Daily Devotional Week 36 Day 6 OT (chronological) Friday (Proverbs 27)

Daily Devotional

Week 36 Day 6

OT (chronological)

Friday (Proverbs 27)

Sefi continued to share Proverbs at the retreat with his leadership team …
Solomon warned against presuming upon the circumstances of a day not yet lived “Do not boast about tomorrow; for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”
Solomon warned against boasting “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.”
Jealousy can poison relationships long-term whereas wrath and anger tend to be events with specific consequences “Wrath is cruel and anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?”
Hurt may come from a friend’s words but they’re still friends and mean no harm but the praise of an enemy is manipulative “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are excessive.”
One should stay close to friends, should not either bring trouble into their brother’s home and/or only go to him when in trouble, and should develop nearby friends for support when existing family and friends are at a distance “Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend, and do not enter your brother’s house in the day of your disaster; a neighbor nearby is better than a brother far away.”
“If someone blesses his neighbor with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be counted as a curse to him.”
He repeats his warning to choose a spouse wisely “A continual dripping on a rainy day and a contentious wife are alike … and he warned that trying to keep such a woman from being an embarrassment is like trying to hide the wind or to hold wind in your bare hand “Whoever hides her hides the wind or grasps oil with his right hand.”
Solomon encouraged believers to discuss important matters with an eye toward wisdom “As iron sharpens iron, so a person sharpens his friend.” The maker of a sword shapes and then sharpens the blade – but if one does not keep the blade sharp the tool becomes less useful. The Bible instructs Believers to keep one-another’s faith-life and knowledge sharp.
He noted that ones heart drives ones attitude and behavior and thereby displays the essence of a person “As in water the face is reflected as a face, so a person’s heart reflects the person.”
Solomon concluded that the lust of the eyes are an endless source of worldly desire “As Death and Destruction are never satisfied, so the eyes of a person are never satisfied.”

Dear Lord,
Please lead me away from deception and lust and to an “iron sharpening iron” relationship with a fellow Believer. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 36 Day 5 OT (chronological) Thursday (Proverbs 26)

Daily Devotional

Week 36 Day 5

OT (chronological)

Thursday (Proverbs 26)

Sefi continued to share Proverbs at the retreat with his leadership team …
Proverbs 26 begins with several specific wisdom statements about fools “Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool.”
A curse uttered by a fool lacks God’s authority, because it lacks a cause, and thus is meaningless “Like a fluttering bird or like a flying swallow, so a curse without cause does not come to rest.”
A fool doesn’t learn from mistakes “Like a dog that returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”
An arrogant and prideful man who gives no credit for wisdom to the Lord God is less teachable than a fool “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
The only hope for an “arrogant and prideful man who gives no credit for wisdom to the Lord God” is to lead him to give honor to God.
Solomon often warned against gossip “Where there is no wood, a fire goes out, and where there is no gossip, contention ceases.”

One does not always have to respond to every foolish thing that people say, but wisdom helps one to know when a wrong statement made about serious matter requires a correction.

Gossip is toxic to all community and relationships; among co-workers, neighbors, associates of other types, and to romantic relationships.

Dear Lord, The world is filled with fools, those who choose to live without You and those who belong to You but who choose to frequently ignore Your wisdom. May I study Your Word, learn about Your wisdom, and choose not to be counted among the fools. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 36 Day 4 OT (chronological) Wednesday (Proverbs 25)

Daily Devotional

Week 36 Day 4

OT (chronological)

Wednesday (Proverbs 25)

Sefi shared Proverbs 25, one of what have been labeled as “Proverbs of Solomon Collected by Hezekiah” at a retreat with his leadership team …

The Lord God did not choose to make all things obvious because He knows that some matters are only valued and understood after one has worked-through the full context of them.

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and it is the glory of a king to search out a matter …” This is why “As the heaven is high and the earth is deep so the hearts of kings are unsearchable …” because their hearts (on the occasions that they are obedient) belong to Him. It is in this process that the Lord will “Remove the dross from the silver, and material for the silversmith will emerge; remove the wicked from before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.”

“Do not go out hastily to litigation, or what will you do afterward when your neighbor puts you to shame? When you argue a case with your neighbor, do not reveal the secret of another person, lest the one who hears it put you to shame and your infamy will never go away.”

“Like apples of gold in settings of silver, so is a word skillfully spoken. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover to the ear of the one who listens.” Once again he called attention to the prerequisite that a wise person must be teachable.

“Like a bad tooth or a foot out of joint, so is confidence in an unfaithful person at the time of trouble.”

“Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, so is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.”

