Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tues.'s Devo - Grab a Hammer

Read Pro. 14:1
Every wise woman builds her house. I've only built one house but I know the labor and planning and hard work that goes into it. You have to be able to see the end from the beginning. I think that is what we have to do in our own lives. We have to see our children as adults so we will discipline them and train them to accept responsibility and grow into the adults we wish we were. We slowly build our families one memory at a time. It is so easy to want to escape into something more glamorous or fun than the work of slapping the mortor of training into the "hard as brick" heads of our children. Some times it would be easier to nail them to the wall and leave them hanging and leave the room, but parenting is an every day, not always gratifying job. We all think we were made for "greater things" than this but there is nothing "greater" than building a family. You may feel like you are getting no recognition and no one sees what you have to do everyday but you have a crowd of witnesses in heaven that are watching and cheering you on. One of the greatest things we can leave on this earth is a godly heritage that is taking the gospel into the next generation. So build your house well with a strong foundation of God's Word, walls of encouragement and discipline, illumined by godly insight and wisdom and filled with laughter and joy. Don't be like the foolish woman who destroys her house with one negative word at a time, or by abandonment to more fulfilling pastimes, or by depression and self pity.
Lord, help us to bloom where you have planted and scatter our seed in our own garden. Water our plants with your love and cause them to grow into strong trees for you.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mon.'s Devo - You Satisfy

Read Pro. 13:35
We are slowly inching our way through Proverbs... Have you ever been starving and thought if you could just have something to eat you would be satisfied forever? Then you eat and five hours later you are hungry again. The only thing you can eat and get any lasting satisfaction is the Word of God. It is our spiritual food. God gave us the example of manna from heaven which fell every night except the night before the Sabbath. It was like coriander seed, white, and tasted like wafers made with honey. Is not that what the Word of God is? It is a seed that we plant in our spirit and as we read and meditate upon it and cultivate it into our lives it grows into a tree that is strong and stable and something we can find shade and protection under. It is white with purity and truth and it tastes good to our soul. It is like honey: sweet and satisfying. We need it daily to keep growing just like our physical bodies need food but it is the food of eternal life which is something a five-course meal can never give us.
The wicked will never find that in what they eat. They will always be in want and never satisfied.
Lord, your Word is the honey from the rock and your anointing is the oil from the flinty rock. Feed us with your honey and anoint us with your oil.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fri.'s Devo - The Rod

Read Pro. 13:24
I've always heard this verse in connection to why we spank our children but I think it has much more to say than that. In the Hebrew the word rod means a stick for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling, walking, etc. or figuratively a clan: correction, dart, rod, sceptre, staff, tribe. So not only is it is a stick for punishing but for training. The last part of the verse says that he instructs and corrects his son early at any task. So, this father spends time with his son teaching him through written instruction or oral debate. He assumes his leadership as the head of the household and he teaches by his own walk in life. When a Jewish boy hit the age of 13 he entered into manhood and into the family business so if a father didn't spend time teaching it then he was considered a dad who hated his son. He was not spreading his rod of authority to his son. This rod was also a positive thing because it stood for the sceptre or staff of that clan. It was an honor to get the father's rod. God used the example of Aaron's rod blooming to show that he was the man God had chosen to be a priest. All the patriarchs carried their rod everywhere they went and when they stretched it out it carried power and authority. It was their identity. For a father not to pass that authority down to his son would be dishonoring to the son. God said that when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we would not need to fear evil because he would be with us and his rod would comfort us.
Lord, help us to welcome your rod of correction and your rod of inheritance. Let it be a comfort to us and a reminder of your great love for us.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thurs.'s Devo - Enjoying the Fruit of the Land

