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.

Who Needs Wisdom?

I am taking a brief break from Proverbs to look at a wisdom verse in the New Testament.  I like James 1.  There are many things I need to learn from its verses.  The Bible clearly talks about the need for wisdom.   I think the first part of James 1:5 is similar to a rhetorical question.  The “if” applies to all of us.  We all need wisdom.  We need to seek wisdom daily – throughout our lives. 

I enjoy Warren Wiersbe’s take on why we need wisdom.

“We need wisdom so we will not waste the opportunities God is giving us to mature. Wisdom helps us understand how to use these circumstances for our good and God’s glory.”

Wiersbe, Warren W.. Be Mature (James): Growing Up in Christ (The BE Series Commentary) (p. 38). David C Cook. Kindle Edition.

God sends us down a path to grow and mature us.  God’s wisdom is the only way to manage that.  I am so thankful God loves me enough to provide the means for my good.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to continue to pursue the wisdom You have for my life.  Please help to grow and mature so I can honor You more.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Wisdom, Love, and More Value Than Gold

The writer of Proverbs frequently personifies wisdom.  Proverbs 8 is wisdom talking to us.  These two verses show the beauty of loving and pursuing wisdom.  The benefits of wisdom are better than precious metals. 

I see so much pursuit these days of things that don’t have much value.  I wonder what life would be like if more of us pursued wisdom.  The only true wisdom comes from God and God has shared that in His word.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to pursue wisdom and encourage others to do the same.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

The Challenges to Listening

Thank you to my friend, Abby, for the picture.

The Bible tells us that wisdom and understanding have a voice.  I think we can often struggle listening to that voice.  Life is full.  I know my to do list never seems to shrink.  Without priorities, we risk wasting time.  My prayer is to efficiently use the time I have each day for the honor and glory of God.  I have a long way to go. 

I need to start with listening to wisdom and understanding.  They come first from God’s Word and then from other believers who have faithfully studied and lived God’s way.  There is no better way.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to listen to the voice of wisdom and understanding.  I need Your help to discern what is right according to Your ways.  Please guide me and help me to be a positive influence in those around me.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Repetition for the Best Influence

Thank you to my aunt for sending this beautiful Wyoming picture.

The book of Proverbs is very repetitive.  I had a teacher in 7th grade tell us to say, “Repetition is the key to learning.”  We thought we repeated it about a thousand times.  I don’t know how many it really was, but we said it enough I still remember.  Now I see why we need repetition.  We will never be done learning.  We need to hear certain concepts repeated to have them readily available.

These verses share again that God’s commands are important. We need to treasure them and keep them close.  God’s way provides the most positive influence.  I know my personality pushes me to want to make a difference (I think all of us want that to some extent).  The more I read and study the Bible, the more I realize God’s wisdom is the only answer. 

Dear Heavenly Father, I see so much ugliness in the world today and I want to be a part of the solution.  Please help me to hold tight Your commands.  Guide me to have a Christ-like influence on others.  I want them to see the beauty of Your way.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Why is Hard Work so Hard?

This picture is an ant working hard to navigate the mote on a hummingbird feeder.

When I first read this verse, I think about my job.  I work smack dab in the middle of supply chain as a production planner.  Like others, we have fought the many challenges over the last two years.  Work can be very hard.  However, God has been showing other areas of my life that are hard work.

Relationships can be challenging.  I know that close friendships can seem like less work (they do get easier in one sense when Christ is the center), but all relationships take effort.  The Bible gives commands in many places about our relationships.  Galatians 6 and Ephesians 5 and 6 are good examples.

I know the challenges can cause us to back away from the difficulties of relationships.  My Type A personality sometimes scares me (and probably others) with the intensity of my feelings.  However, God is bigger than all the challenges.  He will continue to work in my life (Philippians 1:6).  He will bring the changes I need to work as hard as the ant.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for providing examples like the ant to show me what I need to do.  Please help me to work hard in all areas of my life to honor and glorify You.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.God is so good

God is Watching

Sadly, in our society today there is too much ignoring God and His ways.  Some don’t know anything about God.  As a Christian who has studied God’s Word, I am thankful that God watches and “will make our paths straight” (Proverbs 3:6).  I find great comfort in God’s eyes being on me.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for keeping Your eyes on me.  I want to follow the path You have laid out in Your Word.  Please help me to cling to Your Word and Your ways and encourage others to do the same.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Guard Your Heart

I like the strength of words the book of Proverbs uses for holding on to wisdom.  Proverbs 4:21 is one of those.  “Let them not escape” and “keep them” are similar to other statements repeated through the book.  Verse 23 gives us the reason – to guard our hearts. 

The heart is at the core of who we are.  The condition of our heart will affect everything in our lives.  That is why we teach children (teens especially) to be careful when they chose friends.  I wonder if as adults we remember that.  Those we are close to often fill our hearts.  If we make poor choices, God’s wisdom will not be a part of the relationship.  The springs of life are dirty and bitter when God is not involved.  I have found the closest friendships to be people who can easily talk about Scripture.  Those who want to serve and honor their Heavenly Father out of love and gratitude for what Jesus did on the cross.  I do not know of a better way to guard my heart than to spend time with others who want to do the same thing.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the reminders to hold to wisdom.  Please help me to hold tight to the truth of Your word and encourage others to do the same.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.