“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,” Contrast bad with good. “for you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you.” A practice was to give hot coals to a guest to warm them on the way home – and with which they’d then start their fire at home (the head-part referenced the head gear which held the coals without burning the wearer yet still passed some heat to the head).

“Like a muddied spring and a polluted well, so is a righteous person who gives way before the wicked.”

“It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable for people to seek their own glory.”

“Like a city that is broken down and without a wall, so is a person who cannot control his temper.”

Dear Lord, A life walked with You (in accord with Your wisdom) looks different than that of a person without You (or that of a Believer who does not pursue and apply Your wisdom). I will act intentionally to break the unrighteous influence in my life. I will refuse to sell-out to anything that is not of-God and which does not draw me nearer to righteousness rather than nearer to the fire of sin. May my life be useful to You because I am willing, teachable, and obedient. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 36 Day 3 OT (chronological) Tuesday (1 Kings 9, 2 Chronicles 7:11 – 8)

Daily Devotional

Week 36 Day 3

OT (chronological)

Tuesday (1 Kings 9, 2 Chronicles 7:11 – 8)

The Lord Gives Solomon a Promise and a Warning, Solomon’s Building Projects

Sefi had a dream where he sensed God showing him that He understands that members of Intown may sin morally, but if they repented, He would forgive them.

He was reminded that God expected faithfulness, as in the James 1:27 teaching that good religion is to care for the truly needy and to resist sin.

He also heard the warning they must never tolerate false teaching, other religions, or any form of witchcraft – because that would be rebellion.

God promised blessings to Sefi and Intown for faithfulness – and misery for rebellion – because He was blessing them as representatives of the faith and as leaders of service to the community in His name.

In return for their assistance and generosity Sefi gave to the stone mason community the temporary buildings they had used before the new construction. The leaders looked them over and were displeased. The buildings lacked even the appearance of stone.

Sefi arranged with the local prison for trusted prisoners to work on landscaping and minor construction tasks on the sprawling church campus. There seemed to be no end to his perpetual Pharaoh-like Solomon-like construction projects.

He also arranged for the stone masons to sent experienced people to train the prisoners.

Throughout all of this – for a while – Sefi remembered to give heartfelt praise to the Lord, he continued to preach His Word, and he commissioned church leaders to promote discipleship – at home, at work, at school, among the stone mason community, and even among the prison laborers.

Dear Lord, In the midst of all of Your blessings, and Solomon’s distraction with construction projects, You kept him focused – for a time – on faithfulness to You. May I remember in the good times, as well as the bad, that You are the source of all blessings and that I belong to You. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 36 Day 2 OT (chronological) Monday (1 Kings 7 – 8)

Daily Devotional

Week 36 Day 2

OT (chronological)

Monday (1 Kings 7 – 8)

Solomon built the Royal Palace, Moved the Ark to the Temple, Prayed for Israel, Dedicated the Temple

After the education building had been completed Sefi led the construction of a new administration and conference building. It took twice as long to build and was twice the size of the education building and it hosted a massive tower bearing the name “Intown” and a lighted cross.

A local reporter noted the appearance of skewed-priorities, the education building half the budget and size, and lightheartedly-contrasted Solomon’s palace with Sefi’s:

Great Court vs Main Lobby

Second Court vs Reception Area for Administration and Conference Rooms

Court of the Temple vs Waiting Room for Administrative Offices

House of the forest of Lebanon vs Arboretum

Hall of Pillars vs Multipurpose Room

Hall of Judgment vs Administrative Meeting & Counseling Areas

Royal Palace vs Administrative Offices

Harem vs Volunteer Offices and Workspace

Temple vs Computer Center & Library

Altar vs Server and Emergency Power Room

Sefi, like Solomon, prayed. He recited the history of God’s faithfulness and he acknowledged the inevitability that Intown’s leaders and members would make bad choices in the future. He implored the Lord God to forgive and restore them after a time of teachable-consequences.

Dear Lord, You flexibly and patiently worked Your greater plan around and through the foolishness and rebellion of Israel, and finally brought the Law to it’s fullest visible splendor. May Your work in my life be equally flexible and patient as You overwhelm my imperfections for Your greater purpose in and through me. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 36 Day 1 OT (chronological) Sunday (1 Kings 5 – 6, 2 Chronicles 2 – 7:10)

Daily Devotional

Week 36 Day 1

OT (chronological)

Sunday (1 Kings 5 – 6, 2 Chronicles 2 – 7:10)

Now that we’ve enjoyed “Grandpa Sandy’s” teaching from Proverbs, we return to the kings …

Sefi preached through the Proverbs, written from the gift of wisdom God had given Solomon, often reflecting on his own failure to exercise wisdom.

