Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 31 - Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31

Speak Out for Justice

1The words of King Lemuel, the strong advice his mother gave him:

2-3 "Oh, son of mine, what can you be thinking of!
Child whom I bore! The son I dedicated to God!
Don't dissipate your virility on fortune-hunting women,
promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders.

4-7 "Leaders can't afford to make fools of themselves,
gulping wine and swilling beer,
Lest, hung over, they don't know right from wrong,
and the people who depend on them are hurt.
Use wine and beer only as sedatives,
to kill the pain and dull the ache
Of the terminally ill,
for whom life is a living death.

8-9 "Speak up for the people who have no voice,
for the rights of all the down-and-outers.
Speak out for justice!
Stand up for the poor and destitute!"

Hymn to a Good Wife

10-31 A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
and brings back exotic surprises.
She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
diligent in homemaking.
She's quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn't worry about her family when it snows;
their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
"Many women have done wonderful things,
but you've outclassed them all!"
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 30 - Proverbs 30

Proverbs 30

The Words of Agur Ben Yakeh
God? Who Needs Him?

1-2 The skeptic swore, "There is no God! No God!—I can do anything I want!
I'm more animal than human;
so-called human intelligence escapes me.

3-4 "I flunked 'wisdom.'
I see no evidence of a holy God.
Has anyone ever seen Anyone
climb into Heaven and take charge?
grab the winds and control them?
gather the rains in his bucket?
stake out the ends of the earth?
Just tell me his name, tell me the names of his sons.
Come on now—tell me!"

5-6 The believer replied, "Every promise of God proves true;
he protects everyone who runs to him for help.
So don't second-guess him;
he might take you to task and show up your lies."

7-9 And then he prayed, "God, I'm asking for two things
before I die; don't refuse me—
Banish lies from my lips
and liars from my presence.
Give me enough food to live on,
neither too much nor too little.
If I'm too full, I might get independent,
saying, 'God? Who needs him?'
If I'm poor, I might steal
and dishonor the name of my God."

10 Don't blow the whistle on your fellow workers
behind their backs;
They'll accuse you of being underhanded,
and then you'll be the guilty one!

11 Don't curse your father
or fail to bless your mother.

12 Don't imagine yourself to be quite presentable
when you haven't had a bath in weeks.

13 Don't be stuck-up
and think you're better than everyone else.

14 Don't be greedy,
merciless and cruel as wolves,
Tearing into the poor and feasting on them,
shredding the needy to pieces only to discard them.

15-16 A leech has twin daughters
named "Gimme" and "Gimme more."

Four Insatiables

Three things are never satisfied,
no, there are four that never say, "That's enough, thank you!"—
a barren womb,
a parched land,
a forest fire.

17 An eye that disdains a father
and despises a mother—
that eye will be plucked out by wild vultures
and consumed by young eagles.

Four Mysteries

18-19 Three things amaze me,
no, four things I'll never understand—
how an eagle flies so high in the sky,
how a snake glides over a rock,
how a ship navigates the ocean,
why adolescents act the way they do.

20 Here's how a prostitute operates:
she has sex with her client,
Takes a bath,
then asks, "Who's next?"

Four Intolerables

21-23 Three things are too much for even the earth to bear,
yes, four things shake its foundations—
when the janitor becomes the boss,
when a fool gets rich,
when a whore is voted "woman of the year,"
when a "girlfriend" replaces a faithful wife.

Four Small Wonders

24-28 There are four small creatures,
wisest of the wise they are—
ants—frail as they are,
get plenty of food in for the winter;
marmots—vulnerable as they are,
manage to arrange for rock-solid homes;
locusts—leaderless insects,
yet they strip the field like an army regiment;
lizards—easy enough to catch,
but they sneak past vigilant palace guards.

Four Dignitaries

29-31 There are three solemn dignitaries,
four that are impressive in their bearing—
a lion, king of the beasts, deferring to none;
a rooster, proud and strutting;
a billy goat;
a head of state in stately procession.

32-33 If you're dumb enough to call attention to yourself
by offending people and making rude gestures,
Don't be surprised if someone bloodies your nose.
Churned milk turns into butter;
riled emotions turn into fist fights.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 29 - Proverbs 29

Proverbs 29

If People Can't See What God Is Doing

1 For people who hate discipline and only get more stubborn,
There'll come a day when life tumbles in and they break,
but by then it'll be too late to help them.

2 When good people run things, everyone is glad,
but when the ruler is bad, everyone groans.

3 If you love wisdom, you'll delight your parents,
but you'll destroy their trust if you run with whores.

4 A leader of good judgment gives stability;
an exploiting leader leaves a trail of waste.

5 A flattering neighbor is up to no good;
he's probably planning to take advantage of you.

6 Evil people fall into their own traps;
good people run the other way, glad to escape.

7 The good-hearted understand what it's like to be poor;
the hardhearted haven't the faintest idea.

8 A gang of cynics can upset a whole city;
a group of sages can calm everyone down.

9 A sage trying to work things out with a fool
gets only scorn and sarcasm for his trouble.

10 Murderers hate honest people;
moral folks encourage them.

11 A fool lets it all hang out;
a sage quietly mulls it over.

12 When a leader listens to malicious gossip,
all the workers get infected with evil.

13 The poor and their abusers have at least something in common:
they can both see—their sight, God's gift!

14 Leadership gains authority and respect
when the voiceless poor are treated fairly.

15 Wise discipline imparts wisdom;
spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents.

16 When degenerates take charge, crime runs wild,
but the righteous will eventually observe their collapse.

17 Discipline your children; you'll be glad you did—
they'll turn out delightful to live with.

18 If people can't see what God is doing,
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
they are most blessed.

19 It takes more than talk to keep workers in line;
mere words go in one ear and out the other.

20 Observe the people who always talk before they think—
even simpletons are better off than they are.

21 If you let people treat you like a doormat,
you'll be quite forgotten in the end.

22 Angry people stir up a lot of discord;
the intemperate stir up trouble.

23 Pride lands you flat on your face;
humility prepares you for honors.

24 Befriend an outlaw
and become an enemy to yourself.
When the victims cry out,
you'll be included in their curses
if you're a coward to their cause in court.

25 The fear of human opinion disables;
trusting in God protects you from that.

26 Everyone tries to get help from the leader,
but only God will give us justice.

27 Good people can't stand the sight of deliberate evil;
the wicked can't stand the sight of well-chosen goodness.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 28 - Proverbs 28

Proverbs 28

If You Desert God's Law

1 The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one's after them;
Honest people are relaxed and confident, bold as lions.

2 When the country is in chaos,
everybody has a plan to fix it—
But it takes a leader of real understanding
to straighten things out.

