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Category Archives: Proverbs

Matthew 7:15-23

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Matthew 7:15-23

Dear God, I confess to you that I am coming into these passages today with a huge amount of personal bias. There are leaders who profess to be your children, but, in my mind, they are ferocious wolves in sheep’s clothing. And I recognize it through their fruit. And I’m not linking this to any one particular political party in the U.S. I see hypocrisy everywhere.

So it’s important to think about the fact that Jesus says that I will be able to tell the truth about a person by their fruit. According to Galatians 5:19-21, here are the fruits of the ferocious wolf:

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But according to Galatians 5:22-23, here are the fruits of the sheep:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

From a political standpoint, I can’t say that I see many people who seem to be legitimate sheep. What I guess confuses me the most is that there are Christians who are labeling some of these leaders as Christians with no evidence based on these five verses. Someone says they are a Christian and they claim to be pro-life so they are accepted at your vessel. It’s almost surreal to me.

So what is my role in all of this? I confess to you, Father, that I do NOT pray for these leaders nearly enough. I don’t pray for their spiritual transformation. I don’t pray Proverbs 21:1 over them:

In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.

You used Pilate. You used Samson. You have used Godless people throughout history for your purposes. Sometimes you’ve even managed to use me despite the fact that I am a fool. So father, I pray that you will be working in all of this. Give us as Christians and as a nation exactly what we need to bring us into complete repentance and surrender to you. As for me, I am sorry. I am sorry for my sin. I’m sorry for my racism, my selfishness, my lust, my gluttony, and my cowardice. Please give me the courage to do exactly what you want me to do and to not miss any of the opportunities you lay before me.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2020 in Galatians, Matthew, Proverbs

 

1 Timothy 2:1-4

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4

Dear God, I prayed just the other day about Christians complaining about perceived persecution. And maybe I don’t appreciate what might be happening it other parts of our country that I don’t see, but it feels like we 1.) don’t know what real persecution is and 2.) don’t follow the example of our persecuted biblical ancestors when we experience it. They considered it all joy. We whine and complain.

I think the same can be true for our leaders. I’ve never prayed for our leaders as much as I should. I’ve grumbled about them plenty. I’ve insulted them to others. I think we all have, on either side of the aisle, Christian and non-Christian. I’ve judged. I’ve even hated. I’m so sorry.

Father, I commit to you right now to pray for leaders across the spectrum. From my local ones to the national and international ones. I pray for those who conduct the actual business under them. My prayer is Proverbs 21:1 for everyone from our local city council to the president.

The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases.
Proverbs 21:1

Whether they know they are being led or not, let your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And show me my role in your plan.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2019 in 1 Timothy, Proverbs

 

Proverbs 15:22

Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.
Proverbs 15:22

Dear God, this is a great reminder for me during board meeting week. I have two committee meetings today and will have a board meeting in the morning. This is especially appropriate since we are finalizing to 2020 budget. There are going to be a lot of thoughts and ideas over the next couple of days and there will be a lot to sift through.

My problem tends to be that I tend to lean more conservative and controlled. I like to build something that will kind of run on its own and just have to be maintained and tinkered with rather than look at pushing out and breaking through the edges of the envelope. I suppose that push/pull will always be there with any organization. I just need to learn to open my heart and mind, and then listen for your still, small voice to guide me.

Father, give me great discernment today. Give it to all of us. Help me to embrace the ideas brought to the table and celebrate the fact that so many are interested in the work we do. Help me to also be a part of bringing your joy to all of those involved through their participation in loving our clients through our work.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2019 in Proverbs

 

Proverbs 1:8-9

My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.
Proverbs 1:8-9

Dear God, I really hope I did right by my kids. I hope I made a difference. I think a lot of parents have doubts and regrets after their children are grown. I certainly have mine. I would hate to have let them (or you) down in this area.

