Bible Devotions

Fools Despise Wisdom

Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely upon his God.  Isaiah 50:10 NKJV 

My way says the Lord.  No, my way says the people.  We see this over and over in the Bible.  The Lord is so patient with us, isn’t He?  He knows our heart better than we do, yet He repeatedly calls to us, “Follow Me”.   

God’s given us a map with all the directions we need: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 NKJV.  We must learn to turn to it and allow our minds to be renewed by it (Romans 12:2). 

With proper awe and respect of God and His authority, we become willing to be led by God’s Spirit.  Look at what Proverbs 1:7 NKJV says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”   

Are you despising wisdom and instruction?   

If you answered yes to that question, you are not on a good path.  See what God says in Isaiah 50:11 NKJV, “Look, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with sparks: Walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled— This you shall have from My hand: You shall lie down in torment.”  The emphasis is mine.  If we choose our own path, instead of God’s, we will lie down in torment!   

Lord, we recognize your right to rule us.  We ask for your guidance from day to day.  Enable us to walk in your ways, instead of our own, for we don’t want to lie down in torment.  Your word is a light to our path and lamp to our feet, help us walk along the path you desire for us.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

 

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Seek Jesus Diligently

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

 

In the Beth Moore Breaking Free Bible Study Session 5 video, Beth mentioned a phrase that hit home for me.  She something to the affect we receive salvation when we ask for it, but we have to continue to seek satisfaction. The lesson explained salvation and satisfaction are not the same thing.  Once you are saved doesn’t mean you become satisfied.  Can anyone relate to that? 

 

As an ex-perfectionist, I surely can relate.  Nothing was ever enough for me.  But that’s changed now that I know Christ personally.  It wasn’t because I was saved by His grace when He forgave me though.  It’s been an on-going journey of learning satisfaction comes from seeking Him daily. 

 

Our satisfaction comes from knowing Christ.  Not just knowing about Him, but knowing Him deeply and intimately.  That kind of knowing doesn’t just happen either.  It takes work to develop.  Notice today’s verse says “those who seek me diligently”?  It requires effort on our part to diligently seek Him.

 

How do you seek Him?  There are several ways I seek Him.  Maybe some will work for you.  Here’s a partial list to get you thinking.

 

  1. Turn to God – Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

  2. Pray – Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38 NKJV

  3. Confess – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NKJV

  4. Be Filled with the Spirit – And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18 NKJV

 

The results of all these diligence in seeking Him–You find Him!   Knowing Him intimately and allowing Him to come into your deepest inner parts is a most extraordinary, wonderful, and pleasant experience.  It’s difficult to put into words so you’ll just have to trust me on this.  Better yet, why not find out for yourself? 

 

Lord thank you for making yourself known to those you diligently seek you.  Thank you for your guidance and love. Thank you for your Holy Spirit drawing us into an intimate relationship with you.  Thank you for filling us up with your presence. In Jesus name Amen.

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Honoring God with Sabbath

And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own works, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; Isaiah 58:13-14 NKJV 

 

Have you ever wondered how we can honor God?  I have.  Today’s verse clearly indicates by choosing not to follow our own ways or relying on our own works we can honor Him.

 

Speaking as a former perfectionist, I used to be terribly disappointed when things did not occur the way I thought they should.  This disappointment caused a division between me and the people around me, because I was, unknowingly, judging them based on some impossible and very unrealistic standard, in my mind.   I was measuring them up according to what I thought was my “right” way.   Well, God’s Word is true when He tells us in Matthew 7:1-2 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged;”.

 

So what you might be thinking.  What does your old perfectionist ways have to do with today’s verse?  Perfectionism is all about control and doing things according to your own way.  Isaiah tells us that going our own way is NOT honoring to God.

 

It is when we choose to follow His ways and are obedient to His commandments that we honor God.  One commandment was created for our rest, the Sabbath.  Isaiah 58 is talking about how the people had made the Sabbath into something it wasn’t supposed to be.  God intended us to use the Sabbath for rest, giving ourselves to Him, and to focus more on Him as a way of renewal, strengthening and filling us up each week. 

