Making Way for Others

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 31

Gold Nugget
Verse 23: “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.”

Commentary
Today’s chapter in proverbs focuses mainly on the strong character of a virtuous wife. I would like to focus our attention on the verse concerning her husband in the midst of a long list of her qualities.  Today’s “gold nugget” says, “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.” Why would I want to bring attention to what her husband’s status was in the land? The reason isn’t because of how great her husband is. I don’t believe that is the agenda of the writer. I believe the point the writer is making is the reason her husband was a pillar in the community. I believe the reason the writer threw in this mention of the husband in the midst of a great list of her qualities is because of how the husband benefited from such an amazing wife. She was so diligent in all of her business that she not only made him look good, she freed him of all cares that would distract him from tending to the business he was called to. They both had business to attend to and one was not greater than the other. Are the legs of the table any less or greater than the table surface? Which is the man, the legs or the table? Both are vital and I will not try and choose which one is which. I will simply say that we all have opportunities to enable or disable others. We may be in the spotlight or in the shadows, but unless we are concerned with receiving glory, it doesn’t matter which one we serve in. We just need to be the enablers for good things in each other. Sometime we need to know that what we do makes a way or blocks the way for others. This is not a gender thing, this is a godly thing. We can and should be the wind beneath each other’s wings. It takes more character to hold open a door for someone than it takes to walk through a door being held open for you. This role of making away for others to be successful is not a growing trait in our society, but it is one that reflects the heart of God. In a day of self promoting, we don’t promote one another through our own efforts enough. We should be as John the Baptist was. Despite his great popularity, when Jesus came along, he humbled himself, made a way for Jesus and proclaimed that he must decrease while Jesus increased.

Prayer
Lord, help us to see opportunities where we can make away for others to prosper through our efforts. Help us to have a spirit of decreasing for the increasing of others and more importantly, decreasing for you. Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

Talebearer

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 11

Gold Nugget
Verse 13:  “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.”

Commentary
One of the most common sins committed by Christians is the sin of gossiping. Somehow we came to the conclusion that we can get away with this and still be in good standing as opposed to the wicked people that commit adultery, murder, steal, tell lies and so on. Maybe we just don’t think words that start with the letter “g” are that big of a deal, because we seem to have no problem with gossiping or gluttony. Today’s “gold nugget” deals with this issue of gossip. “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.”  This issue of gossiping is not looked at as a minor thing in Scripture. As a matter of fact, it is simply a manifestation of the wickedness in the heart released by the tongue. In reality, it is wickedness that is warned about more than sexual sins, murder, and stealing combined. The Word of God not only continually describes it as utterly evil, but even of the evil in sitting and listening to it. Knowing that gossiping is frowned upon; we (in an effort to preserve our religious standing) devise creative ways to bring it to light.  We’ll say things like, “Oh, please keep so and so in your prayers. They are back into drinking.” or maybe, “Please pray for me, I’m having to deal with so and so…” It is true that there are times when someone needs to be exposed, but it will be done reluctantly with discernment, wisdom and love and not with pleasure or satisfaction. If our initial reaction to someone’s sin is not to pray first, our intentions are not likely to be pure and we are not the appropriate person to “bring it to light.”

Prayer
Lord, help me to avoid this wicked behavior. It is an offense to your heart and goes against the heart of love you expect from your children to one another. Give me discernment, wisdom and the love to know when someone’s issue is to be discussed and with whom. Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

Sleepy Time

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 6

Gold Nugget
Verse 10,11: “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep—  So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.”

Commentary
Many companies will entitle you to a vacation as a benefit to your employment. One of the hardest things to do is to go back to work after a good vacation. It’s just as difficult for many folks to try and get up after our daily vacation of sleep through the night. The “sleep vacation” is so much better than the daily grind and many of us start our day with the battle of choosing which we will do. This is a horrible way to start the day. It is much better when you have control over your will and avoid the fight altogether by choosing to get up and get on with the responsibilities we have. This takes discipline and is accomplished after consistently choosing the right thing over the convenient thing. Many people lose this battle so often that they end up unemployed, and then the lack of interest in getting out of that bed increases even more. The cycle of choosing sleep and loafing causes destruction in every area of our lives whether it is in your employment or in relationships. Not carrying our fair share of the load will cause sure destruction. Today’s “gold nugget” says, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep—  So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.” For those of you that are fully employed, be sure that you do not escape the value of this proverb. There are many aspects to being lazy that will cause destruction. Being too lazy to tend to issues with your spouse, children, extended families, etc will cause destruction in your relationships. Being too lazy to be involved in adequate food intake to food burning ratio can cause destruction of your body. Being too lazy to have an active prayer life, bible study time and healthy relationship with the church will cause spiritual destruction. It’s never too late to make these necessary changes in your life. Make a decision today to “Wake up” and get your business in order. Your spiritual, mental and physical health depends upon it.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for giving me a much needed wakeup call in these areas. I feel the difference it made in my spirit, mind and body. To you belongs all the glory.  Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