Read Pro. 13:23
If you have ever been to a 3rd world country you will understand this verse. There are farms everywhere and people producing crops but because of the injustice of the system, they don't enjoy the rewards of their hard work. It goes to the wealthy land owners and the people who worked the fields with their hard work, sweat and knowledge go home with meager wages. So how can this apply to us? We are not to be the poor. We are to be under the blessing of God. We are to own land and enjoy it's fruits. We are to be the head and not the tail so how do we do that? Duet 28 gives a list of the blessings that are ours IF we listen diligently to the voice of God and treasure his commands and do them. He promised that his commands would not be grievious or burdensome so that seems like an easy feat. The problem is that we get in the way and think we have a "better idea". It takes dying to ourselves and our desires and letting God resurrect his. His are always better.
Lord, teach us to walk in your commands and to hide them in our hearts that we will not sin against you. We want to possess our land and enjoy all its fruits.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wed.'s Devo - The Blessing of a Godly Life

Read Pro. 13:15-22
How would you like to walk in the favor of God? You can! It comes by having good understanding which is what you get when you read and meditate and apply God's Word. Today's reading is a collection of promises to those who live their lives according to God's Word and those who don't. The ones to follow God are not only given favor but they know how to live with the knowledge they are given to benefit their lives. They become healing and their words are words of life. They welcome correction and live out the dreams God has placed in them. They walk with those who are wiser than them so they can learn and they are rewarded for the good they do to others. They pass on an inheritance to their children of godliness and prosperity.
To the one who doesn't choose to walk in God's ways his life will be hard. His life will reflect his bad decisions. Poverty and shame will follow him and he will live a life of evil and destruction. His inheritance will be given to those who follow God.
Lord, how sad for those who don't follow you. You are so worthy of our lives and we joyfully lay them down for you. Teach us understanding and wisdom from your throne that we might leave an inheritance for the next generation of holiness.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tue.'s Devo - The Fountain of Life

Read Pro. 13:13, 14
If you despise God's word you will be destroyed. I looked up "despise" in the Hebrew and it means to "disrespect". How do we disrespect God's Word? We can have five copies and only open them once a week or less. We can read it everyday but not meditate on it and hide it in our hearts. We can read it and never apply it to our lives or only apply it when we have the faith. It is easy to believe God sent Jesus to save us for our sins but is it easy to believe God can heal your son of a hereditary disease? Jesus went through town after town healing everyone in the town. He didn't stop to ask God if it was his will to heal them; Jesus was healing and that same Jesus dwells in us and promised that we would do greater works than him. If you disrespect God's word it says that you will be destroyed; BUT, he that fears the commandment shall be rewarded. The reward is that you get what the Word says you get. It has promised us salvation, relationship with our creator, abundance, health, joy, peace, love, protection, and a spiritual inheritance that we can pass down to our children. It is truly a fountain of life. How could we despise that?
Lord, forgive us for disregarding your word in any way. Help us to treasure the Word of God more than food or drink.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mon.'s Devo - Hope Deferred

Read Pro. 13:12
When we first moved to Tulsa we looked and looked for an existing house to buy. After literally looking at over 50 houses it became apparent that we would need to build. So we got an apartment and found a builder. Since my house was going to be a custom house, the builder kept putting my house off till he had more time. I waited and waited for my house to get at least a foundation poured. My heart was sick and I thought of this verse many a day. I finally called the foreman and told him to promise me again that he really was going to build my house. He assured me he was and that the foundation would be poured that Wednesday. Wouldn't you know, we were experiencing a drought that year and it rained that day. I was so upset. About 2 weeks later they finally poured my foundation. It took forever to be built but when it was finished I was so glad. My house was not my "tree of life" but God's fulfilled promise was. We never like to wait but it is so a part of God's nature that he wants everyone to have it. Long suffering and patience do not go with today's remote control life but God doesn't change with the world, he is in a kingdom all of his own and it is stress-free and right on time so if you are having to wait for something, pull up a chair and meditate on the goodness of God. Thank him for what he is going to do and dream big.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fri.'s Devo - Humbly Work for Jesus

