Trusting God

Proverb 28: 25      Amplified

An arrogant and greedy man stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the Lord will be blessed and prosper.

As we have learned, reading a verse from several translations often adds a deeper understanding of the message. This verse is actually a bit confusing when you do, but the Amplified version brings all the different readings together fairly well. Here is a link to several versions of this scripture.

Arrogance plays into this verse in two ways. First, people of pride and arrogance create tension and animosity within groups. They do not value the opinions or efforts of others. Thus, they create strife. Second, arrogant people look to themselves for answers; to their own thoughts and feelings rather than trusting the Lord for wisdom. Thus, because they lack Godly wisdom and push for answer arising from their own ambitions and ideas, they lead to greater strife and to failure.

Greedy people are self-serving and so serve their desires instead of the needs of the group, friends or family. In fact, greed can cause one to frustrate the purposes of others in favor of furthering their own lusts and ambitions. It is easy to see how this could create strife.

The Passion translation brings out another angle. It says that those who make hasty, rash decisions show their self-reliance. It is proof that one does not take the time to inquire of God, to seek His wisdom. Of course, this circles back around to arrogance. When we are quick to make a decision, we usually have not taken the time to ask our cohorts or our God for their wisdom and this shows how little we think of others’ opinions, even God’s. We have become the God of our lives and we are doomed to failure.

This verse applies to all facets of life, but I think it is particularly interesting when considering group dynamics and organizational efficiencies. No one likes a know-it-all and they cause tension within the group. Of course, surround yourself with humble hard-working people when it is within your power to do so, but if you have an arrogant or greedy person within your ranks, be sure to pray for them. Though they act arrogantly, their behaviors usually stem from a weak self-esteem. We all need prayer including the folks who are creating strife in your organization. Avoid the arrogant and greedy because their way leads to ruin and failure. Seek the Lord in all things and prosper.

Words, Deeds and Seeds

Proverb 12: 14

A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words, and the deeds of a man’s hands will return to him.

You will see this proverb again. Because there were so many good verses to choose from, I will return here after Labor Day when we resume our normal schedule. I have added a link for the entire proverb again so you can see for yourself how rich it is.

God’s kingdom works differently than the world system. The Bible is an instruction manual leading us into the truths of life. In today’s verse we are given a great insight but as we look at it closely we find that it stands in direct opposition to the way most of us have been taught.

This passage reveals that success comes from our words, rather than our hands. Our hands, it says, are sowers of seed. Now, of course, seed bears a crop. That crop will be good if the seed was good or bad if the seed was bad. So, I am thinking of this verse as identifying that what you sow with your actions will return to you. Sow kindness, reap kindness. Sow selfishness, reap selfishness.

Your success, though, is in your mouth. What are you saying??? We cannot be overly cautious about the words of our mouths. I know sometimes we use phrases in a joking manner but honestly, why would we do that? Why would we say stupid stuff even in jest?  When I read that a person’s life is filled with the fruit of his words it warns me that I should guard my mouth and ALL the words I speak. For example, I am never “scared to death.” And, you may be annoying me but I don’t need to say, “You’re killing me here.” There are dozens of examples in that vein but let’s shift gears a bit. We do the same thing with our health and our welfare. “I’m so broke I can’t pay attention.” Look again at the verse. We are filled with good by the fruit of our words. Therefore, we must speak good, and that means speaking good about our financial wellbeing, our health, and every other aspect of life. “God blesses me in everything I do. The blessing of God is following me around. God blesses my pocketbook. God meets my every need.” Those statements are just as easy to say as anything else and they are not only true, but they are ultimate truth.

Tune in to the power in your words. Speak prosperity, health and wholeness. Meanwhile sow good seed with your actions. Be kind to others considering their needs above your own (Philippians 2: 3). Sow generosity, tolerance and patience. These shall return to you.

Proverb 12

 

Good Prayer

Psalm 106: 4 – 5              God’s Word

Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people. Come to help me with our salvation so that I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones, find joy in our people’s happiness, and brag with the people who belong to you.

