Devotional Reading for May 19, 2023

Proverbs 16:25-26 “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way that leads to death. A laborer’s appetite has labored for him, for his hunger has pressed him to work.”

Verse 16:25 is a direct quote of Proverbs 14:12. We can’t decide for ourselves what is right and wrong. We need some outside help!

Psalm 19:8 “The LORD’s precepts are fair and make one joyful. The LORD’s commands are pure and give insight for life.”

We often think of hunger as a bad thing, but our need for food can drive us to work. Having all of our basic needs fulfilled for us isn’t necessarily a good thing. It can make us lazy and complacent.

1 Thessalonians 4:10-12 “But we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, to aspire to lead a quiet life, to attend to your own business, and to work with your hands, as we commanded you. In this way you will live a decent life before outsiders and not be in need.”

Devotional Reading for May 18, 2023

Proverbs 16:23-24 “A wise person’s heart makes his speech wise and it adds persuasiveness to his words. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

If your heart is right with God, you’ll study His Word and want to follow Him. The end result is that your speech will be gracious and persuasive, and provide guidance and joy!

Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone.”

Devotional Reading for May 17, 2023

Proverbs 16:21-22 “The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.”

There is an old proverb found in English that seems to have originated in Italy: “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” My belief is that it actually originates from Proverbs 16:21!

Since “wise of heart” is coupled with “sweetness of speech,” the implication seems to be that we are discerning and wise when we use our speech to influence others in a positive and moral manner. If you do that you have good sense, and it will take you far in life! Fools, however, just instruct others in foolishness, and cause destruction.

Devotional Reading for May 16, 2023

Proverbs 16:19-20 “It is better to be lowly in spirit with the afflicted than to share the spoils with the proud. The one who deals wisely in a matter will find success, and blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD.”

Imagine two types of communities. One continually tries to one up each other, each secretly envious of anything someone else has. The other one joyfully shares the meager provisions they have with each another. Pride makes enemies, not friends.

I typically use the NET Bible in quotations because of copyright issues. However, in looking at the underlying Hebrew, I think that the ESV translation of verse 20 is better: “Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.” Here the “word” could be wisdom, but it’s connection with trusting in the Lord should lead us to think of the Word of God. We discover good and are blessed when we heed the Bible!

Luke 11:27-28 “As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him [Jesus], ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!’ But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!'”

And even beyond that, we are forever blessed when we trust in and obey the living Word of God!

John 1:1-5 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. The Word was with God in the beginning. All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.”

Devotional Reading for May 15, 2023

Proverbs 16:17-18 “The highway of the upright is to turn away from evil; the one who guards his way safeguards his life. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

A highway was a well maintained and traveled road that was safer than the unmaintained, rocky, and dangerous paths. It makes sense to compare the way we are supposed to live to traveling on a highway, because the safest and best way to live is to turn away from evil. And pride is a form of evil. Pride encompasses thinking that you are more important than others, that you deserve better than others, and that you are better than others. When you do that, you’re primed for a disaster, just like Peter.

Matthew 26:33-34 “Peter said to him, ‘If they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away!’ Jesus said to him, ‘I tell you the truth, on this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.'”

Sermon outline for 5/14/23 (Radio broadcast 5/21/23) — “Guidelines for life”

“Guidelines for Life”
Ephesians 6:18-24

I) Paul reminds us of the importance of ________________

     A) We should use every __________________ we 

     B) We need to pray for all the ____________

     C) We need to pray for those in ______________ 

     D) We need to pray for those who spread the 

II) Paul reminds us that we need ___________ in ministry

     A) Paul recognizes _______________

     B) Paul had lots of _________!

     C) The Spirit’s _____________ forces us to 
        seek help

III) Paul reminds us of the characteristics that should __________________ us

     A) ___________

          1) We _________ peace

          2) We are to _________ in peace

     B) _____________

          1) We show our love though ____________

          2) We show our ___________ through love

     C) _____________

          1) We __________ grace

          2) We ________ because of grace

          3) Our ___________ flows out of grace

Devotional Reading for May 14, 2023

Proverbs 16:15-16 “In the light of the king’s face there is life, and his favor is like the clouds of the spring rain. How much better it is to acquire wisdom than gold; to acquire understanding is more desirable than silver.”

Just as a king’s wrath brings death, his smile brings life! Verse 15 is true whether it is a king, a parent, a boss, or the Lord of Lords.

