Wise Choices

Wise choices will watch over you.
    Understanding will keep you safe.

—Proverbs 2:11

 

 

While photographing my rose bush this afternoon, I suddenly saw the tiniest little green frog.

Huddled up between the pink petals of a bloom, he had taken shelter.

Surrounded by beauty, he was protected in many ways.

 

Our choices have a definite effect on our lives.

If we make wise choices, we reap the benefits.

If we search for understanding that comes from God, we will avoid many troubles.

The understanding that comes from God will keep us safe from the consequences of poor choices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

wise choices

This Is The Way

When I take a step

My gaze often on the road before me

Am I listening?

Listening for God

Awaiting His guidance

Walking in obedience

Instead of my own wisdom

Are my ears hearing a word behind me

Softly

Firmly

Telling me the way

When I take a step?

 

 

 

 

 

to the left

 

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

—Isaiah 30:21

 

 

 

 

It Determines the Course

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

—Proverbs 4:23

Fences.

They keep things in.

They keep things out.

They protect.

They guard.

At the very existence of a fence, it is reasonable to recognize that something or someone needed protection.

No one can really see a fence around our hearts.

It could be a harmful fence, keeping God out.

It could be a helpful fence, keeping sin and temptation at bay.

It could be a harmful fence, keeping sin and temptations close inside.

It could be a helpful fence, keeping God close inside.

As followers of Jesus, we need to guard our hearts from the lure and the harm of evil.

Our hearts will determine the course of our lives.

guard

One Who Knows Better

I watched a compelling movie last night. 

In one scene, the screenwriters skilfully send a pang of familiarity to the audience. 

As the main character is asked if he is afraid, a flash back occurs in his mind of an incident in his childhood. 

There he is, on the playground, holding a single flower in his hands. As he approaches a little girl to present the flower to, he is met by the intimidating voices of other children making fun of him. As they shun him, they all run away, leaving him alone, holding his flower without ever having the chance to offer it. 

The character in the movie then (after the flashback) replies that he is not afraid, yet the viewers understand that couldn’t be farther from the truth. He still feels the weight of the childhood intimidation even now as an adult. 

Feeling unsure of himself, he does not want to endure rejection again. 

I researched the word, “intimidation.”

I found a couple of definitions to be very interesting. One definition states, “inducing a sense of inferiority into another.”

The next descriptive definition is, “implies a reduction to a state where the spirit is broken.”

When I think of the movie scene–one that I think most anyone can identify with–these definitions are spot on. 

This morning, I read from a devotional book that I have been using in my Bible study time. Today’s topic was on several scriptures concerning the words we say to each other. 

Kind words. 

Hurtful words. 

Encouraging words or discouraging words. 

Each of us gets to decide what words we say. 

We all know what it feels like to hear hurtful words. 

We also know what it’s like to hear encouraging and kind words. 

I get to decide what I want to say. 

So do you. 

~

Whoever puts down another is not wise,
    but one who knows better keeps quiet.

—Proverbs 11:12

Trust In

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.

—Proverbs 3:5

 

My husband and I were spending the day at the ocean.

We decided to buy tickets for a boat taxi.

When tickets are purchased, the boat taxi will take groups of people to certain destinations on the coast and come back at later times to pick them up.

At a stop we had chosen, we got off the boat and walked a short distance to a road.

I had my cell phone with me, so I consulted a GPS application on it.

We had been told of a waterside restaurant not far away.

Looking it up on the GPS, I selected “walking” as my mode of transportation.

Faithfully, the instructions and maps provided led us to our destination.

The route involved walking down a dirt path/road with trees that made a canopy overhead.

Could this really be the short hike to a restaurant?

It didn’t feel like it was, but we needed to trust the GPS.

After awhile, we came upon a park and finally, the restaurant.

If we had decided to go another way that might have seemed better, we might not have made it there at all.

Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust in the LORD will all our hearts. We are not to lean on our own understanding.

God may lead us to a “rural path” in life when what we’d expected was a nicely paved city street.

When that happens, we must trust that He knows exactly where our destination is.

A GPS system can be flawed and sometimes there can be problems.

God’s direction, however, is never flawed.

We can always trust Him.

 

 

trust

Established With Integrity

Take away the impurities from the silver,
    and a good smith can create something of value;
 Take away the wicked from among the king’s advisors,
    and his reign will be established with integrity.

–Proverbs 25:4-5

While reading this passage in The Voice translation the other night, I began to ponder what the words might mean if I put others in the place of the king.

Others, meaning you or me.

If I were to “take away the wicked from among [my] advisors”, what would be the result?

