Proverbs 14 – “I know just how you feel!”

“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.”

Proverbs‬ ‭14:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In the middle of your grief, stress, sadness, has some well meaning person ever said to you “I know just how you feel” ?

I believe most people are trying to help, but they don’t understand how damaging and dismissive that phrase is. The truth is found here in Proverbs 14:10. No one can truly know or under our bitterness (sorrow) or really feel and enjoy our joy, quite like we do in our own hearts.

What to do with that person who constantly projects their own life and troubles when all you are trying to do is share yours?

1. Forgive them – the most likely don’t realize how what they are doing is not helpful

2. Kindly explain to them why it’s not helpful. “When you jump in with yourself own story, I fell like you are not listening and caring about mine.”

3. Find someone else to share your heart. People will get the drift when fewer people confide in them. They don’t have anyone’s confidence.

One last thing: unlike your average Jane or Joe, there is someone who can understand our every hurt. His name is Jesus and he’s just a prayer away.

Proverbs 13 – Isn’t it ironic?

“Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it,
but whoever respects a command is rewarded.”

Proverbs 13:13 NIV

Thanks for joining me for today’s devotional thought. You know that one song “Ironic?” There is a line in there that says “it’s the good advice that you just didn’t take.”

Well we could debate what the real definition of “ironic” is, that’s not what the devotional is about.

When we know we should have taken that good advice…it’s only in hindsight. It’s only looking back with regret for making a decision and realizing we should have made a different one.

When you are given instruction or advice, do you scorn it or do you at least consider it? Respecting that command and advice might save you lots of regret in the future.

What are your thoughts? Have you had advice you wish you had taken and accepted? What was it? What advice do you have for others that you had to learn the hard way? Leave a a comment below.

Proverbs 11 – Scales and Snouts

Today we have a two-fer! Here are two different verses and my thoughts to go with them.

“The Lord detests dishonest scales,
but accurate weights find favor with him.”

Proverbs 11:1 NIV

I think many of us have stepped onto a scale, either at home or at the Doctor’s office and thought, “this scale’s not right…it must be broken. Needs new batteries or something.” Whether founded or not, we’ve been a bit suspicious of scales we’ve used. [Are they accurate and fair?]

In my job a a grocery store, sometimes I repackage frozen veggies or fruits for sale. I bag them, weigh the bag and the label says how heavy the product was supposed to be. When I first started, doing this part of my job, I would weigh the product to exactly the right weight. Either 2 or 3 pound depending on the product. Then I was told we needed to add .05 of a pound to compensate for the weight of the packaging! How awesome. We only charge for the product, not the packaging. A person expects all the bags of veggies or fruit to be the same weight. It’s my goal to keep our scales honest and accurate.

God appreciates that, but more over this verse speaks to injustices around the world. Everyday people are cheated out of so much for the gain of someone else. Let’s ask God to balance the scales and be ready if and when he uses us to do so.

“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.”

Proverbs 11:22 NIV

Gold rings, even nose rings where beautiful gifts! In fact when Abraham’s servant goes to find a wife for his master’s son, he ends up gifting a nose ring to a kind, young woman named Rebekah

So Solomon writes this piece of advice: a woman who shows no discretion is like putting a beautiful, meaningful piece of jewelry into the snotty nose of an unclean animal. I don’t really have much to add to it except to say Solomon was very good with the metaphors and analogies.

Proverbs 9 – “Like a screen door on a battleship”

7 Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
8 Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
rebuke the wise and they will love you.
9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

Proverbs 9:7-9 NIV

There is so much more to this chapter and I challenge you to read the whole thing. However I wanted to focus on these three verses today.

These instructions are for one particular type of person: the kind that can take instruction. One who will actually do what the advice is saying.

Rebuke a mocker and you know what you get? More mocking. How does one set out to “correct” a mocker. Well correction is a task of pointing out the facts at hand and the inaccuracies in someone’s beliefs or ways of thinking. You give them the correct information in hopes to clarify where they are incorrect. The problem lies with the idea, thinking a mocker actually cares about the truth. They don’t.

That’s why correcting them incurs abuse. Did you ever see the Back to the Future films? You remember Biff? Bully and general mean guy? When he was corrected, he just got worse and it didn’t go well for Marty at certain points in the series. So here’s the catch, this scripture doesn’t say don’t ever rebuke/correct anybody. Those who will accept correction prove they are wise by accepting that and they with “love you” for it.

