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Root rot

Proverbs 4:20-27 – “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”

My job, now, is in home health. That means that I get to go out into the community and meet all kinds of interesting people. 

One of my patients was a citrus farmer. He was telling me about a disease that sometimes hits orange groves. It starts at the roots. By the time you take note of the disease, the tree is a goner. The first indication of a problem is that the top of the tree begins to die. And that happens 2 years after the tree is infected! Two years!

Problems are everywhere and in everyone’s life. It is how we identify and address the problems that is important. You can’t let something sit and fester for a while before you tend to it. No, when a problem arises, you have to hit it head on. Putting it off will only cause things to get worse and worse. 

Some people frown at disciplining a small child. “They are little. They don’t know any better.” Exactly. That’s why we need to teach them when they are young!

Some people will notice something odd in a relationship and just sweep it under the rug. They don’t address the abnormality until it becomes normal and a problem. That’s when relationships fall apart – friends and marriages. 

Someone will detect a slight change in their body and brush it off because they are too busy. And before you know it, you have a full blown medical incident on your hands that could have been avoided if you had just paid attention. 

Big problems rarely begin as an explosion. Usually, there are little rumbles here and there that get overlooked or pushed aside. We are too busy to address them. 

Solomon warned his son in these verses against this very thing. He instructed him that he had to keep the Word of God with him always. He needed to keep it in the front of his thoughts always to guard his heart against problems that will surely come. 

Things are going to be happening all around us. Temptations will be at every turn. Problems will arise. Evil will try to pull us away from what we know is right. But we need to keep our eyes fixed. We can’t let root rot happen.

Satan wants to get in at the root and destroy us from the bottom up. If he can get us away from God, he can win. It starts with neglecting your Bible. And then church becomes an option. And then activities at church just happen on the wrong days. And before you know it, root rot. The top of your tree gets brown and things begin to taste bitter. 

Guard your heart, my friend.  Allow the Holy  Spirit to reside in your heart to hold you close to the One who can carry you through it all. Don’t let root rot take ahold of you. 

Revisit – Kryptonite

Hope you enjoy this revisit from January 29,2013!

Proverbs 16:6 – “Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.”
Do you ever stop and think about what all Jesus really did for you? I mean really think about it? It is hard for me to do that because it makes me want to cry. I want to cry not only for His suffering and shame but for my lack of continual acknowledgement.
It was His love and faithfulness that has brought me to where I am, nothing of my own doing. His sacrifice covers it all. It gives me the opportunity to stand before the Father spotless.
But do we really stand? My pride may cause me to stand but in reality we should be on our faces before God. I mean, this is God we are talking about here – Creator of the universe, Knower of ALL things! Hello! Not Someone to quibble with!
I think our society has lost touch with a healthy fear of things. We think we are invincible – modern day Superman. Even Superman had his fears – kryptonite. But it was a healthy fear.
We are told here in Psalm that the “fear of the LORD” helps one to “avoid evil.” What does it mean to “fear” The Lord? In my life, it means that my deep love and respect for Him make me want to do my best for Him and not hurt His feelings by doing something wrong. I don’t want to disappoint Him. If I were perfect, I wouldn’t have a problem doing this. However, when my sin creeps into the situation and I forget all that He has done for me, his “love and faithfulness” bring me back around and set my feet on solid ground.
So today, princess, take some time and analyze your level of “fear of the LORD”. If things are lacking, run to His “love and faithfulness” and claim the promise of atonement and your place on solid ground.

About her…

Proverbs 31:30 – “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.”

If I didn’t think you would go into panic mode, I would have put Proverbs 31:10-31 here. But that’s a lot of verses and some would stop reading. 

This was my reading this morning. I have always been fascinated and frustrated with the iconic “Proverbs 31 Woman”. Fascinated for obvious reasons and frustrated because I feel that I could never live up to her. And there have been times when I convinced myself that she wasn’t a real woman. Those are the times when I really stop and look at my life and realize that it is possible to do all of those things listed. 

So, here I find myself in the year 2016 trying to live, do and be it all just like the “Proverbs 31 woman”…and I’m tired. I’m  tired just like she was probably tired. I think in our quest to be that woman, we neglect one very important detail – balance. 

That is what stuck out at me in the devotional I read this morning. Balance is what happens when we listen to God – when we hear Him directing and instructing our heart. Balance is what happens when the fear of failure leaves. Balance is what happens when we take time for others in the midst of all that we feel we need to accomplish. Balance is what happens when we allow ourself the time to relax. 

So, to anyone who reads this portion of God’s word, don’t be overwhelmed and frustrated and find yourself walking away feeling inadequate. Instead choose to see balance and love and ingenuity and determination. Because when you allow God to balance your life, you allow Him to create in you “the Proverbs 31 woman”. 

Bad days come & go

Proverbs 24:10-12 – “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?”

We all have bad days from time to time. We all have mornings that we wake up an hour or so before our alarm goes off and can’t go back to sleep. We all have those days when we feel like we have broken every glass in the house. We all have bad days. 

What can we possibly gain from a bad day? How can we seek out something good in amongst all the seemingly bad things going on? How do we see positive out of a day reeking of headaches?

In truth, it’s all about how we handle those kinds of days. Do we turn our head to the difficulties of others just because our day is rotten? Or do we turn our attention to something other than our own problems? Usually when we do the later, we find our problems are just tiny stumbles. 

I woke up really early this morning with a headache. And as I laid in bed trying not to toss and turn, my mind began to race. I thought about everything from what I needed to add to my grocery list to all the ones that I knew would be traveling today. It gave me an opportunity to pray. It gave me an opportunity to reflect on some things that have been going on in my life and the time to look forward to some new things that will be happening soon. 