Save me, show me your favor, let me find joy, prosperity, happiness and praise. Not a bad prayer, especially when you consider the psalmist asks the Lord to lead him to praise. All these things; favor, salvation, prosperity, etc. ultimately lead us to praise. Don’t you believe that praise, bragging about the great things God is doing in your life, leads to more praise and, subsequently, to more of those great things? The more I focus my mind and words on praise and thanksgiving, the more praise and thanksgiving well up in my heart.

The petition for salvation reminds me that God brings His saving grace to everything I do. I used to think of salvation only in the eternity context, but Yahweh thinks of it in a day to day perspective. The writer was already a person who knew God and yet he petitioned God to bring him help and he called that help “salvation.” How many times have I prayed, “Lord, save me,” without ever thinking that the noun form of that would be salvation? That is huge!

Within the Lord’s saving help is prosperity in all things; in your finances, sure, but also in your body, mind, health, relationships and every other way you can think of. The end result God wants to bring to life is joy and happiness. Ultimately, that is called Shalom. It is the definitive peace, completeness and wholeness.

I pray favor over you today. In that favor I hope you find complete fulfillment, joy and peace. I pray praise exudes from you from the overflow of joy you experience daily.

I also hope, that despite the coronavirus constraints, you are having a good summer. I have encouraged you to make the most of this time. Use the time you’ve gained to make life better in some way. I am going to take my advice. For the rest of the summer, beginning with this week, I am going to publish the Word of the Day once a week. We will continue our Psalms Monday. The rest of the week I am going to use as a mini sabbatical to devote my time to my studies and projects. It will simplify my life and allow me to focus my attention on a few big goals.

I will continue to be available should you need me. You have my phone number and email address. I will also continue to manage the prayer requests. The prayer team never takes a vacation from prayer so keep those prayer requests coming. Just go to our website prayer request tab and leave your request. Until next Monday . . . Be blessed!

Giving and Taking

Psalm 37: 21

The wicked borrows and does not pay back but the righteous is gracious and gives.

Do you know what it is called if you borrow and fail to pay back? It is called stealing. Yep! That’s what it is. Now why would any of us intentionally steal from one another? An absolute and complete lack of understanding and faith is why. If you understand God and who you are in Him, then you have no reason to withhold payment from those to whom it is due or not to give generously to others. Only those who are looking to their own hands to prosper themselves would make such a huge mistake. You are stealing meat from your own house.

For those of you who are gracious and giving, you have the love of God in you. That love expresses itself in your kindness and generosity. And God can most certainly work with that. He is gracious to multiply your seed so that you “always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Corinthians 9: 8). You are his precious gift to us because you and He together can express His goodness to every good work. He can keep prospering you and wants to, in fact, so that you can keep blessing others with your generosity.

It is God who multiplies and those who understand that do not withhold their seed. They are willing and generous givers. They know whom they serve and long to be like Him in thought and deed. You are a blessing to all of us and I celebrate you today. May God richly bless your giving!

Carried by Love

Psalm 68 : 5 – 6          Passion Translation

To the fatherless he is a father. To the widow he is a champion friend. To the lonely he gives a family. To the prisoners he leads into prosperity until they sing for joy. This is our Holy God in his Holy Place! But for the rebels there is heartache and despair.

We saw yesterday that God is the perfect parent. Notice that the first three sentences have to do with family relationships. I think that is significant. Families provide individuals with much, so God stands ready to repair and restore family relationships and to be the person each of us needs whether a parent, brother, sister or spouse.

One version says that He is the defender of widows. Women didn’t have any standing of their own. They were either under the protection of their father or their husband. When a husband died, the powerless widow could easily become destitute and a target for those who prey on the weak. In fact, many had to turn to prostitution as the only means for generating income. It was rough, but God saw their plight those many years ago and He sees the challenges today. He is the champion of the widow, her defender, so if a person takes on the widow, he is taking on God. God stands in the shoes of the widow to protect her and her children.

Also, there are no lonely in Christ. He has ways to provide a family, beginning with Himself. He knows that humans need social contact and He does not want any of us to feel lonely.