Moreover, when a wise person moves from being rebuked to receiving instruction, learning…they will be wiser still.

The question today is, which are you? Do you meet correction with mocking your corrector? Or do you gracious accept their input and give it serious consideration?

Proverbs 8 – Wisdom in the Open

1 Does not wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
2 At the highest point along the way,
where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
3 beside the gate leading into the city,
at the entrance, she cries aloud:
4 “To you, O people, I call out;
I raise my voice to all mankind.
5 You who are simple, gain prudence;
you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.
6 Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
I open my lips to speak what is right.
7 My mouth speaks what is true,
for my lips detest wickedness.
8 All the words of my mouth are just;
none of them is crooked or perverse.

Proverbs 8:1-8 NIV

So the last couple chapters have had themes of wayward and destructive relationships. There was a seductress beaconing a simple man yesterday. In a similar way, Wisdom pursues the simple, drawing them into deep relationship with her. However, She is not in some back alley place, but on the “highest point along the way.”

Out in the open, if only one would hear her voice. Her “mouth speaks what is true.” Her words are just, not twisted. Wisdom doesn’t need to connive anybody. Doesn’t need wicked or perverse ways to persuade.

Now here’s my question to you: who are you listening to? Lies that sounds like the truth (maybe what you’d like to hear) or Truth right out in the open, that may hurt or be awkward…but yet it is Wisdom?

Think about it and consider leaving a comment.

Proverbs 7 – Knockturn Alley

6 At the window of my house
    I looked down through the lattice.
I saw among the simple,
    I noticed among the young men,
    a youth who had no sense.
He was going down the street near her corner,
    walking along in the direction of her house
at twilight, as the day was fading,
    as the dark of night set in.

Proverbs 7:6-9 NIV
Photo by Gerd Altmann on

Have you ever watched someone who was about to get into SO much trouble? Like not looking both ways before crossing the street? Maybe talking smack about their boss, only to realize said boss is right behind them? I’m sure there are plenty of other examples in life, but the result is the same. Someone watched a foolish person be foolish and then suffer the consequences. Solomon uses the imagery of looking out into the street and seeing a young man walk in a dark, bad place in of the city. A place where you typically only go if you intend on doing something foolish.

There is quite more to this passage than this. Again, Solomon warns against seductions. However we are responsible for the situations we put ourselves into. What tempts you? I mean it. Message me or comment below. Do you like giving into temptation? I have good news, You don’t have to.

When I picture this scenario playing out, I think of Knockturn Alley from the Harry Potter books and movies. A seedy place where you only go there if you want to deal in dark, bad stuff. Harry only lands there on accident.

The First step to not giving into temptation is not finding yourself in a place where you are more easily tempted. Turn off the late night TV. Don’t search the web without a filter. If it’s substance abuse issues, steer clear of that aisle of the store or that dark alley way in your town.

The wise know their weaknesses and don’t put themselves in a position to be exploited by them.

Don’t Labor…in vain

Sermon – Listen to the Audio Recording by Clicking Here.

Labor Day Sunday – Message

Seeing as today is Labor day, I thought it would be good to stop and recognize why we even have this day on the calendar anyway. I mean, don’t you wonder why? I mean there are so many days declared by Congress and the Office of the President over the years, but do we even know what they are about or why we have them?

Perhaps you are a history buff and this is old news to you, but Labor day is a day set aside to highlight and honor the laborers in the United States. 

It was recognized by individual states, starting with Oregon. The majority of the remaining states officially went on to celebrate Labor Day. In 1894, congress passed the bill and President Grover Cleveland signed it into law. The first Monday of September was to be set aside as “Labor Day.” 

The law, unfortunately, only gave federal workers the day off. But all the states and districts  expanded it to all workers. I’ll tell you, It’s really hard to want to take that Monday off for me. It’s a day that if a worker decides or has to work – they usually get time and half. But I don’t have to worry about that as Monday is my day off at the grocery store I work at, anyhow.

But I can tell you, the work of people is important to a successful economy. And a thriving economy is one that people want to live in and want to move to. And for the contribution of those who have labored and continue to labor to keep our economy and our communities rolling, we celebrate and recognize them. 