Psalm 4:6 “Many say, “Who can show us anything good? Smile upon us, LORD!'”

Psalm 44:3 “For they did not conquer the land by their swords, and they did not prevail by their strength, but rather by your power, strength and good favor, for you were partial to them.”

Psalm 89:15 “How blessed are the people who worship you! O LORD, they experience your favor.”

A wise person will try to please those in authority over them in order to experience favor and blessing. Wisdom is vital in life. It’s even more important than wealth!

Proverbs 3:13-15 “Blessed is the one who has found wisdom, and the one who obtains understanding. For her benefit is more profitable than silver, and her gain is better than gold. She is more precious than rubies, and none of the things you desire can compare with her.”

Ecclesiastes 7:12 “For wisdom provides protection, just as money provides protection. But the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves the life of its owner.”

Devotional Reading for May 13, 2023

Proverbs 16:13-14 “The delight of a king is righteous counsel, and he will love the one who speaks uprightly. A king’s wrath is like a messenger of death, but a wise person appeases it.”

We are in the middle of several proverbs that talk about the king. An underlying assumption is that Israel’s king will be moral and good. As such, he will love those who speak righteously and provide godly counsel. In truth, any good ruler should want that, because how can you trust those who lie and are foolish? And those who try to deceive, do evil, or provide foolish counsel need to watch out! The king has absolute authority, and you don’t want to make him angry.

We would do well to remember that these proverbs also apply to the king of the universe. He loves righteousness, and we should want to appease Him!

Psalm 11:7 “Certainly the LORD is just; he rewards godly deeds; the upright will experience his favor.”

Devotional Reading for May 12, 2023

Proverbs 16:11-12 “Honest scales and balances are from the LORD; all the weights in the bag are his handiwork. Doing wickedness is an abomination to kings, because a throne is established in righteousness.”

God wants us to be honest and fair in our dealings with others.

Deuteronomy 25:13-16 “You must not have in your bag different stone weights, a heavy and a light one. You must not have in your house different measuring containers, a large and a small one. You must have an accurate and correct stone weight and an accurate and correct measuring container, so that your life may be extended in the land the LORD your God is about to give you. For anyone who acts dishonestly in these ways is abhorrent to the LORD your God.”

A righteous kingdom (like Israel was supposed to be), should encourage honesty and fairness. If the people feel that they are being treated fairly and that they are cared for, a king has nothing to worry about. That’s why a king should hate wickedness! Beyond that, there is also the danger that God himself will intervene because a king is either unrighteous himself or encourages unrighteousness in his kingdom.

1 Samuel 15:22-23 “Then Samuel said, ‘Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as he does in obedience? Certainly, obedience is better than sacrifice; paying attention is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and presumption is like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the LORD’s orders, he has rejected you from being king.'”

How do we apply verse 12 today? We should probably remember that Israel was somewhat unique, even while understanding that there is always a price to be paid for immorality with nations and their rulers. Leaders can be their own worst enemies when they are unrighteous or they encourage unrighteousness. That’s why there are coups and insurrections! However, we can also apply this verse in another way. God’s church are His people, and we would do well to make sure that righteousness reigns in the mist of us.

Revelation 2:5 “Therefore, remember from what high state you have fallen and repent! Do the deeds you did at the first; if not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place—that is, if you do not repent.”

Devotional Reading for May 11, 2023

Proverbs 16:9-10 “A person plans his course, but the LORD directs his steps. The divine verdict is in the words of the king, his pronouncements must not act treacherously against justice.”

We can plan, but God can always overrule! What he doesn’t decree, he allows, and he knows and understands all. If our plans fail or succeed, God has allowed it to happen and has a purpose in it.

Romans 8:28-30 “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.”

There are some different understandings of verse 10. Is it defending the divine right of kings, as some translations imply? Or is it more as the NET Bible suggests, and serves as a reminder for kings to take their responsibility seriously? It is certainly true that we are to obey the authorities over us and recognize that they are there for a purpose, but it is also true that those in authority have a responsibility to do what is right and moral in God’s sight.

Romans 13:1-2 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God. So the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment.”

Deuteronomy 17:18-20 “When he sits on his royal throne he must make a copy of this law on a scroll given to him by the Levitical priests. It must be with him constantly and he must read it as long as he lives, so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and observe all the words of this law and these statutes and carry them out. Then he will not exalt himself above his fellow citizens or turn from the commandments to the right or left, and he and his descendants will enjoy many years ruling over his kingdom in Israel.”