The most interesting part, though, is His response to prisoners. What kind of prisoners do you think God has in mind here. I don’t think this is the conventional use of the word. The King James refers to the prisoners as those bound in chains. Looking in the Strong’s Concordance causes one to come away with the notion that these are people who are bound or who are being held against their will. God’s grace and compassion absolutely extends to people who are incarcerated as a result of their actions, but this verse seems to convey an image of those being held against their will or restrained. In that regard one might think in broader terms as in any person who is bound by anything or anyone. It might refer to someone who is imprisoned in an unhealthy relationship, maybe by marriage or maybe familial. Others are held captive by their past. Really, there are many ways we are shackled but the key is that God is here to set you free. But that is not all. He wants to shower you with prosperity until you sing for joy. That is so over the top and when God talks about prosperity He means everything in life is flowing with goodness and abundance. Sure, it means money, but it includes everything else too. God has an interesting reaction to setting the captives free. It is not enough for Him just to purchase their freedom. He wants to make up for everything that has been stolen from them as well. That is a good Father.

I am reminded of the words from Isaiah 40: 11, “In His arms He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom.” That is the picture of our loving Father. He wants to gather you up in His arms and carry you next to His chest where no harm can befall you. No matter how you have been hurt in the past, God is here, now, to restore and heal you.

Give and Get

Proverb 3: 9 – 10

Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow.

We have all heard that we are supposed to give into the Lord’s work. Few seem to know why though. Nationally, only 10% of people tithe. So clearly, as a people, we are not giving regularly to the Lord. Part of the reason, I believe, is because so few understand the why of it all. People think that some preacher or church or maybe even God himself is trying to get something from them. It is just the opposite though. God is trying to get something to you.

God works by multiplying seed. He takes what you sow and multiplies it so that you reap thirty, sixty or a hundred-fold more than you sowed. His kingdom operates by the law of sowing and reaping. So, God wants you to give from your wealth and from the first of all your produce so that he can fill your barns, so that you will have all you need and then some. Bless the Lord and allow Him to multiply your gift back to you thirty, sixty or a hundred-fold.

Getting Happy

Psalm 37: 18 – 19

The Lord knows the days of the blameless; and their inheritance will be forever. They will not be ashamed in the time of evil; and in the days of famine they will have abundance.

Hey, let’s get happy today! There is so much blessing in these two little verses that it wants to bust out all over the place.

In this thirty-seventh psalm, David contrasts the wicked and the righteous. The righteous are those who are no more perfect than anyone else but rather their hope is in the Lord as is their trust. They are looking to God while the wicked are contriving and scheming in their own brilliance and in the world system. How brilliant can they be, really, if they eschew the guidance of the Lord. Well, anyway, we get a look at the blessings we can expect to enjoy in this earth but we are also told that the blessing will continue beyond this mortal life.

How exciting is that? The blessing God is pouring out for you is forever! It is only going to get bigger and better as time goes on. The part about the time of evil and the days of famine describe how the blessing works in the earth. There is no evil, no famine in heaven. You have not only a promise, but a statement about what you should expect. We should not shutter as we face evil times. We just lean in on God knowing He has already prepared a haven for us so that we will not be ashamed or forsaken. The wicked will make plans for prosperity and power but their own schemes will be the source of their destruction. Meanwhile, the children of the King will look to their Father and He will be their fortress and their strong right hand. He will provide for them so that they shall not be ashamed. They will not be humiliated by poverty. Instead, they will sing the praises of the Father who shows them grace, love and abundance in all things.

When the world suffers violence or famine, the children look to their Father and actually prosper. In 2008 while many people sang songs of woe, those whose trust was in the Lord took steps forward. Your life is not at the mercy of the world or even its economic systems. The children of God have always prospered in the time of famine when they trusted Him and listened to His counsel. We are just as vulnerable if we listen to the 5:00 news and try to glean wisdom there. If, however, we will turn to the Lord and seek His counsel we shall be safe and secure in all ways.

Let the Lord speak to you today about how He wishes to lead you. Today could well be the day you enter a new level of relationship with the Father. He has big things to show you as He leads you into all goodness and blessing.