 

Do you have a set day where you honor God by not doing your own thing?  Do you offer Him yourself and allow Him to renew your mind, body, and soul?  If not, maybe it’s time you stop and be refreshed.  Isaiah tells us when we do rest on Sabbath by not doing our own thing we shall delight our self in the Lord.

 

Lord, thank you for knowing exactly what we need.  Thank you for making the Sabbath for rest and renewal that honors you in the process.  Help us to be quick to obey your commandments, for in doing so we demonstrate our love for you.  In Jesus name Amen. 

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Want Safety and Security? It’s found here.

But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure,
without fear of evil.” Proverbs 1:33 NKJV

This verse begins with a “but” so we need to go back to see what
came before to fully understand this passage. Read Proverbs 1:20-33.
What is depicted?

Wisdom cries out yet no one listens. Scorners delight in scorning
and fools hate knowledge. The Lord offers to pour out His Spirit and
make His word known. The people refuse to turn at His rebuke, dis-
daining His counsel. When calamity and terror come like a storm,
their destruction is like a whirlwind. Because of the repeated
rejection of the Lord, the people will not find help when they need
it. The Lord has given them over to their own desires. Their
complacency will destroy them.

That’s a dark and grim picture, but it describes our day very well.
There will come a time when the Lord refuses to answer prayers of
those who continually reject Him. No one knows how many rejections
are too many.

The good news is we don’t have to live in the described darkness. We
can choose to turn at His rebuke, listen to Him and dwell in safety
without fear of evil. As Joshua said to the people in Joshua 24:15
choose this day who you will serve, I ask you are you going to serve
your own desires or serve the true living merciful God Almighty?

Lord you are merciful to those who listen. Open our hearts, eyes and
hears to receive your wise counsel. Let us not turn away from your
rebuke but rather accept it and be made into your glorious image.
In Jesus’ name we pray these things. Amen.

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Sowing and Reaping

Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every
good path. Proverbs 2:9 NKJV

Whenever I see “then” I always look for the preceding “if”. They
usually go together if and then. It’s just like the principle of
sowing and reaping. If you plant corn seeds, you reap corn at
harvest time. The “if” is like the sowing part and the “then” is the
reaping part. What you put in, you usually get out. Make sense?

So let’s go back and read Proverbs 2:1-5 and see the “if” for the
“then” in today’s verse.

To paraphrase…

IF you

receive my words

treasure my commands within you

incline your ear to wisdom

apply your heart to understanding

cry out for discernment

lift up your voice for understanding

seek wisdom

search for hidden treasures

THEN, you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find knowledge
of God.

Did you notice all those items were things we do? If we manage to do
those things we not only understand the fear of the Lord, but also
God goes on to demonstrate what He does on our behalf. Look at
Proverbs 2:6-9.

The Lord gives wisdom

He speaks knowledge and understanding

He stores up sound wisdom for the upright

He is a shield to those who walk uprightly

He guards the paths of justice

He preserves the way of His saints.

God’s word is filled with example after example of sowing/reaping
and the if/then statements. God rewards those who put forth effort
to know Him. God will not bless you just because you ask. No, there
must be a commitment on our part. If we commit to His commands, He
will give the wisdom, knowledge, understanding and protection we
desire. He will preserve our way.

Lord God Almighty you are fair and just. You have explained how
things work regarding sowing and reaping. Give us a desire for you
that we may commit to your commands. We long for your wisdom,
knowledge, understanding, protection and preservation. Help us put
forth the effort in seeking you that we may understand your reward.
In Jesus’ name Amen.

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Want to Depart from Evil? Learn to Fear the Lord.

Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.
Proverbs 3:7-8 NKJV

There is a path that seems right to us but ends in death. Being wise
in our eyes is certainly one indicator we’re on the path leading to
death. Instead we know God’s wisdom is above human wisdom. We know
God gives wisdom to those who ask for it (James 1:5).

Fearing the Lord goes along with acknowledging Him as ultimate
authority. He alone has power over life and death. Therefore, we
give Him the respect He deserves. When we learn to respect God, we also
learn His ways are best.