Kings had formal advisors to converse with about important things.

Not considering my friends to be formal advisors, they are, however, a very real influence.

Now, what about that word, wicked?

I can honestly say I don’t have any wicked friends.

Being curious about it, I looked up some words that mean the same thing:

Wayward.

Degenerate.

Mischievous.

Immoral.

Unethical.

No. My friends don’t fall into this category.

So, what is the result?

My reign will be established in integrity.

Not being a king (or queen),  I don’t have a reign.

I do, nonetheless, have influence.

Influence on my family.

Influence on the people I work with.

Influence on the people I see at church.

Influence on the very friends that I am influenced by.

Applying this scripture to myself, I can come to the conclusion that if I choose only wise and God honoring people to be my advisors/friends, then my own influence will be one of integrity.

And how important is that to me?

Extremely important.

How important is that to you?

integrity

Believe in Your Own Heart

For if you tell others with your own mouth that Jesus Christ is your Lord and believe in your own heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

—-Romans 10:9
Tonight the wind was cool as the sunset over the lake captivated my attention. Storms had occurred nearby and a beautiful mix of clouds and radiant light made a glorious backdrop for the palm trees and downtown buildings. 

Each evening God creates a masterpiece of beauty in the sky for all to see. 

I have been praying in the last few months for a friend who does not know Jesus as their Savior. I am praying for their salvation. I want them to know the great love of Jesus. 

One day, I am hoping they will look at a sunset and praise God for His wondrous works in the sky and for His wondrous work within their life. 

Dear Lord, You know who my heart is burdened for. I pray that they will come to see You as the way, the truth and the life. I pray that You would draw them away from anything that is not of You. I pray they would give their life to you completely. Thank You, Lord, for the gift of salvation. 

This Is The Way

Far from home and visiting another country, I was finally getting off the night train and walking into the station. There were specific places to go and paths to get into the proper areas of the station.

Although I did not know where I was supposed to go, there were others that did and I followed their direction.

Last night, as I was reading the Bible, a particular verse from the book of Isaiah stood out to me:

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

—Chapter 30, verse 21

We do not really know the best way in any area of our lives apart from the directions given to us by God.

The verse above was concerning the people in Jerusalem, yet I feel that God gives us direction and guidance, telling us the way we should “walk.”

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Compare Our Appearance

Daniel had been taken captive to live in a foreign land.

Although he was not at home anymore, his convictions remained the same.

Daniel was chosen with three other friends to be prepared to serve in this new place.

They were to be taught the language of Babylon and its literature by an official.

They were also going to be fed what was considered to be good food.

Food and wine right from the king’s table….

 

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel,  but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”

 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah,  “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.  Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.”  So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. —Daniel 1:8-14

At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his friends looked healthier than the other young men. Because of this, they were allowed to eat only vegetables.

When we know what God wants for us, we do not need to wander from it.

If we are countered in any way, God is right there.

He can make a way, even in opposition.

 

vegetables

 

A Light for My Path

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This wooden bridge is one of my very favorite places.

Silently, it gives a subtle invitation-

“Come travel to the other side.”

Each board that was placed above the water joins with another and another to finally complete the safe passageway.

As we journey on in our lives, God’s word guides us.

Traveling over one board in the bridge and then another, His word is a light that allows us to see our proper course–

until we get to the other side….

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Your word is a lamp to guide me
    and a light for my path.

—Psalm 119:105

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for my path

A Season

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The birds were lined up in a row on both rungs of a street light.

A single bird was flying off in the distance.

Had he just left the crowd?

Decided to go on to better things?

Perhaps.

If he did leave the rest behind, it might’ve taken quite a bit of bravery on his part to do so.

A few weeks ago, I attended a Bible study at the home of a dear, older woman.

Listening to her comments and to the comments of others as we contemplated a chapter in the book of Proverbs, this woman made a wise statement that went straight to my heart.

I made sure that I wrote it down, word for word, because of its great significance:

“When a season is over and you know it, you have to be brave enough to dismiss yourself from it.”

Hearing this declaration made everything stop for a moment inside my mind, forcing me to consider its significance.

For me, it seems that I get comfortable in a place or situation and to leave it for a new beginning somehow threatens to make me feel like a “quitter.”

Should I always be a member of the same club or organization?

Should I always have the same job?

Should I always take part in the same ministries or charities?

Should I always spend my time with the exact same group of friends?

It’s hard to break away from the crowd, especially when you’re comfortable on the same street light with everyone else.

But if God is leading me to a new season, I need to recognize it and fly away.

Wouldn’t you agree?

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There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens…

—Ecclesiastes 3:1

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season