Benefits

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 27

Gold Nugget
Verse 18: "Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit; So he who waits on his master will be honored."

Commentary
A friend of mine used to work for the famous Cadbury Chocolate Company in England. He told me of the Cadbury Company’s policy that allows their employees to eat all the chocolate they want. The thought of all that chocolate passing by you on the assembly line would seem like torture, but not to them. If they want a piece, they can just reach out and grab one. It's their benefit for being an employee. I've heard that the old motto from the Blue Bell ice cream ads that say, "We eat all we can and we sell the rest", is actually true. Blue Bell employees are allowed to eat all the ice cream they want. The bible holds a similar perspective concerning special benefits. "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward." (1 Timothy 5:18) The scripture used here justifies why the overseers of the church should be taken care of financially as they tend to the Lord's business. The literal reference was to an Old Testament law that forbad the muzzling of the ox that treads the corn. Some folks would put a muzzle over the mouth of the ox to prevent him from eating the crop, but the Lord ensured that the ox would be able to have all the Cadbury chocolate or Blue Bell ice cream he needed. Today's "gold nugget" tells of the benefit of being the dresser of the fig tree. He will eat of its fruit. We need to be reminded of who we serve, what He possesses and the benefits of being not just His servants, but His children. We have an amazing inheritance. ""10 For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. 12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness" (Psalm 50:10-12) If you have been worrying about your needs, be sure that it is an insult to your Father who provides your every need. Don’t' worry. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-8)

Prayer
Lord, when I worry, I am not trusting in you. I repent of my lack of faith and purpose to stand bold in the confidence that you are the great provider, my Jehovah Jireh! Amen

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The Great Pursuit

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 24

Gold Nugget
Verse 13-14: "13 My son, eat honey because it is good, And the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste; 14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; If you have found it, there is a prospect, And your hope will not be cut off."


Commentary
The key to successful, teaching, speaking, preaching, etc. is being able to deliver a message that people can relate to. All through Proverbs the writers will say "My son, listen..." and then proceed to illustrate a proverb or saying with something a young man can relate to. When illustrating the need to desire wisdom, the writer will describe wisdom as a beautiful woman or gold, silver, rubies or as mentioned here, honey. Something a young man would desire and pursue. When trying to illustrate the need to avoid foolishness, the writer will describe foolishness as a harlot or a trap, rottenness, bitterness, hunger or death.

We need to desire these words of wisdom taught in the book of Proverbs. We need to continue to hunger for the wisdom found within these pages as we would desire honey. Let us be satisfied with the instructions learned in these sayings and yet hunger for more. We need to desire the knowledge that is available to us in this book as if it where gold, silver or rubies. It will make our souls rich and our knowledge and wisdom that of the great writers that penned it. Let the grey head of wisdom rest upon us. We can grow in confidence, knowing that we will have the ability to make sound decisions for our lives as well as offer sound wisdom to those that come in contact with us. Pursue knowledge and wisdom and when you have caught it, people will eventually pursue you to get it. We do a great service to our Father when we instruct others in wisdom.

Prayer
Lord, make me hungry to find you and your wisdom in this book. Give me a desire and passion to endure through it's pages to win the prize of wisdom and knowledge. Remind me of the need to posses wisdom and the desire to share it with others. Amen

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Bumpers

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 23

Gold Nugget

Verse 2: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.



Commentary
Although very harsh if taken literally, today’s “gold nugget” goes well with what Jesus said in the “Sermon on the Mount”. While teaching them He said, “29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” (Matthew 5:29) I’ve subscribed to the “bumper” approach to walking in the Spirit. Have you ever gone bowling and had such a horrible game that you would have been better off putting the bumpers up? Although technically cheating, it will ensure you of staying out of the “gutters”. What about staying out of the “gutter” of sin? Shouldn’t we all have bumpers in our lives? It can be as simple as avoiding “pay-per-view” options from the cable company. It could be said that a person with self-control should be able to have “pay-per-view” options and just refrain from programming that would be considered inappropriate. Well I say, isn’t the conscious choice to avoid “pay-per-view” options exercising self-control? Sure it is. Knowing your weaknesses is an attribute of wisdom. Installing “bumpers” in those areas is not only self-control, but profound wisdom. My mom always says, “Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.” It could be said that hungry or not, you should be able to shop without being influenced by your belly. Well, like they say, “The best offense is a good defense”. If you want to make good spiritual progress, you need to have boundaries in place. Setting them yourself is not only wise, it’s of absolute necessity. I can relate to the symbolism of extreme measures illustrated in today’s “gold nugget” and Jesus’ words in the “Sermon on the Mount.” Establishing “bumpers” in your life can be big sacrifices. Not that you should mutilate yourself but putting up the “bumpers” at the bowling alley or modifying your cables subscription options might be the bumpers you need to install in your life!

