Speak Up

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 31

Gold Nugget
Verse 8:
 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”

Commentary
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) We know that we are supposed to love God. We also know that we are supposed to speak up for God, but John 13:35 illustrates the love that we should have for one another. If we love each other, we will also speak on each other’s behalf. Proverbs 27:2 says, “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth”. Just as we should lift one another up in encouragement, we should also speak out for them in defense. Some folks do not praise themselves or defend themselves. It is best accomplished through others. Today’s “gold nugget” says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” I believe that speaking up for those who cannot speak up for themselves includes those that will not speak up for themselves. I have been in situations where God wouldn’t have me defend myself. It was difficult, but I had to refrain. It was a blessing when others stood up for me. I found it more effective and appropriate than defending myself. To defend ourselves is in our instinct, whether we are right or wrong. However, when someone else speaks up for us it adds credibility. Then I understood why God wouldn’t allow me to defend myself. If you have ever been in this situation, you can see what a powerful impact you can have on those that you defend and speak up for. This is the kind of love that testifies of our love for each other and confirms what Jesus said in John 13:35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”. We should champion those who are afflicted and bruised. This is the work that we have been called to. We share in the spreading of the Gospel and also for the building and maturing of the saints. Walk for the lame, speak for the speechless and fight for the defenseless. This is the Love of Christ Jesus and testifies that we are His disciples (followers of His path). Someone you know may need to be defended. It is best that they wait to be defended for instead of them defending themselves. Don’t leave them waiting.

Prayer
Lord, help me to be sensitive to the needs of those around me. Give me the boldness to stand up for them when no one else will. Help me to be a testimony of your love in how I love my brothers and sisters. Amen

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To Be Perfectly Honest

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 30

Gold Nugget
Verse 8a: “Remove falsehood and lies far from me;”

Commentary
 Whether it is lying or being lied to, I want both removed far from me. I’d like to believe that I have a reputation for telling the truth. It is very important to me that I neither lie nor suffer lies to be told to me. I really only have control over one of those. I have seen destruction in my life from both my own lies and others. It is a dead end street that will only cause and increase pain. Nothing good comes from lies and deception. Some people have not come to believe that lies are that harmful. If they live long enough, they should be able to see the cancerous effects of lies in a person’s life. The problem with lying and deceiving is believing that they go unnoticed. If I was to tell a lie that nobody could possibly know wasn’t true, is it still harmful? I believe it is still a destructive act. If not to others directly, the clear expectations from God concerning honesty proves its devastating results. Allowing dishonesty to have a place in our lives taints us from the purity that God has demanded of us. Just like adultery, stealing and many other works of the flesh, lying is an offence in the sight of God. I want, like today’s “gold nugget” proclaims, “Remove falsehood and lies far from me;” I don’t want a lying trait in me and don’t want it around me. We should make a big deal out of lying. Today it doesn’t seem to be as big a deal as it used to be. The ironic thing is that no matter how tolerant our society may become towards lying, God’s perspective on it hasn’t change since the very first time His creation lied to Him in the garden. It hurt Him then, it hurts Him now and it will hurt Him tomorrow. Let us remove lies far away from us and be a people of character, honesty and trustworthiness. Let's be perfectly honest.

Prayer
Lord, help us to understand the destructive effects of allowing dishonesty to have a place in our lives. Help us to desire that lies and falsehoods to be put far away from us and be perfectly honest. Amen


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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”? This 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 site 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 avoid strife with 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


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Spoiled Milk

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 28

Gold Nugget
Verse 13: “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”

Commentary
Out of sight may be out of mind for some things, but not for everything. They say there isn’t any use in crying over spilled milk either, but spilled milk behind the couch maybe out of sight, but it won’t be out of mind when it starts to sour. There are many things we try to pretend doesn’t or didn’t happen. Dirt continually swept under the carpet will build a lump that everyone can see and you will eventually trip over. Many of us attempt to go through this life with our faults and weaknesses unattended to. Pride or carelessness drives us to overlook our own faults and sins as if they are not issues that need to be dealt with. Whether it’s because we have a twisted perception of God’s grace or whether we just don’t care about spiritual growth, our hidden or ignored sins will catch up with us. When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we ask Him to forgive us of our sins and we are immediately cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), but as we continue to walk with Him, we must deal with our weak areas as they arise. If we fail to reflect Godly character, we must identify and repent of our sins and look for change in our behavior. Trying to pretend that these things didn’t happen will stunt our spiritual growth, causing pain and hurt to others. As today’s “gold nugget” says, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”  When we do see we have failed to be the people He wants us to be, we should not try to “cover” our sins, but rather we hurry to confess them and receive the mercy that heals both us and others we have hurt. Some things left unattended will begin to sour or rot. If we overlook it we may grow used to the smell and not find it so offensive and we may actually become so blind that we wonder why others are not pleased to be close to us. Leaving sin unattended will leave us spiritually smelling soured, spoiled and rotten. We would be quick to clean up spilled milk and throw out things that would rot. Why would we be so ignorant of leaving sin in our lives if they will have the same effect?