Change of Scenery

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 5

Gold Nugget
Verse 8: “Remove your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house,”

Commentary
I heard the old story about the guy that was trying to stop visiting the donut shop on the way to work every day. He said, “I challenged the Lord and told Him that I would it take as a sign that it was okay to stop by for a donut today if by some miracle there was a parking spot open right in front; and wouldn’t you know it? On the sixth trip around the block, one opened right up!” The truth is that guy didn’t stand a chance of driving by that donut shop without stopping in for some calories. His only hope is to do what I have heard people say they’ve done. I knew a guy that would drive out of his way everyday to avoid passing his particular choice of junk food. He was willing to do whatever it took to keep from being tempted. He would remove himself far from his weakness and steer clear of its door. Just as today’s “gold nugget” says, “Remove your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house”, it’s hard to soar with the eagles when you’re surrounded by turkeys. If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned… and any other cliché you might think of. Despite the success and popularity of those old sayings, the scriptures say it best. “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” (Proverbs 13:20) or another, “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22) We can’t continue in the old patterns, paths, hangouts or companions that remain in the ways that we are choosing to change. We may need a change of scenery or maybe even as the guy we discussed earlier, and change our route or whatever it takes to continue in the direction we are supposed to go in. However God has shown us that He wants to be different, we need to take extreme measures if necessary to be successful and obedient.

Prayer
Lord, we know that we may need to change several things in our routine or maybe even people that we associate with to rise to the challenges you’ve set before us. I pray that we will show you how much of a priority it is for us to obey you by taking whatever steps are needed. Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

My Guardian

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 4

Gold Nugget
Verse 12: “When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble.”

Commentary
The Lord has proven himself to be true over and over again. It sure brings a lot of peace knowing that He always upholds His promises. When He says He will keep you, provide for you and make a way for you - He does. Today’s “Gold Nugget” tells us that obeying His commands will ensure that "When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble". I have been walking with Him for many years now, and I can assure you of His ability to provide for me and protect me. He has continually made a way when there seemed to be no way. He has delivered me when I felt most trapped and fed me when I was most hungry. The road has had many rough spots, but I can tell you that He keeps moving me along. He has carried me when I couldn't walk and spoke for me when I couldn't talk. He is my God, my King, my Savior and friend. He is there when no one is and keeps me warm when I am cold. He is my comforter, my confidence and my courage. He is the only constant in a world full of ups and downs, ins and outs. He keeps my foot from stumbling when I should have fallen and lifts me up when I couldn't be risen. He loves me when I am unlovable and understands me when I am confused. He disciplines me when I'm unruly and promotes me when I am faithful. He is just, righteous, gracious and merciful. He is worthy of all my praise and I will never be content without Him. The world cannot offer me enough or take enough away from me to convince me to walk away from Him. He is my everything and He will make a way for me. He is my joy and strength and protector. He is my guardian.

Prayer
Lord, I just want to take this day to say, "I love you". You are beautiful and keep me in awe. Take my life, Lord. If there is anything left you can use... it's yours. Have your way. Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

The Necklace of Truth

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 3

Gold Nugget
Verse 3-4: “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.”

Commentary
Considering Proverbs chapter 3 is one of my favorite all-time chapters in the bible, it was difficult to pick out today's gold nugget. I have determined to be content with just verses 3 & 4 for this month. Inside these two verses we find an extremely important biblical principle that has shaped a large portion of the way that I live my life. As a prerequisite to understanding the lesson in these verses, let us first review a commonly known truth concerning grace. It is known that grace is "unmerited" favor.  Although this is true of grace, it does not define grace. Actually, grace and mercy are both unmerited favor.  The more precise definition of grace is an “unmerited gift”, while mercy is an “unmerited pardon”. Both are unmerited. You did not merit the gift of salvation and you did not merit the pardon of sin.

Un-merited doesn’t exist without merited. That being said; there is merited favor just as sure as there is un-merited favor. Merited means earned. Yes, we can earn favor. These verses in today’s “gold nugget” clearly illustrate the ability to earn favor with God and man. This kind of favor is conditional upon our obedience and adherence to His laws and His truths. If you read the chapter from verse 1 through verse 4, you will see that the requirement to earn (or merit) this type of favor requires our obedience to His laws.