Prayer
Lord, I want to be able to see the areas of my life where I am weak and need bumpers. I know that with your help I can endure anything, but I also know that when you reveal to me my weakness, it is your way of helping me. I just need to take preventative measures to avoid putting myself in tempting situations. Amen

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The Piper

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 21

Gold Nugget
Verse 25: “The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor”

Commentary
There is a powerful verse of scripture in 1 Timothy 5:8, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Our country is overrun with laziness. That’s pretty blunt, but the truth is just as plain. It’s an unfortunate truth and we have gotten away with it for so long, that it doesn’t seem to be an issue. Well, the time to pay the piper is fast upon us. We’ve lived off the fat of the land for so long that the fat of the land has gone lean. Throughout history we have operated under a government who can’t balance a checkbook and we are all about to pay for it. We’ve given away our work because we didn’t want to do it, and our leaders have sold us into slavery. We assume that because the possessors have not come to reposes that they never will, but reading the writing on the wall will reveal our inevitable day of reckoning. This irresponsibility is nationwide and it all comes from a “give me what I want now, and I’ll deal with it later” mentality. Like the man in today’s “gold nugget”, The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor”, we will lay in our beds today and be hungry tomorrow. This doesn’t describe all of us, but it describes enough of us to cost us all. If we are not willing to work and get off our duffs, we will come to hunger, but if we put our hands to labor, we will eat and survive. America has forgotten what it’s like to go hungry; it’s my belief that we may soon to be reminded.

Prayer
Lord, we have put our security in our country's prosperity and I pray that we will begin to put our faith in you and your ability to provide. In that, we know that you judge according to the heart and a lazy man will go hungry. Amen

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Paybacks

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 20

Gold Nugget
Verse 22: Do not say, "I will recompense evil"; Wait for the Lord, and He will save you. 

One of our prior “gold nuggets” proclaimed the justice of the Lord through giving. It reminds us that when we give to the poor, consider it a loan unto the Lord, who always pays it back. Today’s “gold nugget” is kin to it, in that it guarantees the Lord’s ability to “pay it back”. It’s in our instinct to pay someone back. (Well, for those who borrow, maybe not always, but for those who are offended or hurt – almost instinctively.) Our natural reaction when we’ve been hurt is to retaliate. It actually takes being re-trained, in order to avoid wanting to pay someone back. One verse that has been very difficult for Christians to accept is, “…vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). We want to get even with those who have hurt us. We consider it justice. We figure it is our right as humans. Expecting anything different goes against our nature. When the scriptures teach us to be different to our nature, it requires extra strength from God. Through commitment and allowing His Spirit to change us, we can eventually come to a very important place spiritually, that will make this process easier. It’s simple – “Trust God.” Trust that if anyone attacks us, they have Him to deal with. He can handle things a lot better than us anyway. Consider the wife of a championship boxer that is being cursed out by a strange man. She could be enraged and attempt to retaliate, but wouldn’t she be just as content knowing that her husband is present, and the strange man has worse to deal with than her wrath. Although she shouldn’t take pleasure in watching the man suffer a beating, there isn’t a real need for her to take matters into her own hands. Consider God as your championship boxer. It’s not that you want to see people suffer His vengeance, but you can rest assured that they have worse to deal with than your wrath. The difficult part comes from not being able to see His vengeance. That comes with trusting Him and letting it go. The scriptures go on to say, “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.” (Proverbs 24:17-18). We must not take pleasure in sin or witnessing people suffering from their sin. It should bring compassion to our heart. If not, God will turn His wrath from them because of you. We can live a more peaceable life not having to worry about paying people back.


