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/

The Joneses

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 22

Gold Nugget
 Verse2: “The rich and the poor have this in common, The Lord is the maker of them all.”

Commentary
When we get to heaven, you won't have to worry about keeping up with the Joneses. We'll all be Joneses. For those of you that may not be familiar with this old term, this has nothing to do with The Jonas Brothers. I didn't make a typo. "Keeping up with the Joneses", is a term to describe our lustful and covetous nature to insist we have what someone or everyone else has. We weigh our self-value too often by how we perceive the value of others. Many of us have an outward perspective of someone based on their social status or financial position. This is limited to us as humans. Animals do not judge according to this stature and neither does God. So what is beneath us and above us stands apart from our unique standard for the value of a person. As todays "gold nugget" says, "The rich and the poor have this in common, The Lord is the maker of them all." No matter what we do to get self-worth or how we measure the self-worth of others, at the end of the day, God sees His creation. He is the only one qualified to assess value on us. When we finish this time here on earth, He will see one of two things in us. Either He will see His creation that rejected their maker and will inherit eternal separation from Him or His creation that accepted Him and will inherit eternal life with Him. That's it. It's really that simple. All our efforts to measure ourselves by each other are in vain. We will not be put through the Hitler test on that day. That is, we will not be placed next to Hitler to see if we were bad or not. We also will not be placed next to Billy Graham to see if we were good enough. We just will not be measured by each other. We will be assessed by whether or not we have given the life we received from Him back to Him. Yes, all He asked was for us to give to Him what was already His. He died for us so we could live for Him. It is time that we started seeing each other as He sees us and not by the world's standards.

Prayer
Lord, thank you Jesus for reminding me of who you are and who we are. I will purpose to remember this and keep things and people (including myself) in proper perspective. 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 repeated routine. Almost more so, for those of us who understand this truth the most. Many of us, who have laid hold and 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 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/

Instant Gratification

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 20

Gold Nugget
Verse 4, 13 “4 The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing. 13 Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread.”

Commentary
In a society of instant gratification, we are less and less likely to see an increase in people willing to work for what they need. We can microwave most foods, download instantly, and have mail overnight. The lazy man mentioned in verse 3 will not work today for something that isn't coming today. It's hard for us to appreciate the "law of the harvest". Even up to a few decades ago, people knew and understood this important principle. You worked hard in the fields for months, tilling the land, planting crops, praying for rain and then harvesting. Then you canned food for the winter months, or until the next harvest, etc. Lazy people could not survive.

I'll admit I struggle having patience with people that won't get up out of bed in the morning. "Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty". I've known men that will not get up and go to work and women that will sleep until the crack of noon while their little ones are running around unattended. People don't want to do anything that doesn't have an immediate reward.

No matter how convenient technology may make things, the concept of working, being patient and then reaping the rewards of our labors is a necessary characteristic for every Christian. It may be a stretch for us to learn how to be diligent, be patient and wait on the Lord to bring the increase, but it is required of us from Him. We need to be willing to wake up and get busy or suffer the consequences.

Prayer
Lord, help to see the areas of my life where I have been slothful. Help me also to see where I need to be diligent and do the things that are required of me. I want to do you work and the work that is required of me from my family to ensure that we don't suffer. I want to reflect godly character by showing the diligence and patience that a disciple of Christ possesses.
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/

No Charge

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 19

Gold Nugget
Verse 11: “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.

Commentary
The weak-minded may be slow to process thoughts and therefore miss good opportunities to be angry. How much better would we be if we had moments of mental slowness? Often times we get angry with someone only to find out that the situation may not have warranted our fire being kindled. On the contrary, we are usually quick to assume that someone has offended us and react quickly. Although I can stand to learn a great deal more, one thing God has continued to stress to me is to be slow not just to anger, but slow also to record the wrong doing. I have much work for God to accomplish in me, but I can tell you that it’s a lot easier to refuse holding something against someone than it is to force yourself to forgive them. Today’s “gold nugget” says, The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression. When we choose not to record a wrong doing, there will not be a need for us to forgive them. We need to be quicker to allow their sin to be forgiven by God. Sometimes God forgives people of sin that we hold against them. How ridiculous is that? If we are slower to anger, we may find that we have less people that seem to owe us an apology. Being slow to anger and choosing to look past someone’s short coming and even sin is often the most Christian approach to have. The balance of knowing when to confront someone with their offence and overlooking it because of them being human comes from the attitude within us. If we have an attitude of love, we will be more equipped to know the difference. The next time someone asks you to forgive them, how good would it be if you responded with, "No Charge"?

