Archives For Proverbs

There is much pain and loneliness in the world. Every day people disappoint us. It’s difficult to keep your head up and keep going. It seems so easy to forget how much God loves us; we forget this is the only thing that matters. We love Jesus because He first loved us.

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When we come to understand who He is and what He has done for us, we cannot help but love Him more than we love anyone or anything else. None compare to Jesus. When we live in this truth, the disappointments and discouragements of this world begin to matter less. Only Jesus is worthy of our affection.

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I was recently intrigued by a thought passing through my brain: “The excess I have belongs to those in need.” It’s not the most comfortable thought to consider. I like a little excess. I appreciate the peace and comfort it affords. Yet how can I hold onto more than I need when there are those in the world suffering in abject poverty? One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Proverbs 30:8 which says, “Give me just enough for today.”

our excess,comfort,security,faith,commitment,priorities,retirement,Proverbs 30:8,give me just enough for today,Matthew 6:9-12,our daily bread,Luke 12:16-21,store up treasures in barns,Acts 2:44-45,shared with anyone in need,had all things in common,Leviticus 23:22,don't glean to edges,Luke 18:18-23,rich young ruler

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The author states if he has too much, he will take it all for granted and forget God’s provision in his life. If he has too little, he may be tempted to steal to acquire what he needs. The sweet spot is having just enough for today. Any excess should be shared with others.

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I have long been fascinated with Stoicism and am often intrigued by quotes from thought leaders of the movement. I often find an interesting application of Stoic principles in my own discipleship quest. One quote I read recently, from Marcus Aurelius, said, “Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.” This mimics – and is no doubt inspired by – Proverbs 23:7, which says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

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What we think about defines who we are. You can’t think selfish thoughts and be an unselfish person. The brain doesn’t work in such a manner. Every thought burns a new neural pathway. The more we think the same thought or way, the deeper the pathway gets grooved into our psyche. We do indeed become dyed by the thoughts we entertain.

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There are days, when I take the time to notice the blessings bestowed upon me, I cannot help but be overwhelmed. Looking around the world, it’s ridiculous how incredibly blessed I am. Chances are, if you are reading this blog, your circumstances are similar. We have much for which to be thankful. To our detriment, it seems we spend far more time complaining about what we don’t have than allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed with what we do.

overwhelmed,humility,blessings,generosity,unselfishness,I Kings 17:1-7,fed by ravens,Exodus 16:14-20,manna from Heaven,Proverbs 30:8,9,give me just enough for today,Matthew 6:26,God feeds birds,Matthew 25:31-46,seep and goats

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For starters, if we have Jesus, what else could we possibly need? Anything other than Christ is just a temporary salve for a temporary wound. We are made complete in Jesus. Yet, God didn’t stop with the most incredible blessing ever. He continues to pour out His goodness into our lives.

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Proverbs 10:19 says, “When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise.” As someone who writes thousands of words each week, this is especially relevant and convicting to me. However, you don’t have to be a writer to need to learn this lesson. If we don’t measure our words, odds are we’re going to say things dishonoring to God, hurtful to others, and regretful to ourselves. Usually, it will be all the above.

measure your words,kingdom of God,God's Kingdom,glorify God,words,tame the tongue,encourage others,James 3:5-9,no one can tame the tongue,Ephesians 4:29-32,only what is good for building up others,Proverbs 10:19,let your words be few,James 3:2,words cause you to stumble,James 1:19,be slow to speak

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Jesus’s brother James warned our tongues could not be tamed and could start great, destructive fires (James 3:5-9). Paul instructed us to only speak words of encouragement, never saying derogatory or inflammatory things (Ephesians 4:29-32). In a world enamored with social media, it has never been more important to measure your words.

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I have had the concern of being overly repetitious in my writing here. Being honest, it seems as if I continue to circle around a few ideas, putting what I hope is a fresh spin on them each time. Yet when I contemplate it, I come to a simple point. As long as I’m still struggling with it, I’m going to continue to write about it! I’m going to follow the advice of Ken Blanchard, one of my early mentors. He said the three keys to learning were repetition, repetition, and repetition.

nuances of following Jesus,God's will,mission,love,character of God,discipleship,Proverbs 16:18,pride goes before a fall

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Living the life of a disciple is simple. Do what Jesus did, say what Jesus said, and love like Jesus loved. Do those things and you will be a true follower of Christ.

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God’s love and mercy for us comes free of charge. We can’t do anything to deserve it any more or any less. The fact is we don’t deserve it at all. Still, the love of God is such He gives it to us anyway. We cannot work harder to be more deserving or earn more favor. He has already given everything on our behalf. Regardless of what we do or don’t do, He sees us as having unsurpassable worth and loves us unconditionally.

your relationship with God,God relationship,Jesus relationship,love,commitment,priorities,Psalm 139:7-12,where can I hide from God,you are there,Psalm 119:151,God is near,Hebrews 13:5,I will never leave you,Deuteronomy 31:6,never forsake you,Proverbs 18:24,closer than a brother,love,selfishness

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No matter how much we may want it to be otherwise, none of our efforts will change these facts. However, when it comes to our relationship with Christ, we have a very direct influence on how close we are and how much our lives look like Jesus to those on the outside looking in.

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I once read our excess money is given to us to share with others. This is something I’ve tried to incorporate into my own life because I feel there is good Biblical precedence for it. Early Christ followers shared all they had with each other (Acts 4:32-35). This seems to go even beyond simply giving away our excess. In the Old Testament, God gave laws commanding people to not harvest the edges of their fields so the poor could come and get some food for their families (Leviticus 23:22).

giving away our excess,wealth,hoarding,generosity,tithe,tithing,John 10:10,Luke 12:16-21,Proverbs 30:7-9

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Jesus told us not to hoard our wealth (Luke 12:16-21). The next question I generally get when discussing this is, “How do I determine how much is excess?” To me, this question is always the result of a scarcity mindset.

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Jesus said to pray for your enemies (Matthew 5:44). I have a hard enough time making time to pray for my friends and family, so praying for my enemies has rarely made it high onto my priority list. I admit there was a certain sly satisfaction in knowing my prayers could heap piles of burning coals onto their heads (Proverbs 25:21-22). That’s more what I typically have in mind when I think about my enemies!

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Still, Jesus said if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. He didn’t say some of His commandments. His words certainly imply we keep them all. Thus, you must learn to pray for your enemies, and I must learn to pray for mine.

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It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done. God can and will still use you if you let Him.  The Bible tells us even though we fall seven times, we can still get back up (Proverbs 24:16). Too many people use the failures of the past to disqualify them from the victories in their future.  If you are still breathing, God can still use you.

Not dead yet,building God's Kingdom,Kingdom of God,not too late,never too late,God's not done,though a man falls seven times,Proverbs 24:16,get up get going,never too old,only this moment matters

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No one is too low or too damaged to build the Kingdom of God. We limit ourselves by thinking God could never use someone who has done the things we have done. Since we can’t stop sinning, we think God has surely turned His back and run the other way. But these are just lies Satan loves to tell us.

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