Read Pro. 13:10, 11
Verse 10 contrasts pride with the well advised. Prideful people won't let people give them advise because they think they already know what it right. It says that pride brings contention or strife. If you are not bendable or teachable there will be strife. But if you are teachable and can give up your own way to honor another then you will be wise. Pride is one of our greatest enemies. The devil is pride personified and he sells it well. The next verse tells of its fruit. If you get your wealth by vanity it will diminish. The word vanity means emptiness; transitory or unsatisfactory. So if you get your wealth by deceiving people into trusting you and have nothing to back it up with then you won't stay wealthy for long. But if you gain your wealth by hard work it will increase. That statement is proved by researching the past winners of the lottery. They almost always end up worse than they were before they won. The bottom line is you reap what you sow so in order to sow you need to reap.
Lord, help us to be teachable, flexible and work as unto you.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thurs.'s Devo - Ye are the Light of the World

Read Pro. 13:9
God is light and there is no darkness in him at all but Satan is transformed into an angel of light, so everyone has some kind of light. The light of the righteous causes others around them to be joyful and lighter. But the lamp of the wicked does not benefit anyone and will one day be snuffed out. The only true light with power is God's light. God commanded the light to shine in Genesis and separated it from darkness. Light was the first thing God gave to the earth. Where light seems to spread wherever it is, a lamp is a fixed light. It seems to represent an individual's life. God's lamp passed between the pieces of meat that he told Abraham to prepare in Gen 15:17. The Word of God is called a lamp to our feet. When we are born again, our lamp gets lit with the fire of God. We carry this lamp everywhere we go and its brightness is determined by the amount of fuel we have put into it. If we fill our lamp with God's oil which is the Holy Spirit then it will never go out. If we don't fill our lamps with oil we will be like the foolish virgins who weren't prepared when their time came.
Lord, help us to prepare our lamps every day with the oil of your Holy Spirit and may the light inside us shine to a dark world.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wed.'s Devo - The True Riches

Read Pro. 13:7-8
Money can be a blessing or a curse. I've seen people that were extremely rich and were miserable because they didn't have a reason to live. Money is not the cure-all. I remember reading about Howard Hughes who used to be the richest man in the world. He died depressed and oppressed. He lived isolated, shriveled up and alone; afraid of germs and people. I've also read about wealthy Christians who chose to give away their wealth and live very meager lives full of contentment and joy. It's not that you have to give away your money to be happy; you just have to ask God why you have it and what to do with it.
Verse 8 talks about the fact that when you are rich, everyone will want what you have. So a rich man might be kidnapped for a ransom but the poor can live unafraid of being kidnapped because they don't have anything to pay for a ransom. The rich man will never know if he is loved for his money or himself where a poor man knows that his friends are real friends because he has nothing but himself to offer to the relationship.
Lord, help us to realize that the greatest gift and most valuable thing we could ever seek is you. Your presence is worth more than money could buy. Give us your perspective on this world's riches and guard our hearts from greed.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tues.'s Devo - Preserving Yourself in God

Read Pro. 13:6
Did you know that living a righteous life will not only prolong your lifespan but it will preserve you and make you more youthful than your age? Sin, worry, stress, smoking, and bad eating habits will all age you. Today's verse says that righteousness "keeps" him that is upright. That word "keep" means "guard; protect, maintain, preserve". We all want to be preserved, maintained, guarded and protected so it's a no-brainer; live a righteous life. Righteousness will not only keep us but it keeps us "in the right way". So if you want to be in the right way on the right path doing the right thing you just live righteously. Micah 6:8 says, "He has showed you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you, to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." Sometimes we get so caught up in the specifics of life when we should just draw near to God and let his thoughts become ours. We learn how he thinks by meditating on his words and listening and being quiet. In between we just live a righteous life and he will order our steps.
Lord help us to be renewed day by day in your Word. Your Word refreshes us and is our quide.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mon.'s Devo - The Power of the Spoken Word