3 The wicked who oppress the poor
are like a hailstorm that beats down the harvest.

4 If you desert God's law, you're free to embrace depravity;
if you love God's law, you fight for it tooth and nail.

5 Justice makes no sense to the evilminded;
those who seek God know it inside and out.

6 It's better to be poor and direct
than rich and crooked.

7 Practice God's law—get a reputation for wisdom;
hang out with a loose crowd—embarrass your family.

8 Get as rich as you want
through cheating and extortion,
But eventually some friend of the poor
is going to give it all back to them.

9 God has no use for the prayers
of the people who won't listen to him.

10 Lead good people down a wrong path
and you'll come to a bad end;
do good and you'll be rewarded for it.

11 The rich think they know it all,
but the poor can see right through them.

12 When good people are promoted, everything is great,
but when the bad are in charge, watch out!

13 You can't whitewash your sins and get by with it;
you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.

14 A tenderhearted person lives a blessed life;
a hardhearted person lives a hard life.

15 Lions roar and bears charge—
and the wicked lord it over the poor.

16 Among leaders who lack insight, abuse abounds,
but for one who hates corruption, the future is bright.

17 A murderer haunted by guilt
is doomed—there's no helping him.

18 Walk straight—live well and be saved;
a devious life is a doomed life.

Doing Great Harm in Seemingly Harmless Ways

19 Work your garden—you'll end up with plenty of food;
play and party—you'll end up with an empty plate.

20 Committed and persistent work pays off;
get-rich-quick schemes are ripoffs.

21 Playing favorites is always a bad thing;
you can do great harm in seemingly harmless ways.

22 A miser in a hurry to get rich
doesn't know that he'll end up broke.

23 In the end, serious reprimand is appreciated
far more than bootlicking flattery.

24 Anyone who robs father and mother
and says, "So, what's wrong with that?"
is worse than a pirate.

25 A grasping person stirs up trouble,
but trust in God brings a sense of well-being.

26 If you think you know it all, you're a fool for sure;
real survivors learn wisdom from others.

27 Be generous to the poor—you'll never go hungry;
shut your eyes to their needs, and run a gauntlet of curses.

28 When corruption takes over, good people go underground,
but when the crooks are thrown out, it's safe to come out.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 27 - Proverbs 27

Proverbs 27

You Don't Know Tomorrow

1 Don't brashly announce what you're going to do tomorrow; you don't know the first thing about tomorrow.

2 Don't call attention to yourself;
let others do that for you.

3 Carrying a log across your shoulders
while you're hefting a boulder with your arms
Is nothing compared to the burden
of putting up with a fool.

4 We're blasted by anger and swamped by rage,
but who can survive jealousy?

5 A spoken reprimand is better
than approval that's never expressed.

6 The wounds from a lover are worth it;
kisses from an enemy do you in.

7 When you've stuffed yourself, you refuse dessert;
when you're starved, you could eat a horse.

8 People who won't settle down, wandering hither and yon,
are like restless birds, flitting to and fro.

9 Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight,
a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.

10 Don't leave your friends or your parents' friends
and run home to your family when things get rough;
Better a nearby friend
than a distant family.

11 Become wise, dear child, and make me happy;
then nothing the world throws my way will upset me.

12 A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks;
a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.

13 Hold tight to collateral on any loan to a stranger;
be wary of accepting what a transient has pawned.

14 If you wake your friend in the early morning
by shouting "Rise and shine!"
It will sound to him
more like a curse than a blessing.

15-16 A nagging spouse is like
the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet;
You can't turn it off,
and you can't get away from it.

Your Face Mirrors Your Heart

17 You use steel to sharpen steel,
and one friend sharpens another.

18 If you care for your orchard, you'll enjoy its fruit;
if you honor your boss, you'll be honored.

19 Just as water mirrors your face,
so your face mirrors your heart.

20 Hell has a voracious appetite,
and lust just never quits.

21 The purity of silver and gold is tested
by putting them in the fire;
The purity of human hearts is tested
by giving them a little fame.

22 Pound on a fool all you like—
you can't pound out foolishness.

23-27 Know your sheep by name;
carefully attend to your flocks;
(Don't take them for granted;
possessions don't last forever, you know.)
And then, when the crops are in
and the harvest is stored in the barns,
You can knit sweaters from lambs' wool,
and sell your goats for a profit;
There will be plenty of milk and meat
to last your family through the winter.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 26 - Proverbs 26

Proverbs 26

Fools Recycle Silliness

1 We no more give honors to fools than pray for snow in summer or rain during harvest.

2 You have as little to fear from an undeserved curse
as from the dart of a wren or the swoop of a swallow.

3 A whip for the racehorse, a tiller for the sailboat—
and a stick for the back of fools!

4 Don't respond to the stupidity of a fool;
you'll only look foolish yourself.

5 Answer a fool in simple terms
so he doesn't get a swelled head.

6 You're only asking for trouble
when you send a message by a fool.

7 A proverb quoted by fools
is limp as a wet noodle.

8 Putting a fool in a place of honor
is like setting a mud brick on a marble column.

9 To ask a moron to quote a proverb
is like putting a scalpel in the hands of a drunk.

10 Hire a fool or a drunk
and you shoot yourself in the foot.

11 As a dog eats its own vomit,
so fools recycle silliness.

12 See that man who thinks he's so smart?
You can expect far more from a fool than from him.

13 Loafers say, "It's dangerous out there!
Tigers are prowling the streets!"
and then pull the covers back over their heads.

14 Just as a door turns on its hinges,
so a lazybones turns back over in bed.

15 A shiftless sluggard puts his fork in the pie,
but is too lazy to lift it to his mouth.

Like Glaze on Cracked Pottery

16 Dreamers fantasize their self-importance;
they think they are smarter
than a whole college faculty.

17 You grab a mad dog by the ears
when you butt into a quarrel that's none of your business.

18-19 People who shrug off deliberate deceptions,
saying, "I didn't mean it, I was only joking,"
Are worse than careless campers
who walk away from smoldering campfires.

20 When you run out of wood, the fire goes out;
when the gossip ends, the quarrel dies down.

21 A quarrelsome person in a dispute
is like kerosene thrown on a fire.

22 Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
do you want junk like that in your belly?

23 Smooth talk from an evil heart
is like glaze on cracked pottery.

24-26 Your enemy shakes hands and greets you like an old friend,
all the while conniving against you.
When he speaks warmly to you, don't believe him for a minute;
he's just waiting for the chance to rip you off.
No matter how cunningly he conceals his malice,
eventually his evil will be exposed in public.

27 Malice backfires;
spite boomerangs.

28 Liars hate their victims;
flatterers sabotage trust.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 25 - Proverbs 25

Proverbs 25
Further Wise Sayings of Solomon
The Right Word at the Right Time

1 There are also these proverbs of Solomon, collected by scribes of Hezekiah, king of Judah.

2 God delights in concealing things;
scientists delight in discovering things.

3 Like the horizons for breadth and the ocean for depth,
the understanding of a good leader is broad and deep.

4-5 Remove impurities from the silver
and the silversmith can craft a fine chalice;
Remove the wicked from leadership
and authority will be credible and God-honoring.