Prayer
Lord, you know I have failed you in this area and I ask you to forgive me. Help me to remember that I would be in a world of hurt if people recorded all of my weak moments. Help me to have a spirit of gentleness and mercy when it comes to others weaknesses. 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/

Follow Your Heart - Not!

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 18

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

Commentary
 Today’s “gold nugget” is as simple and straight to the point as any we’ve seen. “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.” When discussing an issue recently, I could tell the person explaining their side of the issue seemed to have no regard for truth or facts. It was soon proven when they said, “I don’t care whether what you are saying is true or not. This is what I believe and I’m not going to change my mind.” They had such a strong feeling in their heart and didn’t care if it was accurate or not. Even if what they believed was a lie, they had purposed to continue “expressing their own heart “. The day we start ignoring the truth to appeal to what our heart feels is the day we can become slave to any fallacy that comes along… (as long as it feels good in our heart). I once had the difficult task of counseling with a woman that was convinced that the affair she was having was with a man that God had sent her. She insisted that the adulterous relationship was of God because it felt so right in her heart. No matter how much scripture I shared with her that was contrary to the position she took, it didn’t matter. She had “no delight in understanding, but in expressing her own heart”. I have a friend at work that is often quoted as saying, “Now don’t go muddying up the water with facts!” Although meant in humor, many people live by that very philosophy. The Word of God is pure and undefiled. We are to conform to the principles and precepts contained therein without prejudice towards our own desires. As discussed recently in other devotions, our hearts are not always in line with what is right and can lead us astray. There is a philosophy these days that says “follow your heart”, but can never be found in scripture. Its popularity stems solely from a society that has become more and more self-centered. The concept of relying on God and His written Word is the wisest and most fulfilling form of submission. Submitting to the truth in the Scriptures over the desires of our hearts is the only approach that aligns with God and His plan for your life.
 
Prayer
Lord, I’m grateful for the truth and facts that are clearly defined in your Word. Help me to conform to your ways and heed the truth that is available to me and allow it to overrule the desires of my heart.  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/

Stay the Course


Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 17

Gold Nugget
Verse 3: “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts.“

Commentary
I really like verse 3 of chapter 17. This truth is of utmost importance and value for a Christian to understand, accept and embrace. Just as the fired furnace is a necessary process to purify both gold and silver, the "fire" is just as necessary to purify the heart. Just as pain is necessary for the growth of muscle and endurance to improve performance, God wants us to improve our performance as well. We are supposed to be servants in service to serve. God want to get as much out of us for His glory and work as He can. I don't know about you, but I don't have a problem with that. In order for Him to get more out of us for better service, we will have to endure the adversity that burns impurities out of us, the pain of our spiritual muscles growing and the weariness that comes from increasing our endurance. All this is working to improve how much we can endure, carry and suffer to carry this gospel of His.

Consider these verses in James chapter 1 verses 2-4:  “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. but let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  Remember that God has much to accomplish through your fiery trial. Stay the course!

Prayer
Lord, help me to remember that you are working something to grow me through my suffering. Remind me of the truth from James 1:2-4 that tells me to hang in until the trial has run its course so I will be complete, lacking nothing. 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/

Presenting Pride

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 16

Gold Nugget
Verse 18: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Commentary
Many of us hear these bits of wisdom or read them in scripture. The problem is we rarely believe it is as true as it seems. We see so many people that are full of pride and yet never seem to fail. We have a tendency to assume that if others walk in pride without this "so-called" destruction or fall, that it doesn't always apply. Let me introduce the factor that we often overlook or misunderstand. People that are not in a relationship with God may not ever see the direct or indirect results of their carnal living this side of eternity. However, for those of us in a relationship with the Lord, we often reap an unwanted harvest on this side of death for our recent disobedience. The reasoning is simple if we consider it from God's perspective. The Lord may not enforce all of His earthly principle of reaping and sowing here on earth to those that do not regard His principles. But for those who are called by His name, He uses these principles to teach us and build us. We are His workmanship.

