Feel free to read one or more of the hundreds of devotions below. You will find "gold nuggets" in various selections from the book of Proverbs. Please don't hesitate to leave your comments on any of these devotions for each day of the year!

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May we learn to grow in wisdom and in grace!

-Steve

The Manual

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 21

Gold Nugget
Verse 30: “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.”
                                                                                                                             
Commentary
I remember long ago when I was much younger having to replace the brake pads on my first car. Back in those days, taking your car to the shop was only for major work. With several young kids to feed and clothe - while still being a teenager, who could afford a mechanic anyway? Every man learned the hard way how to change out parts himself. Back then you would go to the parts house, pretend to be considering whether or not to buy a Chilton manual for your vehicle, while really just reading what you need to know to change your part. I was poor and couldn’t afford the manual. Then you’d buy your part and try to remember what you read. I remember the Chilton telling me that I would need a c-clamp to change my brakes, but you guessed it... who can afford a c-clamp? I figured I could get that piston closed with something else. I thought I’d seen someone do it with a hammer once… Well, needless to say, I got that piston locked in there cock-eyed. I couldn’t back it out or press it in. I’ll never forget how frustrated I was that day and how many hours I’ll never get back. I finally found someone with a c-clamp and borrowed it to make an attempt at repairing my foul play. In the end, Old Chilton knew what he was talking about and his way succeeded over mine.  Like today’s “gold nugget”, “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.” You may think there is a cheaper way and easier way than the way designed by God in His Word, but in the end, after you’ve got everything all cock-eyed and you can’t get it to come or go right, you will find yourself referring back to “The Manual”. The good thing is how readily available The Manual is. In later years, I had a little more change in my pocket and owned several Chiltons. Even then, owning one and reading it enough to be able to apply it could still be an issue. Be sure of this, God has designed a template for how one should live their life. Your life has already been in motion for some time. Can we afford to continue in it without getting into “The Manual”? I think not!

Prayer
Lord, despite my best intentions and greatest ideas, none of them compare to the plan you have already made for me. Help me to see just how much better life will be when I walk in you ways. Amen


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Proverb for Today - Update

Hello,
I just wanted to give an update and include you on the status of Proverb for Today. As you know, I haven't been keeping up with the daily devotions. Although I do feel guilty sometimes, I don't know for sure if I should. Those of you that know me personally are aware of some of the work I have committed to. I haven't kept of with the devotion post from Proverbs and will continue to let some other things take priority until I feel the Lord reorders them. Recently we have opened a mission in Alvin. This new work has required much from Michelle and I and has been what I believe is our highest directive from the Lord at this phase in our life. Please keep us in your prayers and feel free to let us know how we can pray for you. If you are interested the mission and want to know more, visit us at alvinoutreach.org or like our facebook page at Alvin Community Outreach - Facebook

Thanks!

In the meantime, there are hundreds of archive devotions by the day of the year for anyone that is interested in reading them. I'm hoping that someone will be able to be an admin of sorts for this website and post daily the proverb for the current day from the archives for those that wish to receive them. For those that do not wish to continue receiving these emails, follow the link below to unsubscribe from Proverb for Today.

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The Lone Ranger

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 18

Gold Nugget

Verse 1-2:  A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment. 2 A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart. 



Commentary
Once while working with a team on a project, we had a particular member that preferred to work from his desk instead of remaining in the conference room with the rest of us. He was very skilled at his job and didn't get much resistance from us for his move. As skilled as he was, each of us in the room brought different and valuable insight to our efforts. For several weeks we worked diligently. Us in the conference room and he at his desk. When it came time to merge our work, we found that it was impossible. Early in the project we began to develop and hone the approach to reach our objective. Although we made efforts to pass our discoveries on to him, he didn't stay in tune and benefit from our unity. In the end, although he was very talented, we ended up having lots of rework. He didn't suffer alone. All of us had to work overtime to get the project out on time, due to his mistakes. 