6-7 Don't work yourself into the spotlight;
don't push your way into the place of prominence.
It's better to be promoted to a place of honor
than face humiliation by being demoted.

8 Don't jump to conclusions—there may be
a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.

9-10 In the heat of an argument,
don't betray confidences;
Word is sure to get around,
and no one will trust you.

11-12 The right word at the right time
is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,
And a wise friend's timely reprimand
is like a gold ring slipped on your finger.

13 Reliable friends who do what they say
are like cool drinks in sweltering heat—refreshing!

14 Like billowing clouds that bring no rain
is the person who talks big but never produces.

15 Patient persistence pierces through indifference;
gentle speech breaks down rigid defenses.

A Person Without Self-Control

16-17 When you're given a box of candy, don't gulp it all down;
eat too much chocolate and you'll make yourself sick;
And when you find a friend, don't outwear your welcome;
show up at all hours and he'll soon get fed up.

18 Anyone who tells lies against the neighbors
in court or on the street is a loose cannon.

19 Trusting a double-crosser when you're in trouble
is like biting down on an abscessed tooth.

20 Singing light songs to the heavyhearted
is like pouring salt in their wounds.

21-22 If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch;
if he's thirsty, bring him a drink.
Your generosity will surprise him with goodness,
and God will look after you.

23 A north wind brings stormy weather,
and a gossipy tongue stormy looks.

24 Better to live alone in a tumbledown shack
than share a mansion with a nagging spouse.

25 Like a cool drink of water when you're worn out and weary
is a letter from a long-lost friend.

26 A good person who gives in to a bad person
is a muddied spring, a polluted well.

27 It's not smart to stuff yourself with sweets,
nor is glory piled on glory good for you.

28 A person without self-control
is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 24 - Proverbs 24

Life Guidelines 19-30

Proverbs 24

Intelligence Outranks Muscle

1-2 Don't envy bad people; don't even want to be around them.
All they think about is causing a disturbance;
all they talk about is making trouble.
3-4 It takes wisdom to build a house,
and understanding to set it on a firm foundation;
It takes knowledge to furnish its rooms
with fine furniture and beautiful draperies.
5-6 It's better to be wise than strong;
intelligence outranks muscle any day.
Strategic planning is the key to warfare;
to win, you need a lot of good counsel.
7 Wise conversation is way over the head of fools;
in a serious discussion they haven't a clue.
8-9 The person who's always cooking up some evil
soon gets a reputation as prince of rogues.
Fools incubate sin;
cynics desecrate beauty.

Rescue the Perishing

10 If you fall to pieces in a crisis,
there wasn't much to you in the first place.
11-12 Rescue the perishing;
don't hesitate to step in and help.
If you say, "Hey, that's none of my business,"
will that get you off the hook?
Someone is watching you closely, you know—
Someone not impressed with weak excuses.
13-14 Eat honey, dear child—it's good for you—
and delicacies that melt in your mouth.
Likewise knowledge,
and wisdom for your soul—
Get that and your future's secured,
your hope is on solid rock.
15-16 Don't interfere with good people's lives;
don't try to get the best of them.
No matter how many times you trip them up,
God-loyal people don't stay down long;
Soon they're up on their feet,
while the wicked end up flat on their faces.
17-18 Don't laugh when your enemy falls;
don't crow over his collapse.
God might see, and become very provoked,
and then take pity on his plight.
19-20 Don't bother your head with braggarts
or wish you could succeed like the wicked.
Those people have no future at all;
they're headed down a dead-end street.
21-22 Fear God, dear child—respect your leaders;
don't be defiant or mutinous.
Without warning your life can turn upside down,
and who knows how or when it might happen?

More Sayings of the Wise

An Honest Answer

23 It's wrong, very wrong,
to go along with injustice.

24-25 Whoever whitewashes the wicked
gets a black mark in the history books,
But whoever exposes the wicked
will be thanked and rewarded.

26 An honest answer
is like a warm hug.

27 First plant your fields;
then build your barn.

28-29 Don't talk about your neighbors behind their backs—
no slander or gossip, please.
Don't say to anyone, "I'll get back at you for what you did to me.
I'll make you pay for what you did!"

30-34 One day I walked by the field of an old lazybones,
and then passed the vineyard of a lout;
They were overgrown with weeds,
thick with thistles, all the fences broken down.
I took a long look and pondered what I saw;
the fields preached me a sermon and I listened:
"A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
with poverty as your permanent houseguest!"

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 23 - Proverbs 23

Life Guidelines 6-18. LOVE these!

Proverbs 23

Restrain Yourself

1-3 When you go out to dinner with an influential person, mind your manners:
Don't gobble your food,
don't talk with your mouth full.
And don't stuff yourself;
bridle your appetite.
4-5 Don't wear yourself out trying to get rich;
restrain yourself!
Riches disappear in the blink of an eye;
wealth sprouts wings
and flies off into the wild blue yonder.
6-8 Don't accept a meal from a tightwad;
don't expect anything special.
He'll be as stingy with you as he is with himself;
he'll say, "Eat! Drink!" but won't mean a word of it.
His miserly serving will turn your stomach
when you realize the meal's a sham.
9 Don't bother talking sense to fools;
they'll only poke fun at your words.
10-11 Don't stealthily move back the boundary lines
or cheat orphans out of their property,
For they have a powerful Advocate
who will go to bat for them.
12 Give yourselves to disciplined instruction;
open your ears to tested knowledge.
13-14 Don't be afraid to correct your young ones;
a spanking won't kill them.
A good spanking, in fact, might save them
from something worse than death.
15-16 Dear child, if you become wise,
I'll be one happy parent.
My heart will dance and sing
to the tuneful truth you'll speak.
17-18 Don't for a minute envy careless rebels;
soak yourself in the Fear-of-God—
That's where your future lies.
Then you won't be left with an armload of nothing.
19-21 Oh listen, dear child—become wise;
point your life in the right direction.
Don't drink too much wine and get drunk;
don't eat too much food and get fat.
Drunks and gluttons will end up on skid row,
in a stupor and dressed in rags.
Buy Wisdom, Education, Insight
22-25 Listen with respect to the father who raised you,
and when your mother grows old, don't neglect her.
Buy truth—don't sell it for love or money;
buy wisdom, buy education, buy insight.
Parents rejoice when their children turn out well;
wise children become proud parents.
So make your father happy!
Make your mother proud!
26 Dear child, I want your full attention;
please do what I show you.

