Archives For Proverbs

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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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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I’ve been focused lately on living intentionally. My theme this year is “Devotion”, and I’ve already discovered increasing my devotion to Christ is nearly impossible without ordering my days in an intentional way.  Unless I am very specific about how I will choose to spend my time, my time will get spent in ways that in no way reflect my devotion to Christ. At least at this stage of my own walk with God, unstructured time rarely defaults to time spent with Him.

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It’s been both an enlightening and frustrating realization. While I’ve been reading books on living intentionally, it was Francois Fenelon who helped me see how living intentionally is firmly rooted in the pages of God’s Word. Here’s how the Bible demonstrates intentional living through the practice of living in the moment, keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus, and being content with what you have…
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A.W. Tozer once said that “The proud man cannot worship God any more than the proud devil can worship God.” Pride is a relationship killer. When we love someone, we make everything about them. Pride makes everything about us. The only relationship that thrives in the midst of pride is the narcissistic one we have with ourselves.  If we would follow Christ with all of our hearts then we must love as He did (John 15:12). We must be humble as He was. There is no room for pride in our relationship with God. We’ve got to let go of every feeling of self-sufficiency and rely fully on His character and promise of provision (Matthew 6:25-34).

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When Jesus gave us what is known as “The Lord’s Prayer”, He gave us much more than a simple model prayer.  Within these few short verses are the keys to God’s will for each of our lives. If you’ve ever wondered how you should pray, it’s in there. If you’ve ever wondered what God’s will is for your life, it’s in there as well. Want to know how you should treat others? Jesus articulated it in His prayer.  Are you curious about how to have a right relationship with your money? You guessed it, it’s right there in the Lord’s Prayer. It’s a short passage, so let’s break it down piece by piece.

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In the trials of life it often seems that God is far away. We wonder where He is in the midst of our pain, as if He wandered away and left us to fend for ourselves. The truth is that God never leaves us. Because He indwells us, it is impossible for Him to leave those who have believed in Him and committed their lives to Him. We are one, and nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). The Bible states that God knows the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30). As Steven Furtick points out in his book, Crash the Chatterbox, “You can’t count someone’s hairs, one by one, from a distance.” God is always close, no matter your circumstances.

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