Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Reputation matters

Proverbs 27:17
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
And a man is valued by what others say of him.

(Proverbs 27 is the friendship chapter)

Reputation matters. I find it's "cool" for kids to say, "I don't care what people say about me." It's popular, but foolish. They think it demonstrates confidence, independence and strength but it really reveals a self-centered, arrogant isolation. We are meant for one another, to live in community and to make a difference in the lives of one another.
If our motives are pure but our actions are not perceived the same, we suffer. If i set out to do good in a sloppy manner, I only make a mess. If my good intentions do not lead to good deeds I'll never find good will. For this reason we must be diligent to work hard as if working for God and not for man (Col. 3:23). We must present ourselves as ones "approved by God, workmen who need not be ashamed" (2 Tim. 2:15). The result is not only favor with God but also favor with men. Even Jesus "grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man," (Luke 2:52).
Finally, if our motives are pure and our actions follow, our reputations become valuable currency by which we are able to accomplish God's agenda in this life.

Father - guide me to establish a worthy reputation and let my heart be tested by what others say of my character and ethic. May I honor You. Amen

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wise Words...

Proverbs 25:11-12
word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold
Is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear.

I'm not sure what "apples of gold in settings of silver" is supposed to mean but it sounds good. What I do know is that it is impossible to speak fit words without being knee-deep in prayer and eyeball-deep in God's Word. Fit, wise words do not come from impulsive, prideful, self-centered human beings like me.

Make my eyes hunger more for Your Word.
Make my ears to hear from Your Spirit.
Make my mind to discern Your wisdom.
Make my heart to deny my own inclinations.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Proverbs 24:12
If you say, “Surely we did not know this,”
Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?

There is no plea of ignorance before God on the day of judgment. When God weighs our hearts and souls we will be saved or condemned by our deeds, not our knowledge or lack there-of. "For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities... have been clearly seen through what has been made so that men are without excuse," (Romans 1:20). Jesus Christ, the Son of God has come to demonstrate to us the way of life and display for us the depth of His love for us (1 John 5:13). And all of the Holy Scriptures have been written so that we may know God's will for our salvation and how He has set out to accomplish it (1 John 5:20). With Creation, the Son of God and the Holy Scriptures all perpetually displaying God's truth... there is no excuse for ignorance on the day of judgment. "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness," (2 Peter 1:3).
So those of us who have come to know Him must continue to hunger and thirst for knowing Him. We must grow in grace and love according to His revelation of truth. And we must join the testimony of creation, the Son and the Scriptures for those who have yet to know Him. For we are not only responsible to know Him, but also to make Him known; there is no excuse for silence either.

Father - instruct my heart and let me hear from You daily. Fill me with Your knowledge and wisdom to overflowing that I may be a testimony to those who have not yet come to know You. Make me prudent and wise that all my deeds may honor You and edify those around me. Amen.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Proverbs 23:17-18
Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day; For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.

What am I zealous for? What does my mind dwell on throughout my day? Where are my eyes drawn? How do I spend my free time? This is my desire. It doesn't matter much what I say I desire, my investment reveals the true treasure of my heart.

Matthew 6:19-21
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Colossians 3:2
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Where I invest my time, my thoughts, my wealth and my resources, there is my destiny. The return on investment will be consistent with what I invest in. If I invest in earthly things, how can I expect anything more than earthly results? However if I invest in heavenly things, if I focus on knowing Christ and honoring Him, I can expect eternal blessings. I have hope of so much more.

Father - make my heart desire to know You, to fear You and to honor You above all else. Remind me to invest my time, thoughts and treasures in that which lasts. Fill me with Your hope and keep me from getting distracted by the things of this world. Amen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Righteousness & Sacrifice

Proverbs 21:3
To do righteousness and justice
Is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

Where in my life have I justified my behavior, decisions and thoughts by my sacrifice?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My greatest blessing and lesson for my kids...

Proverbs 20:7
The righteous man walks in his integrity;
His children are blessed after him.

