendency to sleep through the scriptures that don't seem to pertain to us. We can easily come to the conclusion that company like todays "gold nugget" are far from us and not able to effect us. The real meat of this verse is people who "can't get enough". Whether it be wine, food, or (as mentioned earlier in the chapter) money, being so consumed with an unquenchable desire for anything other than God will put you in the same spiritual state as the drunkard and glutton. Many people have uncontrolled passions and desires that go unchecked. Any of these will have it's toll on those who practice them. We as Christian are to practice self control and avoid the company of those who do not. I know people that can't take no or stop for an answer. I have seen it adults and children. For the adults that get addicted to or consumed by the things of this world, they "will come to poverty". Children that are not taught to have boundaries and limits, will be well conditioned for addictions and abuse. Consider verses 12 & 13. Practice self control for yourself, teach self control to your children and avoid the company of those who do not practice self control at all.

Prayer
Lord, I want to practice self control in all areas of my life... yes even gluttony. I wan't to have enough self control that I can walk after the spirit and not after the flesh. Also, I will avoid the company of those who have no regard for you principles and teachings. I can minister to those of the world, but can't engage with or be a party to their lifestyles. Amen

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Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 22

Gold Nugget
Verse 8: "He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, and the rod of his anger will fail.”  

Although it may not surprise you, I am not normal. Yes, I was born with a deformity. It’s not something you could see, but I was born with what is known as a cervical rib - two actually.  They are an extra set of ribs above the normal twelve sets that you have. Instead of 24, I was born with 26. The extra bone pinched off the circulation both to and from the heart as well as pinched the nerve causing numbness. I postponed the surgery for years. In my early 20s the doctor told me it needed to be removed. At the time, I couldn’t take off work for the recovery time. His response was, “Pay me now or pay me later, but you will be back”. Well, he was right. I put it off for too long and finally had them removed. Sometimes we think that ignoring an issue will make it fade away. The truth is, some things may be ignored or neglected for the here and now, but will have to be dealt with in time. Sometimes it’s sooner and sometimes it’s later. As today’s “gold nugget” says, "He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, and the rod of his anger will fail.” We think that issues in our lives (sin in this example) can go without being removed. The truth is, sin will cause many complications. It will cut off the flow spiritually both coming and going. It will even begin to cause numbness. We may think that because we don’t feel guilt that it must not be sin. We need to be quick to allow the Lord to perform surgery in our lives and remove the things that do not belong. What "cervical sin" do you have in your life? Maybe you should schedule an appointment with the Great Physician today.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for the reminder today of the need to allow you to remove things from my life that do not belong. I am grateful for your instruction and correction. Amen

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The Plumb Line

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 19

Gold Nugget
Verse 21: 
There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the LORD’s counsel—that will stand.”

Commentary
In the book of Amos 7:7-8, the Lord uses a plumb line to make an illustration. What would He use a plumb line to make a point for? To begin, let’s gather what we know about a plumb line. Often referred to as a “plumb bob” in construction, it is a simple device made of two parts - a string and a weight. The string is suspended from a desired location with the weight tied to the other end. This insures that the string is up and down without even one slight degree angled to the left or right. The law of gravity guarantees that the line will be perfectly straight. Of all the advancements in technology, the plumb line is still used to build even the most modern and precise structure without error. Of all the advancements we’ve made, we are all still bound by the law of gravity. Having been in the construction industry most of my life, I have been in situations where I have just “eye-balled” to see if something was plumb. Although it might get me through the moment, I knew I would have to eventually make sure it was actually plumb. Optical illusions are all around us. The plumb bob has stood the test of time and is still applicable today. God Himself makes this illustration to Amos. He stands with the plumb line that is as accurate and as sure as anything can or ever will be. He tells Amos that the people will no longer “eye-ball” what is straight, true or right. They will use the instrument of His laws as a plumb line. God knows that there are optical illusions all around us today and the only way to measure what is right, true and plumb, is to use His Word. In our society, there are many interpretations of what is right and true. Everyone has their opinion and worse yet, we have our own. None of us are immune to optical illusions. The world is full of “eye-balled” perspectives. The only true way to ensure we are walking and living in the truth is to measure ourselves by the plumb line of the Word of God. Our own ways, plans or thoughts are like today’s “gold nugget”, “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the LORD’s counsel—that will stand.” Knowing what God says about the condition of your life and the situations you deal with as described in His Word will ensure your ability to stand. Just as an ancient building constructed with a plumb line, you too will endure the test of time.
Prayer
Lord, help me to remember that I cannot “eye-ball” my way through this life. I need your sure, steady truth from your Word to tell me when I am not plumb and out of line. When you do show me, help me to be humble enough to allow the necessary adjustments to get me in line with your Word. Amen



