Book of Proverbs

What do you do when life throws you a curve ball?

Life is full of surprises. It often places us in difficult situations about which we have no clue. Many times a good opportunity, comes up, but we pass it up out of fear that we do not have the necessary skills and technical know-how.

In the game of baseball, a curve ball is difficult to hit. Many pitcher uses it as a secret weapon. However, if a curve ball is not well-directed, the hitter could hit that baby out of the park. Therefore, even though a curve ball is intimidating, It need not be a terrible thing.

Some years ago my wife turned down a management position at her job because she thought she did not have what it takes. Being a manager was far too intimidating. Hence nobody could convince her to take the job. She cited every possible reason there was to support her argument that she was not the right person for the job.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

What do you do when life throws you a curve ball? One can either throw his or her hands in the air, and surrender to the fear of failure or one can do what young Solomon did. He asked God for understanding

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” Proverbs 3:5).

Solomon was no more than twenty years old when his dying father, appointed him king of Israel. The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask what I shall give thee”. Solomon responded thus: “Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king, but I am a little child; I do not know whether I am coming or going. Hence, Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too many to count. Therefore, give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil: for who can rule over this great nation of yours?”

The speech pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. Then God say to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice. Behold, I have done according to your words. I have given you a wise and understanding heart so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. Likewise, I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. So if, thou walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days” (1 Kings 3:7-14).

God wants you to check your ego at the door

Sassetta - Virgin of Humility - WGA20869

Sassetta - Virgin of Humility - WGA20869 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility” (Proverbs 15:33).

There was an actor who was fond of telling everyone how wonderful he was. His house was a museum of memorabilia from his career. His rave reviews were framed and hung in every room. Awards graced shelves and tables, and copies of his movies were played on large screens when visitors came by. He took such delight in rattling off his achievement that no one else ever felt compelled to praise him.

“For whosoever exalted himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11)

Too often people seek after honors when they should be thriving for humility. Honors are not something that we deserve. They are gifts and should be given by others, not by ourselves. When we praise our own efforts, we slip into the sin of conceit. The good book tells in James 4:6 that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” God is most pleased when we commit ourselves to doing what is right. Even if no honors come to us in this life, God will honor us richly in the life to come.

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). It is the humble man who is able to keep his sights set on God and in doing His will. Thomas A. Kempis said it best, “It is good for me Lord, that thou hast humbled me, that I may learn Thy righteous Judgments, and may cast away all haughtiness of heart and all presumption. “

If we use our time doing the things that God has asked us to do, we will not have time to brag about our accomplishments. God has given us plenty to keep us busy all the days of our lives. If we stay committed to doing what is pleasing in His sight, He will bless us all our days.

Keep me humble, Lord. Help me to remember that I am nothing without You. You have given me everything I have and everything I am. You have blessed me with so many wonderful things, and I praise you. Amen!

Jesus wants us to walk the path of holiness

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Image via Wikipedia

A man’s walk is the way he journeys through life–his direction, his focus, the steps he takes. Every day he chooses a path. One path will take him forward. All others will take him back. The way he walks affects every aspect of his being–how he relates to other people, how he treats his family, how people view him, even how he looks.

I have seen men who were unattractive by any standard change radically as they learned to walk in the Spirit of God. as His image became imprinted upon theirs, they develop a richness of soul, a glorious purity and an inner confidence of knowing what direction they were going. This gave them a strength and a sense of purpose that is not only attractive and appealing, it’s magnetic.

The Bible reveals much about the kind of walk we should have. We are to walk with moral correctness because “For the Lord God is a a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). We are to walk without fault  because “whoever walks blamelessly will be saved” (Proverbs 28:18). We are to walk with godly advisers because “blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly” (Psalm 1:1). We are to walk in obedience because “blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways” (Psalm 128:1). We are to walk with people of wisdom because “he who walks with wise men will be wise” (Proverbs 13:20). We are to walk with integrity because “he who walks with integrity walks securely” (Proverbs 10:9). Most of all we are to walk a path of holiness. “A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness, The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray: (Isaiah 35:8).

