31 Days of Proverbs: Day 12

“A fool is quick tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.”
Proverbs 12:16 (NLT)

A couple of weeks ago, I sat in the student center of a local church, at the 2018 Priscilla Shirer Simulcast. Although it was a Christian event, I’d felt out of place all day. From the moment I got out of my car, before I ever entered the building, I’d received stares and awkward glances from other women attending. It continued throughout the entire 8-hour event. And, the lady sitting behind me kept coughing without covering her mouth (something that makes me feel uncomfortable).

Towards the end of the event, Priscilla Shirer told a joke and the lady behind me spit her water out, onto my neck and the back of my sweater and dress. I went to the bathroom to clean the mess. I had to take my sweater off and my dress was still drenched 🙃 In that moment, I thought to myself, “You know what, they spit on Jesus too.”

I’d already felt so uncomfortable and singled-out that day. To have someone spit on me in front of everyone, and not even seem to care, was humiliating. There’s more to the story which I may share another day. But the situation reminded me that our reactions matter. There’s nothing I could have done or said that would have changed what happened. Being rude with the lady would have only worsened the situation, and it would have also looked bad on my part.

We are ambassadors for Christ – at all times. I am by no means perfect and I don’t always react in the best way. However, I do realize that what we do and say matters. How we treat people matters. You never know who’s watching or whose being influences by your words and your choices. God cares about how we treat people, as well as how they treat us. If someone has wronged you, trust that God will deal with their heart. Your job is to keep shining the light He has given you, and never let it go dim.

How do you react when you are insulted? Or when things don’t go your way? Ask God for help in those areas where you are not as strong, and that you will be consistent in honoring Him with your life and your choices.

 

“‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT)

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 11

“It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet.”
Proverbs 11:12 (NLT)

A few years ago I heard a quote by Louis CK: “The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.” That quote is powerful and it has stuck with me ever since.

Imagine holding a glass bottle. Inside this bottle are characteristics and gifts you possess. Maybe you have patience in your bottle. Perhaps you’re adventurous and spontaneous. Or, wise and artistic. All of the things that make you who you are, are in this bottle. Although the bottle is clear, you can’t see everything inside the bottle at once.

Just because you know someone, doesn’t mean you know them. If you are focused on why they are dressed a certain way, you may not get the opportunity to discover that they are very kind-hearted and that you two have many things in common. If you judge them for something they’ve done in the past, you may not see that they’re actually humorous and easy to get along with.

What someone has done is not who they are. Where someone is now, is not where they’ll stay. Make a goal to see the good qualities in people. Pray that you will see them the way God sees them, and that you will have a discerning spirit in regard to who you’re interacting with. Sincerely searching for the good in others is so much more beneficial than judging them or focusing on negativity.

If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
James 2:3-4 (NIV)

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 10

“The Lord will not let the godly go hungry, but He refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked.”
Proverbs 10:3 (NLT)

When you are living a life committed to God, you can be assured that He will take care of all your needs. When you seek Him, there is no good thing that you will lack (Psalm 34:10). You may not have a lot of money or “things”, but the righteous will not be forsaken and neither will they go hungry (Psalm 37:25). Do you trust God to provide for you, in small ways as well as large?

Not only does God desire to fulfill our physical needs, but He also wants to be the source of our spiritual fulfillment. Whether you need wisdom, direction, peace, joy, etc., God is capable of providing those things to you, and He is also generous. God really means it when He says that He loves you unconditionally – without conditions.

However, we must also do our part. Don’t only seek God for what He can provide. Sometimes I have to ask myself, am I seeking God for His heart or His hand? He is so much more than a hand-out. A genuine relationship with Him is far more valuable than any physical item, or any other person. God is so willing to give and He wants us to depend on Him; He is purposeful and He has our best interest in mind. It’s okay to ask Him for the things you want, and even the things you need. Make sure that your heart is in the right place, and trust Him to come through for you, as His Word promises that He will do.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
Psalm 84:11 (KJV)

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 9

“Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.”
Proverbs 9:9 (NLT)

In high-school, I struggled with chemistry. Because I had such a hard time, I took advantage of the tutoring sessions my teacher offered after school. It was a sacrifice, but it was worth it. I began to understand the material and excel in class. Even when my grades significantly improved, I still attended the tutoring sessions. I wanted to continue to do well, and learn as much as I could.

One characteristic of a wise person is that they are willing to learn. A wise person is aware that they don’t know everything, and that there is always room to grow. Even experts in a particular subject/area are still learners.

The question is, are you teachable? Are you willing to learn? Take heed to the messages that are presented to you, and the things that God is teaching you. Allow His Word to resonate within in you, and put it into practice in your life. My chemistry grade didn’t improve simply because I went to tutoring. My grades improved because I was intentional; I studied my notes and put them into practice.

God promises to continue teaching and developing us. Are you intentional about implementing those lessons?

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 8

“And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful.”
Proverbs 8:32 (NLT)

It is not always easy to follow God’s directions. It can actually be a bit of a challenge sometimes, especially when we lack understanding. We must still trust that God knows best. The Lord’s instructions are rooted in His love and His genuine desire to protect us.

Following God doesn’t mean that we won’t experience sorrows or hardships. He does promise to give us joy. Joy is the glimpse of sun that peeks out during a rainstorm. God’s joy arises within us when we decide to trust Him and His plans for our lives, despite what may be happening in the natural realm.

