Walk Wisely (Proverbs 28)

Pro 28:1, 6-7, 9, 13, 23-27 NKJV The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion. … (6) Better [is] the poor who walks in his integrity Than one perverse [in his] ways, though he [be] rich. (7) Whoever keeps the law [is] a discerning son, But a companion of gluttons shames his father. … (9) One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer [is] an abomination. … (13) He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes [them] will have mercy. … (23) He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward Than he who flatters with the tongue. (24) Whoever robs his father or his mother, And says, “[It is] no transgression,” The same [is] companion to a destroyer. (25) He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the LORD will be prospered. (26) He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered. (27) He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have many curses.

Dear Daughter, I went walking several years ago and walked down a big path covered over by trees. I looked back and saw that just where I had walked was a giant rattle snake coiled up. I must have walked within just a few feet and never saw it coming. On the way back I was sure to give the serpent lots of room because I didn’t want to be bit.

The bible says that for those who walk righteously that we don’t have anything to fret or worry over. We can walk boldly as a lion through life. We’ve dealt in truth and so our lies haven’t gone before us as snares. We’ve trusted God and His promises are sure. We’ve kept good friends, listened to our parents, and honored the Lord in all things. Our steps are guided.

As foolish as it would have been to try and walk back by the snake as close as I could, so some people walk through life intending to do things wickedly (or near wickedly). You can’t go through life with that sort of deceit in your heart and not expect to get bit. Be sure your ways and your path will find you out.

Father, thank you for the grace of being a dad. I ask for my children that they would walk wisely. I pray that they seek to honor you in all things. I pray that they are bold as lions on the path you have set them on. I ask for your grace in confessing their sins and walking in integrity. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Self Control (Proverbs 25)

Pro 25:6-7, 14, 16, 27-28 NKJV Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of the great; (7) For [it is] better that he say to you, “Come up here,” Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your eyes have seen. … (14) Whoever falsely boasts of giving [Is like] clouds and wind without rain. … (16) Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, Lest you be filled with it and vomit. … (27) [It is] not good to eat much honey; So to seek one’s own glory [is not] glory. (28) Whoever [has] no rule over his own spirit [Is like] a city broken down, without walls.

Dear Son, I heard a story about a man who was supposed to be the rightful king of a nation but his brother held him prisoner and ruled in his stead. The brother was a clever man. To keep the rightful king imprisoned all he did was place him in a room with narrow doors that a regular man could fit through. Each day he ordered a large array of delicious food, sweets, and pastries sent up to the kings room and each day the king showed no self control and ate everything. The result was that he was too fat to leave the room. Certainly his wicked brother made sure the food was available, but the king had become a prisoner of his own appetite.

So it is with a man who has no self-control. He could be free to live in the world, yet he is held captive by his tastes and impulses. He hasn’t leaned to say, “That’s enough.” It’s healthy to practice self control and place limits on your consumption. In my life there are times where I have fasted every Thursday for an extended period of weeks. There have also been times when I’ve given up sweets or coffee for 40 days. I wish I had learned these disciplines earlier in my life. The reason I do them now is that I don’t want my appetite for these things to rule me. It’s also true that I’ve limited my freedoms by my lack of self-control in the past.

Self control isn’t just about overeating. It is also about controlling your tongue and knowing when to speak and when to hold your peace. It’s about knowing the thoughts you have and being able to filter them to express yourself in a way that is appropriate for the moment. It’s about not spending the money that’s in your pocket and holding on to it to pay your bills or save up for a big expense. It’s about knowing who is coming behind you and making sure that there is room for them as well. My prayer for you is that you will be known as a man with self control.

Father, thank you for the grace of being a dad. I pray for my children to know how to control themselves. There is so much I wish I had leaned earlier about self control. I pray they all learn in now while they are young and practice selfcontrol for your glory and their freedom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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The House of A Lazy Man (Proverbs 24)

Pro 24:12, 30-34 NKJV (12) If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” Does not He who weighs the hearts consider [it]? He who keeps your soul, does He [not] know [it]? And will He [not] render to [each] man according to his deeds? … (30) I went by the field of the lazy [man], And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; (31) And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; Its surface was covered with nettles; Its stone wall was broken down. (32) When I saw [it], I considered [it] well; I looked on [it and] received instruction: (33) A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest; (34) So shall your poverty come [like] a prowler, And your need like an armed man.

