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Monday, July 31, 2017

Proverbs Day 31

Read Proverbs 31
If you choose to get married, the person you choose will be the greatest influencing factor in your life.  Marriage is far deeper than romantic feelings and passion. It is a partnership for life.  It is two people becoming one flesh.  It is a symbol of Christ's love for His church.  Choose wisely or choose not to marry.

Pastor Chris' Paraphrase of Proverbs 31:10-12
10-12 A really good wife is a truly rare treasure. She’s worth more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her with his whole heart and she blesses his life. She helps and never hurts him all the days of her life.

Everyone puts a lot of pressure on you to get married and they have all these oversimplified sentiments about marriage that have very little to do with the reality of married life.  Don't fall for the world's folly.  A wise person knows marriage is not required (Jesus never married).  It is perfectly normal and acceptable and often best to remain single and celibate.  If you choose to marry, choose a godly spouse who shares your core values and compliments you well.  Love your spouse like Jesus loves you.  They are the single most important thing in your life--more important than your kids, your job, your friends, your family, your hobbies, your possessions, or anything else.  A really good wife (or husband) is a truly rare treasure.

Prayer
"Loving God, you know everything about me and my spouse.  Help us to love each other the way You love us so we can help each other become all that You want us to be.  Amen."

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Proverbs Day 30

Read Proverbs 30
It is wise to know when enough is a enough.  It is even wiser to know your own heart and what scarcity and abundance do to you.  Wisest of all are those who are willing to deny themselves for their own good and the good of others.

Pastor Chris' Paraphrase of Proverbs 30:7-9

7-9 God, I only ask for two things; please give them to me before I die:

First, don’t let me be a liar or dishonest.

Second, please don’t make me too rich or too poor. Just feed me what I need every day and nothing more. Otherwise, I might get so full of myself I turn away from You saying, “Who is this ‘Jehovah’?” Or if I'm too poor, I might insult Your holy reputation by stealing.

The human appetite is a beast that never stops growing.  Our natural tendency is to want more and more.  We are never really satisfied.  People with real wisdom understand the brokenness of their own sin-sick heart and seek a new one from God.  Ask God for a new heart and practice being satisfied with less.  Those who are truly satisfied in life are not those with the most and biggest toys; it is those who have learned to be satisfied with that which God gives them.

Prayer
"Lord, give me a knew heart to replace my broken one.  Help me to practice satisfaction until I learn to be happy with everything You give and want nothing more.  Amen."

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Proverbs Day 29

Read Proverbs 29
Children are the biggest investment in a parent's life.  You will spend more time, money, and energy on them than anything else.  A wise investment early on can yield a life of rewards.  However, being neglectful, lazy, distracted, or wavering in your discipline will lead to serious problems later.

Pastor Chris' Paraphrase of Proverbs 29:1, 15, & 17
1 There is no hope for stubborn people who always reject correction. They will soon be broken beyond repair.

15 It’s better to correct children with a switch so they learn wisdom. Let children have their own way now and they’ll turn out to be a disgrace.

17 Discipline your kids and they will give you peace; they will fill your life with joy.

Invest wisely in your children.  You have about 13 years to teach them what they need to know; the rest is just supervision and letting go.  Be brave, firm, diligent, and consistent to teach and discipline them well.  Pray for guidance to know when to hold them tight and when to let them go.  Seek all the grace and help you can get and enjoy the blessings.

Prayer
"Father, thank You for being the perfect parent to me.  Guide me that I may follow Your example with my own children.  Help me understand how to discipline them, when to hold them tighly and when to let them go.  And may they bring glory to Your name all their life.  Amen."

Friday, July 28, 2017

Proverbs Day 28

Read Proverbs 28
It's just not good when everyone makes up their own rules.  A family, an organization, a nation needs good leaders.  
People rise and fall with the leaders they admire and follow.  Leaders come in all shapes and sizes: a parent, a boss, a pastor, an elected official.  Others are cultural leaders--athletes, artists, characters, public figures.  Sometimes you are a leader.  

