Category Archives: desire

Afflicted or Merry?

Proverbs 15:15 

“All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.”

“Figures”

Have you ever known someone who feels like nothing ever goes his way? I have a friend who says “Figures” when something doesn’t go the way he wants or plans. In other words, he practically expected things to go wrong. How defeated is that?

Those who feel like the world is against them, that fate hates them, and that every wish upon a star is doomed to utter failure are not happy people. There are no silver linings, only clouds, and all the glasses are half-empty due to some conspiracy hatched in a neighbor’s mind.

“Praise the Lord, Anyway”

Then there are those people who take what’s handed to them with grace and a smile. They are the ones who end up truly brutalized and mistreated, but find hope in the middle of hurt. Disappointment turns into new opportunities, while loss is left to the wisdom of God.

Those with a merry heart can face a downturn in events, and even though it may hurt, say, “Praise the Lord, anyway!” It doesn’t mean they like having things go wrong, it’s just that they know the Lord gives and takes away, “blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Cart before the Horse

You know the old saying about putting the cart before the horse? Take a look at today’s proverb one more time and see if you can find an out-of-place cart? Shouldn’t being merry follow having the stuff of a feast? Shouldn’t feeling afflicted come after the onset of an evil day?

The real key to this proverb is the way a person approaches life. A person with a “merry heart” can “feast” on a bowl of beans while thanking God he at least has food. An “afflicted” person would complain that his free four-course meal lacked a piece of cake.

Prayer: Father, help me to maintain a merry and thankful heart, even when things aren’t going the way I think they should. You are sovereign and in control of all things. When “bad” things happen because of my mistakes, help me to accept the consequences. When bad things come as the result of no fault of my own, give me grace to endure and the comfort of knowing all things will work together for good.


Feeding Habits

Proverbs 15:14

“The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.”

Food Choices

I am not the best example of physical fitness. My body may be the temple of the Holy Ghost, but it needs a little renovation and a serious yard sale. Too much “stuff” has accumulated along the outer areas of the temple grounds. Can you say XXL?

me with potatoOne of the reasons I am not in the best shape is my desire for certain kinds of foods – the kinds with flavor. It’s not that I eat a whole lot, but the types of food I do eat might be considered unhealthy.

However, now that I’ve witnessed my little girls turn into young ladies, healthier foods are becoming more important to me. I want to be around for their weddings; to see my grandchildren; and to play all those games only a grandfather can play. Only a fool would continue to eat bad things, never considering the future.

Contrasting Appetites

In this proverb Solomon contrasts a man that has a desire for knowledge with a man who wants to keep shoveling in foolishness. It reminds me of the difference between someone who understands the need for healthy foods and the one who devours pizza, cup cakes, and sugary drinks every day. One understands what is needful, the other only cares about pleasure.

A man of understanding knows what he needs – knowledge and wisdom. A foolish man feeds on what continues to make him a fool.

A wise man will seek those things which will make him wiser. A fool will satisfy his appetite with worthless information and stimulation.

A wise man will read and study. A fool will watch movies and play video games.

What are you feeding on? 


True Treasure

Proverbs 15:6

In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.”

Where is my money?

I can hear many people asking after reading this verse, “If the house of the righteous is full of treasure, and I am a devout Christian, where is all of my money? It sure seems wicked people have all the money!”

If this is you, you are not the first to complain about evil people seeming so well-off. We read in Psalm 73:3, “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Many godly people have wondered at this.

Claim It in Faith

There is another s0-called gospel message out there, often called the “prosperity gospel” or “Name-It-and-Claim-It,” teaches just that: if you name your desire in faith that God will deliver, you will receive that very thing.

Under this message, with enough faith you can be happy, healthy, and wealthy. Proponents of this message firmly believe in the combined promise of Proverbs 13:22b, “the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just“, and John 16:23, “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

Trust me that these verses are taken entirely out of context.

True Treasure

Here is the real context: while some righteous people will be wealthy and/or healthy, most will only earn their treasure as good standing with God in Heaven by obeying His commands and living in His love.

Read Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:19-24:

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

The wicked lose out on the favor of God. Our true treasure is Jesus Christ.