27-28 A whore is a bottomless pit;
a loose woman can get you in deep trouble fast.
She'll take you for all you've got;
she's worse than a pack of thieves.
29-35 Who are the people who are always crying the blues?
Who do you know who reeks of self-pity?
Who keeps getting beat up for no reason at all?
Whose eyes are bleary and bloodshot?
It's those who spend the night with a bottle,
for whom drinking is serious business.
Don't judge wine by its label,
or its bouquet, or its full-bodied flavor.
Judge it rather by the hangover it leaves you with—
the splitting headache, the queasy stomach.
Do you really prefer seeing double,
with your speech all slurred,
Reeling and seasick,
drunk as a sailor?
"They hit me," you'll say, "but it didn't hurt;
they beat on me, but I didn't feel a thing.
When I'm sober enough to manage it,
bring me another drink!"

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 22 - Proverbs 22

Notice this Proverbs gives us "thirty sterling principles— tested guidelines to live by." The first 5 are listed in this Proverb. The rest are to come.

Proverbs 22

The Cure Comes Through Discipline

1 A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich; a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank.

2 The rich and the poor shake hands as equals—
God made them both!

3 A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks;
a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.

4 The payoff for meekness and Fear-of-God
is plenty and honor and a satisfying life.

5 The perverse travel a dangerous road, potholed and mud-slick;
if you know what's good for you, stay clear of it.

6 Point your kids in the right direction—
when they're old they won't be lost.

7 The poor are always ruled over by the rich,
so don't borrow and put yourself under their power.

8 Whoever sows sin reaps weeds,
and bullying anger sputters into nothing.

9 Generous hands are blessed hands
because they give bread to the poor.

10 Kick out the troublemakers and things will quiet down;
you need a break from bickering and griping!

11 God loves the pure-hearted and well-spoken;
good leaders also delight in their friendship.

12 God guards knowledge with a passion,
but he'll have nothing to do with deception.

13 The loafer says, "There's a lion on the loose!
If I go out I'll be eaten alive!"

14 The mouth of a whore is a bottomless pit;
you'll fall in that pit if you're on the outs with God.

15 Young people are prone to foolishness and fads;
the cure comes through tough-minded discipline.

16 Exploit the poor or glad-hand the rich—whichever,
you'll end up the poorer for it.
The Thirty Precepts of the Sages
Don't Move Back the Boundary Lines

17-21 Listen carefully to my wisdom;
take to heart what I can teach you.
You'll treasure its sweetness deep within;
you'll give it bold expression in your speech.
To make sure your foundation is trust in God,
I'm laying it all out right now just for you.
I'm giving you thirty sterling principles—
tested guidelines to live by.
Believe me—these are truths that work,
and will keep you accountable
to those who sent you.
22-23 Don't walk on the poor just because they're poor,
and don't use your position to crush the weak,
Because God will come to their defense;
the life you took, he'll take from you and give back to them.
24-25 Don't hang out with angry people;
don't keep company with hotheads.
Bad temper is contagious—
don't get infected.
26-27 Don't gamble on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,
hocking your house against a lucky chance.
The time will come when you have to pay up;
you'll be left with nothing but the shirt on your back.
28 Don't stealthily move back the boundary lines
staked out long ago by your ancestors.
29 Observe people who are good at their work—
skilled workers are always in demand and admired;
they don't take a backseat to anyone.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 21 - Proverbs 21

Again I'm using the Message translation. Just because. I want to bring your attention to verse 31: "Do your best, prepare for the worst—then trust God to bring victory." Wow! You know sometimes that's all we can do, isn't it?

Proverbs 21

God Examines Our Motives
1Good leadership is a channel of water controlled by God; he directs it to whatever ends he chooses.

2 We justify our actions by appearances;
God examines our motives.

3 Clean living before God and justice with our neighbors
mean far more to God than religious performance.

4 Arrogance and pride—distinguishing marks in the wicked—
are just plain sin.

5 Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run;
hurry and scurry puts you further behind.

6 Make it to the top by lying and cheating;
get paid with smoke and a promotion—to death!

7 The wicked get buried alive by their loot
because they refuse to use it to help others.

8 Mixed motives twist life into tangles;
pure motives take you straight down the road.
Do Your Best, Prepare for the Worst
9 Better to live alone in a tumbledown shack
than share a mansion with a nagging spouse.

10 Wicked souls love to make trouble;
they feel nothing for friends and neighbors.

11 Simpletons only learn the hard way,
but the wise learn by listening.

12 A God-loyal person will see right through the wicked
and undo the evil they've planned.

13 If you stop your ears to the cries of the poor,
your cries will go unheard, unanswered.

14 A quietly given gift soothes an irritable person;
a heartfelt present cools a hot temper.

15 Good people celebrate when justice triumphs,
but for the workers of evil it's a bad day.

16 Whoever wanders off the straight and narrow
ends up in a congregation of ghosts.

17 You're addicted to thrills? What an empty life!
The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied.

18 What a bad person plots against the good, boomerangs;
the plotter gets it in the end.

19 Better to live in a tent in the wild
than with a cross and petulant spouse.

20 Valuables are safe in a wise person's home;
fools put it all out for yard sales.

21 Whoever goes hunting for what is right and kind
finds life itself—glorious life!

22 One sage entered a whole city of armed soldiers—
their trusted defenses fell to pieces!

23 Watch your words and hold your tongue;
you'll save yourself a lot of grief.

24 You know their names—Brash, Impudent, Blasphemer—
intemperate hotheads, every one.

25 Lazy people finally die of hunger
because they won't get up and go to work.

26 Sinners are always wanting what they don't have;
the God-loyal are always giving what they do have.

27 Religious performance by the wicked stinks;
it's even worse when they use it to get ahead.

28 A lying witness is unconvincing;
a person who speaks truth is respected.

29 Unscrupulous people fake it a lot;
honest people are sure of their steps.

30 Nothing clever, nothing conceived, nothing contrived,
can get the better of God.

31 Do your best, prepare for the worst—
then trust God to bring victory.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 20 - Proverbs 20

I decided to take today's Proverb from the Message translation. Everyone has their favorite translation - I do most of my studying from NKJV - but sometimes just using a new translation sheds a new light on God's Word, brings it to life in a whole new way. I like the way it's laid out almost like a poem. The most important thing is that we are spending time in the Word, an area I want and NEED to grown in. Again I've highlighted passages that spoke to me (verse 13! Wow!). I pray something in Proverbs 20 speaks to your heart in a special way and uplifts you as only God's Word can do.

Proverbs 20

Deep Water in the Heart
1 Wine makes you mean, beer makes you quarrelsome— a staggering drunk is not much fun.

2 Quick-tempered leaders are like mad dogs—
cross them and they bite your head off.

3 It's a mark of good character to avert quarrels,
but fools love to pick fights.

4 A farmer too lazy to plant in the spring
has nothing to harvest in the fall.

5 Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart;
a wise person draws from the well within.

6 Lots of people claim to be loyal and loving,
but where on earth can you find one?

7 God-loyal people, living honest lives,
make it much easier for their children.

8-9 Leaders who know their business and care
keep a sharp eye out for the shoddy and cheap,
For who among us can be trusted
to be always diligent and honest?

