Sunday, January 29, 2012

Proverbs Fourteen

Proverbs 14:4 Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

Where there are no children the house may stay clean. I thought that my house would remain clutter free when my kids were grown. It has not happened for me yet because I care for my Grandmen and Grandladies. Every day I need to pick up books, blocks, balls, puzzles and other miscellaneous toys. There are crumbs on the floor, and spills to wipe up. Sippy cups are in the sink and toddler snacks line my cupbords. Some days I don't mind the mess, but other days, well.....

The mess I deal with day after day is a reminder of the wonderful imaginations and relationships I have with the children I have cared for over the years. Right now I can count at least fifteen children that I have hugged and entertained me daily. My own children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and others all have been under my feet and in my hair as well as my heart. There have been many more that have come for an hour or two, but still left precious seeds in my life.

What abundant crops are left by the children? They show me God in new and amazing ways. They smile, and I am filled with joy. They cry, and I learn mercy. They explore, and I see the world a new. I reap a rich harvest by allowing those little ones to mess up my life. I am changed by their existence. That is their strength. God has given them the power to change my heart, my world view, and my prideful spirit.

I realize that Solomon may not have had children in mind when writing this proverb, but God has let me see my life in his words. God has made these words come alive to me and I am humbled.

O Lover of Children, You have let me share in the abundance of Your little ones. You welcome them to come close to You. Thank You for letting me share in the abundance of childlike wisdom. Forgive me when I want to push them away because of my weariness or selfishness. Teach me to use their messes as opportunities to humble myself before You. You have wanted me to become as a little child, and these little ones You have sent my way help me to learn that truth. I love You! May I crawl into Your lap and wrap my arms around Your neck and call You Daddy? I want to be Your little girl. I know You will take care of all my messes.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Proverbs Thirteen

Proverbs 13:20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Friendship is a strong wind that guides our lives. No matter how strong we think we might be, we are influenced by the company we keep. The more friends going in a certain direction, the stronger the wind in our sails to follow them. It is wise to choose our company of friends by the destination for which they aim.

I cannot say that I have carefully chosen all of the friends I have had over the years. Most of the time I have simply let them happen. Friends have come to me through activities, shared interests and some through other companions. It may not have been the best way to find the wise and avoid the foolish, but once I learned about each person I was able to choose the extent of my relationship with them. I have been blessed with many wise friends. Though I have had a few foolish companions, they have not remained in my company as intimate friends, only acquaintances.

One friend I have known for over 50 years has proven to be wise. He has introduced me to many other wise friends too. Jesus has been a strong wind in my sails. He leads me to the right people and ultimately will lead me to an eternal destination that is heavenly! I can trust I will not suffer harm when I walk close to Him.

Friend Jesus, You are the perfect companion. Thank You for leading me to so many good friends. Forgive me when I let others lead me astray. Lead me in the right way. Teach me how to be Your friend and a friend to others too.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Proverbs Twelve

Proverbs 12:20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy.

My grandlady, Paige, called me the morning of my surgery. She was worried about me. She said she was afraid that I would die and she would never see me again. I was able to diffuse her fears by asking where I be if I died. Of course she said I'd be in heaven. I then told her that she, too, would be in heaven if she stayed close to Jesus. So she had nothing to worry about.

Our little exchange brought her peace. She was no longer afraid of what "could" happen. She was only aware of what the truth of our relationship with Jesus and each other meant. That is what I wanted for her. I want her to have peace and joy, not the lies of the enemy. It takes planning to bring peace.

The planning begins with faith in the goodness of God. The foundation of that faith can make all things work together for our good. Knowing God's goodness means that I must spend time in relationship with Him. Like most every relationship, it is not easy. It is hard work and priorities must be made.

It is time to make a plan for peace that will lead to joy.

Lord, Lead me in the paths of peace. Remove the deceit from my heart and keep evil far from me. Thank You for the joy You give ! Thank You for the peace in my heart. Let me share it freely with others!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Proverbs Eleven

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

Embarrassing moments turn up when I least expect them. They surprise my puffed up prideful heart and I trip over my inflated ego, landing on the "Look at me" smirk on my face. Oh, yes, when pride infiltrates my heart I can be sure there will be mud on my face soon after.

