Category Archives: June Journey in Proverbs 2017

Because to be reachable, we must be teachable <3

 I have worked retail at different times in my life and consistently for the last eight years in our little downtown area.

I love retail; probably because I love shopping and hey…it’s like a ball player getting paid to do what he loves, right?

Plus working with the public is just a slice of life and a never ending source of stories and I do love the stories, you know…

I am also a student of human behavior (probably a part of the story-lover in me) so it’s a win-win all the way around.

Now keep in mind that having said all that does not mean tending to shoppers is always a joyous, rewarding and laugh-a-minute experience.

Oh my.

No.

There are just all kinds of moods and dynamics and personalities to be encountered and each time the shop bell rings, it’s a grab bag guess as to how the next few minutes will progress.

But there is one type of shopper in particular I have been thinking of while finishing my second read through of Proverbs this summer.

This is the shopper who comes in the store and right off the bat announces a desperate need for assistance in making his or her purchase.

While some people ask this and are sincerely wanting advice and help, we do encounter another type of shopper who basically pleads for us to partner with them in their quest…

and then proceeds to quickly negate every single suggestion as quickly as it is delivered.

As in, almost before we get the whole thing out of our mouths.

We typically land on about three attempts with this type of customer and then will feebly suggest a gift certificate as we retreat to some other task.

Because this conversation is starting to seem pointless.

Well, that, and the fact that we are afraid we will voice the question burning on the tongue….

Why did you even ask me for ideas????

And to be fair…

I can tell you….

I have done the exact same thing above in reverse when I have been the customer…which brings me back to Proverbs.

Because Proverbs is all about seeking God’s wisdom and then listening and following it and often we are like that customer I just described.

He gives us wisdom and we come back with reasons why that just won’t work for us in our situation.

We have excuses and rebuttals and are basically unteachable and unreachable yet we continue to ask Him for wisdom and then wonder why He doesn’t answer.

One of the points of the book of Proverbs is to remind us that to be wise, we need to be open in our minds and hearts to HEAR and to APPLY God’s instructions to us.

He won’t force them on us, but He most assuredly dispenses knowledge and discernment to all who come to Him ready to listen and learn.

As we approach God through the reading of His Word and prayer and asking Him for direction, let’s keep our own preconceived notions of how He will teach us set aside so that we can truly gain the wisdom He has promised to those who seek Him.

 

Still in the Proverbs <3

Happy Monday morning to you <3

I am still working my way through the Proverbs study and am reminded this morning of a wise response I got from a dear friend and reader named Marjorie.

She was responding to something I wrote about Proverbs 16:24.

Gracious words are a honeycomb sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. 

First I want to share some of what she sent me and I do have her permission…

What I get from this Proverb is so simple and yet so powerful. Gracious words, kind words…soothing words, words of agreement, words of comfort, why don’t we all try to remember this in all of our conversations?

It is good for the soul for sure, when we reach out to others, give them a hug, and say uplifting things to them. Our blood pressure is lowered and we feel more calm, more in control. Same is true for those we reach out to.

One of the biggest problems today is not Democrats and Republicans, or men and women or blacks and whites…etc. rich…poor, get the picture? It is another very, very simple thing….but so complex really.

Manners, the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments; whatever you use, or we use to guide us…asking and listening to God for an answer.

One can feel it.

I can, but I have to be open and ready for what He tells me, not what I want to advise Him about!               Marjorie Devore <3

Isn’t she a treasure?

Wise words from a woman who loves Jesus and, thus, loves people well.

I am so thankful for mentors He gives me on the journey and this lady is one of them <3

This morning I thought of Marjorie’s words and the impact of truth in them as I looked at another Proverbs passage warning against the danger of “perverse” words…

Words that stir up strife and bad feelings in others toward someone.

James MacDonald says in the study that when someone in his church shares a “bad report” about another member he just asks ones question…

Why are you telling me this?

In other words…

What is the motive behind the information you are sharing with me?

This is an impacting and convicting question to ask myself when passing along information on another person’s words, behaviors, habits.

MacDonald points out that often we do this because of insecurity, fear and/or jealousy.

I have to tell you that I can go either way with my words. I have been one who covers over offenses but I have also been one who was quick to point out something that I knew would put another person in a lesser light to my hearer.

And as I sat squirming like a child caught with her hand in the cookie jar this morning, I let God shine some big Truth Light into that dark part of my heart.

I have to admit that if I were to be asked the question…

Why did you share that information?

my answer is that I am motivated by exactly those things…

insecurity…fear…jealousy…

and some twisted thing in me has tried to convince me that perhaps the hearer will think more of me and less of the other if they know this “fact”…

auuuugghhhh….

yuk….

and finally…

owning the ugly…

confessing it…

repenting of it…

asking God to help me recognize this seed of sin that we might continue to pull it out by the roots…

and then receiving …

forgiveness…

healing…

restoration.

Because when we confess our sins…He is faithful…to forgive us and cleanse us…

from all unrighteousness.

Bless you as you let His Spirit work in you today through the washing and regeneration of His Word alive in us!

 

Kind of anticlimactic end of the week…

Thanks for sharing our happy yesterday <3

You all blessed us with your joining in on the celebration.

I feel like we had the grand finale of the fireworks yesterday with our news and pics of Sweet Caroline (and yes…we all kind of have the old Neil Diamond song playing on a loop in our heads these days….)

so thanks for coming back by today for a visit.

