Monday, February 28, 2011

Mon.s' Devo - Women and Wine

Read Pr. 23:26-35
That is a deadly combination. Proverbs spends a lot of ink on the strange woman. She is out to steal the innocence of anyone who will fall prey to her entices. In the end she will leave you in a pit of despair. Her goal is to get you to follow other gods than Jehovah. She entices you with something small and seemingly good which leads to something big and eventually death. In the same way getting drunk will lead you to be sad, say things you shouldn't, hurt yourself, and see things that aren't there. You will also feel awful in the morning. God has a wine that is equally intoxicating but has no side affects. The devil always comes up with the counterfeit. God's wine is the Holy Spirit, the new wine. His wine has not a mixture but is pure and holy. The world's wine is addicting in a bad way and will ruin you life. Verse 30 says that if you keep drinking you will seek mixed wine which is wine mixed with water or spices. In other words, you will crave it so much you won't care if it has been watered down or counterfeited you will drink anything. That is the sign of an alcoholic. Then you will become like the last 3 verses. You won't even care where you live or what happens to your physical body, you will just live for another drink. Eph. 5:18 says "and be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."
Lord, may we crave the real wine of the Holy Spirit that we can be full of joy, say the right things, bring healing, and see the things of the Spirit.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - Learn From the Father

Read Pr. 23:15-25
The rest of this chapter is the father, Solomon, giving advise to his son, maybe Rehoboam. Too bad Rehoboam choose the advise of his young friends over the advise of wisdom. In Solomon's words you see the heart of a father. If the son goes well then the father is fulfilled. He advised him first in keeping his heart right, then keep his conversation full of truth. He warned of envying those who break the law and still seem to prosper, and those who drink and party. They will reap what they sow. It won't always go well for them. I watched the "Social Network" during the snow vacation and I was so aware that no one at the wild parties or anytime during the movie seemed to be truly happy or truly having a good time. Yet, they thought they were. There were always consequences and secrets to hide. That is no way to live, really live. We are to be children of the day, full of light, not those who have to hide in dimly lit taverns so noone can really see how sad and unclean everything is. It did not make me envy his life or his money. I was also aware that there was no respect for authority or the elderly and where were the parents? Verse 22 says to listen and heed the instruction of your father and do not disrespect your mother when she gets older. The father is suppose to joy in the success of the son because he taught him. When we stray from God's plan it does not bring true success even if it reaps billions of dollars.
Lord, I pray that you deal with the heart of these young billionaires who seem to be the future of America. Humble their hearts and draw them to you. Use their talents and their revenue for the kingdom. Help Mark to remember his Jewish heritage and help his brothers and sisters in Israel.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo - Applying Instruction

Read Pr. 23:12-14
We are suppose to "apply" our heart to instruction. That means to work on receiving it. Instruction includes chastisement, reproof, warning, instruction, and also restraint. Who wants to be reproved? I hate it most of the time. But I love instruction and I don't mind warnings. The reason is that instruction and warnings come before you mess up and have to be reproved or chastised. I would rather do it right the first time. I am in the middle of a reproof right now. I ignored the instruction, plowed through the warning signs and am sitting with the dunce cap on in the corner of the room. It is not comfortable or fun. The thing is we usually keep making the same mistakes because we keep doing the same things. That is where the "applying" comes in. We have to have a change of heart which is the God part. We have to want to change and then allow God to change us. The good thing is that he will. He will even take out his rod and use it on us to save us from the hell we are bringing upon ourselves.
Lord, thank you for your instruction and all it means. Help us to change our hearts to your will.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wed.'s Devo - God Sees