Jesus said there is only one way to get on the right path, one door through which to enter. “I am the way,” He says (John 14:6). The way that leads to destruction is wide and broad and many choose to go that route. but “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14).

Integrity is what you are in the dark

Integrity is not what you seem to be when all eyes are on you. It’s who you are when no one is looking. (character is what you are in the dark). It’s a level of morality below which you never fall, no matter what’s happening around you. It’s a high standard of honesty, truthfulness, decency, and honor that is never breached. It’s doing for others the way you would want them to do for you.

A man of integrity says something and means it. He doesn’t play verbal games so you never really know where he stands. He knows to let his “Yes” be “Yes” and his “No” be “No.” “For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37). He will not play both sides of the fence to please everyone. his goal is to please God and do what is right. A man can be highly esteemed among men but an abomination to God (Luke 16:15).

A man of integrity “swears to his own hurt and does not change” (Psalm 15:4). He will keep his word even if it costs him something to do so. When placed in a possible compromising situation, he will continue to stand strong in what he believes. (The three Hebrew boys stood strong and never bow to the golden image or worship Nebuchadnezzar‘s god. They were later thrown into a fiery furnace). Above all, he is a man of truth; you can depend on his solid honesty. A man “who walks with integrity walks securely” (Proverbs 10:9), because his integrity guides him and bring him into the presence of God (Psalm 41:12).

Integrity happens in the heart. Therefore, being a man of integrity is something  a man must choose to do on his own. But loved ones can prayerfully help him fight the enemy that seeks to snare him, blind him, and keep him from making that decision. Even when he makes the right choice, there will be a negative reaction to it in the realm of evil. Your prayers can help shield him from anything that causes him to doubt and waver, and give him strength to do what’s right–even when no one is looking. The Bible says “The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him” (Proverbs 20:7).

Let God direct your footsteps into the future

Scroll of the Book of Proverbs

Image via Wikipedia

None of us can live without a vision for our future. If we don’t have one, we flounder aimlessly. Without a vision, life seems pointless and we die a little every day. “Where there is no vision the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18)

Having a vision doesn’t necessarily means  knowing the specifics about what is going to happen next. It has to do with sensing the general direction you are moving in and having hope that something good is on the horizon. It is knowing that you do have a future and a purpose, and that it is bright.

Not every man have that certainty. When he doesn’t, you can almost see life draining from him. Even the ones who do, do not necessarily have it all the time. Even the most spiritual man can get overtired, burned out, beaten down, distanced from God, confused about who he his and why he is here, and lose his vision for the future. He can misplace his sense of purpose and become overwhelmed and hopeless because of it. If he loses sight of his dreams and forgets the truth about himself and his situation, he can end up believing destructive lies about his future. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).

God says not to listen to voices that speak lies, for “they speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:16). Any vision for the future that is full of failure and empty of hope is not from God (Jeremiah 29:11). But God can restore vision where it has been lost. He can give hope to dream again. He can give His truth to bear upon the lies of discouragement. He can give assurance of a promising future. Prayer is the avenue through which He can accomplish it.

We have to remember that father God has drawn up His will. His estate is divided equally among His children. All that He has, we will have. “We are “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ: (Romans 8:17).  I have read my copy of the will and it says we do not have the slightest idea of what God has in store for us. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the thing which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). It promises that “the blameless will inherit good” (Proverbs 28:10). It says that not only will we have everything we need in this life, but the most significant part will be ours. Then we will be with Him and we will want nothing more.

God does not want us to know the future, He wants us to know Him. He wants to trust Him to guide us into the future one step at a time. In order to understand God’s leading , we must t seek him for every step. “Those who seek the Lord understand all” (Proverbs 28:5).