What laws, Steve? We are not under any laws! Really? Sure we are. Yes we are New Testament Christians, but receive this New Testament scripture from Hebrews 8:8-10 “Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah-- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

We have truths that God has written in our hearts from being in a relationship with him. Things He has taught us in our walk. There are laws that He has written in my heart. These laws that I have "bound about my neck and written on the tablet of my heart." and have witnessed the favor of God and man that I tie directly to adherence to these laws. I still benefit from living under grace and know that my weakness in these areas does not hinder my salvation, but it does hinder the favor needed and desired for my day to day living.

Prayer
Lord, help me to recognize the things you have taught me and implement them in my daily living. I want to bind the truths that you have revealed to me about my neck and write your laws in my heart. I do want the favor of you and people that often have power over me, whether in the workplace or any other area. I love you, Lord and want to follow your leading. Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

Preventative Maintenance

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 22

Gold Nugget
Verse 3:A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.”

Commentary
While reviewing the upcoming work schedule, a young fellow in the business that I am in asked what a PM was. I proceeded to tell him about the concept of "preventative maintenance". I shared with him the difference between waiting until something is broke to fix it as opposed to being attentive, taking care and caution to prevent things from going wrong. Changing the AC filter regularly can prevent costly repairs down the road. Such is the wisdom provided in today's "gold nugget". Christians would do better to participate in a spiritual Preventative Maintenance program. A spiritual program that foresees trouble and “break-downs”, and then takes the necessary action to "prevent" them. “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.” Many of us wait until we have fallen flat on our spiritual faces before we will look to God to get us out of our mess. It is usually a lot more costly and difficult to recover from. We must be aware of our weaknesses and steer clear of those areas. That is a "preventative" attitude and a spiritually mature Christian practices this type of preventative maintenance. Do you know what your week areas are?

Prayer
Lord, help us to be aware of the areas in our life that we are not spiritually developed in and stay clear of temptation. Help us to be humble enough to know they exist and mature enough to take the long way around if necessary. Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

Earning Grace

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 21

Gold Nugget
Verse 3:To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”

Commentary
One of the things that I am very sure of is the fact that we cannot earn grace. That is not a new concept and gives me plenty of wiggle room. What I would like to do today is narrow down a piece of that concept that may not be so familiar to you. When we say that we cannot earn grace, we are usually discussing how we obtain salvation. More specifically that we cannot earn salvation. We are saved by grace and not our own doing. This is true, but let’s takes it to a more applicable scenario than salvation alone. For those of us that are saved, we may not see the present need for understanding “we cannot earn grace” outside of a salvation context. It is by the grace of God that we are saved. We cannot earn salvation through our good deeds and works, and yet we violate the fullness of this truth on a routine basis. Almost more so, for those of us who understand this truth the most. Many of us who hold fast to the “we cannot earn grace” doctrine, violate its purpose by walking in somewhat alignment with His Word. We lean on the fact that our accepting of His salvation gives us the flexibility (grace) to take a half-hearted approach to walking in His precepts. In this, we have assumed that our acceptance of His salvation has "earned us grace" concerning our obedience to Him. How can we say that we cannot earn grace and yet embrace grace just because we have accepted it? Grace is not ours, it is His. He expects us to walk in obedience without considering how much “wiggle room” we have. I have seen a rather overwhelming presence of “earned grace” being exercised among Christians. I’ve seen people that have walked with the Lord - turn and take a vacation from the principles and even boundaries that He established in their lives. They feel like their repeated obedience has earned them some leeway. This is grace that they think they have earned. This is not only common and horribly wrong, but is embraced by many of us that hold fast to the fact that “we cannot earn grace”. We are using one side of the truth. The truth that is convenient for us. Our run of obedience, our many charities and sacrifices have not earned us grace or wiggle room concerning God’s precepts. Remember what Samuel told Saul, “…has the Lord as great delight in sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…” God would have us to walk in continued obedience without considering how it relates to our streak of obedience, our many charities or sacrifices. We cannot earn grace for salvation just as assuredly as we cannot earn grace for resident sin in our lives. Is the grace there? Yes. Did we earn it? No.

Prayer
Lord, I too often lean on my past victories and sacrifices in order to justify a break in sticking to your commands and expectations. This is nothing other than expecting that I have earned grace. For that Lord, I repent. I accept your forgiveness and will strive to walk upright before you. Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

The Last Word

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 20

Gold Nugget
Verse 3: “It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.”