Read Pr. 23:10,11
God is very protective of the widow and the orphan. He will punish anyone who tries to swindle them from their rights and inheritance. Today I read about Ruth. Ruth was purchased by Boaz, the most eligible bachelor, to bring up children for Ruth's late husband. What you might not remember is that Boaz comes from the lineage of Rahab the harlot of Jericho who became an Israelite to save her life and the lives of her family. Since Ruth and her husband had had no children the person next of kin was to marry her and the first born son would take the name of the late husband so that his name would not be erased from history. The next of kin said that to marry Ruth would mar his inheritance, but Boaz wanted to marry Ruth and did. It didn't mar his inheritance because Jesus came from his line.
Boaz also came from the lineage of Pharez. Pharez was the son of Judah and Tamar. Now that's a story! Tamar had been the wife of Judah's firstborn Er. Er was so wicked that God killed him so Er's brother Onan was suppose to marry her and bring up children in Er's name. He didn't want to so God ended up killing him also. When Tamar realized Judah was not going to give her Judah's third son she disguised herself as a harlot and enticed Judah to sleep with her. He did and she had Pharez. All that to say, God took care of each one of these women in a time when women were property and only good for having sons. God always comes to the defense of the destitute and mistreated. He is a strong protector and we can trust in his judgment.
Lord, show us the poor and destitute and help us to reach out and be God's hand extended.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - Enemies of the Cross

Read Pr. 23:9
If you read the whole Bible then you will know that there is a group of people that God calls foolish, evil, bad, outcasts, and his enemies. These are a group of people that will not come to know him. They were not created to be his children. I know this sounds harsh but it bares out throughout scripture. God told the children of Israel to go into the promised land and kill all the inhabitants of the land because they were evil. We do see a few of these people being plucked out like Rahab and Ruth but the majority were deemed unsavable. Jesus warns his disciples about these people in Matt. 23. He calls them "blind guides, hypocrites, generation of vipers, scribes, and Pharisees. In John 3:20 he said that "everyone that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." In Philippians 3:18,19 the ungodly are called "enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things." But after saying all that, Jesus said over and over to "Love your enemies". So we are to love them but not cast our pearls of wisdom so they can laugh and make fun of God's treasures. These ungodly people do not have the gift to understand godly wisdom. It is a waste of our time to try to teach them but we can love them. The trick is knowing who they are because they are not always easy to discern. Jesus allowed the scribes and Pharisees to follow him around but when he wanted to teach the mysteries of the kingdom he took his disciples away to a secret spot.
Lord, help us to discern but not judge your people. Help us to pour our energies into those who have hearts for you.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mon.'s Devo - Eating With the Rich

Read Pr. 23:1-8
These verses are giving us a warning to not be envious of the wicked who are rich and powerful. It is hard for us to grasp that our lives are so short in the scope of eternity and if we live for the life here on earth we will lose the true riches waiting for us in heaven. Everything we give up here on earth for the kingdom is given back to us multiplied in heaven. The riches of this world are deceitful meat. They look good and feel good but only for a short time. They make wings and fly away.
Verse seven is a great truth: "for as he thinks in his heart, so is he". Only God knows what we think in our heart and that is what we will be judged for. We may be able to fool those around us but God knows what is in our heart. Satan is very deceitful and he has people who will make you feel accepted and favored when really they are planning your demise. So walk with your heart in eternity where no one can steal from you and your motives are godly.
You've heard the expression, "You are what you eat." God has promised to give us his food. He sent down manna from heaven to feed his children and he has promised to feed us with the manna of his word. His food makes us rich and satisfied on the inside.
Lord, give us eyes for eternity and help us to desire your riches of righteousness, peace and joy. Let your thoughts be our thoughts and plant your Word deep in our hearts.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - Our Inheritance

Read Pr. 22:28-29
In the Old Testament times people would stake their land with big boulders. Sometimes they didn't visit these boulders for years. If your neighbor was unjust he might move the stones so his land was larger. Over time the grass would grow up around these boulders and you couldn't even tell if they had been moved. Many a man got cheated out of his inheritance because someone moved his landmark. God has set up boundaries in our lives that we are not to move. These boundaries are clearly laid out in God's Word like love your neighbor, forgive those who sin against you; don't lie, cheat, gossip, or slander; love God with all your heart, etc. These are landmarks God has given us so that we can keep all of our inheritance and enjoy it. If we do these things with all diligence then we will stand before God with a clear conscience. God has given us a land that is good, but we must only take what is in our markers. If we are a teacher then we should be content and do it to the best of our ability and not covet what is in another's land.
Lord, help us to guard what you have given us and not allow the devil to steal from us any of our inheritance.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo - Getting Our of Debt

