31 Days of Proverbs: Day 23

“Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit.”
Proverbs 23:4 (NLT)

This passage reminds me of the importance of rest. I’ve been guilty of going, going, going, and not taking a break. Even God rested on the 7th day when creating the world. He also gave the Israelites a rest day in the wilderness. When Jesus was traveling and ministering with the disciples, He still pulled away and spent time with God.

Although we must refrain from laziness and idleness, we must also be intentional about taking time to rest. You cannot pour into others from an empty cup, and you definitely can’t thrive if you never stop to refresh. Aside from provision and responsibilities, what are your motives for working so hard? Do you trust God to take care of you or are you trying to do everything on your own? Are you spending your money wisely and then having to overcompensate? Are you trying to fill a void?

Thank God for all that you have, trust Him to provide, and pray for the wisdom to know when to take a break.

“In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.”
Proverbs 23:5 (NLT)

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 22

The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion out there! If I go outside, I might be killed!”
Proverbs 22:13 (NLT)

Part of walking by faith is being willing to take the first step. God desires to bless us, but we must also do our part. Is there anything keeping you from pursuing your purpose or being obedient to something God has told you to do? Is fear, insecurity or the idea of what others might think keeping you stagnant? Before I published my book, Chosen For Such A Time As This, I experienced so much fear. I wondered what others would think, about how well the book would do, and I was afraid of sharing my story.

Just like God led Peter out onto the water in Matthew 14:22-33, He showed me how to walk by faith. God taught me that my book wasn’t only about me, but He wanted to use my book to bless other people. And as long as I was pleasing Him, that was all that mattered. The same applies to you.

When you are lazy, stagnant or disobedient, you miss the opportunity to learn what God is teaching you and to be a blessing to others. Is there anything holding you back? Pray for courage, strength and understanding. Remember that God is always with you and His plans for you are far greater than what you can imagine.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 21

“The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.”
Proverbs 21:20 (NLT)

God cares about every area of our lives, including our spending. In my post titled Faith and Finances, I speak about how I view my finances as belonging to God. We are managers of what He blesses us with. Therefore, we must be responsible and mindful of how we are spending our money.

Many of us want more, but how can God bless you with more if you abuse what you have now? How can He trust you with big things if you can’t refrain from impulse buying? You know, the cute pair of shoes on sale at Target – definitely weren’t on your grocery list. Wisdom with finances requires a great deal of self-discipline. It is not always easy nor fun. However, we please God when we honor Him with what He gives us.

Are you responsible with what God has given you? I encourage you to study what God has to say about finances, and ask Him how you can honor Him with what He’s blessed you with already.

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!
Malachi 3:10 (NLT)

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 19

“If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord – and he will repay you!”
Proverbs 19:17 (NLT)

How do you treat those who have less than you? Less money, less knowledge or education, less faith? If our worth comes from God, and He loves us all the same, this means you are not better than any one else. This also means you are not less than. The way we treat others matters to God, and He makes this very clear in His Word.

Some people are blessed with the gift of giving and for others, the desire doesn’t seem to come as easily. Think about it this way; when God blesses you, He doesn’t want you to keep it all to yourself. He wants us to be a blessing to other people as well. Part of our mission as the body of Christ is to serve others and to glorify God with our lives.

Treat someone who is less fortunate with the same respect and hospitality as you would someone you look up to and honor. We are all created in Christ’s image. I encourage you to pray for a selfless heart, humility and ways to amplify your giving.

“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”
Proverbs 14:31 (NIV)

 

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 18

“The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.”
Proverbs 18:10 (NLT)

2015 was the hardest year of my life. I endured an intense amount of pain that left me wondering how exactly life would work out. And even in the midst of this battle that I can’t even use words to describe, I experienced God’s presence like never before. When I called on my Savior’s name, I knew that He was with me. I felt as though I was walking through a natural disaster, but I had a spiritual peace that quieted my stifled cries in the heart of my worst storm. I knew eventually – whether here or in Heaven, everything would get better.

We will experience trials and sorrows here on earth (John 16:33), but we don’t have to go through them alone. I am so thankful that even in complete chaos, I can run to my safe place – Jesus. God desires for us to run to Him, to depend on Him for clarity and consistency. So when life gets harder than you think you can handle, remember that you don’t have to go through it alone, and don’t you dare give up! Take it to the one who cares about you, who will heal you, and who knows you.

Plant His promises in your heart, stay committed in prayer, and trust that God is in control.