God gives all of us talents but does not give us all talents. Simply said, God gives us each a talent to bring to the table, but we don't each have all the talents. He intended it to be as such. He made sure that I would have something you need and you will have something that I need. If I were self sufficient, then I would have no need of you. He wanted me to need you and you to need me. If you continue to hang out in Proverbs, you will see that the Word tells us that there is wisdom in counsel and strength in numbers. Together we can do more for God than we can alone. If we separate ourselves as mentioned in verse 1, we will begin to see things with one perspective. This can be dangerous and will disable our ability to grow. 

Consider this beautiful passage from 1 Corinthians chapter 12, for now I have trimmed it down.
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? 20 But now indeed there are many  members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 

Also
Hebrews 10:24-25 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 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.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for reminding me that I need my brothers and sisters in Christ. Give me a desire to bond in the unity of the faith. Help me to learn from other members of this body that I am a member of. I want to please you and be a blessing to others. Show me ways to benefit from and minister to others.
Amen

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While Waiting

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 13

Gold Nugget
Verse 12: Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.
                                                                                                                             
Commentary
Having to wait for something we really desire can be very difficult. As a matter of fact, today’s “gold nugget” declares that it can even make the heart ache, Hope deferred makes the heart sick...”. This sick heart feeling often makes us forgo any wait. Whether it is waiting on the person we should marry, the job we should change to, the car or house we should buy, any of those can make the heart even sicker in the long run if the wait is cut off prematurely. The old saying thats says, good things comes to those who wait is exemplified in this passage. Look closely at the latter half of today’s “gold nugget”. but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. There are some things that just cannot be rushed. I know it can be hard, but it will be worth it. Patience is a virtue and it belongs to the virtuous. Be virtuous. Wait on God to deliver the desires of your heart. He will do so at the right time. If you don’t wait, you could bring difficulty into a relationship, be trapped in a dead in job or maybe end up in a high car or house note that you can’t afford. I would rather have a sick heart from waiting now than a broken heart later. I’ve had both and the latter is worse. Know this - God is aware of your heartache and the important thing to remember is how much He cares. It may be possible that He is waiting on you before He moves on your behalf. He may have the spouse you need, but out of love for that person He won’t put them through what He is waiting to fix in you first. Maybe you are so focused on what you want that you won’t allow God to show you what He needs to prepare in you first. It’s possible that He is working on something in them before bringing the two of you together. Either way, trust God and serve Him to the fullest while you wait.

Prayer
Lord, sometime it is hard to wait on the things I feel like I need or want in this life. Give me the spiritual maturity to wait for them and trust you for the right now. Amen

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Instruction

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 5


Gold Nugget
Verse 23: 
He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.”


Commentary
Just as the scriptures teach us that the people perish for lack of vision and lack of knowledge, it also teaches us that people perish for lack of instruction. Even if I know that I have a doctor’s appointment and know the time I’m supposed to be there, I still need direction on how to get there. Instructions come in various forms and that can be the problem. If our instructions came in the way we want, expect and find convenient, we would be in good shape. Unfortunately things are not always so convenient. Often our instructions will come at what may seem the most inopportune times, places and through sources that we may not be open to. These are the times when we can either grow or digress. When we are headed in the wrong direction, but are enjoying the ride, it may not be the time when we want to be instructed to go elsewhere. When we are unsure of what to do and want to stand still, the instruction to move out or on may not fit into our comfort zone. Often the most difficult time to receive instruction is when it comes from someone that we really don’t want to receive instructions from. All of these scenarios present us with the choice of making a sacrifice. Whether we sacrifice our fear, our will or pride, we have much to gain in the choice to be obedient in following the instructions. Too often we fail to realize what we have to gain through the obedience, but instead neglect or reject the wise instructions before us. What needs to change in our lives is for us to become a people that choose what it right. We accept it even if it comes at the “wrong” time, place or from the person we would prefer it didn't. We are to be more concerned with the personal growth and that will defeat our fear, our will and our pride.