Read Pr. 22:26-27
Dave Ramsey would love this scripture because it clearly tells us not to make deals or make a loan. He gives the reason in the next verse. If you cannot pay then you will have your bed taken from you. Another word for bed is "sleep". I know that after buying this house I have definitely had some sleepless nights when my sales were down and I second-thought God. I don't know or understand all things but I know that in the society we are living in it is almost impossible not to go into debt in some way. I'm not saying it is impossible because I think that should be our goal: to get out of debt. This scripture definitely warns us of what could happen if we can't pay our debts. I wonder what the world would look like if people waited till they could pay the whole amount before they bought anything. I think that houses would come down to a price that we could all pay for and the economy would stay in check. Imagine!
Lord, help us to have patience to know when to buy, when to sell, and when to borrow. Keep us from the sin of materialism and stamp our hearts with your seal.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wed's Devo - Don't Go With Angry Men

Read Pr. 22:24
I have dealt with too many abused women who didn't head this scripture. If I could say anything to young women who were about to get married it would be this: the way he treats you know will be worse once you are married. If he is possessive now he will be much more possessive once he gets married and if he is easily angered then he will be more easily angered after the vows. Jealousy and rage are not characteristics of God and not good husband traits. This verse says not even to have friendships like that and don't even consider spending time with a person who is full of rage. Anger is another word for poison in the Hebrew. Poison is deadly and so is marrying an angry man. The next verse tells us why. If you do hang around this type of person you will become angry yourself and it will be a noose around your neck. Have you ever noticed how one person's anger can incite a riot? Anger is contagious but so is peace. We can instead be carriers of peace. Last night a neighbor called me crying because she was afraid that she would not be able to go to work the next day due to the snow. I prayed with her and asked for God's peace and that she would get a good night's sleep and be able to go to work. She text me this morning and she is able to go to work and slept like a baby last night. What a blessing!
Lord, may we be instruments of your peace and not tempted with anger.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - The Poor Beggar

Read Pr. 22:22-23
All the deeds of man are written in God's books. In the Bible, the poor would sit at the gates of the city to beg. Some were given money and some were kicked and scorned by those who entered the city. I saw this when I went to the old city in Yemen. There were children who were lying on their backs with deformities wanting hand outs. The sad thing about it was that some of the parents maimed their children so they could manipulate the hearts of those that saw their children and give more. These children were professional beggars and they were good at it. It is not our job to judge these people but to be kind and compassionate. God sees their plight and watches to see our response. Just because they are poor and have no way of improving their status does not mean that we kick them when they are down. God is no respecter of person's and will defend them just like he would his son.
Lord, help us to not harden our hearts to the poor and the beggar. Touch our hearts to what touches yours.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mon's Devo - Hear the Words of the Wise

Read Pr. 22:17-21
To hear wisdom we have to be humble. It is not always easy to take advise or wisdom from someone especially if we have a pride issue. I know I do. I had a hard time receiving advise from my parents and my friends because I wanted to know everything or at least make people believe I did. I found out that some of the best responses to questions are "I don't know". I guess that is why today's scripture says to "bow down" our ear to hear wisdom. It also says we have to "apply our heart" which means to place our heart in a place where we can embrace what is going to be taught us. We can sit in a class room all day and not get anything out of it if our heart is not wanting to learn. But if our heart is hungry, then we will absorb more than the teacher is teaching because we are allowing the Holy Spirit to bring life to the words and apply them to our hearts. Then we can in turn, teach them to others. God wants to put his words in our hearts and in our lips but we have to be emptied of our self.
Lord, empty us of ourselves and our pride. Help us to be your oracle to all that we meet so that they may trust in you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fri's Devo - Don't Oppress the Poor

Read Pr. 22:16
To use the poor to get rich is a common practice in our world. It is one thing to employ a person who will work for anything and another thing to oppress a poor man. To oppress a poor man is to violate him or defraud him. The Bible says that a workman is worthy of his hire. I have paid people more than they asked because what they did was worth more. God sees everything that goes on on earth and he brings justice. If he sees someone being oppressed he will help him and punish the oppressor. You never get away with anything; there is always a consequence. It is the law of sowing and reaping. The good news is that we pay down here and not in heaven if we are under the blood. God's grace removes our sins from his book but we still have to pay on earth. If we cry out to God for mercy he might save us from a harsh consequence here on earth too. He is a merciful God.
Lord, help us to be conscious of other people that are being oppressed and help us to have no respecter of person's. You came to pick up the downtrodden and bind up their wounds. Use us to do that too.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo - Disciplining Our Children 2-10-11

