ReadLuke 12:6-7, Psalm 104:14-15
God's presence changes the atmosphere of our lives. When we believe in Jesus, each one of us comes under God's grace and protection for the duration of our existence.
With every breath you take, every bite you eat, every sip of coffee you drink, God is with you. He knows the details of your life and is working all things together for your good. These are not empty promises, but God's own words to you.
It might not always feel like God is close to you, but He promises that He is. It's important to remind yourself of this truth and to connect with God daily. Believing He is with you in insignificant daily moments helps you to trust Him in more difficult times.
ReadPsalm 32:8-10, Proverbs 2:3-5
God has a purpose and a plan for your life. It may not seem that way when you’ve been passed over for a promotion, when you can’t find work in your field, or when you’re still trying to figure out what “your field” is.
When you watch friends start careers while you’re waiting tables, it’s easy to question whether God has a calling for you. The good news is God promises to show us the way if we seek and trust Him.
God doesn’t want us to be lost, but He does want us to lean on Him for understanding. The more we seek Him, the better we understand Him, and that leads us to who He has made us to be.
ReadColossians 1:9-12, 2 Peter 3:18
Ever look at Jesus’ life then look at your own, and think, “Man, why can’t I be more like that?”
The truth is you can. When we ask Jesus into our lives, we start a lifelong relationship with Him. The more time we spend with Jesus, the more we become like Him. Jesus wants to give us more of His goodness every day.
No matter how long we follow Jesus, there is always more to learn about Him, more of His love to experience, and more of His character to take on.
Read1 Timothy 2:1-3, Proverbs 21:1
We all know what it’s like to feel powerless. The person we voted for didn’t win. The board votes down the proposal we spent months working on. A friend or spouse ignores our advice and does what we told them not to.
When what we think is the right thing isn’t what happens, what do we do? We pray.
In 1 Timothy 2:1-3, the Bible teaches us to pray for the decision makers in our lives, regardless of their beliefs, political leanings, or attitude toward us. God places authority in our lives for many reasons: to bring order to chaos, to teach us humility, to give us opportunities to learn submission, and to free us from carrying burdens we weren’t meant to.
While we cannot control the actions of others, prayer gives us direct access to the only person who controls everything. God is all-knowing and all-powerful. He can work through immoral kings and leaders just as easily as He works through moral kings and leaders.
When we commit to praying for those in authority over us, we not only have the power to change a country, we get to see God’s faithfulness in hearing our cries and acting in our lives.
Proverbs begins with a command to fear the Lord and ends with the description of a woman who fulfills this command (Proverbs 31:10-31).
The Proverbs 31 woman is not a real woman, but an ideal. Just as wisdom and foolishness are personified as women throughout Proverbs, what it means to be a person of valor is personified in the wife of noble character.
To be noble is to show fine personal qualities or high moral principles or ideals. And by any standards, this woman has that.
She has dignity, compassion, wisdom, and many skills. She runs a profitable business, and her words carry weight at home and in the community. She has everything we could want, but it comes from a place many people would least expect.
Noble character is not a matter of rank in God’s eyes, but a matter of reverence. Her strength doesn’t come from what can she do for God. It comes from her reverence for God: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised” (Proverbs 31:30).
The Proverbs 31 woman is a woman of God, not a woman of the world. Her accomplishments and reputation come entirely from her dedication to the Lord.
If noble character seems in short supply, it’s because it is. The scarcity of noble character is one reason it’s so valuable (Proverbs 31:10). Instead of striving for wealth, power, success, and dominance like so many, the person of noble character works with integrity, serves the poor, and gets stuff done.
A life of noble character is a life of true success and happiness. Whether seen by many or by a few, the life of noble character leaves a legacy for generations to come. And because a life of noble character is not based on who we are but Who we adore, it’s a life we can all aim to achieve.
Like Agur, the author of Proverbs 30, we’ve all hit a wall where we realize we can’t answer the big questions of life. While we humans like to think there isn’t a problem we can’t solve, Agur finally had to admit he was unable to grow wise or find God on his own. All of the apologetics and religion classes in the world can’t do what the Holy Spirit does.
“‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed it to us by the Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10).
God, through the Holy Spirit, reveals Himself to us and gives us wisdom. And once He does, we start to see His greatness in nature and in His Word (Proverbs 30:3-6). God made the world and is intimately familiar with parts of the universe humans will never discover. God is so holy that His words are “flawless” and able to protect those who trust in them.
None of us can make that claim. So why would we want to look to anyone else for wisdom and understanding?