Prayer
Lord, when I fail to obey you and cause harm to others with my behavior, I want to be quick to repent of my sins and receive your mercy and corrective plan. Please don’t allow me to try and cover my sins as if they don’t exist. This will only ensure that they mount up and cause continued harm to you, me and others.  Amen


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Satisfaction

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 27

Gold Nugget
Verse 7: “He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.”

Commentary
Two men sat down to eat. Both men had their fill of their favorite meal. One man received a bill for $38 dollars. The other man received a bill for $7 dollars. Both left their respective restaurants feeling full and satisfied. As we move up the social ladder, our expectations and taste raise with us. One man can be 100% satisfied with a $20,000 vehicle while another man maybe 75% satisfied with a $60,000 vehicle. One person is 100% satisfied in a $150,000 home while another person is 75% satisfied in a $750,000 home. The trend for Americans is to raise your spending to maximize what you can get out of your income. However, seldom do we see an increase in the level of satisfaction it brings. Today’s “gold nugget” shows us that, “He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.” Our threshold for satisfaction is related to something more than what we think. The lengths we go to in an attempt to find satisfaction rarely pays dividends. What we find when we get old enough to grasp it, is the fact that satisfaction doesn’t come from things you buy or earn. Contentment and peace comes from loving and being loved, giving to others and being given to and having a clear understanding of why you are here and what is truly expected of you. Many of us learn this lesson so late in life that we fail to experience this level of satisfaction. My advice to you is to learn it now. Grasp today that life is not about what you can gather unto yourself, but who you can gather unto yourself. That may sound weird, but having a family, friends and a healthy interaction with your fellow man brings more satisfaction than any material thing can provide. God created us to have a relationship with Him. Many people never come to understand or accept this. Those that do understand it also understand that His creating us for His good pleasure makes us at one with each other. Understanding our purpose in loving Him and each other is truly a sense of satisfaction that brings peace and happiness to an otherwise unfulfilling life.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for reminding me what is truly important today. Help me to experience people more than experiencing things. Remind me that our life on earth is but a grain of sand on the beach and living it like there is an eternity will bring an eternity of peace and happiness. Amen


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Rolling Stones

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 26

Gold Nugget
Verse 27: “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.”

Commentary
Today’s “gold nugget”, “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him”, refers to two types of acts. Both rolling a stone and digging a pit makes reference to acts of violence that would be asserted on your enemy. Either trapped by a pit or crushed by a boulder, both would be forms of revenge. The lesson to learn here is the scriptures are warning of acting out revenge. Although these are very violent illustrations, the scriptures are clear that there is emotional and spiritual harm that we inflict on each other that is viewed by God as acts of violence that shed blood. That being said, we will not make it through this life without someone shedding our innocent blood. Again, not necessarily actual blood, but spiritual or emotional harm will befall us that God does see as acts of violence against us. That being said, rest assured that God does see when people shed our innocent blood. It does not go unnoticed by Him. The scriptures actually warn that not only will God not defend us if we try and take our vengeance into our own hands, but looking into today’s “gold nugget” we see that our acting out vengeance will actually backfire on us. That being said let us refrain from any form of revenge. Not only is He the only one qualified to defend or avenge us, He doesn’t want us to have place in our heart for doing harm to anyone. If we allow it to reside in us, it will consume us. The stone we roll will crush us and the pit we dig will become our prison. We are better off to allow love to be what fuels, sustains and motivates us. Leave vengeance to God and others to work out. As for us, we will suffer persecution and afflictions without retaliation as any Christian should.

Prayer
Lord, remind us that we don’t have room in our hearts for resentment and revenge. Whoever has hurt us will have to deal with you. Let us take comfort not only in your ability to judge, but also your ability to be merciful to those that have hurt us, just as you have been merciful to us who have hurt others.” Amen


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The Gift Card

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 25

Gold Nugget
Verse 8: “Do not go hastily to court; for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor has put you to shame?”
                                                                                                                             