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Pickin' Sides

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 18

Gold Nugget
Verse 5: "It is not good to show partiality to the wicked, Or to overthrow the righteous in judgment."

Commentary
Today's "gold nugget" may seem as if it applies to our influence in the judicial process, but that would be a very superficial assessment of a deeper concept. We cannot afford to overlook how applicable this verse can be in our everyday lives. The judgement mentioned here can be anytime we influence a conclusion about a certain person. If two people you know are at odds and you have the ability to influence the conclusion, you'd better be sure of the facts or say nothing at all. As my grandmother used to say, "It takes two to tango". There are two sides to every story. Consider verse 13 of this very chapter, "He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him". Taking sides without ensuring you are siding on the accurate and just person would be foolish. You would be better to say nothing than to influence the wicked and "overthrow the righteous in judgment". How can you overthrow the righteousness in judgment? Consider the new guy at work that is getting an earful of harsh words from a coworker concerning the boss. The new guy's impression of his boss is still open.. the jury is still out. "Judgment" has not yet been passed. You know the employee that is unloading on the new guy is lazy and has problems with the boss due to his own poor work ethics. You can attempt to be popular with the venting employee by sharing in his sentiments, or give an alternative perspective to the new employee. Most of us would just be quiet. "It is not good to show partiality to the wicked, Or to overthrow the righteous in judgment.We have opportunities like this that present themselves pretty frequently. When the next one arises, consider this verse. Let's make sure that our words and influences do not result in anyone passing false judgment on the innocent.

Prayer
Lord, if situations arise where it is necessary to take a side, help us to discern wisely and defend the righteous as you do. Amen

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Sweet Silence

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 17

Gold Nugget
Verse 27: "He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”  

Commentary
Again Proverbs demonstrates the beauty of silence in a wise man. Like many verses mentioned elsewhere in Scripture, the ability to hold one’s tongue is a trait to be sought after. The old cliché that is well known, but originated in Proverbs and in this very chapter (verse 28) says, “Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt”. Time and time we see the need to have restraint over the most difficult thing to tame - the tongue. As a matter of fact, the bible says that no man can tame the tongue. (James 3:8) However, the bible also says that the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. That being said, the bible says that He (God) will create in us a new heart. When He creates in us a new heart that is modeled after His, the abundance that will overflow into the tongue will be gentle, kind and loving. It will be patient; it will be humble and will not spill ungodly things. It will by default pour out what is appropriate and in line with the Word of God. In that, it will be when it is needed and beneficial to His Kingdome. All in all, in a world so devoid of understanding, it may be found to be mute unless given inspiration by God. Most of what we say is an outpour from our flesh and doesn’t please God. If we were to practice self control and uphold a calm spirit, we would be more reflective of our Savior and less like this ungodly generation.

Prayer
Lord, help me to lay hold to the beauty of the calm and silent character that you would have me to exhibit. Make it so that when I do speak, it will be more reserved for your Words that provoke godliness than my words that provoke folly. Amen

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Pride and the Fall

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 16

Gold Nugget
Verse 18: "Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.”  

