Category Archives: Proverbs 16

The pursuit of happiness

Pr. 16:20: “He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.”

There has always seemed to be the ultimate search for happiness all around us.  “Do what makes you happy.” “Hey! As long as your happy.” “But I’m not happy.”  Happiness is one of those goals that is chased with great fervor.

Well, folks, the answer to truly being happy has finally arrived: trusting in the Lord.  “Whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.”

Now, how do we do that?  The answer comes before that.  We heed His Word wisely.  His Word tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us, so do we need to walk around feeling like we are all alone in this world?  No.  That feeling will make us sad, for sure.  Knowing the truth will make us happy.

Do we need to walk around weighed down with worry about our needs never being met?  No.  We can give to the Lord, trusting that He will honor His Word and give back to us pressed down, shaken together, and running over. (Luke 6:38)  We will be happy, knowing that our needs are in the hands of our Provider.

If we are heeding the Word wisely we also won’t need to walk around burdened by fear.  We will find happiness in the fact that He did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (2 Ti. 1:7) In fact, we will also be able to trust that He can deliver us from all our fears, because Ps. 34:4 tells us, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” If that doesn’t make us happy, I don’t know what can!

The joy of the Lord is still our strength.  He has not and does not changed.  That is great cause for happiness.  In fact, I think it’s fitting to say it’s even a reason to rejoice!

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! …Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Ph. 4:4,6

So, the point is that if you know what God has said, you trust in it, and you make your requests known to Him, He will guard your heart and mind with peace and that will lead to what?  Happiness!

Don’t worry, y’all.  Be happy, in the Lord!

jamie

Keep traveling

Pr. 16:17:  “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul.”

This verse reminds me of driving home to our new house at night.

In Oct., we bought a new home with a few acres.  It’s so far out in the country that my father jokes that when we visits he needs to stop at a hotel on the way to spend the night because it’s such a long journey.  ha!  Not only that, but once you finally get to our road, our house is a mile down at the dead-end.

Last night I had to go to the ‘big city’ to pick up some new rabbits for my kids.  I was supposed to be there at 5:30, but didn’t take in to account all the after-work traffic.  I was stuck in long traffic lines 3 separate times.  Wow!  I do Not miss that.  I inched along in town, survived the somewhat terrifying interstate/exiting traffic, and headed back towards the country.

My favorite thing about driving home is that as my journey continues, less and less cars are with me.  As I go, the cars fall away.  They turn off on other roads, until finally, my car is the only one on the road.  I literally sighed with relief last night once I was free from all those cars.

This verse says that the highway of the upright is to depart from evil.  A lot of times when we are living lives of sin, we are surrounded by people.  There is a lot going on around us.  We get caught up in the activities all around us.  There is a terrifying, yet exciting feeling of being surrounded by others like us; and sometimes we comfort ourselves with the justifications that we clearly aren’t the only ones doing it.

The Bible tells; however, that to preserve our soul, we must keep our way.  This is where I’m reminded of the part where I’m headed out-of-town.  Once we’ve made our decision to follow God’s path, we need to keep on that path.  All the crowd will fall away.  At this point, others will be turning off on other roads.  Some may come a little ways with us, but then change their minds and do a u-turn.  We may even lose some of our closest friends.  We may find that we are the only one we know that is on that road.

What are doing; however, is preserving our soul.  We are choosing to trust and follow God.  And we will be rewarded in heaven.

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind us all that we are not actually alone.  Not only does God never leave us or forsake us, but there are plenty of people who have also chosen God’s way.  It does us good to go to church and meet with others of like mind.  With their help, we can be encouraged and then we can go out and show the lost a new way.

Keep on the way,

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 16

Lord, I love you this morning.  I woke up thinking about trusting You.  I’m so thankful that was my first thought of the day.  Pr. 16:20 says, “Whoever trust in the Lord, happy is he.”  How true that is!

Lord, the running theme in my verses this morning was that no matter our plans or ideas, You have the final Word.  But better than that is the fact that You are faithful and You are directing us into good things.  Even when we are afflicted, it is to produce something good in our lives.

