Proverbs 23:4-5 – Don’t wear yourself out to get rich; stop giving your attention to it. As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears, for it makes wings for itself and flies like an eagle to the sky. (HCSB)
As Christians we like to say that money isn’t important to us, but we all need it. We need to pay our bills, feed our families, have shelter that’s warm in winter and cool in summer, ….. the list goes on. Money is important but should not be so important to us that getting more of it is all we think about. In Proverbs 23 Solomon warns us not to put all our focus on getting more money. When can we stop collecting it? When we get enough. How much is enough? John D. Rockefeller answered that question “Just a little bit more.” Benjamin Franklin said, “Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has, the more one wants.” Solomon also warns us that money flies away. I have heard that verse used with gambling or self indulgent spending, but there are constant
News reports of someone losing all their possessions in a tornado or hurricane, a flood or a fire. Large financial investments have been lost because of someone else’s misconduct. A health crisis can bring large medical bills that drain your bank account. Years of accumulated savings can be gone in an instant. Money is fleeting and so is the security it provides. Luke 12:16-21 tells of a man who found such security in material possessions that he stored up more and more and more. The money stayed around but he did not. Both Matthew 19 and Luke 18 tell about the rich young ruler who chose a life with money over a life with Jesus. We are very critical of that young man, but I wonder how many people today would make that same decision. Even Solomon acknowledged in Ecclesiastes 7:11 “Wisdom is even better when you have money. Both are a benefit as you go through life.” (NLT). People often quote a scripture verse that is not a scripture verse at all – “money is the root of all evil”. Actually 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.” (HCSB). There is earthy security in having money, but there is eternal security in having Jesus. Job 11:18 tells us that we will be secure because there is hope. Matthew 6:33 says to first seek You. Philippians 4: 19 reminds us that You will supply all our needs according to Your riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Lord, we pray that we will not walk away from eternal riches for fleeting satisfaction
Proverbs 11:22 – Like a gold ring in a pig’s snoutis a beautiful woman without discretion. (ESV)
As my husband and I were sitting in a restaurant enjoying our after dinner coffee, we were able to see the couples coming in for dinner before going to the local high school prom. We were enchanted with the beautiful dresses and all the sparkly jewelry, but our enchantment turned to shock when one very well endowed young woman walked in. The V in the front of her dress ended at her navel with only three very thin straps holding the two halves of the dress together. There was a great deal of “spillage” going on and she had to keep “readjusting”. Then we were given a view of the back of the dress. Let’s just say that we were quite confident she had neither a tattoo nor panties! I don’t believe that women need to be completely covered head to toe with no skin showing at all, but there should be some mystery involved! The most shocking thing for me about the dress is that her parents probably have not only seen it but also spent a large amount of money paying for it. I can’t help but wonder what that young woman will see when she looks into a mirror in twenty, thirty, fifty years. At this stage of her life she can look in the mirror at her physical appearance and confidently agree with the Psalmist that she is wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), but will she know that God sees her as a masterpiece when the mirror reflects wrinkles, grey hair, some extra curves, and possibly a roll or two? I have been a teen-ager on my way to a prom so I know it takes many days of preparation for a few hours of presentation, but I wonder how much preparation is going into her presenting herself to the Lord. Does she know that God sees more than her physical beauty (1 Samuel 16:7)? Is she aware of 1 Peter 3:3-4? I am not suggesting that God is displeased when we have a pretty hairstyle or wear some nice jewelry, but our beauty to God is not found in hairstyles, body shapes, and fine clothing. Proverbs 31:30 tells us that outward beauty will change but a woman who loves the Lord is to always be praised. I do not know this young woman, will probably never see her again, but I pray for her. I pray that her adorning won’t just be the perishable external but also her adorning will be internal with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4).
