Wisdom Seeker: Day 20

Proverbs 20

It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.

Proverbs 20:3

Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.

Proverbs 20:22

As usual when reading the proverbs, there are several potent verses I could focus on. Today, however, I really want to look at two that caught my attention as related and highly relevant in the tense climate propagated on social media.

Maybe especially with another Presidential election campaign looming like a seedy circus freak show, I see the wisdom in verses 3 and 22.

Goodness, people. Please, please let’s not have another embarrassing repeat of 2016. I’m not talking about the winner or loser or any of that; I’m talking about the way we behaved as a nation.

The fact that our “debates” have denigrated into a sideshow where candidates primarily take cheap potshots at one another and at their opponents’ follow ought to mortify us. What happened to gentlemanly disagreement? To actually and intellectually covering the issues we face as a culture? To reality, for Pete’s sake??

Then the behavior of the supporters of Clinton – throwing a real-life, honest-to-goodness pity party complete with “cry rooms” in colleges and mourning as if a 4-year term was a harbinger of the world’s end!

What in the world have we come to? Playground politics? Do we need to re-institute nap times and snack times? Revisit the preschool days where we learn not to pull Sally’s hair, to share with Billy, to take our turn on the slide?

OK, enough of my little rant. Sometimes I just gotta say something, I guess.

But in reality, is there any actual use for a rant? Probably not. My words aren’t likely to change anyone’s mind or behavior. In fact, they could potentially incite a quarrel.

And that’s what I want to address today.

When it comes to social media, it behooves those of us who know Christ not to enter into the fray of social media vitriol.

Oh I’m not saying we should say nothing. Far from it! After all, I did have my little rant, did I not? However, when it comes down to it, before we type any words, we need to think first.

Does what I’m about to say honor God? Does it dishonor Him in any way? Is it useful to others? Does it need to be said? If it does, am I saying it in a truthful and modest way? Is my interest in defending the Lord’s honor or mine? Am I more interested in justice or in being right?

There are a million other questions we can ask, but all in all, keep verse 22 in mind. It reminds me of another passage:

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:19-21

Ultimately, justice will be done. It is a fearsome thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. Where there is evil in the world, we ought to expose it – especially if it dwells in our own hearts. So have your little rants (like mine) in an appropriate forum. But for heaven’s sake, don’t enter into a quarrel or controversy over them!

If there is truth in your words, the Lord will bring it out. If He compels you to write something, be obedient by all means! But if it’s just you speaking, well… keep it behind your teeth (or off the screen, in the case of social media).

If some point or bit of Scripture you speak about brings the sting of conviction to someone else, let the Lord handle it. After all, that is His job.

Sometimes, the backlash we hear and try to defend against is nothing more than a fellow human being wrestling under the weight of conviction. If that is the case, have compassion, Believer!

Remember how it feels to be under conviction and keep silent. Don’t offer a distraction by entering into a squabble. Just let the Holy Spirit do His glorious work and pray for those who threaten or curse you. It really isn’t about you and me, after all.

Remember, our enemy is not the other political party or the guy on the other end of the social media commentary war. Our enemy is the one who deceives and hates, the one who thrives on division, strife, and conflict.

Let’s not be party to the old snake’s devices, ‘mkay?

PS: I felt it necessary to add a post script to this one. Concerning my rant, do I really think and feel those things? Absolutely, yes. Do I normally spout them out on the internet? Rarely – and more and more rarely as the Spirit of God convicts me to stick to His truth and keep my opinions to myself.

Today I used my unvarnished opinion to (hopefully) elicit an emotional response and lead into my point. Truth is truth, and I’ll stand behind the truth of God’s Word if it costs me my life. My life is His, anyway. But my stuff? Well, that’s just mine. Take it or leave it. ūüėČ

Wisdom Seeker: Day 16

Proverbs 16

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Proverbs 16:25

Almost didn’t make it today! A 6:30 am prayer meeting, busy day, and a migraine nearly kept me from writing, though not from reading. Still, here I am…

Before I go on (and I will be brief today for sure – the migraine is caged but pacing it’s cage angrily), tomorrow is my son’s college move-in day and Sundays I tend to go unplugged. I might check in tomorrow but it depends! You can bet I’ll be reading, though. I’m a Bible addict. For real.

