God is Sovereign (Proverbs 16)

Pro 16:2-3, 9, 33 NKJV All the ways of a man [are] pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits. (3) Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established. … (9) A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. … (33) The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision [is] from the LORD.

Dear daughter, Often I’ve prayed and tried to tell the Lord what to do. One of the most humbling exercises I do from time to time is to read my old journals from the days before I dated your mother. I have the advantage now of flipping through and seeing days, weeks, and years pass by at the flip of the page. On one page I wrote out a prayer and I asked God to cause so-and-so to like me because I thought she’d make a great wife. Several pages later I wrote the same thing with a different girl’s name. The point is, I thought I had it all figured out and I was trying to tell God what to do, but the LORD didn’t need my help. He brought your mom into my life at the exact right moment.

There is beauty in affirming that God is sovereign. The LORD is in control and He knows what He is doing. When I had an infection in my heart, God was sovereign. When I was sick with covid-pneumonia, God was sovereign. The day I was born God was sovereign. The day I die, God will be sovereign. We may not understand sometimes why things work out the way they do. We may not grasp why some folks are healed and others die untimely deaths. There will be a lot of mysteries this side of Heaven I’m sure. But one thing is not a mystery, God is in control.

So we should pray and trust Him. Trust Him when His hand of providence greets us as we’d expect and hope. And trust Him when things don’t turn out as we’d dreamed. By his grace we’ll see why he let things fall the other way. We may not see it in this life, but we’ll see it one day none-the-less.

Father, thank you for the blessing of being a dad. I pray that my kids would know and love you. I am grateful that in the moments where we feel like life is the most out of control that we can rest in the confidence that you are in control. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Join us in reading a Proverb A Day through the Month of May (or any month you want)

Learn to Work Well (Proverbs 14)

Pro 14:1, 4, 23 NKJV The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. … (4) Where no oxen [are], the trough [is] clean; But much increase [comes] by the strength of an ox. … (23) In all labor there is profit, But idle chatter [leads] only to poverty.

Dear Daughter, when I was in college I got used to the habit of cleaning my truck every weekend. I didn’t grow up in a family that cleaned out the vehicles very often. In fact my grandparents had several vehicles they just let go and didn’t maintain. So when they finally stopped running they were pushed to the side and a new vehicle was purchased. Their house looked like a junk yard. Reflecting back, my grandfather was probably clinically depressed and self medicating with alcohol.

The way I got started cleaning out my vehicle every weekend was thought a friend at college. He was cleaning out his car and asked if I wanted to clean out my truck to. He didn’t realize it, but by encouraging and teaching me this habit he probably rescued me from a cycle of depression as well. Because until that time I didn’t realize the value of maintaining the things that would maintain me. My friend used to always say, “take care of your vehicle and it will take care of you.”

There are many things in life that I pray you are blessed to take care of. Perhaps one day you will be blessed with a husband and family. There will be small thing you can do that will help you maintain and build your household. These same small things if neglected will tear your family apart. Its your responsibility to seek joy in doing the small things (like family prayer time, cleaning up, encouraging one another, taking time for gratitude, etc.) well. It won’t only be a blessing to those around you, it will bless you more than you know.

It’s a blessing to pick up toys, fold laundry, clean cars, power wash sidewalks, feed animals, clean up after animals, cut grass, clean house, make our beds, and all the other little things we do along the way. There is profit in it every time. Cleaning and maintaining a car demonstrates our gratitude for having a vehicle. Making the bed demonstrates our gratitude for having a bed.

Sharing my grandparents DNA I’m prone to fits of depression as well. I know that for some folks the issues are deeper than what I’ve faced and a chemical solution to a chemical problem might prove very helpful. But I’ve found that when I’m most prone to depression is when I let the small things go. So I’ve learned to be diligent about making my bed, cleaning out my vehicle on the weekend, etc. Doing these small things well has become an act of gratitude and worship for me, knowing that God had endorsed a healthy work ethic.

To be sure there are days we should rest (one in seven) but there are also days where we should work (six out of seven). I encourage you to work well to the glory of God.

Father, Thank you for the blessing of raising my children. I ask for wisdom for my wife and I in leading our children and guiding them. I pray that you would allow us the grace of finding our fulfillment in putting our hands to work in whatever ways you have called us to. I pray that my children will have a good work ethic and see the way to worship you in work six days a week and in rest one day a week. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Real Friends Give More Than They Take (Proverbs 6)

Pro 6:1-5 ESV My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger, (2) if you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth, (3) then do this, my son, and save yourself, for you have come into the hand of your neighbor: go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor. (4) Give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber; (5) save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

Dear Daughter, growing up I was always large for my age and most of my friends were smaller. In 8th grade I was the new kid at school and one of the first guys to befriend me was small and skinny. We weren’t friends long before he asked me, “Do you have my back? Like if we get in a fight or something, do you have my back?” I didn’t want to offend him. I thought this was like a best friends kind of sentiment. I thought he was a pretty alright guy and I really hadn’t made to many other friends yet, so I pledged, “Yes I have your back!” The next thing I know he started running his mouth and hurling insults at this guy he didn’t like! Before I knew it he was yelling at me, “you have my back right?Somehow he had picked a fight that I was supposed to fight. Thankfully I had enough sense to say, “You started this mess, you finish it.

I found out the hard way that my new friend was only my friend for my size. He was really a jerk that just wanted me to fight his battles for him. He thought that if he had a big friend that he could run his mouth off at people he didn’t like. My pledge to have his back was bigger than I had imagined. I had his back, but he certainly didn’t have mine or eh wouldn’t have picked a fight.

Choose your friends wisely. One of the best ways to get yourself in trouble is to have friends who will leave you with all the responsibility. When your friends ask you to take a risk for them that is not your risk to take, they are not your friends. Let me be clear. When they ask you to lie for them, they are not you friend. When they ask to cheat off your homework, they are not your friend. When they ask you to hold on to something that is illegal or forbidden, they are not your friend. They just want to take big risks and leave you being responsible for their irresponsible actions.

Some people in your life will set traps for you like this. They’ll pretend to be your friend in order to get something from you. Real friends give more than they take. Real friends won’t put you in situations where you will get in trouble or in danger. Lose the friends that always seem too needy. Don’t be the friend that is always putting others in an awkward spot to cover for you.

Father, thank you for my children. I pray that you would watch over them today. I pray that you would guard them from predatory “friends” who would seek to use them or take advantage of their friendship. I pray that they would be good friends to others. Watch over their relationships. Let the all seek after you in all they do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Join us in reading a Proverb A Day through the Month of May (or any month you want)