Persevere =>> Be Rewarded… – PROVERBS 3:33-35 [7 of 7]

They see what I do, but they don’t perceive its meaning.  They hear my words, but they don’t understand.  So they will not turn from their sins and be forgiven.  –  Mark 4:12

————————————————————————————–

32         Such wicked people are detestable to the Lord,
         but He offers His friendship to the godly.

33     The Lord curses the house of the wicked,
         but He blesses the home of the upright.

34       The Lord mocks the mockers
         but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.

35      The wise inherit glory and honor,
        but fools are put to shame!

Although this Proverb is only 35 verses long, Solomon packs in a ton of practical/applicable principles.

bricks

  • In the first few verses of Proverbs 3:1-10, Solomon talks about cause and effect relationships — (See posts referencing these verses —  http://wp.me/p5nZpi-87, http://wp.me/p5nZpi-89, http://wp.me/p5nZpi-8z).
  • He then moves on to talk about God’s loving discipline, verses 11-12 —                                             (See post — http://wp.me/p5nZpi-9v).
  • And then to showing the benefits of seeking and following Wisdom, verses 13-20  —                 (See post — http://wp.me/p5nZpi-av).
  • In verses 21-32, Solomon gives a number of warnings —                                                                (See post — http://wp.me/p5nZpi-b6).
  • And lastly, in verses 32-35, above, Solomon wraps up Proverbs 3 with BUT(s), (in bold print).

After all the don’t(s) that we saw in the previous verses, Solomon uses these last four verses to reassure God-followers that He does care about them. That He understands that those who follow His ways may be challenged and ridiculed.  BUT, those who persevere, will be rewarded with…

  • God’s friendship –  v. 32
  • blessing over their home (family, marriage, relationships, finances, health, etc.) –  v. 33
  • favor (with others) – v. 34
  • glory and honor – v. 35

finishline1-1024x640

Choose today to be among those who will one day say,  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.  And now the prize awaits me–the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to His appearing”.- 2 Timothy 4:7-8

  • Take a look at the other tabs in the menu for encouragement and inspiration as you continue to build a foundation!!
  • It you are viewing with the mobile version, scroll down to the bottom of this page for more info and fun pics 🙂

Advertisements

Which Way to Turn? Which Way to Turn??? – PROVERBS 3:21-32 [6]

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bear with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2

 

21  My child, DON’T lose sight of common sense (applying experience, knowledge) and                  discernment ( good judgement based on experience and knowledge = wisdom)
Hang on to them,
22    For they will…
        1. Refresh your soul.
            They are like jewels on a necklace.
23    2. They keep you safe on your way,
        3. Your feet will not stumble.
24    4. You can go to bed without fear;
        5. you will lie down and sleep soundly.

25  You DON’T need be afraid of sudden disaster
      or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, for the
26   1. Lord is your security.
       2. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.

27   DON’T withhold good from those who deserve it
       when it’s in your power to help them.

28   If you can help your neighbor now, DON’T say,
       “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”

29  DON’T plot harm against your neighbor,
      for those who live nearby trust you.

30  DON’T pick a fight without reason,
      when no one has done you harm.

31  DON’T envy the oppressor (someone who dominates or inflicts stress on someone)
       or copy their ways.
32  Such wicked people are detestable to the Lord, but
      1. He offers His friendship to the godly.

In the above verses you will see a series of DON’T(s), and the results of heeding those warnings. (See words in bold print for DON’T(s), and underlined numbers for the results).

Remember these principles when faced with making a decision that falls into the “gray” area.  Recalling AND Applying God’s Word will clear the “debris”, and enable you to see the “wise” choice.  (As you may notice, the “wise” choice is in the murky water.  Look closely.   It’s often hard to see until it’s been filtered out with God’s Truth, leaving the “wise” choice clearly visible.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                  glasses1

                                    grayarea                                                              

Now that we know all the positive results that come from following God’s guidance, hopefully the next time we find ourselves at a crossroads, we’ll have a good idea which path to choose.

