On loving instruction…

Pr. 12:1:  “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”

Stupid is considered a ‘bad word’ in our house, but here it is, right in my Bible.  I’m just typing what it says.

It seems I’ve been reading the words of instruction in Proverbs so intently that I have caused damage to my Bible.  This page, and a chunk of others have come loose from the binding of my Bible.  When I was reading these words this morning, I was holding just the pages in my hand.

Although, it was shocking when they first came out, I take it as a sign that I have not hated correction.  I have been reading these instructions enough to have worn the pages right out of the book.  That’s got to be a good thing, right?

Now, let me admit that I don’t really always love correction.  I absolutely love to learn, but correction can sting.  I guess, like these pages, it pulls something out of me that maybe I’m a bit unwilling to give up.  Or maybe it’s just pride.

I don’t want to be considered stupid.  (Gasp!  I typed it again.)  I want to learn more and to grow more mature.  I want God to teach me what is best and good for my life.  I want to pull as much instruction out of His Word as I can.  Even if I am literally pulling out the pages from use.

God gives us instruction for our good.  He also gives it so that we can pass it on to others.  We owe it to those around us who aren’t “in the know” to pull out as much as we can, so that we can pass it along to them.  God has enough for us all!

Being instructed,

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 12

You are my portion, O Lord; I have said that I would keep Your Words.  I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; be merciful to me according to Your Word.

Let my truthful lips be established forever and do not let my tongue lie.  As my life and my hope are rooted in You, let it yield fruit that is pleasing to You and helpful to those around me.  Let not my root be moved.

Help me to be an excellent wife who is a crown to my husband, not causing him shame or preying upon him.  Let my thoughts be right and just, and based on Your Word.  Lord, Pr. 12:7 says, “The house of the righteous will stand.”  Thank You, Lord.  I am standing on Your promise in that verse.

Help my words to be good, bringing gladness to my husband’s heart and to the hearts of my children, as well.  Help my children to wisely receive my counsel as I teach and train them in Your ways, so that no grave trouble will overtake them.  Help my tongue to promote health in our relationships, and give us joy.

Lord, help us to choose our friends carefully so that we are not led away from You.  Help us to be diligent in all we do, honoring You.

Thank You for Your faithfulness and Your favor.  Thank You for Your mercies and for Your salvation.  You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created!

I love You, Lord, and I  trust in You.  I pray this in Jesus’ holy name.  Amen.

How to prevent bone decay

Pr. 12:4 says, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.”

This rottenness in his bones means it preys upon him, and causes decay.  It consumes him.  That sounds horrible!!

I know a good way to prevent this from happening.  Read this question that author, Dannah Gresh, asks.  “Do you spend more time in front of the mirror making yourself externally beautiful, or do you spend more time developing your inner beauty through quiet communion with God?”

1 Peter 3:3-6 talks about women not letting their adornment be merely outward.  We don’t have to have the best make up or wardrobe.  We don’t have to have the perfect hairstyle or jewelry.  We don’t have to be the most ‘up with the times.’  Superior cooking skills aren’t required.

An excellent wife…or a wife of valor, as some translations say…is one who looks well to the ways of her household, and is pious and prudent.

Now, by all means, please fix your hair.  However, if for every minute spent in front of the mirror, we spent a minute or more with God, we will develop a true and deep relationship with God.  When we develop that relationship with God, we cultivate a spirit more like God’s.  This is the prescription to help prevent us from causing bone rot in those we love.

Striving to be truly beautiful,

jamie

Finding the root I needed

Pr. 12:3:  “A man is not established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous cannot be moved.”

I remember my young adult years being filled with what I referred to as restlessness.  I never felt a strong sense of peace in my life and I blamed it on anything but myself.  I listened to my music way too loud, I wore clothes that let me feel ‘free’, I travelled a lot, I drank too much, and camped out alone in the woods.  I was trying to intentionally either out run my restlessness or ease it with over the top activities.

I was trying to find my peace in things of this world, sin, and unconstraint.  Unfortunately, all I really found was more loneliness, more restlessness, and choices to regret later on.  Thankfully I didn’t lose my life in the process.

I remember the day I realized I no longer felt that restlessness.  It kind of snuck up on me, actually.

During my peace-seeking I found a man who loved Jesus.  Yes, I had been raised in church, but I really only loved myself.  Jesus was only ever in my mind when I felt momentary guilt or shame.