Commentary
Many of us hear these bits of wisdom or read them in scripture. The problem is we rarely believe it is as true as it seems. We see so many people that are full of pride and yet never seem to fail. We have a tendency to assume that if others walk in pride without this "so-called" destruction or fall, that it doesn't always apply. Let me introduce the factor that we often overlook or misunderstand. People that are not in a relationship with God may not ever see the direct or indirect results of their carnal living this side of eternity; where those of us in a relationship with the Lord see it quite often. The reasoning is simple when you see it from God's perspective. The Lord may not enforce all of His earthly principle of reaping and sowing here on earth to those that do not regard His principles. God uses these principles to teach us and build us. We are His workmanship. 

When you see ungodly people profit from ungodly deeds, do not envy them. They will reap what they sow, whether it be in this life or after. When you see your own pride cause destruction in your life, do not despise it. God is ensuring that you learn and is able to help you recover. Avoid pride and a character that acts superior to others. If you exalt yourself, you are asking God to bring you down to size.

Prayer
Lord, I want to remember who I am in you and who I am without you. I am nothing without you and if I am something with you, I want you to receive the glory for it. Amen

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Terminal Illness

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 15


Gold Nugget
Verse 10: "Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, and he who hates correction will die."

Commentary
Its one thing to stray from the path, but it's all together different when you stray from the path and then refuse correction. I've heard it said and have found it to be true; that it's better to have one person that is "teachable" than three talented people that will not receive instruction or correction. Today's "gold nugget" reminds us that he "who forsakes the way" will be disciplined. As for him that forsakes the way and rejects or hates correction, his result will be outside of the correctable range resulting in death. Although not necessarily physical death, the destructive and terminal elements of death will come upon him. The person that strays from the correct business practices or maybe company policies will bring discipline from management. The person that strays and then rejects discipline/correction will eventually be terminated. It is a fact of life. Whether it is business, family or your relationship with God, straying from the way God has put before you will often bring "Harsh discipline". Straying from the path and refusing or hating discipline/correction will result in destructive and terminal scenarios in our lives. All of us are in need of correction and discipline. Do you have anyone that you can and do receive correction from? If not, you are probably lining up with the character of the person described in the second half of "today's gold nugget" and may be suffering from a terminal illness. There is a cure, if you can suffer the pride it will take to receive it.

Prayer
Lord, I know that I need correction in my life. Help me to be able to receive it when it comes from whomever you choose to bring it to me. Help me to stay on the right path as I mature in you. Amen

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Too Trusting

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 14

Gold Nugget
Verse 15: "The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps."

Commentary
The biggest obstacle to being able to tell if you are wise or foolish is understanding that foolishness is the act of being foolish unaware. In our nature for self-preservation we instinctively preserve all aspects of who we are, whether physical or emotional. We wish to preserve our image and pride. We think positive things concerning ourselves. Even those with low self-esteem, often see themselves as a victim of their circumstances and that inside themselves they are just fine. Other than some valid disorders, our natural instinct is to love and preserve ourselves emotionally and physically. "For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church." (Ephesians 5:29) It's in us naturally to love ourselves, but not everything in our nature is appropriate. “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud..." (2 Timothy 3:2a) Now that we see we have a natural sense of self-preservation we can see why the foolish will not see themselves as foolish. They cannot see themselves any other way and have therefore, condemned themselves to the prison of their own folly. The prudent (or wise) person mentioned in today's "gold nugget" is not so prideful and actually sees "self-preservation" as being directly tied to him being able to see past his pride and consider more than his natural instincts. "...he considers well his steps." The simple believe every word, even their own perceptions. If there is one thing we have learned as a creation, it’s that nobody lies to us more than we lie to ourselves. Consider that and grow a healthy distrust for your natural instincts to see yourself as more than is appropriate. Be wise and "considers well your steps".

Prayer
Lord, I know that my biggest enemy is often my own flesh. Flesh that is comprised of selfishness and pride. Help me to remember that my natural man is not subject to righteousness and humility and that I need to consider my steps instead of being subject to my flesh-centered thinking. Amen



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Dishonest Scales

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 11

Gold Nugget
Verse 1-2: 1"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight. 2 When pride comes, then comes shame;”  

Commentary
Although I chose verse 1 for today's gold nugget, I put several additional verses in bold and italics. I would have liked to use all of them today and encourage you to review the bold sections in the chapter above. I believe the scriptures are clear concerning being dishonest. My focus today is not honesty between you and your spouse, a friend, etc. Some folks have been known to say, "I might take a tool home from work, but I won't steal from anyone." Also you may have heard, I may not report all of my income on my taxes and so on. These scriptures in Proverbs are often related to immoral business practices or other forms of dishonesty that is for financial gain. What it really boils down to is whether or not we will admit that being dishonest in any arena is going to affect us spiritually. 