Pastor Chris' Paraphrase of Proverbs 28:2, 4, 5, & 16
2 The country is in chaos when it's full of rebellious people who do whatever they want; but someone with insight, who understands the way things work, can keep the nation alive.

4 People who ignore God’s Law revere wicked people, but those who obey God’s Law stand against them.

5 Evil people don’t even understand justice, but people who follow the Lord know right from wrong.

16 An unskillful leader without understanding is an oppressive tyrant; but someone who hates greed and corruption will live a long time.

We become the people we admire and follow.  Therefore, it is essential we lead and follow wisely.  Know God and His Word so you can truly discern bad leadership from good.

Prayer
"Jesus, You are the perfect example of a good leader.  Lord, help me to walk with you closely everyday that I might prosper and know how to lead others Your way.  And give us more leaders like You.  Amen."

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Proverbs Day 27

Read Proverbs 27
A wise person takes care of the people and things most important to them--your spouse, your children, your family, your friends, your boss, your employees, your health, your essentials... Always put these first and you will reap the rewards.

Pastor Chris' Paraphrase of Proverbs 27:18, 23-27
18 If you take care of a fig tree, you get to eat its fruit. If you take care of your boss, your boss will take care of you.

23-27 Know what’s really going on with your flock; pay close attention to them. Money doesn’t last forever and you might not always be in charge, but if your flock is well fed and you’ve stored up hay for the hard times, you can make clothes from your sheep’s wool and sell your goats for a good profit and you’ll always have enough milk to feed your family and everyone who’s important to you.

Know who and what's really important to you. Pray for them constantly. Think about what they need and how to care for them. Take the initiative and be attentive. Always do more than is expected.

Prayer
"Lord, make me aware of those people and things that really matter to me.  Help me to know how to really bless them and care for them that I may do all I can to tend the flock you've given me.  Amen."

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Proverbs Day 26

Read Proverbs 26
You don't always have to prove you're right and it's futile to argue with fools anyway. Why waste time on futility that will just make you look silly? Better to focus on something more rewarding and productive.

Pastor Chris' Paraphrase of Proverbs 26:3-5, 12
3 You drive a horse with a whip, a donkey with a bridle, and a fool with switch to the back.

4-5 Don’t try to answer every ridiculous argument a fool makes. You’ll just sound foolish like them. Set a fool straight only when you must; show how absurd their “wisdom” really is.

12 Fools have a better chance than people who think they know it all.

It's best to just ignore fools when they spout nonsense about something that doesn't really matter. However, you need to speak up if it's something important. When you do, don't get sucked into their way of thinking and arguing. Don't build your case on their flawed thinking. Start with the truth and expose their folly so they don't lead themselves or anyone else astray.

Prayer
"Holy Spirit, help me to see when my thinking is wrong-headed. Guide me gently to the Truth. Help me to be wise and know when it is best to just ignore foolish reasoning and when it is time to set someone straight. Amen."

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Proverbs Day 25

Read Proverbs 25
Wise people learn who to trust. Not everyone who claims to be your friend is really your friend. Kind words are sweet to hear and most will offer to help, but you find out who you can count on through experience.

Pastor Chris' Paraphrase of Proverbs 25:4, 14, 18, & 19
4 You have to remove the impurities from silver before it’s ready for the silversmith to make something useful.

14 Someone who makes a big deal about a gift they never really give is like rain clouds that never give any rain.

18 Telling lies about people is like assaulting them with a deadly weapon.

19 Relying on an untrustworthy person when you need them is like chewing with broken tooth or running on a sprained ankle.

Test people with small challenges to see what they're made of. Are they all talk and no action? Are they honest? Can they keep a confidence? If you can't trust someone with something small, you can't trust them with something big. However, if you've found someone who is faithful with small matters, they are more likely to handle something more important. Someone who walks through fiery trials with you is a true friend. Hold on to that friendship. It's worth more than silver or gold.

Prayer
"Jesus, teach me who to trust. Help me be wise enough to look beyond the kind words and promises and discover who I can really count on. Help me to invest in those relationships. And help me every day to remember You are the one friend who will always be there. And may I be a true friend to You. Amen."