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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.

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.

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?

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.

Guide to Living for Dummies

I have reviewed the results of my poll I put out to ya’ll (and by the way, how fun was that?) and eeking by with just one more vote is Proverbs. I must admit to being excited about studying this book. And the first chapter explains why.

Proverbs is the Guide to Living for Dummies. And no I’m not calling anyone dumb; I was just trying to be funny which quite possibly was ruined by my need to over explain it 🙂

In the first seven verses it explains why Solomon is writing this book and what we should be getting out of it. So if you ever needed someone to break it down for you, I suppose this is the book for you. I can’t wait to reveal all the little nuggets to be found in here.

Proverbs 1:2 (New International Version)

 2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
   for understanding words of insight;

Oohhh sign me up for some of that! I want to be wise. I want to be able to provide wise counsel to others. I would love to have better insight and understanding of the Bible. And it’s not that I think I’m not smart enough, but to me wisdom and intelligence are two separate things that don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

The very first lesson is on not letting sinners drag you into their mess. Now I know we are all sinners, but I suppose the difference for these purposes would be those that don’t know God and actively seek out sin vs. those who know God but are human and still make mistakes. If someone is “bad news”, and we all those type of people somehow connected to our lives, be aware of the danger. Don’t follow them into the murkiness of sin just to avoid a confrontation.

The last part of the first chapter discusses the downfall that is sure to come to those that deny or turn away from wisdom.

Proverbs 1:32-33 (New International Version)

32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
   and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
   and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

That is a serious warning to us. I hope that I will always heed the voice of wisdom and don’t just settle for good enough.

This is not necessarily what I had planned to write, but I am pretty excited so I thought I’d share. As you know I have been considering looking for a new church for some time now. Today we as a family decided to check out a new church in our area.

And it was pretty cool. It is a smaller church, but my husband says it reminds him of the church he grew up in. The message and worship were really good and all of the people were so friendly and welcoming. The pastor came and welcomed us personally, which I thought was really nice. And for the first time in a long time, I actually felt totally comfortable in church. Which is kind of crazy considering we didn’t know anyone there.

We are all going to go and try it out again next week. And can I say how nice it is to have Clif going with me? I am really hopeful about this and look forward to seeing what happens in the future.

I will leave you with my favorite part of the service and a new daily prayer:

Ephesians 1:17-19

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

What to Read Next…

Hey all! Was hoping you guys could help me pick out a book to read (though technically I don’t think it will be the next one as I am starting that in the morning). Plus I’ve always wanted to try the poll feature. So please cast your vote! Don’t be shy!