Anyway, just a quick thought or two about today’s focus verse. I know this one from my experience as an atheist. There were plenty of ways that seemed right to me at the time – worldly wisdom and all.

You know, partying with friends, the “enlightened” modern form of morality (which really is immorality), late nights, hook-up culture. All kinds of fun.

But it wasn’t fun. Not really. When I was alone and sober, there was a sense of reeling. Of incompleteness and purposelessness. A terrible, yawning blackness of sorrow which I tried filling with shallow friendships, long hours at work, and alcohol.

It was a little death. I grew tired of having the same conversations over a couple of shots and a beer. I grew weary of chasing the handful of times I actually had fun with a million nights of drunken nothingness. Frustration. Emptiness. Yuck.

It was like dying slowly without the mercy of an end. Then again, my end would have been far from merciful if I’d been snuffed out in those days – alone and without God. I lived a little hell. Death would have ushered in the real thing.

That is why I am so sold on God’s way now. Ironic, isn’t it, that in my youth when I had my health and freedom, before migraine robbed my strength and my days, that I had no joy. None. There were moments of happiness, but no underlying joy. Just that horrible blackness waiting to suck me down in a single, undistracted instant.

But now, with frequent pain and so many things to do each day that I sacrifice sleep to spend time with my Lord and in prayer, I have so much joy.

Then, I had only myself to serve. It gave me nothing but sorrow.

Now, I have my husband, my three biological kids, my countless part-time, semi-adopted kids, friends, dogs, a cat, a job, and health issue. And I have joy.

Pure, undiluted, lovely joy that comes straight from knowing my Savior Yeshua, being loved by Father, and being guided by the Holy Spirit.

Wouldn’t trade this life for the old one for ten billion dollars. True story.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalms 16:11

Wisdom Seeker: Day 8

Proverbs 8

Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

Proverbs 8:10-11

Reading about the virtues of wisdom today reminded me that there is only one Source for true wisdom, and only one way to acquire it. Ask.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

James 1:5

Asking is simple, right? Why, then, is there so little wisdom in the world today?

As far as I can tell, its because so few of us actually do ask for wisdom. Or if we ask for it, we ask without faith. Worse yet, so many of us embrace what seems to be wisdom in our minds – a wisdom that makes us look and feel pretty dang good.

This is the secular wisdom that tells us to follow our hearts and to look out for Numero Uno. This is a worldly wisdom lacking in such messy and uncomfortable situations as conviction and repentance.

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

James 3:14-15

But unfortunately, this “wisdom” leads us no where but in circles, forever chasing the wind. Eventually, that sense of feeling pretty dang good will end up vacating and leaving a hollow space behind, and we will wonder what happened…

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Proverbs 14:12

Oddly enough, the Creator of all that is seen and unseen is also the best and only source of actual wisdom. Wisdom that reaps eternal profits, not temporary conveniences. Wisdom that leads to life and joy and peace even in the tumult and upheaval of life in a sin-sick world.

Wisdom that is useful and genuine.

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,”

1 Corinthians 3:18-19

Father, forgive us for looking to anywhere but You for wisdom. Please, give us the wisdom we need to navigate this world in a way that honors You and prepares us for eternity in Your presence. As we ask, we ask in faith, without doubting that You have the wisdom we seek and that You will give it in due time and measure, amen.

Wisdom Seeker: Day 6

Proverbs 6

For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life…

Proverbs 6:23

A couple of things stood out to me in today’s reading. First, verse 23 reminds me of portions of Psalm 119. I’ve written a series on Psalm 119 in the past, but today I just want to point out a couple of verses. Take a look:

  • Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
    (Psalms 119:35-37)
  • It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
    (Psalms 119:71)
  • Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
    (Psalms 119:105)

I have to wonder if Solomon had his father’s words in mind when he penned Proverbs 6:23? (Side note: It’s unclear whether David actually wrote Psalm 119, but the tone and the wording certainly sound like the shepherd king to me.)