He then reached an agreement with a community of stone masons to provide some materials for the construction of a new education building in exchange for computers, computer education, and long-term tutoring services for their adults and children.

Sefi recruited several dozen volunteers from the congregation to assist with the computer education and tutoring, and others to assist with the stone masonry.

Sefi found a corporation willing to sell Intown the computers they had upgraded and then recruited volunteers to clean and update them for the stone mason community.

After decades of growth, conflict, and restoration Intown began the construction of an educational building and it took seventeen months to build.

When the education building was completed Sefi, the elders, and the worship team led a week long series of open houses, services of praise and worship, and made commitments to use the new building to serve the community – days, evenings, and weekends.

In ancient Biblical times the travels with Moses and the taking of the Promised Land with Joshua, the troubles with pagan religions, rebellions, the Ten Commandments (twice), the demand for and struggles with a human king – Saul – and then the equally trying times of David had spanned four hundred and eighty years. Now, at last, the Israelites had the peace, prosperity, and Temple they longed for.

Dear Lord, The building of a great temple focused the eyes of the people – whom You had blessed with peace and plenty – upon You. You have said that I am the temple of the Holy Spirit, may I also keep my efforts and the eyes of my heart focused on You. In our story Intown built a new education building – but they understood that God blessed it to serve the community and not merely themselves. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 35 Day 7 OT (chronological) Saturday (Proverbs 22:17 – 24)

Daily Devotional

Week 35 Day 7

OT (chronological)

Saturday (Proverbs 22:17 – 24)

Grandpa Sandy set up an exercise bicycle and had one of the children ride it at a very difficult setting. He said he’d put a dollar in the basket every minute they kept the speed up at the hard setting. After a several minutes and several dollars the child gave up and slumped down off the bicycle, exhausted. Grandpa said “Solomon warned against the love of money “Do not wear yourself out to become rich; be wise enough to restrain yourself. When you gaze upon riches, they are gone, for they surely make wings for themselves, and fly off into the sky like an eagle!” and there’s more, he said …”

“Incline your ear and listen to the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my instruction. For it is pleasing if you keep these sayings within you, and they are ready on your lips … Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to the words of knowledge … By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; by knowledge its rooms are filled with all kinds of precious and pleasing treasures.”

“Do not withhold discipline from a child; even if you strike him with the rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will deliver him from death.”

“My child, if your heart is wise, then my heart also will be glad; my soul will rejoice when your lips speak what is right … Listen, my child, and be wise, and guide your heart on the right way … Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old.”

“If you faint in the day of trouble, your strength is small! Although a righteous person may fall seven times, he gets up again, but the wicked will be brought down by calamity.”

“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and when he stumbles do not let your heart rejoice, lest the Lord see it, and be displeased, and turn his wrath away from him.”

Leave vengeance to the Lord “Do not say, “I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will pay him back according to what he has done.””

Dear Lord, Your wisdom applies to every part of our lives, and You have made it plainly know in Your Book. May I read it – then trust and obey. Amen dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 35 Day 6 OT (chronological) Friday (Proverbs 20 – 22:16)

Daily Devotional

Week 35 Day 6

OT (chronological)

Friday (Proverbs 20 – 22:16)

Grandpa Sandy poured a ¼ cup of wine into a 2 cups of water. “When Solomon wrote “Wine is a mocker and strong drink is a brawler; whoever goes astray by them is not wise.” “he meant abuse of ‘prepared’ or unwatered-wine.” He then shared more of Solomon’s wisdom …

“Counsel in a person’s heart is like deep water, but an understanding person draws it out”

“Many people profess their loyalty, but a faithful person – who can find?”

“The one who goes about gossiping reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with someone who is always opening his mouth.”

“The one who curses his father and his mother, his lamp will be extinguished in the blackest darkness.”

“An inheritance gained easily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end.”

“Do not say, ‘I will pay back evil!’” (It’s the same message as “Vengeance is Mine says the Lord”)

“The steps of a person are ordained by the Lord – so how can anyone understand his own way? All of a person’s ways seem right in his own opinion, but the Lord evaluates the motives.”

“It is a snare for a person to rashly cry, “Holy!” and only afterward to consider what he has vowed.”

“Beatings and wounds cleanse away evil, and floggings cleanse the innermost being.”

“To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice … Doing justice brings joy to the righteous and terror to those who do evil … Haughty eyes and a proud heart – the agricultural product of the wicked is sin … There is desirable treasure and olive oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish person devours all he has … The one who pursues righteousness and love finds life, bounty, and honor … The one who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps his life from troubles … A shrewd person sees danger and hides himself, but the naive keep right on going and suffer for it.”