                                    crossroad                                      be lucky tote good bet idea

  • Take a look at the other tabs in the menu for encouragement and inspiration as you continue to build a foundation!!
  • It you are viewing with the mobile version, scroll down to the bottom of this page for more info and fun pics 🙂

Wisdom – Pointing the Way —> PROVERBS 3:13-20 [5]

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. – Psalm 118:8

 

13   Joyful is the person who finds wisdom,
    the one who gains understanding.
14  For wisdom is more profitable than silver,
    and her wages are better than gold.
15  Wisdom is more precious than rubies;
    nothing you desire can compare with her.
16  She offers you long life in her right hand,
    and riches and honor in her left.
17  She will guide you down delightful paths;
    all her ways are satisfying.
18  Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
    happy are those who hold her tightly.

19  By wisdom the Lord founded the earth;
    by understanding he created the heavens.
20  By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth,
    and the dew settles beneath the night sky.

In verses 13-18 we see the value of wisdom emphasized and reemphasized.  (See words in bold print).  The benefits of wisdom are all fantastic!!!  Seeking and following wisdom enables us to navigate life.

It is like having a personal tour guide, pointing the way.    6161659-tour-guide

Wisdom is so powerful, verses 19-20 says, it was By wisdom and understanding the Lord founded the earth, and created the heavens.

                                     earth            heavens

 

We could compare wisdom to binary code.  To those who don’t know what it is or how to apply it, it simply looks like a bunch of ones and zeros.  But for those who “get it”, and “apply it”, the possibilities are endless.

                        stock-footage-a-footage-of-binary-code          BillGates-Microsoftb

  • Take a look at the other tabs in the menu for encouragement and inspiration as you continue to build a foundation!!
  • It you are viewing with the mobile version, scroll down to the bottom of the page for more info and fun pics 🙂


To Punish, or Not to Punish, That is the Question: – PROVERBS 3:11-12 [4]

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. – Psalm 28:7

 

11 My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline,
    and don’t be upset when He corrects you.
12 For the Lord corrects those He loves,
    just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.

Reading about discipline in verses 11 and 12 can make some of us cringe.  cringe That’s because discipline tends to emit a negative vibe, and is often used interchangeably with punishment.  Discipline, however, is quite different from punishment.

Punishment as defined by Merriam-Webster, is to impose a penalty on for a fault, offense, or violation. To make (someone) suffer for a crime or for bad behavior.

Discipline as defined by Dictionary.com, is training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement. An activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill.

Discipline’s purpose is to teach and train. And how it’s administered greatly affects the results.

We see in verse 12, the Lord corrects those He loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.  These two words, in bold print, are much different from words like – who he wants to control, wants to show who’s boss, wants to express his anger towards

Discipline, is correction that comes from a position of love, with the purpose of instructing and training.  If, however, correction comes from a negative, angry, or vengeful position, it’s not discipline, it’s punishment.

At this point, you might be thinking to yourself, “isn’t there a place for punishment?”  Of course there is.  It’s necessary for the police to punish people for crimes they commit, and the military to punish people who threaten the safety of its country’s citizens.  But it also might surprise you to know that punishment can be used alongside discipline, and still come from a position of love.

I’ll use an example to illustrate:  A child is playing with his football in the house, and breaks mom’s vase.

Punishment =  Mom yells at the child, and sends her to her room without dinner (making child suffer for their disobedience behavior).  Observe the child’s posture in each of these pictures.                                                                                                                                                                                                             6-kid-in-trouble-not-listening            girl getting yelled at          arthur

Discipline =  Mom reiterates, to the child, the fact that playing in the house with a football can cause damage, and is evidenced by the broken vase (teaching).  Observe the child’s posture in this picture.                  kid vase mom

Discipline & Punishment =  Mom reiterates, to the child, the fact that playing in the house with a football can cause damage, and is evidenced by the broken vase (teaching), therefore, the child is responsible to replace the vase (imposed penalty).