 

psalm 91

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 17

“Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out.” Proverbs 17:14 (NLT)

Over the past few years, I have not been involved in many full-blown arguments. Have I had disagreements? Absolutely. But those conversations that end in tears, hurtful words and regret have become extremely rare.

For one, I’ve learned how to communicate more effectively. When you are aware of just how powerful your words are, and you have the desire to do well to others, you become mindful of what you’re saying. I went from a place of, “I’m mad. You’re wrong. And you need to know exactly how I feel,” to… “How can I express myself in a way that’s actually effective?”

There have been times when I’ve made a comment that I knew would trigger a strong reaction. But in that moment, all I cared about was my opinion, my feelings, my point. When we adjust our mindset from selfish to selfless – even in the midst of an emotional disagreement, real change happens.

This doesn’t mean you have be passive or let others walk all over you. It means that even in tough situations and hard conversations, you can express yourself and communicate in a way that is still gracious. What is one way you can communicate more effectively? What really pushes your buttons and tempts you to feel as though you must “win” an argument by any means? Is getting your point across more important than hurting a loved one? Ask God to for self-control, awareness and wisdom with communication.

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 16

“When people’s lives please the Lord even their enemies are at peace with them.”
Proverbs 16:7 (NLT)

When God’s spirit is within you, you are sure to attract others. Spending time with God gives you a peace and a perspective that sets you apart. People may say, there’s just something different about him/her” when referring to you. There is something different about you.

Making the decision to please God instead of man will completely change your life. You are no longer enslaved to the opinions of other people. You know your worth in Christ, so you aren’t desperate  for validation from man. You are confident in who you are and what God has called you to do, so you are not distracted or confused by others’ differing opinions.

Live a life that is so pleasing to God, so committed to Him, that even your enemies admire you. God has chosen you to be His ambassador. Can others see God in you?

 

However, you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God. You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9 (GW)

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 15

“The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.”
Proverbs 15:29 (NLT)

I’m sure you’ve probably heard the saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” The delivery of your words has a direct impact on how your message is received. You hold so much power in the words you speak. The Bible even compares the tongue to a small spark that can set a forest on fire.

Make sure your words are gracious and coming from a place of love. Even in the times when you’re upset or you feel as though someone needs to know just how wrong they are… You can always ask yourself, “how would I want someone to say this to me? What is the best way that I can say what’s on my mind?”

Did you know that you can provide correction or express your feelings without crushing someone’s spirit? You can challenge someone and encourage them at the same time. Pray for God’s wisdom regarding how to speak to others. And intentionally practice thinking about what you’ll say and how you’ll say it, before you speak.

“In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.”
James 3:5 (NLT)

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 14

“Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.”
Proverbs 14:4 (NLT)

Just as God promises blessings, He also promises that we will experience trials. In this life we will go through hard times, we’ll endure pain and we may walk through storms that seem absolutely unbearable. But every part of our story makes us who we are. We become stronger and our faith develops if we continue to trust God and not give up during the hard times.

Keeping up with oxen would require a lot of maintenance, but the benefit is a bountiful harvest. There is no such thing as a pain-free life or a life that does not require work. Things will happen that you cannot control or change, no matter how hard you try. However, there is purpose for every season of your life – there is purpose for every single day of your life.

What is your attitude about your current season? Do you need a shift in perspective? Pray that God will align your heart and desires with His, and that He will bless you with strength and understanding.

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Galatians 6:9 (KJV)

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 13

This post is an excerpt from my new book: Chosen For Such A Time As This. It is available for purchase here on Amazon.

 

“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.”
Proverbs 13:20 (NLT)

“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” I used to hate that quote. But now as I’m older and wiser, I see the truth in it. I was trying to justify my toxic friendships. Now, I’m very picky about who I listen to and who I choose to spend time with because our friends, their behaviors, and their thoughts really do influence us.

So re-evaluate your friendships. What kind of conversations are you having? Are you all lifting people up or tearing them down and talking about them? Are your friends actively pursuing sin? Are they justifying their actions? Are they negatively influencing you or trying to get you to join them?

I encourage you to pray about those friendships and seek God’s will concerning them. He may use you to help them grow or He may separate you from them. But don’t lose your spot in heaven because you’re afraid of being alone or uncomfortable for a season. Your eternity is on the line… Will you choose Him over them?

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)

This post is an excerpt from my new book: Chosen For Such A Time As This. It is available for purchase here on Amazon.