God – Keeping Sexual Purity “Real” – PROVERBS 5 – [6]

God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.  Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor…  –  1 Thessalonians 4:3-4

————————————————————————

15 Drink water from your own well—
    share your love ONLY with your wife.
16 Why spill the water of your springs in the streets,
    having sex with just anyone?
17 You should reserve it for yourselves.
    Never share it with strangers.

18 Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.
    Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.
    Let her breasts satisfy you always.
    May you always be captivated by her love.
20 Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman,
    or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?

Solomon doesn’t hold anything back in these next few verses of Proverbs 5.  Can you believe this is God giving us these intimate/detailed guidelines?

That’s our Creator.    Smiley-face-1600x1200-wallpaper-775678.jpg

He tells it like it is.  He keeps it real.  He knows our hearts, He knows all people, No one needs to tell him what mankind is really like. – John 2:24-25, He knows our weaknesses.  He warns us because He loves us and wants to protect us.

Although He doesn’t force us to choose His way, He gave people freewill. He doesn’t want us to feel hopeless and confused.                                                                                                                                                  confused

The promise God gave the Israelites, 3,000+ years ago, is true for us today, as well.  Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, (pleading, begging, my add) that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!  –  Deuteronomy 30:19   

                           life or death    

What a powerful and hopeful verse!!

God wants us to be aware that our actions have consequences, both positive and negative.

  • Would I be a good parent if I didn’t tell my children that “doing” drugs is harmful to themselves and others?
  • Would I be a good parent if I told my children that having sex outside of marriage is nothing more than a “good” time, with no physical or emotional repercussions?
  • Would I be a “good” parent if I simply let the culture drive my children’s decisions, so they could experience “real life”?

If we, sinful people, know how to give good gifts (protection and warnings, my add) to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him (who follow Him, my add).  –  Matthew 7:11

We might not want to believe this, but we’ve all experienced the fact that we can’t change other people.  Even if the advice, support, and guidance we’re giving them is right on target, some people would rather touch the fire to be sure it’s hot, rather than listening and heeding the advice of those who have already been burned.

                   burned hand

 As Solomon writes in the Book of Ecclesiastes, History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. There’s nothing new under the sun. –  Ecclesiastes. 1:9

I urge and remind myself, and others –

DON’T just listen to God’s word.  DO what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.  –  James 1:22

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Are You Attempting to “Do Life” on Your Own???? – PROVERBS 4 [1 OF 1]

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

___________________________________________

Click on this link http://biblehub.com/nlt/proverbs/4.htm to read Proverbs 4.

Many of the verses may seem similar to what we’ve learned in Proverbs 1-3, (See Categories in sidebar to read previous posts).

I’ve highlighted a few key verses from this chapter below.

 

6   (IF YOU) DON’T turn your back on wisdom,

              turn-from-god                                    

      (THEN) for she will protect you                                                                               

                          keep-calm-and-i-ll-protect-you

       (IF YOU) Love her, and (THEN) she will guard you.

                  angelssurrounding

  Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
     And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.

8   IF you prize wisdom, (THEN) she will make you great.
     (IF YOU) Embrace her, and (THEN) she will honor you.

  guy with trophy                       boy hugging bible

14  DON’T do as the wicked do, and                                                                                                    DON’T follow the path of evildoers.
15  DON’T even think about it;
      DON’T go that way. Turn away and keep moving.

                                         guy walking

18  The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
       which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.
19  BUT the way of the wicked is like total darkness.
     They have no idea what they are stumbling over. (They don’t even realize that they are on a           destructive path because the path is not lit with knowledge and guidance from God’s Word)

              car-on-dark-country-road          VS.        lighted path

23  Guard your heart above all else,
      for it determines the course of your life.   

                         castle with heart

26   Mark out (set goals, have a plan) a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path.
27  DON’T get sidetracked; (following the latest fads or people’s “great” ideas)
keep your feet from following evil.

                       straightpath

There is no good reason for us to attempt to “do life” on our own.  God loves us and wants us to have a rich and satisfying life – John 10:10

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – Hebrews 4:1

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Should I Follow Any People??? – PROVERBS 2:20-22 [5 of 5]

You are a person of God; so run from all these evil things.  Johnny Depp (center)     Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance (continue doing something even though it may be difficult), and gentleness. – 1 Timothy 6:11

 

20 Follow the steps of good men instead,  Following your steps-HigRes-004_0
    and stay on the paths of the righteous.
21 For only the godly will live in the land,
    and those with integrity will remain in it.
22 But the wicked will be removed from the land,
    and the treacherous will be uprooted.  – Proverbs 2:20-22

The title for Proverbs Chapter 2, as seen in many Bible translations, is the Benefits of Wisdom.

Wisdom’s purpose is to guide and teach us.  As mentioned in the introduction of Proverbs, http://wp.me/p5nZpi-1j, Proverbs are principles, not promises.

A principle is a statement telling someone of a likely/probable outcome.  Example = “if you play with fire you’re going to get burned.”
fire

A promise is a statement telling someone of a definite outcome.  Example = “if you put your bare hand into the fire, your skin will be burned.”
burned hand

Thankfully, God has given us the ultimate travel guide, The Bible.  And additionally, He has given us godly/wise people to help us along our journey.  Following their steps, verse 20 – Follow the steps of good men instead, and stay on the paths of the righteous, can help us avoid the bumps and “potholes” of life.  car bumps                                                                                             They might offer wise advice saying, “when I was younger, I thought it was ok to tell my friend just what I felt about them.  But then I realized I didn’t have all the pieces of the puzzle when I spouted off.  I felt so dumb at that point, and wished I could have taken back the nasty words I said, but it was too late.  I tried speaking my mind, and I should have remember the saying, we have one mouth and two ears, so listen twice as much as you talk.”

Advice given to us by a godly, trusted, life-experienced person   –    priceless                                                            

Let wisdom enter your heart. Let knowledge fill you with joy. Allow wise choices to watch over you, and understanding to keep you safe.  –  Proverbs 2:10-1, http://wp.me/p5nZpi-6P

9

Wisdom in Available to You, RIGHT NOW, TODAY!!! – PROVERBS 2:7-11 [2]

For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield. – Psalm 5:12

 

7    He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
8 He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to him.
9 Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,
and you will find the right way to go.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will fill you with joy.
11 Wise choices will watch over you.
Understanding will keep you safe.

Wisdom is unique. It not only gives everyone have the opportunity to receive it, but it’s benefits are far-reaching.  With wisdom we get God’s protection, see words in bold print.

We get understanding, making the “wise” path clear to us. No more confusion.  Choosing a Path

We’ll have direction, and know which path to choose among the various options.   choosing right path

Here’s the key — Although we’ll know which path to take, it will be up to us, as we exercise our free will, to choose the “wise”/God directed path. Don’t just listen to God’s Word, DO what it says. – James 1:22

Verses 10-11, tell us that when wisdom enters our heart, the knowledge we’ll receive will —

  • Fill us with joy
  • Watch over us, and
  • Keep us safe.

Wisdom is not something I hope for sometime in the future.  It is a gift that is available to me right now.  A gift, should I choose to accept and open it, will yield abundant blessings.