Dear Daughter, It can be difficult to know when you are being lazy. Inside of our heads we all have different thoughts and ideas about things. One of the lies we are most tempted to tell ourselves is, “I’m tired, I deserve a break, I’ll get to that tomorrow.” If we aren’t careful our tomorrows will add up and we’ll end up in a mess or worse things will fall into disrepair. Better to do today the work that is in front of you. It’s amazing how little effort is actually needed to do a job that needs doing right away and how much effort it takes to comeback to a task that has been waiting for a few days.

Don’t put off your future. Do what needs to be done today. There is only one day of the week where you need to say, “That can wait until tomorrow.” That day is the Lord’s day where we honor Him by our rest and reflection, but all other days we are to honor Him by our work and productivity.

Father, thank you for the grace of being a dad. I pray that my children are all diligent to use the time and abilities you have given them to work in your world. I pray that they wouldn’t be lazy, but that they would be diligent to put their hands to whatever task you put in front of them. I pray they would seek after you in all things and not load their future with intentions, but live powerfully present lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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TRAIN UP A CHILD (Proverbs 22)

Pro 22:6, 15 NKJV Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. … (15) Foolishness [is] bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.

Dear Son, when the Corona Virus hit we were blessed with a bumper crop of blackberries and we set out to make a pie. I dumped a bunch of cumin onto the berries thinking it was cinnamon. Fortunately I smelled my mistake before it went too far. We took a ton of time to wash all the cumin off the berried and replaced it with cinnamon.

Raising children can be like that. A lot of what we put in them comes out later. We always tried to sow good habits into your life. We taught you to read your bible, be present with God’s people in church, love others sacrificially, and so on. As you grow I hope that stuff continues to show up in your life and pray that it gets passed down to your children for generations.

However, there were somethings we didn’t want to come out of your life later that we addressed while you were young. We tried to wash you of your bad habits. Hopefully you can face life with a good attitude, you don’t chew your fingernails, pick your nose, or pass gas in public. There are other foolishness’s we’ve addressed while you were young.

I pray one day you look back with gratitude for where we trained you up right and where we drove foolishness away. I pray that as you raise your own children one day that you prepare them for life by challenging the foolish behaviors and showing them the way to go.

Father, thank you for the privilege of raising my children. I pray that we lay a solid foundation of dependence and trust on Jesus Christ that my children will follow after. I pray that you will guard them from foolishness. Give me wisdom to know how to honor you in parenting them. Thank you for your immense grace. In Jesus’ Name amen.

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Be Humble and Learn (Proverbs 9)

Pro 9:7-10 NKJV “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked [man only] harms himself. (8) Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise [man], and he will love you. (9) Give [instruction] to a wise [man], and he will be still wiser; Teach a just [man], and he will increase in learning. (10) “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One [is] understanding.

Son, My freshman year of high school we got a new basketball coach. He was hard. He believed in conditioning. I lost 20lbs in just three weeks of practice with the new coach! He also had a different style of coaching. He lead us through a series of drills and plays evert practice. Seldom ever did we just scrimmage like we had in the 8th grade. Some of the guys didn’t like him. They thought practice should be more fun and more like a game. They whined and complained about the new coach. Some never even bothered to learn the new offense or techniques that the coach was teaching us. Those who really listened to the coach and put in the extra effort earned key spots on the team. The guys who critiqued everything and put forth minimal effort either quit or were cut. The difference was in the attitude. Those who became key players were willing to humble themselves and learn, those who got cut, failed to learn from the expertise of the new coach.

Life is a lot like that. I pray that you are one who seeks out correction, learns from others, and is wise. I pray that you won’t be a prideful fool who just criticizes others. Anyone can criticize, but it takes a real man or woman to humble themselves and learn.

You will come across all sorts of folks in life. You may even be in a position to lead people one day. Learn the caliber of the people you lead. Those who are scoffers and criticize aren’t worth much of an investment. They will criticize you, but the problems is with them. Don’t let them get in your head and don’t imagine that you will fix them. Until they humble themselves to learn, they will never change and you’ll be wasting your investment in them.

On the other hand when you find folks who are willing to submit to authority and learn. Invest heavily in them. Their attitude will take your organization far. I’d rather have a teachable team of novices than a well versed team of malcontents any day. Jesus said it like this in Mathew chapter 7:

Mat 7:2-6 NKJV “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. (3) “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? (4) “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank [is] in your own eye? (5) “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (6) “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

Father, thank you for my children and the blessing it is to parent them. I ask that they would be humble enough to learn. I pray that you keep them from pride and malcontent. I pray that they would be quick to examine their own lives and be ready for change. I pray that you give them wisdom in leading themselves and others. I pray that you guard their attitude from becoming someone who scoffs. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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