Proverbs 2 & 3: Pros vs. Cons

Chapters 2 and 3 of Proverbs were very similar in that they both were full of descriptive examples of the benefits of wisdom. Likewise, Solomon still warned us about rejecting  wisdom and making poor decisions. I literally enjoyed every single verse of these two chapters, but I’ve selected just a few to highlight and reflect upon here.

Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. -Proverbs 2:11 (NIV)

I remember receiving many talks about the importance of discretion when I was an undergraduate. Because college was a completely different world with much more freedom than high school, there were so many opportunities to steer away from the path that God paved for me. Recognizing the tricks of the enemy was so important. Discretion helps us to see things for what they are and understanding helps us to anticipate the consequences of them so that we make sound decisions.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

I often refer to these verses when I’m dealing with things that just do not make sense to me. Knowing that God’s way is always the right way helps me to eliminate confusion. I’ve heard people try to twist this passage to mask deception and confusion. Those who truly understand what Solomon is saying here will understand that the passage means just the opposite. When you do not understand something or someone in your life, simplify things and protect yourself by going to the Source. Seek God for direction. Pray, read His word, fellowship with Him, and act in a way that is in accordance with His will for you. You just can’t fail with God.

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. -Proverbs 3: 13-14 (NIV)

In a world that displays foolish behavior like a badge of honor and praises materialism instead of holiness, this passage is a necessary reminder of what is really important. God has made some promises to us so we don’t have to give in to what the world seems to require. We don’t have to sell our souls to live rich, full lives. If we seek God’s wisdom and use the insight that comes only from Him, we will be richly blessed in a way that means more than any amount of money.

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. -Proverbs 3:27-28

God is one of love and service. If you truly want to understand Him, you will need to behave in a way that models His behavior. If you see someone in need, it is wise to help them if you are able. Your hand is God’s hand to them. He uses His children to bless others in the kingdom. It is wise to willingly and gladly assist in that effort.

If you’re keeping up with the challenge, I’d love to hear your thoughts or favorite verses. Comment here, on Twitter: SmilingByFaith, or on Instagram: SmilingByFaith.

Keep smiling,

 

SBF 🙂

Proverbs 1: It Starts With God

In case you aren’t familiar with Proverbs, it was written by Solomon (king of Israel and son of David). Solomon is known for his wisdom and he wrote much of the book of Proverbs in an attempt to share the knowledge and wisdom that he gained through his relationship and fellowship with God.

In reading the first chapter of Solomon’s Proverbs tonight, one thing stuck with me over and over: Be careful not to reject the wisdom of God. Start with God. Stick with God. End with God.

Proverbs 1:7 (KJV) makes a bold and timeless statement. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

This verse doesn’t speak to being afraid as much as it does acknowledgement. I would almost rephrase it to say the “RECOGNITION OF THE POWER OF GOD AND THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE CHARACTER of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” One who understands that God knows and can do all things while recognizing the loving, merciful, and faithful character of God is on track to become both wiser and more knowledgeable.  Start with God.

“My son, if sinners entice thee, consent though not.” –Proverbs 1:10

“My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path.” -Proverbs 1:15

Verses 10 and 15 warn believers against giving in to sin and temptation from sinners. Because of our healthy fear of the Lord, we should want to obey Him. However, knowing that we are human and were born of a sinful nature, God still uses Solomon to remind us to resist the urge to sin. He knows that sin will separate us from Him. Stick with God.

“For they that hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: they would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of the fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” -Proverbs 1:29-33

The chapter closes by explaining the consequences of our choice to gain wisdom from God or not. God has provided us with access to Him and has given us a manual by which we should live our lives. He has anointed messengers to teach and preach His word. He grants discernment to those who choose to follow His lead. Still, there are some who reject His counsel. They do not fear the Lord and do not wish to understand His character. On the day of judgement, those who have rejected God’s wisdom will realize that they needed it. They will call on Him and He will not answer. Fortunately, our God is merciful and loving and has promised that those who listen to Him will be free of harm and evil. End with God.

I hope that you enjoyed day 1 of the Proverbs Challenge as much as I did. If you missed out on day 1, catch up on day 2. You can do it!

Keep smiling,

SBF 🙂

It’s All Good…

I am truly a work in progress. I won’t use that as a crutch or an excuse. I hate when people do that. I actually get a little frustrated quite often by how MUCH work still needs to be done on me and within me. I have to learn to be patient with myself in that regard because while it is perfectly find to want to do and be better…some things simply take time.

Nevertheless, pressing on is the only option. There is no alternative. I was reflecting on a painful experience today with someone very close to me and was really bothered by the outcome. Fortunately, this week I have been heavily focused on Romans 8:28, which reminds us that “ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose.” With each day that passes, new experiences provide different insight on some of my “go-to” verses such as this one.

I look at Romans 8:28 today with new insight. I look at it with the understanding that if I truly internalize the notion that ALL things are working for my good, there is no worst case scenario. Whether the things that I desire from a person or situation come to pass as I would like for them to or not…God is in control. With focus on what He has placed me here to do being of the utmost importance, each situation that I am faced with and every decision made has the opportunity to bring me closer to God, which is always a GOOD thing.

This is yet another example of what it means to me…to put feelings aside and smile by faith.

 

Hello Beautiful…

One thing that I rarely ever am, is short of words. Most often, I have way too much to say about any given topic at any given time. I make a conscious effort to keep my thoughts to myself a lot of the time…but sometimes I fail miserably at it. Perhaps, that’s why writing has become so therapeutic for me. I’ve always loved to write. Short stories, love notes, to-do-lists, reflections…prayers even. I never imagined I’d be sharing my most personal thoughts with the world. I never imagined that my healing would come through writing. And I especially never imagined that God would nudge me in THIS direction. But here I am…pouring my heart and soul out from behind a computer screen. Hoping to encourage someone. Help someone. Heal someone. The irony is that the more I pour out via written expressions, the more He fills me up. I feel closest to God when I write. I feel stronger. I feel empowered. I feel purposed.

This blog is for the broken. The misunderstood. The hurt. The lost. The forgotten. I have been…actually I AM all of those things if I were to listen to myself. However, I have decided that here…at smilingbyfaith.wordpress.com, we will acknowledge God in all things. That includes an acknowledgment of who God says that we are. Rebuilt for a purpose. Called. Forgiven. Redeemed. Loved. He knows our names.

Thank you for opening your mind and heart to me as I share with you reflections of my quest to find the God who has always dwelled within me. It is my sincere prayer that if you have not already found Him within you, that this blog may help guide you to that point.

Be blessed. 🙂