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Devotional for 8-23-2019

BEING GOOD AND DOING GOOD

Character counts. Character makes a difference. Character can be measured. Character is the difference that God brings to our lives. Character matters because God matters. When He is present and in control of our lives, everything changes because He changes everything. We view life differently because we view life through His eyes, hear voices through His ears, feel pain as He feels pain, and He gives willingly as He willingly gave us His Son.

This “wife of noble character” has an impact on every aspect of her husband’s life: “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” Imagine an obituary that included that statement, and ended with the words that included “whatever he accomplished in life was because of her homemaking talents and dedication to the well-being of her family.” Certainly a stretch in today’s environment. But, that’s the implication and message.

An important message in this verse is that the wife is focused on the career of her husband and her home. If the wife has a career outside of the home, it is secondary to everything else. This is far different from what we see in society today. The career of the husband and the management of the home is first and foremost according to Solomon.

Notice one small, three-letter word: her. It may be a subtle implication but the burden for managing the home seems to shift from the wife to the husband if she is called home before him. Husbands and fathers need to be “in training” to assume her tasks if necessary.

Prayer: We pray Lord, for husbands and fathers who willingly become involved in caring for their wife and their homes. May they accept their responsibility. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Proverbs 31:12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 

Devotional for 8-22-2019

UNQUESTIONED CONFIDENCE

Character breeds confidence. When we cannot have complete confidence in others, doubts arise and questions surface. We worry and wonder, watch and wait for things to go wrong. We sense an uneasiness and do not know what to expect. Perhaps that is why Solomon wrote, “Her husband has full confidence in her (this wife of noble character) and lacks nothing of value.”

“Full confidence” is a broad, sweeping term and covers all of the activities in a home. It includes raising children, managing the family’s finances and the reputation of the family – whatever is included in developing the image of the family in the community. Everything is included in the term “full confidence.”

“Full confidence” is a remarkable term because it is the same term that is used or applied to the term “confidence in the Lord.” Throughout the entire Old Testament, it is only used twice in reference to having “confidence” in another person.

This value of having such “confidence” in one’s wife is important because it frees up the husband to become involved in occupational, civic, and religious duties. The husband of a “wife of noble character” can commit himself to what God has called him to do because his household is in good, competent and safe hands.

Notice, too, that the husband “lacks nothing of value.” The home is in “good hands” and the “resources,” – financial, reputation or character – will increase because of God’s blessings!

Prayer: Lord, there is a great need in Kingdom work for wives to know You, love You and serve You faithfully. Bless them for their service and the sacrifices they make. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Proverbs 31:11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 

Devotional for 8-21-2019

THE SEARCH CONTINUES

Consider this: there are twenty-one letters in the Hebrew alphabet. In Proverbs 31:10 there are twenty-two letters, forming an acrostic. It begins with a succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet in the final chapter of Proverbs. Obviously, believing that the Holy Spirit is the infallible author of each verse in the Bible, this did not happen by accident. Certainly, there is a significant message contained in these few verses. The use of the acrostic model was used by teachers and scholars of the laws and prophets to make the message easy to memorize.

First, the acrostic was used to provide a helpful way to organize information for future use. A wife of noble character, as pictured in these few verses, includes items that young women would want to include in their resumes as they matured. It is also the criteria for men to apply to women when seeking a wife. The traits that are presented in these verses are both goals to be achieved and traits to be sought in a wife.

Second, the term noble implies capabilities, character, and efficiency. It is the same term used when a wife is spoken of as the crown of her husband.

Third, “who can find?” The noble wife is rare and not easily found. However, it does not mean that the search is not worth the effort. Quite the contrary.

Ruth was described as a “woman of noble character.” Her story echoes throughout history. How fortunate we are that God gave an example for women to follow and men to search for in a wife.

Prayer: Lord, how blest we are that You provide us with detailed instructions on what matters most in life! May we align our minds and hearts with Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Proverbs 31:10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 

Devotional for 8-20-2019

MISPLACED TRUST

We all inherit the same sinful nature at birth. It is very evident in the way we think and act. We have an “inbred” dependence on our subjective, self-focused, self-centered, or perhaps might we be more honest and say “sinful” selves. We tend to rely on our God-given gifts as something we have accomplished on our own apart from Him. It is as though we took a lump of clay from the ground and fashioned a person, endowed him with skills and abilities and said, “Now, let’s do something that we can be proud of!”

“He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.” This statement reminds us of the wisdom contained in another proverb: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Once again in his wisdom and our lack of it, Solomon took time to remind us of how we easily turn to ourselves rather than God. Trusting in ourselves is normal and natural but not without proving to ourselves, others and God that we are fools.