Commentary
One year after Christmas, my daughter wanted to make a purchase online, but couldn’t with one of her gift cards. She asked me to make the purchase of $100.00 online with my credit card and she would give me the $100.00 gift card. A few days after purchasing her item online, I went to Wal-Mart and decided to use my $100.00 gift card to purchase about $50 dollars’ worth of items. I was disturbed to find that the card was declined. Later, I tried again to make another purchase elsewhere, hoping that Wal-Mart was having an issue that day. Again, card declined. Finally, I called the 1-800 number on the back of the card and found it had a balance of thirty-something dollars. At that point I told my daughter that in her Christmas spending frenzy, she must have swiped it somewhere and forgot. She insisted she hadn’t, but I knew better. Although she thought she was correct, a 14 year old girl and a gift card do not always provide the best mixture for wise decisions and financial accountability. Being judge and jury, I sentenced her to several free house cleanings for the sixty-something dollar balance. She insisted that she would go online and find what had gone wrong. I knew if she actually went online and looked at the transaction history, she would be reminded of her purchase. A few weeks went by and I got a phone call from her letting me know that she had looked online and found that someone had evidentially spent sixty-something dollars at Academy. I challenged her to remember what she bought from Academy, but she insisted she never spent a dime there. After getting off the phone, I wondered how she could forget spending sixty-something dollars at Academy… sixty-something dollars at Academy… sixty-something dollars at Academy… uh, oh. Oh, my… sixty-something dollars is how much I spent on a paintball mask… at… Academy! All of a sudden, I remembered standing in line at Academy. It was clear… crystal clear. A week after Christmas, Academy’s computers were down and wouldn’t take regular credit cards. I was fortunate to be able to make my purchase though, because I had … a $100.00 gift card… Oh, yes. I remember it clearly now. Then I was faced with the embarrassing task of admitting I was wrong and had falsely accused her. There aren’t many situations that will cause more shame and embarrassment than when we falsely accuse someone. Unfortunately, I didn’t exercise the wisdom in today’s “gold nugget” that says, “Do not go hastily to court; for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor has put you to shame?”

Prayer
Lord, sometimes we are so convinced of our position and innocence that we will not truly consider someone else’s innocence. Help us to be more honest with ourselves and consider that we could possibly be at fault. Amen

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Rocky 7

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 to stop 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


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Worth it All

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 23

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

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

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


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The Shortest Distance

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
There is a town not too far from me (about 20 miles) that I go to frequently. Several years ago they blocked it off somewhere about halfway due to some bridge work. There are two other ways to this town and either one of them will add about 10 miles to the trip. I don’t want to drive 30 miles, I want the 20 miles! That being said, every once in a while I would try to see if I could get through. The problem was, every time I’d drive down that road I’d find it was still closed. At the very best, I’d have to drive back  at least 5 of those miles just to get back to the 30 mile trip with an additional 10 miles added to it for a grand total of total of 40 miles! As aggravating as that was, I’d still try it every once in a while hoping one day they would have fixed that bridge! I wanted a way to track their progress without wasting my time and my gas. I considered calling the county and asking them what the completion date was scheduled for, or maybe asking the foreman to call me on my cell phone when they open the road back up or maybe finding the closest neighbors to the bridge to call me when it finally opened up. All of these sound ridiculous. Can’t you just see me stopping the foreman and giving him my phone number requesting this special call? As crazy as that seems, any of those options would be prudent compared to the trial and error approach that I had used so far. It may seem that this whole ramble of mine is pointless, and it may well be, but I can’t help but be reminded of the same approach we take when traveling through this life. We have been down roads before that have never led anywhere and yet we keep traveling the same course, hoping that one day it will be open. Without any reasonable resource to expect anything else, we head down the same path over and over again. We cause ourselves pain repeatedly. We waste our time and our fuel, only to find ourselves backtracking and making things longer and harder than they need to be. Today’s “gold nugget” teaches us that, “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.”  We could have said, “That route has cost me enough. I’m not going to go down that path again. I will take another route, instead of trying to pass through and be punished for it. I will take the path that is sure and proven." God has a sure path that is proven, but it may not be the shortest and most convenient. How many times will we make that trip before we quit driving blindly - hoping for the best?

Prayer
Lord, you have a way that is best for us. We have tried over and over to adjust this path to what we feel would be better. Help us to realize we have someone that knows where all the detours and roadblocks are. You are our great Navigator and Advisor. Help us to seek you for our path. Amen


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A Counterfeit Gospel

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 21

Gold Nugget
Verse 27: “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with wicked intent!”

