Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Proverbs 24:10

"If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small."

Pressure tests the degree of our strength. Pressure may also increase it. The underlying goal in God's allowing pressure in our lives may be to make us strong enough to withstand the pressures of living in a fallen world. We want him to take the pressure away, but he allows it in order to strengthen us. In what ways has pressure strengthened you? What pressures do you feel right now? How might you allow them to strengthen you?


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

John 8:31-32

"Jesus said to the people who believed in him, 'You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'"


Obeying the truth leads to freedom. The ultimate freedom is freedom from our own sinful nature. Jesus is the only one who can save us from that slavery. Examples of the bondage of sin are addictions, relationship dysfunctions that recur despite our best efforts to change; destructive habits that cannot be abandoned. What bondage binds you? In what areas might obedience set you free? What step of faith can you take in a new direction that would mean freedom from whatever binds you? Take that first step, and the next ones become easier and easier.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Isaiah 30:19-21

"O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem,
  you will weep no more.
He will be gracious if you ask for help.
  He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.
Though the Lord gave you adversity for food
  and suffering for drink,
he will still be with you to teach you.
  You will see your teacher with your own eyes.
Your own ears will hear him.
  Right behind you a voice will say,
'This is the way you should go,'
  whether to the right or to the left.
Then you will destroy all your silver idols
  and your precious gold images.
You will throw them out like filthy rags,
  saying to them, 'Good riddance!'"


If you are going through a hard time, let these verses comfort and instruct you. There are two issues implicit here. First is the question of how you respond to suffering. Do you trust that God is with you and will respond to you? Or is there a lie lurking in your heart, a belief that perhaps he doesn't care? Let the truth of these verses replace that lie. Or have you perhaps turned to something other than God for help? That is the idolatry mentioned in the last verse. Trust God, God alone, and see what help he brings!


Psalm 111:2

"How amazing are the deeds of the LORD!
  All who delight in him should ponder them."


Do you delight in God? Do you want to delight in God? Here's the way to do it: Ponder what the Lord has done. Meditate on what Scripture says God has done. Look for what he's doing in the church and in the world. Focus on what he's doing in your own life. Ponder, and renew your wonder at God's power and grace, and delight in God himself.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Psalm 66:1–7

"Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth!
Sing about the glory of his name!
  Tell the world how glorious he is.
Say to God, 'How awesome are your deeds!
  Your enemies cringe before your mighty power.
Everything on earth will worship you;
  they will sing your praises,
  shouting your name in glorious songs.' Interlude

'Come and see what our God has done,
  what awesome miracles he performs for people!
He made a dry path through the Red Sea,
  and his people went across on foot.
  There we rejoiced in him.
For by his great power he rules forever.
  He watches every movement of the nations;
  let no rebel rise in defiance.'"



A big part of worship is singing praise to God, reflecting on what he's done in the lives of his people and in our own particular lives, and focusing on who he is. What marvelous deeds has he done for you? What do these deeds reveal about his character? Praise him today for his awesome deeds, and lean on his character for all your needs

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Isaiah 33:21–22

"The LORD will be our Mighty One.
  He will be like a wide river of protection
that no enemy can cross,
  that no enemy ship can sail upon.
For the LORD is our judge,
  our lawgiver, and our king.
  He will care for us and save us"


We can trust in God's protection. He will be like a wide river our enemies cannot cross. What enemies threaten you, either from without or within? Remember that the Lord is your Mighty One. He is your judge (who has paid for your sin and who will judge everyone and everything). He is the lawgiver, who made everything to work the way it does. He is your king, ruling over all. This is the One who will care for you and save you.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Isaiah 39: 2, 5–8

"Hezekiah was delighted with the Babylonian envoys and showed them everything in his treasure-houses—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the aromatic oils. He also took them to see his armory and showed them everything in his royal treasuries! There was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, 'Listen to this message from the LORD of Heaven's Armies: "The time is coming when everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left," says the LORD. "Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon's king."'

Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, 'This message you have given me from the LORD is good.' For the king was thinking, 'At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.'"