Righteousness and integrity bless generations in three unique ways. First, God rewards the righteous and His blessings will fill the house of a man of integrity up to a thousand generations (Exodus 20:5-6). God's very presence, His loving-kindness and favor dwell with those whose walk is blameless (Psalm 101:6). My children will know the presence of God because of the blessing that follows my righteousness.
Second, my children will be blessed to have an example of godliness before them as they develop their identity. I can give my impressionable children no greater gift than an example and lesson in integrity and righteousness.
Finally, integrity and righteousness bear earthly consequences that are expounded on greatly in Proverbs. By wisdom, patience, honesty, prudence, generosity, forgiveness and so on... my home will have peace, sustenance, security, wealth and earthly favor.
There is no greater lesson or blessing I can pass onto my children than my own righteousness and intimate walk with Jesus.

Father, make me a man of integrity and righteousness for my children's sake. Amen.

Monday, September 21, 2009

God's Treasure

Proverbs 19:17
He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD,
And He will pay back what he has given.

God's heart is found with the poor. All throughout the Scriptures we find His blessing and instruction to be in favor of the humble, the hurting, the hungry, the harassed, the helpless, the homeless and the heartbroken. So when our hearts are drawn to those in need, we are bring drawn by and to God Himself. Lending time, resources and dollars to those in need is the same as lending to the Lord. We can lend confidently and boldly without worry because of Him. We don't have to worry about how the gift will be viewed, received, spent, appreciated or replenished. He is the surety for our giving and His pockets are eternally deep. I'll never outgive God's ability to bless me in return.
So where is my heart found? Do I have a generous heart for those in need? Do I treasure those whom God treasures? Does my calendar and checkbook prove it?

Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours. Let me generously give to the people You treasure. Bless me that I may be a blessing. Amen.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Name of the Lord

Proverbs 18:10-11
The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.
The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
And like a high wall in his own esteem.

The name of the Lord is provider, protector, comfort, defender, redeemer, rewarder, savior and so much more. If the Lord is for me, who can be against me? (Rom. 8:31). I only need to utter the name of the Lord in prayer to be found in the safety of His strong tower - no matter where I am on the battlefield. His name miraculously transports my spirit and standing to His presence, His safety, His security.
The rich man however depends on his wealth and possessions for security and deliverance. To him they are his city - but they only seem secure. Like the walls of a city they can be scaled and topple first - but the towers stand strong. Wealth comes and goes, blessings fade, even the Lord gives and takes away; but the name of the Lord lasts forever, blessed be the Name of the Lord (Job 1:21, Psalm 135:13).
The wise man will learn and meditate on the Name of the Lord. In times of trouble he will be saved in every way.

Father, teach me to know Your name, to rest in Your identity, to lean on your reputation - not my own. Be my strong tower, my refuge, my comfort and my salvation. Amen.

A few Hebrew names of God to meditate on...

Adonai-Jehovah -- The Lord our Sovereign
El-Elyon -- The Lord Most High
El-Olam -- The Everlasting God
El-Shaddai -- The God Who is Sufficient for the Needs of His People
Jehovah-Elohim -- The Eternal Creator
Jehovah-Jireh -- The Lord our Provider
Jehovah-Nissi -- The Lord our Banner
Jehovah-Ropheka -- The Lord our Healer
Jehovah-Shalom -- The Lord our Peace
Jehovah-Tsidkenu -- The Lord our Righteousness
Jehovah-Mekaddishkem -- The Lord our Sanctifier
Jehovah-Sabaoth -- The Lord of Hosts
Jehovah-Shammah -- The Lord is Present
Jehovah-Rohi -- The Lord our Shepherd
Jehovah-Hoseenu -- The Lord our Maker
Jehovah-Eloheenu -- The Lord our God

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


These verses from Proverbs 17 seem to be very relevant to my life right now as our 15 year old foster-daughter, whom we are in the process of adopting, impulsively, angrily and vindictively decided she no longer wanted to live with us. Because of DCFS protocol, this this decision is irreversible, painful to us and devastating to her life and future. We are trusting God to keep her and care for her. She'll always be our daughter in our hearts.

