Righteousness Pays Off

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 10

Gold Nugget
Verse 2: "Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, But righteousness delivers from death." 

Commentary
It was probably over ten years ago. I was on the 4th floor of a structure in the hottest part of the Texas summer heat, during the hottest part of the day. I had been working longer than I should have without taking a break and drinking water. I knew the signs of overheating. I had stopped sweating and could feel my body temperature rising as I pressed into my work. I was determined to finish bolting everything up before going downstairs for a water break. For some reason, there wasn't any water on the structure. Finally the last bolt was tightened and I headed for the stairs. One of the client representatives was coming up the stairs and scolded me up one side and down the other for heading downstairs. I stood there silent, sure that he would feel bad when I was able to tell him that I hadn't had a chance to get a drink of water for several hours and would return to the area when I replenished my fluids. However, his scolding went on into a fit and borderline tantrum. I wondered why he would treat anyone so badly. I finally had all the abuse I felt the Lord would expect me to endure and headed down the stairs and left him to his tantrum.

It was the next day that I was called into my supervisor's office. I was told not to return to that work site and that they had another site for me to work at. I was concerned that the story had been misinterpreted if not outright lied about. They told me not to worry about it. The client representative had called my foreman, general foreman and superintendent into the office with other representatives. The man went on and on about how I had disrespected him, talked back to him and so on. I felt the blood start to curdle under my skin, until the next thing he said calmed me instantly. He said, "But, we knew he was lying." I wondered for a minute why they didn't even ask me my side of the story before determining the man had lied. He went on to say, "We just sat there listening to him, thinking, this doesn't sound like Steve, and then he said you cussed him out and then we knew he was lying." Even the other clients in the room that knew me didn't believe him. They said, "We have worked with Steve for years and years and have never heard him say a single curse word, even in the most challenging situations." Just to keep things smooth, they moved me to another area for a few days. I was never more proud of what the Lord had accomplished in my life than on that day. Today's "gold nugget" speaks on this very subject. "Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death." Despite the wicked behavior of an ungodly man, it didn't profit him anything and because of the reputation of serving God consistently, I was delivered from harm. Be sure of this, God's Word is truth and every precept that you accept and practice will pay off for you in due season.

Prayer
Lord, I am grateful that your Word is true and I will purpose to continue in it. Forgive me of the areas I have failed you in and ask for your mercy and grace to sustain me. Amen

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The 49ers

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 8

Gold Nugget
Verse 34-35: 34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoever finds me finds life, And obtains favor from the Lord;

Commentary
Again we see the consistent parable of wisdom being something to be sought after. More precious than silver, more costly than gold, of greater beauty and honor than rubies, etc. In the gold rush of 1849 - some 300,000 people staked everything they owned on the possibility of getting rich by finding gold in California. By land and by sea, people risked life and limb to travel to California in hopes of becoming wealthy. About half of those traveled by wagon through harsh terrain and unforeseen dangerous conditions. Giving up all they had, they felt confident that all of their sacrifices would pay off. A few people did well, some broke even while many lost everything.

The pursuit of gold, silver, rubies, etc. has been the driving force for man since some of the earliest mentions in scripture. Using the passion that a man would have and (as evident by the gold rush of 1849) would continue to have, the proverbs relate that sort of commitment, passion and drive to the pursuit of wisdom. Willing to sacrifice luxuries and work their fingers to the bone, the 49ers ate drank and dreamed of finding this precious commodity. We as Christians should pursue without fail the wisdom and knowledge of God. We need to chase after the wisdom and knowledge of God. He promises us that He will lead us to it, but it isn't low hanging fruit. This is a necessity that requires effort and commitment on our part to gain the rewards from God. "He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.Hebrews 11:6

Prayer
Lord, Thank you for reminding me of the need to press on through these proverbs as well as the rest of your Word. I need to stay committed to reading your Word and be patient with the time it takes to be revealed to me. I want to be consistent and passionate to pursue you in your Word, knowing that I will find wisdom and understanding in due season. Amen

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Flattering Lips

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 7

Gold Nugget
Verse 21: 
With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, with her flattering lips she seduced him.

Commentary
Have you ever heard the old saying, “You catch more flies with vinegar than honey”? Yeah, me neither. It actually says, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” The fact about sin and foolish decisions is that they most often have a very appealing lure to them. If someone of the opposite sex tried to lure you away from your spouse, they wouldn’t say things like, “Come my love, let us cause immeasurable pain to your children. Enjoy the passion of a long and beautiful divorce. Imagine the pleasure of growing old alone and resented.” The truth may be just as real as those words, but the sales pitch of sin only focuses on the temporary pleasures and leaves out the devastating and destructive results of choosing sin. Today’s “gold nugget” reminds us that, “With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, with her flattering lips she seduced him.” The scriptures describe sin as words that drop as honey. The appeal of choosing sin is as sweet as honey and seems to only bring pleasure, but the reality of misery is as guaranteed as a rainy day guarantees a wet head. There will be more suffering than is worth that temporary pleasure that sin and temptation has to offer. If we really understood and accepted this we would be slower to sin. One of the greatest traps for falling into sinful situations is the lack of knowledge of the truth. Not knowing the truth in God’s Word leaves you wide open for the enemies greatest asset, and that’s his lies. If you are not rooted in and standing on the Word, you can fall for anything. Prepare yourself with a steady intake of the scriptures and a knowledge that the devil is a liar and will present sin in an ALMOST irresistible light.

Prayer
Lord, help me to remember that nothing this world has to offer me is worth the suffering it brings. No temptation is comparable to the peace and joy that comes from knowing and conforming to your Word. Amen

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Listening to the Lord

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 1

Gold Nugget
Verse 33: But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.”

Commentary
As we start a new month, it is beneficial for us to revisit a foundational truth. Our confidence and security lies in our being obedient to our loving Maker. Our ability and choice to “listen” to His voice sets the stage for the tempo and stability for our life. “Listen” means different things to different people. Just as 2+2=4 and 2+3 will never = 4, some things are not open to private interpretation. All though our society believes everything is open to our own perspective, some things are absolute. If 10=100 from my perspective, you won’t respect that by trading me your 100 dollar bill for my $10. No mater how we slice it, neglecting to read our bible will put us in direct opposition to today's "gold nugget". God has many things to say to us and made it all available in His Word. Sitting there neglecting to find out what He has to say in His written Word is not “listening”. When today’s “gold nugget” says, But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.”, it is not sufficient to sit there assuming you will hear some audible thunderous voice telling you what He expects of you. Taking advantage of the bible that is so readily available and reading it is how we “listen”.  He has so much to say to us and chose to write it down and yet we don’t take the time to read it. If we won’t “listen” to Him in His written Word, we will not recognize His voice in any other area of our life. It is ridiculous to pretend we have a relationship with Him and yet we don’t “listen” to Him. If our “gold nugget” is true, then it must also be true to say, But whoever doesn’t listen to me will not dwell safely, and will not be secure, but will fear of evil.” “Listening” to Him in His word will (as the scriptures say) be “like a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105) The truth in His Word will increase your faith and remove your fear. Neglecting His Word will ensure the opposite. If you need these things more in your life - the remedy should be obvious by now. Move from being that person that claims Christianity by in-directs to being a Christian that reads the bible for themselves.

Prayer
Lord, help me to “listen” to you in your Word. When I read it, I want to “listen” to you through it.  I will “listen” to what you are saying to me and respond accordingly. Amen

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