10 Switching price tags and padding the expense account
are two things God hates.

11 Young people eventually reveal by their actions
if their motives are on the up and up.
Drinking from the Chalice of Knowledge
12 Ears that hear and eyes that see—
we get our basic equipment from God!

13 Don't be too fond of sleep; you'll end up in the poorhouse.
Wake up and get up; then there'll be food on the table.

14 The shopper says, "That's junk—I'll take it off your hands,"
then goes off boasting of the bargain.

15 Drinking from the beautiful chalice of knowledge
is better than adorning oneself with gold and rare gems.

16 Hold tight to collateral on any loan to a stranger;
beware of accepting what a transient has pawned.

17 Stolen bread tastes sweet,
but soon your mouth is full of gravel.

18 Form your purpose by asking for counsel,
then carry it out using all the help you can get.

19 Gossips can't keep secrets,
so never confide in blabbermouths.

20 Anyone who curses father and mother
extinguishes light and exists benighted.
The Very Steps We Take
21 A bonanza at the beginning
is no guarantee of blessing at the end.

22 Don't ever say, "I'll get you for that!"
Wait for God; he'll settle the score.

23 God hates cheating in the marketplace;
rigged scales are an outrage.

24 The very steps we take come from God;
otherwise how would we know where we're going?

25 An impulsive vow is a trap;
later you'll wish you could get out of it.

26 After careful scrutiny, a wise leader
makes a clean sweep of rebels and dolts.

27 God is in charge of human life,
watching and examining us inside and out.

28 Love and truth form a good leader;
sound leadership is founded on loving integrity.

29 Youth may be admired for vigor,
but gray hair gives prestige to old age.

30 A good thrashing purges evil;
punishment goes deep within us.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 19 - Proverbs 19

Proverbs 19:20 says, "Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days." It's not always easy to take advice. Depending upon where that advice is coming from, however, you may learn a lot from it. My daddy was a wise man. If you've had a chance to read The Heart's Journey Home, he was wise like Grandpa Clayton. He made sense. He let us live our lives and make some mistakes on our own, but he was always there to help, too. I'd like to think I'm a little bit wiser because of his counsel and instruction . . . I just wish I had longer to learn from it. :o( I love and miss you, Daddy, today and every day.

Proverbs 19

1 Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool. 2 Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge, And he sins who hastens with his feet. 3 The foolishness of a man twists his way, And his heart frets against the LORD. 4 Wealth makes many friends, But the poor is separated from his friend. 5 A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who speaks lies will not escape. 6 Many entreat the favor of the nobility, And every man is a friend to one who gives gifts. 7 All the brothers of the poor hate him; How much more do his friends go far from him! He may pursue them with words, yet they abandon him. 8 He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good. 9 A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who speaks lies shall perish. 10 Luxury is not fitting for a fool, Much less for a servant to rule over princes. 11 The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression. 12 The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion, But his favor is like dew on the grass. 13 A foolish son is the ruin of his father, And the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping. 14 Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the LORD. 15 Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, And an idle person will suffer hunger. 16 He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, But he who is careless of his ways will die. 17 He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, And He will pay back what he has given. 18 Chasten your son while there is hope, And do not set your heart on his destruction. 19 A man of great wrath will suffer punishment; For if you rescue him, you will have to do it again. 20 Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days. 21 There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel—that will stand. 22 What is desired in a man is kindness, And a poor man is better than a liar. 23 The fear of the LORD leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil. 24 A lazy man buries his hand in the bowl,And will not so much as bring it to his mouth again. 25 Strike a scoffer, and the simple will become wary; Rebuke one who has understanding, and he will discern knowledge. 26 He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother Is a son who causes shame and brings reproach. 27 Cease listening to instruction, my son, And you will stray from the words of knowledge. 28 A disreputable witness scorns justice, And the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity. 29 Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And beatings for the backs of fools.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 18 - Proverbs 18

A man who has friends must himself be friendly. Enough said.

Proverbs 18

1 A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment. 2 A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart. 3 When the wicked comes, contempt comes also; And with dishonor comes reproach. 4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook. 5 It is not good to show partiality to the wicked, Or to overthrow the righteous in judgment. 6 A fool’s lips enter into contention, And his mouth calls for blows. 7 A fool’s mouth is his destruction, And his lips are the snare of his soul. 8 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body. 9 He who is slothful in his work Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer. 10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. 11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, And like a high wall in his own esteem. 12 Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, And before honor is humility. 13 He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him. 14 The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, But who can bear a broken spirit? 15 The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. 16 A man’s gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men. 17 The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him. 18 Casting lots causes contentions to cease, And keeps the mighty apart. 19 A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle. 20 A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; From the produce of his lips he shall be filled. 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. 22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD. 23 The poor man uses entreaties, But the rich answers roughly. 24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 17 - Proverbs 17

I think everyone knows the first part of the first verse I bolded. I have some really wonderful friends. I could fill this whole blog up with their names and what makes them so special to me (And I hope if you're reading this you know exactly why you're special to me because every one of you are.) But instead, I'm going to focus on why my friends are special as a whole. The other day the proverb talked about choosing friends wisely. I have consciously chosen my closest and dearest friends because of Provers 17:22. They make my heart merry! They help me when I have a down day. They laugh with me and sometimes cry with me. They pray with me and teach me how to pray better. I have writer friends and teacher friends, I have just-be-crazy-with friends and spiritual sisters (and a few brothers). My best friend in this whole wide world you all know is Patty Smith. (This is a picture of us that was taken just this past summer.) What makes her my best friend? Well, we have history. We did EVERYTHING in high school together and I'm not exaggerating. Our senior year we were voted "sisters". But more recently she has taught me the true meaning of life and love and faith. She has 100% made me a better person. That is a true friend. A friend LOVES at ALL times. My friends are so very important to me. I honestly could not have accomplished what I have (and still am attempting to accomplish) without my family and friends' support and encouragement. I truly appreciate and cherish every kind word, every cheer rooting me on, every Scripture passage shared. So to all my friends, as The Golden Girls theme song says, "Thank you for being a friend."

