Tag Archives: paths

Grow from Instruction

Proverbs 10:17

“He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.”

Customer Service

I worked in some capacity of customer service in the retail world for nearly a decade. I am pretty good at it, because I so enjoy interacting with people.

While the height of customer service is keeping people happy, I must admit to times I did not want to live by that standard (and must confess to not always upholding that standard, but I also know the saying “the customer is always right” was stated by fools!). Yet, I mostly did stick to making customers happy.

As an employee and an employer, I have worked with people of all ages who saw no point in making others happy.

You would think, after being corrected time and again, even being required to do the most mundane (and sometimes humiliating) tasks as punishment, would convince them to change, but no.

You would think losing hours and therefore money would convince them to change, but no.

You would think the threat of losing their jobs would convince them to change, but no.

They did not seem to care about others, or for anything.

Painful Growth

Those of us who persevered and kept our jobs (usually until we moved on to something else!), as I confessed above, had our own share of mistakes and problems. There are two main differences between us and those who refused to listen:

  1. We would not complain about how unfair everything was, but more importantly,
  2. When corrected, we sought to change wrong or ignorant behavior.

Nobody likes to hear they have messed up. Nobody likes to be told they are wrong. It hurts our feelings. It hurts our pride.

But we grow from that experience and pain.

It is the same in our walk with God.

God does not call us to leave behind our desires, our wants, and our sins to hurt us, though it does hurt when we leave them. God call us because He knows that when we persevere through the pain we prove we are truly His.

“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (5) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: (6) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. … (11) Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” – Hebrews 12:4-6, 11

Great God, thank You for Your rebukes and correction. Help us to be obedient, to love Your instruction. Keep us from the foolishness of refusing wisdom and Your will.

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Don’t Fake It

Proverbs 10:9 

“He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.”

Walking Righteously

When I was a child I would watch my pop walking around wherever he worked, and he looked confident and like he knew where he was going. I saw many more people (my parents, my friends, my parents friends, many CEO’s of companies, male, female, etc.) looking confident and like they knew where they were going.

There are three things I learned while growing up:

  1. Many people are faking it.
  2. Many people are distracted by the worries of this world (meaning they are probably angry or self-righteous about something) which helps with looking confident or like they know where they are going.
  3. A few people have real confidence and really know where they are going, and many of them have peace.

Self-righteous, Angry, and Faking It

The problem with faking it, living angry, and being self-righteous is that … everyone knows! Most people are able to tell who is faking it, angry, or self-righteous.

These are people tend to make excuses or shift the blame.

The problem with making excuses and shifting blame to someone or something else is that the truth eventually comes to light, and it can be embarrassing when the truth comes out.

Knowing Peace

It is much better to walk a righteous – an upright – life. You can “walk surely,” or, as the NIV puts it, “The man of integrity walks securely.”

When living a morally upright life, you can have confidence in what you are doing.

When following Jesus Christ, you know exactly where you are going.

When trusting in God, you have peace.

As discussed several times earlier, Jesus Christ is our Peace, our Path, our Righteousness, and our Assurance. When we walk  in His Holy Spirit, we are covered with Him. We walk in peace and righteousness assured that our path leads to glory and everlasting life.

Gracious God, we praise You for Your greatness and great love. Thank You for peace and righteousness, for giving us Your assurance through the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Help us live in that peace. Help us walk in Your ways. Give us assurance through Your Spirit in our salvation and Your Return.


Is This You?

Proverbs 7:11

“She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:”

Do you know this kind of person?

Solomon is telling us about that wayward woman, the adulteress. But do you know someone like this?

This is the person who seems to struggle with speaking with an “inside voice” and has to be right … even when they know they are wrong.

This is the person who starts the party … and often ruins it.

This is the person who has hundreds and even thousands of friends … and no one who is close to them.

This is the person who has been in numerous relationships … and either something is wrong with the other person or they are “friends with benefits” … or just “good friends”.

Is this person you?

We have all been this person, in one way or another.

No, we have not all been loud, but we have all been stubborn in some way.

No, we have not all been the partier with numerous “friends” and hook-ups.

We all, however, have yelled at God and known we were justified in our argument.

We all have wandered from God by following our own desires in one way or another.

We all have cheated on God by pursuing something or someone we loved more in one way or another.

Thankfully, God pursues us and quietly waits for us.

Thankfully, He came after us in Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus, thank You for coming after us and saving us. Help us to pursue You in every moment. Give us the wisdom and guidance to avoid those which can lead us astray, and give us the strength to overcome temptation when we walk into it once again.


Making Plans

Proverbs 6:6-8

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”

In this world …

As Anthony pointed out yesterday, there is a lot of practical advice for everyday life found in Proverbs.

My wife and I work in schools. This means we have summers off from work. We have a couple of options when the summer comes:

  1. One or both of us can find summer jobs to cover expenses.
  2. We can set aside some of each paycheck to help cover expenses for the two to three months we do not work.

Especially with all of the economic concerns in our world today, it is a good idea to save up the money needed in case a summer job cannot be found. Doing this, however, requires discipline and a plan. It is not always easy to remember or even want to set money aside.

There are unexpected expenses that arise. A friend might call and say it is a great day to go out and do something. That new phone/car/movie might come out that everyone (including you and me) just has to have. These can make saving money hard, but we can learn from our friend the ant how wise it is to plan and implement those plans well.

In the next …

This passage is also a good reminder of what comes after this life. There are many who plan on waiting until the last moment of life to make any meaningful change in their lives and/or to follow God.