Eventually we were married, and this man who loved Jesus took me to a church that loved Jesus.  I began to understand what it meant that Jesus was truly my Savior.  I began to understand how much He loved me.  (You don’t die in someone else’s place if they don’t mean something to you)

I began to read the Word of God out of curiosity and delight rather than out of duty.  I found out more about God’s love than I had ever known before.

I began to worship the Lord just for who He is, not out of guilt or shame.  I finally perceived the truth about grace, realizing salvation was not based on my actions, good or bad, but on God’s grace and compassion.

One day, without warning, I realized I was full of peace.  All the restlessness that I thought I’d been cursed with was simply gone.  In its place was the peace that passes all understanding, and the One who had placed it there was God.

Finally, I had a root to hold me in place.  My foundation was solidly established, and I no longer had to out run the sinking sand beneath my feet.

Once I allowed Jesus Christ to be my personal Cornerstone, I gained the security I’d sought for so long.

I know from experience, that anything outside of God will leave your foundation unsound and unstable.  If you need a foundation for your life that is fixed and unshakable, Jesus Christ is the answer.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.”  Matthew 14:27

Rooted in Him alone,

jamie

Scattering gladness

Pr. 12:25:  “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.”

Newsflash:  not everyone who is depressed lies in bed with the covers over their head.  Most go to work, shop at the store, attend church and social events, and live their lives the best they can.

Just because we’re unaware of someone’s anxiety or depression, doesn’t mean it’s not there.  So, it seems that a good rule of thumb is to make sure we have a good word for each person with whom we come into contact.

We don’t have to be intimidated, thinking we have to always offer up some prophetic word from the Lord, or the best advice ever given.  We just need to give a good word.

It’s easy to get caught up in the negative, but if good words can give gladness to a depressed heart, then it would be good for us to aim to distribute those words more generously.

We don’t have to pretend that we ourselves our happy when we’re not; however, I’m reminded of the old saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”  Still, I think we can do better than that most of the time.

Out of the abundance that God has placed within us, let’s make someone’s heart glad today.  🙂

Cordially,

jamie

Righteousness prevents the stings

Pr. 12:13:  “The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will come through trouble.” 

I’ve been thinking about yellow jackets all day long.  When I read this Proverb this morning, I immediately remembered an incident that happened to me in high school.  One afternoon a group of kids in my youth group jumped on me in the yard of the church and began holding me down and tickling me.  I very much dislike being tickled, and it was torture.  I sincerely begged for them to stop, but they only seemed encouraged and would not relent.

Suddenly a swarm of yellow jackets came out of the ground and began stinging them all.  I was untouched.

This Proverb reminds me of that event.  One can’t help but wonder if perhaps those kids were punished for their actions towards me.  I’m not saying I was perfect and they were horrible human beings, but I was the one being tormented in that moment, and I certainly came through trouble without a single sting. Did they set a trap for themselves?

Our words are a choice that we make.  We can choose to allow transgression to flow forth from our lips, and become ensnared by the trap we’ve set; or we can allow righteousness to prevail, ensuring that we come through trouble.

It certainly isn’t always simple to speak right words, but as Luke 6:45 reminds us, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil.  For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Ensuring that we are filling our hearts with righteous things will definitely help our chances of speaking righteousness over transgression.  And that will help us come through trouble.

Trying not to get stung,

jamie

Heed counsel that points to God

Pr. 12:15:  “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.”

Psalm 53:1 says, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” Verse 2 says, “God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God.”

There are many false teachings in the world, and if we don’t seek and heed wise counsel that helps us to understand more of God, we run the risk of becoming fools.

Being kind to our fellow man is a good thing, but understanding God helps us know that what our fellow men really need is to know the One true Living God.

Following rules is not necessarily a bad thing, but understanding God helps to understand that it is belief in Jesus Christ, and His grace that bring salvation.

Inner strength isn’t the thing on which we must build and rely, when the Lord, our Strength and our Shield, perfects His strength in our weaknesses.

Peace is something we all seek, but there is a peace that surpasses all understanding, that comes only from Christ Jesus.

Seeking God will bring more understanding of God, and will protect us from deceitful thoughts that teach a life lived outside of God.

We need seek Him to understand Him more and more.  We will be counted wise by the only One who really matters, and we will not suffer the fate of the fools.

Not only that, but we won’t have to live a life thinking it all rides on us.  Our understanding will allow us to know that we have a Helper who will guide us through all things.

In His care,

jamie