“It is better to live on a corner of the housetop than in a house in company with a quarrelsome wife … It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and easily-provoked woman.”

“The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and will not be answered … The one who oppresses the poor to increase his own gain and the one who gives to the rich – both end up only in poverty … A generous person will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.”

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great wealth, good favor more than silver or gold.”

“The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the creator of them both.”

“Train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it … Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.”

“Drive out the scorner and contention will leave; strife and insults will cease.”

Dear Lord, You remind us over and over that we have choices and are rewarded according to our choices. May I choose the path of Your wisdom. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 35 Day 5 OT (chronological) Thursday (Proverbs 18 – 19)

Daily Devotional

Week 35 Day 5

OT (chronological)

Thursday (Proverbs 18 – 19)

Grandpa Sandy held up a map of the outline of a State in the USA and asked “Anyone recognize this State?” They shouted out “New Mexico!” Then he said “You see the red dot? That’s a town called “Truth or Consequences”, sort of like the choices and consequences Solomon listed …”

“One who has isolated himself seeks his own desires; he rejects all sound judgment … The name of the Lord is like a strong tower; the righteous person runs to it and is set safely on high … The one who gives an answer before he listens – that is his folly and his shame … A foolish child is the ruin of his father, and a contentious wife is like a constant dripping … The one who is gracious to the poor lends to the Lord, and the Lord will repay him for his good deed … Listen to advice and receive discipline, that you may become wise by the end of your life … If you stop listening to instruction, my child, you will stray from the words of knowledge … A relative offended is harder to reach than a strong city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a fortified citadel.”

Grandpa read more of Solomon’s wisdom.

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in disclosing what is on his mind.”

“It is terrible to show partiality to the wicked, by depriving a righteous man of justice.”

“The one who is slack in his work is a brother to one who destroys.”

“The wealth of a rich person is like a strong city, and it is like a high wall in his imagination.”

“A person’s spirit sustains him through sickness – but who can bear a crushed spirit?”

“The discerning person acquires knowledge, and the wise person seeks knowledge.”

“The one who finds a wife finds what is enjoyable, and receives a pleasurable gift from the Lord … A house and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.”

“A person who has friends may be harmed by them, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

“A person’s wisdom makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”

“Discipline your child, for there is hope, but do not set your heart on causing his death.”

“A person with great anger bears the penalty, but if you deliver him from it once, you will have to do it again.”

“There are many plans in a person’s mind, but it is the counsel of the Lord which will stand.”

Dear Lord, You make Your wisdom available, but we must choose to acquire it and to apply it. May I always respond to Your leading to seek out and apply Your gifts of wisdom to me. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 35 Day 4 OT (chronological) Wednesday (Proverbs 17)

Daily Devotional

Week 35 Day 4

OT (chronological)

Wednesday (Proverbs 17)

Grandpa Sandy had set up a small heating device and on it was a metal cup containing some solidified drippings from last night’s dinner.

He instructed everyone to watch the contents carefully as he heated them and meanwhile he quoted Solomon “The crucible is for refining silver and the furnace is for gold, likewise the Lord tests hearts.”

The solids had liquified so Grandpa poured the liquid on the top into one bowl and the rest into another. “Look” he said “how the heat has separated the fat from the water. God uses challenges in life to mature us by separating-out the bad and the less-valuable from what He wants us to hold on to.”

He then quoted more from Solomon “A rebuke makes a greater impression on a discerning person than a hundred blows on a fool.” noting that a wise person is teachable and an unwise person is not.

Then more reminders that choices have consequences “As for the one who repays evil for good, evil will not leave his house. Starting a quarrel is like letting out water; stop it before strife breaks out! The one who acquits the guilty and the one who condemns the innocent – both of them are an abomination to the Lord …. A cheerful heart brings good healing, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

“A friend loves at all times, and a relative is born to help in adversity.” True friendship is a significantly more valuable a casual acquaintance and a fellow family member (among people of common-faith) should be very dependable

God loves justice “It is terrible to punish a righteous person, and to flog honorable men is wrong.”

Solomon concluded with a reminder that there are some outward symbols of a wise person – which may also be true of a not-yet-wise person who is teachable “The truly wise person restrains his words, and the one who stays calm is discerning. Even a fool who remains silent is considered wise, and the one who holds his tongue is deemed discerning.”

Dear Lord, You are with those who are truly Yours at all times – and some of those times become difficult because we make it necessary for You to teach us the hard way. May I never doubt Your love or Your presence and may I always seek-out what it is that I may learn from You in every circumstance.

Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 35 Day 3 OT (chronological) Tuesday (Proverbs 16)

Daily Devotional

Week 35 Day 3

OT (chronological)

Tuesday (Proverbs 16)

“If there are five people in the kitchen” said Grandpa Sandy “and each does their assigned job, there will be enough food ready for all of the guests.