When you see ungodly people profit from ungodly deeds, do not envy them. They will reap what they sow, whether it is in this life or after. When you see your own pride cause destruction in your life, do not despise it. God is ensuring that you learn and He is able to help you recover. Avoid pride and a character that acts superior to others. If you exalt yourself, you are asking God to bring you down to size.

Prayer
Lord, I want to remember who I am in you and who I am without you. I am nothing without you and if I am something with you, I want you to receive the glory for it. 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/

Garbage in Garbage Out

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 15

Gold Nugget
Verse 2: “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.”

Commentary
“You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip.” “You can’t squeeze apple juice from an orange.” “You can’t squeeze money from a broke man and you can’t get wisdom from a fool.” These old sayings lines up perfectly with today’s “gold nugget”. When you squeeze a turnip you get turnip juice, apple juice from an apple and folly from a fool. Expecting anything to come out of something or someone other than its “contents” is useless. This goes for us expecting anything out of people that are made up of evil or foolish devices as well as it goes for us who allow the same into our lives. Once a friend of mine and I were discussing our liking classic rock. Although some of it is just blatantly ungodly, some of it is relatively harmless. We both agreed that the reason we limited our exposure to it is because of our desire to put good, healthy, encouraging things into our spirit. It is important that we consider our “contents”. Consider the words of Paul in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Paul knew what Jesus taught concerning the contents of a person. He knew that in order to ensure good things would come out of the believer; good things would have to be put into the believer. This is an altering of our contents.

What is it exactly that Jesus taught concerning this that Paul was building upon? It’s all found in The Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says, in Luke 6:43-45 “For there is no good tree that bears decayed fruit, nor on the other hand does a decayed tree bear good fruit. For each tree is known and identified by its own fruit; for figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor is a cluster of grapes picked from a bramblebush. The upright man out of the good treasure in his heart produces what is upright, and the evil man out of the evil storehouse brings forth that which is depraved; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

We think we just choose what comes out of us. Actually, that isn’t true. We don’t choose what comes out of us, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”, we choose what goes into us. What are your “contents”? Examine what it is you are putting in and you will know. Remember today’s “gold nugget”, “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.”

Prayer
Lord, I know sometimes I don’t guard what comes into my mind and my spirit. Help me to be more cautious of what I watch, listen to and contribute in. I want my contents to be something of value that you wouldn’t be hurt to see overflowing from 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/

Too Trusting

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 14

Gold Nugget
Verse 15: "The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps."

Commentary
The biggest obstacle to being able to tell if you are wise or foolish is understanding that foolishness is the act of being foolish unaware due to willful neglect of the truth. In our natural instinct for self-preservation we instinctively preserve all aspects of who we are, whether it is physical or emotional. We wish to preserve our image, pride, etc. and will think most positive things concerning ourselves. Even those with low self-esteem, often see themselves as a victim of their circumstances and that inside they are just fine. Other than some valid disorders, our natural instinct is to love and preserve ourselves emotionally and physically. "For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church." (Ephesians 5:29) It's in us naturally to love ourselves, but not everything in our nature is appropriate. "For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud..." (2 Timothy 3:2a) Now that we see we have a natural sense of self-preservation we can see why the foolish will not see themselves as foolish. They cannot see themselves any other way and have therefore, condemned themselves to the prison of their own folly. The prudent (or wise) person mentioned in today's "gold nugget" is not so prideful and sees his "self-preservation" as being directly tied to him being able to see past his pride and consider more than his natural instincts. "...he considers well his steps." The simple believe every word, even their own perceptions. If there is one thing we have learned as a creation, it is that nobody lies to us more than ourselves. Consider that and grow a healthy distrust for your natural instincts to see yourself as more than is appropriate. Be wise and "considers well your steps".