Prayer
Lord, help me to be more spiritually minded than feel a need to retaliate at every offense. You provide every need that I have, even justice. I will not be vengeful but will trust you to defend me when I need it. Amen


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Making Plans

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
There’s an old saying that says, “If you want to give a God a giggle, tell Him your plans.” You can have plans for you and others can have plans for you, but what about the plans God has for you? I once had to make a change in the area of ministry I was working in. The leader of that ministry claimed he had big plans for me there, but someone else asked, “What of the plans God had for Steve?” See, we start on a path towards the plan we think is proper for us and sometimes go too far to admit that maybe we weren’t going in the right direction to begin with. What then? Do we continue on the wrong course because we've gone too far to start again. A friend of mine in the corporate world once shared a habitual pattern he had seen in business. Many big corporations will continue with a bad plan because of the commitment and effort already invested on their current path. The logic is pure insanity. Building something that won’t work simply because it is too far into the project to turn around is foolishness. If you are halfway in the wrong direction, it will take and cost twice as much to finish in the wrong direction than to change course now. We need to be sensible when it comes to conceding to God’s plan now – today. If we’ve set out with the wrong plan, ask God for direction and then obey His instructions. I would rather be one step in the right direction that God has for me than 5,000 steps in the wrong direction. Your plans need to be God’s plans for you. Is the plan you have now consistent with the Word of God and leading to spiritual growth? Or is your plan simply YOUR plan? In the words of Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?” Today’s “gold nugget” says, “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the LORD’s counsel—that will stand.” We can have all kinds of ideas of what we should or could do, but the only plan that will stand in the end is the one the Lord has for you. Do you know what that plan is? His plans for you are revealed through spending quality time with Him in His Word and in prayer. Enough of that and you will begin to hear and recognize His voice. There’s no confidence like having confidence in the Lord.


     
Prayer
Lord, I ask you today to make any necessary adjustments in the course of my life. The plan you have for me is the path I want to follow. Reveal yourself to me and I will obey your instructions. Amen

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Enablers

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 17

Gold Nugget
Verse 13: 
Whoever rewards evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.”

Commentary
Raising children, I’ve found that rewarding evil can be done without intent or effort. When my children were small, I tried to make sure that the cost of bad behavior was more than they wanted to pay. Children will naturally weigh the cost of misbehaving. I’ve advised young parents to take care in avoiding inconsistent correction of poor actions by their children. If you only discipline a child 1 out of every 4 times that they try to touch the “untouchables”, they will naturally play the odds and continue touching. Odds are, they won’t pay a price for their actions and will conclude that it’s worth it. I will go even further, knowing with experience, that they will even continue this behavior if the parent disciplines 3 out of 4 times. Just the presence of “chance” will keep the child in bad behavior knowing that this may be the time they aren’t disciplined. Only 4 out of 4 times will teach the child that there isn’t any hope of getting away with this and they know with confidence that their attempts are futile. Children do not have time to waist on these fruitless efforts. They will move on to other options and hopefully other lessons learned. The reality is, the times that they successfully touched the untouchables without discipline, they were rewarded. Their reward was a free pass on bad behavior. This actually encourages more bad behavior. So as a summary thus far, we conclude that overlooking sin/evil is equivalent to rewarding evil. That is to say, in those that we have influence over, anyway. Today’s “gold nugget” tells us that, Whoever rewards evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.” Not only do we overlook sin in people’s lives that we can or should have influence in, we will actually encourage them to continue in it. We then become “enablers”. Consider the friend that lives in your home with you and goes off to spend the weekend with their boyfriend/girlfriend while you go off to church on Sundays. You give them a free pass on immoral behavior by not confronting them (1st reward) and give them a place to stay (2nd reward). It’s not easy, but a Christian sometimes must “boycott” sinful or evil people. We must refuse to enable, permit or encourage sinful practices. It isn’t popular today, but if we got back to the foundational teachings of the bible, we would find that we are accountable to God for instructing and proclaiming the truth of His Word and what He expects of us to the entire world. Failing to do so and remaining ‘friends” with the world is, “rewarding evil for good”, and will ensure “evil will not depart from your house”.

Prayer
Lord, in today’s age where people are not to speak out against others actions, it’s difficult to take a stand against immoral deeds. We are being programmed that we should be tolerant and refrain from judging. All this really means is we are overlooking evil and neglecting sound judgment. Help us to be bold enough to stand for your Word and your expectations regardless of its popularity and the persecution it may bring against us . Amen

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Love Over Money

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 15

Gold Nugget
Verse 17: Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred. 