Read Pro. 13:2-5
Voice is a powerful vibration that sets things into motion. What we say is so important because we get what we say. Our words are like seeds that we plant and they germinate and grow into something much larger than the seed. If you can control your tongue and not say negative destructive things then you will protect yourself from self-destruction. Jesus spoke to a fig tree and cursed it. The next time they passed the fig tree it was completely dried up. God blessed the seed of Abraham and it grew into the mighty nation of Israel. We have that same power in our tongue. We can bless and curse and it will come to pass. If we understood how important our words were maybe we would be more selective and careful about what we say.
Lord, put a watch over our mouths and warn us before we are about to say something destructive. Help us to bless what you bless and curse what you curse.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sun.'s Devo - Update on God's House

I thought I should give an update on my house. I am in and love it. God has sent so many wonderful friends to help me work on it and fulfill the dream God placed in me. I still don't understand the whole scope of why he gave me this house, but I have complete peace that it will unfold. This week was the first week I actually worked in it and my work room is on the front of the house and since I haven't gotten the curtains made yet I am working in front of huge windows. The house is on a busy street so I can see all the cars that come past. I love it because I feel like I am a part of what is going on outside. I have had a painter painting the outside of the house all week and I have had opportunities to share with him even though he speaks little English. He had gotten paid for another job and had $500 in his pocket. He had his cell phone in the same pocket and when he went to answer it he must have brought out the money unknowingly and it flew away. When he realized it he combed the yard and found $300 of it. He remembered 2 boys on bicycles stopping and picking something off the sidewalk. He was going to pay bills that afternoon with it and now he couldn't. I helped him look but it was a very windy day and no doubt those boys had his other $200. So I told him I would pray that God would restore it to him. He looked doubtful but I know that nothing is impossible with God. So I am still praying that he gets his $200 back. I know God can do that and show this man how much he loves him.
Lord, you said that the prayers of a righteous man avail much so we, your righteous children are praying and asking you to retore Louis's money to him and show him how much you are concerned with the affairs of man. Show him that you are a personal God who reigns over the entire universe and you choose to know and love him.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fri.'s Devo - The Humble Will Hear and be Glad

Read Pro. 13:1
Dave's parents just left our house after being here for 4 days. They came to help us with the new house and at 82 years of age they can out work most people on the planet. They have always been quick to help and quick to give their advise. I find myself wanting to argue with them for position to make my own decisions but have to remind myself that they have lived longer than me and have learned much in their life and could possibly have a better idea. Through the years we have gained much insight and wisdom from watching them live their lives and hearing their instruction. I will have to admit that it is much easier to take their encouragements than to hear their rebukes but both have been a help. Godly parents or mentors are such a blessing if we humble ourselves to receive from them. Today's verse says that a wise son hears his father's instruction. The word instruction means "chastisement; reproof, warning or instruction; also restraint." That is hard to do sometimes but if we will heed their advise it will save us in the long run. The rest of the verse says that a scorner won't hear the rebuke. He will harden his heart and not be able to receive it. This is pride and we are commanded to be humble.
Lord, it is not easy to be humble because it goes against our human nature so we need your help. Give us a heart to be humble and recognize when our pride is starting to stand up.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thurs.'s Devo - The Righteous Race

Read Pro. 12:26-28
Why would anyone, after reading Proverbs want to be anything but righteous? His ways are more excellent and he receives the reward of his labor and all his ways lead to life. On the other hand, the wicked man seduces and his ways lead to death. He doesn't even get to reap the benefits of his labor. I was running this morning and I tripped over one of those reflector bubbles they put in the concrete to mark where to tee off. It was still dark and I was running through the golf course in our neighborhood. I couldn't see it till I hit it and went skidding across the concrete on my knee. It was not only painful but disconcerting. I got up and, thank God, was not broken anywhere so I kept running. I wonder if that is how it is in the world of the unsaved; they just run in the dark and when they stumble they just get up and keep running in the dark. We are not walking in the dark but we are children of the light and can know the path we are on and see the way. We might not be able to see too far ahead but we know the one who is leading us and he can see past our future into eternity. That is a comforting thing to know.
Lord, help us to run a righteous race on your path to eternity.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wed.'s Devo - Be Glad!

