Enough is Enough

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 31

Gold Nugget
Verse 26:  She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness."

Commentary
Enough is enough. How long will we continue in a substandard life without the presence of godly wisdom? That is the theme of today's "gold nugget". Albert Einstein said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". We continue in the same patterns in our lives always complaining about the same outcomes. Recognizing patterns in our lives is too often only accomplished because of their familiarity. That is to say, we don't recognize a pattern until it has run it's cycle a few times, else it wouldn't be a pattern. The thing we should be able to count on is the influence that the Word of God should have in the life of a Christian. Repeated exposure to the Word of God will begin to change the way we think and reason. Just as sure as repeated exposure to television and other forms of media influence the way our youth and culture think and reason. Paul wrote to the church at Phillipi and instructed them with these words, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things." Repeated exposure to the scriptures and less exposure from the world will result in more wisdom and quicker reaction to patterns that cause havoc in our lives. How long will we love living a simple (or foolish) way of life? When will we say, "Enough is enough?" If you have had enough, won't you make the change today?

Prayer
Lord, help me to embrace a life filled with exposure from your Word. I acknowledge the need for more of you and your Word and less influence from the world... Word over world. Amen


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Moral Compass

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 28

Gold Nugget

Verse 26: "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered."

Commentary
Put on a blindfold, spin in circles real fast many times and attempt to start walking north. Only by absolute  luck could you be walking "near" the right direction. Even if you think that you have a 1 in 4 chance, you are wrong. Closer to 1 in 360 degree chance. Depending on how far you plan on going in a given direction determines how accurate you must be. Being "within" one degree of the right direction at the start can still end up miles off over a given distance. The only sure way to maintain true direction is to travel with a compass. Using our internal compass is as dependable as the foolish person mentioned in today's "gold nugget" who trusts in his own heart. Not believing that our own devices can mislead us will surely put us in a trap, but trusting in the sound provisional direction of greater knowledge than we posses will provide escape. The Lord and usually a direct word from Him in scripture, will measure how accurate and true the direction we are traveling in is. I find it truly sad when someone is convinced that the path they are on is the right one when it is in absolute conflict with scripture and sound wisdom. We are either too prideful and want  to believe that we are fully capable of making our own way or we are too rebellious to give up a path that pleases us for the now. Either way, the end is a trap and will cause us great sorrow and shame.

Prayer

Lord, help us to be humble enough to submit to you and your will and obedient enough to follow it when it is revealed. Amen

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Praise be to Me?

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 27

Gold Nugget
Verse 2:  "
Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips"

Commentary
Is it okay to want recognition for your hard work? We find in today's "gold nugget" that we are not instructed to avoid accolades, but rather suffer them when they come. That doesn't really address the question asked though. Allowing recognition and praise is all together different from desiring or possibly even pursuing it. I would dare say it is in our nature to want to be acknowledged. In its most basic origin, wanting to be acknowledge for having or being something of value isn't wrong of us. Needing to be assured that we are of value is okay. Wanting to be elevated, on the other hand, is a different story. When we seek accolades, recognition or praise, we are usually more driven by the desire to promote ourselves over on another. This is not Christ-like. Being at peace with not being above another is a basic Christian principle. Paul wrote to the Philippians in chapter 2, verse 3, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." When someone pays you a compliment, receive it and move on. Don't soak in it. When you need it, the Lord will provide someone to encourage you in a way without your head getting too big. Promoting yourself only turns others away from you. 

Prayer
Lord, help us to be mindful of our apparent value proven through your sacrifice on the cross and give us the desire to have you and others exalted above ourselves . Amen

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Protective Walls

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 25

Gold Nugget
Verse 28: 
Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.”
Commentary
In the book of Joshua we read the story about the children of Israel as they set out to conquer Canaan. The children, after being set free from Egypt, wondered around in the wilderness for forty years before crossing over the river Jordan to the Promised Land. They had many enemies to conquer. Thier first target was the city of Jericho. Heavily fortified by an impenetrable wall, Jericho didn’t feel threatened by this army of homeless people. They had confidence in the wall that protected them from any and all enemies. In most cases their confidence was well grounded. Having a “hedge of protection” is something you will often hear Christians pray as they request protection for loved ones. It is very biblical and is mentioned in the book of Job. Job had a hedge of protection about him from the Lord. In an odd twist of illustrations, I will draw a comparison between these two stories. We can have confidence in God’s hedge of protection around us. We should be just as at peace as the residents of Jericho. Although Jericho’s hedge of protection was not built by God, it was secure to them. We know how the story of Jericho ends. The Lord destroys the walls of Jericho and the Israelites take the city without any loss of life. God - in a sense, lifted the hedge of protection from Jericho and allowed the children of Israel to literally walk in and claim the city. We as Christians have a hedge of protection around us, but if we accept the truth of today’s scripture, we will see that our city walls (our hedge of protection) is conditional upon our obedience. I’m not saying a mess up today will cause God to lift His protection, but continued disobedience has always resulted in him allowing the enemy to defeat us throughout the history of God’s people. We have an unruly flesh that wants to run rampant without reigns. Failure to have rule over our flesh will result in our enemy being able to overtake us as easy as a city without walls. Consider today’s “gold nugget”, Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” We all should be able to identify the areas of our lives where our flesh is getting out of control and regain authority over it before we leave ourselves open to attacks.