Commentary
There have been countless movies and books that tell the story of the one that forsakes riches and fame for the simplicity of peace, love and happiness. Even in those stories, usually the person that makes this sacrifice is rewarded with both love and riches. Well, that’s the movies. They have to get both riches and love to appeal to our natural desires to see the hero get both. If not, we would leave the movie theater feeling shorted. Although there are exceptions to the rule in how the movie ends, we still sacrifice the wrong things too often in our real lives. In our nation, we sacrifice peace, love and happiness for a life that promises riches and popularity. Our children are being raised by day cares; spouses are looking for fulfillment from their jobs and friends more than from each other. Our God is being replaced with anything that we set our eyes on for the moment. Today’s “gold nugget” reminds us that “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred.” It is better to live with less and have love, than to have abundance and live in turmoil. How many families are living without peace and love in big houses, fine cars, and fancy clothes? It is the American way of life. We would rather have someone raise our children for us so we can double our income for greedy motives. It’s sometimes necessary to double the income and put our kids in daycare, but it shouldn't be for greedy incentives. Why not live on a more modest platform and increase the quality of life for our families? The quality of life isn’t gauged by luxuries, but by peace, love and happiness.

Prayer
Lord, I want to remember what is truly important in my life. I wan't to honor you and put the important things in life in their proper perspective. I will put the love of others and you before the things that this world has to offer. Amen

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Cheaters Never Prosper

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 13

Gold Nugget
Verse 11,18: "11Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished: But he who gathers by labor will increase 18Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, But he who regards a rebuke will be honored.”  

Commentary
I have always been very capable when it comes to building things. I am pretty good with my hands. From those first two statements, you can gather that I am also somewhat confident in myself in that area. There lies the problem. When it comes to putting bunk beds together, entertainment centers, bicycles, etc; I can see the end product and really don’t need rules and instructions to get me there. Well, that’s how I feel anyway. Taking the time to read the instructions first or even as I go is just a big delay that I am not interested in enduring. Sometimes this works for me, sometimes it doesn’t. Too many times I have gotten near the end of building something only to find a necessary step was overlooked or ignored because it seemed like overkill. Usually it isn’t just an easy fix. More often than not, I have to start disassembling all the way back to put that piece I left out in and then start again from that point. So much for avoiding a big delay; I have now doubled the time it would have taken using the instructions.
I’m older now and have learned the benefit of following the instructions and staying in the lines. In my walk with the Lord, I have also found that reading, knowing and following His instructions has helped me to avoid many pitfalls and setbacks. Likewise, looking back at the times I thought a portion of the instructions seemed like overkill has cost me deeply. My pride has suffered enough blows to make me a lot more resistant to taking off on my own or taking shortcuts. I am not too proud to walk in the shadow of the Almighty. I don’t want to try to put one piece together without His instructions.

Trying to accomplish things in this life at the expense of compromising the Word of God and righteous living is flat out cheating. (11Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished). Be willing to work for your reward. (But he who gathers by labor will increase) If we think our dishonesty towards the principles of God and His Word will go unnoticed, remember Galatians 6:7: Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 18Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for your truth that is put before me through your Word. Remind me as I go through my day of the wisdom learned from these scriptures. When I am in a position where taking a short cut, being dishonest or just compromising you truths is before me, I will see clearly the opportunity to be wise and walk in obedience and trust you for a better outcome. Let me also experience the joy that comes from knowing that my choice has been founded in scripture and be confident of your being pleased with me, your child. Amen

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Taking Sport

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 10

Gold Nugget
Verse: 
To do evil is like sport to a fool, but a man of understanding has wisdom.