If one of the five decides that they’re too special to just do one thing and starts rushing around making a little of this and a little of that – the kitchen team will get confused, and the meal will be ruined.”

“Solomon wrote:

“All a person’s ways seem right in his own opinion, but the Lord evaluates the motives.”

“Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”

“A person plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.””

Grandpa said “Integrity and wisdom are important to God and man “Honest scales and balances are from the Lord; all the weights in the bag are his handiwork.”

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit [arrogant and unteachable] before a fall.”

“A laborer’s appetite works on his behalf, for his hunger urges him to work.”

“A wicked scoundrel digs up evil, and his slander is like a scorching fire.”

“A perverse person spreads dissension, and a gossip separates the closest friends. A violent person entices his neighbor, and leads him down a path that is terrible.”

“Gray hair is like a crown of glory; it is attained in the path of righteousness.”

“Better to be slow to anger than to be a mighty warrior, and one who controls his temper is better than one who captures a city.””

He continued “A Believers life is not random “The dice are thrown into the lap, but their every decision is from the Lord.” [Note: This isn’t fatalistic-predestination but rather
a
recognition that surrendering to the Lordship of Christ is just
that,
surrender. Many things happen in the life of a Believer that
reflect
the mess that is this fallen God-rejecting, God-estranged, world;
Romans 8:28-29 says God will redeem what Satan means for evil – if
we let Him.]”

Grandpa held up a container and read “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” He added – and remember that the company you keep affects who you become “Honey is not only sweet but it takes on the flavor and aroma of the local plants.”

Dear Lord, You are in control, You are the standard for good and evil, right and wrong, wise and unwise, righteous and unrighteous. When I need answers may You always be the One I ask first. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 35 Day 2 OT (chronological) Monday (Proverbs 14 – 15)

Daily Devotional

Week 35 Day 2

OT (chronological)

Monday (Proverbs 14 – 15)

Grandpa Sandy had borrowed some wooden blocks from the grandchildren and as he spoke he set the last blocks of a simple house. “To quote Solomon “Every wise woman builds her household, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.”” He then poked at the house and it collapsed.

Grandpa read Solomon’s warning that bad company can block good understanding “Leave the presence of a foolish person, or you will not understand wise counsel.” and when a mere man imagines that he is more-wise than God there is trouble “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way that leads to death.”

He continued Solomon’s contrasts “A wise person is cautious and turns from evil, but a fool throws off restraint and is overconfident.”

“A tranquil spirit revives the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.”

“Wisdom rests in the heart of the discerning; it is known even in the heart of fools.”, which is why the fool is guilty before the Lord – he chooses to reject wisdom.

“Folly is a joy to one who lacks sense, but one who has understanding follows an upright course.”

“The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.”

“A gentle response turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath … Speech that heals is like a life-giving tree, but a perverse tongue breaks the spirit … A fool rejects his father’s discipline, but whoever heeds reproof shows good sense … A joyful heart makes the face cheerful, but by a painful heart the spirit is broken … The fear of the Lord provides wise instruction, and before honor comes humility.” Merely because someone speaks with confidence does not mean that they are correct “The tongue of the wise treats knowledge correctly, but the mouth of the fool spouts out folly.”

God is watching “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on those who are evil and those who are good.”

One must invest if one wants a harvest “Where there are no oxen, the feeding trough is clean, but an abundant harvest is produced by strong oxen.”

It has long been known that foolish people, even when confronted with their foolishness, will deny it as they are blind to truth and wisdom.

Dear Lord, Your gift of wisdom brings blessing to every part of our lives. May I pursue and honor Your wisdom wherever I find it. I will rest in the tranquility of knowing that in all things that matter – You are sufficient. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 35 Day 1 OT (chronological) Sunday (Proverbs 12 – 13)

Daily Devotional

Week 35 Day 1

OT (chronological)

Sunday (Proverbs 12 – 13)

Grandpa Sandy faked a movie-type tough guy accent and said sternly “The one who loves discipline loves knowledge, but the one who hates reproof is stupid.”

Then he quoted Solomon again “A noble wife is the crown of her husband, but the wife who acts shamefully is like rottenness in his bones.”

He read “Good intentions from someone without wisdom always ends up making a mess of things.

“A righteous person cares for the life of his animal, but even the most compassionate acts of the wicked are cruel.””

Grandpa said “I guess I’m not the only one who repeats himself – here’s Solomon again saying that choices have consequences “The one who works his field will have plenty of food, but whoever chases daydreams lacks wisdom.””

