Proverbs 27

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Proverbs 27

When the Lord led me to stop reading other books, and start reading only the Bible, I was like a hungry soul. Even the bitter parts of the Word became sweet to me. While reading the books of prophecy were disturbing at times, they were also sweet because I was beginning to understand so much more and ‘connect’ the dots. I also began to see that even in His judgment, His mercy can still be found.

A prudent person can foresee evil and hide himself. The best place to ‘hide’ is in the shadow of the wings of Almighty God. We can prepare for the apocalypse, buying food, medical supplies, items for bartering, etc., but if we fail to hide in the shadow of His wings, and in His Word, all of our preparation is in vain.

Friends can sharpen one another like iron sharpens iron. Whenever I have been with one of my closest friends, you can see it in my countenance. We have deep discussions on spiritual things, hammering out meanings, and how to apply the Word to our daily lives. It is invigorating to have those precious times together, and it shows on our countenance, just like the Word says.

Occasionally, when studying the Word, I will pull out a different version for a fresh, new insight into a verse. I found this in verse 18 of the New Life Version. “He who cares for the fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who cares for the one he works for will be honored.” As I pondered on what this means, it occurred to me that when we work diligently and honestly for our employer, it gets noticed by others and by the Lord. I have seen that in my own job. We unexpectedly lost a senior member of our team shortly after I started working in the department. No one knew how to keep things updated in the computer, but in this position, it is imperative to keep things up to date. Patients’ lives depended upon it! I kept working on the computer system, playing around with it until I could figure out how to accomplish the task. I continued to stay on top of any updates and changes, even though it technically wasn’t just my job. I did it because it was the right thing to do. After five years of this, that diligence paid off when I got a big promotion. It reminds me of Galatians 6:9, where it tells us not to become weary in doing good because at the proper time, we will reap a harvest.

Be diligent! You will be rewarded!
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

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Proverbs 26

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Proverbs 26

There is something a bit confusing in this chapter. In verse 4, it sounds like we are not to answer a fool according to his folly, but the next verse makes it sound as if we are supposed to answer him. So which is it? Someone described it to me as there being a time when we should not answer him. Other times, we do need to address him, letting him know we aren’t fooled by him, or letting him know how foolish he is, in case the Lord may be trying to get through to him. However, it takes wisdom and discernment from the Lord to know which way is best. This is just one more reason it is important for us to stay grounded in the Word so we don’t foolishly handle it the wrong way.

Do you ever watch the wickedness that seems to be abounding in these times, and wonder, “Why do the wicked seem to have things so good?” I think it is common for all of us to question this. I also believe the Lord knew how we would struggle with this, so once again, He reminds us that their day will come. (verse 10)

It is one thing to want to befriend someone who is wise. After all, that kind of friendship can be like iron sharpening iron. (Proverbs 27:17) It is another to befriend someone who is wise in his/her own eyes. There is more hope for a fool than that person! (verse 12)

When we don’t add wood to a fire, that fire will die. So it is with our words. When someone comes to us to gossip, if we cut them off, letting them know we don’t want to hear it, that gossip will cease. We will avoid strife with the person who is the object of that gossip. (verse 20) More importantly, we choose the way of Jesus – to carry our cross, and crucify our fleshly desires to partake in gossip. And that, my friend, pleases our Lord!
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Proverbs 12

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Proverbs 12

In my bible, there is a heading above the chapter that says, “The House of the Righteous Shall Stand.” I decided to dig deeper and find out what wisdom there might be to help us in making sure that our house will stand firm.

If we are good, we obtain favor from the Lord, which in turn, will help in building a strong house. In my own life, the Lord granted me favor with my previous manager and supervisor. When our department was turned over to a different manager, he needed someone to be a lead operator. The Lord granted me favor with all three of them, and I got the promotion. This promotion came with a large raise too. The Lord knew that just five months after this promotion, a large portion of our oak tree would fall on our home, resulting in unexpected expenses. We had the deductible, as well as the cost of removing the part of the tree which was still standing. Yet, because of the Lord’s favor, our house stood firm – physically, financially, and spiritually.

By loving instruction, we gain knowledge. The root of the righteous cannot be moved. Our mouths will deliver us, and we will be satisfied with the fruit of our mouths – likely because we know what to say, what not to say, when to speak, and when not to speak. We will speak truth and righteousness, which will bring delight to the Lord. Our words will promote healing – to relationships, emotions, fears, and even physical ailments. Because our words will promote peace, we will have joy.

We care for others, including the needs of our animals. We will be satisfied with bread, which can be physical food and spiritual food. We are satisfied because we work for it. It even adds that diligence is our precious possession. Our roots will yield fruit, and we will make it through times of trouble.

One last way we can cause our house to stand is by being cautious in friendship. Bad friendships can ruin a house – physically, spiritually, relationally, and emotionally. Years ago, I entered a destructive friendship. I took the word of someone else at church that this gal was really growing in the Lord. In reality, she was still practicing witchcraft. When I called her out on it, it wreaked havoc. It destroyed many relationships because no one else saw it for several months. Had I been cautious and prayed about it first, I would have saved myself a lot of pain.

After all this chapter has shown us in how the house of the righteous will stand, it ends with a final reminder: The way of righteousness is life. When sin comes to tempt us, we can remind ourselves that the way of righteousness is life. That life will keep our house standing firm when times of doubt, fears, temptations, and trials come our way.
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Merciful Mess

Merciful Mess

I love sharing personal lessons from my life in hopes that others can learn from my mistakes.  To me, it is a way to redeem those painful experiences, making all things work together for good (Romans 8:28).  The story I share here was a huge “life lesson” to me.  I gained much wisdom in regard to friendships after having gone through this experience.

Several years ago, a lady started attending our church.  I kept hearing from other people how fast she was growing in the Lord, how awesome she was, and how on fire for the Lord she was.  I thought, “I ought to befriend this gal.  She sounds really neat!”  That was my first mistake.  I took someone else’s word on this person, rather than seeking God’s will on whether or not I should befriend her.

It turns out that this gal was into witchcraft.  She was using her wiles and all kinds of manipulation on everyone in the church.  She caused division in the church and basically destroyed our deliverance ministry.  Had I not gotten wise to her devices, I think she would have destroyed my marriage with her lies.

Shortly after I cut off this unhealthy friendship, I read in Proverbs 12:26 where a righteous person is cautious in friendship.  I also saw in the next chapter where a person who walks with the wise becomes wise, but if you are a companion of fools, you will suffer harm.  I can not begin to tell you how much I wish I had known these verses before I met this woman.  I suffered MUCH harm because I was not cautious in friendship.

We live in a world where people need mercy.  For those who truly have a God-given gift of showing mercy to others, it can leave us vulnerable to being used or manipulated by others if we fail to counter mercy with discernment.  I encountered this with the woman who was attending our church.  While I was trying to show mercy to her, I was doing it on the say-so of other people.  What I ended up making was a merciful mess because God had not called me to show mercy to this woman.

Many times, I think those who operate freely in the gift of mercy may feel like they need to befriend everybody they meet.  Since we are to be cautious in friendship, it is clearly not God’s will for us to be close friends with every single person we meet.  We need to discern whom God wants us to have for our close friends.

When we choose to base our friendships on God’s principles, it might stir up controversy from those who don’t live by these principles.  We may be accused of being judgmental, when in fact, we are simply being cautious in friendship.  There is a huge difference between the two.  Since bad company corrupts good character, we should earnestly desire God’s will in our friendships (First Corinthians 15:33).

Are you making a merciful mess in any of your friendships?
© Stacy R. Miller