Commentary
As a minister, I take great interest in human behaviors. I recently watched a television program about troubled youth in gangs. Of the violent and destructive behavior I witnessed in this documentary, the most disturbing and bone chilling was the reaction of the perpetrators to their own crimes. What I cannot understand of all the crimes against humanity is when these gangs are just strolling along and then jump on an innocent person with nothing other to gain, but the pleasure of watching them suffer. The abusers are bouncing around, laughing, smiling into the camera and encouraging each other to up the abuse. You just want to jump through the TV and rescue the person. These people are like today’s “gold nugget”, To do evil is like sport to a fool, but a man of understanding has wisdom.  They actually take sport in their evil behavior. I can’t understand taking pleasure in this evil thing... or can I? When we paint a picture like the true story above, we look with disgust at those with such disregard for moral fiber. Its one thing to sin, but hopefully sin will bring shame and you will rot with guilt until you cannot stand it any longer and repent. Just so you know; God sees everything we do just as easily as I witnessed those events from my easy chair. He watches us in our lives and is stricken with hurt and pain as He sees us continuing in sin and even taking sport in it. Surely He wonders how we can behave the way we do and smile into the camera. He sees the married man that is pursuing another woman and maybe even catches her and sins with pleasure and excitement. He sees the woman being caught by him and then pleasure in the catch. He also sees the wife at home with the kids, crying knowing that her marriage is a sham. I’m sure He wants to jump through the TV and rescue her and those kids. Sometimes He does and sometimes He allows the man space to repent. He sees the woman that has no regard for the sacrifices her husband makes and treats him like a subordinate with complaints and degrading behavior. He sees the parents that have trained their children to pursue anything in life more than pursuing the One that ensures them escape from eternal destruction. He sees the______ …you fill in the blank. Whatever it is in your life that you know is not pleasing to God; it’s time to stop taking pleasure in it. Stop smiling into the camera and start repenting of our sins.

Prayer
Lord, some of the things that I allow in my life would not be as offensive to me as it is to you an observer. I don’t want to think of my shameful deeds as all that horrible. Help me to abandon my moral threshold and adopt yours. My righteousness is as filthy rags. I want to be clothed in yours. Amen

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To Rebuke or Not to Rebuke

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 9

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

Commentary
To rebuke or not to rebuke… that is the question. It isn’t always easy drawing the line between when you should confront someone and when you shouldn’t. Before we discuss what scenarios may be appropriate for rebuking and not rebuking, let’s first discuss what should never be deciding factors. The first condition that should NOT decide whether or not you should confront them is fear. If you are afraid of either being shunned or of retaliation, you should not allow that to be the deciding factor on whether or not you take your stand. Standing up for what is right never promises popularity or even safety. Another condition that should not prevent you from confronting someone is laziness. When it is appropriate to confront someone, we should let it be a priority. This doesn’t mean that we will not proceed slowly, with caution seeking wisdom, but it does mean that we will not blow it off. Now, when is it the wrong time to rebuke? Two things should be sufficient to decide when you shouldn’t rebuke. One, when neither the person being confronted or others affected by the issue are expected to receive any benefit or potential learning from your rebuke, there isn’t any wisdom in confronting them. Consider the first part of today’s “gold nugget”, Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;When you know for certain that the person is not open to receive instruction, do not proceed for your own satisfaction. If there is someone else being lead astray with their folly, it may be appropriate to speak up for their benefit. The second condition that should prevent you from rebuking someone is whether or not you can administer it with love. If you are not doing it out of love, not only will it affect the delivery, but it is evident that you are not the right person for the job. So, when is the right time to rebuke? Take the wrong time to rebuke already mentioned and use the same steps. When either the person being confronted or others affected by the issue could benefit or learn from your rebuke, then proceed with love. Consider the second part of today’s “gold nugget”, Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.

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

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Trapped

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 5

Gold Nugget
Verse 22: 
His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin.”

Commentary
When I was a kid I got tricked into putting my fingers in a Chinese finger trap. I remember pulling my fingers apart only to find the trap tighten down on them. An immediate panic set in and instinctively I pulled harder trying to free myself. Watching my torturers roll with laughter at my frustration, I suspected that I needed them to someho0w break their code of silence and reveal to me the way to freedom. As I know now, and many of you can attest, simply relaxing and separating your fingers gently will allow the material to loosen, expand and free your fingers from it's death grip. It’s still great fun to watch unsuspecting children and adults suffer the “traumatic” experience of wondering if they will ever see their fingers again! This reminds me of what we are faced with when it comes to getting trapped by our sin. We will slide into that sin as willingly as I slid my fingers into that trap. Yes, maybe I was coerced and deceived into doing it, but I chose to put myself in the trap. Just like the Chinese finger trap, once sin has its grip on us, our struggling and panic will only cause the sin to tighten its hold on us. All the while, our enemy is taking great pleasure in our suffering. We cannot free ourselves from this squeeze the devil has us in. Our only hope is to stop struggling and start repenting. Repent means to turn from your current path and go the opposite direction. Just as I was trying to pull those fingers apart, I had to do the opposite thing and start pushing them together. I’ve heard the young folks say, PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens). I like that. If you have been tricked, or just decided poorly to get involved in something that has taken you over, stop struggling and start PUSHing. Pray Until Something Happens. Repent to your Father and watch Him set you free from the bondage that sin has put you in. We must accept that, as today’s “gold nugget” says, “His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin”. We got ourselves in this mess, but only He can get us out. Repent today and be set free!