God in his mercy spared Hezekiah's life, but because Hezekiah's pride continued, the consequences of his showing the Babylonian visitors his treasures would mean disaster for his descendants. Notice Hezekiah's response to Isaiah's message: outward assent but inward selfishness. He didn't care about his descendants but cared only for his personal peace and security. This attitude permeates our world too. It's the perfect example of how the sinful nature works: I only care abut myself and my own personal peace and security and do not care about the consequences of my actions or decisions for those who come after me.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Proverbs 16:21, 23

"The wise are known for their understanding,
  and pleasant words are persuasive.
From a wise mind comes wise speech;
  the words of the wise are persuasive."


How often in life do you need to be persuasive? Most jobs require some degree of "selling" or persuading, if only to get people to do what they need to do. Leaders of any kind need to be persuasive. And what about parenting—don't you need masterful persuasive skills for that? What a comfort to know that God equates persuasive words with wisdom, and endorses it. Today, pray for the wisdom to come out with wise, pleasant, and persuasive words as necessary.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1 Kings 4:25, 27, 32-34

"During the lifetime of Solomon, all of Judah and Israel lived in peace and safety. And from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, each family had its own home and garden. …

The district governors faithfully provided food for King Solomon and his court; each made sure nothing was lacking during the month assigned to him. …

[Solomon] composed some 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs. He could speak with authority about all kinds of plants, from the great cedar of Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows from cracks in a wall. He could also speak about animals, birds, small creatures, and fish. And kings from every nation sent their ambassadors to listen to the wisdom of Solomon."




Solomon had asked God for wisdom, and God gave it to him. This is what a wise and righteous leader effects: peace, safety, and prosperity. This is a picture of a government that's working. People had their jobs and roles; all was clear. Solomon delegated the running of the kingdom to others and concentrated on sharing his wisdom. This is a good model for a business and also a vision of what we want our elected officials to create. May God provide us with wise, godly leaders!

Proverbs 27:12

"A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
  The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences."




A clearheaded person looks ahead to discern possible pitfalls and dangers and takes precautions. Isn't this what our legal system is largely based upon? Business agreements, wills, and other legal documents attempt to foresee potential problems and make clear what should happen in different scenarios. The "simpleton" goes ahead, perhaps in "blind faith," and suffers the consequences for naiveté. Are there any situations in your life for which you need to take precautions? Clear-minded faith is one thing; vacant hope that things will turn out well, despite obvious dangers, is quite another

Saturday, May 25, 2013

"Then Job replied to the LORD: . . .

"Then Job replied to the LORD: . . .

'I take back everything I said,

And I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.'

After the LORD had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite:

'I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has. So take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has.'

So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite did as the LORD commanded them, and the LORD accepted Job's prayer.

When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before!"


God restored (and even doubled) Job's fortunes only after Job prayed for his friends. Perhaps that was the one thing Job needed to do to be fully healed and restored. He got right with God, but also needed to get over the bitterness toward his friends who failed him in his hour of need. Could it be that God will not prosper us until we're right in all our relationships? And could it be that when we pray for others and seek their good, it results in our own blessing?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Job 33:23–28

"But if an angel from heaven appears—
a special messenger to intercede for a person
and declare that he is upright—
he will be gracious and say,
'Rescue him from the grave,
for I have found a ransom for his life.'
Then his body will become as healthy as a child's,
firm and youthful again.
When he prays to God,
he will be accepted.
And God will receive him with joy
and restore him to good standing.
He will declare to his friends,
'I sinned and twisted the truth,
but it was not worth it.
God rescued me from the grave,
and now my life is filled with light.'"


This is a picture of the new covenant—what Jesus does for the believer. In Jesus, we have a "special messenger to intercede for a person." Jesus paid the ransom. God accepts us because Jesus declares us "upright." Our lives are full of light because of Jesus. Notice that God receives us with joy. Today, let this wonderful picture of Jesus' work—predicted centuries before it came to pass—sink into your heart and give you joy. Revel in God's own joy in you! And don't forget the last part—tell others what God has done for you!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Genesis 28:20–22

"Then Jacob made this vow: 'If God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, and if he will provide me with food and clothing, and if I return safely to my father's home, then the LORD will certainly be my God. And this memorial pillar I have set up will become a place for worshiping God, and I will present to God a tenth of everything he gives me.'"