Commentary
Have you ever accused or been accused of having to have the last word? Often people will accuse someone else of having to get the last word as a way to get in the last word themselves. The truth is, we seem to relate the last word as the winning word. Walking away from a physical confrontation for guys requires a lot of humility or an equal amount of fear. Walking away out of fear isn’t very noble. Walking away out of wisdom is extremely noble. It is often just as difficult to walk away from a quarrel. When others accuse you it is instinctive to defend yourself, but not always the wisest approach. The world will teach you to defend your name and sometimes it is the right thing to do. However, Jesus said in The Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Even though people will not acknowledge that they are attacking you because of your commitment to Christ, if you are being attacked because of the choices you made as a result of your relationship and commitment to Him, they are attacking you because of Christ. If they go around lying about you and you choose to take the high road by holding your tongue, you will be blessed of God for your self control, humility and obedience. Jesus went on to say in The Sermon on the Mount, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Not every attack is worthy of a defense. Let God fight your battles. If you are innocent and wrongly accused, remember who the Judge is and trust that their accusations can only go as far as He allows. Today’s “gold nugget” says, “It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.” Don’t worry about getting the last word. It takes more discipline to walk away from a fight, but God is a rewarder to those that obey this principle. Any fool can start a fight, but a wise person will end one.
    
Prayer
Lord, it can be so hard choosing to stay silent as people lie against us, but we know you are in control. Thank you for reminding us of this and giving us the strength to stay faithful. Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

Pay it Forward

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 19

Gold Nugget
Verse 20: “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days.”

Commentary
Many people want to teach and instruct others in areas that they themselves have not learned. We all know someone that seems to have expertise on every subject. If you mention something about hunting, they will begin to tell you all there is to know about hunting. If you mention skiing, they will tell you all about the details of skiing. Hanging around this person long enough will allow you to see them fumble the ball as they speak on something you have actual knowledge of. You find that they are really just experts at pretending. We think of this person and probably get a little embarrassed for them. Now that we have isolated this person, imagine that you are the one who seems to be the expert in all matters. It isn’t difficult if you really try. One of the ways to imagine yourself as the subject matter expert in all things is to imagine your inability to listen and receive instructions from others. Well, surely we aren’t that way in all things, but we may be in some. It may be some of the most important things. How good are we at receiving counsel and instructions in matters like how we behave and live our lives? Not all of the characters we described above are simply revealed through how much they talk, but also how little they listen. We may not boast of our knowledge, but being too prideful to receive counsel and instructions will put us in the same place. If we listen now and learn, we will one day have the wisdom in our inventory to be able to pay it forward. That is to say, if we receive life preserving counsel and instruction today, one day we will be able to help give life preserving counsel to others. We can pay it forward as mentioned in today’s “gold nugget”, “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days.”

Prayer
Lord, help us to gather all of the wisdom we can today through receiving counsel and instruction, so  we may be able to posses and share wisdom in our latter days. Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

The Backslider

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 14

Gold Nugget
Verse 14:  “The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above.”

Commentary
I've often heard the saying, "I'm going to give him enough rope to hang himself." Although it sounds horrible, there is a certain amount of truth to be gleaned from the concept. For starters, God doesn't hang people or send them to hell. I subscribe to the belief that we choose eternal separation from Him by rejecting His salvation. He gave us just enough free will to hang ourselves. He doesn't want us to abandon His outreaching arms, but He created us for His own purpose and its option to what the alternative would be. It doesn't bother me that my turning away from Him will result in everlasting destruction. I have determined that I want to spend eternity with Him and don't mind trading ownership of my life over to Him for keeping. If I choose to "backslide", the ways that I trade Him for will consume me - "The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways". The deception so readily portrayed by the enemy will lead you to think that "sliding" away from the Lord will only be a small pause in your relationship Him. The whole "absence makes the heart grow fonder" does not work when turning away from the Lord. The truth is, turning away from Him for your own devices will actually cause you to be owned by them more and more. Your relationship with Jesus is one that must be maintained. Do not put Him on the back burner. He must be the premiere focus of your affections and source for your provision and direction.

Prayer
Lord, I know how easy it is to allow the problems, distractions and self concerns take from our walk. I will remember that you are my reason for living and must not allow our relationship to take a backseat to anything. Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

The Honest Truth

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 11

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

Commentary
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 the enemy’s 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 these 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 enemy’s 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


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

Loving Death

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 8

Gold Nugget
Verse 36: 
But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me love death.