When we read about the Armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18 it tells us to "put on the WHOLE armor of God, so that we will be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." Leaving out even one part can leave us vulnerable to his attacks. One of the pieces of the armor of God mentioned in this passage in Ephesians is the "Belt of Truth" (verse 14). Taking short cuts or telling outright lies for personal gain will be voluntarily opening a hole in your armor. Hear the words and do what you want with them. If you willfully cheat or lie in any area of your life, you are abandoning God's expectations and commands and will be exposed to the enemies’ attacks. If God is dealing with you about anything that could be applied in this message, don't learn this lesson the hard way. Be obedient to God now-today and trust Him to meet your needs through honest God honoring behavior.

Prayer
Lord, I have seen opportunity to find financial gain without any fear of being caught. Although it is dishonest, nobody would be hurt from it and I would be able to use it for my family. These excuses will always be available to me, but I would rather maintain your supernatural provisions through my obedience to your commands than to gain all the money the world has to offer. I am determined to live an honest and moral life and allow you to be my provider. Amen

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Slow Your Roll

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 10

Gold Nugget
Verse 19: "In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.”  

Commentary
Once while on a conference call, a coworker and I were having a very important discussion with a potential client. Being more seasoned on the particular topic, I knew that we needed to gather some very important information from them. Unfortunately, my partner was talking so much that he would actually interrupt the client while they were trying to give us the information we needed. My partner talked so much that he revealed to the client his lack of knowledge in the field. The old "he didn't know what he didn't know" cost us the job. He tried so hard to impress them with his knowledge that he revealed his lack of knowledge. He didn't know of course, but he talked us right out of a job that we had in the bag. They assumed we knew the field and was actually trying to give us the necessary information to seal the deal. All the while, he continued to try and impress them with a "multitude of words". I tried to signal him to stop talking and listen, but he just gave me an "I got this" look and continued his performance. 

Another Proverbs says "Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive." Proverbs 17:28 I have actually assumed certain people to be wise or intelligent because of their ability to hold their tongue, only to find out later that the person was not especially wise or exceptionally intelligent. It is an international and timeless truth; the wise know how to posses silence. The old saying, "Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt", was just borrowed from Proverbs. Had my partner just "slowed his roll"; we would have had that job.

Prayer
Lord, remind me of the value of keeping silent. I want to exhibit the self control that it takes to hold my tongue and avoid the cost of not being able to hold it. I want to avoid the dangers and damage that comes from having a mouth that doesn't know when to shut down. Amen

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Trust and Obey

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 8

Gold Nugget
Verse 36a: "But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul;"

Commentary
It can be frustrating for us as parents when our children do not see the purpose for our rules. As teens, they see rules too often as some cruel way that we get pleasure out of watching them suffer. It can be very difficult to convince them that we are trying to protect them. When we restrict who they associate with, they don’t always see it as a protective act. Most young adults are convinced that no one can influence them to do anything. They are over confidant in their own ability to be independent. This is amazing considering all they do to fit in. We on the other hand, know that our rules are in place to protect them. They are not in place to protect us. Their refusal to adhere to our rules is not necessarily going to cost us, but more likely to cost them. As today’s “gold nugget” says, "But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul;" If your teen doesn’t obey the rule about texting and driving, their sin against your rule is not the real issue. Their sin against their own soul that dies in a car accident is the ultimate point. Even as adults, we tend to obey only the laws of God that we can see the obvious and immediate repercussions of. This unfortunately mirrors our kid’s attitude towards our rules. When will we mature and obey God regardless of our own perspective? When will we take Him at His Word and do as the old hymn says and trust and obey. Really, there is no other way? To be happy in Jesus, you must trust and obey. Between us and God; who ultimately pays the highest price for our disobedience? Although He paid the price for our sin on Calvary, if left un-repented, the wages of our actions will finally rest upon us.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for the reminder of our attitude that too often falls to the same level as a rebellious teenager. Help us to act like mature Christians and obey you unconditionally. Amen

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The Pupil

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 7

Gold Nugget
Verse 2: "Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye".