Commentary
Christianity (by name) has grown in acceptance and popularity over the years. It has become more attractive and rewarding to those that would not normally be interested in it. On the surface this may sound like a good thing, but a closer look at some of the reasons reveals an ugly truth. In reality, the truth of the Gospel is not attractive at all to the natural man. The scriptures teach us that our nature does not desire the things of God. We are self-centered people that have to be regenerated. We must be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). So what of this claim that “christianity” has become attractive to the world? Well, it isn’t really Christianity that has become attractive as much as “christianity” in name only. There has been a massive growth of “christianity” over the past several decades, but it is not all true Christianity. The “christianity” that has found an audience is one that actually appeals to this sinful nature of man. If there were a version of “christianity” that made it okay to love yourself, money, walk in pride instead of humility and bring glory to yourself, wouldn’t that appeal to the sinful nature in man? Of course it would and that is exactly what has happened. An overwhelming percentage of American churches are doing just that. If you teach me that giving my money away to your ministry will guarantee me a great financial return, my natural man will find that very attractive. If you can convince me that putting a hundred dollar bill in your pocket will guarantee me that somehow a thousand dollars will appear in mine, I am going to put one in each of your pockets, one in each hand and stick one in each of your ears. This doesn’t require any kind of love from me to you. Matter of fact it won’t even require any love from you to me. That describes much of American “christianity” and is very attractive to the sinful nature of man. The challenge is convincing them to give even after God has not honored their giving. It has not returned any blessing because “the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination”. The sacrifice (or gift) that is given is an abomination in God’s eyes. For one, it isn’t truly Christians that are doing this giving and receiving. As the first part of today’s “gold nugget” says, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination.”  In short, the gift (sacrifice) is often from wicked people (not children of God). The second half says, “how much more when he brings it with wicked intent!”  So it is bad enough that a wicked person gives a “gift”, but how much worse is it that he has evil intentions with it. He gives his gift for his own desire for personal gain. Like the guy that buys the hungry man food, because he knows the hungry man is about to receive a hefty inheritance. When we give, whether to the church, a ministry or any cause, we remove ourselves from the biblical aspect if we give because of selfish reasons.

Prayer
Lord, we know that there is a counterfeit gospel out there that has found a real audience. Help those of us that have refused this doctrine of man to be bold enough to counter the counterfeit by presenting the authentic Gospel that cannot be denied.  A good reflection of the true Gospel will expose the counterfeit. Amen


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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 use the last word accusation as a way to get in the last word. 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 so 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 instinct 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 has been so hard choosing to stay silent as people lie against us, but I know you are in control. Thank you for reminding us of this and giving us the strength to stay faithful . Amen

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Correctability

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 19

Gold Nugget
Verse 27:
 “Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.”

Commentary
It’s in our nature to have a desire to accomplish. We want to pass from apprentice to master. Even when we have no desire to be a master per say, we just want to be free from other people correcting us. We want to believe that we attain a place where we are no longer in need of instruction or learning. Although it doesn’t sit well within us, there are some areas that we will never stop learning in. We will never learn enough, love enough or give enough. Some areas in life will always have room for growth and increase. A hard truth for many of us is how we will never outgrow the need for instruction from others. Part of receiving instruction is receiving correction. Many of us grow to the point where we don’t believe we need either. The bible says that we will one day trade the corruptible for incorruptible. Until that day, we must not trade the correctable for the uncorrectable. I have found that most people are humble and correctable when it comes to something new to them. Even prideful people will allow someone to instruct them on things that they have never been involved with, but if they get even a little knowledge, they will soon shut down their correctability. I have seen this in business and even in the church. Many people that get saved will come into the church with ears for learning and humility towards correction, but after they have been in church for a little while and can quote a few verses, they often shutdown the correction. Today’s “gold nugget” says, “Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.” Where we once were gaining knowledge, our pride has caused us to lose contact with and fail to increase knowledge. No matter how long we have served God, we must not trade the correctable for the incorrectable. We need to maintain a humble heart that is ever increasing in the knowledge of who He is and what He wants for and from us.

Prayer
Lord, help me to have a correctable spirit. When you do send someone to me to correct me, remind me that, ceasing to listen to instruction, will cause me to stray from the words of knowledge.” Amen


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Good Intentions

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 18

Gold Nugget
Verse 2: “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.”

