Today’s sampling of proverbs:
“A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
(Proverbs 15:1 NIV)
There is powerful truth in this proverb. We can’t control what others may say, but we have total control over how we respond. We have the power to either be water, and calm down the fire, or gasoline, and make it hotter yet.
How will we respond today? Will we be water or gasoline? It’s totally our choice, and our responsibility.
“The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked,
but the prayer of the upright pleases him.”
(Proverbs 15:8 NIV)
The Apostle Paul knew the power of prayer. This is why he said, “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.” (1 Timothy 2:8 NIV)
Prayer is not checking the box, or fulfilling some sort of ritual duty to appease or please God. Quite to opposite, prayer is inviting God into our very here and now, to bring the Eternal into the finite, the very Glory of God into our everyday.
Don’t be deceived; prayer is hard work. It requires us to drop our pride, to humble ourselves before God Almighty, and acknowledge He is King and Lord, and not us. Prayer requires us to stop demanding our own selfish interests, and instead, humbly seek His will and gladly do His bidding.
Yes, prayer is hard work, but God loves to come do the impossible. Invite Him in to your world today.
“The Lord detests the way of the wicked,
but he loves those who pursue righteousness.”
(Proverbs 15:9 NIV)
What am I pursuing today? Are my actions pleasing to Him? Are my motivations (the reasons I do what I do) for my actions also pleasing to Him?
Time for a heart and motivation check…
“A happy heart makes the face cheerful,
but heartache crushes the spirit.”
(Proverbs 15:13 NIV)
Solomon says that our face is a reflection of our heart; our inward spirit is shown on our outward expression. Solomon is not telling us to “put on a happy face”, but rather, to be ourselves, take our mask off, and let people see the real us. Solomon is also not encouraging us to “wear our heart on our sleeve” and emotionally react to every little thing, and always be in a state of anger and sadness. Rather, Solomon infers that we are to seek a place of joy and gladness before the Lord for the majority of our days.
There are circumstances that will temporarily put a damper on our joy, but that sadness and heartache must be given boundaries. Let those circumstances break our hearts and humble us before the Lord. Don’t deny that the bad has happened, but don’t let it define us, either.
“Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed.”
(Proverbs 15:22 NIV)
God created us to live in communion with Him, and in community with others. We are not an island, and we need God’s insight and wisdom as well as others’ perspective to successfully navigate this life on earth.
“Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord,
and humility comes before honor.”
(Proverbs 15:33 NIV)
Solomon reminds us of what he said in the beginning of this book – that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We must never forget the basics of our faith, and to Whom our faith is focused, the person of Jesus Christ.