Planning is important. The Bible tells us that before we start building something, we would certainly want to count the cost (Luke 14:28). Even so, planning is not everything. If you can only think up great ideas, but can never see them to completion, what good comes from the ideas?
In Proverbs, we read that good planning and hard work lead to prosperity. This means before we set out to do something, we should plan it out and use good discernment. When we have our game plan in place, then we should work hard to see it through. If we live this out, we will be prosperous.
Today, consider how you can be a better planner or how you can best follow through. Ask God to reveal any shortcuts you are attempting to take in life. Thank God for the opportunities He has provided to plan and work to glorify Him in everything.
“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5 [NLT]
We all like to understand things. Some of us like to understand more than others. I remember when I was young and would take apart our VCR (remember that?) and see if I could put it back together. I learned how the VCR worked so well I was able to fix ours from time to time.
When it comes to life, we are to walk by faith. This means that we won’t always know what is going to come our way. We may not even understand some of it. But even so, we are supposed to press onward in faith. As today’s verse says, “The LORD directs our steps.” Since He directs our steps, there’s no reason to understand everything. We don’t need all of the whys because we know the Who and we can trust the Who, knowing that all the whys are for our best.
Today, understand that no matter how many times you dig into the Word, you won’t have all of the answers. But it’s okay! You may not understand everything along the way, but you will be walking with Him through it all. That’s so much better.
“The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” – Proverbs 20:24 [NLT]
It is very easy to point out problems that we see with other people. Most of us have blinders on when we look at ourselves. We think we aren’t so bad. We like to think fairly well of ourselves. If we have done something bad, it certainly wasn’t as bad as what some others are doing. Perhaps you are pure in your own eyes.
You can think and say all you want about yourself—and you likely have tricked yourself in thinking you are good. You can be pure in your own eyes, but that doesn’t make you pure. All of us are sinners and fall short of the glory of God. The LORD examines motives. The LORD sees your heart. The LORD knows you better than you know you! It doesn’t matter how pure you consider yourself.
Today, ask for the LORD to open your eyes. Ask that He reveal to you anything that shouldn’t be there. Be more intentional in looking at your motives.
“People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.” – Proverbs 16:2 [NLT]
Some of us are very blessed by our country of birth, the families we were born into, and the opportunities that we have had in life. We are blessed. We are blessed to be a blessing.
Even so, some people oppress the poor. Rather than answer the call to serve and assist the poor, there are steps taken that thwart any chance of the poor having opportunities for change. There are people who turn their eyes and look past those in need, while there are others who take advantage of those people who are already struggling. These people could use a hand up, but instead receive a push downward.
The Bible tells us that those who oppress the poor insult God. When we take steps to tear down rather than build up, this goes against God’s design. He created all people. He wants the best for all of us. Today, look for opportunities to help those in need. Do what you can to be the difference and shine the light.
“Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors Him.” – Proverbs 14:31 [NLT]
Many things in this world seem right. If I think back to days that have long since passed, there were many things that seemed right to me. Our definition of “right” evolves (hopefully improving as time goes on). I remember going from one extreme to the next. It’s easy to understand that the “seems” of this world don’t mean much. We are not living for the “seems” right but rather the “is” right.
When it comes to God and what He says is right, there is not a gray area. We like to talk a lot about the gray area. Things then aren’t right or wrong, or black and white. That’s what we tell ourselves. There’s this gray area. When we claim the gray area, we are able to bend the truth. We are able to accept the lies.
The Bible is clear. “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” Today, ask that the Lord reveal the path you are on right now. Ask that the Spirit opens your eyes to the truth, and remove any lies you may have accepted. Do away with the gray areas. Let go of what seems right. Cling to what God says is right and true and just.
“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” – Proverbs 14:12 [NLT]
Pride can really beat a person up, but perhaps you are too proud to admit it. In Proverbs 14:3, we read about a foolish person who is proud. When he opens his mouth, it is like a rod that beats him when he speaks. What a great visual!
The words of the proud many times beat those who hear; however, often the words come around and smack the proud speaker just the same. The proud speak offensive words that provoke others. The words of the proud do not only provoke others, but also blasphemy God.
The wise keep safe by the words they speak. The wise are slow to speak. The wise are Spirit-led. Today, consider if you are taking a beating from your words. Are you safe or beaten?
“A fool’s proud talk becomes a rod that beats him, but the words of the wise keep them safe.” – Proverbs 14:3 [NLT]
Life gives us the option of two paths—the right path and the wrong path. The path we take says a lot about our journey in life. In today’s verse, we read that the people who fear the LORD take the right path. The people who despise God take the wrong path.
To fear God means to recognize Who He is and thereby honor Him. When our eyes open to our Creator, when our eyes fix on Him, we begin to see a glimpse of His greatness. We cannot describe His greatness. We cannot understand His thoughts. We stand amazed at His unfailing love, at the sacrifice of His One and only Son. We fear the LORD and press onward along the right path.
For others, another path is taken. A hardened heart leads some down a very different path, a path that is opposite the one the children of God travel. This is a path God wishes no one to travel. It is a path that leads to death and destruction. It is a path those who despise the LORD desire to travel, not grasping the way, the truth, or the life. Today, consider the path you are taking? Are you on the right path?
“Those who follow the right path fear the LORD; those who take the wrong path despise Him.” – Proverbs 14:2 [NLT]
It is always important to be mindful of who you are surrounded by because it matters. As a child, we heard it from our parents and we didn’t want to listen. But then we got older and we started to see it play out. We realized that when we hung around certain people, we got in trouble because they liked to find trouble and you were right there along for the ride.
The Bible says that we should “walk with the wise and become wise.” If you spend time with people who are wise, you will glean so much. Just the same, if you “associate with fools” you will “get in trouble.” The foolish will pull you away. The foolish will plant seeds of doubt. The foolish will not encourage you to live in a godly manner.
We are not supposed to separate ourselves from the world; however, we need to be intentional with our relationships. You will become like the people who surround you. Today, look who you spend your time with each day. Are you walking with the wise or associating with fools?
“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” – Proverbs 13:20 [NLT]