I wonder what Solomon felt like he learned from Bathsheba and David. My assumption would be that he didn’t get a lot from David and his mother was more of the day to day presence. David was probably an example from afar as opposed to a direct instructor. Then I wonder what kind of father Solomon was. We don’t get much here except that the son who succeeded him was cruel. Huh. I guess it’s easier to give advice and talk the talk than it is to live it and walk the walk.

Father, teach me to still learn from my parents, who are both still living, and to know what my adult children need from me so I can give it to them. I love them so much.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2019 in Proverbs

 

Proverbs 19:20

Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life.
Proverbs 19:20

Dear God, my ego is an interesting thing. I was in a meeting with some board members of the nonprofit where I work and the topic of continuing education for me came up. It was suggested that, at this stage of my career and given our nonprofit’s current state of development, I could use some training so we need to put money into the budget for that. On the one hand, I completely agree. I could use some outside advice to help us through this next phase of development. On the other hand, however, I’ll confess that my ego shouts out at me that I shouldn’t need this and I can figure it out on my own. I really hate that ego part of myself.

I’d love to sit and try to psychoanalyze myself through this, but it’s really pretty simple. It’s pride. It’s ego. It’s making myself my own god instead of heeding Solomon’s advice here: “Get all the advice and instruction you can…”

Father, I’m always praying about me decreasing and you increasing, but then I see how I react to things like this and I’m faced with how far I have to go. I’m sorry. Help me to accept all of the advice and instruction that is from you that I can. I don’t want to just take things from others without being discerning, but I certainly want to be “wise the rest of [my] life.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2019 in Proverbs

 

Proverbs 27:1-2

Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring. Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth—-a stranger, not your own lips.
Proverbs 27:1-2

Dear God, oh, how I struggle with being casual about cool things that are happening to me. An exciting vacation coming up. Some cool new gadget I’ve bought. I’m sure it annoys the heck out of people around me. Not that I’m bragging about how great I am, but o do like to talk about things that are exciting to me.

In terms of leaving it to utter people to talk about me, I also confess to you that I hunger for it. I took a personality test one time and part of the summary said that I’m confident, but I need compliments. I felt like that pretty much nailed me. I told my wife I could translate that to say, “Arrogant, but it needs fed.”

Father, help me to learn to live humbly and play to just an audience of one–you. Thank you for a wife that is patient with me. Thank you for being patient with me. I am grateful.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2019 in Proverbs

 

Proverbs 29:24-27

If you assist a thief, you only hurt yourself. You are sworn to tell the truth, but you dare not testify. Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety. Many seek the ruler’s favor, but justice comes from the Lord. The righteous despise the unjust; the wicked despise the godly.
Proverbs 29:24-27

Dear God, I wonder how early on Solomon wrote these things. I would say that it’s safe to say that he probably wouldn’t have thought to say such things later in his life. But I’ve spent enough time talking about the fall of Solomon. Let me focus on what he actually said here.

What kind of safety do you offer. I think a lot of us misinterpret this word in this context. We want to think it means that you will put a hedge of physical or even monetary protection around us.

But I learned a couple of years ago that you don’t work that way. And I suppose if I am the kind of person who is loving you with all of my strength and loving my neighbor as myself then that won’t be my goal. In fact, I’d like to say that I want it for my children–and, to be sure, I have wanted your protection for my children–but I’ve come to learn that you use the struggles in my life to grow me into the man you need me to be and I am learning to trust (there’s that word again) that you are doing the same for my children.

Father, I trust you to make all of this go the way you want it it go. The way you need it to go. I’ve prayed a lot the part of the Lord’s Prayer that says, “Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Use me however you need to to make that happen. I will trust you with the results.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2019 in Proverbs

 

Proverbs 14:34-35

Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people. A king rejoices in wise servants but is angry with those who disgrace him.
Proverbs 14:34-35

Dear God, some day I need to sit down and die a deep dive on Solomon. As I read this proverb, I had two initial thoughts. First, even though we are always told as children that there are things more important than money, that one issue seems to pretty much drive every election (at least the ones I’ve voted in since 1988). The second is I wonder at what point Solomon went off the rails. By the end of his life, he had a serious problem with women and was a cruel king and slave owner. When did he write this proverb? Did he recognize the sin in his life?