Last Friday I had gall bladder surgery. All surgeries require some humility. I must admit, I fought this. I don't like to be weak, or even seen as weak. To admit my need for surgery, need for help getting to the bathroom, or to not be able to fend for myself is a struggle for my pride. As I work my way to healing, I am finding the wisdom in humbling myself, allowing myself to be the object of other's concern. It even feels good.

Great and mighty God, You are so good to teach me by experience! You let me fall only when it is good for me to learn the truth by looking up. Thank You for being the wise example of humility. Thank You for picking me up when I do fall! Remind me of my prideful lessons so that I will avoid them in the future!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Proverbs Ten

Proverbs 10: 17 Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.

"This is my choice. I can do what I want as long as I don't hurt anyone." I have heard this excuse and maybe have even used it myself to make bad choices seem okay. Unfortunately it is not true. We do have freedom to choose, but our actions speak loudly to others who are watching and may follow in to sin.

It is especially harmful to the naive and the children who look to us for guidance. We can choose our own path leading to life or to destruction. Our choice can lead them to life or destruction.

It may be a very wise thing to turn around and look to see if anyone is following us. We may find children, friends, neighbors or even strangers watching our ways and deciding their choices by the ones we make. No one walks this world without someone following. For the sake of those who follow, we should step carefully. I have a favorite song that says, "Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful." Good words to live by!

Faithful God, you have asked us to follow Your Son, Jesus. He is a wise Leader because He followed You! I need Your forgiveness for those times when my eyes desire to follow those going the wrong way. I need Your forgiveness for not caring about those who follow me onto the wrong path. Thank You for being my hope and my Good Leader! Light my path with Your wisdom. Help me to hold Your lamp for others to follow!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Proverbs Nine

Proverbs 9;11 For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.

My husband, Patrick, does not like to celebrate his birthday. I think he feels strange being the center of attention for the simple fact that he has lived for another year. It doesn't stop me from celebrating. I like to celebrate the years we live on this blue sphere! I have coaxed and pleaded with Patrick to join in the party for him! Sometimes it is easier than others. On the other hand, my daughter has a "Week of Erin" to celebrate her life. It is good to live!

Do you know anyone who does not want a long life? Who does not celebrate birthdays that add up? I suppose if we could remove all sorrows and pain there would be a rush to live forever. Funny, that sounds like heaven! It is heaven, and it is forever! Life forever lived with fullness in every way!

Days multiplied and years added come only by the God of Wisdom. It is only those days and years lived without Wisdom that we may want to subtract from our lives. I guess that makes a good argument to start living with Wisdom while we are young.

God of Wisdom, You increase our days and years. You do not take away, but there are times when I want to go a different way from Your path. It is then that I believe the lie of the enemy; You subtract and diminish. How foolish I am to think that! Forgive me, Lord! Thank You for continuing to add to my years by multiplying my days! I want to remember You and give You the praise every day and for all those growing moments!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Proverbs Eight

Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

Proverbs 8:35 For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord.

Seeking and finding. I am reminded of playing hide and seek as a child. Looking in every hiding place to find friends who are trying to avoid me. Hmmmm. Is God hiding?

I guess in some ways God is hiding. He is asking us to diligently seek Him. He is in plain sight yet we do not recognize Him immediately. I also think that He knows our need to have adventure. When we believe a treasure exists, we will look for it. He wants to be our treasure. He wants to be our prize!

I am so glad God promises the finding. There is no doubt that He wants to reveal Himself to us. We desire and crave love. Love is our motivation to seek the only One who is love. We love Him by seeking Him daily. In loving Him and seeking Him we find Love and life.

Lord God, You have designed us to love. Life itself is a gift of love from You. Seeking You is hard sometimes. I see the hard things in life and my vision is clouded. I have difficulty finding You in the hard times. forgive me for not looking deeper. Thank You for Your creation where You hide in plain view! Help me to find You and never let me give up the search!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Proverbs Seven

Proverbs 7:2 Keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye.