Prayer
Lord, I know that my biggest enemy is often my own flesh; flesh that is comprised of selfishness and pride. Help me to remember that my natural man is not subject to righteousness and humility and that I need to consider well my steps instead of being subject to my flesh-centered thinking. 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/

United We Stand

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 13

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

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

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


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 Rudder that Utters


Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 12

Gold Nugget
Verse 18: "There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.”

Commentary
I've heard it said that some folks make a room brighter when they walk into it, while some brighten a room when they walk out. Whatever good someone does, there is an opposite opportunity to do harm. Today's "gold nugget" tells of the person that does great harm when he speaks - As harmful as a piercing sword. Adversely, there are also wise who bring health to others with the words they say. Elsewhere in Proverbs we read that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue," (Proverbs 18:21a). We can either bring death or life with the things we say. I may not be physical death, but spiritual death and destruction or spiritual life and encouragement. Don't under estimate the power of the tongue. Consider James 5:4-5, "Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.” See how great a forest a little fire kindles!" We have an effect on others by even the smallest things we say. We have a choice. We can use our words to build someone up or tear someone down. There are suggested guidelines that could be implemented right away to ensure that our words are not destructive to others. We must make a healthy "compliments to criticism ratio" part of your personal policy. Some suggest a 3:1 ratio, while others suggest a 5:1. In other words, to use the 5:1 ratio, you would ensure you made 5 compliments to even 1 criticism. It may seem like a lot, but if you are not close enough to a person to find 5 complimentary things to say about them, you are probably not close enough to criticize them. We are called to be builders, not destroyers. Maybe today is the day that God will make the changes in you and me that will ensure our ability to be builders.

Prayer
Lord, I know that I don't always ensure my tongue is uttering the right things. Help me to remember that you have trained me to be an encourager and not a discourager. 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/

Alien Invasion!

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 11

Gold Nugget
Verse 4:  Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.”

Commentary
I’ve never seen a hearse pulling a U-haul trailer. No matter how many times I've heard that old saying, it still makes as much sense to me now as the first time. It's amazing how much we invest in the temporal. The bible says that, "...life is but a vapor, it appears for a little time, then vanishes away." (James 4:14b) Having the proper perspective on what this life on earth really consists of is crucial. Imagine one grain of sand on an entire coastline of beach. That one grain of sand compared to all the sand on the beach is minuscule, and yet so many of us have forfeited the entire beach to ensure we maximize or own desires with the single grain of sand. Our life is where we invest in the beach. We need to make sure that our lives are not lived with the focus on the things of this world and its riches and pleasures. When those things do not conflict with the principles for living that God has established for us, and do not hinder us from the purpose to which we are called, they are acceptable. However, when they become the principal and purpose, that's when we really get ourselves in trouble. Remember that we are aliens in this world. We are visitors living in tents and out of suitcases (so to speak). We are not staying and we have our focus on the things above and how the things here relate to eternity. The scriptures tell us that we are not of this world. We are simply here as an alien invasion, warning earth of its pending destruction. Why should we be so consumed with treating it like its permanent?

Prayer
Lord, I'm thankful for the blessings you have provided for me. I am grateful for the provisions you've granted me. I am appreciative of the finances you've trusted me with. My desire is to handle all of the blessings, provisions and finances with honor to you. I commit to you that I will not let them become my focus. 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/

Life and Death

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
Does today’s “gold nugget” sound familiar to you? It sure sounds a lot like a New Testament verse that is often quoted by Christians. Consider this famous verse in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Now compare that with today’s “gold nugget”, “The labor of the righteous leads to life, the wages of the wicked to sin.” The key word in both of these verses is “wages”. Just like today, a wage is a result of what you do. Nothing has changed. From the Old Testament, to the New Testament, until this day, we still get what we have coming. Whether good for good or bad for bad, we will reap what we sow. This simple concept is a foundational element to Christianity. Paul, the same writer of Romans, writes to the church at Galatia, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”(Galatians 6:7-8) Over and over again we are warned and encouraged (depending on what you are sowing) to be sure that it is going to bear something. We are either putting good things into our lives that will build us into something that He can use or we are putting bad things into our lives that will cause corruption. Just so you know, there isn’t a middle ground. Choosing not to put the good things of God into your life will be just as disastrous as leaving perishables on the counter when they need to be in the fridge. We have a purpose and if we neglect Him by neglecting “The labor of the righteous”, we will reap “The wages of the wicked to sin.”