So there’s your cuteness for the day…and it’s a quick look at Proverbs and then this lady has some catching up to do here at the Command Center!

I am in Proverbs 19 today and am employing one of the tools of study that Matt talks about in the introduction of the sermon series (if you just joined us because of showing up to see Caroline yesterday…we are looking at Proverbs with a sermon series from Grace Covenant Church in Austin TX)

Matt Cassidy, the pastor at Grace, talked about how the Proverbs are couplets and sometimes you have to dig a bit to see the relationship between the two.

Such was my experience today…

Verse 22 says:

What is desired of a man is kindness and a poor man is better than a liar.

Well..both of those are true and admirable and desirable…but I had to wonder.

How are they related?

So I looked up different translations and found that the “kindness” is about being loyal and faithful.

NIV says: What a person desires is unfailing love, better to be poor than a liar.

In The Message, Eugene Peterson translates it: It’s only human to want to make a buck, but it’s better to be poor than a liar.

Each translation I read gave me a clearer picture of this passage.

But I am still chewing on it.

I am still rolling these two phrases together and praying and asking God to help me apply them.

So far this morning I am getting  an understanding that from God’s perspective,  the focus of all efforts is a heart motivated by kindness, NOT what will be gained as an outcome.

Perhaps…the concept is expressed in a world truth….it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved?

Hmmmm….will have to ponder that one some more.

And that, my friend, is the point of MEDITATING on God’s Word!

It is not just skimming over it and nodding your head and then checking that off of the to do list for the day.

It is letting the word work into your thoughts by process.

Like a tea bag steeping in a cup of water, let God’s Word begin to penetrate your thinking…seeping down into your soul.

Would love to sit and hear what God is saying to you these days…but for now I gotta scoot!

Have a great weekend and I will see you on Monday!

 

 

 

 

 

Use your own canteen…

A lot of the Proverbs at the start of this chapter a day adventure have to do with purity and particularly in the area of marital faithfulness. There are many warnings about straying and it is clear that God is very interested in setting boundaries – for our good – in the way we order the most intimate of relationships.

I am truly blessed to have fallen head over heels with this guy…

and so reading through those was kind of like…eh…doesn’t pertain to me…

But God’s word is ALWAYS relevant and ALWAYS has a purpose…and so I took a three way approach to some of those more ick-factor Proverbs.

First, they serve as a standard for us. The give us wisdom so that our conversations with others, whether they are young or old, single or married, are framed safely within the context of God’s Truth. With our thoughts lined up with His, our words are seasoned with wisdom.

We never know the influence and power our words can be on another who is considering a fatal mistake. These truths of God will come out in the way we speak as we work them deep into our spirits.

Second, they strengthen and affirm us IF and WHEN temptation ever does decide to catch us unaware. They help us remember that we can be taken off guard when we are UNGUARDED. Our culture is rife with humor and innuendo and a general lack of accountability. There is no end to the material that the enemy could use to pull even the most solid relationship under the current.

Like all Scripture, getting it in our head and writing it on our hearts helps to shape the way we think and react.

And third, just because I do not have a wandering eye when it comes to my marriage doesn’t mean these Proverbs don’t have a warning for me.

Take Proverbs 5:15.

Drink water from  your own cistern, and running water from your own well. 

As I read that passage, I understood that it is speaking about the fidelity of marriage in the most literal sense based on the context.

But the more I thought about it, because I kept being drawn to that passage in particular…and I had a lovely conversation with God about how this didn’t apply to me….

He gently and kindly reminded me of how I have a habit of desiring to take on what I envy in others.

Perhaps it is a talent someone has, or an area where God has given them influence.

And I want that.

I want it more than what God has given me to do, be, create, bless.

So I wrote this translation of Proverbs 5:15 as my own warning…

Laura….be content with what is yours…don’t satisfy longings of fulfillment with what belongs to other people.

I understand that I will always struggle with a propensity to compare myself with others and think the grass is greener for them.

That somehow their efforts produce better than mine…they do relationships better than I do…they have more class…more talent…more of whatever it is I lack.

But thanks to the Proverbs, I can make the WISE choice to get up out of the swamp of self-pity…

and be content in the provisions of God that He has blessed me with to use for His Glory <3

 

Where you have Oxen, you will have stalls <3

You may not know it looking at our kitchen counter or inside my closet or the console of the car I drive, but I am actually a bit of a neat freak person.

Things out of place and out of order stress me.

But I also need large quantities of time to putter, and decisiveness eludes me…and then there is that perfectionist thing that fuels it all and I always have about twenty-five things going on in real time and ten that I am cooking up in my head…

so we live in a house that as the old cliche goes…is clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy…sort of…if I could just decide what to do with the pile on the counter that never.goes.away.

Which is why I selected Proverbs 14:4 on Sunday.

Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest. NLT

and the “translation/story” for it is right in the footnotes of my Bible <3

Where there is not action, there are no problems. To have power to get things done (the ox) one must sometimes put up with the clutter that comes with it.”  commentary from NKJV Bible/Hayford

Hallelujah!

If I wasn’t doing anything that mattered except keeping my house clean, I would have that nice orderly home that always seems out of reach.

So I can take a deep breath, keep doing the thing God sets before and chip away at the piles a little at a time as I have time.

All the while seeking WISDOM…by seeking God…as I make decisions, moment by moment, each day.

Literally trusting Him for every step.

He is faithful to lead us as we….you and I …. journey onward <3