Proverbs 17:6 – Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers (ESV)
Proverbs 31:30 – Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD will be praised. (HCSB)
Today is my sweet Bumble Bee’s seventh birthday! Not an actual bumblebee of course, but my sweet granddaughter. “Bumble Bee” is a nickname that I gave her when she was just a few months old, and it has always been my special name for her. When she was a babe in arms, I was holding her and playing with her brother who is 2 ½ years older. He was a super hero and I was his archenemy, but what is an archenemy without an evil sidekick so The Stinging Bumble Bee was born! She and I would hide, and when he came by, I would hold her so that she could touch him (usually sit on his head) and “sting” him with her venom, thus rendering the Super Hero helpless until we could find a new hiding place. I can still hear the cackles of laughter! She has been her Pops’ girl from the very beginning, and people just had to accept that and move on because it wasn’t going to change, but no one need dare attempt to get some “sugar” from “Granny’s sugar spot”!! She has a tender heart, an athlete’s spirit, and a comedian’s outlook. She has a face like her dad, eyes and hair like her mom, and a look that leaves no doubt as to her true feelings about any situation (it’s quite possible she got that one from her Granny). Dr. C.C. Miller said “The only consistent thing about bees is their inconsistency.” My Bumble Bee loves pink, fancy fingernails, and jewelry — and having her brother practice his martial arts on her. Lord, I know that you have great plans for this little girl. People who see her notice her beauty; people who know her see that she is even more beautiful on the inside. She loves her church and her Bible, and I pray that her love for Your word will continue to grow as her body does the same. I know that You have created a little boy who is growing up to be the Godly husband she deserves, and I pray for him too. Lord, I thank You for the blessing of having this precious little girl as my granddaughter. I thank You for the little girl she is now and for the woman that she will become. She truly is a gift. There’s nothing sweeter than being loved by a Bumble Bee!
1 Samuel 1:27 — I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. (NIV).
Proverbs 17:6 – Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers (ESV)
Today is my grandson’s birthday. He will be nine – his last year with a single digit age. He is closer to being a teen-ager than a toddler. He is my height and wears the same size shoe as his mom. I’m sitting with my coffee and my photo albums, looking back over the years, and strolling down Memory Lane. I look at his newborn pictures and remember the night we got “the on-the-way-to-the-hospital, this-is-it” call. My husband and I were sound asleep with the phone rang but wide-awake the second that our son spoke those magic words! Any other time, we lived about four hours away from the hospital, but those interstate speed limits can sometimes just be suggestions — and not very realistic ones at all! We spent the night either dozing or pacing in the hospital lobby, but when the elevator doors opened to reveal our son’s beaming face, the long night was forgotten. I still get teary at the memory of seeing my baby holding his baby for the first time. From the moment I first saw my grandson, I called him my precious darling. When he was two, someone told him that he was too big to be my precious darling. His immediate reply was “I will ALWAYS be her precious darling”!! Smart, cute, and a prophet! I think of how much I love this little boy, and it takes my breath away. I have spent hours sitting with him and watching the same movie over and over and over again. I have cried because his feelings were hurt. I have been livid because he was treated unfairly. I watch him grow and feel such pride. I pray for him to become the man that You want him to be. He is such a bold witness for you at this young age, and I pray that his enthusiasm for Your kingdom will mature and grow even stronger as his body does the same. I know that somewhere there is a little girl growing up to be his wife, and I pray for her too. I prayed for this child before he was born, and You have given me more than I even asked of You. He truly is the crown of his grandparents. Thank You, Lord for allowing us the blessing of this precious child. And thank You for those sweet words that make my heart swell and bubble over with joy – “I love you, Granny”.
Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. (HCSB)
1 John 1:5: Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him. (HCSB)
As I’m getting my coffee this morning, I am feeling like the woman described in Proverbs 31. Well, not verse 25 if being clothed in dignity also means being dressed in a dignified manner since I’m still in my pajamas – but they are nice pajamas! Since I am also getting coffee for my husband, I guess I can claim the verses that tell how she takes care of her household. Trust me, a woman bearing coffee at this time of morning is definitely worth more than rubies to my husband!! No, the verse I am feeling this morning is verse 15 “she gets up while it is still dark.” It is the same time of morning that I always get out of bed, but the time of year means it is still dark. I’m not afraid of the dark, I just don’t like feeling my way around a dark bedroom, trying to grab onto anything I can to avoid the pain of encountering a bedpost or a chair leg. Then I think of people who are feeling their way around a dark world everyday, trying to grab onto anything to avoid the pain of the moment. They know the light of Genesis 1:16, but they don’t know the light of 1 John 1:5. As a believer who walks in Your light, I’m asking “Why can’t the world see that?” and You send me an answer through Romans 10:14 “But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher?” (HCSB). I’m not a preacher but I walk in Your light, and Matthew 5:16 tells me that I need to let my light shine so that You will receive glory. St. Francis of Assisi is quoted as saying “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching”, and D.L. Moody once said “Out of one hundred men, one will read the Bible, the other ninety-nine will read the Christian.” Lord, as I go out today into a world filled with darkness, help meto be a living example of the song we teach our children “this little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” Let it shine in my words; let it shine in my behavior; let it shine in my demeanor. Let it shine because I know the One who is light and who has no darkness in Him.
Psalm 51:10 – God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me (HCSB)
Matthew 5:8 – Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (NIV)
As I am sitting and waiting for my friend so that we can have that much anticipated cup (or two) of coffee, a woman walks by with a can of soup and a box of macaroni in her purse. Seriously? Of all the things a woman can carry in her purse – a can of soup and a box of macaroni? That thought led me to thoughts of some of the unusual things I have stuffed in my purse. I have carried books, electronics, diapers, shoes, and even snacks. My aunt always carried a soft drink in her purse. I have a friend who is afraid of the dark and therefore always has a flashlight …… and not a pin light either but one of those huge flashlights! Depending on the age of the child, there can be anything in a mom’s purse from band-aids to dirty tissues to broken crayons and ALWAYS a sandwich bag of cereal! Sometimes women will clean out their purses and find great treasures of missing jewelry, extra money, or even old food (thanks kids!). We can let our purses get so filled with junk that there’s no room for the essentials. Then I started thinking of how we can let our hearts get so filled with junk that there’s no room for essentials. What would it be like, Lord, if I had a clean heart? In Psalm 51:10, David asks for You to create for him a clean heart and a steadfast spirit. A clean heart. A heart without resentment. A heart of love for the things You love. A steadfast spirit. A spirit that is unchanging. A spirit of living in Your plan. Max Lucado is quoted as saying “You change your life by changing your heart.” Ezekiel 36:26 says that You will give me a clean heart and put a new spirit in me. Both Psalm 111:10 and Proverbs1:7 tell me that the beginning of knowledge is in the reverence and respect of You. Lord, please give me a clean heart. Give me a new spirit. Change my life by changing my heart. I know that things would be much easier to find if my purse was clean. I want it to be easier for people to find You because my heart is clean.
Proverbs 20:29 – The glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is gray hair. (HCSB)
Proverbs 16:21 – Gray hair is a glorious crown; it is found in the way of righteousness (HCSB)
As I sip my coffee this morning I am thinking about a birthday party we attended recently. My friend just celebrated her 50th birthday. As with all of the milestone birthdays, there were a lot of “over the hill” and black decorations. Many of her gifts had to do with advanced aging — diapers, memory enhancers, walking canes. Her still-in-their-40s friends thought these gifts were quite humorous and encouraged all the guests to follow that line of gift giving. As someone who is very close to her “leaving the 50s behind” birthday, it seemed ridiculous for me to take part in the over the hill at 50 idea, but I did start thinking about aging. As a child, we are some number and a half. We are so proud of getting older; we just can’t wait another six months to be that next number. Sometimes we can’t even wait to get to the half mark so we are “almost”. Your 6th birthday may have been two weeks ago, but you are “almost 7”. Then those wondrous and life-is-going-to-be-amazing birthdays come into sight – 16, 18, 21! Then the writers say you turn 30, push 40, reach 50, and make it to 60. Wow! What an image that creates! It sounds as if we are climbing the steep rock wall of aging and just barely holding on. I recently read that Americans spent over $25 million MORE on anti-aging skin care products in 2011 than in 2010. I don’t know if that’s true but again…..wow! The media tries to convince us that we need to be more concerned about the age we look than the life we live. We chase after what we think will give us a better life by trying to fight the inevitable effects of aging and then lie about our age. When did aging become so bad of a thing that we hide it as in shame? I’ll readily admit that I miss the mornings of springing out of bed, ready for a day of activities. Now just getting out of the bed is an activity! But 2 Corinthians 4:16 says “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (NIV). Lord, help me to see my gray hair as a crown instead of as a punishment. Help me not be so consumed with my outward appearance and what others see that I lose sight of what You see. Lord, I want to be the person described in Psalm 92:14 and bear fruit in my old age. Thank you Lord for Your great blessings.
