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Proverbs

Imagine seeds with no soil. Or, fish without water. A body with no bones. The sun with no orbit. Lungs without oxygen.
“What insanity!” would be a natural response. It’s not the way things are. They fall into place naturally: Soil before seeds, water before fish, bones to support flesh, a path for the sun to follow, and oxygen to fill lungs. They reflect planning, and planning is a result of wisdom.
The story of creation in Scripture reflects wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. The universe unveils a very carefully designed plan that is controlled, orderly, predictable and dependable. Nothing is random. Yes, we have “unexpected events” but they pass, and life continues. Things may be different from what they once were, but the “rules” that govern the universe are still in place and always will be.
Everywhere we look we see God’s wisdom. And, when you think of it, wisdom existed before creation. This wisdom is actually “something God is!” It is the wisdom of God that guided creation. It is the wisdom of God that actively “keeps things together.” And it is this same wisdom that originates in God that will guide us and guard us and give us peace in life if we agree to live by His rules.
It is almost inconceivable to believe that the One who created all things, is in all things and sustains all things, would even consider sharing His wisdom with us! It’s His to keep!
Although His wisdom is available, it is conditional. If we want it, we must live an obedient, trusting life in keeping with His Word. Then, He will open the door to His wisdom and bless us.
Prayer: Lord, how marvelous are Your ways. Open our hearts to see “what can be” if we trust in Your wisdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 3:19-20 By wisdom the Lord founded the earth; by understanding he created the heavens. By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth, and the dew settles beneath the night sky. 
Embrace is a word that is filled with deep, loving memories for most of us. Others perhaps have never felt the intensity of love through the arms of a parent or spouse, a child or a friend. It implies hugs and squeezes; arms wrapped tightly around someone we truly care for and are a special part of our life. It can also be compared to holding on to an object for dear life - fearing that if we let go, we’ll be lost forever.
When we travel back to Genesis, we are introduced to the Garden of Eden and “the tree of life.” It appears throughout Scripture. Even in Revelation we read of new heavens and the new earth. It is a symbol of a long and fruitful, productive and an especially “blessed” or happy life.
“She (wisdom),” wrote Solomon, “is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who hold on to her will be blessed.” If we embrace wisdom, we have the assurance - or promise - of being blessed as a result of our efforts.
Unfortunately, there is no assurance or promise of the blessing. Blessings from God, according to His Word, do not come automatically. The “tree of life” is stationary and if we want its blessings, we must go to the tree and embrace the tree. We have the responsibility to go to the tree: the tree will not come to us.
So it is with God’s wisdom. If we want it, we must go to it and embrace it and cling to it as though we were clinging to a raft in a raging sea about to be swept to our death.
God’s wisdom is available. But we must seek it and embrace it.
Prayer: Lord, through Your love You make Your wisdom available to guide us and guard us. The decision to accept, however, is ours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 3:18 She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who hold on to her will be blessed. 
“Peace and pleasant paths sound boring,” some would say. “Life needs to be exciting, exhilarating, and certainly filled with many different events that are challenging and consuming.”
But, is there something more for us to understand? Certainly.
One of my dear friends sponsors an Indianapolis race car. Another played professional soccer for years. Then, there is “Greg the Sheriff” whose life is filled with sirens and radio alerts with calls to immediate action and life impacting decisions. Another is a pediatric anesthesiologist, who with one very slight miscalculation, would bear the results of that mistake into eternity.
There is one common denominator among all of them: a reassuring pleasantness that confirms their walk with God and their trust in His wisdom. Walking in the “ways of Godly wisdom” unites their “inner and outer man” and their lives become filled with joy and happiness, peace and satisfaction. In the midst of trouble and turmoil they all have gracious, delightful, enjoyable dispositions and being in their company brings blessings because they walk with God.
Do they have moments that challenge and threaten their “pleasant, peaceful attitudes?” Of course. But, in the midst of those moments, their confidence is not changed nor do their skills become impaired. Why? Because of a peace that comes from God.
The word for “peace” is shalom. It is not a peace that eliminates or ends turmoil and turbulence in their lives. Instead, it is a peace that comes from being satisfied with doing God’s will, being grateful for His gifts, following and trusting His wisdom and worshiping Him.
Prayer: Lord, give us Your shalom! Fill our hearts with Your wisdom and our minds with determination to obey Your teachings. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 3:17 She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying.
Whenever I hear the word “gain,” I think it is related to “weight,” especially my weight. There are very few mornings that I do not step on the scale to get my “daily report” on what I ate yesterday. Most nutritionists do not recommend such a program. But, my hope to see the arrow pointing downward remains steadfast.