One problem with this is that we never know when we might die. A few are able to know their end is near and can make a conscious change, but most people are caught unaware through accidents, violence, wars, and sudden terminal illnesses.

The next problem is that we never know when Christ will return. He even warned us:

1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Matthew 25:1-13

Showing discipline and actively preparing for whatever may come not only helps us in this life, it prepares us for the next.

Loving Lord, grant us the patience and discipline we need to have full and wise lives. Grant us the wisdom to prepare for unforseen circumstances as well as expected, and help is remain faithful until Your return!


Stay On Track

Proverbs 4:27

“Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”

Pastor James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago and Walk in the Word Ministries uses a theme song for his radio broadcasts. The lyrics are:

To the left or the right, o-o-oh, I will not go.
To the left or the right, o-o-oh, I will not go, I will not go.
Walk, walk in the word. Walk in the word.
Walk, walk in the word.
This is the way!

As David mentioned yesterday, we need to focus on the path before us. To turn to the left or the right from the path we have been shown is to step into the ways of unrighteousness, wickedness, and evil. Fortunately, Solomon continues his advice by instructing us to “remove thy foot from evil.”

GET BACK ON TRACK!

Jesus warned us,

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14 NIV

What is the most sure way of seeing, staying on, and getting back to the path of righteousness?

As James MacDonald’s ministry says, “Walk in the Word.” We need to read God’s word, know it, and live it.

This combined with daily prayer and meeting with other Christians strengthens our understanding and resolve to stay on the path.

Do not turn from God and His path. Stay focused on our Lord.

Lord Jesus, strengthen our resolve to not stray off the path. Broaden our understanding of Your will for our lives. Give us Your wisdom and the desire to stay on the path of righteousness.


The Evil Man

Proverbs 2:13-15 

“Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:”

Walking with “The Evil Man”

In these verses, we see that God is warning us against “the evil man”. This man is a very dangerous man because he wants to lead the children of God away from Him. He wants to change their path of life. The Bible tells us that the evil man is known for his perverse words (v.12).

This “evil man” is out to destroy God’s people. He “rejoices to do evil and delights in the frowardness of the wicked”. We can see that this man is part of the crowd that Solomon was talking about in Proverbs 1:10-19.

As I was reading this passage, I was trying to think of a reference or story that would clearly show a picture of a “evil man” and I thought and I thought and then it hit me – what better picture to show than of the ultimate “evil” person in the Bible – the devil. In Genesis, we see how the devil loves evil. We can clearly see how he wants to get God’s people off track and take them off the “paths of uprightness“. When he was talking with Adam & Eve, he was deliberately trying to get them to go against what God had told them. He was trying to lead them astray and get them to forsake the path that God had laid out for them. He was loving every minute of his deceitfulness!

Folks, these types of people are cunning. We can see this by looking at verse 15 – “Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths“. The ESV says verse 15 this way, “men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways“.

The Take-Away

We can learn two very important things from these verses:

1. We need to be praying to God for wisdom and understanding

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

2. The more wisdom we obtain the more we will fear God (Proverbs 1:7) and the more we will be able to see “the evil man” when he comes our way.

We must be in God’s Word every day and be a person that is always seeking the wisdom of God. When we walk in the way of wisdom, we will be able to identify “the evil ones” and avoid them.

“Lord, help us to seek after you each day and prepare our ears, heart and voices to accept your understanding, AMEN”


Stumbling In the Dark, Tripping In the Light

In the Dark

I stumbled upon the following verse (pun intended) last night as I was reading in anticipation for today’s post. This morning I came across it again and knew it was the verse for me today.

The way of the wicked is as darkness…” – Proverbs 4:19a

The rest of the verse will be addressed in a moment, but I would like for you to do something for me: Think of the darkest dark you’ve ever experienced.

Was it deep inside a cave when the tour guide turned off the lights? Was it when you were lost in the woods? Was it that moment when on a dark road your headlights suddenly went out?

Whenever it got the darkest you can remember, do you remember the darkness being so thick you could almost feel it?

The word that is translated “darkness” in verse 19 is the same word used to describe the darkness that plagued Egypt in Exodus 10:21-22. God told Moses to stretch forth his hand toward the sky, then the Lord promised a thick darkness, one that could be felt, would cover the Egyptians for 3 days. This was a deep, gloomy, dreadful darkness without a hint of light. Sounds scary, doesn’t it?

“The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” – Proverbs 4:19

Solomon is trying to tell you and me that the wicked (those who live with no regard for God) are walking a dark, dark path, even though they are convinced they can clearly see. Then, without warning, they stumble over something…a stick?…a snake? They get bit, but can’t tell what happened. They seek help, but they know not what for. They seek answers for the wounds caused by a fall, but then keep going down the same, dark path oblivious to the next danger.

If only the light of God’s wisdom would be allowed to illuminate the path, one could avoid the pitfalls. However, those who reject God think it wise to continue forward into the dark – because, after all, who needs God or faith, right?

My daughter’s front walk. Sunny in Charleston, S.C.

In the Light

But what of us who have the Light? What of us who can clearly see the potholes and cracked pavement, the sticks and/or snakes? Why is it, when we have the illuminating beams of the Word of God, we still stumble and fall as if our way was still dark?

It’s because we choose to.

We should thank God for His marvelous and matchless grace every moment of every day, for how much worse is it to know what will make us stumble and then trip anyway?

But I’m glad there is hope for those like you and I who stumble in the light!

“My little children, these things I write unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” – 1 John 2:1

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me…’twas blind, but now I see.”