How was last week for you? I hope you had a blessed week and spent it connecting to God each day. I have found, reviewing the week is easier for me than to post each day of the week. Through my responsibilities and then getting sick, I was unable to focus and post each day like I wanted. But, that is life and I’m ok with that. I’ve learned to adjust as life and trials come. I’m so grateful for our daily devotions though and love the wisdom I’m gaining from each chapter of Proverbs.
Chapter 19. We all know someone who is passionate about not liking God. Sometimes they are so specific, they actually say they don’t like Jesus in particular. Maybe on your Facebook or a co-worker or someone close to you. Throughout having a conversation with them, you hear their reasoning as to why they don’t believe in God and you realize it’s much more than what the surface shows. Verse 3 reminds me of a few people I know that passionately disagree with Christ. It saddens me but their reasoning leads me to verse 3. “People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.” Or maybe it is a believer in Christ that this verse applies to. I know believers who do this very thing. I used to be that type of believer. I wouldn’t get my way about something and then I’d blame God. Somewhat unknowingly, I would blame Him for the way my life was going. Isn’t it frustrating looking back at how spoiled and rotten we can be? As believers we truly are blessed. But when we make foolish mistakes or veer off from God’s provisions and things go wrong, we actually blame the Lord. How dare we do that?! How dare I do such a thing!?! I used to teach a teen girl bible study and I remember telling them, God is not a genie. Sometimes we need to repeat that out loud. God is NOT a genie. He does NOT exist to serve me and my wants. He does NOT love me because I’m so good and deserving. He loves me because He created me. He loves me for His glory. He loves me because He wants me to bless others, not myself, others. He blesses me so that I can bless others. That is what we need to remind ourselves of daily. We should be angry with ourselves for our mistakes and foolishness, not with God. We have free will. Free will. Their is no puppet master. Why would God want love from puppets? He wants our love of our own free will, as it should be.
Chapter 20. “An impulsive vow is a trap; later you’ll wish you could get out of it.” verse 25 (The Message). Impulsive promises. Being wise with impulsive decisions is hard. Well we can refrain from making impulsive promises to God or anyone. I am so guilty of making promises, then later wishing I didn’t have to do it. Why? I hate that. In the moment it seems so plausible and later it becomes a burden. Now you all know I love me some Lysa Terkerst, but she does have excellent wisdom from the Lord ya’ll. So in her book, The Best Yes, she covers ways to avoid making rash promises that we later regret. Pick up that book here. Anyway, in Proverbs we are being warned of these promises and it’s for good reason. Seldom do we make impulse promises that we can actually keep. Due to lack of time to fully process our workload, our schedules, and being able to give it our full attention it’s hard to fulfill them. Start small with no longer making impulse promises on small matters like baking cookies last minute because so and so asked you. Then lead up to no longer making promises to God that you have not fully considered. He doesn’t like empty promises from you or me. He doesn’t make empty promises either.
Chapter 21. “It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.” verse 19. Ouch. That is how I truly believe most men feel. I laughed so hard when I read this verse that I actually wrote “LOL” in my bible. Sorry my bible is like my other books, I talk back to it by writing quick thoughts or emotions on the pages. It’s a habit from AP English in high school. We were always instructed to “mark up the text.” It works. It keeps you engaged in what you are reading. It keeps you connected with the text and allows you to put yourself in the story or text. So, I thought about my husband on this verse. Would he rather live in the desert alone with very little resources, in extreme temperatures, dry, humid, unpredictable environment than to live with me complaining? I would say mostly no. But for the truth, you’d have to ask my husband. But ladies we can learn from this verse. Overly complaining, nagging, and starting fights over trivial things, makes our husbands want to get far away from us. Reading this verse to my husband, Pete added, “instead of rather, maybe it’s better. Like it’s better for a man’s soul and spirit to live alone in the desert than to be torn apart by the complaining and quarreling. Because in the home I would try to shut you out and that would tear apart our marriage.” That makes sense to me. If he shuts me out it would cause me to complain more, which would be an endless cycle of torment. He shuts me out, I pick more fights. I complain more, he ignores me more. This would lead to a man’s spirit being broken due to all the quarreling and lead to emotional distress for the woman because of being shut out. It’s a vicious cycle that no one should be in and maybe that’s why it is better to be alone.
Chapter 22. “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” verse 3. In this new year, new perspective will you take any precautions? Is there an area, topic, goal, dream, or path that God may be telling you to exercise precaution? Mostly we tell ourselves ‘full speed ahead.’ Whatever it is, “just do it.” Right? Well the Nike saying is awesome to motivate for some things but not all things. God reveals dangers to us and we ignore them often. When I was single I ignored many danger signs in a person’s personality and I was spared by His grace that relationship didn’t last. Looking back I see the signs oh so clearly, hindsight is 20/20. But looking into a new year with new goals are there signs you may be ignoring? Only we can answer that question, honestly. Whatever your goals, relationships with friends, co-workers, social media, etc… exercise caution. Ask yourself if it is harmful to your marriage, harmful to your relationship with God, harmful to the plans to prosper as a Christian doing for others? Remember the simpleton goes on blindly.
Chapter 23. Some verses from this chapter that stuck out to me. “Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit.” verse 4. Be wise enough to know when to quit at anything that is keeping you from God, your family, and what is important. Have fun and enjoy life but we must enjoy life thinking of others. This is our purpose here. Spending time with family and first seeking God and His righteousness. Doing these, helps us be free of selfishness or depression. Focusing on how we can help others and spending time with our family is richer than anything money can buy. “Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice.” verse 9. I have felt this way for a very long time. I know I have been that fool the verse is talking about, but I will not admit that again. In my teens I remember telling my best friend how I don’t want to waste my breath, I might need it to tell my kids I love them before I die. Now don’t ask me where I got this dramatic logic. All I know is that it hurts to spend time giving good advice to deaf ears. I’m at the point in my life where I know exactly who of my friends actually listens to wise advice. And I know who just wants to hear, what they want to hear. It’s painstaking, so I no longer put the time and thought into the conversation when I know they will do whatever they want regardless. When they ask me “What am I going to do?” I turn and say “I don’t know, what are you going to do?” Praying for them and whatever they are facing is the best thing.
Chapter 24. “Don’t rejoice when your enemies fall; don’t be happy when they stumble.” verse 17. Seeing bad things happen to bad people feels good. Are you shocked I admitted that? I am too. I don’t like saying that but it is true in some cases. But who am I to say that person is a bad person? I might know the bad things they have done, but I do not know their heart. Only God knows their heart and true motives. So it might be hard not to rejoice when an enemy falls. But one day I might fall and who will be rejoicing then? I try to remember that we all go through trials and for different reasons. I don’t want to be glad when someone is in pain. So when it is someone you don’t like or don’t care for, maybe just think about the situation they are in and not the person themselves. Is that situation tough? Is that situation one you would want to be in? Then pray God uses it to change them and for God’s will to be done in their life. He works all things for good, according to His purpose for those that love Him. Pray constantly for your enemies, whoever or whatever they are, that they be changed. Pray that they become true followers of the one true God. Pray for your heart to be healed, forgiven, and changed.