A gain or increase can be good or bad, exciting or depressing, encouraging or discouraging, depending on what the gain refers to. If we depend on the stock market, a gain can be a good thing. But, if we see a gain in our debt, it can be disturbing. Our gains or losses, for the most part, are usually in the physical or material realm.
Solomon speaks of a particular type of “gain” - of being able to achieve some “things” that will last as long as we live. These “gains,” these valuable lessons are available and offered to us in Proverbs. Our “attaining” more of God’s wisdom, or “life gains” is very important for all Christians because we are constantly challenged to “grow” throughout Scripture, and Proverbs provides this path for us if we want to grow.
The word used for “wisdom” in this verse also means skillfulness - applying knowledge that comes from God to our lives every day. If we do so, we will “do the right things the right way.”
When we go one step further, we come to the fact that it is possible to develop decision-making skills that are God-honoring and enable us to establish life-principals that will bring us success. God’s proverbs can guide us through life, help us in our relationships with others, lead to good practices in business, enrich our homes, and bless God and others.
Prayer: Lord, You've left us “no excuses” on how we are to live life if we are Christians. Thanks for the directions on how to live a successful life! Now, give us courage! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 1:2 For gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight. 
“What’s a nanosecond, Keller?” I asked my ten-year-old grandson.
“Papa, everyone knows what a nanosecond is,” he replied with a wry smile across his lips as if teasing me.
“Well, not quite everyone. If I knew, I wouldn’t ask.” I felt like I needed to go back to school. Immediately!
“It means one, one billionth of a second. It’s used to measure the speed of light and other stuff,” he replied casually. Not having any need to measure the speed of light, I thought it was a good time to end the conversation. I realized how little I knew about some things.
But there is one thing I do know without any doubt: God took great care to choose the exact words He needed to explain His message of redemption. No second guessing about what He wanted us to understand. No hidden meanings for a special class of people. Nothing is left to the imagination that could cause us to make an error in knowing God’s message or direction for our lives.
This is very obvious in Proverbs 1:2-4. God, through Solomon, let us know that there is a right way and a wrong way to “live life.” Each of us has choices to make about the way we will live: either a life of righteousness with God’s power that will honor and glorify Him or a life that is sinful, self-centered and leads to our death and damages others.
Ten of the approximately forty words in Proverbs 1:2-4 provide different aspects on ways to understand, see and apply God’s wisdom for daily, God-centered, living. Check them out!
God leaves nothing to “chance.” He wants us to succeed!
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the “God is My Helper” successful living guide-book – the Book of Proverbs. May we follow it carefully. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 1:2-4 For gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young. 

Right Choices

February 07, 2019
“When you come to a ‘fork’ in the road, take it,” is an oft-quoted bit of advice from Yogi Berra. It has brought a smile to the face of many when they first hear it. But if you listen to what he is saying, it’s rather dangerous. Let me explain.
“Wherever you want to go, is OK. Just follow your own path and enjoy life,” is what I think Yogi Berra is suggesting. But, is following our own self-designed path the best thing we can do with the life God has given us?
God gave us His Proverbs for us to have His understanding to know right from wrong. In fact, if we go back to a conversation between God and Solomon, his first request of God was for the gift of insight: he wanted to be able to discern right from wrong. Solomon, at that time, wanted to honor God with his whole heart. He knew that honoring God would be difficult without God’s insight to guide him. What a wise request! “God,” he begged, “please guide me.”
Perhaps he saw his father, David, struggling with his humanity when he had to choose right from wrong. Perhaps he saw his father grieve over a poor decision that cost someone their life. Perhaps he saw David, his dad, deal with guilt when he did not follow God’s guidance. There was something deep within him that challenged him to “be insightful, or discerning.” So, he asked God for this gift of “discernment,” and when he understood and applied it in his life, he recognized its value. When he recognized it’s value to him, he wanted to pass it on for us to use in our lives. How thoughtful of him to want to share God’s Word with us to guide us and keep us from sin.
God has given us the only resource we need to be discerning: His Word. If we choose to honor Him we can find His directions in His Word. Life is safe and certain if we follow His Word!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we know that You will guide us and guard us if we seek Your will and stay obedient to Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 1:4 For giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young. 
Can we put a price on wisdom?
We do that with property and stocks, technology and education. It seems that everything in our world has some value to someone. Some things are more valuable than other things. And almost everything is worth something to someone.
Solomon had just about everything anyone could want. Perhaps, he was simply thinking about “things” one day and gave some great advice: “You know what?” he said. “Get wisdom!” Why? Because wisdom is more profitable than silver, it yields better returns than gold and is more precious than rubies. Nothing compares to it, because it leads to a long and peaceful life, riches, honor and pleasant paths. Oh, those who embrace wisdom will be blessed.