Notice that giving a tithe is connected to worship. It is an acknowledgment that God is the source of everything we have. The tithe always seems to be an expression of true worship of God. Are you giving back at least a tenth of all God gives you, not as a legalistic rule, but as an expression of your gratitude and trust?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Proverbs 4:20–22

"My child, pay attention to what I say.
Listen carefully to my words.
Don't lose sight of them.
Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
for they bring life to those who find them,
and healing to their whole body."


God's words are both powerful and practical. Keep them in your sight—read them every day. "Let them penetrate deep into your heart"—meditate on their meaning. The promise is, if you let the Word shape your life, you will indeed experience life and, sometimes, even physical health. Healing comes from a spiritual source—God's truth.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Matthew 9:1–2

"Jesus climbed into a boat and went back across the lake to his own town. Some people brought to him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, 'Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven.'"


Jesus healed this helpless, paralyzed man first by encouraging him and then by telling him his sins are forgiven. The deepest healing happens not on a physical level, but when there's spiritual healing first. Many people in the medical community now realize the role unforgiveness plays in our physical health. Here Jesus gets at the man's deepest issue: his need for forgiveness. Are there unforgiveness issues in your life? Forgiveness you might need from God, others, or yourself? Forgiveness you need to extend to others? Deal now with any unforgiveness issues. You won't ever be truly healed without doing that

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Genesis 26:26–29

"One day King Abimelech came from Gerar with his adviser, Ahuzzath, and also Phicol, his army commander. 'Why have you come here?' Isaac asked. 'You obviously hate me, since you kicked me off your land.'

They replied, 'We can plainly see that the LORD is with you. So we want to enter into a sworn treaty with you. Let's make a covenant. Swear that you will not harm us, just as we have never troubled you. We have always treated you well, and we sent you away from us in peace. And now look how the LORD has blessed you!'"


When God blesses you with whatever form of blessing, it's to bring glory to him, to show something of his own character at work in your life. Make sure you let God get the credit. And if there's nothing in your life that makes others say, "The Lord must be with her," then pray that God would begin good works in your life that point people to him. God longs to reveal his goodness to you, and through you, to others.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Genesis 25:29–34

"One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, 'I'm starved! Give me some of that red stew!' (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means 'red.')

'All right,' Jacob replied, 'but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.'

'Look, I'm dying of starvation!' said Esau. 'What good is my birthright to me now?'

But Jacob said, 'First you must swear that your birthright is mine.' So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob.

Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn."


Jacob apparently wanted the firstborn's rights and was looking for a way to get it. He seized his opportunity when he saw that Esau would do anything for some food right now. Esau had his eyes only on the now; Jacob looked to the future. Esau lost, Jacob won. Esau never even seemed to understand what he'd just done. But Jacob would remember. Are your decisions made with an eye to what has lasting value, or only to temporary pleasure?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

John 17:15

"'I'm not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.'"


If you're a parent, you can adapt Jesus' prayer for his disciples to your own prayers for your children. You may feel a desire to take them out of the world, but Jesus here teaches that the truer-to-reality request is that God himself would keep them safe from the evil one. Notice how this actually leads to more peace: Rather than leaning on your own attempts to keep the world from your children, you entrust them to God's care. You ask and trust God to take care of them. Your role is to pray, not to shelter

Sunday, March 10, 2013

John 14:31

"'I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let's be going.'"

In this chapter, Jesus repeats often that his goal is to please the Father, to show his love for his Father. The love and obedience Jesus displayed toward his Father is a model for the love and obedience we are to show Jesus. Do you have this kind of complete devotion to Jesus, this great desire to obey, even if it leads to terrible suffering, as it did for Jesus? Do you share his complete trust that if you do suffer, it will be both necessary and worthwhile because of what God will do through it?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Proverbs 3:7–8

"Don't be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones."


We can easily fall into relying on our own wisdom. These verses remind us to always make sure that, first and foremost, we are trusting in God and acknowledging our need of him. Then, we should examine our hearts for any sin we may be blind to and turn away from it. The body's health is connected to the soul's state. To renew your health, check your spirit!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Psalm 5:9–12

"My enemies cannot speak a truthful word.
Their deepest desire is to destroy others.
Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
Their tongues are filled with flattery.
O God, declare them guilty.
Let them be caught in their own traps.
Drive them away because of their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
For you bless the godly, O LORD;
you surround them with your shield of love."