Commentary
Today’s “gold nugget” refers to God’s wisdom. To neglect, reject or hate the wisdom of God is to neglect, reject or hate God Himself. God is Wisdom. These are strong words, but true. God has put forth His wisdom for us to have life. To reject this life giving wisdom is to accept deadly foolishness. To say, He who sins against me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me love death”, sounds unlikely, but is a reality. For someone to love death or intentionally wrong their own soul seems out of our realm of potential scenarios. In order to see ourselves as possibly falling into this type of situation we might visualize it another way. Maybe you have heard that the person who doesn’t forgive, hurts himself most. When you don’t forgive someone you are often the only one suffering. The person that offended you is potentially sleeping well, not concerned with your bitterness. It is said that forgiving someone else frees yourself. That being said, not forgiving is self destructive. Just as sure as not forgiving is self destructive, not conforming, embracing and seeking the wisdom of God is self destructive. The wisdom of God is life breathing to our mortal souls. His wisdom is eye opening to our darkened lives. His wisdom is guidance to the lost and freedom to the bound. All He has to give is liberation, peace and joy. Adversely, the one who isn't embracing and seeking His wisdom “wrongs their own soul and loves death.

Prayer
Lord, I know your wisdom is readily available to me in the bible. Neglecting to find you in your Word is surely rejecting you. As I turn the pages of your Word, please enlighten me with your wisdom.  Amen

If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/ 

Self Destruction

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 7

Gold Nugget
Verse 1-2:  “My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you. Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye.”

Commentary
Proverb chapter 7 deals with a rebellious person. The young man in this passage is willingly and defiantly taking the road to destruction.  The woman that is luring him into sin is wearing the clothes of a harlot. She’s loud and rebellious and has no control over her flesh. She is married and does not deny it to the young man she is promising a night of passion. He willingly overlooks what is right to satisfy his own desires. Who can rescue this person? He knew what he was doing was wrong, but as verse 23 states, he didn’t know it would cost him his life.

“He didn’t know the price it would cost.” That is the biggest trap for any sin. If a young man is full of desire for a beautiful woman that is ready and willing to met him at a hotel and have a passion-filled night until morning; he would be there early waiting for her arrival. Even if he was married, often times he will risk his marriage for a moment of pleasure. He would risk his job and his reputation. Take the same scenario with the exception that she promised him all of those passionate pleasures, but acknowledges to him that she is HIV positive. Even the foolish man will not trade a night of passion for his life. As the bible teaches, “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it” (Ephesians 5:29a). Again verse 23 says “He did not know it would cost his life”.

Trying to get people to understand that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a) is of most importance to all of us. Often left abandoned after “accepting” Jesus, this wage of death is true in areas other than the destruction of the soul. Affairs can bring death to a relationship, violence can bring death to a relationship, and laziness can bring death to our jobs, and so on. We need to know that willful sin will cost more than we want to pay. It is best for us to avoid sin because of our desire to please God and our desire to avoid hurting Him, but self preservation is an accepted form of discipline. The scriptures are okay with teaching us to avoid sin because of the hurt it will cause us. The trap is the enemy’s lies that convince us that no harm will befall us. Remember this, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”  (Galatians 6:7)

Prayer
Lord, I don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking my sin will go unchecked. I don’t want to be deceived into thinking that my willful disobedience will not cost me too much. Assure me that defiance to your teachings and precepts will cost me more than I want to pay. Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

Basic Training Manual

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 6

Gold Nugget
Verse 21-22: “Bind them continually upon your heart; Tie them around your neck. When you roam, they will lead you; when you sleep, they will keep you; and when you awake, they will speak with you.”

Commentary
When the words of Solomon were being recorded over 3,000 years ago, most of the scriptures and laws of God were being passed down from parents telling their children of the Lord’s commands and events involving the children of Israel. It was of utmost importance that children listened and obeyed the commands of their parents in order to ensure God’s laws remained the standard for Israel. Today we may benefit from parents that serve God, but are not out in the cold if they don’t. The Word of God is available to all of us that have an interest in what He has to say and what He expects of us. The commands of our father and the laws of our mother concerning God’s commands and laws are right in front of us whether our parents pass them down or not. That being said, we need to grasp the importance of today’s “gold nugget” concerning how we should regard God’s commands and laws, “Bind them continually upon your heart; Tie them around your neck. When you roam, they will lead you; when you sleep, they will keep you; and when you awake, they will speak with you.” When I was in the Army over 20+ years ago, I went through boot camp in Fort Jackson South Carolina. For 8 weeks, when they weren’t treating us like the scum of the earth, they were drilling every important piece of information that we would possibly need if we ever saw battle. We carried our “Basic Field Manual” in our cargo pockets wherever we went. If we weren’t running, marching or shooting, we were reading, studying and memorizing. If we ever left the barracks without it secured in our pocket, sealed in a zip lock bag for protection, we would pay a price for it. The purpose was to ensure that when it came to the words of that book we would, “Bind them continually upon our hearts; tie them around our necks. When we would roam, they would lead us; when we slept, they would keep us; and when we were awake, they would speak to us.” They knew that we would not be able to survive without this knowledge. It’s the same way with the Word of God. We must get them off the pages and into our hearts and around our necks. Failure to do so will put us in greater danger than bullets and arrows ever could.

