Archive for the ‘Proverbs’ Category

Mother’s Day from this mother’s point of view

May 14th, 2017 by Maureen

May she who gave you birth be happy. O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways. Prov. 23:25-26

I am so happy to be the mother of each one of my grown-up children.
May they remember our journey through childhood together with delight.
May only the best of my influences carry over into the lives they carve out for themselves as adults.
May they follow whatever of my ways they find life-giving and helpful,
and forgive me for the ways that left them scarred…and may those scars be temporary and healed.
May we enjoy many more journeys together as adults.
May the ways I travel with their families be filled with new delights
and continually marked by love.
May they always be aware of my unconditional love for them.
And of their’s father’s love.
And of Your love.

Lord, thank you for this delight I call motherhood!

Carefully considered but loosely held plans

September 26th, 2016 by Maureen

Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house. Prov. 24:27

Sometimes there is barely time to wrap up one project before we have to start another. When we do have the luxury of a breather between projects it’s good to use that time to take stock. Doing things better next time takes some evaluation and tweaking of the existing plan, along with honest introspection about personal attitudes, expectations, and distractions. But there are times when all the planning in the world cannot predict the unforeseen…and sometimes that unforeseen, unplanned-for factor is the very one God is all over.

Lord, help me to be prepared and flexible for what this week holds.

Feed the hangry

June 24th, 2016 by Maureen

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov 15:1

Every day comes with irritants. We can choose to be annoyed, offended, and reactive, or we can find perspective and grace. Most people don’t get up in the morning and decide to be annoying. Many of them are just spiritually hangry* for love, peace, acceptance, etc. Grace for others taps us into the deep love God has for each of us. Our kind, gracious, loving responses nourish their spirits with the fruit of God’s Spirit.

Lord, help me to be gracious even when other people aren’t.

*Hangry-When you are so hungry that your lack of food causes you to become angry, frustrated or both. – Urban Dictionary

How to slow down time

June 4th, 2016 by Maureen

People make plans but the Lord establishes our steps. Prov. 16:9

It is in relishing the present that we slow down time. We can focus so much on key experiences like events, dates, vacations, graduations, new jobs, moving to new places, marriage, babies, holidays, retirement, even heaven, that we miss the wonder and joy of right now. When we look back and can only mark time by milestones, it can seem as if our lives have flown by. Certainly planning ahead helps life run more smoothly. Practicing and preparing builds competence and confidence. Looking forward to something creates excitement and enhances our enjoyment when the time comes. There are good things about looking ahead, but fully engaging in the present is how we experience eternity now. If we rush from milestone to milestone focused on the future, we might miss the moments of wonder and revelation that God establishes in each step in between.

Lord, show me all You have for me as I stand in this one step that You established for me to live in right now.

Influential people

May 16th, 2016 by Maureen

For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe. Prov. 2:10-11

A person doesn’t have to be famous to be profoundly influential. Young people need great mentors and teachers to equip them with knowledge, wisdom, and truth that will help them live with passion and integrity, creativity and awareness. They need trusting relationships with people who love Jesus and love them. We all need those influential friends throughout our lives who keep us grounded and inspired.

Lord, I am so grateful for the network of relationships that influence my life and the lives of my loved ones. Lord, bless each one!

Change your plans but not your dreams

May 2nd, 2016 by Maureen

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. Prov. 13:12

Sometimes our plans seem to be drowning in setbacks and delays that cause us to doubt our dreams and give up hope. But there is a different between dreams and plans. Plans are only a way toward fulfillment of our dreams, not the dreams themselves. God is so much bigger than our plans and so much stronger and more creative than our imperfect execution of them. We can trust God with our plans because He is the giver of our best and most personally fulfilling dreams.

Lord, help me be flexible in my plans but steadfast in my dreams.

You’re killing me smalls

April 10th, 2016 by Maureen

For the turning of the simple kills them, And the security of the foolish destroys them. Those who listen to me dwell confidently, quiet from fear of evil! Prov. 1:32-33

In the Bible, “simple” doesn’t mean simplicity. “The simple” are people who are easily distracted, don’t think things through, fall for deceptions, act impulsively, ignore good advice, and respond immaturely. Fools reject every idea but their own, refuse to listen, reject logic and evidence contrary to their perspectives, spin the consequences or deflect blame when things go wrong. The good news is that God loves us and sent Christ to redeem us even when we are being our stupidest selves. Awareness that God is with us and for us won’t keep us from experiencing trouble, but might help us minimize stupidity and certainly provides  perspective, confidence, and peace so that we avoid the killing power that big messes, and sometimes even little ones, can have on our hearts, minds, and lives.