David had enemies. Here he is in trouble, but he goes to God. David worships, expresses his fear and anger toward his enemies, and affirms what his trust in God means: joy, protection, and blessings. Who are your enemies at this moment? Are you praying for them—after taking time to worship and acknowledge God? Don't be afraid to express yourself honestly, but do it in the context of your trust in God.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

1 Chronicles 12:17–18

"David went out to meet them and said, 'If you have come in peace to help me, we are friends. But if you have come to betray me to my enemies when I am innocent, then may the God of our ancestors see it and punish you.'

Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, the leader of the Thirty, and he said,

'We are yours, David!
We are on your side, son of Jesse.
Peace and prosperity be with you,
and success to all who help you,
for your God is the one who helps you.'

So David let them join him, and he made them officers over his troops."


David could not know the true motives of the men when they approached him, so he trusted God and acknowledged his faith to them right away. Amasai spoke for the other men and also acknowledged their faith in David's God. We, too, should not be afraid to acknowledge the part our faith has in what we do. And if we want to work closely with others on an important project, we may need to know their character and whether they share a living faith in God.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Psalm 4:7–8

"You have given me greater joy
than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe."

The joy, peace and security found in trusting God is greater and better than the joy that comes from having abundance. Imagine that! This does acknowledge that joy can come from abundance, but there is an inner abundance that comes from pleasing God and trusting him. You can experience this joy despite being in debt, poor health, or troubling circumstances. Circumstances will change—for better or worse—but God never does. That's why we can trust him through anything.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Proverbs 23:23

"Get the truth and never sell it;
also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment."


What could be clearer direction than these words? Get truth; prize it so much you'd never sell it for anything, because nothing else is worth it. Also, highly prize wisdom gleaned from the Holy Spirit, who shows you how to apply God's Word to your life. Then there's discipline: the ability to sacrifice short-term gain for long-term reward. Finally, there is good judgment (common sense). Prize these and prosper!.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

1 Kings 8:65–66

"Then Solomon and all Israel celebrated the Festival of Shelters in the presence of the LORD our God. A large congregation had gathered from as far away as Lebo-hamath in the north and the Brook of Egypt in the south. The celebration went on for fourteen days in all—seven days for the dedication of the altar and seven days for the Festival of Shelters. After the festival was over, Solomon sent the people home. They blessed the king and went to their homes joyful and glad because the LORD had been good to his servant David and to his people Israel."


This was a high point in Israel's history. The people worshiped God, obeyed him, and then partied! Full of joy, they reveled in God's goodness. Could this be a picture of what true worship is? Communal worship and celebration of God's goodness, marked by joy—how close does your church experience come to this vision?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Proverbs 23:23

"Get the truth and never sell it;
also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment."


What could be clearer direction than these words? Get truth. Prize it so much that you'd never sell it for anything, because nothing else is worth it. Also, prize wisdom highly that has been gleaned from the Holy Spirit showing you how to apply God's Word to your life. Then there's discipline—the ability to sacrifice short-term gain for long-term reward—and finally good judgment (common sense). Prize these and prosper!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Psalm 37:16–19

"It is better to be godly and have little
than to be evil and rich.
For the strength of the wicked will be shattered,
but the LORD takes care of the godly.

Day by day the LORD takes care of the innocent,
and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever.
They will not be disgraced in hard times;
even in famine they will have more than enough."


Here are strong words of assurance that God will take care of those who trust him. "They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough." During these tough times, trust in the God who made these promises. You will survive; even more, you will have "more than enough." Note that this is in the context of "It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich." The godly are content with "little," so it may not take much to have "more than enough."

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Psalm 93:1–5

"The LORD is king! He is robed in majesty.
Indeed, the LORD is robed in majesty and armed with strength.
The world stands firm
and cannot be shaken.

Your throne, O LORD, has stood from time immemorial.
You yourself are from the everlasting past.
The floods have risen up, O LORD.
The floods have roared like thunder;
the floods have lifted their pounding waves.
But mightier than the violent raging of the seas,
mightier than the breakers on the shore—
the LORD above is mightier than these!
Your royal laws cannot be changed.
Your reign, O LORD, is holy forever and ever."