Again, we learn to be obedient to His commands. He tells us to depart
from evil not because He doesn’t want us to have fun, but rather He
loves us and wants what’s ultimately best for us.

Can darkness and light exist together in the same space? No. Think
about walking into a dark room. What happens when we turn on the
light? Darkness flees. Light exposes what’s in the room. Darkness
hides what’s there. God says let My light fill your heart and expose
your true self. Then you will understand wisdom that comes from above.

What are some ways to depart from evil?

– Acknowledge God is God and we are not (Genesis 1:1).
– Drop pride and self-reliance and trust Him (James 4:6).
– Pray about everything, seeking God’s wisdom (Romans 8:26).
– Turn our eyes away from temporary things and fix them on the
eternal things (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
– Confess our sins and humbly seek forgiveness for our wrong doings
(1John 1:9).
– Overcome evil by doing good (Romans 12:21).
– Commit to study God’s Word and apply His principles in our life
(Acts 2:46-47).
– Love others as God loves us (Ephesians 5:1-2).
– Choose to walk by Spirit rather than the flesh (Romans 8:1).
– Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good (Romans 12:9).
– Think things that are lovely, true, right, just, praiseworthy, and
honorable (Philippians 4:8-9).

Dear Lord, thank you for not leaving us helpless. You have taken
care of sin debt by sending Jesus to die on the cross on our behalf.
You raised Jesus to life again that we might live in Him. You sent
your Spirit to guide us in all truth. You gave us your Word to point
the way to you. Equip us to live by your Spirit and apply your truths
to our lives. In Jesus’ name we trust and pray Amen.

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For Long Life and Peace Follow This Sage Advice

My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands;
For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.
Proverbs 3:1-2 NKJV

Do you sense the Father’s passionate plea to his son? He urges him
not to forget what he’s been taught. He reminds him of the benefits
of living by God’s truth.

One key phrase we’ll explore is “let your heart keep my
commandments”. It’s essential for understanding God’s desire for
relationship over sacrifice of obedience. Have you ever watched
someone do something they really didn’t want to do? You could tell
they were just going through the motions, huh? On the other hand,
have you witnessed someone whose whole being was engaged in what
they did? They were motivating to watch.

What’s the difference between the two examples? The difference is
the condition of the heart. The first example the heart was not
involved. In the second example, the heart was fully engaged,
activated and compelling the person onward.

Our spiritual lives are like those examples. We can choose to merely
exist, going through the motions of obedience to appear connected to
God, yet all the while empty and unfulfilled inside. Or we can choose
to engage God with our heart performing God’s will with love and
gratitude.

So let’s look at how we learn to engage the heart:

– Agree with God. He’s God and we are not. He’s perfect and sinless.
We are sinful. (Romans 3:23)
– Trust what God has done for us. Jesus died to take away our sin.
He rose again to give us life. (Romans 6:23)
– In every situation, remember God is good. He knows what’s best for
us because He loves us. (Jeremiah 29:11)
– Commit our self to God by learning about Him. Make time for Him.
Give Him access in our life to make Himself known to us.
(Proverbs 2:6)
– Pray regularly. Pray all the time. Let your mind be drawn to Him.
(Romans 12:2)

How’s the condition of your heart? Is it engaged? If not, ask God to
show you what you can do to get your heart more involved.

Father God, you are holy and praise worthy. Thank you for making it
possible to know you and have a loving relationship with you through
Jesus Christ, our Lord. Reveal anything that is not pleasing in our
hearts this day. Help us to give our hearts more fully to you. Draw
near to us as we draw near to you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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The Way of Goodness

o you may walk in the way of goodness, and keep to the paths of
righteousness. Proverbs 2:20 NKJV

The “so” indicates something came before we need to investigate.
Let’s go back to read Proverbs 2:10-11 and Proverbs 2:16-22.

