who knows?

Proverbs 27:1

Don’t brag about tomorrow,
    for you don’t know what a day will bring.

Are you having a good day? Having a bad day? It usually seems like it’s one or another. Somedays it can change in the blink of an eye. We can never be sure because we are not in control. We can have hope for the future, courage from Scripture, and gratitude for our present.

As you go through the day, be mindful of those who may not be facing what they thought they would be. Lift up a prayer for those whose life has changed in the blink of an eye. Always be thankful for your present, so as to be prepared for your future.

 

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campfires

Proverbs 26:20-21

Without wood a fire goes out;
    without gossips, conflict calms down.
21 Like adding charcoal to embers or wood to fire,
    quarrelsome people kindle strife.

I’m imagining a campfire where the flame is slowly going out and someone decides to put one more log on the fire. This summer, we spent some time with my sister in Michigan. Her husband made a big bonfire and as the flames got smaller, he brought more wood to keep it going. We teased him that he was going to have to stay up late to watch it go out because we were going to bed. As we think about how this relates to gossip, put yourself in the shoes of the victim of gossip. I can see how you would feel relieved as the topic was slowing down and losing steam, only to have someone throw one more log on the fire and continue the hurtful gossip.

How can we stop doing that in our lives?  Do we even think about it? How often do we stoke the campfire on gossip for selfish reasons without considering the feelings of those involved?

Lord, remind me this week to keep my words pure and my intentions honorable. Amen.

conflict

Proverbs 25:7-10

What your eyes see, 8 don’t be quick to quarrel over;
    what will you do in the future when your neighbor shames you?
9 Argue it out with your neighbor,
    and don’t give away someone’s secret.
10 Otherwise, the one who hears it will vilify you;
    the slander against you will never stop.

This reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 18 about conflict.

15 “If your brother or sister sins against you, go and correct them when you are alone together. If they listen to you, then you’ve won over your brother or sister. 

It is better to talk directly to someone that you disagree with than talking to everyone else about it. It can cause others to think differently of someone.  It can publicly disgrace someone. Or you can be disgraced in return.

How do we handle conflict?

Is it hard to confront people we are upset with?

Does it help to have an example from the Bible to guide you in these situations?

Have you ever talked directly to someone and had good results?

Lord, remind me to keep my anger in control and talk directly to people that I am upset with. Amen.

things that make you go hmmm….

Proverbs 24:17-18

Do not rejoice when your enemies fall,
    and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble,
18 or else the Lord will see it and be displeased,
    and turn away his anger from them.

What? Why? Oh no. I’ve definitely done this before. So if I can’t be happy when something bad happens to someone I hate, what do I do? Feel sorry for them? Pray for them? Help them?

It feels a little confusing, but as God is always concerned with our hearts, we need to keep them pure and honest before God. Laughing at another’s downfall is not pure. As you see things like this in your life, remember that loving your neighbor means everyone. It’s not up to you to decide who deserves God’s love.

Truth

Proverbs 23:23
Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

What does that even mean? Can we sell truth?

John Wesley, founder of Methodism, explains it this way, “Buy – Purchase it upon any terms, spare no pains or cost. Truth – The true and saving knowledge of God’s will. Sell it not – Do not forsake it for any worldly advantage.”

Solomon is sharing with the people that truth is the most valuable thing in the current culture. Many other shiny things look attractive, but Truth, Wisdom, Instruction, and Understanding are worth more than any material item.

He is also telling them that it is not worth it to sell Truth. Many people can benefit from knowing things that they shouldn’t and he is reminding the people that just because they can sell truth doesn’t mean they should.

Watch for the value of Truth in your life this week.

a bike ride

Proverbs 22:6

Train children in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won’t depart from it.

Remember when you learned to ride a bike? It was so hard, and you had to have mom or dad help you along until you got the hang of it. Now when you ride a bike, you remember how to do it because you practiced it.  You trained your body to know how to balance, pedal and steer. It won’t leave you. It stays with you whether you ride weekly or yearly.

What else did you learn growing up? I remember going to church with my parents and hearing songs and stories that I can still remember. “Tell me the stories of Jesus that I love to hear, things I would ask him to tell me if he were here” (to music).

As we get older, when we look at the Bible, memories can rush back at us. Even if we don’t know where certain scriptures are in the book, we can remember what they meant to us then and use them now.

Take a walk down memory lane. Look at a Bible you had when you were little, or see if you can remember verses that someone taught you growing up. This is what Proverbs 22:6 is talking about. Learning about God’s love as a child can last a lifetime. #LGLO

#LGLO

Proverbs 21:3

To do what is right and just
    is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Growing up, I got caught up in the idea that being a Christian was all about following a set of rules. Kind of like the Ten Commandments but about things that sounded fun. As I grew in my faith, I learned that it is less about the things I don’t do, and much more about the things I do. God is part of my heart, of my life, and following that example is more important. I’ve heard God’s message simplified so many times to “Love God, Love Others.”  I want to encourage you to be mindful of where your heart is, and not just worry about following “the Christian rules.” #LGLO

deep waters

1Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler;
    whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

I am asked often if the Bible tells us not to drink alcohol. I thought this verse explains it very simply. The Bible doesn’t directly say do not drink alcohol, but it does warn against the consequences of drunkenness and addiction. This verse reminds us that anything that we put above God in our life is leading us in the wrong direction.

5The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,
    but one who has insight draws them out.

Many claim to have unfailing love,
    but a faithful person who can find?

24 A person’s steps are directed by the Lord.
    How then can anyone understand their own way?

These verses tell us that asking God to lead our lives is the best way to live.

Reflect on these verses this week and ask God to soften your heart to God’s leading.

purpose

Proverbs 19:21

Many plans are in a person’s mind,
    but the Lord’s purpose will succeed.

Do you have a 5 year plan, 10 year plan, 1 year plan, or maybe just a this week plan?  We all make plans for our life at some point. Some of us may be more detailed and specific than others. Some of us may not even be able to commit to plans on friday night in case something better comes up.  This verse reminds us that whatever we have planned, it needs to be through conversation with God.  We’ve heard many times, “God has a purpose for your life” and whether we believe it or not, there has to be some reason we are here on earth.  Have you wondered what your purpose is?  Have you talked with God about it?

All the plans that we try to make will only crumble if it is not in God’s plan.

(Keep that in mind as you post wedding dresses to your Pinterest board.)

Snacks?

Proverbs 18:8

The words of gossips are like choice snacks;
    they go down to the inmost parts.

 

Have you ever had soup on a chilly day? Hot chocolate after skiing? Remember that feeling when it goes down your throat and you can feel the warmth and deliciousness in your belly?  How it makes you happy, gives you sustenance and brings you back to life?

Solomon is using this idea – one of delicious snacks- to illustrate the depth that gossip goes to.  If a rumor or gossip is said about you, doesn’t it hit you in the gut? Make you feel nauseous? Mess up your day?

This is the power of our words. As much as we hate that feeling, we have to remember that we are sometimes the cause of it.

It may seem repetitive, but many of the wise words of Proverbs are about what we say, whether we are foolish with our words, or wise with our words.

Make it a habit to only let wise words come out of your mouth. Remind others around you of the pain of gossip as well.