Read Pr. 22:15
I hate to even touch this subject but it is the Word of God. God created us that we would come into this world as a baby that was helpless and silly. As we are trained and loved we are to grow into responsible adults that can teach and train the next generation. The child is to honor the parent and obey him. The adult is to mentor and teach by example the ways of God. But, we have it backwards. We honor the child and let them have authority over us. When a toddler does something wrong we are to teach them and train them that that is not acceptable. Instead I have seen parents laugh and think it is cute. It may be cute now but if won't be cute in a few years. I know it is hard to spank and discipline your children when you think they are the sweetest, cutest child on the planet but if you don't you will be the one to suffer. I grew up getting spankings and I am so glad I did. Even Jesus had to learn by the consequences he suffered. (Heb. 5:8) Today's verse says that foolishness is bound in the heart of a child. That is apparent if you have had children. But it goes on to say that the rod of correction will drive it out of him. The word "rod" means a branch or a stick. So that is pretty clear. In the Old Testament they were to stone a rebellious teenager. We are scared to spank a child. We used to make our sons stand beside the bed and put their hands on the bed so the belt wouldn't hit their hands and my husband would give tell them they were getting three "licks". Then they knew what to expect. He tried to never spank them in anger.
Lord, thank you for your spankings because we know that they are for our good. Help us to see this same principle for our children.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wed.'s Devo - The Strange Woman

Read Pr. 22:14
I read every time the Bible used the term the "strange woman" and I found out she was a harlot who seduced anyone she could to follow her and fall into her pit. She was eloquent of speech, beautiful to look on, ravishing, flattering, preyed on the innocent and cost them their soul. She was dressed as a serpent in the garden and has taken many forms since then. She is out to kill, steal, and destroy anyone God has created, saved or not. She hates the human race because they were created by God in his image. She has no friends and even her demons fear her. She has a deep pit that the totally unrighteous will fall in and she will be cast in in the end. The good news is that we have been given authority over her and her demons and we can walk upright without fear of falling into her pit. I read today in Pr. 15 that the way of the righteous is made plain. If we walk in God's ways then we don't have to fear the devil or any of his schemes. Our plans are the Lord's and he will lead us in the way everlasting.
Lord, thank you for your promises. You never leave us or forsake us and you have equiped us for every battle we will face.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tues.'s Devo -Fearless!

Read Pr. 22:13
This verse describes the germ phobia that permeates our generation. I was reading in Genesis today about when Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac. The servant prayed to God that the woman that was suppose to be Isaac's wife would not only give him a drink but also his camels. The thought I had when I read it was "that wouldn't go over to well in our generation". Just think...the servant and the camels were all going to drink from the same bucket. And the well....had it been tested for contamination? I know there are more germs in the world today because of factories, chemicals and exposure but where is common sense and faith? Today's verse is about the slothful man that wouldn't leave his house because he was afraid there would be a lion in the street and it might kill him. It sounds so silly but so do our fears. If we trust in God we should have no fear except of God. What can man do to us? Kill us? Then we get to go to heaven. Hurt us? God can heal us. Intimidate us? We have the very spirit of God in us. If God be for us WHO can be against us.
Lord, help us to rise up and be fearless in the face of the devil and humble in your face. We want to walk in the authority Jesus walked in with the keys to the kingdom that Jesus died to give us.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mon.'s Devo- God's Storehouse of Knowledge

Read Pr. 22:12
Every invention has come about because God has allowed that knowledge to be released from heaven. He guards his knowledge in the storehouses of heaven and gives it out when he sees it is time. Then he creates people with the mental capacity to carry the plan. Man has been on the earth 6,000 years and God just gave man the ability to make a computer and the means to own one personally. The internet has drawn us so much closer and allowed us so much more power. God is all-powerful and has many more inventions even better and more complex than the computer. The second part of the verse says that God overthrows the words of transgressors. Pro. 18:221 says that 'life and death are in the power of the tongue' but God can intervene and make the words of the unfaithful have no affect. That is comforting seeing we cannot always be everywhere trying to hear everything someone says about us. Our words spoken with God's leading is superior to someone in the world making a proclamation or speaking a curse.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - Cast Out the Scorner