Proverbs 17:1
Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.

Proverbs 17:3
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the LORD tests the heart.

Proverbs 17:14
Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

Proverbs 17:24
A discerning man keeps wisdom in view,
but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth.

Proverbs 17:27
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,
and a man of understanding is even-tempered.

Lord, grant me peace, purity of heart, patience, wisdom, quietness and calm. Let my heart and thoughts be guided only by You, enlightened by Your Word and a blessing to those entrusted to me. Amen.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trusting God

Proverbs 16:1-3
The preparations of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
But the LORD weighs the spirits.
Commit your works to the LORD,
And your thoughts will be established.

If I am diligent to prepare my heart in prayer and God's Word, committing my ways to Him and seeking His guidance, He will answer, He will care for my words, my heart and my thoughts. When life gets crazy, confusing, painful or frustrating I don't have to figure things out on my own. I can rely on the sovereign God to intervene and pick up where my abilities and understanding leave off. In fact, I must trust God. My ways only seem right to me. I need His help to sort things out and discover His will. What a comfort to know that He has promised to reveal His will and that I don't have to rely on my ways. The best and most assuring truth of this passage is that God is fully worthy to be trusted and He will be faithful to answer me.

Lord, guard and guide my heart and thoughts and words. Deepen my trust in You. Let me not seek my own ways but instead Your will. Let me do what is right in Your eyes. Let my words and thoughts and heart please You. Amen.

Friday, September 11, 2009

God's heart interest

Proverbs 15:8
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

God is interested in my heart. If my heart is bent toward evil it does not matter what my hands bring to Him. No sacrifice, service or ritual could satisfy God's demand for righteousness. Posturing and false piety only makes my standing with a Holy God more dangerous. This is hypocrisy; fresh water cannot flow from a salty heart and good fruit cannot come from a rotten tree (James 3:10-12).
Conversely, to those whose hearts are righteous, God delights - even desires to answer their prayers. His heart interest in the righteous is their heart's desire (Psalm 37:4). The prayers uttered from a heart of righteousness are a sweet sacrifice to the Lord, more valuable than riches and sacrifice.
So, how is my heart?

Lord - purify by heart and let my prayers be a sweet smelling sacrifice to You in which You can delight. Amen.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Proverbs 14:21 & 31
He who despises his neighbor sins;
But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he....
He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker,
But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.

Much is revealed about a person bu looking at how he or she approaches the poor; be it financially, physically, socially, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. If I neglect the poor, I fail to recognize the image of God in which they were created. Furthermore, I disregard their value and the truth by which it is assigned; the redemptive work or Christ in his death and resurrection. If a person truly understands and values the creative and redemptive work of God it will be reflected in how he or she treats the poor.
Not only does mercy reflect one's heart fro God, but it also fills it. The unmerciful are filled with selfishness, pride, judgmentalism, fear, envy and the like. But happiness and contentment fill those whose view of God leads them to mercy. They are filled to the point of overflowing. Ultimately, the secret to happiness and contentment is to know and pass on the great mercy of our creator and redeemer.

Father - make me more merciful, generous, patient and understanding. Fill me to the point of overflowing with happiness and contentment that I may honor You even more in how I care for those in need. Amen.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Correction & Humility

Proverbs 13:18
Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction,
But he who regards a rebuke will be honored.

Two things stand out to me in this proverb. First, Solomon does not suggest that honor comes to those who do not need correction or rebuke. Life is not about perfection or performance but about humility and growth. Wisdom is humility, not perfection.
Second, the fool despises gentle correction while the wise man can receive even strong discipline or rebuke. Receiving correction is not about the strength or sting of the rebuke but about the heart of the one receiving it.
To illustrate the difference, think of how some people approach traffic cops. Some people get angry at being asked to redirect their route or stop for cross traffic; gentle correction. Yet a wise man will even receive and appreciate a traffic ticket when he has erred.
I want to be the kind of man who receives and appreciates even the strongest rebuke so that I may be honored and I may honor my Lord.