Prayer
Lord, I know that you send me instructions sometimes in ways difficult for me to accept. I also know that you don’t send it in ways that are impossible. Give me the wisdom to follow good instructions without hesitation. Amen

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Charity

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 3

Gold Nugget
Verse 27-28: "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so. Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it," When you have it with you.

Commentary
I've always liked this scripture. I appreciate its straight to the point message. Don't be so quick to measure whether or not someone is worthy of your charity. I would hate to think the Lord only gives gifts that we deserve. I am convinced that He often gives us good gifts purely because of His love for His children and how He often dotes on us. There is a balance with this concept and another one of my favorite verses which happens to be in this very chapter, "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." This "favor" is hinged on our obedience and is by far the majority of what will bring favor from God (and man), but often times He just blesses us for no apparent reason. Often times when we haven't deserved it. Isn't He so loving? If this is the case, why do we measure someones worth in order to give charity to them? What if we measured whether or not we would help someone not by whether they deserved it or not, but by whether we have it or not. "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so." If God has blessed us to the point where we have the ability to bless others; by all means we shouldn't "...say to your neighbor, "Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it," When you have it with you." Let us reason with the mind of the Lord. We should exercise wisdom, but that doesn't mean without compassion. Believe that your charity may win someone over. When that person with the torn and dirty clothes is holding the sign at the intersection, be sensitive to the Lord. He may move you to give. If you feel compassion and give, let whether or not they use it for food or something negative stay between them and God. Offer your charity to the Lord and whether or not they deserve it will not be of importance.

Prayer
Lord, I want to be a blessing to others. If I am able to bless others with finances, gifts or any possible way - I want to do it. Help me to remember how often you blessed me without my deserving it. Amen

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Wisdom vs Wisdom

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 2

Gold Nugget
Verse 6: 
For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
Commentary
When it comes to knowing US law, Harvard and Yale have the highest ranking among all universities. Anyone that claims to have an understanding of the law and holds a degree from either of these schools has much credibility. Such is anyone who gains their wisdom from the Lord. There is “wisdom” that is of the world and there is Wisdom that is of the Lord. The wisdom of the world cannot be “measured” against the Wisdom of God. In order to “measure” how long something is in Europe, you have to use metric. In order to measure how long something is in the US you have to use imperial. In order to compare the two you have to use a “conversion” chart. One will have to be “converted” to the other. They cannot work together. The same is with the wisdom of the world and the Wisdom of God. Paul describes this dilemma in 1 Corinthians 2:6-8 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” He declares that the wisdom of this world and all its glory wasn’t sufficient enough to even recognize the Lord Jesus when He came. In this, they missed Him, misunderstood Him and crucified Him. So much for the wisdom of this world. Our wisdom must be derived from the Lord, through His Word, by His Spirit. Today’s “gold nugget” says, For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Of all of our “getting” we must get wisdom from the Lord. This “getting” can only be “gotten” from a steady intake of the scriptures with prayer and meditation. This is not reserved for just the “preachers”. This is the minimal expectation for every believer.

Prayer
Lord, you have made your Word readily available to us. In it are the Words of knowledge and potential wisdom. You are the source of all Wisdom and cannot be compared to. Help me to desire your Word more and by it gain you’re wisdom to equip me for your service. Amen

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Blood Thirsty

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 1

Gold Nugget
Verse 11: If they say, "Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; 