Commentary
The popular teaching in today’s society is, “Follow your heart”. There may not be a more foolish bit of advice in all the world. The old saying, “Hell is paved with good intentions" has some legitimate value to it. We wouldn't head for a destination that we've never been to with merely good intentions. We would want facts. We would not be satisfied with following our heart. When it comes right down to it, truth trumps both intentions and heart’s desires. Consider today’s “gold nugget, “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.” My heart may want to take Interstate 10 to Ohio, but I’ll never get north on an east/west course. With that in mind we would quickly agree that we need directions, accuracy and truth to reach our destination. We want maps, GPS and instructions that are 100% accurate without opinion or suggestions. If this is all true concerning driving from Texas to Ohio, why in the world would we accept any other standards when we travel though life with heaven as our destination? When making decisions about the direction we go in and the manner in which we travel, we should not be following our heart or good intentions. We should be asking, “What do the Scriptures say about my direction and means of travel?” The Word of God (Truth) trumps both intentions and heart’s desires. We should be focused on what He has to say about the decisions we make for everyday living. My heart can be misleading and my intentions can be carnal, but the Word of God is ever true and always applicable. I knew someone that once made a life altering decision that they admitted wasn't what God wanted, but what they said they knew needed to be done. This person followed their heart with good intentions down a path to sure destruction. Fortunately they repented and God restored. Let’s learn as they did not to follow our heart, but to follow the steps ordered by God in His word.

Prayer
Lord, help me to have the commitment to your Word and truth that will trump my heart’s desires and good intentions when they do not agree with your word. 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. If you only discipline a child 1 out of every 4 times when they try to touch the “untouchables”, they will naturally play the odds and continue touching. Having even a chance that they may not pay the price for their actions, they will naturally conclude that it’s worth the risk. 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 waste on these fruitless efforts and will quickly 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 due to an oversight or overlook. This actually encourages more bad behavior. So as a summary thus far, we conclude that overlooking sin/evil is often 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 tend to overlook sin in people’s lives that we can or should have influence in, we will actually encourage them to continue in it with our silence. 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. There is a line between showing people love just the way they are and turning a blind eye to sin. It easier to avoid the issue than it is to learn wisdom and therefore know when it is appropriate to oppose and even avoid the company of certain people. 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. 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 other's actions, it’s difficult to take a stand against immoral deeds. 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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Heart Transplant

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 16

Gold Nugget
Verse 9: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.”

Commentary
Over the years I’ve heard many references to the scripture that says, “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”(Psalm 37:4)Unfortunately, it is too often used to justify our desires outside of God’s desire as somehow part of His will. The truth is not all of our desires are of the Lord. Many stem from our flesh and God is not obligated to give you these things you desire. For one, the scripture says first to “Delight yourself also in the LORD”. This means we find delight in the things He wants and desires. Then when we desire those things, they mirror His desires and are sure to come to pass. Another thing that “links” with the truth that He gives you the desires of your heart is the fact that He should have already created in you a New Heart. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”(Psalm 51:10) This means the desires of your new heart is filled with His desires and desires for Him. The desires (lust) of the flesh are not included in this formula and will not be honored by God. What it boils down to is - our “heart transplant” includes new “heart contents”. This replaces our fleshy heart that contains fleshly desires with a new heart that contains desires of and for God. While we’re here, continuing in this logic of linking, we find another scripture in James 3:8 “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” As true as this is, it isn’t an excuse to say what you want without accountability. Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the heart a man’s mouth speaks.”  So the tongue really only reflects the “contents” of the heart. Since we now have a new heart with godly contents we don’t have to worry about the fact that the tongue cannot be controlled. What the mouth speaks now will be of a godly nature. Now for those that are claiming to have a new heart and yet are able to keep the gospel from coming out of this uncontrollable tongue, we see that just isn’t possible. We sum it all up with today’s “gold nugget”, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” Once we are given a new heart and it is filled with new contents, we will be equipped to plan our way with the Lord directing our steps. He equips us with what we need to do the right thing and yet still doesn’t force us. It’s a beautiful agreement of motions. This is what we call a relationship.

Prayer
Lord, I love this interaction between us. When we put your truths in order and walk in them, it is as beautiful as a dance with you. Sometimes we just need to improve on our steps and get in rhythm with you. Amen


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Power and Might - Texans Style

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 15

Gold Nugget
Verse 32: “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”

Commentary
In a game during the 2010 NFL season, the Houston Texan’s wide receiver Andre Johnson was involved in a fight on the football field. Although he has a reputation of being a well-mannered player (especially considering his success at a position known for drama), he lost his cool and reacted out of character to an antagonizing player. The player admitted it was his intentions to get Andre off his game and out of character. He was intentionally trying to provoke him. After being ejected from the game, Andre made his way to the locker room where he was later quoted as repenting of his behavior and confessed it wasn't appropriate. Almost every announcer I heard in the days after took the position of defending Andre’s actions and claimed the other player deserved it. Even with such an outcry of support, Andre stuck to his guns that he was wrong and would never let it happen again. I have a lot of respect for this guy. Not just because of what an amazing athlete he is, and not just because I’m a Texans fan, but because of the character that he continued to exhibit. Although he erred on that particular day, over all he demonstrates today’s “gold nugget”, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” Many of us would not have made it as far into the game as Andre did before we would have lost our cool. Too often the slightest injustice will put us to a boil. Should that person that cut me off this morning upset me so much, so quickly? Should I get frustrated so easily with my child or a coworker? Should we be so quick to get heated when it comes to a conflict with our spouse? Where some foolish people believe jumping up like a lion demonstrates strength and power, today’s scripture speaks otherwise. It takes more strength and power to hold back anger than it does to let it erupt. If you can hold your anger, you are mighty and able to take a whole city. Taking on a squirrely little cornerback isn't going to prove a thing and Andre Johnson knows that.