Lord, grow Your love in our hearts that we may serve You and love You. Grant us Your grace and patience, that instead of pursuing money and things we would seek Your favor. You are the true treasure.


Peaceful, Easy Feeling or Runaway Emotions

Proverbs 14:30

A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.”

“A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.”  (NIV)

“A sound mind makes for a robust body,
but runaway emotions corrode the bones.”  (The Message)

The Eagles Had Almost No Idea

If you have listened to music by The Eagles, you have probably heard the song Peaceful Easy Feeling, which is actually a song about giving in to the wiles of a woman. The smart side is that they admit “She can’t take you any way you don’t already know how to go.” They understood our sinful nature!

The chorus is spot on, though: “‘Cause I got a peaceful easy feeling,
And I know you won’t let me down
’cause I’m already standing on the ground.”

Grounded in Christ, the One who will never let us down (though we may feel like He has at times), is the only true way to find peace.

We can see from the three different wordings above that a person at peace means more than just one part of our body. It means we are not worried. We know we are not worried when something does not trouble the mind or there are no bad dreams about life. This means on both the conscious and unconscious levels nothing “gets to us” or makes us feel guilty.

(If you listen to their song Take It Easy, you can see The Eagles still dealt with guilt and worry.)

Vitamin D Deficiency

However, when we live in sin, when we refuse to acknowledge our wrongs and continue to go on as though our sinfulness is “not really all that bad,” we will suffer.

First, we suffer, because guilt can wear us out. I remember when I was in a relationship with a young woman (you may remember my previous comments). She was nice and all, but I had known for a while that it was not a relationship that honored God. My response to God: propose marriage to her!

Over the course of the next year, I began to sleep less, get more involved with things I should not have, and saw other relationships deteriorate.

In other words, I had let my emotions get the better of me.

I wanted the sensual side of a relationship. I wanted to have a life others had. I wanted many things that in and of themselves are not bad, but they were at the wrong time with the wrong person.

It wore me out.

Is there anything in your life that you know you should not be doing? Are there people in your life you should not be spending so much time around?

Get God. Get peace. Get a handle on your emotions. Get better! Only with God!

Awesome God, thank You for offering us peace. Help us to choose You. Help us control our emotions. Heal us and give us rest, that we may spread Your healing and peace to our hurt and weary world.


Don’t Hate ‘Em, Join ‘Em

Proverbs 14:24

“The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.”

 Class Warfare

One of the greatest tools of the powerful is to prey on the jealous tendencies of men and women. The ones seeking votes pit the rich against the (perceived) poor and create something called class warfare. In order to manipulate votes they try to make the poor think that their lives will improve if the rich are punished for being wealthy, or “make ’em pay!

In the last national election I heard things like, “Rich people don’t need all that money,” and “We need to tax the wealthy in order to provide for the poor.” I even heard a teenager essentially say of Mitt Romney, “He’s nothin’ but a rich (anal orifice) that wants to take away our food stamps!

Don’t Blame the Rich

This proverb doesn’t condemn the rich, however; it praises them. Actually, it praises the wise who become wealthy by saying that their riches are tangible evidence of their wisdom.

Many times the poor are tempted to come up with all kinds of reasons to hate people with more money. They accuse them of all kinds of things, from unjustly inheriting fortunes to steeling from elderly. The jealous and envious run around condemning the rich, while hypocritically wishing they were sailing on the same yacht.

What the “fools” of this proverb fail to understand is that the wise are wealthy because of wise choices. The poor, on the other hand, are poor because of foolish choices.

Choices and Consequences

It has been addressed before, but choices lead to consequences. When we make poor choices regarding money we end up poorer. When we make wise choices we are better off in the end.

For instance, most millionaires in America became wealthy as the result of long, hard work and taking calculated risks. They rarely drive the newest cars, wear the most fancy watches, or live in the biggest houses. Instead of sports cars, according to a book called The Millionaire Next Door, the most common vehicle driven by a millionaire was a used Ford truck. And instead of flashing a Rolex, most wear watches that cost lest than $200.