Yesterday I read again that trials produce perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint.  What a wonderful thing to know.  Thank You for that reassurance and those promises.  No matter what the affliction, we can trust that You are producing endurance, character, and hope in our lives.  Thank You.  I see no reason not to trust in the One who does these things.

Help me to depart from evil today.  Help me to rule my spirit and not allow anger to drive me.  Help my words to be pleasant today, as Your Word says that pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

I love you, Lord.  I am so proud and honored to be called Yours.  I know that as You direct my steps, Your love is with me.  Thank You.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Hoarding treasure

Pr. 16:21:  “The wise in heart will be called prudent, and sweetness of the lips increases learning.”

I was reading Matthew 13:52 this morning, which is one of those verses I never noticed before.  Here is the verse:

“Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

This is what Matthew Henry’s commentary said, “A skillful, faithful minister of the gospel is a scribe, well versed in the things of the gospel, and able to teach them.  Christ compares him to a good householder, who brings forth fruits of last year’s growth and this year’s gathering, abundance and variety, to entertain his friends.  Old experiences and new observations, all have their use.  Our place is at Christ’s feet, and we must daily learn old lessons over again, and new ones also.”

Our place is at Christ’s feet.  If we can get that right, the wisdom and learning will come.

When we are speaking to others about Christ, it will be the combination of old lessons we’ve experienced and new observations we are daily experiencing that will bring it all together.  Every day we learn more about Christ, and sometimes those things enlighten us to the older things we’ve already gone through or learned.  It all adds to what we know.

Even those old lessons we learned that we’d rather not share, can help bring credibility to what we say.  If we’ve been through something and learned more about Christ through it, perhaps that will be the thing that will most connect with the person with whom we are speaking.

Perhaps telling someone that God’s yoke is easy and His burden is light is best said when you share about a time when you found out the hard way just how heavy the burden of sin became for you.  Perhaps the childhood verse you learned about hiding God’s word in your heart means so much more when you read Mt. 13:52 that says a scribe is the one who brings out old treasures to combine with the new.

We bring out of the treasure of our knowledge of Christ something to share with others.  Spending time with Christ is what gives us something to share.

Happy hoarding,

jamie

Carefully feeding your teacher

Pr. 16:23:  “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips.”

Last time we talked about how filling our hearts with righteous things would help ensure our chances of speaking righteousness over transgression.

Proverb 16:23 reminds us that our hearts actually teach our mouths and add learning to our lips.  The things with which we are filling our hearts are teaching us.  They may be teaching us good and righteous things, but they could also be teaching us harmful/sinful things.

There is a particular music group that I cannot listen to.  I love their music!  Their style is fun, the tunes are catchy, and their voices blend in a harmony that pleases me deep in my soul.  I’m not the only one, either.  They are very popular.  The lyrics; however, are not exactly conducive to my Christian walk.  They sing about things I shouldn’t be thinking about, but I get those catchy songs in my mind and can’t quit singing them throughout the day.

As I sing those lyrics, those thoughts begin to take root within me and I find myself become discontented with my current walk.  I begin to think about the scenarios they create with their music and my flesh reacts to those thoughts.  I also feel my flesh begin to justify the sinful thoughts.  They’re popular songs, afterall.  It’s just the norm, right?

Those singers aren’t awful people, and I’ve certainly heard worse lyrics before.  I know my limits; however, so I in order to keep my heart from teaching my lips to sing those harmful/sinful things, I have to intentionally avoid this music.  (Not always easy.  I actually find myself sometimes craving those tunes.)

If we want to speak righteous things, and we understand our hearts teach our mouths, then it’s logical that we make intentional decisions in our lives.  We must be careful to fill our hearts with righteous things and to avoid those things we know are filling our hearts with harmful/sinful thoughts.

Even if it’s hard and unpopular, we must guard our hearts.  If we do, then we can be sure that the Lord can speak through us.

Carefully choosing,

jamie

 

Which way?

Pr. 16:25:  “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

This verse is so fitting in our world.  Although, it has been since time began.  Didn’t satan twist words just so to coerce Eve into believing the way she was taking was right?  Certainly its end was the way of death.

