Category Archives: Proverbs 3

Don’t understand?

Pr. 3:5:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”

Last week I lost a friend to suicide.  How do you line that up with your faith?

Just like anything else.  Keep trusting in the Lord.  In this life we will have trials.  Although God’s plans for us are good, we live in a sin-cursed world where disease and sin have tainted things.  Sin brought in death and disease.  Sin brought in meanness, evil intentions, cruelty, and poison.  The life we live in this temporary place will have trials and pain, but God can turn every pain and trial around for good.

Joseph’s brother’s plotted to kill him, but instead threw him in a well and sold him into slavery.  He was falsely accused of attempted rape, imprisoned, forgotten.  But of all of the things that were meant for evil in his life, Joseph said, “God meant it for good to save many people.”  And he was right.

This morning I was reading about all the apostles of Christ that were mocked, scourged, homeless, sawed in half, tormented, etc.  (Heb. 11:32-40)  It was said that they did it that they may receive a better resurrection.  Paul, as well, was shipwrecked, snake-bitten, imprisoned, and had a thorn in his flesh that the Lord would not remove.  The Bible says he accepted that gladly for the promise of the power of Christ upon him.

How in the world can we accept suffering, pain, or trials?  How can we make it through these dark times in our lives?  By trusting in the Lord with all our hearts and leaning not on our own understanding.

It doesn’t make sense to us when the pain comes.  But the Word says that His ways are not our ways.  Perhaps, like Joseph, He is going to make something beautiful come from our pain.  Death and suffering don’t come naturally to us, but God has sent us the Comforter.  God supplies for our needs.  He comforts.  He gives joy and peace in the storms and trials of our lives.  When the storms come, He is the One in which we can take refuge.

The Lord is the One who provides the peace that surpasses all understanding which guards our hearts and minds when we pray to him in our times of anxiety.  The Lord is the One who shows Himself strong for us when we remain loyal to Him.  The Lord is the One whose strength is made perfect in our weakness.  It is the Lord in which we need to continue to trust.  He will be as faithful tomorrow as He was in the beginning.  He does not change.

Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness, in which we can place our trust and our hope!

jamie

In God we trust?

Pr. 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding”

What I have found over the years is that obeying the Lord doesn’t always make logical sense.

One time the Lord told me to take a card and drop it off for a girl.  I got to the store to get the card, and the one He pointed out to me was very specific and personal.  I barely knew this girl, much less what was going on with her.  But I bought it anyway.

I obeyed, and it turned out that it was the Exact card she needed.  (She later told me)  I didn’t know her circumstances, but God did, and He was able to put a healing balm on her pain through my obedience.  It didn’t make 100% sense to me; in fact, I almost felt embarrassed, but I trusted God’s leading over my own understanding.

In my experience, when we trust God over our own understanding, He is able to do wonders in the lives of those around us.

Our own understanding is limited and ever-changing.  It’s easier for us to trust in what we can see or have experienced.  And just like we once believed in Santa Claus, but later changed our minds, what we understand isn’t static.

God, on the other hand, does not change.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  He does not change.  We can trust in Him as much today as Abraham could trust him when God asked him to sacrifice his own son.

We don’t always understand His ways, but His was are perfect, His Word is flawless, and He shields all who take refuge in Him.  (Ps. 18:30)

Trusting in God will never be the wrong decision.

Go for it!

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 3

Oh, God, let me not forget Your Word.  Let me bind mercy and truth around my neck and write Your words on the tablet of my heart, so that I might find favor and high esteem in Your sight and in the sight of man.  Let me delight in Your precepts and in Your statutes that length of days, long life, and peace will be added to me.

Help me, Lord, to trust in You with all my heart and not to lean on my own understanding, as You direct my paths.  Help me not to be wise in my own eyes, but in the confidence that comes from following You.  Help me to depart from evil and to honor You alone with my possessions.  Thank You for Your provision; always ensuring I have exactly what I need for the moment.  Help me to trust that You will always provide and will not forsake Your own inheritance.

Lord, when You chastise me, as a loving Father, bring back to my remembrance that You do it because You delight in me, just as Your Word says.  Help me to remember that it is out of Your love that You correct and guide me.