Prayer
Lord, help us to understand that your Words were never meant to stay on the pages of the Bible, but were meant to take hold in our hearts and be worn as an ornament around our necks. We will accept this today as conditional for our spiritual survival. Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

The Agent

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 5

Gold Nugget
Verse 21:  “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.”

Commentary
It comes as a great comfort to know that God is aware of not only what I am going through, but what lies ahead of me. He knows me better than I know myself and he is keen on what I can handle and what I cannot. A profitable athlete, actor, singer, etc, often owe a great deal of credit on their agent. An agent is someone that knows the industry better than the person they are looking out for and can help them to avoid and recover from bad decisions. Our God is the greatest of all agents. He knows the path that we should take (And He ponders all our paths) as well as knows the paths we shouldn't take. Like many famous athletes and celebrities, we often get so full of ourselves that we forget the one who we should be seeking for direction. He is our representative and our negotiator. We can't take one step without Him. He knows the "industry" and will instruct us in wisdom and knowledge. He is looking out for our best interest and will ensure our safety and well being. We need only trust and obey Him. It may seem simple to say in word, but difficult sometimes to practice in deed. As farfetched as it may seem, we have a tendency to act like spoiled celebrities that have forgotten where we came from and who got us where we are.  Today’s “gold nugget” says, "For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.” He knows what lies ahead of us and what we will need to get us through. Let's put away our foolish pride and put our hand in His. He knows what our future holds and we can have peace knowing that He is in control. That is, if we have given Him control. Have you? Will you today?

Prayer
Lord, I put my life and direction into your hands. You are fully capable of handling all of my affairs and circumstances. Lead me and guide me, I will follow. Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

Inner Beauty

Reading for Today: Proverbs Chapter 31

Gold Nugget
Verse 30-31: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gate.”

Commentary
Do you know a beautiful woman? What is it about here that makes her beautiful? A woman that has outward beauty is highly sought after. This is nothing new. A beautiful woman is the subject of many magazine covers, TV commercials and all around recipient of all the attention. This is the way of the human race. Women that may not fit into our culture's definition of beautiful may have suffered on the short end of this stick. When short hair is in, women with long hair are deemed less beautiful. When tans are in, women with light skin are deemed less beautiful, etc. Our culture decides what is beautiful in a woman and the women of our culture scurry to adhere to its every whim.

What truly defines beauty in a woman? In reality, this can be dependent on the interior of a woman. Yes, inner beauty does matter even to men. Let me explain through a couple of Neanderthal examples. Some men find woman who have an "earthy" style as more attractive than, let's say, a fancy salon styled hair do with the latest makeup trend and designer clothes. This particular man interprets this woman as having natural beauty and seems more authentic. Maybe he would see her character as being someone who would care about the more important things in life than her being so focused on the world. Another man is attracted to the woman who drives a truck and wears camo. As funny as that sounds, he finds her personality beautiful because she shares his interest. Yes, even a woman's outer beauty can be deemed greater by the way the man sees her inner personality reflected in her outward appearance.

It's what's inside of a woman that truly defines her beauty. Consider this passage:

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, (1 Peter 3:1-5)

Prayer
Lord, help us to remember that we are defined by your standards and not the world's. Help us to conform to your Word and let our culture have their standards without dictating to us who we are. Let our obedience to you define our beauty and our character. Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

Boys Will Be Boys

Reading for Today: Proverbs Chapter 30

Gold Nugget
Verse 12: 
There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness.” 

