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Archive for November, 2010

The Wisdom of an Ant

One of the coolest things I’ve found since I started really studying the Bible is how few words it takes to impact me to my core. A simple sentence can make me think, cry, feel convicted, or unbelievably loved. My God is so good to me, He allows me to feel all of those so that I can grow in him.

The sixth chapter of Proverbs is full of little kernels of wisdom. It starts out by telling you that if you verbally commit to something and realize it was a mistake; do not wait to fix it. Go humble yourself – admit your error and beg relief from your neighbor.

Proverbs 6:4 (New International Version)

4 Allow no sleep to your eyes,
   no slumber to your eyelids.

Don’t wait for tomorrow to fix something you know you need to fix today!

Have you ever pondered the industriousness of an ant? They without prompting faithfully prepare themselves for winter. They collect and store preparing for the upcoming season of hardship. Unlike us humans, you rarely see any ant crawling around with bling dripping off them.

You also don’t tend to find them plugging away at their latest toy or electronic device. They spend their time wisely and use their resources wisely.

Proverbs 6:10-11 (New International Version)

10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
   a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief
   and scarcity like an armed man.

Who knew ants were better at living a responsible adult life than I am?

The last part I wanted to point out was actually quite surprising to me. Not in its content, but in the fact that it was there at all, somehow I managed to never see this before.

Proverbs 6:16-19 (New International Version)

16 There are six things the LORD hates,
   seven that are detestable to him:
    17 haughty eyes,
      a lying tongue,
      hands that shed innocent blood,
    18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
      feet that are quick to rush into evil,
    19 a false witness who pours out lies
      and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Yikes! Double yikes! I know for a fact that I have fallen short in a few of those areas. And I am simultaneously shamed and so grateful. Shamed as I have done things that my Lord detests. Grateful that I have been forgiven – even of things He detests.

The one of the seven that I think most would be sort of surprised by is the last one. The Lord is not a fan of drama. He doesn’t look kindly on those that stir things up for dramas sake.

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Now that my babies are all feeling better, and I’m not feeling as ragged, I will continue with my study on Proverbs.

Proverbs 5 is a warning against falling into the temptation of adultery. The overriding idea I got from this passage is that this is not a passive problem. You need to be cautious. Be aware of the situations you are opening yourself up to. Protect yourself and your family from temptation.

Proverbs 5:3 (New International Version)

3 For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
   and her speech is smoother than oil;

 Be on guard, and vigilant in maintaining your path. Keep your fingers out of the cookie jar! The path into sin is a slippery slope indeed. Keep to your own house and be aware that there are dangers waiting to trip you up.

Skipping ahead you see quite a lot of emphasis placed on this particular issue. I think it is emphasized so much because while for many sins there is a clear and definable decision made. Yes, I am going to steal this item. No, I am not going to shoot my neighbor. But the path to infidelity is rarely that clear-cut. It starts with small “innocent” things and builds on itself.

People don’t like discussing this topic much. Perhaps because if they acknowledged or thought about it, they’d find areas where they failed at this? Or maybe it’s just because it takes an effort. And we like being lazy. Honestly, I read this chapter and almost wanted to skip writing about it. It’s not comfortable. But that doesn’t make it any less real.

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Sick babies

Sorry for my lack of posting the last couple days. The stomach flu has hit our household big time! My oldest was home yesterday with the stomach flu, and my son was up all night with it. Sky I am happy to report is feeling much better and back to school. Gavin is staying home today and I am praying this skip Piper.

Not much sleep happening due to everything going on, so this is the verse that is resonating with me today. Hope you all have a blessed day.

Psalm 18:2 (New International Version)

 2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
   my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
   my shield[a] and the horn[b] of my salvation, my stronghold

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Sludge

I already did a post on Proverbs 4 earlier today; some of you may have even read it 🙂

But there was one verse in particular that has been nagging at me ever since. I don’t think it represents the chapter as a whole which is why I didn’t write on it earlier. But it won’t let me go.

Proverbs 4:19 (New International Version)

19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
   they do not know what makes them stumble.

More often than I would like to admit, I have thought to myself “How can that person do that to themselves or their family?” or “Why don’t they just stop?”

Because they can’t see what is tripping them up. They are so mired in their darkness, they can’t see the light or what is keeping them buried in the mess they have made of their lives.

The visual I get is an animal caught in an oil spill. They become so mired in the sludge, so completely covered with oil, they have no idea on how to free themselves or escape.

These people need not only a light showing them the way out but most likely a helping hand as well. I need to do better at seeing people who are struggling in this light. I need to lend a helping hand, even if their hand is dirty. Maybe especially if it is dirty.

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Do You Hear Me?

As a parent of three beautiful babies (see my about me page for a visual) I constantly frequently worry about whether they are taking in what I am trying to teach them. I try to teach them so that as they grow up and go off on their own they will have the wisdom and understanding to stay on the right path.

That is the theme for Proverbs 4. Passing on wisdom to our children and exhorting them to take heed. Remember what I have taught you. Please don’t ignore what I am saying, I promise it is only for your good.

Proverbs 4:1-2 (New International Version)

1 Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction;
   pay attention and gain understanding.
2 I give you sound learning,
   so do not forsake my teaching.

I know it sounds kind of funny, but it almost comforts me to know that parents have been dealing with this all along. I pray that God opens their ears and hearts. I pray that He grants me the wisdom to pass along to them.

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Give It Up Already!

There are so many important reminders in the third book of Proverbs, that I think I am going to have to limit my post to just two.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (New International Version)

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
   and he will make your paths straight.

This has to be one of the most important lessons I think we need to grasp as Christians. At the same time, I think it may be the hardest to actually do. Maybe it is something ingrained into our DNA, or maybe it’s just a side effect of the gift of free will, but we seem to have this need to be in control. We know best. We can fix it. We can do it. Or maybe I should just change all those “we’s” to “I’s”. I too often fail at trusting in the Lord completely. I always fall back to thinking I know the solution. The crazy part is that I know if I just listen to the Lord, the reward will be amazing in so many ways. But I still insist on doing it on my own, in my own way.

Proverbs 3:27-28 (New International Version)

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
   when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
   “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
   when you already have it with you.

Ouch, ouch, and ouch. I am the QUEEN of procrastination. I suck at doing things when it is wise to do them, I always wait. How many times have I put a friend, family member, or just a random person off with the “Well my day is kind of crazy today…?” This one hurts me because I know I have withheld my assistance with a nebulous promise of assistance in a future that is never going to happen.

I had to ask forgiveness for this even as I was writing this. Do you struggle with these two issues as well?

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Digging for Gold

The second chapter of Proverbs discusses some of the benefits of seeking wisdom and understanding. But before I get into some of the benefits, I wanted to spotlight a verse that I found really interesting:

Proverbs 2:4-5 (New International Version)

4 and if you look for it as for silver
   and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
   and find the knowledge of God.

This verse suggests that seeking wisdom and knowledge is an action, not just a sit and wait kind of thing. An action that if we put as much effort into as we would when looking for money or treasures, we will be rewarded greatly. If our desire for knowledge and wisdom equalled our desire for riches, we would be rich indeed.

Proverbs 2:11 (New International Version)

11 Discretion will protect you,
   and understanding will guard you.

This is a huge benefit of wisdom – you will be able to avoid situations that may cause future trouble because you will be able to a.) discern the nature of those around you and b.) understand not only God’s desire for you, but also the situations around you that will circumvent those desires.

So how do you actively seek knowledge and wisdom? In my opinion it boils down to studying the bible and spending time in prayer. May I show the same dedication towards this as I do towards improving my financial situation.

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