Grandpa asked “Are you teachable? That’s important, according to Solomon.”

“The way of a fool is right in his own opinion, but the one who listens to advice is wise.”

“A fool’s annoyance is known at once, but the prudent overlooks an insult.”

“Speaking recklessly is like the thrusts of a sword, but the words of the wise bring healing.”

“The shrewd person conceals knowledge, but foolish people publicize folly.”

“In the path of righteousness there is life, but another path leads to death.”

Grandpa nodded toward his sons and grandsons “Solomon wrote “A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.””

He quoted Solomon about false teachers versus wise teachers “An unreliable messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful envoy brings healing.”

“As we discussed before” Grandpa smiled “rather than seek the least harmful sin – seek instead righteousness “A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools abhor turning away from evil.””

Solomon warned about the danger of spending too much time with immature and unbelieving people “The one who associates with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” and selfishness harms the needy “There is abundant food in the field of the poor, but it is swept away by injustice.” Sometimes mere reasoning cannot keep a child safe or on the path of wisdom “The one who spares his rod hates his child, but the one who loves his child is diligent in disciplining him.”

Dear Lord, You instruct in the best way to live and of the consequences of rebellion, and You do so frankly. May I never be offended by Your truth. Please warn me if there is ”company that I keep’ that draws me away from a close relationship with You. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 34 Day 7 OT (chronological) Saturday (Proverbs 10 – 11)

Daily Devotional

Week 34 Day 7

OT (chronological)

Saturday (Proverbs 10 – 11)

Grandpa Sandy held up a long tray. At each end were eggs. The eggs each rested in an indentation that allowed them to stand on end without falling – even when the tray was tipped some in either direction. One egg had a sad face drawn on it, on the other was a happy face, and in the middle was a heavy round metal ball called a ball bearing. If the tray was tipped to the left the ball bearing would roll across and smash the egg with the sad face, but to the right a small cross stood between the bearing and the “happy” egg.

As Grandpa read Solomon’s proverbs, each of them describing wise choices “happy” versus foolish choices “sad”, he asked his listeners to imagine him tipping the tray one way or the other – and the result.

There were sixty-two such Proverbs in Chapters 10 and 11. Grandpa began with the first five …

“A wise child makes a father rejoice, but a foolish child is a grief to his mother. ”

“Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from mortal danger. ”

“The Lord satisfies the appetite of the righteous, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked. ”

“The one who is lazy becomes poor, but the one who works diligently becomes wealthy.”

“The one who gathers crops in the summer is a wise son, but the one who sleeps during the harvest is a son who brings shame to himself.”

Grandpa then continued reading through all sixty-two contrasting Proverbs.

At the end he reminded them that the Lord God allows us to make choices, He stands ready to forgive, restore, and to teach, but eventually there is an end to all of that – consequences.

Honest business dealing, honest relationship dealing, honest faith-walk with God – all are important.

Dear Lord, You have made the difference between those who listen to You and those who do not as plain as can be – choices have consequences. May I be careful to make the choice for You! I will pray for a leader, or a potential leader, because their decision to follow or to reject Your wisdom could have a profound impact on me, people about whom I care, and our entire community. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 34 Day 6 OT (chronological) Friday (Proverbs 8 – 9)

Daily Devotional

Week 34 Day 6

OT (chronological)

Friday (Proverbs 8 – 9)

Grandpa Sandy had apparently been to the thrift store, because he walked out on to the porch with a string of giant fake rubies, which he twirled gently as he read the words of Solomon “To you, O people, I call out, and my voice calls to all mankind … Listen, for I will speak excellent things, and my lips will utter what is right … All of them are clear to the discerning and upright to those who find knowledge … wisdom is better than rubies, and desirable things cannot be compared to her.”

“The Lord created me [wisdom] as the beginning of his works, before his deeds of long ago. From eternity I was appointed, from the beginning, from before the world existed.”

“So now, children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to my instruction so that you may be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching at my doors day by day, waiting beside my doorway. For the one who finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord.”

“But the one who does not find me brings harm to himself; all who hate me love death.”

“Two people, Wisdom and Folly, ask you to hire them to run your business. Which will you hire?”

“Wisdom has built her house; she has carved out its seven pillars. She has prepared her meat, she has mixed her wine; she also has arranged her table.” and once thoughtfully-prepared she sends out invitations.

“Wisdom’s philosophy is “Do not reprove a mocker or he will hate you; reprove a wise person and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise person, and he will become wiser still; teach a righteous person and he will add to his learning.”

“The woman called Folly is brash, she is naive and does not know anything. So she sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling out to those who are passing by her in the way …” ““Whoever is simple, let him turn in here,” she says to those who lack understanding. “Stolen waters are sweet, and food obtained in secret is pleasant!”” “But they do not realize that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of the grave.”