But as for the “foolish,” well, that’s a totally different story. Instead of working hard, they try hard not to work. Instead of investing in the future, they waste multiple thousands on tobacco, partying, tattoos, lottery tickets, check advances, booze, big screen TV’s, bass boats, jewelry, cell phones, and even wheels that cost more than the cars they drive.

So, the next time you find yourself hating those crowned with riches, take a look at your own investment portfolio. Instead of hating the wise, why not learn from them?


Tears of a Clown

Proverbs 14:13

13 Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.

Covered Up

In 1970, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles released the song “The Tears of a Clown“.

The Tears of a Clown” is a song about a man whose girlfriend left him. He is singing to the girl so that she knows he is utterly saddened by her leaving, so she should not be misled by the act he puts on in front of others. Like a clown, he covers his emotions and puts on an entertaining show.

How many times do we play this game in our own lives?

There are times when this is okay, such as when Jesus told us to keep ourselves looking happy and healthy when fasting (Matthew 6:16-18). However, this is to keep ourselves from seeking the attention of people rather than God.

Torn Down

On the other hand, in those times when our joy is stolen from us, we should not hide it.

Like Nick said the other day, we must be willing to share all of our joys and hurts with others. The only thing guaranteed to happen if hold in our hurts is that we will become bitter and lonely.

The authors of these devotionals have been able to help each other, because we have confided in each other our joys and our hurts. I have made it through over a decade thus far in ministry, because growing up I kept my hurts to myself. Eventually I stopped sharing my joys, as well. I learned how much pain and bitterness grows within, gradually eroding mind, body, and soul. Therefore, as a new believer I made the commitment to share my experiences with others I could trust (and sometimes anyone who would listen).

Without confiding in someone, especially God, it weighs down on you. It builds up and tears you down to nothing.

Built Up, Again

Fortunately, there is a God who cares. There is a God in the restoration and peace business. Jesus calls us to take off those masks that burden us and find rest in Him (Matthew 11:28-30); for Jesus is the only source of true peace (John 14:25-27), a peace that we may never fully understand but that brings that rest He promised (Philippians 4:6-7).

God not only restores us, He makes us more. He builds us into the likeness of Jesus. But we must be willing to share our joy and pain.

Merciful God, grant us peace in our troubles and release from our pain. Help us to confide in You and dearly loved ones. You did not create us to handle things alone, so we ask that You help us by changing our hearts and minds to be willing to remove our masks.


Turkish Delights

Proverbs 13:25

The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want.”

One of the greatest stories, children’s or otherwise, to come out of the Twentieth Century was C.S. Lewis‘s The Chronicles of Narnia.

In the first of the book written, but second in the series, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the third child and second boy of the family, Edmund Pevensie, is approached by the White Witch. She gives young Edmund some of one of his favorite sweets: Turkish Delights.

The thing about these Turkish Delights, and any food the White Witch gave to potential informants/slaves, is that the one consuming them never had enough. Edmund began craving these Turkish Delights beyond anything else, to the point that he was willing to give up his brother and sisters.

All Kinds of Addictions

If you think about it, there are many things in our world like Turkish Delight, depending on the person: alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, caffiene, pornography, sex, food, shopping, entertainment (of various sorts), and the list goes on and on.

Ask anyone in an addiction (and as one who has overcome an addiction to pornography, I, too, can attest to this), the more you get into your vice the more you want. I can not tell you how many hours (and even days) I have lost to my addiction. With some addictions, the end result is loss of everything and even death.

With Edmund, even he almost died for his sins.

Hearts Content

Those who are free of addiction find a great benefit: they are content.

Paul tells us in Philippians 4 that the true secret to contentment is loving God. He can face any trial, be in need or have plenty, and he is content.

Likewise, whatever we face in this life, whatever draws us away from God and people, turning to God and making Him our addiction is what shows us true contentment.

In fact, we were told that our peace only comes through Christ:

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 14:27

We may be able to kick addictions, but only Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit can give us true peace and contentment.

God of Peace, free us from our addictions and anything that draws us away from you. In the power of the Name of the Son, give us true peace in this life. Increase Your love in us before we perish. Increase Your love in us that we may know You and bring others to Your saving grace.