Commentary
Today's "gold nugget" has a deep and somewhat dark overtone to it. It seems unnecessary to instruct us to avoid this ridiculous enticement. Who would actually be enticed by someone that said, "Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause"? If this is such an outrageous scenario, why take the time to include it in the book of wisdom? In fact it isn't as uncommon and avoided by us as we would like to think. If we were to put on our spiritual glasses today and see things as God sees them, we would be alarmed at how often we not only are enticed with these words, but actually entice others with these very words. Let's examine a few things from God's perspective.  God sees the spiritual as more significant than the physical. Consider what Jesus says in Matthew 10:28 "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." The scriptures go on to tell us that life and death are in the tongue and as Jesus said in the sermon on the mount, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder,  and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause  shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire." (Matthew 5:21-22) As the scriptures also say in Ezekiel chapter 3, "not warning people of their evil ways and the pending judgment will put their blood on your hands."  All this being said; it is apparent that some of the "mild" offenses we commit against our brother/neighbor are perceived by God just as the people in today's "gold nugget".  In God's eyes, gossiping about someone would be considered shedding their blood. If this is true, wouldn't gossiping be saying to someone, Come, Let us lie in wait to shed blood? Whether it be gossip, tearing someone down with our words, neglecting to tell them about impending judgment and many other things along those lines, any would qualify us as those who listen to or are actually saying "Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood". It's just a thought… or is it?

Prayer
Lord, I need to be reminded of the blood that I shed spiritually. I don't want to do this. Give me the ability to see how much harm can be done with my words, actions and lack of words and actions. I want to perceive people as you do. Give me your eyes so I can see them. Give me your heart so I can love them. Amen

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What Lasts

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 31

Gold Nugget
Verse 30: Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” 

Commentary
When I was young I went through more tanks of gas than was necessary. I guess that’s the case with most young men. The thrill of the engine revving under the hood, the force of the speed pushing me back in the seat and the squealing of the tires was more than I could resist. The image that I had in my own mind of how cool I looked pressed me on (on to the gas station anyway). The immediate gratification won over any logical and long term effects. I could pay tomorrow for satisfaction today. I am in my 40's now and well aware of years that I have wasted on foolish choices. Figuring I may be half way through this life puts things in perspective, namely time. I don’t make it a habit of concentrating on the past and what I could have done different, but realizing how much I have wasted makes me aware of the more important things in life - things that really matter and actually last. Today’s “gold nugget” reminds us that “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” Our bodies are not going to last forever. Our parts wear out, our hair relocates and our looks fade. Consuming ourselves with the things that fade and neglecting the things that last is a mistake too often repeated in our lives. While our bodies begin to head south, our character should grow. Whether its bad character that grows worse or godly character that becomes more Godly, we should be ensuring the that we are concerned with who we will be when all the other stuff fades. God is interested in our souls more than our looks and gifts. We need to prepare our hearts and accept gracefully without regrets the life that we live. It was His to give and ours to give back. Either way, it’s His now. How are we living in His time with our life? Remember, much of what we think is important has an expiration date on it.  

Prayer
Lord, I know I have missed many opportunities to serve you like I should. My own concerns and desires have too often distracted me from the long term plans you have for me. With your guidance and my submission, I know we can accomplish the plans you have for me. Amen


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20/20 Vision

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 29

Gold Nugget
Verse 18:Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.”

