Making Way for Others

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 31

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

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

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


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Talebearer

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 11

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

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

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


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Sleepy Time

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 6

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

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

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


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Change of Scenery

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 5

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

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

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


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My Guardian

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 4

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

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

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


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The Necklace of Truth

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 3

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

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

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

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

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

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


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