                                  kid vase mom                 holding money

It is not unusual that we get upset when reprimanded. It’s a natural reaction. If it weren’t, Solomon would have had no need to mention it. Yet he said in verse 11, don’t be upset when correctedThe key to being open to correction is whether or not the one disciplining you is purposed to teach you, help and guide you, or is purposed to control, dominate, and “make you pay”. There is a big difference between these two approaches, and how the recipient will receive and respond.

No one likes being called on the carpet.  But when discipline comes from a position of love, even if it irks you initially, accept and appreciate that someone cares about you, wants to keep you safe, and “on track”.  So comply, humble yourself, and repentant (change direction) and recognize they have our best interest in mind.

I’ve mentioned in the above example, the response of the one being disciplined.  However, put yourself in the position of the one disciplining/punishing.  What is your goal?  To control by force and feel “big and strong”, or to have the recipient learn from the experience, and next time make the “wise choice” ?                                                                                                                                                                                     wisechoice                clipart-two-thumbs-up-happy-smiley-emoticon-256x256-eec6

  • Take a look at the other tabs in the menu for encouragement and inspiration as you continue to build a foundation!!
  • It you are viewing with the mobile version, scroll down to the bottom of the page for more info and fun pics 🙂

 

Take a Step, Make a Choice, THEN… – PROVERBS 3:7-10 [3]

The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth earth-picture-clipart-image  in order to strengthen those whose hearts   Red heart in woman and man hands, on green background   are fully committed to him. – 2 Chronicles 16:9

 

7   DON’T be impressed with your own wisdom.
     Instead, (IF you) fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
8   (THEN) you will gain renewed health and vitality.
9   (IF you) Honor the Lord with your wealth
     and with the best part of everything you produce.
10  THEN He will fill your barns with grain,
       and your vats will overflow with good wine.

 

Solomon continues IF/THEN comparisons in verses 7-10.

Solomon begins verse 7 with a warning. Don’t be impressed with our own wisdom.  I like how the New International Version (NIV) puts it – Don’t be wise in your own eyes.  Or the New Living Translation (NLT) – Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.                                3 wise monkeys3

Instead, as we read on in verse 7, we’re encouraged to take an action step and make a choice to turn away from evil.

The result of making a conscious decision to follow God’s ways, (THEN) verse 8, is renewal.  Renewal is defined as replacing or repairing something that is worn-out, run-down, or broken. The principle is that when we choose to turn away from evil, our lives will be renewed.  Our health and vitality (energy) are restored and replenished – we get a new lease on life.                                                                          Congestive-heart-failure-patient-gets-new-lease-on-life

God has not left us alone to navigate life.  God, in His grace, has made available wise counselors, friends, internet, churches, etc. to us.  He’s also made available to us an instruction manual, a “treasure” map  –  the Bible.

God loves people so much, not only did He give his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16, but through His daily provisions, which often go unnoticed or taken for granted. He wants to remove the guess-work and the groping around in the dark from our daily living and interactions.  Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!  –  Mark 4:9  (We hear with our ears, but there is a deeper kind of listening with the mind and heart that is necessary in order to gain spiritual understanding.  –  Life Application Bible)                                                                           heartheadphones

Verses 9 and 10 give us a way to take action and honor God.  It is our way of saying thanks, and acknowledging that all we have has been given to us from God.  Our finances, our talents, our intelligence, everything that makes us who we are. What’s the use of saying you have faith if you don’t prove it by your actions?  So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith.  Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is not faith at all — it is dead and useless.  –  James 2:14,17

When we share with others, when we offer a kind/comforting word, when we hear of a need and meet it, etc., all these actions honor God.  For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.  –  Matthew 25:35-36
And then, it is as though God says “thank you” right back to us for honoring Him.           THEN He will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.  –  v.10

Thanksgiving and blessings, thanksgiving and blessings, on and on, and on.
thanksleadstogiving