You might be thinking, “That’s all well and good, but how does the scripture tie into this holiday?” Well perhaps it’s “low-hanging fruit” to focus on scriptures that use the word “labor,” but I think we can still learn what God says about the work of our hands.

Continue reading “Don’t Labor…in vain”

Proverbs 6 – Hot pants?

23 For this command is a lamp,
    this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction
    are the way to life,
24 keeping you from your neighbor’s wife,
    from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.

25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
    or let her captivate you with her eyes.

26 For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread,
    but another man’s wife preys on your very life.
27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap
    without his clothes being burned?
28 Can a man walk on hot coals
    without his feet being scorched?
29 So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife;
    no one who touches her will go unpunished.

Proverbs 6:23-29 NIV

He starts in verse 23 telling him about the wisdom he’s about to impart on his son.

Kind of carrying on with the “romantic” relations advice, this section from chapter 6 gives very colorful analogies for adultery.

What you are doing is so damaging to yourself, it’s as if you scooped fire on your lap! (It will leave a mark! On your pants and probably your body.)

What about walking on hot coals? Some people really do this as an act of discipline. Solomon still says, No matter how cool you are, well trained in walking on coals, your feet will still get scorched.

In the case of adultery, it doesn’t matter how sneaky you are, how well planned or intelligent you are. The truth will come to light. Lies will be discovered.

In the end, he gives us a very practical message:

Nothing good comes from desiring another person’s spouse. Nothing good comes from seducing someone into adultery with you.

Proverbs 5 – High Fidelity

“Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭5:15-18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It may not surprise you to find out that the Bible encourages faithfulness between a husband and wife. Solomon’s wise words here encourage us to stay true to our spouse. In the beginning parts of this chapter, he describes a adulterous woman as sweet to start (lips drip honey) but in actuality she is a bitter gall. From the most natural sweetener to the a bitter substance, of no help.

Have you seen this in your life or perhaps the life of others around you? I find it interesting that anyone would want to “cheat” on their spouse with someone…especially another “cheater.”

Why? Well because I’m though that “forbidden fruit” may look good, it can’t be trusted. And you can’t be trusted if you engage in extramarital affairs.

Not only do affairs erode marriages, but they erode trust as well. And so Solomon righty encourages enjoying and loving the “one your with.” This passage also encourages keeping your love life to yourself. “Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares?” The answer is no. They should be kept private, intimate and between the husband and wife only. Everyone else can get their own well if they want.

Proverbs 3 – Movie Quotes

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Before you read any further, do me a favor. Go to the comments section and share with me your favorite movie quote. Go ahead, the rest of this post will still be here when you get back.

Here are some of mine:

“You guys give up or are you thirsty for more?”

Kevin from “Home Alone”

“I’ll be back”

Arnold Schwarzenegger from “The Terminator” series

“Do or Do Not. There is no try.”

Yoda from “The Empire Strikes Back”

So we’ve probably all memorized a movie quote or two. Even if you couldn’t think of any without a google search, if you sat down and watched your favorite movie, you’d be able to say the next line before the actor does. You’ve memorized it. It’s in you, deep down somewhere. But here’s another question:

Have you ever memorized scripture before?

I do sometimes. I’m not the best at it, but I also have to challenge myself to do it. When I was a kid, I was in a Christian Scouting program called “Caravan.” We’d learn about the bible and faith at the same time learning a lot of the things that the better known scouting programs are famous for. Outdoor exploring, astronomy, cooking, sewing, first-aid…lots of stuff! But one of our key verses to memorize was Proverbs 3:5-6. Though it was just part of the rigmarole of the scouting club (we got badges, by the way,) That verse stuck with me. It got inside me and God used it to shape me and mold me as I grew.

As I encountered struggles in my life, I remembered I had a choice: Do I trust God with all my heart or not? Am I going to lean on my own understanding or his? Will I consider what he wants to do before I plow ahead with what I think I want to do?

And that’s a good example of why scripture memorization is important. You may not get anything out of it at first, but when you truly memorize scripture it’s like eating a tasty apple. You ingest it. It’s in you. It nourishes you. That’s the word of God. And God says He will make our path’s straight. Sounds good to me!