And although the day promises to be long due to lack of sleep, I’m kinda excited about the day. It’s the first day of a new month. My son leaves for the UK soon (I’m sure there will be more on that in the future – it’s a big deal!). My daughter has a to-do list a mile long. We are going on a getaway this weekend. My husband is in full swing of a new position at work. And I am in the process of a career change. It’s an exciting month. 

So my encouragement for you today is this – don’t let a bad start or bad event spoil the entire day. God sees your struggles. He knows the challenges. But He expects you to face them like Jesus would, with a positive attitude and a ready heart. 

So many uses

Proverbs 15:28 – “The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.”

Every time you go to church or read a devotional book or whatever, they are talking about reading your Bible. You’ve got enough on your plate, right? There are only so many hours in the day. Between work and home, you barely have time to take care of what needs to be attended to, am I right?

Let me ask you this, what do you when the garbage can stinks? I’m not talking about the trash. I mean the can itself. Well, you take out the garbage and clean the can. If you just take out the trash and put in another liner, the can still stinks, right?

My point is this – it takes work to keep that can from stinking. You can’t just blow by it every day and pay no attention to it. If you don’t keep the yuck out, the yuck will start stinking. 

Life and words and actions are the same way. You MUST attend to them daily or they will begin to stink. 

Your tongue is one of the smallest muscles in your body. Yet, it is one of the most powerful. We have heard that since we were children. But do we really stop and think about the effects of our words and actions? 

God used Solomon here to encourage us to get in His word. You see, it is only His word that can purify our hearts and minds to keep us from spewing yuck. 

We are all a dirty can. We all need to be cleaned out on a daily basis. We need to start fresh each day. But God will not clean us out if we don’t have the proper tools – namely, His word in our life. The Word of God is so many things – a two edged sword, the perfect scrubby, a gardener’s pruning shears, comfort, encouragement and so much more. But it can do none of those things if you aren’t using it. 

Jesus, my friend

Proverbs 18:24 – “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

We had a really great lesson in Sunday school yesterday. It was about friendship. We talked about the importance of friends and how much time we spend developing those relationships. 

During the lesson, I felt the need to examine a typical young teen day. We determined how many hours they were awake, how many hours they were in school and so on and so on until all the waking hours were filled up. We focused, primarily, on how many hours they spent developing their friendships with their peers. When the hours were all used up, I asked, “Okay, so when do you develop your friendship with Jesus?”

We then began a discussion into the fact that we all know someone famous, like Justin Beber. Now, we know what he looks like, what he likes and so on and so on. So I asked, “Does knowing everything about him mean that he is your friend?” Of course, they all said “no”. So then I asked, “You know who Jesus is. You know a lot about Him. You even believe He is who He says He is. Does that make Him your friend?” They all just sat there. I just sat there. It stunned us all. 

What I’m trying to get at here is this – you can know all about Jesus. You can believe Him with all your heart. And that is exactly what you should do – it’s what is needed as the FIRST step. But what about after that? Are you going to let Him be just your Savior? If so, that’s all well and good but you will be missing out on something amazing. 

Jesus wants to be that One who “sticketh closer than a brother.” But just like when you are developing a new relationship you have to take time and effort into making it work, you have to take time and put forth some effort into making Jesus your friend. You have to be willing to let Him talk sometimes. You have to be willing to listen when He speaks. You have to learn to really trust Him. You have to allow Him to be IN your day. He’s always with you, but you must invite Him to participate. 

I want Jesus to be my friend. It is a relationship that I believe you work on your entire life once you get going. It is a beautiful relationship that has its ups and downs. But one thing I know for sure, I can trust Him implicitly. I trust Him to be with me always. I trust Him to always guide me in truth. I trust that His leadership will never harm me. I trust that no matter how bad I hurt Him, He will never leave me nor forsake me. 

Friends are very important in our life. Don’t neglect the friends you have here on this earth. But more importantly, don’t neglect the Friend that you have in Jesus Christ. 

Fools

Psalm 14:1 – “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”

It’s April 1, April Fools Day. There will be many jokes played on people today, so beware. For the most part, it’s all just fun and games. 

But God takes fools very seriously. 

In the Bible being called a fool was a serious offense. The word “fool” was a HUGE thing, very near a curse word in our lingo. 

This verse gives us the essence of a fool – one who says in his heart that there is no God. I don’t get it. How can someone even bring that thought to mind? 

We have a whole group of people these days running around trying to tell us God doesn’t exist. In fact, last night, my daughter was reading in her science book (from her Christian school, I might add) about evolution. The book was attempting to teach my child that fish decided to come out of the water and grow legs and walk on dry ground. Of course, my daughter, being the hoot she is, says to me, “Listen to how dumb this is mom.” Love that girl. I said to her, “Why is that in your science book?” She says, “Because they are dumb.” Looking in the front of the book, I found a stamp put there by the school to inform the reader that the school does not agree with everything published in the book but adheres to a strict following of Biblical standards. They utilize a variety of books to give the student a broad understanding of what science and the world teaches, AKA – you have to know your enemy. Not that evolutionist are our enemy, but the devil who promotes those ideas is. 

Any way…

My point is this – there are tons and tons of people out there that don’t believe in God, let alone the One, True God of Heaven. And they are fools. 

Proverbs 9:6 – “Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.”

Life is too short for foolishness. God is too amazing to neglect Him. Heaven is too close to reject it. I think the verse from Proverbs pretty much sums it all up – live away from foolishness and go in understanding.