Notice this: “A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper.” This theme, flowing throughout Proverbs, is so very important when we relate it to our sinful nature. To “trust in” is difficult because it signals to the world that what we do is not of ourselves but is a gift from God and to God be the glory for that gift!

Greed is who we are. It’s not a word that we want to be identified by. It is something most of us try to deny. The solution? Give credit to God for who we are and what we have!

Prayer: Lord, thank You for seeing who we can be in spite of who we think we are. Make us willing to be willing to let go and let God get the glory, honor, and praise! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Proverbs 28:26 He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe. 

Devotional for 8-19-2019

FAITHFULNESS IS MUTUAL

Memories are a gift from God. However, what we do with them, how they affect us or the difference they have on our way of living is what matters most.

When we recall the many gifts that God grants to us each day, do we take enough time to pause and thank Him and share the fact of His love, grace, and mercy with others?

When He brings healing and wellness to us and our loved ones, do we give Him the credit He deserves or do we think that He is obligated to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves?

When our financial needs are met and we have a surplus, do we give a “thank you offering” to God and praise Him for blessing us and giving us more than we deserve?

“A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished,” is a proverb worth noting carefully. God does indeed bless those who are faithful – often much more than can be imagined or deserved. Unfortunately, there are those who believe they have earned what they have accumulated and therefore do not need to give God credit or praise, thanksgiving or respect. How sad.

We have what we have because of God’s grace. Whatever we have is a result of Him showing us His favor. The strength and abilities I have come from Him and the opportunities I have to use them come from Him. If we use them to “get rich” without recognizing it’s all because of Him, we can expect a tragic ending. We must use God’s gifts for God’s glory.

Prayer: We pray, Father, for grateful hearts. May we never cease to recognize Your goodness and faithfulness are to be used to bring honor and glory to Your Name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Proverbs 28:20 A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. 

Devotional for 8-18-2019

EYES OF DISCERNMENT

Beware the “buts” of life. They are dangerous.

“You know I really love Larry, but he’s too smart for his own good.” Or…

“You know Al is a great teacher, but he uses the NLT instead of the ESV in class.” Or…

“Paula does a great job keeping all of the records of the College, but she is so slow in getting out our grades and even makes mistakes on my grades.” Or…

“I love the ‘Seeds,’ but wish they used a different, larger sized print.” Or…

And the list goes on.

We use “buts” to hide our true feelings and intentions. We speak the truth and then try to cover it up so others will think we are tentative, thoughtful and want to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. In other words, we want it both ways so we won’t be convicted of our true position or feelings.

“A rich man may be wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has discernment sees through him.” In other words, the rich man is unable to see himself for all the good things he thinks he is doing. He is unaware of his inadequacies, his deceit, his taking advantage of others, even his greed. Perhaps he unable to recognize what he is doing because he has too much.

What is more important than the words we use to describe others is the fact that we are more likely to see what we want to see as the faults and failures in others rather than the flaws and foolishness in ourselves. We must look upward to Christ and see ourselves as He sees us.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to look at ourselves in light of Your Word and correct ourselves before we condemn others. May our lives be an example to others at all times. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Proverbs 28:11 A rich man may be wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has discernment sees through him. 

Devotional for 8-17-2019

ON BEING BLAMELESS

What happens when life turns ugly and there is no reason to get out of bed and face life? Do we give up and give in? Do we surrender our principals and live a life of compromise? Do we forget where we were or what made us different from others? Do we live a life filled with anger and resentment? What do we do if we do not want to “do right?”

“Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse” provides some sound advice. This verse tells the story of a man who “had it all” and “lost it all.” He was “riding high” and then “life turned ugly.” But the events of life did not change him: he changed the events of life. He remained faithful to God, turned his back on evil, and continued to live a life controlled by God. He was a man of integrity and character!

We often confuse personality with character. It’s easy. Personality is who people think we are. Character is who God knows us to be. Personality changes over time and is temporary. Character is deep-rooted and flows from our relationship with God. Personality is on the outside. Character is from God and is deep inside our hearts. Personality often comes from a smile to hide the pain and struggle we are dealing with. Character weeps openly, honestly and freely when the going gets difficult, the nights long, and the days dark, the sun is hidden and the clouds heavy. Personality changes to meet the needs of the moment. Character meets the moment without changing – being confident that we can meet the challenge and endure the struggle with God. What matters to you? Personality or Character. The choice is yours.