Prayer
Lord, thanks for the reminder about what true might and power is. Although the flesh thinks an outburst of prideful anger demonstrates power, holding back anger and having rule over our spirit is the true demonstration of power and might. Amen


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Short Wicks

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 14

Gold Nugget
Verse 29: “He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly.”

Commentary
“A short fuse will cause a friend to lose…” sorry, I couldn’t think of a “short fuse” quote so I made one up. Despite its lack of poetic flow, I believe it has truth in it. People with quick tempers destroy relationships. Things are not always what they seem and people who react too quickly can cause trouble and even damage, only to find they had judged poorly. The damage cannot always be undone easily. As today’s “gold nugget” proclaims, “He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly.” With this as a truth, we see that a person with understanding has a long, slow-burning fuse. Although everyone does have a breaking point, the bible ensures us that we never have to meet it. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) We all know people that fall into the “short fuse” category. As a matter of fact, many of those short fuse people are believers. I’m not saying many believers have short fuses, but rather I know many short fuse people that are believers. If that is true, maybe we need to look at our fuses and examine them for length and burn rate. Quick tempered people do not mirror the image of Christ Jesus very well. Let us examine ourselves and ensure we do not project this trait to others.

Prayer
Lord, although I consider myself slow to anger, there are some areas that anger me quicker than others. These are not always for good reason as much as personal flaws. Help me to be longsuffering and reflect a clearer image of you. Amen


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Area of Influence

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
It is often found of families that the youngest child is usually the quickest to pick up on things. They will often walk, talk and do other “firsts” earlier than their older siblings. Our environment can have either a detrimental or constructive effect on our lives. The old cliché about being a product of your environment is a powerful truth. Although there are occasions where people aren’t a product of their environment, they are the exception to the rule. Where we were born and raised, how we were raised and who we were raised around was out of our control. Now where we live, how we live and who we live with is our decision and responsibility. Whether we want to believe it or not, our environment still plays a huge role in how we live our lives. I am reminded of Galatians 2:11-13 when Peter (who had walked with Jesus and was leading the charge for the early church) fell away from an important revelation he received from God in Acts 10:9-16. Yet, he allowed the influence of others to cause him to abandon this revelation. He in turn also influenced Barnabas to fall away with him. We have a choice on many aspects of our lives. It can be where you live, where you work and who you associate with. Even when we can’t necessarily do anything about where we live and where we work. We can choose whose house in the neighborhood we visit or maybe where we sit at lunch and who we eat lunch with. I think of the youngest child that learned so much at home. This child benefited from watching the older kids walk, talk, etc. We have the same opportunities. We can choose to associate with mature believers that can walk and talk straighter and clearer than us. As long as we make sure they stay true to the Word, and do not compromise it as Peter did, we can benefit from having an environment that will produce spiritually healthy believers. Today’s “gold nugget” says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed”. It should be noted that Peter did get back on track and conform to the Word of God. It’s not as important if we fell as he did, but that we get back to the truth of God’s Word and walk in it.

Prayer
Lord, help us to see just how much our environment still plays in our spiritual health and well-being. Then, help us to make any changes that would be needed. Amen


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Encouraged, Be it or Give It

Reading For Today: Proverb Chapter 12

Gold Nugget
Verse 25: “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.”

Commentary
Worry and fear have a crippling effect. Often people can’t function because of the unknown. Whether it is because of failures of the past or fear of future failures, not knowing what will be the results of their efforts too often keep people effortless. Sometimes this is a result of being too concerned with what other people think. We’re afraid of what people will think of us if we fail. Will they think I am dumb, poor, ugly, etc? Many people avoid doing things that are actually within their ability to do, but choose to play it safe for fear of failing. In playing it “safe” they actually invite self-doubt and regret to take root in their heart. In this, their heart becomes heavier and heavier. As today’s “gold nugget” says, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” Although having too much concern for one’s own image can causes this type of anxiety, losing confidence in one’s ability to accomplish goals will destroy the spirit and crush the heart. Just as anxiety will put you in a spiritual and mental cell, a good word can set you free. I believe we all have the ability to set each other free at times. You should take great pleasure in setting others free. We all have times when we get down, and we benefit from the encouragement of others.  If you are the one that is down, take matters into your own hands, pull yourself up, step out in faith and walk away from fear. The Lord will take care of you and will keep you from destruction. If you are the one who sees someone down, take the initiative to encourage them. They may need to be told how smart, beautiful or handsome they are or just an overall vote of confidence in them when they don’t have it for themselves. Remember what Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