Lord I thank You that You give wisdom freely to those who seek.  I thank You that Your wisdom, understanding, and knowledge keep my feet from stumbling.  I thank You for being my confidence and for keeping my foot from being caught.  No wonder the author of Psalm 119:14 said, “I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.”  Truly nothing compares to You, Your might, and Your faithfulness, Lord.

Lord, through Your guidance and Your wisdom, let me leave a legacy of honor and glory to You.  Bless my home and my family.  Let my children seek You as they would seek a treasure.  Help me to show them how to give when it is in their power to do so.  Help them to be just.

Blessed are You, O Lord!

jamie

It is finished

Pr. 3:20:  “By His knowledge the depths were broken up, and clouds drop down the dew.” 

Ya know there are some things that just are…

The clouds drop down dew because that is the way the Lord designed it.  We “men” don’t have to force that to happen.  The Lord, in His knowledge, deliberately set it up so that dew would water the earth.

Breathing.  Most of us don’t have to think about making ourselves breathe, although anyone who has ever had breathing difficulties will appreciate breath all the more.  God created our brain to cause our lungs to work on their own.  It just happens.

We also don’t have to tell our hearts to beat.  With wise forethought, our Creator, caused this to happen whether we’re consciously thinking about it or not.

These are not the only things God purposely designed to be already in place for us.  For example, we don’t have to offer sacrifices for our forgiveness.  Likewise, we don’t have to earn our salvation.

Our forgiveness and salvation are already in place.  With the same forethought, our Deliverer offered His Son on the cross and offered salvation and forgiveness to us all.

Besides accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, there is nothing we have to do to make those things happen.  Jesus already did it.

Sometimes we don’t “feel” like we’re forgiven.  Sometimes we may worry that we’re not doing enough to be saved.  When our feelings don’t line up with the Word of God, however, those feelings are wrong.  Forgiveness and salvation already exist, whether we ‘feel’ them or not.

In the same way that we don’t have to cause the clouds to drop down dew, tell our lungs to breathe, or remind our hearts to beat, we don’t have to do anything to earn those things.  By His knowledge, the Lord has done it!  When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He meant it.

Go out and touch the dew.  Let it remind you of the grace of God, which was offered freely, and has saved you.  Just like that dew you didn’t create, you don’t have to make it happen.  It is finished.

Breathing fresh air,

jamie

 

Walking safely

Pr. 3:23:  “Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble.”

After I got out of the vehicle at church last night, I promptly tripped.  Although there was nothing noticeable on the ground in my path, I stumbled, but thankfully didn’t fall.

In this chapter of Proverbs, Solomon tells us about the benefits of having wisdom.  One of the benefits of keeping sound wisdom and discretion close is that we will walk safely in our way, and our foot will not stumble.

God’s wisdom helps us to be more aware of the obstacles and roadblocks satan places in our paths.  When we have wisdom, we are more able to recognize those obstacles for what they really are:  temptations positioned to trip us up, cause us to fall, and cause us to lose our bearings.

Discretion allows us to prepare to purposefully avoid certain obstacles.  Instead of walking straight towards them, we are able to make choices that lead us away from or around them.

Unfortunately, there are times when we still make missteps over certain obstacles.  We may hesitate to choose God’s will over the flesh, or we might actually fall.  However, God gives us the wisdom to keep us from staying down.  He gives us discretion to help us put plans in action to keep from tripping over the same obstacles over and over.

As long as we are on this earth there will be stumbling blocks in our path.  If we want to walk as safely as possible, we must keep wisdom and discretion close.  They will enlighten the path before us, and lead us to those streets of gold.

Watching my step,

jamie

 

Keeping secrets with God

Pr. 3:32:  “For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, but His secret counsel is with the upright.”

The perverse person in this verse is one “who transgresses the law.”  It is one who deliberately disregards the law and will of God, choosing to live a sinful life outside of God.  With such, God cannot commune, as He cannot tolerate sin, and finds it abominable.

With the upright, on the other hand, He has secret counsel.  He speaks to them, teaches them, and guides them moment by moment; readying them for their path ahead.  I noticed an example of this in my reading this morning.

