Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Psalm 25:4-5

Monday, May 11, 2015

PRAISE THE LORD!

This morning I read Psalms 134, 146-150.
What phrase did I see over and over in the chapters? PRAISE THE LORD!
There was no clause in there about when we should praise the Lord and when we should't. It simply states over and over to praise Him.
This doesn't mean we are to praise Him only when things are great and life is good. This means we are to praise Him in the hardest moments of life when it feels we can't go on any longer and no one seems to care moments too!
This is where we struggle the most. It is so hard to praise the Lord when our world appears to be crashing in around us. Instead we want to place blame and cry out to God asking "Why? Why have you brought me this low? Why are you allowing me to go through these valley's?"
Yet the command is simply to praise Him.
Praise Him when you are sick.
Praise Him when you are well.
Praise Him when you are sad.
Praise Him when you are happy.
Praise Him when being a parent is a struggle.
Praise Him when your children are a joy.
Praise Him when you are struggling financially.
Praise Him when you are debt free.
Praise Him when you are hurting.
Praise Him when you are joyful.
Praise Him through the tears.
Praise Him through the laughter.
Praise Him in the big things.
Praise Him in the little things.
PRAISE HIM!

In this life, it is easy to have an earthly vision. We see the here and now and sometimes life can be most dismal and hard and we feel stuck under a dark cloud of gloom. We allow our situations and circumstances to get the best of us. It is easy to Praise the Lord during the joyful, happy, everything is perfect moments of life, but maybe the darker days wouldn't seem quite as long, hard and dark if we practiced Praising the Lord regardless!

A simple reminder, but one I needed today. Find a way to Praise Him today regardless of where you are in life! We all go through mountaintop moments and times in the valley. I do believe we can find a sweetness even in the valley if we choose to Praise the Lord!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Reflections on Proverbs.

I am about halfway through Proverbs and at the same time, my Pastor is also doing different topical studies on Proverbs. So many thoughts swimming in my head and I need to write them down. So, this may be kind of helter skelter. 

Obviously, as you have seen in the previous posts, there are some major comparisons between Folly and Wisdom or the Virtuous Woman and the Strange Woman. So, let me just summarize some of my thoughts that I have picked up along the way. 

Before I start, I definitely saw areas in my own life that were not always wise or virtuous. Areas I need to continually work on. 

What does it mean to be a Christian? What does it mean to be wise or virtuous? Can anyone come up with their own picking and choosing of what they deem wise or virtuous? Can one live their life "thinking" they are wise and virtuous, but clearly living a life that does not reflect the truths of God's word? 

Proverbs 14:12 says: There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Can we pick and choose what we think is right? I would argue no, according to the Bible. We can argue amongst ourselves all day long about whether our decisions to do anything are right or wrong. But if we compare ourselves to others, we have failed. We need to be comparing ourselves to Christ. 

Instead of being people pleasers, we need to put our focus back on track and realize what our friends think doesn't matter. It is what God thinks that does matter. It is for HIM that we live, if we claim to be His child. 

And if we live for Him, then it will be reflected in the places we go, the things that we do, and even the friends that we associate with. 

So many times I hear don't judge me because I do _____. The thing with judging, it is not wrong unless you are also guilty. In fact, if you have a brother or sister in Christ whom you love dearly and you see them heading down the wrong path (aka, a path that does not line up with the truths of the Bible), we are to reach out to them and help them and encourage them to remember they live for Christ! I would want someone to do the same for me! And people I respect greatly have done that for me! 

When we see someone we love choosing the way of folly...it would be loving to reach out to them and help them find the wise road again! Same as if we saw our children about to do something foolish that could threaten their lives...do we just sit back and let them destroy their lives? NO! We pull them back and instruct them lovingly! 

So many passages in Proverbs compare wisdom with folly. In fact, the book itself is a father instructing his son. 

There are two different heart responses to be had when given wisdom and instruction. 
Imagine this father saying these things to his son whom he loves dearly:

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. (12:9)
He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. (6:32)
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. (10:9)
Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray. (10:17)

The son can respond in two different ways. He can either take his fathers words, knowing they come from a heart of love, and take them to heart. Heeding them and striving to please his father. OR, he can shrug it off and say that is simply how his father believes. It isn't for him. Agree to disagree and go on with his life. 

One response is foolish, and one response is wise. 

What if we changed it up and the Father is God himself and what if we were the son or daughter being spoken to? 

That is how we ought to view the Bible. If we truly are a child of God we need to heed His instruction regularly by reading His Word. 

So, how do we live our lives? Just freely doing whatever pleases ourselves and disregarding scripture or twisting it to justify how we choose to live? 

Or do we heed the instruction given to us by our Father who loves us so much that He paid the ultimate price by allowing His perfect Son to die in our place and pay the penalty of our sins so we could live with Him for all eternity. 