I have always loved the phrase "Apple of your eye." I knew that it meant someone who is loved and cherished, but never knew the origins of the phrase till I read this proverb and decided to look it up further.

It seems the phrase is first used in the Hebrew scriptures and is literally translated as "Little Man of the Eye." It is the reflection seen in another persons' pupils. The apple of our eye reflects on what we keep our focus.

The Teacher God and His teachings are worth being the apple of our eye. I find it amazing that those who keep God and His instruction in the center of their vision will reflect God back to others. People will see the truth of God not the world.

Tim Tebow is showing the sports community this principle. He has made it clear to all who look into his eyes, that he is keeping his eyes on the Lord. It is not easy, but it is good and right. He is teaching others that no other person, not even self, can hold the place of the apple of your eye.

God, my Father, You give life and teach me the way to live abundantly! Thank You! You alone should be the apple of my eye. You alone should be the center of my world. You alone should be the vision for my life. You alone should be my delight! Forgive me when I let my eye stray from Your face and Your teaching. Draw me back into Your truth. Be the apple of my eye!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Proverbs Six

Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.

In my town of Apopka, FL, we have several street lights that are patrolled by camera. The camera's eye will catch you if you run a red light, and you will receive a ticket with a hefty fine in the mail. It has proved to keep most drivers alert to the changing of the lights. I like to catch a glimpse of the countdown clock in the crosswalk to see if the light is soon to change. It helps me judge my chances of catching a green light.

The knowledge of which lights have cameras, and the tricks I use to judge the safe passage through the intersection are my lamp and light. Without the lamp I might not be alert and without the light I might not judge wisely. If I fail to heed the law and instruction I will be disciplined with a ticket. Life is lived on the road of discipline. My actions will determine my corrections or rewards.

It is my responsibility to guide my car along the road safely. I cannot ignore the commandments nor forget the teaching I have received. I need to plan ahead and keep alert. There is wisdom in the light!

Holy God, You are the giver of the law. You have put the commandments in place for our safety and the way to live a good life. I do mess up sometimes and speed along the road of life being distracted from what I should be doing. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank You for making discipline a part of life. It is a good thing. Though it may be uncomfortable for awhile, I know Your Father's heart is full of love and wisdom. Keep me on the right road, Lord!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Proverbs Five

Proverb 5:21 For a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths.

Mothers seem to have an instinct for seeing the path their child is heading down. They look ahead and see all the obstacles and dangers that may cause their child to suffer a fall or injury. When the babies are young, Mama tries to avert danger by removing the obstacles or hazards. As the child grows, however, Mom's cannot always be there to protect.

The Proverb quoted above is a comfort to me as a mom of adult children. I can rest in the knowledge that God, The Father, keeps His eye on the paths my children are walking down. He ponders them (or makes them level as my last blog revealed.) He may not remove the temptations or the trials, but He is always aware and ready to help if they call out to Him.

It is a good thing to know The Heavenly Father is watching! He even watches me for my Mom too.

Father, You are a good Daddy! You keep Your eye focused on the paths of Your children. You watch for dangers and I know Your word warns us to watch our step. You hold out Your hand to steady us over the rough roads. You carry us through when we cannot go in our own strength. We need You! Thank You for being the One we can trust for those we love and for ourselves! Forgive us when we fail to see Your goodness guiding us in the right direction. We love You.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Proverbs Four

Proverbs 4:26 Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.

The word "Ponder" in this passage could also be translated "Make level." either way it makes a lot of sense.

Our son had to move back into our house for a few moths until he finds a place and/or a roommate. With all of his things here I had to move the babies into one room. The problem was that they were not taking good naps when their beds were together. A new plan had to be made. I moved one of the pack-n-play beds to my room. It now sits right by my side of the bed.

There is only about six inches between the two beds. It is important for me to watch my feet when I pass by because it would be easy to stub my toe or even trip over the various parts of the beds. I need to be sure that my feet are landing on a safe/level place.