If you are apprehensive about following God’s will, keep in mind that He holds all knowledge. He knows what is best for you, although it may be hard to comprehend right now. Pray for faith and understanding, and trust that His way is best.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are my pleasures forevermore.”
Psalm 16:11 (ESV)

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 7

“Love wisdom like a sister; make insight a beloved member of your family. Let them protect you from affair with an immoral woman, from listening to the flattery of a promiscuous woman.”
Proverbs 7:4-5 (NLT)

Pure, spiritual wisdom can prevent us from walking into destruction. God’s instruction is in place for our protection. This passage is a message for men. However, we can all avoid the trouble and the sorrow that comes with stepping outside of God’s will.

You have an enemy whose desire is to see you fall. Satan wants you to be as far away from God as possible. It pleases him to see you going the wrong way, ignoring God’s instructions. In addition to this, we have our own temptations and desires. Did you know that God cares about the things you struggle with? He truly adores you and He wants you to cast all of your cares on Him.

Even if you’ve wandered away, God welcomes you back with open, loving arms. His door never closes and His grace is sufficient. Talk to Him ❤️Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

 

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”
Ephesians 6:11 (ESV)

 

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 6

“But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – then poverty will pounce on you like an armed robber.”
Proverbs 6:9-11 (NLT)

In fourth grade, a few students (myself included) went on a field trip to a space camp for a few days. It was so much fun! Three days of no assignments and no homework. When we returned to school, I asked a classmate what I missed. My friend then eagerly explained all that had happened, the new book our class was beginning to read, and the assignment we were to complete.

Although a few of us were away, my fourth grade teacher had continued to teach what was already on the lesson plan. Life goes on and so does purpose. As much as God loves us and desires for us to walk in what He has created us to do, His plans will still prevail if we choose to take an alternate route. Meaning, if God has called you to something and you say no, He will have someone else write the book, open the business, or move to a new city and start the ministry.

You were fearfully and wonderfully made with special gifts and unique characteristics. Only you can do what God has created you to do, with your special, unique touch. Still, the choice is yours.

In what way has God asked you to move by faith? Are there any areas of your life that are stagnant? I encourage you today to walk in faith and pursue what God has called you to 🙂

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:5 (NLT)

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 5

“An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him.”

Proverbs 5:22 (NLT)

 

Although I live in a college town, my city is still fairly small and its not everyday that I get stuck in severe traffic. You know, bumper to bumper traffic, when it takes an hour to move a few miles. You’re surrounded by other cars, and there’s no way to get out. It’s like being stuck in a trap.

Sin can be that way sometimes. When you know you’ve fallen and you’re struggling to get out. Or when you no longer have the desire to follow God’s plan because the opposite road seems so attractive, so much easier to follow, so fun.

I am immensely thankful that God has power over sin. When Jesus gave His life on the cross, your sin and shame died too. Jesus rose and we now have freedom in Christ. Leaving the sin you find comfort in may be painful and even scary. You may feel as though it’s humanly impossible. However, God is not intimidated by strongholds and neither is He surprised. He is equipped for whatever lies ahead.

If you don’t know already, ask God to shine a light on the areas of your life where you have somehow missed the mark. Once you pray and ask God for forgiveness, make a conscious effort to honor God in this area of your life. Connect with individuals that you trust, and who will hold you accountable. The journey will not be easy, but it is definitely worth eternal life.

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

James 5:16 (NLT)

 

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 4

“Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech.”

Proverbs 4:24 (NLT)

“Did you hear about so and so? Were you there when such and such happened? If it were me, I would…”

It can be tempting to get caught in the details of someone else’s life. Even as a Christian, there have been times when I have judged or speculated someone’s character or a situation. However, that’s not what we as believers have been called to do. When we speak negatively about someone else, it truly says a lot about our own character. When we bash others, it shows the position of our hearts.

No matter what it looks like, we never truly know what an individual is going through internally. We can say what we would’ve done, or express our confusion about the choices they’ve made. However, we can be most affective by building relationships with them and sharing God’s love with them. Prayer goes a long way; it is a blessing to the person that you’re praying for, and it also gives you a change of heart and perspective.

Let’s make a goal today to refrain from saying anything negative about someone else. And let’s pray that God will help us to see others the way that He sees them.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

31 Days of Proverbs: Day 3

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.”

Proverbs 3:9 (NLT)

Over the past few years, I have embraced the mindset that my finances are not my own. My finances belong to God, and He has appointed me as a manager of what He has blessed me with. When I view my resources as His, I am able to rest in knowing that He will provide. When I have little, and when I have much, I am able to trust that God will faithfully take care of me.

The same God who cares enough to clothe the lilies in the field will also take care of you. By giving God our firsts, we are showing Him that we honor Him. He doesn’t need our money; it is incomparable to all that He owns. We definitely cannot even begin to repay Him for all that He has done. But when we honor God with the first of our finances and our time, it is an act of faith that shows our trust in Him and the value of our relationship with Him.

It is dangerous to hold so tightly to something that you are unwilling to give it back to God. Think about the things and even the people that you cherish the most. Would you be able to give that – yes, even that – back to God if He asked for it? Are you willing to give Him your firsts?

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?”

Matthew 6:28-30 (NLT)