The excellent things written for us all

Pr. 22:20:  “Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge?”

I have a lot of little unsure things weighing heavily on my mind this morning.  Nothing like waking up feeling like you’re already in a bad mood.  ha!  I don’t like starting my day with thoughts that I’m already defeated.  I knew that the only answer was to look to the Word.

Only God can give me hope where none seems visible.  Only God can move my mind from my problems to my blessings.  Only God can give me peace when I feel a storm.

I read some passages from Peter this morning.  In them, he was standing firm on the track record of God.  He was remembering God’s faithfulness and consistency.  He was writing a reminder not to forget that what God has already done proves He will do everything else He said He would do.

Those words give me peace that cannot be duplicated.  I’m so thankful today for the excellent things written in the Word of God.  I am so grateful for the counsel and the knowledge the Lord lends to us through His Word.  I am so uplifted to remember all the ways I have seen God work things out in the lives of His children throughout the Bible; and the ways He has done the same for me.  I am so relieved for the reminder that one day the works that are in the earth will be burned up, and the eternal things will be rewarded.

As long as I face my problems trusting God with their outcome, I know everything will work out the way it should.  I don’t have to have the answers or figure out the solutions on my own.  I can rely on the One who IS the answer.

What a relief!  If you’re facing a similar day, turn to the Word.  He gives us all that we need, and so much more.  What a privilege to know that He gave us access to His counsel and His knowledge.  Not only that, but His Holy Spirit living within us guides us throughout the day.  He has certainly set us up for the kind of success that will last.

Thank you, God, for giving us so much more than we deserve.  Your Word is a wonderful gift, worth more than words can say.  Help us today to pass your Word onto others so they may know the riches, the peace, the promises, and the hope that lie within.  You are a great God!

Renewed,

jamie

Do you know with certainty?

Pr. 22:20-21:  “Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge?  That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, that you may answer words of truth to those who send you.”

How can we know with certainty that the Bible contains words of truth?  We keep reading.  In order to become someone who knows anything with certainty, a little research is required.  Keep reading.

The Lord has given us His pure, proven, living Word, filled with excellent things and counsels of knowledge.  If you’re still unsure, find a book on Christian Apologetics.  Pray about what you’re reading and discovering, and then read the Word some more.  The Holy Spirit will open your eyes and hearts to the truth.

The more you read, the more you will know the truth.  Then you will be able to share that truth as you give an answer for the hope that is within you.

As we enter into a weekend when many take time to rest and relax, I pray that we all make time to spend intentional time in the Word, so that the certainty of the Word of God will fill our hearts and our hope will be secured in the Truth.

Keep reading,

jamie

That leaves a pleasant taste…

Pr. 22:18:  “For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips”

Keeping the words of wisdom and knowledge within us is not only wise, but indeed, it is pleasant.

When Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus responded with the scripture.  When Satan attacks us with doubt, fear, anxiety, and other lies, it helps if we have the truth from the Word of God fixed upon our lips.

Lie:  I am unworthy.  I am not good enough.  I am inferior.

Truth:  God formed me in my mother’s womb.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are the works of God.  (Ps. 139:13-14)

Lie:  I can’t do this.  This will turn out so badly.  I’m not strong enough.

Truth:  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.  The Lord will show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.  (Phil. 4:13, 1 Co. 12:9, 2 Ch. 16:9)

Lie:  I can’t trust anyone.  I can’t bear this.

Truth:  The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.  Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.  If I humble myself in the sight of the Lord, He will lift me up.  Branches are pruned to bear more fruit.  (Pr. 29:25, Ja. 4:10, Jo. 15:2)

Lie:  God will never forgive me.  I will never be good enough for God to love me.

Truth:  Greater love has no on than this, than to lay down His life for his friends.  God loved me so much that He gave His only Son, that believing in Him I would not perish but have everlasting life.  God did not send His song into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  Jesus prayed for me, asking God that I would know “that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”  (Jo. 15:13, Jo. 3:16-17, Jo. 17:23)

Isn’t God’s Word much more pleasant than the lies that Satan whispers?  The best part is that God’s Word is the truth.  It is pure.  It is proven.  And God is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.  (Pr. 30:5)

Know the Word and know the pleasant truth of a love that is unlike any other.  Fix it in your heart and upon your lips.

Trusting,

jamie

You will stand before the King

Pr. 22:29:  “Do you see a man who excels in his work?  He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men.”

I read the perfect example of this in Mark 6 this morning:

Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a fest for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee.  And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.”  He also swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”

Up to half his kingdom!?  WOW!  That must have been some dance!

What is it that you do?  No matter what you do; whether you’re a manager, a business owner, a janitor, a missionary, a stay-at-home parent, a hairstylist, a truck driver, a CEO, or even a cashier, do what you can to excel at your work and you will stand before “kings.”

Oh, and if you doubt anyone will ever see your excellence and appreciate it, let me remind you of one important detail.  Col. 3:23 clearly tells us, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

We actually serve the Lord Christ.  One day we will stand before the King of Kings, and we will then be given the reward of our inheritance.

Don’t give up, and don’t settle for mediocrity.  Excel at what you do for your true King.  Who knows, you may even see that you receive some reward while you’re waiting.  🙂

Like Lowe’s, let’s Never Stop Improving,

jamie

Consider who is instructing you

Pr. 22:19:  “So that your trust your trust may be in the Lord, I have instructed you today, even you.”