Father - humble me and make me wise to receive correction and honest rebuke. Teach me to be teachable and accountable. Amen.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Upside-down Economics

Proverbs 11:24-25
There is one who scatters, yet increases more;
And there is one who withholds more than is right,
But it leads to poverty.
The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.

God's principles of economics and resource management seem so upside-down from the worlds. The world says store up for later. God says scatter and water generously. The world says poverty comes from saving little, God says poverty comes from giving little. The world says provide for your future, God says provide for your neighbors.

I think what I like most about this proverbs is the analogies to sowing seed, planting, watering and nurturing. It reminds me that I should be investing in living things, growing things, people. When I turn my resources toward my neighbor I too am watered, nurtured and rewarded with joy when I give.

These proverbs are true because God is the Great Gardener who makes all seed grow. We may sow, water and tend the soil but God alone brings growth (1 Cor. 3:6-8).

Father, teach me to be more generous with all that You have given me. Help me scatter generously and reap abundantly as I give... that I may give more. Let me be a testimony to the world of Your provision and faithfulness. Amen.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Truth hearers and truth speakers

Proverbs 10:8 & 17
The wise in heart will receive commands,
But a prating fool will fall.
He who keeps instruction is in the way of life,
But he who refuses correction goes astray.

How well one receives instruction from others is an accurate example of how one also receives instruction from the Lord. If I cannot obey the visible authorities in my life, how can I expect to obey the invisible, divine authority in my life? If my heart is hard or stiff toward those who love me enough to speak truth and warning into my life, then I will never recognize the truth and guidance of a loving God who gave His Only Son for me. However if I humbly and reverently submit to the authorities and truth speakers God has placed in my life, I hear from Him. The wise heart recognizes how God works through others and submits out of the fear of the Lord. This is wisdom and life.

Lord - open my ears and soften my heart to the instruction and correction from truth speakers in my life. Amen.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hate Evil?

Proverbs 8:13
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverse mouth I hate.

Most of my life I have not hated evil or sin. I have disliked some evil and tolerated other. However, hate evil I have not. I have hated the consequences but never seemed to be wise enough to draw that hate back to the rood cause, sin. And in looking here at what Solomon associates with evil; pride, arrogance, perversion,... I must admit that I have more often embraced evil than hated it.
It is only recently that I have come to understand hatred of sin and evil. I've seen kids in my ministry ripped apart by a parent's selfishness, sin and divorce. I have seen marriages of those I love disintegrate under the poisons of greed, lust, resentment and arrogance. I have seen ambition, dishonesty, independence and secrecy topple the strongest of businesses. I've seen power, pride, fear, apathy and ignorance crumble our nations strong economy. I've finally begun to see sin and evil for what it is and I can say now that I truly hate them.I'm still not sure what to do about it or if my hatred really comes from a fear of the Lord or simply my own agitation... but I'm on that road. I want to know Him, to fear Him, to hate evil and to live according to the truth of this passage.

God - teach me to fear You. Teach me to hate evil. Teach me to know what to do about it. Amen.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Proverbs 7:4
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
And call understanding your nearest kin,

What is my relationship with my sister and nearest of kin to be like that God would call me to relate to wisdom similarly?
My sister I love, honor, respect, guard protect and defend. I treat her with preference, priority, purity, loyalty and dignity.
My nearest of kin, the Bible says, is to be where I turn in time of need. My nearest of kin is protection, provision, peace, rest and favor. I am to rely on family in the same way that my sister relies on me.
Therefore, I am to protect, guard, honor and cherish wisdom as I rely on it for my protection, provision and peace. there is therefore a cyclical and progressive relationship here that we are commanded to pursue; the more we honor wisdom, the more wisdom honors us, the more we guard wisdom, the more it guards us.

Father, teach me to pursue wisdom with honor, respect, prudence and preference so that I may find her protection, provision, preference and peace in my time of need. amen.