Proverbs 17

1 Better is a dry morsel with quietness, Than a house full of feasting with strife. 2 A wise servant will rule over a son who causes shame, And will share an inheritance among the brothers. 3 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests the hearts. 4 An evildoer gives heed to false lips; A liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue. 5 He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished. 6 Children’s children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father. 7 Excellent speech is not becoming to a fool, Much less lying lips to a prince. 8 A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; Wherever he turns, he prospers. 9 He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends. 10 Rebuke is more effective for a wise man
Than a hundred blows on a fool. 11 An evil man seeks only rebellion; Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him. 12 Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, Rather than a fool in his folly. 13 Whoever rewards evil for good, Evil will not depart from his house. 14 The beginning of strife is like releasing water; Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts. 15 He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD. 16 Why is there in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom,
Since he has no heart for it? 17 A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity. 18 A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge, And becomes surety for his friend. 19 He who loves transgression loves strife, And he who exalts his gate seeks destruction. 20 He who has a deceitful heart finds no good, And he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil. 21 He who begets a scoffer does so to his sorrow, And the father of a fool has no joy. 22 A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. 23 A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back To pervert the ways of justice. 24 Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth. 25 A foolish son is a grief to his father, And bitterness to her who bore him. 26 Also, to punish the righteous is not good, Nor to strike princes for their uprightness. 27 He who has knowledge spares his words, And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. 28 Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 16 - Proverbs 16

Proverbs 16

1 The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. 2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits. 3 Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established. 4 The LORD has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom. 5 Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished. 6 In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil. 7 When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. 8 Better is a little with righteousness, Than vast revenues without justice. 9 A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. 10 Divination is on the lips of the king; His mouth must not transgress in judgment. 11 Honest weights and scales are the LORD’s; All the weights in the bag are His work.
12 It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness, For a throne is established by righteousness. 13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings, And they love him who speaks what is right. 14 As messengers of death is the king’s wrath, But a wise man will appease it. 15 In the light of the king’s face is life, And his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain. 16 How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. 17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul. 18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. 19 Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud. 20 He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he. 21 The wise in heart will be called prudent,
And sweetness of the lips increases learning. 22 Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly. 23 The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds learning to his lips. 24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. 25 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. 26 The person who labors, labors for himself, For his hungry mouth drives him on. 27 An ungodly man digs up evil, And it is on his lips like a burning fire. 28 A perverse man sows strife, And a whisperer separates the best of friends. 29 A violent man entices his neighbor, And leads him in a way that is not good. 30 He winks his eye to devise perverse things; He purses his lips and brings about evil. 31 The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness. 32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. 33 The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 15 - Proverbs 15

Proverbs 15

1 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. 3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good. 4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit. 5 A fool despises his father’s instruction, But he who receives correction is prudent. 6 In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, But in the revenue of the wicked is trouble. 7 The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, But the heart of the fool does not do so. 8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight. 9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But He loves him who follows righteousness. 10 Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, And he who hates correction will die. 11 Hell and Destruction are before the LORD; So how much more the hearts of the sons of men. 12 A scoffer does not love one who corrects him, Nor will he go to the wise. 13 A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. 14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness. 15 All the days of the afflicted are evil, But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast. 16 Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, Than great treasure with trouble.
17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, Than a fatted calf with hatred. 18 A wrathful man stirs up strife, But he who is slow to anger allays contention. 19 The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, But the way of the upright is a highway. 20 A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish man despises his mother. 21 Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, But a man of understanding walks uprightly. 22 Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established. 23 A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is! 24 The way of life winds upward for the wise, That he may turn away from hell below. 25 The LORD will destroy the house of the proud, But He will establish the boundary of the widow. 26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD, But the words of the pure are pleasant. 27 He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house, But he who hates bribes will live. 28 The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil. 29 The LORD is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous. 30 The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, And a good report makes the bones healthy. 31 The ear that hears the rebukes of life Will abide among the wise. 32 He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding. 33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 14 - Proverbs 14

Do you have a dream? Did you have a dream and lost it? Or maybe it just changed. Dreams can change as your life and priorities change. Mine have. I want to challenge you today to STRIVE TO MAKE YOUR WHOLE LIFE YOUR DREAM. That doesn't mean expect that everyday will be blissful. Quite the contrary, actually, because it will have to take work. Sometimes, depending on your dream, lots of it! But guess what, God didn't make you for you. He made you for HIM. He has a purpose for you that may be far greater than you even imagine for yourself. There's a song by John Waller called Something Big that I just love. I listen to it whenever I start to get in a funk, feeling like what's the point. Before we get to our daily Proverb reading, please read the words to this song. I pray it inspires you to strive for something big:

I wanna see something I've not seen
Something so big
I wanna be a part of something great
Greater than me

It's time to dream big dreams
To see Your vision
Become reality
‘Cause it’s for You, by You, those who
Love You wanna do

Something so big
It’s destined to fail without You, Lord
It’s gonna fail without You, Lord
Something so great
It takes a miracle to do
We, Your children
Wanna do something big for You

We, yes, we are gonna sing a brand new song
Something so strong
We will be the sound that wakes the dawn
Something so loud

It’s time for breaking through
‘Cause there are no limits
For he who holds the truth
When it’s for You, and by You, and those who
Love You wanna do

Something bigger, something greater
For the glory of Your splendor
Something bigger, something greater
Tell the story of Your wondrous love
Your wondrous love
Those who love You wanna do

As long as we live, let us do something so big for You

Proverbs 14

1 The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. 2 He who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD, But he who is perverse in his ways despises Him. 3 In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, But the lips of the wise will preserve them. 4 Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; But much increase comes by the strength of an ox. 5 A faithful witness does not lie, But a false witness will utter lies. 6 A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, But knowledge is easy to him who understands. 7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, When you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge. 8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, But the folly of fools is deceit. 9 Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is favor. 10 The heart knows its own bitterness, And a stranger does not share its joy. 11 The house of the wicked will be overthrown, But the tent of the upright will flourish. 12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. 13 Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, And the end of mirth may be grief. 14 The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, But a good man will be satisfied from above. 15 The simple believes every word, But the prudent considers well his steps. 16 A wise man fears and departs from evil, But a fool rages and is self-confident. 17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, And a man of wicked intentions is hated. 18 The simple inherit folly, But the prudent are crowned with knowledge. 19 The evil will bow before the good, And the wicked at the gates of the righteous. 20 The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor, But the rich has many friends. 21 He who despises his neighbor sins; But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he. 22 Do they not go astray who devise evil? But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good. 23 In all labor there is profit, But idle chatter leads only to poverty. 24 The crown of the wise is their riches, But the foolishness of fools is folly. 25 A true witness delivers souls, But a deceitful witness speaks lies. 26 In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge. 27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death. 28 In a multitude of people is a king’s honor, But in the lack of people is the downfall of a prince. 29 He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, But he who is impulsive exalts folly. 30 A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones. 31 He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy. 32 The wicked is banished in his wickedness, But the righteous has a refuge in his death. 33 Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, But what is in the heart of fools is made known. 34 Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people. 35 The king’s favor is toward a wise servant, But his wrath is against him who causes shame

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 13 - Proverbs 13

So I thought I'd try something new today. I bolded all the "good" in this chapter and left the "bad". (Honestly a few verses I wasn't quite sure of.) If you go through and just read the bolded words, it sounds pretty nice, doesn't it? Now if you go back through and read the UNbolded, ugh! Sounds, I don't know, kinda like our society today - violence, destruction, having nothing. I got an email from a friend yesterday. I don't know the author of this little story so I can't give credit where credit is due, but it's been around the internet so there's a good chance you've already read it. It goes like this:

"A father wanted to read a magazine but was being bothered by his little girl. She wanted to know what the United States looked like. Finally, he tore a sheet out of his new magazine on which was printed the map of the country. Tearing it into small pieces, he gave it to her and said, 'Go into the other room and see if you can put this together. This will show you our whole country today...' After a few minutes, she returned and handed him the map, correctly fitted and taped together. The father was surprised and asked how she had finished so quickly. 'Oh,' she said, 'on the other side of the paper is a picture of Jesus. When I got all of Jesus back where He belonged, then our country just came together."