Commentary
Whether it be in church, business or family, if people do not have vision they will perish. Vision is directly linked to hope. Without vision, there is no hope. Trying to make that statement any flashier would only serve to diminish its importance. When my family is going through a difficult time, telling them that everything will be okay is only so effective. However, telling them what it will take to pull us through and what we will need to do to get us there is vision. Giving them vision equates to giving them hope. Failing to give them vision will result in them feeling hopeless. When they begin to live without hope, the result will be apathy. Apathy is a condition where someone just doesn't care anymore. That is one of the worse conditions anyone can be in. Today's "gold nugget" refers to people that cast off restraint when they lack vision. They just don't care about what is right or wrong anymore. Whether church, business or family, people that lack vision will soon lack discipline. Children that lack vision will soon lose respect for their parents and break family rules. Employees that lack vision will soon violate company policies and Christians that lack or lose their vision will soon "cast off restraint" and abandon God's principles. Discovering and maintaining your vision is of absolute necessity. When someone says, "That guy doesn't have any goals!” - What they are saying is he doesn't have a vision. Goals are milestones that are present only in a vision. A vision that doesn't have goals to mark the progress towards satisfying the vision doesn't possess the necessary elements to maintain itself. Have you found your vision? Did you lose your vision? Either one is just as devastating as the other. If you haven't found your vision, there are steps to finding it and those steps need to be your first goals (milestones). Purposing to find your vision should be accompanied by confidence that you will find it. That is hope. This can be accomplished through prayer and often times just good solid counsel. Did you have a vision, but somehow lost it? That happens. Maybe someone stole it from you. Often times other people will rob you of your vision by casting doubts on you. They may have told you that you couldn't accomplish your goals or somehow robbed you of your progress. Be sure of this - they will not return it. You must determine that you will not be derailed any longer. Ask yourself who you are and who you are supposed to be, and then start identifying your most immediate goals. It may be as simple as registering for college, getting a membership at a gym or have the nerve to share a business plan with someone you respect.

I know for myself that the areas of my life where I began to cast off restraint towards God's principles were the times when I had no vision. Some of those times I just got distracted and lost my vision, other times doubters came against me and beat me down. Either way, it has always been my choice to cast off the doubt and press towards the mark.

It is time for you to find your vision or recover what was lost of your vision and set some goals today. Will you take the challenge, or will you stay in apathy?

Prayer
Lord, thank you for the challenge to be reminded of what my vision is and what I need to focus on. Forgive me of the areas of my life that have been infected with apathy. I give those to you, as well. Amen


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Being Reverent

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 28

Gold Nugget
Verse 14: “Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”

Commentary
The older I get, the clearer some things become. I was raised to say yes sir, yes ma’am, no sir, no ma’am, etc. I’ve always done it and often pay the same respect to people younger than me, but without exception to my elders. When we were being raised, it was apparent that the adults were smarter and wiser. Today we see less and less of that type of acknowledgement to those to whom honor is due. I’m not just talking about saying sir and ma’am, I’m talking about acknowledging that the elders could possibly posses any more than what young men believe they already have in wisdom and knowledge. They harden their hearts as today’s “gold nugget” says and they forsake reverence towards those that could save them from calamity. “Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.” We seem to outgrow reverence towards those that are due and seek it for our own before it is earned. As we get older we see that this state of thinking “we know it all” happened in our life. We could easily say that it is the circle of life and each of us will pass through it. I wish that were merely the case, but it is apparent that it has gotten more and more severe with less people passing “through” it and more staying “in” it. We must not only cut short our time in this foolish state, but also challenge those of the next generation to steer clear of its dangerous wages. The sooner we see the need for seeking guidance from those that have walked the path we still have before us, the sooner we will find the journey passable and victorious.

Prayer
Lord, there have been many that have walked the path that you have laid before me. There are many that can teach me and guide me. Help me to do better to embrace their wisdom with reverence that is due them and find a walk that is often free from the obstacles that they have cleared from their walk. Amen


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Timing

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 27

Gold Nugget
Verse 14: “He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, It will be counted a curse to him.”

Commentary
Timing is everything. Making a joke about a chicken getting ran over while trying to cross the road, all while at a funeral for someone who just passed away from failing to cross the road safely, would be considered bad timing. In today’s "Gold Nugget", our hero is greeting his friend with loud blessings in the morning. There is a proper time, a proper place and a proper way for everything. I was once told by an elder preacher; "When someone is going through a hard time and you want to encourage them, don't tell them, all things work together for good to them that love the Lord..." When I first heard him say this, I thought it was horrible for him to discourage me from using scripture to comfort people. After giving it thought, I understood his meaning. Although this phrase; "All things work together for good to them that love the Lord..." comes from scripture (Romans 8:28), it isn't appropriate to say in every situation. When someone is going through a hard time, there are thousands of verses or things we can do to encourage them. When a young mother loses her child suddenly, approaching her to say, "All things work together for good to them that love the Lord..." may actually contribute to her loss of faith wjile it is being challenged the most. Whether we are complimenting or sharing scripture, there is the right thing to say in the right situation. We need to be walking close enough to the Lord to see what it should be and wise enough to administer it properly.