 
Prayer
Lord, sometimes it comes from being under stress or heartache. Sometimes it comes from just feeling like we are entitled to a little indulgence, but whatever reason we allow our flesh to start having liberty, we need to be quick to put our flesh into subjection through prayer, fasting, studying and fellowship with the saints and build our walls back into protective order. Amen

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Worth it All

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 23

Gold Nugget
Verse 18: For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.

Commentary
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9) When we set out doing good, it is often a challenge to maintain our endeavors. Sometimes we may wonder if is all worth it. Today’s “gold nugget” reminds us that … surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off. What is our hope? “Consider the hereafter mentioned in today’s “gold nugget” when we read this verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:8, But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. What is the “hope of salvation”? Hope is defined in scripture differently than it is today. “Hope” today is often used as “wish”, meaning to wish for the best. For example, “I hope I get that job”. So today, “hope” means uncertainty with optimism. In scripture, hope doesn’t mean uncertainty, but absolute certainty. It’s simply the waiting period with excitement for what is an absolute certain event. Consider this definition of “Faith” found in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. That is to say, we know what is going to happen and we wait with expectation for the time to arrive. Such is the definition of faith concerning salvation; we are waiting with surety of its arrival. Our excitement while waiting is defined as the “hope of salvation”. It’s our faith and hope that carries us through, knowing that our choice to follow Him and His precept are worth every challenge that comes against us. “…our hope will not be cut off. We are guaranteed of the hereafter.

Prayer
Lord, help us to stay focused and stay the course of obedience in you and love towards others. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us”(Romans 8:18)  Amen

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Demolition

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 21

Gold Nugget
Verse 12: 
The righteous God wisely considers the house of the wicked, overthrowing the wicked for their wickedness.”

Commentary
As a project manager, one of my recent projects was the demolition of a building inside one of the major refineries in the US. The preparations and risk of demolishing a building is pretty intense and involved. The preparations and risk of demolishing a building inside a refinery only increases. There are so many things to consider, but the greatest risk is the potential for people to be in harms way of the demolition. We go through great extents to ensure nobody is in or near it when we begin to knock it down. I think of that when reading today’s “gold nugget”. The righteous God wisely considers the house of the wicked, overthrowing the wicked for their wickedness.” Oftentimes people, businesses and even so called "ministries" and churches fall in this category. Not all that claim to be good or holy are actually of God. We need to be very careful of our involvement of those that have dishonored God. Should He decide to "overthrow" them as today's scripture teaches, we don't want to be inside or even near the demolition when He decides to take it down. There comes a time when God has had enough of people defying Him and neglecting His Word and truth. As we see in the New Testament, Jesus decides that He will not suffer the wicked in His Father’s house any longer and goes off! Although controlled and righteous anger, Jesus holds no bars in His judgment of the people’s neglect and rejection of the truth. I wouldn’t want to be in the area when He cleans house, much less have a booth set up in the courtyard. I would rather not be tied to or involved with those that compromise His Word. We will all have to make this choices at one time or another. You may be at that crossroad now. Consider carefully what you should do. Are you being effective for the Kingdom where you are, or are you dangerously close to a coming demolition?

Prayer
Lord, help me to know when my involvement with certain people has moved from being constructive to just tying myself to those that have defied you. Give me the courage and discernment to know when and what I should do.” Amen

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Google It!

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 18

Gold Nugget
Verse 2: A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.
                                                                                                                             
Commentary
It’s harder to try and pull the wool over people’s eyes in some areas these days. There will always be an opportunity to deceive people and therefore, deceivers will always have a place in society. However, since we live in the age of information, it is a lot easier to call someone’s bluff. All you have to do is “Google” it. A computer is rarely far away from us. Many of us have such a resource on our person at all times in the form of a telephone. Anytime there is a controversial fact that arises in a conversation, people will whip out their phones and call someone’s bluff. I like that we are forcing people to be honest and refrain from throwing out our thoughts as an absolute. I don’t mind throwing out that two plus two equals four. I know that as an absolute. We are now ruled by a “higher power” – Google… at least when it comes to trivia and misc. facts. You don’t hear many people argue the definition of a word that can so easily be proven one way or the other. We have surrendered to the authority of the Google, just like we did at the invention of the calculator. We acknowledged that how we feel about two plus two is really irrelevant. We know that the calculator has rule over what we feel and expressing our heart has no bearing. Today’s “gold nugget” speaks on this matter. A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart. You see, only a fool will sit there and argue two plus two when you have a calculator in your hand. Only a fool will argue the definition of banana when you have a dictionary in your hand. We have acknowledged the calculator and dictionary as absolutes that we will not only adhere to, but build upon. How we feel in our heart is overruled by the absolutes in our lives. A Christian acknowledges another absolute in their life. A Christian knows that despite how they may feel about a certain thing, the Word of God and its absolute authority overrules all. We as Christians don’t walk through this life making decisions based on how we feel when we have the Word of God to instruct us. It’s not that we don’t allow feelings and the expressions of our heart to have a place in our life; it’s just that the established Word of God is the final authority. This is why it is so important that we stay in the bible. Reading and studying His truths will give us a clearer path to follow and confidence in where we are going. If you are unsure of what you know or what someone is telling you, just Google it... "Google" it in the Scriptures!

Prayer
Lord, help us to accept your Word as the final authority in our lives. Remind us that we don’t have the luxury of going with how we feel when the truth of the Word stands in opposition.  Amen

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