In Acts 2:14, Peter stands up, raises his voice, and begins speaking to a large crowd about Jesus.  Peter had just been filled with the Holy Spirit and due to that, he who had previously denied Jesus boldly stepped forward, raised his voice, and proclaimed Jesus for all to hear.  The Holy Spirit gave him utterance, but God had most certainly been working within Peter’s heart to ready Him for this.

In my experience, God does not send us forward to do something that He has not prepared us to do.  He works within us, readying us, preparing us, equipping, training, and guiding us toward that moment.  It is a secret counsel that we have with the Lord Himself of which no one else is likely aware.

When we choose to deliberately live a life outside of Him, this cannot take place.  However, when our hearts are open before Him in fear and in loving submission, He can work within us, readying us and guiding us secretly for His greater plans.  He can teach us and train us in the private depths of our hearts.

Just as the Lord readied Peter’s heart for the boldness the Holy Spirit would bring, He readies the upright for their own journey ahead.

Do not doubt the preparations of the Lord.  He is mighty and able.  If you are open to Him, He will teach, guide, and ready you for the journey He has in store for you.  If He has been speaking secretly to you, continue with Him.  When the time comes, you will be fully prepared and equipped.  Not only that, but the Holy Spirit will be with you, helping every step of the way.

Keeping secrets,

jamie

How ya sleeping?

Pr. 3:24:  “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.”

Solomon wrote that when we keep wisdom and discretion this will be one of the results.

I have nights where I awake in the middle of the night and am bombarded by terribly self-defeating thoughts.  I suppose that during the day I am more alert and ready to defend myself, but at night I am groggy and vulnerable.

This happened to me again last night.  As I was lying there being  attacked by thoughts of defeat, doubt, hopelessness, and despair, I heard these words come to the surface of my mind:

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.

Christ alone is my Cornerstone.  On Him, the Solid Rock, I stand, and certainly all other ground is sinking sand.

Verse 2 says,  “When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace.”  How fitting for the middle of the night when my thoughts loomed so largely in the forefront of my mind.

Through wisdom, I was able to rest on His unchanging grace last night.  Through discretion, I was able to apply good judgment to which thoughts I would allow to take me captive and which I would no longer entertain.

Remembering on whom my hope is built brought me peace and I was able to rest sweetly the remainder of the night.

This is a good example of a reason we must have the Lord’s wisdom in our lives.  Satan loves to attack our thoughts with fear, deception, and lies.  Often he uses half truths to attack us, which is why we sometimes believe or give in.

If we know the Word, and His truth, we will be able to take up our shield of faith and withstand the fiery darts of the wicked one.  We will be able to remind ourselves that do not need to place our trust in “the sweetest frames,” but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.

If we know the Word, we can rest on the fact that our hope isn’t built on anything that will sink or corrode, but is on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and His righteousness.

We have all we need in Christ.  I pray that when thoughts to the contrary attempt to take you captive, you will remember this story, and be able to rest sweetly in the truth of the Word.  I pray I will, too.

Trusting in Him,

jamie

Proving we are faithful stewards

Pr. 3:9:  “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase”

This morning I was also reading Luke 16, about the unjust steward.  A steward is a person in charge of the property of affairs of another.  I believe the Lord has placed us all in charge of His estate here on earth, as we are His hands and feet.  That is why this proverb is so important.

When we honor the Lord with our possessions, with our firstfruits (our tithes) we are honoring and giving back to Him what is really His.  The parable of the unjust steward talks about a steward accused of wasting his master’s goods.  Verses 11 and 12 teach us, “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (money), who will commit to your trust the true riches?  And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?”

Instead of wasting the money He entrusts to us, we give back a portion to Him in a demonstration of our understanding that He is the One who provides for all of our needs.  We give evidence that our trust is not in money, but in the One who holds the world in His hands.

We are told that if we are not faithful with money, we will not be trusted with true riches.  I am now reminded of Mt. 6:19-21.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

If our heart and our trust belong to the Lord, we understand that being faithful stewards of the things He has entrusted to us on this earth will store up for us treasures for eternity.

God will provide for our needs here on earth, if we are faithful with what He gives us.  If we show honor to Him by demonstrating our trust in Him through tithing, then we are demonstrating that we can be trusted with true riches.  What is more complimentary than that?