Lord, quiet my fears and help me to dwell in You with confidence and peace no matter the trouble, no matter the cause.

 

Legitimate three-way love fest

March 31st, 2016 by Maureen

Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Prov. 16:24

What we say and the way we say it can change someone’s day for better or for worse. Our sincere words of kindness and encouragement can promote healing in one another’s lives. We are more likely to notice all the positive, gracious moments in our own lives when we help create them for other people. Kindness makes us collaborative participants in God’s love for someone else.

Lord help me to sweeten someone’s day.

Flexible plans

February 25th, 2016 by Maureen

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Prov. 19:21

Things don’t always work out the way we plan. Speculating on the why can only take us so far in correcting existing problems, avoiding future disappointments, or learning from past mistakes. God’s love and grace always, always, always motivates His interventions into our plans whether it is to aid or to disrupt them. And sometimes He does disrupt. God is the source of good ideas and He has placed a variety of avenues in our lives through which to inspire us so that we can be part of whatever He’s up to. Sometimes we are so intent on carrying out our own plans or recreating something that worked before that we miss His inspiration. If we are open to Him and willing to respond, our infinitely creative and joyous God is likely to inspire us to create and innovate rather than merely to repeat or imitate.

Lord, I believe You are good and Your mercy endures. I want Your plans and inspirations to supersede my own.

The benefits of uncertainty

February 24th, 2016 by Maureen

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Prov. 3:5

A little uncertainty, a few unanswered questions, surprises, outliers, and unconnected dots are good for us. Trust involves those things we can’t control and don’t know. There is no adventure in knowing everything, controlling everything, and predicting everything. We can proceed into life’s uncertainties with curiosity and excitement rather than fear and nervousness because we can be certain of this: God loves us. God is trustworthy. God’s plans and intentions for us are always good.

Lord, I trust you for the next life adventure.

Just to prove a point

February 13th, 2016 by Maureen

The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Prov. 17:27

There is a lot to be said for showing restraint. It’s not always necessary to challenge people with whom we disagree. Sometimes starting an argument says more about us than whether or not we present correct data or whether our logic is stronger. Sometimes relationships matter more than taking someone down just to prove a point. Sometime love and grace means showing restraint even when we are fairly certain that we are surrounded by idiots spreading idiocy.

Lord, help me to choose grace, love, and restraint over proving my point.

 

Staying out of trouble is not the point

January 8th, 2016 by Maureen

For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe. Pro. 2:10-11

Good choices happen because we have enough information to weigh and understand our options. Knowledge can only tell us the facts so that we understand what will keep us safe and keep us out of trouble. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s not the point either. Wisdom tells us how what we know  increases our awareness of Christ in us and our identities in Him. Our responses to what we know from this place of wisdom leads to enduring happiness and deep spiritual satisfaction rather than the circumstantial (and sometimes prideful) satisfaction that comes from staying out of trouble and doing the right thing.

Lord, connect knowledge and wisdom in my heart.

Christmas cheer all year

December 26th, 2015 by Maureen

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Prov. 17:22

Much of the energy and goodwill of this time of year happens because we tend to be more cheerful and respond to the cheerfulness of others. People wish each other a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and take treats and cards to neighbors they barely know. Habitual cheerfulness can be extremely annoying if it’s rote, fake, or forced, but when it’s sincere, cheerfulness has an amazing effect on the emotional environment of everyone around it.

Lord, help me be good medicine to the hearts I encounter all year long.

Stop writing lines

November 8th, 2015 by Maureen

Do not let kindness and truth leave you. Bind them around your neck. Write them on your heart. Prov. 3:3

KINDLINES

Sometimes we just run out of “nice.” The kindness around our necks feels heavy, our forced kind gestures feel false but our unkind remarks or thoughts don’t feel right. Depending on whose handwriting is on our hearts we might experience the heavy burden of the law or the light burden of Christ. When we do the writing ourselves, sort of like writing lines, we get tired and the writing gets squiggly and the message gets lost in he effort. When we read the handwriting of the Savior instead of our own, we don’t have to manufacture kindness or measure it, we simply have to access His kindness already written on our hearts. This is part of the easy yoke and light burden that comes with  being a partaker in His divine nature rather than simply an imitator of it.

