2022 Devotions

September 29, 2022 — Before Relaxing
When I worked for colleges, I gave a little speech about technical jobs. When I was finished the talk, I asked for questions. One student stunned me.  The person asked, “You mean I have to show up to work to get paid?” Today’s thought is based on Proverbs 24:27
Put your outdoor work in order
     and get your fields ready;
     after that, build your house.
September 28, 2022 — Gloating Today?
Jesus said, “Judge not lest you be judged.” But how often do we gloat when someone we do not like falls? (Mathew 7:1)  Today’s thought is based on Proverbs 24:17-18
Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
     when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
or the Lord will see and disapprove
     and turn his wrath away from them.
September 27, 2022 – Falter in Times of Trouble?
My dad used to tell us, “Everyone has troubles. It’s what you do afterward that counts.” Today’s thought is based on Proverbs 24:10-11
If you falter in a time of trouble,
     how small is your strength!
 Rescue those being led away to death;
     hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
September 22, 2022 — Wisdom Too High For…
As a pastor of a church, people sometimes text me with odd requests.  One day I received a text which said there were some guys who were drinking and playing loud music close to our library.  When they described the men, I knew who they were, so I went to the library, asked them what they were thinking and warned them that they needed to turn down the music and stop the drinking before they were arrested.  They were surprised anyone noticed but agreed.   About a week later they were all arrested!  What were they thinking? Today’s thought is based on Proverbs 24:7
Wisdom is too high for fools;
    in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths. (Proverbs 24:7)
September 21, 2022 — The House Built by Wisdom
A while ago some work was being done on an old building.  When the wallboard was cut you could see that the exterior of the building was not sound.  The single two by four in the corner was too short to reach the ground. So someone cut another two by four and nailed it to the it to the first board using what appeared to look like paint sticks to support it. Today’s thought is based on Proverbs 24:3-4
By wisdom a house is built,
    and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
    with rare and beautiful treasures. (Proverbs 24:3-4)
September 20, 2022 — Too Much!
Years ago, I went to a home to confront a man who had an alcohol problem. I sat with his family who had been hurt time after time.  At first, he denied and refused to do anything about it.  He said all his problems were someone else’s fault. He complained of life being unfair.  Alcohol had convinced him that he was a victim.  Yet somehow, I convinced him to be “rehabilitated”
Sadly, he picked up the bottle a few years later, stepped out into the highway and was run over.  His family was the victim. Today’s thought is based on Proverbs 23:29-35
Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
    Who has strife? Who has complaints?
    Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
Those who linger over wine,
    who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.
Do not gaze at wine when it is red,
    when it sparkles in the cup,
    when it goes down smoothly! (Proverbs 23:29-35)
In the end it bites like a snake
    and poisons like a viper.
Your eyes will see strange sights,
    and your mind will imagine confusing things.
You will be like one sleeping on the high seas,
    lying on top of the rigging.
“They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt!
    They beat me, but I don’t feel it!
When will I wake up
    so I can find another drink?”
September 15, 2022 – The Father with Joy
One of the happiest days in my life happened when my son called me the first day at college. My heart was filled with joy when he told me had already found a church and that he was going to a Christian group on campus. Today’s thought is based on Proverbs 23:22-25.
Listen to your father, who gave you life,
    and do not despise your mother when she is old.
Buy the truth and do not sell it—
    wisdom, instruction and insight as well.
The father of a righteous child has great joy;
    a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.
May your father and mother rejoice;
    may she who gave you birth be joyful!

September 14, 2022 – Jealous or Zealous?

In the Bible, jealous and zealous are flip sides of the same coin. Jealous always loses while zealous always wins.  Jealous relates to self. Zealous relates to God. Today’s thought is based on Proverbs 23:17-18

Do not let your heart be jealous of sinners,
    but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
There is surely a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 23:17-18)

September 13 2022 – Why do we work?
Why do we work? To earn a living? To make ends meet? If that is what work is about, you will find work dreary and dark. But there is a better way. Today’s devotion is based on Proverbs 23:4-5
Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
    do not trust your own cleverness.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
    for they will surely sprout wings
    and fly off to the sky like an eagle. (Proverbs 23:4-5)
September 8 2022 – Frustrated?
I know that I should pray before you speak.  You know that too. But do we just rush out and say whatever is on our mind and then become frustrated? Today’s devotion is based on Proverbs 22:12.
The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge,
    but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful. (Proverbs 22:12)

September 7, 2022 – Out Goes the Strife

Years ago there was a trouble making strong willed person who attended church. One day during a Bible study, they started to speak about how difficult their children were. They always stirred up strife and they wondered why. Today’s devotion is based on Proverbs 22:10-11.

Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife;
    quarrels and insults are ended.

One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace
    will have the king for a friend.

September 6, 2022 – What Do You Sow
 
Plain and simple – Our actions either help us or hurt us and others.  What we plant is what we get. Today’s devotion is based on Proverbs 22:8-9.
Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity,
    and the rod they wield in fury will be broken.
The generous will themselves be blessed,
    for they share their food with the poor. (Proverbs 22:8-9)
September 1, 2022 – Start the Children Off
We have all heard it, “Times have changed. You need to lock your doors.”  But do you let your children open the door to danger? Today’s devotion is based on Proverbs 22:5-6.
In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls,
    but those who would preserve their life stay far from them.
Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

August 31, 2022 – Humility’s Wages

I met a man of the streets who told me all his troubles and then asked me for $20. As we were talking, he told me he was going to move to a place out west where a man could drink and be on drugs without getting in trouble.  He wanted to exercise his philosophy and live like he wanted. I asked him, “Will that work?” Today’s devotion is based on Proverbs 22:3-4. The prudent see danger and take refuge,
    but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
Humility is the fear of the Lord;
    its wages are riches and honor and life. (Proverbs 22:3,4)