This one section, anyway, calls to mind the light and lamp of the Word, and how discipline and instruction are crucial to life – at least in an eternal sense.

But don’t take my word for it:

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:11

And speaking of peaceful fruit, verses 14 and 19 of today’s proverb speak of God’s displeasure with those who stir up strife and discord. An apt word for today with the constant temptation to add our voice to the global conversation on social media.

The younger me gleefully put in my two cents’ worth of nonsense when it came to adding comments, but the younger me did not often think through the impact of my words.

Today, with Psalm 141:3 on my lips as a prayer, I have a greater tendency to ask myself first: Does this need to be said? Does it add to the controversy or dispel it? Is it helpful or hurtful? Is it kind? Is it God-honoring? Is it necessary?

If any of those answers are negative, chances are good my two cents’ worth is exactly that: verbal coin which can’t even buy a stick of cheap candy.

Some things really are better left unsaid.

Holy Father, today we ask that You will set a guard over our mouths and keep watch over the door to our lips. You know how prone we are to speak rashly, without thought. Let Your Spirit be a harness for our speech, whether audible or typed, and ensure that our words bring life, hope, peace, and most of all, glory to You, amen.

When have you spoken or typed words you regret? How does this chapter speak to you?

Tuesday Prayer: Victory

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Romans 6:17-18

Mighty Savior, we praise Your holy name for You are good. You are not only Creator of all that is seen and unseen, You are merciful. You’ve¬†shown compassion on us even when we were in rebellion to Your created order and ways.

Though we were Your enemies, You stepped into our midst to live in perfection, to lay down Your life, and to redeem us when there is nothing we could do to extricate ourselves from slavery to sin. Thanks be to God for the victory He has given us in Christ Jesus!

But Lord, we confess that we do not always walk in victory over sin. Sometimes we toy with it as if it is a child’s plaything and not the very gateway to death. Other times, even though You have loosed the chains of sin, we cling to them as if bound and give in to self-loathing rather than fixing our eyes on You and stepping out in the freedom You’ve already given. In many other ways, Lord, we allow ourselves to be entangled by this world instead of caught up in rejoicing and praising You for our salvation.

And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.

Luke 8:14

Forgive us, we pray, and help us to remember that when it comes to sin, we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us. Lord, today we cry out passionately and boldly: give your people victory over sin! Whatever has held us back to this point, pry our fingers off it and show us our freedom in Christ. Wherever we have embraced a lie, show us Your Truth and help us to believe it.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world‚ÄĒour faith.

1 John 5:4

Because of what You have done, we are no longer slaves to sin but have become slaves to righteousness. May we truly live this way, walking in the light of Your great love and enjoying daily and hourly victory over whatever sins have harried us throughout our lives.

Whether we’ve struggled under addiction, depression, anxiety, fear, lust, anger, unbelief, or any other thing, show us how to live victoriously¬†over the plague of sin, rejoicing in the Lord who saves us and who is with us always.

Not only for us, Lord, but for our loved ones – please bring victory over sin. For those who are lost and still in captivity, open their eyes to the truth of Christ and set them free as well. May they see us victorious over sin and want to walk in that same victory.

Use us, Lord, to show them Your ways and draw them to our Lord Jesus. We pray to see a mighty work of Your Spirit, shaking the prison and flinging the doors wide so the captives can walk free along with us in genuine, joyful, and breathtaking victory over sin, amen. 

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin…

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:6-7, 11

Tuesday Prayer: Glory to God

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

Psalm 115:1


Oh Lord our God, You are the Almighty; the Holy One whose patience is beyond imagining and whose compassion knows no end. Thank You for loving us enough to step down from Your throne and walk in the midst of the mess of humanity. Thank You for paying the price of a sin debt we could never hope to repay and setting us free from slavery to sin! We owe You everything, Lord; may it be that we cheerfully give all to the One who gave Himself for us.

As we minister to others here on earth in Your name, we confess that often our pride creeps in. At times, we begin to do a work for You, yet we secretly hope for recognition or praise for the thing we have done. Other times, we trust in our good works rather than in Your grace, not remembering that the best we have to offer You is nothing more than rags stained with our own self-righteous conceit.