Read Pr. 22:10, 11
We don't use the word "scorner" in our society so I looked it up in the dictionary. It meant someone who acts with contempt, so I looked up "contempt". I was happier with that definition. It meant "the feelings or actions of a person toward someone or something he considers low, worthless, or beneath notice; the punishable act of showing disrespect for the authority or dignity of a court." If we find ourselves feeling that way we are to cast out those thoughts and seek peace. It is so much easier to see the bad in things and how we could make it better than to see the good in things and ways we could encourage. I found myself talking to a man the other day that had something bad to say about everything. I found myself wanting to get away from him. Looking back over the situation I wonder if I do that sometimes. We tend to look for things to complain about when we aren't content with our own lives. Verse 11 gives us some insight in how to change that. It says that if we love to have a pure heart then our conversation will be gracious and give us favor with the leadership. Encouraging words are like soothing oil especially in the world we live in today where many are fearful and hopeless.
Lord, we cast out the scorner in our lives and we seek to have a pure heart and to speak words of faith and encouragment.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo - Rich or Poor

Read Pr. 22:7-9
If we are in Christ then we are the rich and we rule the poor. In the blessings God gave the children of Israel in Duet. 28 God said that if we obey his Word then he will open his treasure for us and the work of our hands will be blessed. We will lend to many nations and not have to borrow. The Lord will make us the head, and not the tail; and we shall be above only, and shall not be beneath. If we don't live by the Word of God then the curses go on and on: you can read them in Duet. 28. Our blessings are for us, and for us to share. We are responsible with what we have been given. If we have the heart of God then we will want to share and give to the poor. The poor are the destitute and the weak. If they are poor in physical needs then we can help them get back on their feet so they can provide for themselves. If they are poor in spirit then we can teach them how to live in the kingdom of God and still live on this earth. God promises to supply all our needs according to his riches in heaven and that is more than enough.
Lord, thank you for your provision and your abundance that you pour out so lavishly on your children. May we have that same heart of kindness.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wed's Devo - Train Up a Child Pt. 2

Read Pr. 22:6
Another way of looking at this scripture is to train up each child in the way he is bent. Every child comes with different gifts and personalities. I had 3 sons the first one was a typical type A first born. He excelled in everything he did and did it better than anyone else because he was driven. His youth pastor asked the youth what they wanted most and when it came to him he said "to win" with total conviction and that pretty much summed him up. My second born was much more tenderhearted and not so driven. He was born with natural abilities but had no desire to do better. He was intuitive and much more laid back. The third son came wanting to please his brothers. He had natural strength and talents too but a drive to excel in them. He was more withdrawn and to himself. Our job as parents was to see the strengths and gifts that God had given our sons and point them in that direction. They all went to different colleges and majored in different majors because they were different. They are such a mix of Dave and I it has been fun to watch. So if we find our child's unique gift then we can steer them toward developing that gift so they can use it for the kingdom of God. That is our goal: to help our children find their place in the family of God. If might mean moving to Africa or living next door. Whatever it is it needs to be God's plan and not ours.
Lord, we dedicate our children to you and your plan. Help us to be a help and not a hindrance in what you want to do in the lives of our children.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - Training Up a Child

Tues.'s Devo - Training Up a Child Pt. 1
Read Pr. 22:6
Training up a child is more than taking him to Sunday School. The word "train" in the Hebrew means to "narrow; dedicate; discipline". The road to salvation is narrow and so it the way to discipline a child. I have heard this scripture quoted so many times and I wonder if we really understand what train up means. It doesn't mean that if we are Christians, our children will automatically be. Adam's second son, Cain was a murderer. I don't think we will meet Cain in heaven. It does mean that if we model a godly life and teach him the way of the Bible that he will not be able to escape the salvation God has for him. You can't make your children choose Jesus but you can sure push them away trying. The best way to assure the salvation of your child is to dedicate them to God then live it in front of them, training them in how to pray and trust in God. Then you have to give them room to realize it for themselves. Some children take a long time deciding that is what they want for themselves and sometimes they have to visit the pit first. As wise parents we need to give them the space to do that. If we don't they will rebel when they leave and we will not be there to help them. That is when we pray and believe this scripture and leave it to God to bring them back. He is faithful.
Lord, help us to train our children in the way they should go and trust you to bring them to your salvation.