God's majesty and might, his holiness, are extolled here. Take a moment to picture an ocean during a storm. How powerfully the waves crash against the shore! How helpless a ship would be in the midst of such a great storm! God is much more powerful than these things. He is also immovable, fixed forever in holiness. Meditate on God's majesty and might today. Are there difficult things in your life, things that only God can handle? Remind yourself of his might, and believe that his power is available to you to overcome whatever difficulties you face.

Monday, January 28, 2013

1 Kings 8:65–66

"Then Solomon and all Israel celebrated the Festival of Shelters in the presence of the LORD our God. A large congregation had gathered from as far away as Lebo-hamath in the north and the Brook of Egypt in the south. The celebration went on for fourteen days in all—seven days for the dedication of the altar and seven days for the Festival of Shelters. After the festival was over, Solomon sent the people home. They blessed the king and went to their homes joyful and glad because the LORD had been good to his servant David and to his people Israel."


This was a high point in Israel's history. The people worshiped God, obeyed him, and then partied! Full of joy, they reveled in God's goodness. Could this be a picture of what true worship is? Communal worship and celebration of God's goodness, marked by joy—how close does your church experience come to this vision?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Psalm 128:5–6

"May the LORD continually bless you from Zion.
May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live.
May you live to enjoy your grandchildren.
May Israel have peace!"

Turn this into a prayer for blessing. "Lord, please continually bless me from your heavenly throne. May I see my family, my neighborhood, my state, and my country prosper as long as I live. Please help my spouse and me to live to see our grandchildren, and please give us and our country quietness and rest. Help me to do whatever I can to foster peace. Amen." Of course, you can pray this prayer for your loved ones and church as well.

1 Kings 8:41–42, 60

"'In the future, foreigners who do not belong to your people Israel will hear of you. They will come from distant lands because of your name, for they will hear of your great name and your strong hand and your powerful arm. … Then people all over the earth will know that the LORD alone is God and there is no other.'"

Even at this point in Israel's history, Solomon foresees that God has a big plan, not just for Israel but for the whole world. All the nations will fear God and know him as he truly is. This has been God's plan from the beginning, throughout Israel's history, and now through what he's doing in the church. The culmination will be all tribes and peoples worshiping the Lamb of God around the throne of heaven. This is God's passion. Is it yours?

Friday, January 25, 2013

1 Kings 8:58

"'May he give us the desire to do his will in everything and to obey all the commands, decrees, and regulations that he gave our ancestors.'"


Life with God is about having the heartfelt desire to please him. If you don't have this desire at the moment (or at any moment), you can pray for it. This might also apply to particular areas we struggle with, such as forgiving someone. We know we should, yet we don't really want to. First, pray for the desire to obey, to forgive, to serve, or to do whatever the Holy Spirit brings to mind. If we can't immediately obey, we can ask God to change our hearts first.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Acts 8:1, 4

"A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria. … But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went."


The disciples no doubt preferred to be together and enjoy fellowship in peace. However, God prodded them out of their comfort zones because he had some big plans to accomplish through them. God allowed the disciples to be persecuted for a time so that they would scatter and preach the gospel in places they probably wouldn't have traveled to otherwise. When life throws you curveballs, know that there is a purpose in it. And that purpose likely has something to do with communicating the Good News in some way!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Proverbs 28:1

"The wicked run away when no one is chasing them,
but the godly are as bold as lions."

Those who do not follow God, without anything other than themselves to depend on, often live fear-based lives. Who can blame them? It's probably a sign of sanity to be fearful when you don't trust God. In contrast, the godly are bold. They feel they can do anything; they are not afraid to try and fail at things. They do not fear unreal things. They do not run away from problems but boldly look for ways to solve them. These are two very distinct approaches, based on underlying beliefs and overall orientation toward God, with very different emotional outcomes

Saturday, January 19, 2013

1 Kings 8:16

"'From the day I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have never chosen a city among any of the tribes of Israel as the place where a Temple should be built to honor my name. But I have chosen David to be king over my people Israel.'"


This is God's grace: Though he never wanted his people to have any king, he was willing to work through their king anyway. His original goal—that God would be the God of Israel and that they would be his people—did not change. He still wanted them to acknowledge his rule, but he worked with what the people wanted and made it glorious. Having kings over Israel may have been "second best," but look what God did with it! If you feel you've disobeyed and chosen "second best," know that God's grace and power can still make something great of it!