Lord, help me to respond with authentic kindness in Your handwriting, not mine.

Being interested makes you interesting

October 2nd, 2015 by Maureen

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!  Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Prov. 3:3

Jesus drew people to Himself, not only because it was obvious He was someone important but because  He  let those around Him know they were important to Him. Jesus was interested as well as interesting. When we are under stress and  focused on “important” things, it’s easy to be unintentionally dismissive and short with people. When people, especially those close to us, are annoying or selfish, we may feel betrayed, but responding with kindness and interest is restorative. People who show interest are the most interesting.

Lord, help me to be outwardly focused today.

Friendship is seldom 50-50

August 28th, 2015 by Maureen

A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity. Prov. 17:17

People become friends for all sorts of reasons: neighborhood, jobs, church, organizations, mutual interests, mutual friends. When we feel we are getting love and support back it’s easy to invest time and emotional energy into friendships. But when we or one of our friends hits a rough patch and don’t have much to give back, there is a temptation to withdraw. Sometimes we have to step back from toxic relationships, but in most circumstances, even when its something we can’t fix and may not even understand, we can keep loving and allow our friends to keep loving us. Friends are usually part of God’s helping and healing process.

Lord, I trust You for my friends’ needs. Show me the best way to stand with them and to let them stand with me.

The quick flash and the slow burn of anger

August 11th, 2015 by Maureen

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and its His glory to overlook offense. Prov. 19:11

What makes you mad? For me it’s mean, selfish, and inconsiderate people, injustice, poorly designed products, bad directions, and the list goes on. Once in awhile anger is actually an impetus for constructive change but too often anger is merely a quick flash to relieve tension or, often worse, a seething, slow burn that messes up attitudes and relationships long term. Stuffing anger and calling it control isn’t exactly the same as overlooking offense. A principle truth of the gospel is that God actually forgets our offenses because Christ has redeemed them. We can let Him redeem the things that make us mad too.

Lord, You know what’s needling me today. Give me grace and compassion and a tangible sense of Your glory as I choose to overlook offenses.

 

The physical, emotional, and spiritual dangers of anger

June 16th, 2015 by Maureen

A kind person is rewarding his own soul but the fierce is troubling his own flesh. Prov. 11:7

Sometimes anger is an appropriate response, but how we express anger, and how frequently, can result in physical, emotional, and spiritual damage. Doctors now consider fits of rage and on-going hostility to be heart disease risk factors. Lashing out to express disappointment or disapproval damages our relationships, often with those closest to us. If we get angry over little things or seem to be angry all the time, we may be relying on anger to provide a sense of importance and empowerment. Kindness helps us recognize that our power and significance come from relationship with a loving God who values us and all those around us. When we experience anger and express it from a place of kindness the goal becomes to resolve a conflict with someone we care about rather than to attack someone we’re mad at.

Lord, help my response be kind, even when I’m angry.

Keepsake necklace

May 6th, 2015 by Maureen

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Prov. 3:3

It’s not easy to remain loyal and kind. People do or say thoughtless or unkind things that hurt us or hurt those we love. We will disappoint one another. We will disagree. We go into relationships with others knowing that. Loyalty and kindness often require a deliberate, conscious decision. We can choose to feel the weight of love tied around our necks and to trace the letters of each name written on our hearts.

Lord, tie a good knot on this necklace. I never want to take it off.

Prudent planning or pessimistic paranoia

May 4th, 2015 by Maureen

A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks. The simple person walks in blindly and gets clobbered. Prov. 22:3

We shouldn’t skip through life without caution but if we refuse to ever skip without orthopedic shoes and umbrellas we get clobbered by fear. If we focus too long on all the things that might go wrong, those possibilities start to feel like probabilities, or even inevitabilities. Fear can turn prudent planning into pessimistic paranoia. Planning is supposed to help us feel more free and joyful, not less.

Lord, I don’t want to get clobbered by fear any more than I want to get clobbered by imprudence.