Proverbs chapters 11 to 20

Last month I took part in 31 Days in May. Everyday throughout the month I read one chapter from the book of Proverbs: chapter 1 on the 1st, chapter 2 on the 2nd, chapter 3 on the 3rd and so on throughout the month.

I decided to write down a couple of sentences each day to help me remember what struck me in each chapter. I thought it might be interesting to share these thoughts and so this week I am posting what I wrote for Proverbs chapters 11 to 20. The thoughts are very brief for each chapter and are about the length of a Twitter posting! However, hopefully they will be a blessing to others.

Chapter 11 – There is a stark contrast between the life of the godly and the wicked. The generous will prosper and those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

Chapter 12 – It’s important to always be open to correction. Wise words bring healing, therefore use words carefully.

Chapter 13 – A wise person heeds instruction. It’s foolishness to ignore them. Watch your words as speaking rashly can ruin everything.

Chapter 14 – Fear of the Lord is shown by the way we live. If we live rightly we fear God, if we choose the wrong way we despise Him. A wise man fears the Lord and shuns evil.

Chapter 15 – Godly people think carefully before speaking. Listen to constructive criticism and accept discipline. If I reject discipline I will harm myself.

Chapter 16 – We can have ideas and made our plans but God determines the steps. The Lord examines our motives. Fearing the Lord helps us to avoid evil. We need more biblical fear of the Lord in our lives.

Chapter 17 – Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom. It’s wise to be careful of our words which will mean keeping quiet on occasions where we might wish to speak.

Chapter 18 – A fool only wants to air their own opinions. Their mouth gets them into trouble. They spout off before listening to the facts to their own shame. The Lord is a stronghold for the righteous / godly. Money does not provide this security.

Chapter 19 – I can make many plans but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. Always listen to advice and instruction. If I stop listening to them I am turning my back on knowledge.

Chapter 20 – Only fools insist on quarrelling. We are known by our actions. God knows every hidden motive.

 

Do not Worry

A few days ago I came home from work and I was very worried about some upcoming deadlines for two tasks that I needed to complete at work. I found myself in panic mode about the situation facing me and not really sure what to do about it.

Whilst running my eyes over my bookshelf I saw the devotional book “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers and decided to read the reading for the day. The piece was called “Careful Unbelief” and really spoke to me in the midst of my worrying. In fact it was so helpful that I stopped thinking about the work situation and experienced a real peace about it.

I thought it might be useful to post the article below so that it might help others who may be worried or anxious about a situation at the moment.

do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. (Matthew 6:25)

Jesus summed up commonsense carefulness in the life of a disciple as unbelief. If we have received the Spirit of God, He will squeeze right through our lives, as if to ask, “Now where do I come into this relationship, this vacation you have planned, or these new books you want to read?” And He always presses the point until we learn to make Him our first consideration. Whenever we put other things first, there is confusion.

…do not worry about your life….” Don’t take the pressure of your provision upon yourself. It is not only wrong to worry, it is unbelief; worrying means we do not believe that God can look after the practical details of our lives, and it is never anything but those details that worry us. Have you ever noticed what Jesus said would choke the Word He puts in us? Is it the devil? No— “the cares of this world” (Matthew 13:22). It is always our little worries. We say, “I will not trust when I cannot see”— and that is where unbelief begins. The only cure for unbelief is obedience to the Spirit.

The greatest word of Jesus to His disciples is abandon.

Proverbs chapters 1 to 10

This month I have been taking part in 31 Days in May. Everyday throughout the month I have read one chapter from the book of Proverbs: chapter 1 on the 1st, chapter 2 on the 2nd, chapter 3 on the 3rd and so on throughout the month.

I decided to write down a couple of sentences each day to help me remember what struck me in each chapter. I thought it might be interesting to share these thoughts and so this week I am posting what I wrote for Proverbs chapters 1 to 10. The thoughts are very brief for each chapter and are about the length of a Twitter posting! However, hopefully they will be a blessing to others.

Chapter 1 – The purpose of the proverbs is to teach wisdom and discipline. I need to apply discipline to my life. If I ignore God’s warnings then it’s my fault when things go wrong.

Chapter 2 – Give priority to seeking wisdom. It will help in making right decisions. Heed God’s warnings.

Chapter 3 – Storing God’s commands in my heart is very important. Wisdom is the most precious thing I can seek: “Nothing you desire can compare with her.” (v15)

Chapter 4 – Pay attention to God’s word and let it penetrate deep into my heart. Take hold of instruction and do not let go of it. Guard the heart above all else.

Chapter 5 – Listen carefully to God’s words. God sees every path we take (including decisions). Sin holds us captive. I must exercise self-control and not be led astray by my folly (foolishness).

Chapter 6 – God’s word is a lamp and a light for me. It’s corrective discipline is the way to life.

Chapter 7 – Treasure God’s commands and store them up within me. Write them deep within my heart. Do not let my heart stray into wrong desires.

Chapter 8 – Listen to wisdom. There is nothing that we can desire that is better than her. Do not ignore her instruction.