Prayer
Lord, sometimes I am the one down on myself and crippled with fear. Other times I am feeling confident and can lift up others. Help me to be encouraged by those that you send to me when I am down and help me to be mindful of others that need to be encouraged when it is my ability to do so. Amen


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Showing Divinity

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 11

Gold Nugget
Verse 17: “The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.”

Commentary
The old saying, “To err is human, to forgive is divine”, although not scripture per say, it is scriptural none the less. Today’s “gold nugget” speaks on this very subject. “The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.” To forgive is to show mercy. When someone has wronged you we typically put them on our short list. So many violations and then they are out of your life. Where did we get the okay as humans who all err, or even worse Christians that have all “erred” and fell short of the Glory of God, to start even keeping a list? Mercy is better defined as “controlled” forgiveness. Basically, to show mercy is when we have a “right” (and I use that term loosely) to be angry and yet we show mercy by choosing to overlook the violation. That is to say, we don’t even charge to their account. There is of course a wise time and place where we have to draw a line and protect ourselves and our family, but where we draw the line and where God would draw the line are usually two different locations. One night I was in the backseat letting my daughter’s boyfriend drive us home. We went through an intersection kind of fast, this while another car looked as if they weren’t going to yield. I expressed my concern for what had happened. His response was, “We had the right of way”. I (half joking, half serious) replied, “Yeah, and they can put ‘We had the right of way’ on our tombstones.” He’s a good kid, but the mindset is that of a young man with much to learn. Being right doesn’t always make it right. The point is, we don’t always have to be right and someone else doesn’t always have to be wrong. Sometimes we need to be merciful to those that err and show the divine character of God. Elsewhere in Proverbs we read a powerful verse of scripture if applied correctly. Proverbs 19:11 “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.”  We need to throw away the score cards and show the divine character of God that is merciful and forgiving. Is there anyone that you need to show mercy to today?
     
Prayer
Lord, there are those that (in my mind) are not deserving of my tolerance and mercy, but I know that I am just as undeserving of your tolerance and mercy. So for that, I conform to your Word that says, “If I will not forgive others, you will not forgive me”. Amen


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What Will You Do Today?

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 10

Gold Nugget
Verse 16: “The labor of the righteous leads to life, the wages of the wicked to sin.”
                                                                                                                            
Commentary
“Garbage in, garbage out.” “You reap what you sow.” “You get what you pay for." The sayings go on and on. The common denominator is they all demonstrate regeneration. Just as a dog can't give birth to kittens and frogs can't give birth to birds, we must come to the conclusion that our efforts today will produce a related result tomorrow. Jesus said in Matthew 7:18, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” This is a basic Christian principle that may have you wondering, “Why read something so elementary?” As elementary as it is in Christian living, it is so often neglected. The price of how we behave today is one that cost people more than they really want to pay. Being involved with prison ministry, I have seen many that are paying for things they have done. Things that they thought at the time of the offence wouldn't come back to them. Many of us can see the examples given and exclude ourselves from the lesson before us. Although I have described some drastic examples, it is a truth as real as the law of gravity. On a large scale or smaller scale, the law of reaping and sowing is always in motion. Again, I say, “always”.  Whatever you are doing right now is sowing something you will reap later. Are you overloading on calories so far today? Do you know what you are working towards with those calories? Are you procrastinating an important task? What will be the result of your continual delay? Are you continuing in sinful behavior? Consider the un-escapable truth from today’s “gold nugget”, “The labor of the righteous leads to life, the wages of the wicked to sin.” Just as sure as the bible teaches, “the wages of sin is death”, the choices you make today can lead to life instead. What do you want tomorrow, next week or next year? Well, if you want those things, you must determine what you will do today, this week and this year. What will it be?
 