Prayer
Lord, I would like to think that I have a good word to share with anyone or an encouraging message, but I can't properly do anything without your wisdom and knowledge. Remind me that a word fitly spoken is good, but a word not spoken can sometimes be even better. Help me to know the difference. Amen


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Mind ya Business

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 26

Gold Nugget
Verse 17: “He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears.”

Commentary
Ever know anyone that has to be in the middle of everyone else’s business? This person feels like every quarrel needs their fighting skills. A peacemaker is worth their weight in gold, but people that want to be in the middle of the drama are a dime a dozen. When we throw the word “drama” in the mix, we unfairly assume that women are the only ones that are hungry for drama. We may not use the word “drama king” as we do “drama queen”, but some people love to fight and it’s a deficiency in men as well as women. For some people, ain’t no business like somebody else’s business. Now that we have painted an ugly picture of this horrible person and we have our own little picture in our head of who we know fits this description, let’s turn the critical eye inward. Whether it is a fight or just other people’s business in general, we need to know where we belong and where we don’t. Again, being a peacemaker is a Christian characteristic, but even today’s “gold nugget” indicates that some quarrels are not our business. “He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears.” When we are too quick to jump in the middle of a quarrel, we may not be aware of all the details. We may have chosen a defense that isn’t appropriate. We may be encouraging someone to continue in a bad direction because we encouraged it with our participation. We need to be quick to bring peace, but slow to choose sides. That being said, we can be just as useless by neglecting to choose a side. It may be popular, but this “I’m not choosing sides” can be encouraging to the one at fault and degrading to the person being mistreated. All this points to the fact that we need to be EXTREMELY cautious when it comes to other peoples quarrels.

Prayer
Lord, I have jumped in on the wrong side of a disagreement before and have had someone jump in on the wrong side of my disagreement. I see how foolish it is and know I need your help in knowing when to get involved and when to stay away. Reading your Words and spending time with you in prayer will help me to know the difference. Help me to apply this proverb today and from now on. Amen


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Identity Loss

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 25

Gold Nugget
Verse 4: “Take away the dross from silver, and it will go to the silversmith for jewelry.”

Commentary
Identity theft is a growing problem in America today. More and more people are suffering from their identities being stolen. The financial and emotional strain can cause enormous hurt and damage. There is another kind of identity theft that is just as common and yet perfectly legal. People have stolen other people’s identity emotionally. It has been said that when couples come together, often times one person’s identity is absorbed by the other. Therefore they lose their identity. Although not exactly stolen, often times it's just as intentional. However, not all identity loss is a bad thing. When two people come together in marriage, they should both experience some identity loss. For one, they are no longer single. Also, they are no longer providing for themselves alone. They begin to think in an “us” mode as opposed to a “me” mode. Another form of identity loss for the best is the identity you lose as you grow in your relationship with God. The bible teaches us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” That is to say, you are not who you were, nor who you shall be. “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3) I really like the last part of that verse about purifying. That brings us to our “gold nugget” for today. “Take away the dross from silver, and it will go to the silversmith for jewelry.” The “dross” is the impurities in sliver. Silver must be purified before it is of any use to the jeweler as jewelry. Anyone that knows anything about purifying silver or gold will tell you that it must be put through just the right amount of heat to be purified. In so doing, it will lose the “dross” part of its identity and become pure for the jewelers use. I have experienced a loss of identity. Accepting the truth from God’s Word has brought me to believe that it has been the heat of fiery trials are burning away the dross and that the identity that I have been losing is leaving more of Him to make up the difference. See, its okay for us to lose our identity as we are absorbed into Christ Jesus. The bible teaches us that He is in us, but it also says in the scripture mentioned earlier, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation”. Can you say that you have experienced some identity loss since you have been serving Him? Have you been feeling the loss of your identity as He burns away the impurities? If so, take joy in being fashioned in His likeness for we shall soon be as He is!