Monday, January 14, 2013

1 Kings 7:48–51

"Solomon also made all the furnishings of the Temple of the LORD: the gold altar; the gold table for the Bread of the Presence; the lampstands of solid gold, five on the south and five on the north, in front of the Most Holy Place; the flower decorations, lamps, and tongs—all of gold; … the doors for the entrances to the Most Holy Place and the main room of the Temple, with their fronts overlaid with gold.

So King Solomon finished all his work on the Temple of the LORD. Then he brought all the gifts his father, David, had dedicated—the silver, the gold, and the various articles—and he stored them in the treasuries of the LORD's Temple."



The greatest kings of the Old Testament were wealthy. They invested their wealth in the things of God—in this case, the Temple. Many people want to create wealth, but for what? Is it to amass the things of this world, or to further God's Kingdom? Solomon, the richest and wisest king, made sure that God got the best he had to offer. He also made sure that his father's gifts were devoted to God. Regardless of how large or small your earthly wealth is, what are you devoting it to?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Proverbs 27:23–27

"Know the state of your flocks,
and put your heart into caring for your herds,
for riches don't last forever,
and the crown might not be passed to the next generation.
After the hay is harvested and the new crop appears
and the mountain grasses are gathered in,
your sheep will provide wool for clothing,
and your goats will provide the price of a field.
And you will have enough goats' milk for yourself,
your family, and your servant girls."


Who or what is your "flock," the source of your wealth? Is it your skills, the people you know, or your knowledge? Whatever it is, tend it well. Keep adding to it. Realize that external events such as economics and politics will change, but you will be protected from the vagaries of outside changes if you have a solid source of provision. Note also that your attention to your source of wealth affects your family and others who depend on you. Know the state of your flocks, and tend them well—with heart!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Psalm 127:2–3

"It is useless for you to work so hard
from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
for God gives rest to his loved ones.

Children are a gift from the LORD;
they are a reward from him."


Ever wonder why verse 3 follows on the heels of a verse about not toiling night and day for food to eat? Many adults work so hard to provide for their families. So, lest we resent our children, here are two reminders. First, we don't need to work so hard, but we do need to trust God. Second, children are a gift from God, not a burden

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Psalm 127:1–2

"Unless the LORD builds a house,
the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the LORD protects a city,
guarding it with sentries will do no good.
It is useless for you to work so hard
from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
for God gives rest to his loved ones."


Do you regularly feel rested, at ease as you go through your day? Or are you anxiously trying to "make ends meet," "get caught up," and "keep all the balls in the air"? This verse suggests that if we're harried and hurried, perhaps we're doing things that we don't necessarily need to do. Only the things of God matter anyway. Today, claim God's rest. Pray about what he wants you to do, and do only that. Trust him, not your own anxious, toiling efforts, to provide for your needs..

Monday, January 7, 2013

Proverbs 27:20

"Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied,
so human desire is never satisfied"


If human desire is never satisfied, how might this truth affect our attitudes toward, say, spending money? Realizing that our desires will never be satisfied means we can say "no" to spending past a sensible point. What about the area of disciplining children? Acknowledging that their material desires will never be satisfied, we don't have to attempt to please them so much in that area. We can accept, and teach our children to accept, that at some point we need to say no. The lie that our desires can be satisfied keeps us lusting. Counter it with this truth, and you curtail lust.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Proverbs 27:19

"As a face is reflected in water,
so the heart reflects the real person"


If the heart reflects the real person, what reveals the heart? Consider applying "the waiter test." Look at how a person treats a waiter. If a waiter spills water on him, how does he react? Does he kindly say, "It's okay, the water will dry," or does he make a big scene? If you're trying to discern someone's character, observe how he or she treats "unimportant" people, especially in moments of frustration. You'll learn a lot about that person's true heart.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

1 Kings 5:13–14

"Then King Solomon conscripted a labor force of 30,000 men from all Israel. He sent them to Lebanon in shifts, 10,000 every month, so that each man would be one month in Lebanon and two months at home."


Finding a balance between work and home is becoming increasingly difficult for both men and women. These verses illustrate a possible healthy pattern: Work one-third of the time and use the rest for home and personal time. In fact, the typical eight-hour work day reflects this balance. Are you overworking?