Now, don't mistake me. I LOVE our country. There's no doubt that we live in the best country in the world. However, I believe our SOCIETY has gotten off track. I think people's priorities have shifted. Is there such a thing as having too much mercy? I don't know, but I know that wrong actions have consequences. Verse 24 says, "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly." It doesn't say, "but he who loves him gives him 10 chances and then puts him in the 'time-out chair'". It also doesn't say, "but he who loves him beats his kid to death." I've told you I don't have all the answers. I promise you, most of the time I have no idea what I'm doing. I lose my patience, and sometimes my temper. I've been known to give a few too many chances. I say things I don't mean and sometimes don't do things I say I'm going to do. At times like that, I - we ALL - need to head to the only right answer - Jesus. Put Him where He belongs and EVERYTHING comes together.

Proverbs 13

1 A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. 2 A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, But the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence. 3 He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction. 4 The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich. 5 A righteous man hates lying, But a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame. 6 Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, But wickedness overthrows the sinner. 7 There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches. 8 The ransom of a man’s life is his riches, But the poor does not hear rebuke. 9 The light of the righteous rejoices, But the lamp of the wicked will be put out. 10 By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised is wisdom. 11 Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, But he who gathers by labor will increase. 12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. 13 He who despises the word will be destroyed, But he who fears the commandment will be rewarded. 14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death. 15 Good understanding gains favor, But the way of the unfaithful is hard. 16 Every prudent man acts with knowledge, But a fool lays open his folly. 17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble, But a faithful ambassador brings health. 18 Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, But he who regards a rebuke will be honored. 19 A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil. 20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed. 21 Evil pursues sinners, But to the righteous, good shall be repaid. 22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous. 23 Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, And for lack of justice there is waste. 24 He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly. 25 The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul, But the stomach of the wicked shall be in want.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 12 - Proverbs 12

If I read Proverbs 12:1 in an elementary school classroom (say grades K-3rd) I'd surely hear a soft gasp followed by, "Mrs. Stephens said a bad word!" The bad word? STUPID! Yes, folks, it IS a bad word to many children I come in contact with every day and, yes, it IS in the Bible. The Bible contains other bad words, too. I'm not going to list them. You can probably figure out at least two of them. So . . . if they're bad, why are they in the Bible??? Because we as humans have chosen to use them the wrong way and in a way God never intended. Verse 26 instructs the righteous to choose their friends wisely. Why? Because of the laws of human nature. People influence people. I'm very fortunate to have the best friends in all the world - some near and some far away. I've chosen friends that set a good example for me, that help me to grow in my walk with the Lord, that make me feel good about myself and what I try to accomplish in my life especially with my girls, my teaching, and my writing. So what happens when I make a mistake? . . . Which I do . . . A lot. Proverbs 12:1 says, "Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid." Well, I'm not stupid, okay? When I screw up, I don't like it - no one does - but I learn from it. These two verses I've bolded brings back all sorts of sayings that my mom and daddy used to say, and guess what. I know that I don't know all the answers, but I'm beginning to think they did!

Before we get to our Proverb reading for today I wanted to update you all on Eric and Karen Phillips. This is part of an email from a relative: Eric is fighting a staff infection with a portable battery-powered infection wrap. He has been trying to work a few hours a day, mostly on the computer. He just can't lose his job. Medical insurance is through his company. Karen and I go to Akron Children's Hospital on Thursday for genetic testing. We won't know the outcome for several weeks. That should tell what type of surgery Karen needs. Cami is doing good, growing and starting to coo and smile, actually laughs out loud at times. Burke is OK. Doesn't know what to make of it all. He is doing good in school, has advanced to the accelerated classes. We are thankful for that. We are just helping where we can. We are at their beckoning. As you can plainly see this family is in desperate need of diligent prayer. Eric, the husband, daddy, and provider for this family CAN'T START CHEMO FOR HIS COLON CANCER UNTIL HE BEATS THIS INFECTION. Karen still has to have her surgery, and while Cami is too little to understand what's going on, Burke needs God's peace and comfort more than anything else during this time of uncertainty. I just can't imagine what must go through his mind at times. Prayer, as many of you know, is incredibly powerful. James 5:13-15 says, "Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. AND THE PRAYER OF FAITH WILL SAVE THE SICK, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven." This is the Word of the Lord. This is God's promise. Please, please, pray.

Proverbs 12

1 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid. 2 A good man obtains favor from the LORD, But a man of wicked intentions He will condemn. 3 A man is not established by wickedness, But the root of the righteous cannot be moved. 4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones. 5 The thoughts of the righteous are right, But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. 6 The words of the wicked are, “Lie in wait for blood,” But the mouth of the upright will deliver them. 7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more, But the house of the righteous will stand. 8 A man will be commended according to his wisdom, But he who is of a perverse heart will be despised. 9 Better is the one who is slighted but has a servant, Than he who honors himself but lacks bread.
10 A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. 11 He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread, But he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding. 12 The wicked covet the catch of evil men, But the root of the righteous yields fruit. 13 The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, But the righteous will come through trouble. 14 A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth, And the recompense of a man’s hands will be rendered to him. 15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise. 16 A fool’s wrath is known at once, But a prudent man covers shame. 17 He who speaks truth declares righteousness, But a false witness, deceit. 18 There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health. 19 The truthful lip shall be established forever, But a lying tongue is but for a moment. 20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy. 21 No grave trouble will overtake the righteous, But the wicked shall be filled with evil. 22 Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal truthfully are His delight. 23 A prudent man conceals knowledge, But the heart of fools proclaims foolishness. 24 The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor. 25 Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad. 26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray. 27 The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, But diligence is man’s precious possession. 28 In the way of righteousness is life, And in its pathway there is no death.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 11 - Proverbs 11

Proverbs 11

1 Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, But a just weight is His delight. 2 When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom. 3 The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them. 4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, But righteousness delivers from death. 5 The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. 6 The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, But the unfaithful will be caught by their lust. 7 When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, And the hope of the unjust perishes. 8 The righteous is delivered from trouble, And it comes to the wicked instead. 9 The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered. 10 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; And when the wicked perish, there is jubilation. 11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, But it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
12 He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, But a man of understanding holds his peace. 13 A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter. 14 Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety. 15 He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, But one who hates being surety is secure. 16 A gracious woman retains honor, But ruthless men retain riches. 17 The merciful man does good for his own soul, But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh. 18 The wicked man does deceptive work, But he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward. 19 As righteousness leads to life,
So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death. 20 Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the LORD, But the blameless in their ways are His delight. 21 Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; But the posterity of the righteous will be delivered. 22 As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion. 23 The desire of the righteous is only good, But the expectation of the wicked is wrath. 24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. 25 The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself. 26 The people will curse him who withholds grain, But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it. 27 He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, But trouble will come to him who seeks evil. 28 He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage. 29 He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, And the fool will be servant to the wise of heart. 30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise. 31 If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, How much more the ungodly and the sinner.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 10 - Proverbs 10

Today is a day of truth. I haven't been completely honest with myself. I convince myself I'm doing the best I can in certain areas of my life, but having the best of intentions is NOT doing my best. Good thing God gives us new mercies every day.