Prayer
Lord, I welcome the burning away of the dross in my heart and life. I like the work that you are doing as I decrease and you increase. I pray that you will be able to make good use of me as the dross is being been burned away. Amen


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The Avengers

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 24

Gold Nugget
Verse 29: Do not say, "I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work."

Commentary
Of all the things we've learned walking with the Lord, today's "gold nugget" is a lesson that even the most seasoned Christians seem to let creep back into their hearts. I have seen older Christians seek to return an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. When someone does us wrong; they're going to pay for it! As Christians, we know better than to wish or inflict harm on the innocent, but to those that have it coming - well, we have a different perspective on them. We want justice; even if we have to make sure it happens. This lesson seems to get shelved in light of so-called "meatier" Christian principles. In reality, taking our own vengeance is as immoral as anything we might do. Having vengeance in your heart will cause you to spiritually decay. Consider the instructions given earlier in this chapter; "17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; 18 Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him." Not only should we avoid taking revenge, but we shouldn't rejoice when those who hurt us suffer from their sin. Verse 12b "will He not render to each man according to his deeds?" If God is rendering a man according to his deeds, do not take pleasure in their suffering. As verse 17 says, "He will turn away His wrath from Him". It’s not that we avoid taking pleasure so that God will keep His hand of wrath on our enemies, but we don't want Him to turn away His wrath simply because of the evil He sees in our hearts. When all else fails, remember the simple and well know scripture - "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

Prayer
Lord, help me to trust you with all of my passions. I don't want to take vengeance against those who have hurt me. I don't want to see them suffer, either. If you see fit to discipline those that hurt me, I will morn for their sin and pray for them. I will not take pleasure in their pain. Amen


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Overindulgence

Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 23

Gold Nugget
Verse 20: “Do not mix with winebibbers, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat;”

Commentary
There are many character traits that we as Christians are careful not to allow ourselves to associate with. The New Testament warns us of many. As Paul warned the church at Corinth, "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person." (1 Corinthians 5:11). There is a common trait between the two types of people identified in today's "gold nugget", “Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat;” Both of these examples are people that cannot or will not exercise self control. They both do things in excess. Although neither act is sinful in itself, they both are dangerous when over consumed. They say too much of anything is a bad thing. The scriptures support this. Even concerning honey, the scriptures say, "It is not good to eat much honey;" (Proverbs 25:27a) In America, we super size everything, and I'm not just talking about the food we eat. We have, like another proverb mentions, "The leech has two daughters, Give and Give! There are three things that are never satisfied, four never say, Enough!" Proverbs (30:15-16) We can’t get enough of many of our little earthly pleasures. Whether it’s too much food, TV, alcohol, work, money, material things or anything else we overindulge in, they are dangerous. Dangerous, not only for us to be involved with directly, but even being too involved with those that do. Only the fool actually believes that they cannot be affected by things other people do. Despite all of our self confidence and independence that makes us believe that we cannot be influenced by others, we are not immune to the contamination that we receive from the wrong interaction with ungodly people. This works both good and bad. Much interaction with healthy people both spiritually and otherwise, can influence us positively. If you don’t believe this proverb applies to you, remember what else Paul wrote to the church at Corinth. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)

Prayer
Lord, although I have been serving you for many years now, I know that I still can be affected negatively or positively. I have seen myself get too involved with others that do not honor your precepts and compromise what you have taught me. Help me to be very particular about who I spend time with and how much time I spend with them.” Amen


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