The realization of God’s greatness drove Agur to adoration. In the only prayer in Proverbs, Agur asks God to give him a meaningful life and to provide what he needs to get by every day.
This was a dramatically different attitude than the society he lived in. When Agur looked around, he didn't see people who were awestruck with God. Instead, he saw a generation that looks a lot like ours: disrespectful, self-righteous, prideful, arrogant, and fiercely oppressive (Proverbs 30:11-14).
The same thing happens to us when we get a glimpse of how truly amazing God is. Our lives are forever changed by the realization that God is perfect and we are not. Because it’s only when we acknowledge God’s majesty that we will humble ourselves and begin to learn from Him.
Childhood meant dealing with many “good” things that seemed devised to make us suffer.
Were we really supposed to believe there was a good reason for checkups, vaccines and terrible tasting cough syrup? Why couldn’t mom just relax a little? Everyone else was wearing those shirts. And what was the big deal with sharing? It just seemed unnatural.
Discipline often frustrated us. But as we grew, we saw how wrong our perspective was — or did we?
“Discipline” comes from a Latin word meaning “pupil.” Discipline is about learning a way of behavior, a way to live. We may think only children need discipline, but Proverbs 29 reminds us about the importance of discipline, no matter how old we are.
3 Reasons to Welcome Discipline1. Discipline is a blessing.Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.” Discipline seems to hold us back. Our natural tendency is toward what we want. But when we receive Godly instruction, we are blessed. It’s in following Jesus we can enjoy lives free of guilt and sin’s burden.
2. Discipline brings joy.Discipline hurts at first. We don’t want to face our failures or admit we have room to grow, but temporary discomfort leads to lasting joy. Proverbs 29:6 teaches, “Evildoers are snared by their own sin, but the righteous shout for joy and are glad.” Getting out of the snare hurts, but there is joy in the healing.
3. Pride gets in the way.When we experience correction or conviction, we tend to pretend we’re OK the way we are. Proverbs 29:23 reminds us, “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.” And earlier in the chapter, Proverbs 29:1 states, “Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.” Resisting discipline because of pride puts us in danger. We have to humble ourselves to allow discipline to change us.
Have you ever been led by someone and thought, “I’d follow them anywhere”? How did you feel in those circumstances? Empowered, refreshed, motivated? Maybe, your experience was different and you questioned your leadership and felt oppressed.
While stature and title can be a part of leadership, they aren’t the deciding factors.
For most of us, to be a leader means to be in charge, to be the boss. While stature and title can be a part of leadership they aren’t the deciding factors. In Proverbs 28, God gives us a clear picture of what it takes to be a good leader:
When was the last time you got really jealous? Maybe your younger sibling got married before you. Maybe your best friend bought a house you could never afford. Maybe your coworker got the promotion you wanted. According to Proverbs 27:4, “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?”
Jealousy is a conflict that begins in our hearts. If we don’t tackle it head on, it can seep into our relationships and cause unnecessary drama.
Jealousy and bitterness lead us to make foolish choices and create strife in our relationships.That’s why it’s important to have friends who will be honest with us and call us out for our actions. “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses,” (Proverbs 27:6). A true friend tells you how it is, but with gentleness. This challenges us and helps us to grow.
So how do we become the friend that challenges others?
Dealing with conflict starts with listening. If we listen before we answer, we may find a deeper root to the issue and be able to provide the kind of earnest counsel that brings joy to our friends’ hearts (Proverbs 27:9). A true friend also wants what is best for us. As iron sharpens iron, a good friend sharpens us and makes us better — even if it’s uncomfortable or could create conflict (Proverbs 27:17).
If we choose wisdom over jealousy and drama, our relationships will grow, and conflict will only make us stronger. So let’s choose to deal with conflict in a way that glorifies God and grows us toward one another.
The singer steps on stage and the opening chords of the song fill the room. She inhales deeply and lifts the mic to sing. But what comes out is unrecognizable. Off key and offbeat, she smiles and sings confidently while the audience watches in shock.
When the judges give their critique, she defends her performance and her tantrum quickly becomes an Internet meme.
There’s nothing like seeing someone make a fool of themselves on TV to illustrate the danger of giving people undue honor. When we give people respect or admiration they haven’t earned, we set them up for failure.
Just like the singer who’s never been told she can’t sing, the fool in Proverbs 26 grows more foolish every time his folly is rewarded.
That’s one reason the Bible teaches us to give encouragement freely and to honor selectively. Everyone needs encouragement — to be reminded of who we are in Christ and the power available to us through the Holy Spirit. But honor is reserved for:
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