Years ago I was hooked on a show about clothes and makeovers.  It was pretty inspiring, and funny, to boot.  I eventually noticed that I was overly worried about the clothes, or lack of clothes, in my closet and I quit watching the show.  I am now content again with the blessings God has given me.

Any subject in which you invest your time instructs you, and draws your focus.  When I watch cooking shows a lot, I think about food and cooking a lot of the time.  When I research health and wellness, my thoughts tend to revolve around those things.  When I listen to music, my thoughts begin to be influenced by the words and ideas that I hear.  I must be careful what I allow to instruct me.

Have you considered the purpose of those things you are allowing to instruct you?  Whatever I immerse myself in becomes something on which I focus and I notice my thoughts returning to them over and over.  I find the same to be true of the Word.  When I immerse myself in the Word of God, my thoughts remain focused on the Lord, on His promises, on His commands, on His wisdom, and on His faithfulness.  The Word runs through my mind throughout the day and I see applications of the Word in my daily life.

In whom or in what do you want to place your trust?  This verse tells us that the instructions are given so that our trust may be in the Lord.  If you want your trust to be fully in the Lord, then you must continually be instructed by Him.

When I was watching the show about clothes so often, I began to lose confidence.  Why is that?  I dare say I was being instructed to trust in clothing, money, and outward appearances.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with dressing nicely or buying nice things, but I noticed within myself the feelings of discontent that indicated to me that I was beginning to trust in something that can just be thrown away.

God’s faithfulness endures forever.  He is the same God yesterday, today, and forevermore.  If we are going to receive instruction, I think it wise that it be the instruction of the pure, proven, and living Word of God.  Certainly, there is nothing wrong with learning new things, but when our lives become about things other than God, we are trusting in dust and ash.  God’s faithfulness proves that trusting in Him is not only beneficial, it is eternal.

If you truly want your trust to be in the Lord, the God Most High, the Creator and Sustainer of this universe, then you must be instructed by Him.  He is wisdom.  He is peace.  He is the Comforter.  He is the Lord of all.  Open up your heart and mind to His instruction, and reject any instruction that causes you to trust in lesser things.

Taking notes,

jamie

Prudent or simple?

Pr. 22:3:  “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.”

When I think of simple, I am reminded of sheep.  They’re depth perception is poor.  In order to check something out, they get very close to it to see the details.  Here’s an excerpt from a book I’m currently reading:

“One never could completely relax with a flock of sheep.  A lamb might escape the pasture and get lost, drown in the swiftly flowing creek, become entangled in the blackberry briars, or wander into the road.  Then there was the possibility of a hungry predator selecting one of her beloved creatures for his evening meal.”

It reminds me of us with sin.  Instead of just steering clear of sin and hiding ourselves, we let our guard down or get curious.  We get close, examine all the options, and check out the details.  Once we’re that close we are in danger of getting lost, being completely caught in the current of or drowning in sin, or entangled in thorns and snares.

Boundaries are for the prudent.  foreseeing all the evil and temptations in this world, we must have boundaries to keep us safe.  There are boundaries in our wedding vows, in the Word of God, in the laws of the land, and in our families.  If we still choose to pass on, danger and punishment will be waiting on the other side.

We also know that when we wander off alone, we are much easier prey for a hungry predator.  Satan will stop at nothing to devour us and rob us of our God-given salvation.  Let us not be simple any longer, but to prudently stay within the boundaries that protect us.  Not only that, but let’s stay safely away from the boundary lines and not go looking at the details of the evil around us.  No reason to get that close.

Let’s stay safe with our good Shepherd, Jesus, who knows us all and gave His life for us.  In His presence we will have life everlasting.

Known by my Shepherd,

jamie

excerpt from:  Ellis, Mary. (2009).  A Widow’s Hope. Eugene Oregon:  Harvest House Publishers

Guard yourself from those thorns and snares

Pr. 22:5:  “Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards his soul will be far from them.”

When I was 19 I drove my car off a small mountainside.  I was over 250 miles from home and 86 miles from my intended destination, where my mom was awaiting my arrival.  I had wrecked and totaled my car, which was now securely held by the trunk of a tree, out of view from the road.  I was hurt.  I was scared my dad was going to kill me.  I was concerned about my mom being worried since I had neither reached her nor had any way to contact her.  It started sprinkling as I climbed up the hill towards the road, and now there were thorns biting and tearing at my hands and legs.  Great!

As I’m recalling this experience, and thinking about it in light of this verse, it seems so true.  When we veer off course, we are always met with snares that trap and hurt us.  We get so far away from where we were that sometimes others can’t even find us anymore…the real us.  They worry about us and become scared for our well-being.  We get bruised, broken, and crushed.  The enemy continues to sprinkle pain on us, and thorns of hell and sin tear at our flesh and our souls.

It all starts out as a simple shift the direction we should be going.  Before we know it, we’ve gone so far out of the way that we’re trapped.  If we would stay on the road we said we’d travel, keep our eyes on the road, and dismiss the distractions, we would guard ourselves from those snares and thorns.  If we guard our souls with prayer, the Word, the truth, and His presence, He will guard us with His peace, His provision, His protection, and eternal life.

The way of sin may be wider, but it ends in destruction and death.

Keep your eyes on the narrow road,

jamie