Of course, that leads me to myself. Do I recognize the sin in my own life? Do I have the self awareness I need to be able to hear the Holy Spirit when he tries to convict me? Do I recognize what you consider to be sin? Have I become watered down by society? Have I become “tolerant” in a negative way that hurts your kingdom?

Father, give me ears to hear and eyes to see. Help me to learn from Solomon. Granted, it’s not that I’m in a position of wealth and power like he was, but I am just as susceptible to hubris and arrogance. Help me to give the Holy Spirit enough room to really work in my heart and my life.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2019 in Proverbs

 

Proverbs 15:1

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

Dear God, I’ve done both, and this is very true. The funny thing about harsh words is that they are so much fun to plan and even fun to execute, but they almost NEVER end up working like I think they will work.

So what is it in me that is being spotted while I plan my harsh words? Why does it feel so good in the moment?

My first mistake is that I’ve usually assumed evil, sinister motives on the other person’s part. Even though I know that nearly everyone thinks their own actions are just and justified, I don’t try to see it from their vantage. I just see the wrong they did to me and I plan my own righteous vindication. As I get older I am better at thinking through this part before pouncing, but I have a long way to go.

The next part is a big deal because it is what Satan uses to divide us. It becomes about my rights. I have a right to X, Y, and or Z, and someone has infringed on my rights. Well, I can take care of that. I’ll just let them have it. What I forget is that I don’t have any rights in your kingdom. That’s not to say that you want me to be a doormat, but you certainly ask me to turn the other cheek if it means furthering your kingdom. If I can be a witness to someone through humility and approaching them in love instead of self-righteous anger, then I think I’ve probably made you smile.

Father, help me to remember this passage and this lesson. Help me to be one step closer to being your worshipping child today that I was yesterday. And help me to get one step closer tomorrow. It’s not about how clever I am, or how much I can take another person down. It’s about how much I can do to lead them into your presence, and I will never do that while tearing them down.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2019 in Proverbs

 

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Proverbs 31:30-31

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

Dear God, what is the best way to reward her? Yes, I’ve been fooled by charming women. I’ve been fooled by beautiful women. But I’m very grateful to have a wife that fears you. So how do I praise her? How do I reward her? How do I appropriately show others her deeds so that the deeds themselves might declare her praise?

I read a great marriage book about 20 years ago called Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. I know I’ve mentioned it here before. I picked it up again this weekend to just refresh myself on what it said and I found some great things. It starts with this premise: What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy? Here’s a good quote:

So we’re not anti-happiness; that would be silly. The problem I’m trying to address is that “happy marriage” (defined romantically and in terms of pleasant feelings is too often the endgame of Mose marriage books (even Christian marriage books). This is a false promise. You won’t find happiness at the end of a road named selfishness (emphasis mine)

Oh, but how I want to be selfish in my marriage. Oh, how I want to be treated the way I want to be treated. I want to the recipient of constant love and kindness from my wife. Yes, I am a needy boy. The good news is that I am not as needy as I used to be and I have actually adopted a lot of Thomas’s attitudes and philosophies over the last 20 years. But I still catch myself feeling sorry for myself when I feel like I’m not getting what I deserve.

Going back to praising the woman who fears the Lord, I have so many blessings in my life because I am married to a woman who fears you. First, she has great amounts of mercy and grace for me. She also exhibits unreasonable amounts of love to others within and outside of our family. She faithfully intercedes for others in devoted prayer. She is at peace with what she has and does not look for everlasting joy and happiness through spending money and acquiring things. She doesn’t seem to have anything to prove to anyone.

Father, help me to truly praise my wife and build her up for what and who she is. Thank you for her compassion, faithfulness, self-discipline, and humility. Thank you for her wisdom and discernment. Thank you that you make all of us better through her and women such as her.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2019 in Proverbs

 

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