Today, he is still doing the same.  He twist words to make them sound right.  Sure, there may be some truth in the words he whispers, but is it THE truth?  The Word of God reveals the truth of Jesus who is THE WAY, the truth, and the Life.

It is an imperative that we verify our path by the Word of God.  The way we’re headed may seem right, but is it truly?  In order to end up with eternal life, we must go by way of Jesus Christ.  All other ways, even as right as they may seem, lead to death.  Find the true Way.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.  Mt. 7:13-14

Walking slowly,

jamie

In times of doubt

Pr. 16:3:  “Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.”

King David knew betrayal and fear in his lifetime.  What had David done to Saul?  Nothing.  It was Saul’s own sin and distress that caused him to make poor decisions.  David had nothing to do with those things.  Yet, Saul tried to kill David on more than one occasion.

In Psalm 11, we get a glimpse of David wondering about his trust in the Lord.  He says, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”  With God as his foundation, David wondered what he could do if that trust was destroyed?

This is a temptation that comes upon us all.  There are times of pain, sadness, doubt, sickness, sorrow, or confusion when we wonder at God’s plans.  We know that His thoughts are not the same as ours.  We know His ways are not our own.  We understand that He holds the world in His hands and that He is sovereign.  Yet, there are times when we are tempted to lose our trust in Him.

David, continues; however, stating what He knows to be true about the Lord.  (vs. 4-7)  He reminds Himself why His trust has been placed in the Lord, and why that trust is not misplaced.

We can see this Proverb proven in this time of David’s temptation and reassurance.  He had committed his ways to the Lord since childhood.  He had trusted in the Lord’s might enough to face and kill Goliath.  He knew what God could do and was willing to do.  He knew the things that displease God.

Even though David was tempted with doubt and despair, his thoughts were established.  His commitment to the Lord, his knowledge of the Lord, and his trust in the Lord created a firm foundation on which he could placed his trust.

It is our commitment to the Lord and our knowledge of Him that allows us to have that same foundation.  When times of doubt sneak upon us, we need to know the One in whom we are trusting.  If we know Him, our thoughts will be established, and on our solid foundation, He will pull us up straight and strengthen us by our trust in Him.

Continue getting to really know Him.  He is our foundation!

Steadying myself in Him,

jamie

 

 

Before you fall…

Pr. 16:18:  “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

One of my funniest “pride” moments was on stage during a play.  There was silence and I was thinking, “Who forgot their line?  Someone needs to be talking right now!”  The next thing I heard was someone speaking my line to me in the form of a question.  Because it turns out that I was the one who forgot their line, I was being rescued from embarrassment and the play was being rescued from silence.  Ha!

I can remember another moment of pride that is not quite so funny.  I received a letter once from a friend during a sinful time in my life.  Since she lived over 8 hours away, she wrote to let me know that she was concerned about the fact that my choices were going against God’s word.  She was concerned for my soul.  What an amazing friend!!  Truly she was living out Gal. 6:1, which says, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any sin, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.”

She was right, of course, but my pride and sin’s grip caused me to become angry as I read that letter.  I remember saying aloud that she needed to mind her own business and I wadded up the letter and threw it in the trash.  Oh, how I wish I would have heeded her words!  Her letter was something only a true friend can write.  It did plant a seed; however, and that was actually when I began feeling and hearing the Lord calling me back to Him.    (Thank you, my beautiful Amie.  I love you, girl!)

King Uzziah is recorded as a good and successful king of Judah.  2 Ch. 26:4 says, “he did what was right in the sight of the Lord.”  From there, we see that as long as Uzziah sought the Lord, God made Him prosper.  God helped him defeat his enemies, become prosperous, and become famous far and wide and gain much loyalty.

2 Ch. 26:16, “But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he sinned against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.”  The Lord helped King Uzziah to become strong and mighty, but after he became strong, Uzziah’s pride caused him to think he was worthy to enter the temple of the Lord and do the job of priests.

