Let the Praise Begin

in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6

Almost always, when you hear the “Trust in the Lord” verse, you hear this come on the tail end. And with good reason. Acknowledging God in the things you do is important. It takes the focus off of you. It extends beyond the sports or show business testimony opening “I’d like to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for…” though it could include that. Without God in our lives, we’d be in a world of hurt. Yes, he saved you from a life of debauchery and sin twenty years ago, but he also saved you from that yesterday and today. You are trusting that He will save you from that tomorrow as well because you know that you don’t have to go down that path.

Take a brief account of your walk with the Lord today. Acknowledge those areas that He is, in fact, saving you from today. Then let the praise begin.

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Renew the Trust

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…Proverbs 3:5

If you are reading this on the day it was originally posted, it is Sunday in the United States. People all over the world will be celebrating this day as the Day of Our Lord. We don’t treck our way through two feet of snow in the middle of winter because of an obligation; we do so voluntarily and because we Trust in the Lord. Some may get paid to preach and sing in those churches, but for the most part it’s a labor of love. You trust that God will move through the music or the teaching or the fellowship with one another. It’s a trust that’s difficult to explain when asked, but very obvious to you.

Today is also a day of rest. Before the Big Game begins this evening, rest. Take a break from what you normally do. Go for a walk and meditate on the Goodness of God. Count your blessings. Refresh your soul. Renew that trust.

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Befuddled and Learning to Lean

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…Proverbs 3:5

If you’re anything like me, you sometimes walk around with a completely befuddled look on your face because of what is happening in the world. National economies are in turmoil, near genocides are occurring even as I write, earthquakes and floods wipe out entire areas, and there’s just a general sense that “all is not right with the world.”

And you’d be absolutely correct: All of these things are happening and all is not right with the world.

But you also need peace inside about it because it can be quite maddening.

A simple song written by John Stallings in 1969 can help us out here. You’ve probably sung it a few times.

Learning to lean, Learning to lean;
Learning to lean on Jesus…
Finding more power than I’ve ever dreamed,
I’m learning to lean on Jesus.

But here is the verse that gets overlooked:

You know, so many times
I’ve been sad and broken hearted
and I’ve knelt down in prayer
and I’ve found God’s peace that’s so serene;
And I’ve learned that all God will ask…
is a child like trust and faith and a heart
that’s willing and learning to lean.

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Above Our Pay Grade

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…Proverbs 3:5

This is perhaps the most quoted verse in the book of Proverbs, and with good reason. There is just so much truth in those few words (and combined with the next verse).

If you’re like me, you like to know whys of puzzling situations. Why did that accident have to happen that maimed a child? Why have my children gone down a wayward path when I’ve cared and nurtured them in the ways of the Lord? Why is this happening to me especially now and in these circumstances?

But God definitely has the bigger picture in mind. Imagine working in the lives of 6 billion people one way or another, and at various stages of their growth and development. And that’s not even to mention how God is moving in entire nations and in the hearts of rulers for His purposes and His glory. I cannot comprehend it all, and neither can you. We’re not supposed to. Instead, we have our little worlds that we tend to and that He moves in. We get a glimpse of His glory on occasion and it compels us to move forward. We do try to put our own spin on why certain things happen, but it’s just that, our spin. We really don’t know many of the answers to the world’s most troubling questions. To use a common phrase in today’s world, “it’s above our pay grade.” And rightly so.

Suffice to say “God is in control.” It’s a trust issue and the sooner we leave the world’s overarching questions into His hands, the better off we’ll be to handle the problems we can handle. Admittedly, it’s a daily battle.

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A Good Name

Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Proverbs 3:4

I think you’ll agree with me that there are those outside the faith who would love to see you “fall” spiritually. They would take glee in your downfall. On the other hand, you will meet those who, again outside the faith,  respect what you do and want to see you succeed.

One man I know was like that for me. He joked with me about my faith but when he heard about how I had messed up once, he chastised me because he didn’t want me to become like him and even said so.

How are you viewed in the Eyes of the World? I know that our aim should be to please God, but what about those around you? Do they respect you and your faith? Or do people see you as harsh and unloving? There will be those who mock us, but that’s fine. They’re supposed to do that! Just don’t give them a needless opportunity to mock you.

Pray that God will open your eyes to those blind spots in your walk with Christ. Ask someone you trust about your blind spots (don’t think that you don’t have them; we all do), and be ready for their response.

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Love and Faithfulness in Demand

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3

Love and faithfulness are high in demand but low in supply. It’s easy to stray in both areas. If we’re not careful, we can become bitter and grumpy because of life situations. It’s important for us to realize that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Corinthians 4:17). Many have gone before us and have experienced periods of doubt and embitterment. It’s natural in the course of things because Satan does not want your life to flow easily. If it did, He wouldn’t be doing his job! There’s always a battle, always a struggle.

Praise the Lord for His faithfulness and love toward us. Praise Him as you consider what He’s brought you out of and through. Reach out to a friend this week and encourage him/her. Plan out how to really bless that person. Make the encouragement lasting. Keep pressing on, Brothers and Sisters.

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The Key to Prosperity

for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Proverbs 3:2

Many will claim this and other similar verses in Proverbs as their “key” to prosperity. It’s sad really, especially as it relates to the broader church around the world. Some of the most prosperous people I know have only the clothes on their backs and live in huts. Why do I say this? Because they realize that there is more to prosperity than wealth and riches. Many of those same people have had their “riches” torn away from them by armies and corrupt governments, and they still have a solid, not-looking-back faith. One of those nations is Haiti.

When you hear the news about the faith of Haitians (and they will continue to appear in the news for some time), pray for them. Pray that their faith will be strong, and their fragrance would be notable (2 Corinthians 2:15). Pray also that others watching the nation rebuild will marvel at the faith of those who believe.

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The Challenge Revisited

My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, Proverbs 3:1

This proverbs brings us back once again to the Year 2010 Challenge I gave in early January:

My challenge to you this year is this: find a passage of Scripture and commit it to memory. Fill up your memory hard drive with those verses. It may be one or it may be an entire chapter of Scripture. Make it reasonable but make it challenging (memorizing the entire New Testament, while admirable, isn’t very reasonable withoutt a solid plan to carry it out). Read it when you rise and when you go to bed. Print it on cards, Mutter it in the car on your way to work. Mumble it as you prepare supper each night.

When you know the passage as well as you know John 3:16, say it a few hundred times more. The goal here isn’t quantity of Scripture memorized but quality of the memorization. By the time you get to this point, you will have seen how transforming the Word of God can be in your life.

Ephesians 1, Ephesians 5, Psalm 1, Psalm 23, Psalm 112, Psalm 139, Galatians 2 are all great chapters of Scripture to memorize. Obviously there are others, many others to choose from. Choose one. You can do it. When you do, write and tell me. (Lord willing, and He is, I am finally going to nail Psalm 139 after a few years of learning bits and pieces of it).

Choose one of those passages and commit it to memory. Keep the commands of God in your heart. Study them. Meditate on them. Soak them in. It’s entirely doable.

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When, Lord, When?

but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it. Proverbs 2:22

Anyone who has read this book has undoubtedly ask, “when, Lord, when?” We see the wicked go unpunished and get away with heinous crimes against people. We call out for his justice. There will be a time, Brothers and Sisters, when this verse will come to pass. John wrote about this very thing in the Book of Revelations.

Praise God today for His mercy, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

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