Commentary
I like the two-fold impact that today’s "gold nugget" delivers. First, the instruction to "Keep my commands and live...” It's unfortunate that too many of us do not take this truth literally. To try and live in this world without adherence to God's laws and precepts not only can bring destruction (death either spiritually or physically), but will disable you from the benefits that come from walking in obedience. So the concept of "keeping His commandments and live" can also mean - living a life of abundance. Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) It could be said that this verse means, "Keep my commands and live a life worth living" or "You haven’t started living until you've started obeying". Either works for me. What of the second part of the verse? "...And my law as the apple of your eye". That is to say, keep my law as the apple (pupil) of your eye and you will live a life worth living. What is it about the pupil of your eye that would portray the importance of obeying God? Well, let's look at the pupil a little closer (pun intended). By definition, the pupil is a hole located in the center of the iris of the eye that allows light to enter the retina. If the pupil of the eye is what allows light to enter our retina and we remember that Jesus is regarded as the Light of the world all throughout scripture, then making God's laws the pupil allows the Light to enter us and give us vision. Wow, I don't know about you, but I find that very exciting. Simply stated, obeying God's laws will allow His Light (Jesus) to enter our lives and give us vision and a life worth living. Adversely, not obeying God's laws will prevent the Light from entering us, keeping us in the dark without vision and a life that will be filled with destruction. I think He made it pretty simple for us today. What will we do with it? Maybe today is the day to repent and conform to His precepts.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for reminding me of how you have entered into my life and given me vision when I have obeyed you. I will purpose to continue in your ways and strive to obey you more consistently. Amen

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Simon Says

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 5

Gold Nugget
Verse 12-13: 12 “And say: "How I have hated instruction, And my heart despised correction! 13 I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, Nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me! 

Commentary
When we were little we all played "Simon Says". I will admit it - when I was a kid, this was one of the lamest games I ever played. I never found the fun in this game of never ending profitless commands. I didn't see what everyone else saw in it. How did this game survive the first few players that invented it? The funny thing is -I wasn't really being rebellious to authority, I didn't have a chip on my shoulder, I just didn't see the reasoning behind standing there mimicking someone else. I disobeyed as much as any kid; it just wasn't out of spite. My rebellion stemmed from whether or not I thought it was of value to me. If I was told to clean my room, I may not see the value for me and therefore; I wouldn't always clean it. 

Today's gold nugget deals with this issue. As someone who has been issued much correction and instruction, I know what goes through the mind of the one being corrected and instructed. As someone who has issued correction and instruction, I have seen people that resist and reject correction and instruction. In our nature, we hate instruction and despise correction (verse 12). Much like I described myself, we choose what instructions we will receive based on how much value we think it brings. We who are receiving or being offered wisdom, weigh out whether or not we think it is worthy of our heeding. Here lies the problem. Throughout the bible, it often mentions (several times here in Proverbs alone) that a man often sees things in his own eyes. He thinks he is wise, all while being a fool. 

I have learned over the years to have spiritual authority above me that I submit to. When these people are correcting me, I try to receive their instruction and not refer to my own perspective as the final authority. If you don't find this being a part of your walk, it can be a real growth killer. God will put people in your life to correct and instruct you in wisdom. The problem is we usually reject them when they come.

Prayer
Lord, help me to listen and receive instruction from those you send to me. I don't want to reject people that you send to me because they don't pass "my" test for who is qualified to instruct me. Keep me from allowing only perfect people without any fault to correct me. This would ensure that no one will be able to instruct me. I want to be a good follower as well as a good leader. Amen

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