Chapter 9 – The fear of the Lord is the foundation / beginning of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgement.

Chapter 10 – The wise are glad to be instructed and to accept discipline / correction. They treasure knowledge. The words of the godly benefit and help others. They know when to keep quiet.

 

Vanya by Myrna Grant

In July 1972 a young soldier in the Russian army, Ivan Vasilievich Moiseyev who was a Christian, suffered a violent death. Myrna Grant records the events that led up to his death in the book “Vanya.”

When he joined the Russian army, at the age of 18 years old, Ivan had only been a believer for two years, but he had a Christian maturity way beyond his years. The night before he started his service with the army, Ivan told his father that God had told me to speak out for Him and not be silent. Ivan made the brave and very costly decision to follow that command from God.

It did not take very long after joining the army before Ivan ran into problems as a result of his faith. Throughout the book we read of the severe trails and punishments that he endured for being faithful to God. We also read about a number of miraculous signs and events that occurred which baffled those persecuting him.

There are numerous accounts of questioning he went through and pressure being put on him to deny his faith. However, not only did he refuse to deny Christ but bravely spoke out witnessing in His name.

Towards the end of his life Ivan sensed strongly that he was not going to survive the ordeal he was experiencing, Yet he preserved. At the end of the book there is a collection of letters he wrote to his family in the last month of his life which are very powerful. In these he speaks of his love for Christ and his determination to be faithful to Him.

Ivan was only 20 years old when he died and he had only been a Christian for four years. He paid the ultimate price for being loyal to his Saviour.

I’ve read this book a number of times and strongly recommend it. This is an amazing story and it’s very challenging to read about how brave and loyal Ivan was to Christ.

The Words of the Wise bring Healing

One of the themes running throughout the book of Proverbs is the importance of the words that we speak. Whilst reading Proverbs chapter 12 last Sunday I came across the following verse:

Some people making cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.” (Proverbs 12:18 – NLT)

What a wonderful verse! Just think that the words we speak to others can bring healing. We can be a vessel through which God brings healing to others. This is indeed good news.

However, this verse has two parts to it and I expect many of us have been guilty of the first part of it, making cutting remarks. The part of the verse is even more hard hitting in the NIV:

Reckless words pierce like a sword

Our words are very powerful. They can bring both damage and healing to others. It’s so important to remember this before we open our mouths. In Proverbs 13v3 we are told:

Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.”

There have been so many times in my life when I have opened my mouth and said something that has ruined situations. Sadly more times than I would care to remember. Once the words leave my mouth I cannot bring them back. It’s not possible to delete or recall them. They have been said and heard by others. One can apologise but unfortunately the damage may already have been done.

However, it does not have to be like that. Instead of using words that can ruin everything we can use words that bring healing to others. What a privilege and honour it is to say something that brings healing to others. Who would not want to be the person who can bring healing to others though our words?

We need to learn to think before we speak. The apostle James tells us:

My dear brothers, take note of this. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

Just think of how much of a blessing we might be to others if we actually did this!

 

Adverts for Christ

I was reading a devotional book a while age which challenged me with the question: what sort of advert am I for Christ? Many of us can ‘talk the talk’ and quote Bible verses off the top of our head on various subjects but how many of us ‘walk the talk’ in our daily life?

When our non-Christian friends and family members look at us what sort of advert do they see for Christ? Do they see someone who genuinely reflects Christ, or do they see someone who is no difference from them?

Are we one thing for an hour on Sunday and a couple of hours at housegroup, but a different thing at home and work? Do we have a reputation at work for being a gossip or as someone who speaks well of others? Do we use holy language at church but coarse language at work?

If we manage people at work do we treat them fairly and speak to them politely, or are we rude to people and treat them like dirt? Do we tread on other people, so we can get to the top or treat everyone respectively?

What about at home? Do we speak to our families in a Christ like manner or are we rude and horrible to them?

If a film was shown of everything we had said, done and thought over the last 24 hours would anyone be able to say yes that is a good advert for Christ or would everyone say no that is a bad advert for Christ?

Of course, none of us are perfect and still have areas in our life where we need to change. However increasingly we should reflect Christ and be a better advert for Him as time goes on. If this is not the case, then something is wrong.

 

31 Days in May

The church that I visited on Easter Day is running a challenge this month called: 31 Days in May. They describe this as a simple but potentially life-changing idea and an initiative for the whole church to engage with the Word of God together.

Everyday throughout the month of May they will read one chapter from the book of Proverbs. Chapter 1 on the 1st, chapter 2 on the 2nd, chapter 3 on the 3rd and so on throughout the month. Church members are then being encouraged to pray over it and into it as they go through the book: for themselves, for their friends and contacts, for the church and for our world.

Although this might sound quite a simple idea it struck me as being a very good initiative and one that could be very beneficial both for individuals and for the church collectively. Therefore I have decided that I will take up the 31 Days in May challenge myself this month.

If you have not got any specific bible readings planned for May why not join in 31 Days in May and immerse yourself in the book of Proverbs this month.