God was very specific with His instructions about the temple, the priests, the altar, etc.  Because of Uzziah’s prideful decision, he was struck with leprosy, isolated, and cut off from the house of the Lord until the day he died.

Pride is an indicator of sin’s grip on our hearts.  We must remember the true source of our strength and provision.  Humbling ourselves before the King of Kings gives Him the opportunity to bless us, keep us, be gracious to us, and to give us true peace.  May God bless you today?

Bending my knee to Him,

jamie

Jesus’ death = your life

Pr. 16:15:  “In the light of the king’s face is life, and his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain.”

Yesterday I heard a story about a soldier whose life was saved by the sacrifice of one of his fellow soldier’s own life.  He said that his days are now lived in light and in honor of that sacrifice.  The point brought up by the lady relaying this story was that it is a concept generally accepted that when someone lays down their life specifically for you, then it is logical for you to want to live your life in a way that honors that sacrifice.

Does that concept sound familiar to you?  Jesus laid down His life for each and everyone one of us.  Our lives have been saved because one man offered Himself up in exchange for us.  Are we living in a way that brings honor to His sacrifice?  Are we trampling on His sacrifice, living as though what He did was of no consequence?

Hearing that soldier say that his life is now lived in honor of the life of the other makes him sound very honorable.  He will be well-respected by almost everyone for making a statement like that, and more so by following through with what he said.  The other soldier’s parents, in particular, will receive much more comfort knowing that their son did not die in vain for someone who was ungrateful, uncaring, or unworthy.

That’s just it, though, isn’t it?  Was he really worthy of the life of their own son?  No.  No one will ever be as cherished in their eyes as their own son.  However, they understand their son’s sacrifice was out of love for his fellow soldier and out of his own desire that his fellow soldier would not die.

Certainly none of us are worthy of the sacrifice of Jesus; however, He counted us worthy out of His overwhelming love for us, and His desire that we live eternally with Him in heaven.  God does not desire than any should perish, so He willingly sacrificed His own Son for our salvation.  Are we living lives of gratitude in light of that sacrifice?  Are we honoring God with our actions, decisions, words, and goals?  Who are we trying to honor?

Isn’t Jesus worthy of our honor, respect, and gratitude?  He offered Himself up specifically for you…for me.  In the light of His face there truly is life…eternal life.  And the blessings that come from His latter rain shine His favor upon us, saving even in these last days.  His salvation is still freely offered to one and all.

If you believe Jesus died for you, live a life that proves it.  Show your gratitude to Him by honoring Him with your life.  Isn’t that the very least we can do for the One who gave His very own life for our own?

Praise Him now!

jamie

Better than treasure

Pr. 16:9:  “Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”

In Hebrews, the faith of Moses is mentioned.  It says how rather than enjoying the privileged life that comes with being the son of Pharaoh, he chose to suffer affliction with the people of God.  “Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.”  Heb. 11:26

God heard the cries of the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt, and remembered His covenant with Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.  He sought Moses to lead His children out of their slavery in Egypt.  Moses was certain God was making a mistake in choosing him; however, God’s strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.  The Lord assured Moses that He would certainly be with him.  And so He was.

Moses chose to be obedient to the God of his fathers.  He spent the last 40 years of his life in the wilderness leading the people of God who were being punished for their disobedience.  At any point, he could have chosen a different life; however, he had seen the faithfulness of I AM.  In the song he sang before he died, he was still declaring the glory of God:

“For I proclaim the name of the Lord:  Ascribe greatness to our God.  He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.”

His last words to the children of Israel were spoken to encourage them to continue to trust in God.  He blessed the tribes of Israel and reminded them of His excellence.  This encouragement was coming from a man who had so humbled himself before the Lord, that the Lord counted him worthy to see His glory.  His face shone as a result.  He saw miracle after miracle, provision after provision, and the unending faithfulness of God.

Moses’s life is a true testimony to this proverb.  Truly his life proves how much better it is to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.  Lord, help us surrender our pride, and our lives to You.  Help us to take you at Your word, humbling ourselves before a faithful and mighty God.

Learning from Moses,

jamie