What a return on a simple investment! When we invest in the things of this world, we have no assurance that we will ever see their value grow. Often, the opposite happens. And, if our investments exceed our expectations, what will we gain in the end? Will it include any of the benefits or gifts that Solomon describes? Or, who can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that any of the “things” the world has to offer will bring any happiness?
Years ago I had a friend who advised me: “Larry, you always know how wise a man is by whose advice he listens to and follows.” I discovered he was and is right.
God, through Solomon, gave us “great advice.” Over the years it has proven to be accurate, trustworthy and reliable. To follow it has endless rewards!
Prayer: Lord, there is no better investment, if we want eternal returns, than to pursue Your wisdom and ways. Give us Your strength to do this. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 3:14 For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold.
Can we put a price on wisdom?
We do that with property and stocks, technology and education. It seems that everything in our world has some value to someone. Some things are more valuable than other things. And almost everything is worth something to someone.
Solomon had just about everything anyone could want. Perhaps, he was simply thinking about “things” one day and gave some great advice: “You know what?” he said. “Get wisdom!” Why? Because wisdom is more profitable than silver, it yields better returns than gold and is more precious than rubies. Nothing compares to it, because it leads to a long and peaceful life, riches, honor and pleasant paths. Oh, those who embrace wisdom will be blessed.
What a return on a simple investment! When we invest in the things of this world, we have no assurance that we will ever see their value grow. Often, the opposite happens. And, if our investments exceed our expectations, what will we gain in the end? Will it include any of the benefits or gifts that Solomon describes? Or, who can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that any of the “things” the world has to offer will bring any happiness?
Years ago I had a friend who advised me: “Larry, you always know how wise a man is by whose advice he listens to and follows.” I discovered he was and is right.
God, through Solomon, gave us “great advice.” Over the years it has proven to be accurate, trustworthy and reliable. To follow it has endless rewards!
Prayer: Lord, there is no better investment, if we want eternal returns, than to pursue Your wisdom and ways. Give us Your strength to do this. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 3:14 For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold.
There once was a jockey who lost his first race and felt humiliated. But he did not give up. In fact, he lost his next 250 races before he enjoyed victory. His name? Eddie Arcaro and he became one of the most famous jockeys of his day.
There once was a baseball player who struck out 1,330 times. But he is not remembered for striking out. He is remembered for being one of the greatest home run hitters of all time. His name? Babe Ruth, a true legend in the history of “the game.”
There once was a man who once failed 99 times while doing the same experiment before it turned out right. But he is not remembered for his failures. Thomas Edison is remembered for being one of the world’s greatest inventors and is credited with 1,093 patents and his famous “trial and error” or Edisonian Approach to research: work until “you get the results you are seeking.”
Failure need not be fatal. It can be an important part of our learning process and lead us to ultimately discover the plan that God has in store for each of us.
There once was a man who denied his Lord. He often spoke without thinking, was brash and impulsive, turned his back on Jesus at His trial and even denied Him three times. Yet, he became the recognized leader among the disciples, was one of the “inner three” and became one of the greatest voices of the Gospel Message.
Prayer: We are grateful, Lord, that You will not give up on us as long as we stay close to You and seek Your will for our lives. May we never do less than our best for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Proverbs 3:1-6 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you.
Children have a special way of spelling love. And it only includes one letter from the word, love. Children spell love: T-I-M-E! They hunger for our companionship more than any other gift we can give them. No amount of toys, pets, gifts or devices can take the place of Sunday school teachers or youth leaders. Time shared with a child is an opportunity to make a difference in eternity – if the time is God-honoring.
Not long ago, while visiting with an executive, we were talking about the importance of helping children become who God would have them to be. Suddenly, he interrupted our conversation and called his secretary on the intercom and said, “I’ve decided to spend more time with my children. See how you can fit them into my schedule.”
The writer of Proverbs saw it quite differently. He very clearly stated that we are to, “Train up a child in the way he should go,” and in keeping with his individual gifts “and he will not depart from them.” God has given each child a particular set of skills or gifts or abilities that are in keeping with the plan He has for their life. Parents and Christian leaders are responsible to God to recognize the potential and future that He has “locked-up” within each child.
Parents and Christian leaders are obligated to God to “train” children to fulfill the plans He has for them. We are accountable to Him to follow His directions.
Prayer: We often cringe, Father, from what we see in the lives of children who do not know You – yet do little to help them. Burden us to work with You to save them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
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