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Isaiah 64:6

We confess that sometimes we forget apart from You, we can truly do nothing of eternal value.

Forgive our pride, Lord! Forgive us when we seek glory for ourselves or when we serve others for accolades from man rather than from a posture of humility and gratitude for the undeserved gift of salvation. Teach our hearts true humility. Change our hearts to love serving You for who You are and not for applause and accolades. Let the love of You be motive enough for us to do all that You call us to do. 

May it be that if any amount of recognition or praise falls on us, we shift the burden of it to You. In truth, glory is a burden too heavy for mortal shoulders to bear. You alone are able to carry the weight of glory without being warped or twisted by it. When we seize glory for ourselves, we become distorted by it and our pride advances like a cancer infecting all we do. Thanks be to You, our King, that Your grace saves us from our own self-importance!

Open our eyes to places where pride has encroached on Your grace, then uproot our pride and destroy it, Lord. As we repent of pride and reject it, make our lives into an accurate a reflection of Your glory. Purify our motives by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Teach us to delight ourselves in You, doing justice and loving kindness all while walking humbly with You, our God.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8

Then, O Gracious Lord, use us as ministers of Your grace, love, and truth everywhere we go. May our changed lives be evidence of Your redemptive power, and may we glorify You in all we do so everyone we encounter will hear and see the goodness and excellence of our mighty God. In the name of the Son we pray, amen.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Jude 1:24-25

Tuesday Prayer: A Prayer for Lent

 “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. 

Daniel 9:4b-5

Faithful and True, You are the unchanging God and the only just Judge. As the Psalmist says, “Your word is firmly fixed in the heavens and Your faithfulness endures to all generations.” Though cultures, fashions, and social mores may change, Your Word never does. Your Truth never does. What You say is right does not later become wrong, and what You say is sin does not later become acceptable. 

Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations…

Psalms 119:89-90a

Today as we look ahead to Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent, we choose to acknowledge the fact of Your unswerving truth and righteousness. This year, we beg, send Your Spirit in abundance to move in our hearts during Lent.

Open our eyes to the places we have called what is evil, good or anywhere we have called what is good, evil. In all places where we have made excuses for sin or justified it according to what is socially or culturally acceptable, expose our deceit as just that: deceit.  Where we have tried to hide a “pet” sin, drag it out into the light and convict our hearts of evil. 

Oh Lord, we echo Daniel’s prayer: “To You, O Lord, belongs righteousness but to us, open shame!” We have sinned and fallen short of Your grace. We have taken lightly the great and terrible sacrifice of our Lord Yeshua (Jesus) and used the freedom He offers as an excuse to sin. We have turned from Your Word and pursued our own selfish ways. We have placed jobs, entertainment, wealth, family, and other worldly pursuits in priority over You and over Your Word. We have worshiped self and ignored Your still, small voice.

To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame…

…O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.

Daniel 9:7a, 19

Forgive us, Lord, for these sins and others! In the weeks to come, we ask that You will continually be at work in our hearts. Convict us of sin and drive us to confession and to genuine repentance.  Change us heart, soul, mind, and strength so that our one passion is to honor You and the sacrifice You’ve made. Let us not only say we believe, let us live as though we believe that Yeshua Messiah died to set us free from sin. May our behavior reflect this belief.

And Lord, as You work in us, changing us and renewing our hearts before Your throne, open our mouths in praise to You every single day. Let us speak to all of the good our God has done in our hearts. Let us celebrate openly our freedom from sin, and let us walk in freedom – slaves to sin no more. May we never again present our bodies as slaves to sin but instead present them as slaves to righteousness, walking in joyful obedience to the living Word of our mighty and compassionate, God.

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Romans 6:16

By our changed lives and the righteousness of Christ evident in us, set other prisoners free from slavery to sin so that we may rejoice with many new brothers and sisters in Christ! We eagerly wait to see Your work in us and in the people around us, in the mighty name of Yeshua Messiah our Lord, amen.