The Wisdom of Praise

I have noticed how easy it is to complain. I think that has always been an issue, but it has been even more prevalent in the last two and half years. I know I should thank and praise the Lord more than I do, but sometimes it feels awkward. I want to work on changing that.

There is great wisdom in praising and thanking God. He has given so many good gifts. If you don’t know what they are, read the Bible.

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You for Who You are and the many wonderful things You have done. Thank You for the gift of salvation, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and Your Word that gives so much insight for life.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Where is Integrity?

We live in a world where integrity doesn’t seem to matter.  Lies and manipulation are all too common.  But God tells us that integrity provides protection. 

I think most of us know that integrity is a good thing.  The challenge can come when we let our own desires become more important than God’s commands.  Compromise comes easily when we feel we deserve something.  I am thankful God provides instruction to direct my desires towards His.

Dear Heavenly Father, please direct my desires and behavior towards Your commands.  Please forgive me when I let my desires push past Yours.  Thank You for the protection that comes from integrity.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Nothing But the Truth

I know I have made several posts about the truth.  We live in a time when people want to make truth relative.  Thankfully, God has defined truth according to His own character. 

Proverbs frequently talks about the righteous and their behavior.  Hating lies should be an easy one to identify.  However, even those of us who follow Christ can have blind spots.  A blind spot shows a lack of knowledge of the truth.  Thankfully God has made it possible to see through the lens of His Word and those who faithfully teach it.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to identify the blind spots in my life. Please guide me to the truth in Your Word so I can live in a way that honors You.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Hard Work Big Rewards

I often ask why work has to be so hard.  The fact that we live in a sin cursed earth with sinners makes life hard.  That being said, work is still worthwhile.  Proverbs tells us the satisfaction we can get from work.  This doesn’t mean we will feel good all the time, but the long-term benefits are clear.  We will have plenty.  The opposite might seem like an easier path but getting nothing doesn’t seem like a good alternative.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the provision of work.  Please help me to put appropriate effort into work.  I want the riches that You supply.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

What is The Truth?

Truthful lips endure forever,
    but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,
    but those who promote peace have joy.
 The Lord detests lying lips,
    but He delights in people who are trustworthy. 

Proverbs 12:19-20, 22

We face many lies in society and sadly sometimes in the church today.  Some are more obvious than others.  I was listening to a podcast recently that talked about lies and slander.  The comment was made that compliments given via manipulation are really lies.  We need to have honest motives behind everything we do. 

I need to continue to take myself back to Scripture to see what God has for me.  As I pray and humble myself before God, He will guide me towards truth. I will be more equipped to recognize lies and better prepared to handle the challenges surrounding the lies.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the truth in Your Word.  Please guide me to truth every day in every interaction.  I want to be a beacon of truth.  Please help me to encourage others to do the same.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

The Fool’s Way or Wisdom

We live in a society of “do it your way”.  People talk about “your truth vs. my truth.”  The Bible tells us that only fools follow their own way.  When it comes to advice, we find what we want to hear.  Those who know Jesus Christ have the ministry of the Holy Spirit to guide them to wisdom.  We have the discernment to know wise counsel.  I hope to keep learning what God wants and look less at what I want.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to continue to seek your way.  I want true wisdom and wise counsel.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Speech or Silence

I have often thought about when to speak up and when to be quiet.  I think we prefer the speaking side of that discussion.  Proverbs gives us a view of when talking isn’t good.  If the evil man would keep his mouth shut, he would be better off.  On the flip side the innocent don’t have trouble.  It makes me wonder what they have or haven’t said.

 Verse 14 talks about working and enjoying the results of that hard work. I think some of that hard work is related to figuring out when and how to speak.  Reading God’s Word and praying are two tools I use to help me in that area.  

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You again for the wisdom in Your Word.  Please guide my words that I might be Your tool to draw others closer to You. 

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Smart vs. Stupid

I know in many settings (frequently with children), the word stupid has been outlawed.  I understand.  I still remember as a child giving and receiving that word in hurtful ways.  While the word can be abused, I think we need to seek to use the word stupid in its proper context.

Proverbs 12:1 tells us that “he who hates reproof is stupid”.  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary stupid means “given to unintelligent decisions or actsacting in an unintelligent or careless manner” and “lacking intelligence or reason”.  

Discipline is not fun (Hebrews 12:11).  However, the Bible tells us that the love of discipline is the love of knowledge.  Discipline is a teaching tool.  We need to be willing to learn what sin issues are in our lives.  We need to be willing to make changes.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for providing discipline to help us change our lives.  Please help us to encourage one another towards wisdom and knowledge. 

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

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.