Read Pro. 12:25
We need to hear a good word today. If you know anything about world events or events in our government it will depress you and might even cause you to fear. Our nation is in desperate need for the good news about Christ. We are in desperate need for the good news about Christ. Today's verse says the anxiety and heaviness makes our heart depressed but a good word makes it glad. The truth is God is still on his throne orchestrating the events of man. He still loves us and has a great plan for his people to rise up and take the land. What we need to be concentrating on is the victory - not the defeat. 2 Co. 4:7-9 says that "we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." We are honored to have a part in God's huge plan of good, not evil and we can rejoice knowing that God, our Father, is in control and loves us till the end.
Lord, help us to give a good word of encouragement to those we meet. We could save a life!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tue.'s Devo - Being Diligent

Read Pro. 12:24
We are suppose to be the head and not the tail. So how does that happen? Today's verse says that if you want to rule you have to be diligent. The meaning in the Hebrew of the word diligent is "actively incisive; determined, eager, fine gold, pointed things, sharp, threshing instrument, wall." To me that means that we have to have a plan, God's plan, and go for it with all our hearts. It takes hard work and determination to do the will of God. I think of this house the Lord gave me. I work at the house from the time I leave my residence till around 5 in the afternoon. It is a lot of hard work but it is slowly transforming into my dream. Last week I felt like I was putting in long hours with little results but on Saturday, God sent the recruits and some friends came over and we got ceiling fans hung, walls painted, furniture painted and shelves torn down. It made the whole week turn into a success. We can either be diligent and rule or we can be slothful and be under a burden. The enemy will try to steal your dream by telling you you are too old, it will be too costly, or it will require too much energy. Don't sit on you couch and believe that lie. When God gives you a task he renews your youth, and provides the money and the strength it will take to complete your job. The result is so satisfying and exuberant. Wouldn't you rather rule than be under a burden?
Lord, help us to renew the dream you have placed inside us. Dispel our excuses and doubts and replace them with your vision and diligence.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mon.'s Devo - Concealing knowledge

Read Pro. 12:23
"A prudent man conceals knowledge...." The word prudent means crafty and cunning. We are to be wise as serpents but harmless as doves. So we are to be as smart as our enemy yet react as the Holy Spirit would. If we are cunning and wise then we will conceal knowledge. The word conceal means to fill up hollows and cover ourselves with secrecy. To me, that means that we are to keep our knowledge hidden until the right moment. The New Testament talks about throwing our pearls before swine. In other words: make your words few and pointed and they will hold the greater weight. Today's verse compares this to a fool whose heart proclaims foolishness. The meaning of proclaim is to accost a person you meet. We have all met these people who are full of words and their agenda. They are the perfect salesman or the perfect con man. They can't hold their spiel in so it bursts out on everyone in their radius. If we look at the life of Jesus, people were drawn to him and begged him to teach them. He was prudent. He held all the truth and yet waited till people extracted it from him. He didn't vomit all his knowledge out on everyone he met.
Lord, help us to conceal knowledge until you instruct us to speak. May our words be weighty and full of your wisdom.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fri.'s Devo - The Fruit of our Lips

Read Pro. 12:17-22
These verses contrast the lips of the righteous to the lips of the unrighteous. Let's start with the unrighteous so we can end on a positive note. The unrighteous lie and you can never rely on what they say. Their words hurt and pierce your heart because they don't know how to bless. The good thing about their lies is that they only last for a moment and then they fall to the ground just like the sword they use to pierce your heart. God hates their words because they bring death. On the other hand the lips of the righteous are truth and bring healing even if they are words of rebuke. The words they say will last forever and come to pass because the righteous speak what God is speaking. Their council brings peace and joy to the listener. Nothing evil will happen to the righteous because they will be hidden under God's wings of protection. Those that can control their tongue are a delight to God. Now, which one do you want to be?
Lord, help us to speak your words and bring healing and life to those who listen. May we honor your Word above all other words.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thurs.'s Devo - The Angry Man