Dear Lord, Your wisdom has a long history – embedded in everything that You have done and said is perfect wisdom. May I seek the peace and safety of Your wisdom so that I am not seduced by the pretty-appearing but genuinely crass, shallow, and temporary temptations of folly. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 34 Day 5 OT (chronological) Thursday (Proverbs 6 – 7)

Daily Devotional

Week 34 Day 5

OT (chronological)

Thursday (Proverbs 6 – 7)

“Do you remember the old saying that ‘Good fences make good neighbors’? Not only when you heard it from me!” laughed Grandpa, “Your whole life will be a mess without clear boundaries.

“Solomon made a list:

Break-free of obligations which indebt you to a neighbor who does not honor the Lord God.

Don’t be a “sluggard” – earn your way in life or be left without.”

“Another list Solomon made was of destructive character defects and behaviors:

“Haughty eyes” – an unteachable, proud, and superior attitude.

“A lying tongue”

“Hands that shed innocent blood” – murder is for personal gain, and that includes abortion

“A heart that devises wicked plans”

“Feet that are swift to run to evil” – people who always live at the edge of sin

“A false witness who pours out lies”

“A person who spreads discord among family members.””

“Solomon used common word pictures; “… commandments are like a lamp, instruction is like a light, and rebukes of discipline are like the road leading to life …””

“Most people have compassion for a person who steals to feed a starving family yet the law – upon which civilization is dependent – may still require the thief to pay dearly if caught.”

Grandpa declared “I agree with Solomon when he wrote of wisdom’s teachings “Bind them on your forearm; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and “call understanding a close relative, so that they may keep you from … sin.””

Grandpa Sandy held up a bag of snack chips and asked “If you started eating these while watching something distracting – how long before you ate them all? Sin is like that. Once you allow yourself to get close it’s harder to resist and once started it’s harder to stop.”

Dear Lord, You are the Righteous One, and all sin offends You. May I learn from the wisdom You shared with Solomon and pursue righteousness rather than the destructive and momentary sinful pleasures of the world. You have used many examples and illustrations to teach us, but our flesh is both weak – not resisting temptation, and strong – resisting the call of righteousness. May I “bind” Your wisdom “on my forearm” – keep it close and visible – so that I will make the choices You desire for me to make. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 34 Day 4 OT (chronological) Wednesday (Proverbs 4 – 5)

Daily Devotional

Week 34 Day 4

OT (chronological)

Wednesday (Proverbs 4 – 5)

Grandpa Sandy stood and dramatically hitched-up his trousers, then in his best deep booming voice, with a barely-restrained smile, declared “Listen, children, to a father’s instruction, and pay attention so that you may gain discernment.”

He then laughed and said “OK, so those were Solomon’s words, not mine. You know Solomon gave a human (female) characteristic to wisdom “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will guard you.””

“He also wrote “Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; protect it, because it is your life. Do not enter the path of the wicked or walk in the way of those who are evil.””

“The teachings of wisdom “… are life to those who find them and healing to one’s entire body.”

“Picture yourself” said Grandpa “walking down the road and imagine a big sign that reads “Do not turn to the right or to the left; turn yourself away from evil.””

“Remember that temptation usually appears attractive, beautiful, desirable, or handsome, just as did the fruit Eve (then Adam) ate in literal and callous rebellion against God.”

Grandpa said “Look at that railing there. On the far left is a basket of money, dipped in honey, and swarmed by deadly bees, at the other end is a basket of God’s perfect promises swarmed by beautiful butterflies. Why does anyone ever waste a moment wondering how close they can get to the basket of money without getting stung?”

“Think of wisdom as the most beautiful person, place, or thing in the world,” said Grandpa, “then pursue the beauty of God’s wisdom.”

Dear Lord, Your wisdom is a beautiful guiding angel. May I seek Your wisdom more than any pretty or valuable thing this imperfect world has to offer. You are the beauty of perfect righteousness and everything else is something less. May I always seek after Your righteousness rather than testing the boundaries of sin. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 34 Day 3 OT (chronological) Tuesday (Proverbs 3)

Daily Devotional

Week 34 Day 3

OT (chronological)

Tuesday (Proverbs 3)

Grandpa Sandy leaned back in his chair, started folding a piece of paper in his hand, then continued his teaching of his children and grandchildren.

“Did you know that Solomon emphasized the relationship between receiving wisdom and blessing in Proverbs 3? He wrote “Do not let truth and mercy leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will find favor and good understanding, in the sight of God and people. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.”