Commentary
I have raised both boys and girls. The girls I still struggle with understanding. I had 5 sisters and yet to me, women are still the most complicated of God’s creation. Boys on the other hand are as predictable to me as the winner of a Harlem Globetrotters game. I’ve raised my sons and to this day miss the days when they were the little rascals that used to make me angry on the outside and laugh on the inside at their many calamities and schemes. To this day, when I see a young man with his young sons, I wish for those days again. I have a grandson now and hope he has either a cousin or brother soon to help him get in trouble when they are at Poppy’s house. One of the things that I remember so well is the boys at bath time. While I had to pester my daughters about the amount of water they cost me and the time they kept the bathroom occupied, the boys could be in and out within a couple of minutes and cost me a mere cup or two of water. Upon the periodical inspection, it was easy to find that they usually had just wet their hair to try and fool me into thinking they were clean. If it wasn’t the apparent dirt around their neck and behind their ears, the odor of all day sweat and whatever they climbed through would prove that they were in fact still filthy. After threatening them within an inch of their lives if they didn't get clean, out would emerge a handsome young man clean enough even for church. This is much like today’s modern day “Christian” that presents his self with a wet head assuming he is clean and washed from His sins. Today’s “gold nugget” teaches us that, There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness.” My sons thought they were clean in “their own eyes”, but a true inspection will reveal that they had not really spent any time in the shower. Just as today’s Christian dips his head in the water or even may get baptized in it, only a real relationship with the purifying cleansing power of the righteousness of God can make him clean. This Christian faith is a commitment for life and a way of life. Boys will be boys, but a Christian is not one who denies his filthiness. Instead, he repents of it and allows the Lord to cleanse him from all impurities.
 
Prayer
Lord, it’s one thing to play in the mud and roll in the dirt, but it’s another thing to deny the filth. Although it’s my intention to keep from being contaminated by this world, if I do get some of this world on me, I want to admit it quickly and find the mercy and grace that comes through repentance. Amen

If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/ 

Cart Before the Horse

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 29

Gold Nugget
Verse 25: “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.”

Commentary
Have you ever heard the old saying, “Don’t put the cart before the horse”? The saying assumes that we will on occasion get our priorities out of order. A horse will pull a cart, but a cart will not pull a horse. It’s funny if you think about it. Can’t you just see that old fool tying his horse to the back of that cart thinking he has done right? We would laugh ourselves silly. You know what else is funny? Have you ever seen a mouse tree a lion? That would be a sight worth seeing. These scenarios are both backwards and ridiculous. Such is the person who has more fear of man than of God. To put this in a perspective that may hit closer to home and be closer to the point, many people will compromise the principles taught us in scripture for fear of man. An example of this is the Christian that feels pressure to laugh at the boss’ dirty joke. Or maybe the person compromises their convictions founded in the bible to keep a spouse or avoid upsetting their children. Now that is putting the cart before the horse and treeing a lion with a mouse. It just doesn’t make sense. The one we need to be concerned about pleasing above everyone else is our Creator God. He is the one that holds our future in His hands. He can open the right doors and close the wrong ones. He is the ultimate person to be on our side. How can we put the fear or concern of others above His expectations? Today’s “gold nugget” reminds us, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.” Stay true to the Word of God no matter what. You would be better off upsetting your boss, spouse and children before you want to compromise what God expects of you.

Prayer
Lord, I want to make sure that my priorities in who I please does not compromise or take priority over pleasing you. You have made your expectations clear in your Word. Ignorance of your Words due to neglect will not be excused on that day. Help me to learn your will from the bible and apply it to my life. Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

Take the Wood Out of the Fire

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 26

Gold Nugget
Verse 20: “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.”

Commentary
My grandmother used to always say, “It takes two to tango”. Honestly, I didn’t really care for the statement. Usually when someone says, “It takes two to tango” it points the blame for a conflict on both parties. Who wants to hear that? What we really want is for the other party to accept responsibility and change. Now, for the sake of this devotion, let’s assume that you are not the one that needs to change. In this situation you are not doing anything wrong. Begin to fill this scenario out in your head. Who is it that needs to change? Are you truly innocent in the origin of this problem? Okay, maybe you are. You have done everything right and still there is this conflict. Often we find ourselves in situations with difficult people. Someone I know recently got bombarded with horrible ungodly comments, insults and accusations from someone they know on facebook. He asked me what he should do. Of course the first thing I suggested was to ask this person to avoid posting ungodly things on his facebook. He did, but the guy actually ridiculed him for the request. After a few days another horrible and wicked comment was posted on my friend’s facebook from this same guy. Finally I suggested that he remove the guy from his friends list to prevent him from spreading his hatred on his profile page. Today’s “gold nugget” says, “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.” There was a great deal of fiery strife from this hateful person, but my friend removed the wood from the fire. It does take two to tango. Sometimes we are in the right, but contribute to the strife by being an active participant. Sometimes the most effective solution is avoidance. As with this case it was not the first suggestion, but if continued strife can't be avoided – avoid the person. Take the wood out of the fire. The flame will die without your fuel. Pray about it. Sometimes this is the answer, but it is best decided between you and God when avoidance is the answer. Sometimes it's best to just let it go. 

Prayer
Lord, help to recognize when a relationship is only volatile and not constructive or healthy. With your guidance, I want to be able to know when to walk away and when to stick it out. Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 25

Gold Nugget
Verse 25: 
As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country.” 