Read Pro. 12:16
Much is written in the Bible about the angry man. A fool will not be able to control his anger but a wise man will have self-control. The wise man will not only control his anger but he will cover the sin of others. We sometimes forget that we are not the judge; God is. Our job is to love and speak the truth in love. I'm not saying that we never discipline because the Bible gives us detailed instructions on discipline but not judging. We have been given discernment which helps us in forming our boundaries and in knowing what to pray about, but not in how to fix the problem. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. The only people that Jesus condemned were the scribes and pharasees, the teachers and leaders of the organized church at the time who were leading people astray. Jesus was able to get angry with them and still not sin. He was angry at the spirit of deception they were working from and their oppressive influence over the people. Jesus came to set us free from religion and oppression and lead us to God.
Lord, help us to have discernment and self-control. Teach us your ways.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wed.'s Devo - Godly Counsel

Read Pro. 12:15
I have been studying Joshua and his take over of the Promised Land. It is amazing how many times they repeat the same mistake. God will give them the exact strategy to win a great victory like at Jericho and then at the next town they get arrogant and try to do it without the Lord's guidance and they fall. At Ai, they realized they had forgotten to ask God so they repented and God showed them why they lost. They fixed the situation and won. At the next town they got themselves deceived by the men at Gibea and had to spare their lives instead of killing them like they should have. If they had just stopped and asked God about these men, he would have been more than willing to tell them the truth. It would have spared them the pain of disobeying God and not getting his best plan.
Good ideas are not always God's ideas. A fool goes by what he feels is right, but a wise man will ask God for his advise. God sees the future and knows just what we need to do even if we think we know best. God surrounds us with godly council, if we just ask him for it. Sometimes that counsel will come from our kids and sometimes an older mentor. We just need to be humble enough to receive it.
Lord, help us to seek you in everything we do. We cannot presume to do anything apart from you.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tues.'s Devo - Blessings

Read Pro. 12:11-14
According to the Bible, the best way to get rich is by hard work. If you follow a get-rich-quick scheme you might get immediate results but they usually don't pan out in the long run. We were meant to have to labor for what we get; it is the principle or reaping and sowing. The best investment you can make is giving into the kingdom of God. It is the only safe, sure-fire investment. Then your dividends will not be affected by the economy or lack of. Then you can cash in on Ps. 37:19 that says "they will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough". Verse 12 of today's scripture says that the righteous will yield fruit but the net of the wicked is evil. The wicked want to get their money by not having to work for it. They bring down curses on themselves by what they speak about. Their plans to make money at the expense of others condemns them but God will deliver us out of any trouble we get ourselves in. We will also be rewarded by what our mouth speaks so we can actually bless ourselves by what we say. So it boils down to this: if you work hard with the gifts God has given you and your conversation lines up with God's Word and not your circumstances then you will reap the fruit of God's blessing.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mon.'s Devo - Regard for your Beast

Read Pro. 12:10
If a righteous man regards the life of his beast then we are a righteous nation. I have never seen such devotion to pets. They now have pet cemeteries, groomers, dog oncologists, the list goes on into the ridiculous. I don't want to start an argument so I won't elaborate but this scripture is comparing being civil to your animals as something that is trivial yet something only the righteous would do. The evil person can not be kind. Even his "tender mercies" are cruel. We should be known by our love and compassion especially for the lowly and oppressed. Their beasts were the animals that would carry their loads and work their fields. They would be the blue collars of today.
Last Monday God gave me an opportunity to do just that. I have had so much trash at the new house that I felt bad and wanted to do something to let my sanitation men how much I appreciated them so I bought some Gatoraids and was waiting for them to come. They passed right by the house really fast and only got the trash on the other side of the street so I didn't have an opportunity to give it to them. I had to leave and run an errand but on my way out, I looked down the next street I saw them so I turned around and went back to the house and got the Gatoraids. I took it to them and told them how much I appreciated them and was sorry I had so much trash. They were very thankful and I went away blessed. So if you don't have a "beast" maybe you have someone who has been serving you well for years and could use a word of thanks or maybe a bottle of Gatoraide!
Lord, help us to regard all your creatures, human or animal.