Grandpa leaned forward and frowned “The Bible teaches that we must accept the wisdom that disciplines – together with the wisdom that brings blessing “My child, do not despise discipline from the Lord, and do not loathe his rebuke. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.””

He then raised his eyebrows and said “The blessings of wisdom include discernment “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who obtains understanding … the Lord will be the source of your confidence, and he will guard your foot from being caught in a trap.””

He asked a grandchild to touch the opening in the folded paper in his hands, which he then snapped closed like a trap, exclaiming “Got ya!” and grinned.

Grandpa continued “Wisdom means that we are without excuse because we will know what is right in the eyes of the Lord God and we must not be selfish “Do not withhold good from those who need it, when you have the ability to help.””

He then released the giggling child’s finger from his little paper trap.

Grandpa concluded with two final statements “One who lives according to the wisdom of the Lord will be respected among their peers – the opposite is true for those who reject wisdom “The wise inherit honor, but he holds fools up to public contempt.” and wisdom is a characteristic of the Lord God which He offers to share with humankind.”

Dear Lord, Your wisdom blesses us as it blesses others through us, but we have to be willing recipients of the gift – even when it makes us uncomfortable. Where I have been accepting counsel from the wrong sources please help me to see and break-away. May I accept Your wisdom even when it means discipline, inconvenience, and/or sacrifice for me. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 34 Day 2 OT (chronological) Monday (Proverbs 2)

Daily Devotional

Week 34 Day 2

OT (chronological)

Monday (Proverbs 2)

Grandpa Sandy said to them “You know, when God said that He has a plan for your life, He also provided a road map for you to know it. We are all students in His classroom of life.”

He continued “The first thing you must do is to be willing to learn, Solomon wrote in Proverbs 2 “… if you receive my words, and store up my commands within you, by making your ear attentive to wisdom, and by turning your heart to understanding, indeed, if you call out for discernment – raise your voice for understanding – if you seek it like silver, and search for it like hidden treasure …” God will teach you “… how to fear the Lord, and you will discover knowledge about God.””

“Wisdom is knowledge plus understanding, Proverbs says “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.””

“The wisdom of God has the power to transform, again from Solomon “Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity – every good way. For wisdom will enter your heart, and moral knowledge will be attractive to you.”

Grandpa Sandy the said, “It is important to remember that the primary goal of this journey in learning is what I shared with you before “… you will discover knowledge about God.”

He reminded them that Solomon forgot, or ignored, much of the wisdom that he communicated from the Lord God to others. He had practiced un-wise ways – specifically contrary to what God gave him to share with the people.

He reminded them that just as Joseph had caused the Egyptians to store-up food prior to the prophesied drought so also are we to store-up wisdom for use in our times of need.

Grandpa winked and said “Our times of need for wisdom are every hour of every day of our lives.”

Dear Lord, You lead us to knowledge and understanding and if we allow Your Holy Spirit to bring them together we will gain the wisdom that You desire for us. May I be attentive to Your teaching and seek-after Your wisdom. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 34 Day 1 OT (chronological) Sunday (Proverbs 1)

Daily Devotional

Week 34 Day 1

OT (chronological)

Sunday (Proverbs 1)

Elderly Grandpa Sandy sat on the porch of his old home and talked to his children and grandchildren about life.

He reminded them of Solomon, who received the gift of wisdom from God – but who squandered it for much of his life – only to return to it as a sadder-but-wiser old man.

The intended goal for readers of the Book of Proverbs was …

“To learn wisdom and moral instruction, and to discern wise counsel.”

“To receive moral instruction in skillful living, in righteousness, justice, and equity.”

“To impart shrewdness to the morally naive, and a discerning plan to the young person.”

A “riddle” is used to motivate one to engage in a deep process of partnership with the Holy Spirit in order to acquire wisdom rather than simple awareness/knowledge of facts.

The demons have knowledge of Who Jesus is but they lack the wisdom to choose His Lordship.

“Fearing the Lord is the beginning of moral knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Fear of the Lord God combines respect for His absolute power and His uniquely-perfect wisdom.

Avoid chasing after dishonest or dishonorably acquired wealth because such conduct will ultimately cause harm to you as well as others.

God declared “Because they hated moral knowledge, and did not choose to fear the Lord … they did not comply with my advice, they spurned all my rebuke … Therefore they will eat from the fruit of their way, and they will be stuffed full of their own counsel.”

The consequence of ignoring the wisdom that is offered, not imposed, by the Lord God is that we will suffer the bad consequences of living in the absence of wisdom.

Dear Lord, You offer to us Your perfect wisdom, and we ignore You to our own peril. May I be attentive to Your leading and make good use of Your wisdom. Amen. dmc2016