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.   –   2 Corinthians 9:6-8

  • Take a look at the other tabs in the menu for encouragement and inspiration as you continue to build a foundation!!
  • It you are viewing with the mobile version, scroll down to the bottom of the page for more info and fun pics 🙂

Keep Your Foot Out of Your Mouth…. – PROVERBS 3:5-6 [2]

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

 

 Proverbs 3

5    (IF you) Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
(IF you) do not depend on your own understanding.
6    (IF you) Seek His will in all you do,
THEN He will show you which path to take.                                                                                             

Verses 5 and 6 have always brought me encouragement and comfort.  In particular, the second “If” statement in verse 5,  warning  –  DO NOT depend on our own understanding.  Even now, as I write this verse down, I pause to consider the practical application of this principle.  Let’s use an example to illustrate.

Have you ever found yourself judging someone?  Sure, you may think that you are justified because you know this or that, or heard so-and-so say _______, and they act this way or that way, therefore, you can conclude _________.  If you are anything like me, I’m sure there has been more than one time you’ve put your foot in your mouth.   foot-in-mouth   Awwwwww….                          I doubt, however, anyone thought you were “cute”.  Perhaps you’ve had this baby’s expression after thinking, “What did I just say?  What did I just do?  What was I thinking?”  I bet you wish you could have a “do-over”.  Unfortunately, once our words, attitudes, judgments, etc. are “out there”, there are no “do-overs”.  What if we were to think of our life and other’s lives like jigsaw puzzles? Maybe then we could better understand and apply this principle.

Maybe you know someone as an acquaintance, as a co-worker, as a student we pass in the hall at school, etc.  We know “surface” information about them.  The color of their hair, the clothes they like to wear, the music they like to listen to, hobbies they enjoy, etc.                                                       Just the border of a puzzle.                                                                                                                                      border puzzle

Then there are the people who we know quite a bit better.  We’d call them our close friends, our family, our kindred spirits, etc.  These people have allowed us into the deeper parts of their lives.  Into places few people will ever be welcomed.  Their hopes and dreams, their frustrations, concerns, their values, their likes and dislikes, etc.                                                                               The border of the puzzle plus many internal pieces.

                                                  puzzle loose pieces

No matter how close we are to another person, they will never completely know us, nor will we ever completely know them.  In fact there are aspects we don’t even know about ourselves.  Things that haven’t yet been revealed to us.  All of our talents, characteristics, gifts, where we’ll be in the next 10 years, etc.

                                                   complete puzzle with X

         
There will always be a missing piece(s) in “the puzzle”.

                                                stock-footage-final-puzzle-piece-falls-into-place-d-animation

People’s lives are complicated.  We see only what we see.  But there is a lot more going on in people’s lives, more than we’ll ever know. We only know what they choose to share with us.  Basically, as the saying goes, we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Girl before a door

Therefore, (IF you) Seek His will in all you do, THEN He will show you which path to take. –  v.6

Only God knows every nook and cranny that makes me me.  He has examined my heart and knows everything about me.  –  Psalm 139:1  –  For more info about God’s love for you, check out https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+139%3A1-16&version=NLT

(IF you) Depend on God, seek Him, asking Him for direction, and the words to say.  (THEN) you’ll keep your feet on the ground, and out of your mouth.  🙂

                                                feet in sand

  • Take a look at the other tabs in the menu for encouragement and inspiration as you continue to build a foundation!!
  • It you are viewing with the mobile version, scroll down to the bottom of the page for more info and fun pics 🙂

 

 

 

IF ____ , THEN ______… – PROVERBS 3:1-4 [1]

What you say flows from what is in your heart. – Luke 6:45

 

1   My child, never forget the things I have taught you.
    Store my commands in your heart.
2   IF you do this, (THEN) you will live many years,
    and your life will be satisfying.
(IF you) Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!                                                                                  (IF you) Wear them like a necklace, as a reminder.
(IF you) Write them deep within your heart.
4  THEN you will find favor with both God and people,
and you will earn a good reputation.