Prayer
Lord, remind me that we will sink or swim. This life that you’ve called us to is not one of passive, neglect or wicked behavior. We are stewards of the Gospel that was passed down to us by the Apostles of old and we must with diligence, carry out the work of spreading this Gospel until you return. 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 Referee

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 9

Gold Nugget
Verse 8-9: Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”

Commentary
I recently felt a need to approach someone that was so quick to correct others, that he was pushing everyone away from him. The funny thing about correcting someone for doing too much correcting is doing it without sounding like a hypocrite. How do you correct someone for being too quick to correct? It's all in the delivery. Even a novice can tell if your correction is because of your sincere interest in their well being or for something else. Somehow, you will be more likely to win someone over through correction if it is convincingly done in love. This person was so quick to correct every little infraction that I promised to buy him a black and white striped shirt, complete with a whistle and yellow flag. He felt like it was his duty to blow the whistle or throw the flag if someone said anything that wasn't precisely true. Even if it was somewhat true and very insignificant, it could not be overlooked. Every statement had to be entirely true to avoid a halt in the game to point out the violation. If I was to make a comment concerning the television show "Beretta" about the cop that had the white parrot, my friend would have to stop everything to ensure that I knew that it was not a parrot, but a cockatoo.

Have you ever known someone that is so fast to correct you or others that people just decide not to engage with that person? Yeah, I have too. For his best interest, I suggested he stick with only the more significant corrections. If someone says that you can pass while driving over a bridge or in a curve, you should correct them. Minimize the amount of correction you render to maintain openness between others and yourself. Weigh out whether someone is even open to correction. If they are, then you have done a great service. If they are not, why sow discord? Use wisdom in how you engage others in wisdom.

Prayer
Lord, I want to restore people that may have been misled or that may have wondered from the truth. Help me to be able to know when someone would be restored through my correction and when they would just mock and reject wise counsel. If I do see a need to correct, enable me to restore that person in love. 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/

Speak to Me

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 8

Gold Nugget
Verse 6: 
Listen, for I will speak of excellent things, and from the opening of my lips will come right things;

Commentary
One year I took my daughter’s car to the shop to get worked on. I always enter with caution when dealing with mechanic shops. I feel like I am going to get ripped off. Although there are honest Christian mechanics out there, I have been ripped off before and some of them have had a “fish” logo on their sign. When someone has you over a barrel and you are not an expert on the subject, you have to listen and take their word for it. This can be very scary, but unavoidable at times. Whether it's a mechanic, a doctor, a lawyer or anyone else that you have to take their word for something on, you have to just listen and hope for the best. There are a lot of uncertainties in this life, but it sure is a comfort to the believer to know that we have an “Agent” that knows every field and is looking out for our best interest. He is an expert at everything and cannot be fooled. All He requires of us is to Listen, for I will speak of excellent things, and from the opening of my lips will come right things; This “gold nugget” ensures that we will not have to worry about all the rest, if we just listen to the one voice that supersedes all voices. “Listening” can be more than we think. When the scriptures instruct us to listen, we are actually being instructed to listen to His Word (The Bible). It doesn’t mean for us to go to church and “listen” to the preacher. We should do that, but the listening He wants from us is to listen to what HE has to say. We can listen in our own quiet time with just ourselves and the Word of God. That is where He wants to speak to you. Some folks aren’t willing to sit still and listen. Some folks aren’t willing to devote to His Word. The truth is, some folks are bound to fall from listening to what they shouldn’t. Listen to God’s Word today, you may just hear what you needed to.

Prayer
Lord, there is no better experience than reading your Word and having you speak it to me. I pray that others that may not have experienced this will reach out to you and find you in your Word today. 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