Prayer: We pray, Lord, that we will submit our will and ways to Your will and Your ways. Give us a desire and Your power to be people of character who “do right!” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Proverbs 28:6 Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse. 

Devotional for 8-16-2019

COMMITTED LIVING

Throughout the Book of Proverbs, Solomon does not allow “wiggle” room. It is either “this is the way” or “that is the way” or “do not forget the way.” It’s like a visit to a physician: “If you want to be healthy, you must follow these directions and take this prescription.” If anyone has a desire to honor God, live a life that is pleasing to the Lord, avoid doing what is wrong, and walk in the ways of the Lord, Solomon leaves no doubt about what we are to do. He is also very clear about the dangers and consequences of following our own ways and selfish ends.

“Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.” There is little doubt about who Solomon had in mind when he wrote these words: Evil men are those who are committed to doing evil things. When we examine the lives of “evil men,” we find evidence of evil thoughts, evil deeds, and evil friends. Their lives are so centered on acts of evil that they have lost their understanding of justice. Their lives are so corrupt, so devious, and so unjust that they cannot see or even recognize “right from wrong.”

On the other hand, those who “seek the Lord” are fully capable of making the right choice when facing a difficult decision. From his own experience as a leader and from following the advice of his father, King David, Solomon learned that if anyone has a commitment to do what God will honor, God will grant that request and give him the power to overcome evil. When our thoughts come from God’s wisdom, choices become clear, and God’s power available.

Prayer: Empower us, Father, with the strength and courage that comes from Your Word, to do what is right. We know You will give us strength to live righteous lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Proverbs 28:5 Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully. 

Devotional for 8-15-2019

THE PEACE OF A CLEAN CONSCIENCE

“God’s gonna get you for that!”

Every time someone did something that Brenda thought was “unChristian” by her standards, she would wag her finger and repeat her warning that was known by everyone on campus. Ever since she arrived with her freshman class, and now about to graduate with honors, she served with distinction as the “campus conscience.”

Perhaps our lives would be more Christlike if we each had our own personal “conscience cop” – one who would sit on our shoulder or go before us and alert or warn us before we did something sinful. Most of us can quote Paul’s wise words about “no temptation without God’s spirit giving us a way out.” Most of us, however, think of that after we have “gone astray” or are overwhelmed by and submit to the temptation and then plead for “grace and mercy” because we are only “too human and still growing in Christ.” Unfortunately, that excuse works far to well!

Solomon knew the “peace that can come from a clean conscience.” No doubt he had a few “skeletons” in his closet, as we all do and wanted to share some of his “self-help” wisdom and insight on “worry-free” living. So he provides us with a warning that will work for all of us all of the time: “The righteous are as bold as a lion.”

The “key” is being righteous. Though easier said than done, we can free our minds from guilt and fear by living by and through the Word of God and in the power of Christ. We all have a past to remind us of Satan’s power. We also have “Christ in us” who can make us “bold as a lion.”

Prayer: Father, Your Word is available to us but will do no good until it is within us. Fill our lives with truths which enable us to be righteous and live free from sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Proverbs 28:1b The righteous are as bold as a lion. 

Devotional for 8-14-2019

MAKING HISTORY

There is a vast difference between a legacy and an inheritance. An inheritance is a collection of “things” that are passed on from one generation to another. It is usually considered to be wealth or the things that can be bought with money or negotiated by “deals” between individuals or sometimes items that are “traded.”

A “legacy” is much different. It is composed of the opinions and observations of others who watch us as we make our way through life. It is a result of what we do, the things we say, and how well we serve or do not serve others and our attitudes about the material things and temporal things in life. Unfortunately, for most, it is more important to leave an inheritance for others than a legacy that inspires and challenges others. Most want to be remembered for the balance sheet of life rather than the good they do for God and others.

“For riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations,” wrote the wisest and one of the wealthiest men of history. His net worth, as estimated by wealth-managers today, exceeded one hundred-sixty billion dollars. Obviously, he knew how to “make a dollar” but was wise enough to know that money, in the end, was not the goal of life.

Now, as we look at his story, we see what he “left behind” that has meaning, and the enduring value was not his wealth, but his legacy. Year after year and century after century people look to his writings for God’s wisdom and guidance, God’s insights and promises, God’s values and the blessings that come from honoring Him. His wealth is gone. His legacy lives!

Prayer: Lord, grant us Your wisdom and the desire to leave a legacy that blesses others and leads them to Jesus. May our lives be a witness of how great You are. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Proverbs 27:24 For riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. 

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