I I sometimes sing the little song with my grandchildren about "Be careful little feet where you go....for the Father up above is looking down with love, so be careful little feet where you go. It is a reminder to me as an adult to watch my steps. My steps will lead me to God or away from Him.

It seems to be important to consider the direction my life is going. I must be careful to watch for things that may trip me or cause me to stumble. When surrounded by the world, and all its temptations, I must choose my steps carefully. There is wisdom in pondering the path of my feet.

Father God of light, You are the light for my path. You lift me up when I stumble. You are my strength and my guide. I stumble along the path many times. I want to walk sure, but I often fail to watch for the traps of the enemy. Forgive me, Lord! Thank You for holding my hand and walking close to me always. Teach me Your ways. I need You!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Proverbs Three

Proverbs 3:7-8 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Proverbs3:15 She (wisdom) is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare to her.

Wisdom does not begin with myself. I cannot look in the mirror and see wisdom looking back through my eyes. Oh, there are moments when I think I am pretty smart; times when I think I am the wisdom others need in their lives. But I am so wrong!

The wisdom that springs from my lips in those rare times, is the presence and the voice of the Holy Spirit working through me. Wisdom adorns my words like bracelets, earrings, rings, and necklaces adorn me. They are not me but a beautiful adornment that gives a sparkle to my eyes.

God shares wisdom and beauty, healing and refreshment are born in me! The trinkets I desire are dull and lifeless compared to her!

Father God, Jesus Lord, and Spirit of Wisdom and Holiness, You are priceless beauty. I am worth nothing without You. I have no wisdom to voice without You. Thank You for adorning my words with your gems of insight and wisdom. I desire more of You. I desire the diamonds, pearls, sapphires and rubies that You give. Your wisdom is precious to me!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Proverbs Two

Proverbs 2:4-5 "If you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God."

I love to read. Books intrigue and inspire me. I own a room full of books of many kinds. When I shop at book stores, I look at titles and the cover picture to get an idea about the book's contents. If I like what I see I may read the jacket or a passage or two, but I will not know what special places that book will take me until I buy it and begin to read.

The Scriptures are full of wonderful insights into living a life in relationship with God and others. Its treasures can never be fully uncovered. I guess that is why I can't stop reading it. I love the thrill of finding the priceless treasure hidden within its pages. The Word longs to be found. He has made Himself known to those who hunt for Him. When I take the time to read and reread the Bible I become rich in knowing God. I would be wise to enjoy the hunt and dig deep whenever I can!

God, my Father, You are the treasure I seek. You are worthy to be sought and yet I I sometimes read Your precious Word carelessly. I sift through the words without digging deep to find the Truth and the amazing revelations that You have hidden. Father, thank You for making this a fun and interesting way to get to know You! Thank You for hiding Yourself within these pages, words and stories so that I can find YOU! I want to know You more!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Proverbs One

"If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you." Proverbs 1:23 ESV

My Grandman, Jacob, likes to pull out all the books from my book shelves. I do not like to replace them over and over, and so, I watch him carefully when he sets his sights on the books. I call his name. I remind him not to pull out all the books. I tell him, "No!" When he turns and comes to me, I reward him with smiles and praises. I will choose a book and read to him. He is happy. Proverbs 1:23 gives me that same picture in relation to me and my heavenly Father.

Hearing His voice is an invitation to turn to Him so that I might receive His Spirit and understand His word. What a joyous gift it is! His voice. His Spirit. Understanding of His Word.

God offers me the choice. He gives and I receive. I receive by a simple action of turning. Turn away from darkness to the light. Turn. It seems simple, but so often I find it difficult. Temptation is strong. I want God's rewards to be stronger!

Father, You discipline Your children. You call out our wrongs and lovingly hold out to us Your gifts. Why do I run away from You? Why do I not turn to You when You call? Forgive me! Break my rebellious heart and teach me obedience. If I turn to You, will You let me hear You read to me and explain the words I want to know? Thank You for speaking out when I am tempted to sin. Thank You for being a good Father. Thank You for making me Your child!