Psalm 139:14: I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,I know that full well. (NIV)
Proverbs 31:30: Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. (HCSB)
Lord, I’m very discouraged as I pull on my jeans. I know my muffin top is my fault. I know that my muffin top has made friends with, well, muffin tops…….and bottoms…….and their good friend, butter. Muffins taste so good with coffee, Lord! I’ve read the magazine articles telling me how to trick myself into not eating the unhealthy foods – carrots to replace the crunch of potato chips, water to make me feel as full as if I had just eaten, even chocolate flavored coffee to replace chocolate chip cookies. Well, apparently I’m not that easily tricked about crunch or solids vs liquids or flavors. My body just screamed at me “This stuff doesn’t taste like chocolate. This stuff doesn’t even taste like coffee”. A full glass of water fills my bladder not my stomach, and my taste buds are well aware that I didn’t eat. And its safe to say there are not enough carrots in the world! I want to make friends with the number on the scale and the number on the tag in the back of my pants, but the numbers I want to buddy up with don’t seem anxious to hang out with me. But, Lord, You tell me in Psalms 139 that I am beautifully and wonderfully made. Genesis 1:26 tells me that I am created in Your image. In Ephesians 2:10 it says that we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works. All of that tells me that You don’t care if the tag in the back of my pants says 2 or 12. I know that I need to keep my body healthy because You tell me in 1 Corinthians that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that it was bought with a price, but You don’t ask me to have a supermodel’s thin body. What You said to Samuel also applies to me (1 Samuel 16:7). When You look at me, You don’t look the same way other people look at me. People look at the outside, but You look at the heart. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. “
Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Proverbs 19:21: You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.
(New Living Translation)
I am sitting here this morning with my coffee and a pen and paper. I’m making a list! I love a list. Sometimes I will have more than one list going at the same time. I have a grocery list, a packing list for vacation, and a list of what I need to do before we go on vacation. I love the control I feel by knowing what needs to be done now and what needs to be done next. I especially love checking things off my list. It makes me feel as if I’m accomplished great things, and there are days that I need to know I’ve at least accomplished something, even a small thing would be good! Sometimes I will put something on my list that I have already done just so I can check it off! Lists make me feel accomplished. Lists make me feel in control. Lists let me know that I’m doing things right. The Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-27) also loved lists. He loved to have a list, and he loved to show people how he had checked off the things on the list. He said that he had kept all the commandments, and I believe him because You didn’t call him on it. He probably had the list in his pocket ready to show everyone how many items he had checked. Lord, You were trying to show him that obedience to the commandments would not give him eternal life, that only comes through a personal relationship with You. And a personal relationship with You means spending time with You. You try to show me that too. A list makes me feel in control of the situation, but You are in control of all that was, that is, and that is to come. I like knowing what’s happening now and what will be happening in the future, but Lord, You tell me that worry (or planning or even making a detailed list ) won’t add a single day to my life. I have the opportunity to accomplish great things today – not by working at worldly things that I can check off of a list but by sitting at the feet of the One who created all things and listening to His plans for my day. Your word tells me in Jeremiah 29 that You know the plans You have for me. In Proverbs 19, You tell me that I can make plans, but Your will prevails. Lord, I know that following a plan isn’t a bad thing but listening to You and following Your plan is so much better.