One of the things my Pastor recently taught on was Priorities. Something that was a new thought for me, was that our priorities are relationship based not list based. Which is an interesting thought. If our relationship with Christ is right, then our relationship with our spouse, children, and others will also be right. This even filters all the way down to finances, favorite things, etc. But our relationship with Christ is key! To say that God plays a big part in your life is different than saying God IS YOUR LIFE. One is definitely of higher priority. Without Christ, we have no life. We are dead. Simply existing in this materialistic, going to cease to exist, world. But with Christ we have true life and joy! 

If we claim to be a Christian, a child of God, we need to completely give every part of our life to Him and live according to His Word. Holy, set apart, a servant, thankful for the sacrifice He made for us, and willing to sacrifice our own lives as a "thank you" in return. 

May we strive to live as children of our mighty King of Kings, looking forward to the day He returns! Is Christ your LIFE? Remember the words of Paul, "For me to live is Christ! Life = Christ. 



Friday, August 8, 2014

Wisdom and Folly Part 4: Proverbs 10-12

Wowzers! Seemed like every verse had a positive and negative comparison! Let the chart speak for itself. Definitely convicted about some areas in my own life that need some work.

Wisdom/Virtuous Woman
Folly/Strange Woman
Makes parents glad 10:1
Sorrow to parents 10:1
Righteousness 10:2
Treasures gained through wickedness 10:2
Does not go hungry 10:3
Cravings never satisfied 10:3
Rich through diligence 10:4
Laziness causes poverty 10:4
Prudent preparer 10:5
Shame through laziness 10:5
Righteousness brings blessings 10:6
Mouth conceals violence 10:6
Remembered as a blessing 10:7
Name will rot 10:7
Heart that receives commandments 10:8
Ruined by babbling 10:8
Securely walks in integrity 10:9
Ways are crooked 10:9
Mouth is a fountain of life 10:11
Winks the eye, causing trouble 10:10
In love, covers all offenses 10:12
Ruined by Babbling 10:10
Speaks with understanding 10:13
Mouth conceals violence 10:11
Lays up knowledge 10:14
With hatred, stirs up strife 10:12
Wealthy 10:15
Lacks sense 10:13
Wage leads to life 10:16
Mouth brings ruin 10:14
Heads instruction, path is life 10:17
Poverty is her ruin 10:15
Restrains lips 10:19
Gain is sin 10:16
Tongue is choice silver 10:20
Rejects reproof, leading others astray 10:17
Lips feed many 10:21
Conceals hatred, has lying lips 10:18
Rich through the Lord’s blessing with no sorrow 10:22
Utters slander 10:18
Pleasure through wisdom and understanding
Inability to shut mouth brings transgression 10:19
Desires will be granted 
Heart is of little worth 10:20
Established forever 10:25
Die for lack of sense 10:21
Long life 10:27
Doing wrong is like a joke 10:23
Hope brings joy 10:28
What she dreads will come upon her 10:24
Way of the Lord is a stronghold 10:29
Destroyed through hard times 10:25
Blameless 10:29
Years will be short 10:27
Will never be removed from the land 10:30
Expectation will perish 10:28
Mouth brings wisdom 10:31
Way of the Lord is destruction 10:29
Lips know what is acceptable 10:32
Wicked will not dwell in the land 10:30
Humble 11:2
Perverse tongue will be cut off 10:31
Guided by integrity 11:3
Mouth knows what is perverse 10:32
Righteousness delivers from death 11:4
Pride brings disgrace 11:2
Righteousness keeps her way straight 11:5
Crookedness destroys her 11:3
Delivered through righteousness 11:6
Riches do not profit 11:4
Delivered from trouble 11:8
Falls by her own wickedness 11:5
Delivered by knowledge 11:9
Taken captive by lust 11:6
City rejoices in blessing 11:10
Hope perishes with death 11:7
Remains silent through understanding 11:12
Expectation of wealth perishes with death 11:7
Trustworthy is spirit, keeps a secret 11:13
Walks into trouble 11:8
Safety in an abundance of counselors 11:14
Destroys his neighbor with his mouth 11:9
Honor through graciousness 11:16
City is glad when she perishes 11:10
Benefits through kindness 11:17
Lacks Sense 11:12
Receives reward through righteousness 11:18
Belittles neighbor 11:12
Steadfast in righteousness, gains life 11:19
Goes about slandering revealing secrets 11:13
The Lord’s delight 11:20
Falls from lack of guidance 11:14
Offspring will be delivered 11:21
Hurts through cruelty 11:17
Desire ends in good 11:23
Earns deceptive wages 11:18
Rich through giving 11:24
Pursues evil, gains death 11:19
Enriched through blessing 11:25
Abomination to the Lord 11:20
Blessed through giving 11:26
Will not go unpunished 11:21
Diligently seeks good 11:27
Lacks discretion 11:22
Her fruit is life 11:30
Expectation is wrath 11:23
Captures souls 11:30
Through greed suffers want 11:24
Loves discipline 12:1
Curse because of greed 11:26
Loves knowledge 12:1
Trusts in riches 11:28
Obtains favor from the Lord 12:2
Troubles her household 11:29
Will never be moved 12:3
Servent to the wise 11:29
An excellent wife 12:4
Hates reproof, is stupid 12:1
Thoughts are just 12:5
Condemned by God 12:2
Mouth delivers 12:6
Is not established 12:3
House will stand 12:7
Brings shame to her husband 12:4
Commended for her good sense 12:8
Deceitful thoughts 12:5
Has regard for life of animals 12:10
Words of the wicked are hurtful 12:6
Through work has plenty 12:11
Is overthrown and destroyed 12:7
Bears fruit 12:12
Despised for her twisted mind 12:8
Escapes from trouble 12:13
Cruel to animals 12:10
Satisfied with good from the fruit of her mouth 12:14
Follows worthless pursuits 12:11
Listens to advice 12:15
Covets the spoil of evildoers 12:12
Ignores an insult 12:16
Ensnared by the transgression of her lips 12:13
Gives honest evidence 12:17
Ways are right in her own eyes 12:15
Speaks the truth 12:17
Immediately offended/insulted 12:16
Words bring healing 12:18
False witness, uttering deceit 12:17
Truthful lips endure forever 12:19
Stabbing words 12:18
Plan peace, receives joy 12:20
Lying tongue 12:19 
Has no trouble 12:21
Deceitful heart 12:20
Act faithfully 12:22
Filled with trouble 12:21
Conceals knowledge 12:23
Lying lips 12:22
Rules with a diligent hand 12:24
Proclaims folly 12:23
Made glad by a good word 12:25
Lazy will be put to forced labor 12:24
Guide to his neighbor 12:26
Weighed down by anxiety 12:25
Wealth through diligence 12:27
Leads neighbor astray 12:26
Life through a righteous path 12:28
Lazy 12:27

