Archive for the ‘Proverbs’ Category

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.

Parrots can only sound wise

April 23rd, 2015 by Maureen

Keep your eyes on wisdom and understanding. They are life to your soul (inner life) and grace to your neck (outer life). Prov. 3:21

God does more for us than simply telling us what is wise and expecting us to parrot it. Through relationship with Him who made us and knows us best, we internalize His wisdom so that we perceive and respond out of insight rather simply acting out of rote knowledge. Life is most satisfying when our inner lives and outer lives are consistent, when we are being our authentic selves, when we are aware of His loving instruction, and when we are able to be confidently transparent with others.

Lord, help my inner life and outer life to be full of Your wisdom and understanding.

Dealing with April fools – and the rest of the year too

April 1st, 2015 by Maureen

When a wise person has an argument with a fool, whether the fool rants or ridicules, there will be no peace. Prov. 29:9

The sad part about it getting into it with a fool is that the fool thinks his rants are logical and his ridicule is clever. The fool is likely to reprise previous remarks just to make sure everyone gets in on the fun. The more we engage the fool, the more foolishness we have to listen to. It’s probably best to say little and find somewhere else to be quickly.

Lord, give me patience and wisdom when dealing with fools and open foolish minds to Your wisdom and truth. Please.

Uncommon sense

March 9th, 2015 by Maureen

He grants the treasure of common sense to the honest. Prov. 2:7a

Common sense requires spiritual awareness and self-awareness. When we know our own desires, influences, temptations, and biases we can approach each situation with the understanding that we want, what we feel, or what we fear at any particular moment is not the sum total of who we are. When we are sensitive to Christ’s Holy Spirit we are more likely to respond as our redeemed and transformed selves because we understand that who we are is rooted in Who Christ Is. Imagine what if would be like if sensing His presence all the time was common!

Lord, help me remember who You have made me.

Squirrel vs wisdom

February 9th, 2015 by Maureen

Get wisdom and understanding. Don’t forget or ignore my words. Hold on to wisdom, and it will take care of you. Love it, and it will keep you safe. Prov. 4:5-6

Sometimes we abandon wisdom mid-sentence to pursue some distracting squirrel like the dog Dug in the movie Up. We can even forget the wisdom and understanding acquired through costly personal experience when confronted with distracting or emotionally charged situations. The Holy Spirit is God’s continuous presence with us, helping us safely navigate life’s distractions with awareness and understanding. The more attuned we are to His voice the more likely we are to be able to hold onto wisdom.

Lord, help me remember wisdom when I start seeing squirrels….dug

 

Gut level responses

February 4th, 2015 by Maureen

Do not let kindness and truth  leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Prov. 3:3

The truth that is Christ is born of God’s kindness. We cannot be truthful without also being kind yet our gut level response to the world around us is often far from kind and often colored by personal bias. How would it look if kindness and truth were the foundation of all our communication? What if we ran our responses to what is said and done to us through a filter of kindness and truth first?

Lord, let this attitude of kindness and truth become my gut level response to those around me.

Breaking down “real world” Biblical advice

September 28th, 2014 by Maureen

A man’s gift makes room for him And brings him before great men. Prov. 18:16

Is giving gifts the writer’s love language? Is the Bible advising us to offer bribes or suck up to powerful people? Thoughtful gifts to those with whom we have personal, social, and businesses relationships do help us gain influence with those people. If gifts refers to our talents and abilities, then is the implication that those who are gifted and skilled in a particular area are likely to be perceived as more valuable and influential? We tend to base career decisions as much on what we consider our weaknesses as on what we consider our strengths because we are more likely to improve our lots by improving our existing strengths. This might be “real world” advice, but Jesus does things a whole different way.

Jesus thank you for bringing Your strength to my weakest areas and giving me Your most precious Gift because I have nothing to give back.

Another genius creation by the one and only God Almighty

September 17th, 2014 by Maureen

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

Kindness and emotional warmth produces oxytocin in the body. Oxytocin contributes to a healthy heart, reduces inflammation, and slows aging. It produces dopamine in the brain which is responsible for the natural high we feel when we are happy. While science suggests that some of us are more genetically predisposed to kindness, practicing kindness increases empathy in nearly everyone. Once again, our Creator knew what He was doing when He designed us.

Lord, in Your image and by Your grace, show me even more ways to be kind.

 

These words, I don’t think they mean what you think they mean

September 7th, 2014 by Maureen

An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. Prov. 18:19

Debate does not mean attack. Explore does not mean endorse. Disagree does not mean condemn.We can get our panties in wads over semantics, styles, and schedules. We can let our aesthetics, palates, and preferences take precedence over relationships. Even when the issue is something that we consider a moral imperative or an absolute truth, how we treat people who disagree still matters. If “the greatest of these is love” then love comes first.

Lord, help me listen and love.

Making plans

June 22nd, 2014 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 avoiding future disappointments. What we can know is that God’s plans and purposes are always, always, always for our good. His love and grace motivates His intervention into our plans whether it is to aid or to disrupt.

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

 

Adventures in trust

May 24th, 2014 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 probably 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.

Lord, I trust you for the next life adventure.

What do you expect?

February 24th, 2014 by Maureen

For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. Prob. 15:15

Whatever face we present to the world, how we process our experiences each day creates a set of expectations about life. Fear and disappointment can cause some of us to go through life expecting the next bad thing. Trust and confidence helps us expect good things and find silver linings in the bad patches. God is good and He loves us. Even when we feel bad. Even when bad things happen.

Lord, help me see the continual feast You’ve laid before me.

Who is responsible?

January 16th, 2014 by Maureen

He that handles a matter wisely shall find good: and whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he. Prov. 16:20

Life is a long series of little choices in which we each decide how to process what just happened, how to deal with what’s coming at us right now, and how to plan for what might be next. How we handle our responsibilities might bring satisfaction, reduce aggravation and increase the good we are able to do, but deciding to trust God’s love and wisdom brings happiness and freedom.

Lord, I trust You with what I can’t control and especially with what I can.

Question and answer

December 27th, 2013 by Maureen

Q. Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
Whose hands have gathered up the wind?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is the name of his son? (Prov. 30:4)

A. Jesus. Before He was a Baby in a manger or a suffering Sacrifice on a cross or a triumphant resurrected Savior, Jesus was the glorious Lord of all Creation. Jesus doesn’t need anything from us. He is glorious without us and was glorious before people existed.

Thank you for answering my need by becoming the Baby, the Sacrifice, and the Savior. My response is praise and awe.

 

Is this the age of the chronically offended?

November 9th, 2013 by Maureen

An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. Prov. 18:19

Seems like anything we do can hit another person’s hot button. Willingness to befriend another human is read as an endorsement of every position that person holds. Voicing disagreement on a single issue gets labelled hate or heresy. We can read insult into the tone, wording, method of communication…pretty much anything, and take offense. Truth is more than correct doctrine or factual accuracy. Jesus is the truth and the door. Truth is supposed to set us free to experience love and grace rather than offense.

Lord, open the doors of my heart and mind in communication with others.

Kind

May 15th, 2013 by Maureen

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
    Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
    Write them deep within your heart. Pfov. 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 that they were important and treated them with kindness. 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 is restorative.

Lord, help me to be kind and gracious today.