In the first few verses of Proverbs Chapter 3, Solomon utilizes cause and effect.  If you do ____, then _____ will be the result.  You’ll notice in bold type, and in (  ), if/then that I’ve added for emphasizing the cause/effect relationships in verse 1-4.

From the opening of chapter 3 we’re reminded – NEVER forget the things I’ve taught you, store them in your heart.

Verse 2  –  IF you follow these principles (throughout the Book of Proverbs and the Bible)
THEN you’ll live long and have a satisfying life (you’ll be content, fulfilled)
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. – Matthew 6:33

Verse 3  –  we see two particular character traits mentioned, loyalty and kindness.  A character trait is a distinguishing factor(s) that is specific to an individual.
How do we recognize character traits in people?  Their attitudes and beliefs are reflected in their actions.
A loyal person is someone another person/people can count on. They are faithful.  As in the example of a husband and wife in marriage, or an employee to an employer, or a friend to a friend.
A kind person is someone who looks out for best interests in another. Like a big sister making sure her little brother crosses the street safely, helping a kid who dropped their books in the hall, or holding a door open for someone.

Verse 3 goes on to say that our attitudes/beliefs are demonstrated by the actions we take.       Wear loyalty and kindness like a necklace.  An outward sign. attitudes_custom_monogram_motivational_necklace-r814eece76af544f18b6e6349f3eb5711_fkokr_8byvr_324                          Write them deep within your heart.   woman-holding-the-bible-to-heart    Internalize them.                                        Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think – Romans 12:2

We’ve all heard the saying, actions speak louder than words. Not only do actions speak louder than words, but actions actually speak/reflect our internal attitudes/beliefs.  The words, feelings, and thoughts that no one sees or hears.  Yet, as hard as we may try to suppress our innermost attitudes/beliefs, our actions are acting like a megaphone announcing the “hidden” internal world of our hearts.    megaphone

But, IF we follow Solomon’s principle in verse 3, THEN, v.4, we’ll find favor with God, and favor with people, and earn a good reputation.     A win-win!!    thumbs up

  • Take a look at the other tabs in the menu for encouragement and inspiration as you continue to build a foundation!!
  • It you are viewing with the mobile version, scroll down to the bottom of the page for more info and fun pics 🙂

How Does a Principle Differ From a Fact? – PROVERBS – Introduction 3 – [3]

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. – Isaiah 16:3

We may think that Proverbs are quick, clever, one-liners, and some of them are.  Designed to help us remember important ideas, they have a cause and effect feel. Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom – Proverbs 11:1 or If you keep your mouth shut, you will stay out of trouble. – Proverbs 21:23

We will read these short sentences throughout much of the Book of Proverbs, except the first nine chapters which are in paragraph form. You will also notice that the proverbs don’t build to any particular thought.  Sometimes you will see from one verse to the next different ideas, and other times you’ll see them relating loosely to the previous or post verse.

The idea behind Proverbs is to understand principles, vs a fact …God is love – 1 John 4:8.  A principle is defined by Merriam Webster as, a moral rule or belief that helps you know what is right and wrong and that influences your actions, a law or fact of nature that explains how something works or why something happens.

The poor plead for mercy; the rich answer with insults. – Proverbs 18:23
Poor can mean financially poor, or people who are confused, seeking, etc. People in these circumstances are often more likely to humble themselves because they don’t see themselves as self-sufficient. The rich, in wealth, education, freedoms, etc. see themselves as self-sufficient.  They don’t “need” from others. Therefore, see no need to humble themselves.

Proverbs are not to be taken as literal translations.  For example, Proverbs 14:1, A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.  This does not mean that a woman is going to literally use her bare hands to pull the shingles off the roof and pull apart the framing of a house.

We will begin reading through the Book of Proverbs, seeking to understand the principles God has given, to help us effectively navigate through life.