Please pray today for my friend's boyfriend, T.D., who will be having open heart surgery this week. Also, pray for my friend Tracy.

Also, an update on Baby Annabelle: her parents, Krista and Scott, have been advised to consider putting her on the heart transplant list now.

This is an emotional, overwhelming time for Krista, Scott, Tracy, and T.D. But our God knew about these situations before He breathed the world into being. As Krista said in one of her blog posts (If you haven't yet, please check it out by clicking the tab under my favorite blogs/sites titled Krista's Reflections.) thank goodness God does not get overwhelmed!

Proverbs 10

Wise Sayings of Solomon

1 The proverbs of Solomon: A wise son makes a glad father, But a foolish son is the grief of his mother. 2 Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, But righteousness delivers from death. 3 The LORD will not allow the righteous soul to famish, But He casts away the desire of the wicked. 4 He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich. 5 He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame. 6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous, But violence covers the mouth of the wicked. 7 The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot. 8 The wise in heart will receive commands, But a prating fool will fall. 9 He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become known. 10 He who winks with the eye causes trouble, But a prating fool will fall. 11 The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, But violence covers the mouth of the wicked. 12 Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins. 13 Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding, But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding. 14 Wise people store up knowledge, But the mouth of the foolish is near destruction. 15 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city; The destruction of the poor is their poverty. 16 The labor of the righteous leads to life, The wages of the wicked to sin. 17 He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, But he who refuses correction goes astray. 18 Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, And whoever spreads slander is a fool. 19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise. 20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; The heart of the wicked is worth little. 21 The lips of the righteous feed many, But fools die for lack of wisdom. 22 The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it. 23 To do evil is like sport to a fool, But a man of understanding has wisdom. 24 The fear of the wicked will come upon him, And the desire of the righteous will be granted. 25 When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more, But the righteous has an everlasting foundation. 26 As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, So is the lazy man to those who send him. 27 The fear of the LORD prolongs days, But the years of the wicked will be shortened. 28 The hope of the righteous will be gladness, But the expectation of the wicked will perish. 29 The way of the LORD is strength for the upright, But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity. 30 The righteous will never be removed, But the wicked will not inhabit the earth. 31 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, But the perverse tongue will be cut out. 32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, But the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day 9 - Proverbs 9

I've run out of things to say that is remotely related to Proverbs. I could ramble or get on a soap box, but I doubt you'd like to read that. What I do want us to do today is pray for the congress woman and others involved in the Arizona Safeway shooting. I don't know all the details. I've been wrapped up today in my girls' basketball followed by laundry, dishes, supper, etc. Basically, I've been absorbed in my safe little world. I do know the congress woman (I don't even know her name.) was shot in the head and is in critical condition at this time. Also, a judge was killed as well as a 9-year-old. I don't know about you, but when I hear about something happening to a kid, I immediately think of my girls. I say, "She was the same age as Alison" or "He was a year younger than Olivia" or whatever. My Alison is 9. I shudder to let my brain go there and I know with every fiber of my being that that child's parents need prayer tonight. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." Oh, if only everyone studied, understood, and FOLLOWED these words of wisdom.

Proverbs 9

The Way of Wisdom
1 Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars; 2 She has slaughtered her meat, She has mixed her wine, She has also furnished her table. 3 She has sent out her maidens, She cries out from the highest places of the city, 4 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, 5 “Come, eat of my bread And drink of the wine I have mixed. 6 Forsake foolishness and live, And go in the way of understanding. 7 “ He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. 8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. 9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. 10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For by me your days will be multiplied, And years of life will be added to you. 12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, And if you scoff, you will bear it alone.”
The Way of Folly
13 A foolish woman is clamorous; She is simple, and knows nothing. 14 For she sits at the door of her house, On a seat by the highest places of the city, 15 To call to those who pass by, Who go straight on their way: 16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here”; And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, 17 “Stolen water is sweet, And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” 18 But he does not know that the dead are there, That her guests are in the depths of hell.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day 8 - Proverbs 8

What is the difference between wisdom and knowledge? From what I gather, knowledge is the information while wisdom is applying the information to life. Application is not always easy. Often my spirit is willing but my flesh is weak and I want to do my own thing. It's a control thing, I think. I'm pretty sure it's why I hate flying. I like to be in the driver's seat. Lately, though I'm learning to turn the wheel over. Pretty wise, don't you think??? :o)

Proverbs 8

The Excellence of Wisdom
1 Does not wisdom cry out, And understanding lift up her voice? 2 She takes her stand on the top of the high hill, Beside the way, where the paths meet. 3 She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city, At the entrance of the doors: 4 “To you, O men, I call, And my voice is to the sons of men. 5 O you simple ones, understand prudence, And you fools, be of an understanding heart. 6 Listen, for I will speak of excellent things, And from the opening of my lips will come right things; 7 For my mouth will speak truth; Wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them. 9 They are all plain to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge. 10 Receive my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold; 11 For wisdom is better than rubies, And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her. 12 “ I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And find out knowledge and discretion. 13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate. 14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength. 15 By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, and nobles, All the judges of the earth. 17 I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me. 18 Riches and honor are with me, Enduring riches and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold, And my revenue than choice silver. 20 I traverse the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice, 21 That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth, That I may fill their treasuries. 22 “ The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. 23 I have been established from everlasting, From the beginning, before there was ever an earth. 24 When there were no depths I was brought forth, When there were no fountains abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills, I was brought forth; 26 While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, Or the primal dust of the world. 27 When He prepared the heavens, I was there, When He drew a circle on the face of the deep, 28 When He established the clouds above, When He strengthened the fountains of the deep, 29 When He assigned to the sea its limit, So that the waters would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth, 30 Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, 31 Rejoicing in His inhabited world, And my delight was with the sons of men. 32 “Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways. 33 Hear instruction and be wise, And do not disdain it. 34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoever finds me finds life, And obtains favor from the LORD; 36 But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; All those who hate me love death.”