Let’s be faithful stewards, doing God’s work with the provisions He gives to us.  He will bless and care for us here, and reward us further in heaven.

Thanks, God!

jamie

Looking for a healthy alternative?

Pr.4:22:  “For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.”

Nutrition and health are major topics in our world.  I wonder exactly how many books have been written just about Superfoods?  Scientists, dietitians, nutritionists, and every day people are constantly discovering new information about health.  I enjoy a tasty, energy-packed green fruit and veggie drink myself.

Through discovery, we know that the simple act of washing our hands prevents countless illnesses.  Now we understand that eating whole foods gives us more energy and less weight than their processed alternatives.  Technology allows us to see exactly what happens inside the body when we choose an unhealthy lifestyle.  It can be quite fun to discover the vitamin/nutrient facts of kale, the many benefits of fresh ginger, and the antioxidant powers of blueberries.

In Pr. 4, Solomon tells his son that there is life and health in his words and sayings.  This is true for the entire Word of God.  If we’re searching for health, there is no healthier place than arms of Jesus, our Healer.  When we give attention to the words of our Father, we find life; and not just more enjoyable life, but eternal life!  Choosing to incline our ears to the sayings of our Father, we allow health comes on our flesh.

Through discovery, we know that the simple act of believing that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life brings salvation.  It can be quite fun to discover all the way the Lord has been faithful to His children over the years.  Reading the word, we understand exactly how sin affects us and how submitting to God brings true freedom to us and to those around us.  Inclining our ears to the Word, we find a God full of grace and mercy, who lovingly guides and directs us.  Jesus gives us glimpses into what is going on within the body to bring forth filth from our mouths.  It’s all so exciting!

As I think back to the moments when I was living outside of the Lord’s will and purpose for my life, I remember the aches I always felt.  Sure, I may have had moments of exhilaration or pleasure in my sin, but once the moment passed, I was left with guilt, shame, pain, confusion, feelings of being out-of-control, hopelessness, and despair.  Sounds like unhealthiness to me!

Giving my attention to the words of my Father has brought health to my flesh and my mind with signs like joy, peace, hope, security in forgiveness and grace, self-control, reassurance, desire of better things, faith, and confidence in the strength of my Lord.  Truly, God has breathed life into me once again, and continues to give health to me as I grow closer to Him and make new discoveries in His Word.

Are you excited about health and nutrition now?  Me, too!

Getting healthy,

jamie

 

Find wisdom

Pr. 3:13:  “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.”

In Mark 12:38-40, Jesus warns his disciples to beware of the scribes.  He said they were people whose religion was for show.

Verse 28; however, introduces us to a scribe who came to Jesus and asked, “Which is the first commandment of all?”  After Jesus answered him, the scribe told Jesus, “Well said, Teacher.  You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He.  And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

Certainly this scribe had gained understanding.  For the wisdom he found, Mark 12:34 says, “Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.'”

What happier knowledge is there than that you are not far from the kingdom of God?

It is ok for us to ask questions of God.  It is ok for us to seek wisdom in His Word and search for the answers.  Through Him, we gain the wisdom and understanding that we need.  Knowing the truth, knowing who He really is, knowing His nature keeps us from religion that is just for show.  Knowing God leads to loving God, and loving God leads to humble and willing submission to Him.

The most amazing and mind-boggling thing about God is that good works do not impress Him.  He is not interested in our outward appearances or performances.  He does not require that we strive for perfection.  God simply desires that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and that we love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.

We learned in 1 Sam. 16:7 that, “The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  God knows what is truly in our hearts, no matter what sacrifices or pretenses we may bring forth.

Once we discover who He truly is, through the wisdom and understanding found in His Word, it is not difficult to kneel to the God of the Bible.  Our flesh may still be weak and we may have moments of doubt, confusion, or fear; but God, knowing our hearts, will come to our rescue.  If we continue seeking Him, reading His Word, asking questions of Him, and searching for the answers, we find Him ever-faithful.

We don’t need to pretend we have it all together or be afraid to ask questions of God.  Gaining understanding and finding wisdom brings true happiness and brings us ever closer to Him and His kingdom.  What better knowledge is there than that?

Asking,

jamie