Prayer
Lord, one of the hardest parts of getting free from the situation that the enemy has trapped us in, is accepting our role in it. We would rather view ourselves as victims instead of accepting that we made bad decisions. Help us to accept responsibility for the mess we’ve gotten ourselves in and witness the redemptive power of a merciful God. Amen

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Eyes Front

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 4

Gold Nugget
Verse 25-27: “25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.

Commentary
Let's look at today's gold nugget from a relationship stand point. If I my wife and I are walking in the mall and I go all the way through lusting after only 2 women - Have I done good? Well, just to keep this in perspective - in this scenario, there is a model convention, cheerleader contest or anything else that I can't think of right now. Now have I done good lusting after only 2 women? Of course not. For one, lusting after women is clearly identified by Jesus as adultery in your heart. Even had Jesus not covered this, it would still be sin. How could that be? It's simple really - my wife. If I lust after even one woman, it is a direct infliction of hurt to my wife. When I go though the mall or elsewhere, I don't want to do anything to hurt her. Even if she isn't with me, I should pretend she is. I should think of how I would feel from her actions and act that way for her.  

The key point I am trying to make is the ratio of rights verses wrongs. There is no good mix. One wrong to 100 rights or one wrong to 1,000 rights, either one is considered contaminated. People might consider this extreme thinking, but it isn't. I have known lots of women since I've been married and in all these years, I have not had a single affair. I have eaten over a thousand bowls of cereal, and not once with sour milk. I have been many times to the zoo and never jumped the fence where the alligators are. We can go on amazingly long streaks of proper actions when it could affect us adversely. All that tells us is that we are selfish. 

We are in a relationship with God and we don't want to do anything that would hurt Him. As a matter of fact, our greatest desire is to please Him. My life verse speaks on this subject: 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. (2 Timothy 2:4)

All that this world has to offer, still isn't worthy of distracting us from Him. These distractions can be anything from too much TV, golfing, playing, shopping, sports, etc. We must remember that we have enlisted in the Army of the Lord and we should live our lives as if a war is raging on and the wounded are all over the battlefield. We must continue to see every day as potentially our last. How would you spend your last day for the Lord?

Prayer
Lord, it is so easy for me to get distracted and look to the left or the right. I need to be reminded of what is at stake if I vary from the path you put before me. Father, forgive me of too many times that I have been distracted from the mission that you have sent me on. I want to fight the good fight for you, because I love you. Amen

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United We Stand

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 13

Gold Nugget
Verse 20:  He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed. 

Commentary
A previous gold nugget "Surrounded by Turkeys" dealt with the perils of hanging around with ungodly people. Today we will look at the flip side of this. Just as we referenced Psalm 1 and it's position on the bad company to avoid, we will also see what the bible says about the good company to keep. "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25) This verse is often used to remind us of our need to go to church and fellowship with the saints. It is a good approach, but also stresses the need to stay close to godly people for the edification of one another. When you go to a professional sporting event, there is something exciting about all those people wearing the same team colors and logos. You feel united with them because of your common interest. This is natural human instinct. Fishermen hang out with fisherman; hunters hang out with hunters, etc. It is our human instinct to join with people of our interest an passions. This should be even more true for Christians. We need each other more today than ever before. Remember what Hebrews 10:25 says; "and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."  As this world draws colder and colder, darker and darker, it's going to be more and more difficult for Christians. We need to draw strength from each other and unite in one accord.

Prayer
Lord, I need to be reminded of my need for other believers and maintain those relationships. As a matter of fact, I need to make those relationships priority over worldly relationships. Help me to encourage others and receive encouragement from them. 
Amen

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