Prayer
Lord, as simple and as basic as it is, the law of the harvest seems to be the one that is too often neglected in my life. Help me to invest my time, efforts and resources today, in the things I want to return to me tomorrow and beyond. Amen


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The Great Judge

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 9

Gold Nugget
Verse 10: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

Commentary
Many people have great confusion concerning “The Fear of the Lord”. The Hebrew word used in today’s “gold nugget” is hary Yir'ah (yir-aw'). This can be interpreted several ways depending on the context. The context used here is defined as: “Fear of God, respect, reverence, piety”. Of all of the elements and foundational truths that we must understand and accept about God, this one stresses the importance of His absolute power and authority. Why is this important? Imagine you are in a courtroom under a trial by judge. The most important person to you is the one that holds your fate in his hands. He can sentence you, pardon you or maybe even determine someone owes you compensation. Greatest of all is the freedom he can offer you. God is the Great Judge. It is potentially appropriate for you to be fearful in the “frightened” sense, but only if you are guilty. The truth is we are all guilty. We should be frightened except that He has offered us all a pardon. With such a freely offered pardon, some have lost the reverence for the power and authority that He has over us. So much so that many assume they have been pardoned when they haven’t. The pardon has been offered to everyone, but they must plead guilty and submit themselves into the custody of their new Power of Attorney. Our Power of Attorney is Jesus Christ. He is the one that takes authority over us and guarantees our freedom if we submit to Him. Reverence is being in awe of the one that could have condemned you, but chose to pardon you. Don’t mistake His loving kindness for weakness. He is still the Great Judge.

Prayer
Lord, help me to remember that I am who I am because of your mercy and grace. I don’t want to abuse your kindness, but rather submit myself to my Power of Attorney, Jesus. Amen


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Directions

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 8

Gold Nugget
Verse 20: “I traverse the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice,”

Commentary
A few years ago I was driving a van full of people to a particular function about two hours away. After entering a certain intersection, I proceeded forward. Immediately someone panicked, “You’re going the wrong way!” The truth is, I didn’t know the way myself and had got the directions off the internet. Knowing the internet is not always accurate for directions, I began to turn around to allow guidance from one of the passengers. As I began to turn around, someone else chimed in, “No. This way is shorter!” Within a few seconds I had three different people with three different routes to our destination. I was feeling pressed by the three to follow their directions. I had to make a decision quickly as to which route I would follow, knowing that I could hurt the other two’s feelings. A pastor friend of mine gently nodded to me to proceed with the route I had from the internet. He said, “I’ve been all three ways and they’re all within three minutes of each other.” Whispering he continued, “The truth is everyone figures the route they first went is the only route. Any other route is wrong.” I’ve found my friend to be right. Although guilty myself, at times we choose our familiar or most comfortable path as the only path. We need to determine that our path is not based on what is convenient, what our parents took or any reasoning other than truth. We want to take the right path. We want to follow the path set before us in God’s Word. We need to do as today’s “gold nugget” says, “I traverse the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice,” We should determine that our paths are directed by the Lord and found in the scriptures. We have a road map laid out for us in the bible. It should be what defines our route, how we travel and who we travel with. We live our lives by a set of standards that are not our own. We walk within ordinances that our defined from above. We don’t follow the path of convenience defined by the world’s standards. We are on a journey and we are led by the Spirit, inspired by a Savoir in honor of our Father. Let us walk accordingly.

Prayer
Lord, you have set a path before us and designed the way in which we should travel it. Help us to remember that our guidelines are not established by others, but ordained by you. Amen


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Flattering Lips

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 7

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

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

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


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Sowing Discord

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 6

Gold Nugget
Verse 14: “Perversity is in his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord.”
                                                                                                                            
Commentary
Today’s “gold nugget” describes what verse one of this same chapter says is a worthless and evil person. “Perversity is in his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord.” Perversity is a word we surely wouldn’t feel is a description of ourselves. Perversity in its simplest and most accurate definition is to change something from its intended purpose to something that it is not or was not intended as. Falsely assuming and declaring someone else’s intentions is perverting the truth. This is something that happens more than we are probably willing to admit. We should be very careful when attempting to interpret someone’s intentions. Even when someone errs, their intentions should be correctly considered. We can sow discord by the judgment we proclaim concerning an individual. If my impression or opinion of someone is declared publicly, someone may share unfairly in my assessment. Even if I am correct in my understanding of a person’s intentions, it is rarely our place to point it out to others. This sowing of discord mentioned in verse 14 is quickly addressed again in verse 19. It is one of what we call, “The Seven Deadly Sins”. As a matter of fact, it is deemed by The Scriptures as something God hates. The sowing of discord is the enemy to unity and fellowship. Nothing will cause greater destruction that discord. Jesus said in the Gospels that no Kingdom or House divided against itself will stand. Above all things preserve the unity of the Saints. Abandon foolish chatter and backbiting and embrace each other as fellow laborers and as brothers and sisters. 
Prayer
Lord, thank you for reminding us of the attitude and behavior we should have to those that we think or maybe have erred. Keep us from declaring their guilt, but rather help us to be planning and participating in their restoration and healing. Amen

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