From verses 10 and 11 we see wisdom, knowledge, discretion and
understanding are required to avoid the evil path and walk the path
of righteousness. From verses 10 through 22 we see the trap we can
fall into
without wisdom to guard us. Let’s take a deeper look:

– Becoming involved with an immoral person (inappropriate relation-
ship)- Seduced by flattery (putting aside good judgment for a few
nice things spoken to you)
– Forsaking the companion of your youth (damaging a God-honoring
relationship)
– Forgetting the covenant you made with God (breaking your marriage
vows,loss of creditability)

Now let’s review the consequences of walking this path:

– It leads down to death.
– None return from this path.
– No one regains the path of life.
– The wicked are cut off from the earth.
– The unfaithful are uprooted.

These are steep penalties for those who choose to walk away from God
for momentary pleasure of an adulterous relationship.

We see today’s verse is crying out for you to choose the way of
goodness and keep to the path of righteousness. For we are called to
continue doing what is good without growing weary, so at the
appropriate time we will reap a harvest of righteousness (Galatians
6:9).

To those who have mistakenly taken the wrong path, it’s not too late
to turn back. Confess your sins to God, for He is faithful and just
not only to forgive your sins but to purify and cleanse you from all
unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Proverbs 2:23 says “Turn at my rebuke:
surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known
to you.” Take it from me, God is faithful to His words. I know
because I’ve walked that path and God intervened. It is by His grace
and mercy I walk on the path of righteousness now. I live to warn
others.

O gracious Father, thank you for calling us to you. We confess our
sins to you and ask for forgiveness, and cleansing from all unright-
eousness. Lead us back to the path of life. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen.

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The Purpose of Instruction

Read Proverbs 1:1-7
The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, judgment, and equity;
To give prudence to the simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion–
A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

When I know instruction I have a plan to follow. For me,
instructions bring security, confidence and peace because all I
have to do is follow them.

Have you ever assembled something without the instructions? What
happened? Did you find left over parts afterwards? Did the item work
properly? In most cases, something is just not right about the item,
huh?

Conversely, have you put something together following the
instructions? What was the result? Did you find it came out better?
Did it work properly?

Let’s consider the purpose of instructions:

– To teach us what we don’t know
– To make things go easier
– To impart knowledge
– To instruct us on the proper use
– To explain how parts fit together
– To identify what parts are included or not
– To identify what tools may be needed
– To communicate how long the process will take

The Creator put much thought into the instructions to ensure every-
thing we needed to know is covered. God’s Word is the instructions
for life. We can choose not to follow His instructions. However, we
will be left with a cheap imitation of how life was meant to be
lived. Or we can choose to read God’s Word and be like a wise man
who hears and increases learning.

The choice is ours. Which will it be? Continue trying to understand
it all without consulting the instructions or follow the Creator’s
plans? What’s holding you back from knowing instruction?

Lord Almighty, Your way is not our way. Your thoughts are higher
than our thoughts. Your Word is a lamp to our eet and a light to
our path. Help us desire your instruction for life. In Jesus’ name
we pray. Amen.

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The Problem With Greed

So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away
the life of its owners. Proverbs 1:19 NKJV

In studying Proverbs 1:11-18 we see the following characteristics of
a person engulfed by greed:

* They lie in wait to shed blood.
* They lurk secretly for innocent without cause.
* They desire to take down the innocent.
* They desire material possessions.
* Their feet run to evil.
* The make haste to shed blood.
* All their toils are worthless, though.
* It will all come back on them.

Greed is consuming from the looks of it. Greed given the opportunity
will take on a life of its own. Greed controls the person who allows
it in their life. Sadly, in the end, it all comes to ruin. All the
evil intended for someone else comes back to the one plotting the
evil. Greed is sneaky. It creeps in little by little.

How can we avoid this trap? By following the advice given to us in
God’s Word:

* My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent (Proverbs 1:10).
* My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from
their path (Proverbs 1:15).
* Remember from Proverbs 1:19 “It takes away the life of its
owners” is a steep consequence for allowing greed in our life.

Sin has a way of sweeping us into deeper, darker, more evil despair.
Say “No” to sin with the power and authority Jesus Christ gave you.
Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you
James 4:7).

Lord forgive us for any greed we’ve consented to. Enable us to say
NO to every kind of sin by your power and strength not ours. In
Jesus’ name we pray Amen.

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