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wisdom and Folly Part 3: Proverbs 7-9

I was prepared to have a lot of spaces filled in about Folly/Strange Woman, but amazingly, I filled in more about Wisdom/Virtuous Woman! Really a neat study/comparison!


Wisdom/Virtuous Woman
Folly/Strange Woman
Treasures instruction 7:1
Forbidden/strange 7:5
Avoids folly/strange women 7:5
Simple 7:7
Raises her voice 8:1
Lacking sense 7:7
Takes a stand 8:2
Goes about in secret/darkness 7:9
Learns prudence 8:5
Dressed as a prostitute 7:10
Learns sense 8:5
Wily of heart 7:10
Speaks noble things 8:6
Loud 7:11
From her lips comes what is right 8:6
Wayward 7:11
Mouth utters truth 8:7
Feet do not stay home 7:11
Wickedness is an abomination to her lips 8:7
Lies in wait 7:12
Words of mouth are righteous 8:8
Bold face 7:13
Nothing twisted or crooked in her words 8:8
Seductive speech 7:21
Instruction better than silver 8:10
Smooth talk 7:21
Knowledge better than gold 8:10
House is the way of Sheol 7:27
Wisdom better than jewels 8:11
Neglect instruction 8:33
All desires cannot compare to her 8:11
Fails to find wisdom, injures himself 8:36
Dwells with prudence 8:12
Love death because of hatred of wisdom 8:36
Finds knowledge and discretion 8:12
Corrects/reproves a scoffer 9:7
Fear of the Lord is hatred of evil 8:13
Loud 9:13
Hates pride, arrogance and the way of evil 8:13
Seductive 9:13
Hates perverted speech 8:13
Knows nothing 9:13
Has counsel and sound wisdom 8:14
Sits at the door of her house 9:14
Has insight and strength 8:14
Calls to those who lack wisdom 9:15
By her, rulers govern justly 8:15-16
Her guests are dead 9:18
Loves those who love her 8:17

Those who seek her will find her 8:17

She has riches and honor 8:18

Her fruit is better than gold and silver 8:19

She walks in the way of righteousness 8:20

Walks the paths of justice 8:20

Grants an inheritance to those who love her 8:21

Created by God in the beginning 8:22-30

God’s delight 8:30-31

Hear instruction and does not neglect 8:33

Whoever finds her, finds life 8:35

Whoever finds her, finds favor of the Lord 8:35

Builds her house 9:1-3

Walks in the way of insight 9:6

Reproves a wise man 9:8

Gives instruction to the wise 9:9

Knowledge of God 9:10

Days will be multiplied 9:11