Commentary
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! I guess some of the younger generation won’t even know what that comes from. Back in the old days, newspapers were the main form of media. Before we had 200+ channels and the World Wide Web, folks would get the vast majority of their news from the “news” paper. This was usually issued once a day, but when something big happened the publisher would issue an “extra” edition with the important news. The paper boys would stand on the streets with stacks of the “extras” yelling, “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” Did you know that “Gospel” literally means “Good News”? When we accepted Salvation, we accepted employment for God. We become the servants of Jesus and the stewards of The Gospel. After raising from the dead, Jesus commanded us to go Preach (proclaim) the Gospel (The Good News). In short, He said, “Take your stack of newspapers and go stand in the streets yelling “Extra! Extra! Hear all about it!” Even though the Old Testament had been issued, something big happened that warranted an extra issue from the Publisher. The New Testament is the written Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s the good news of His saving grace and tender mercies. It’s the news of His power over sin and liberating peace. You can’t tell me that isn’t news worth spreading. The reality is we are all supposed to be taking this news to the streets. Today’s “gold nugget” illustrates the powerful effect that good news can have on a person who is at there toughest point in life, “As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country.” Your willingness to spread this good news might be the life saving drink of water that someone really needs. Wouldn’t you like to be used in such a way?

Prayer
Lord, I want to be a good servant to you and a help to others. Help me to remember the calling you have on all of us to be willing to stand in the streets and tell people of the good news of your love and restoring power. Amen

If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/ 

Rocky 17

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 24

Gold Nugget
Verse 16: 
For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity.” 

Commentary
Humanity loves a story of endurance and tenacity. Just like the installments of the Rocky movies themselves, Rocky didn’t know when to quit. Just when you think that nobody could recover from such a beating, he would rise to his feet once again. Resolving to finish the fight, the Italian Stallion would not allow blood, sweat and tears keep him from accomplishing his goal. Even his fans would cry out for him to stay down. They didn’t want to see him take a beating anymore. Many of us have taken a real beating in our lives. We have been on the ropes and on the mat. We have lost many rounds, but we hold on against the odds, hoping, believing for a miracle. I can’t speak for everyone, but I hope I speak for you and me. This kid isn’t staying down. Don’t throw in the towel for me. I still believe, but not in me. I believe what the bible says when I read Philippians 1:6, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; Paul also wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I’m either too stupid to stay down or I really believe that my God can overcome my failures. I have a lot of confidence in His mercy and love for me. He wants us to get back up, He will not suffer us to be defeated! He will hold up your arms for you. I have resolved to be as the man in today’s “gold nugget”, For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity.”  I really don’t want to get knocked down, but I refuse to let it be the end of me. How about you? Are you just lying on the mat, looking up with disbelief and fear? Reach for the ropes and pull yourself up. There’s fight in you yet!


Prayer
Lord, I am truly sorry for the times I’ve failed you, but I refuse to believe that you are done with me. I want to please you with my resolve to finish this fight. If you are for me, who can be against me? Amen

If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/ 

Wasted Wisdom

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 23

Gold Nugget
Verse 9: “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.”

Commentary
In our efforts to walk in love, we will often find ourselves helping those that will not help themselves. The challenge is in knowing who really wants help and will use that help to move closer to the person they should be and those that have the philosophy of, “If it’s free, it’s for me, I’ll take three!” Whether its financial help, lending someone a helping hand or any other type of assistance, many people will not use that help to better themselves. The challenge is knowing who will benefit from your help and who won’t. Some people will simply stop helping anyone once they’ve been burned, but Christians know it comes with the territory and just try to keep from getting burned by the same people too much. That being said, we should be careful to keep from spending all of our resources on those that are not going to truly benefit from it and shift our time, money and efforts to those who will. The same goes for our wisdom and advice. As we gain experience through life, we want to prevent those from making the same mistakes we’ve made. The challenge is knowing who is interested in your wisdom and who will just despise you for it. Today’s “gold nugget” says, “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.” Sometimes our advice will be cast away, but we shouldn’t simply refuse to offer wisdom because of the rejection of some. Knowing when to withhold our wisdom from others and knowing when to share it comes from attempting it in love and using good judgment. We will just have to keep trying until any doubt is removed.

Prayer
Lord, I know that you expect us to be helpful and give direction to the lost, but I also know you gave us this verse in Proverbs to make sure we use wisdom with the resources you have given us by distributing it to those that need and will benefit from them.  Amen


If you are reading this devotional in an e-mail and would like to post a comment, click on this link http://proverbfortoday.org/

Labels