Give God’s Way and Gain More

The desire of the righteous ends only in good,
    the expectation of the wicked in wrath.
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
    another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
    and one who waters will himself be watered. 

Proverbs 11:23-25

I love the Word of God.  The Bible is loaded with encouragement and challenge for my benefit.  I need to come to Scripture with a humble, prayerful attitude to find what God wants.  I think it is too easy to bring my own view or experience and misinterpret Scripture.

Verse 23 tells us, “The desire of the righteous ends only in good.”  I fear that Christians sometimes assume our desires are always good.  We need to live righteously as God describes in His Word.  We can only do that if we go to God’s word with a humble heart.

I chose verse 24 for my picture, because I think it gives an interesting idea.  Too often after giving we feel depleted.  I get it – I have been there.  Unfortunately, some people decide to take too much and drain resources.  If more of us chose to give freely, I think our resources would multiply instead of just subtracting. 

Each of us needs to obey Scripture and encourage others to do the same.  Imagine the blessing and enrichment we will see.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for the words You have given us.  Please help me to give as You intend according to the righteousness in Your Word.  Please help me to be an example of righteous giving so others would join me in that endeavor.  I want more to see the beauty of the blessing You give.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Wisdom and Humility

I knew when I read this verse I wanted to write on pride vs. humility.  Unfortunately, this is a very difficult topic.  Pride in our modern-day world has been changed to mean “a healthy self-esteem”.  The longer I live, the less I like “self-esteem”.  We need to have a humble view of ourselves, but that comes with some pain.

First, I think we should be humble since we are all sinners (according to the book of Romans) and that comes with a penalty.  We cannot do anything to change that penalty.  Jesus had to die for us.  He did so willingly.  That alone should bring about humility. 

Unfortunately, as Christians we sometimes forget what Christ did for us.  We take a higher view of ourselves than we deserve.  We end up being proud of the fact that we are saved by grace.  That is such a contradiction.

Proverbs combines pride and disgrace and then humility and wisdom.  I want wisdom.  Therefore, I must work towards humility.  How do we become humble?  I think there are 3 steps.  First, I need to realize that I am prone to pride.  I am not going to naturally be humble.  Second, I need to find examples of humility.  This is hard because humility is quiet.  It doesn’t vie for attention.  I need to look for people who seek to imitate Christ.  He was the ultimate example of humility (Philippians 2).  As I see the character traits lived out in humble people, then I can imitate them.

Humility is hard, but worth it.  God’s way of wisdom is always worth pursuing.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to imitate the examples of humility you have placed in my life.  Please help me to learn humility to be an example for others.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Hope and Joy

We talk a lot about hope.  We hope things will go well.  We have hope for a better future. Earthly hope is more of a wish.  There is no guarantee.  Heavenly hope is certain.  For those who have trusted in Jesus, we know with absolute certainty that we will spend a glorious eternity with God.  When I spend more of my time thinking about eternity – the sure hope I have in Christ – the more joy I find.  If I think about my friends who know Christ and the future we will have together in heaven, I smile a whole lot more.   If I focus on the here and now, I am more likely to get bogged down in negative emotions.  While we need negative emotions to be honest about living in a sin cursed earth, we cannot let them dictate our outlook.  This is a balance I will fight for my entire life.

The first step towards eternal hope is following God’s way by trusting in Jesus Christ to save us from our sins.  Then we need to search Scripture to learn God’s way.  I like the strength God’s way gives.

Dear Heavenly Father, there is so much need for true Biblical hope.  Thank you for providing the way to find the joy that hope brings.  Please help me to continue to seek Your way.  I need You every day.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Words, Words, Too Many Words

Today’s verses talk about words.  We live in a society where talking is commonplace, but I’m not sure we always say much.  Too many words often complicate matters. 

Does this mean we never speak up?  No.  Verse 21 tell us that “the lips of the righteous” provide great benefit.  The righteous seek wisdom.  Wisdom will give us the best words to say. 

I want to make sure my words provide benefit.  I need God’s help with that.  On my own I will say too many words without much content.  I want to reverse that and speak more content with fewer words.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to focus on learning to say something meaningful with fewer words.  I want my words to direct people to You so they will know what is wise, true, and right.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Delight and Desire

I have seen Psalm 37:4 posted recently talking about God giving people what they wanted.  I’m concerned that we miss the first part of the verse and the context in which it was written. Just because we get what we want, doesn’t mean we have trusted or delighted in the Lord.  God sends blessing on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45).  Fulfilled desires, unfortunately, can be indulging in our own flesh (James 1:14-15).  We need to look at the wisdom of Scripture to make sure we are trusting God, being faithful, and delighting in the Lord.

As I go through life, I want to be able to say that I am delighting in the Lord.  How do I do that?  I need to ask several questions.  How excited am I to spend time with God?  How much do I desire to learn what He has for me through the teaching of God’s word at my church?  How much do I delight in spending time with fellow believers who sharpen me (Proverbs 27:17)?  How much can those around me see that I love God?  Uffdah – that last one is the most convicting.  I pray that my life is filled with God.  That He is truly my everything.  I have found no other life worth living.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for how delightful You are.  Thank You for providing ways to delight in You.  Please help me keep my focus on You in everything.  Please help me to encourage others to do the same.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.