Saturday In The Proverbs—Don’t Do This … But Do This (Proverbs 3)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

My son, do not … but … (Proverbs 3:1).

This chapter of Proverbs is filled with these contrasts—don’t do this, but do this instead—and then Solomon shared the blessings that follow when we do the right thing. 

Don’t forget God’s Word BUT keep it in your heart. Blessing—long life and peaceful days. 

Don’t lose sight of mercy and truth BUT find ways to remind yourself. Blessing—favor with God and man.

Don’t lean on your own understanding BUT lean on God’s wisdom. Blessing—God’s direction.

Don’t become enamored with yourself BUT fear God and avoid evil. Blessing—health and strength.

Don’t hoard God’s gifts to you BUT honor God with your possessions. Blessing—overflowing blessings.

Don’t despise God’s correction BUT learn from it. Blessing—wisdom, understanding, happiness.

Don’t forsake God’s wisdom BUT keep it squarely in front of your eyes. Blessing—grace, safety, security, sweet sleep, no fear, confidence.

Don’t withhold good from your neighbor BUT love your neighbor. Blessing—God’s blessing in your home.

Bottom line: Don’t do it your way, but do it God’s way!

Poetry Saturday—Bells Across The Snow

O Christmas, merry Christmas,
Is it really come again,
With its memories and greetings,
With its joy and with its pain!
There’s a minor in the carol
And a shadow in the light,
And a spray of cypress twining
With the holly wreath tonight.
And the hush is never broken
By laughter light and low,
As we listen in the starlight
To the “bells across the snow.”
O Christmas, merry Christmas,
’Tis not so very long
Since other voices blended
With the carol and the song!
If we could but hear them singing,
As they are singing now,
If we could but see the radiance
Of the crown on each dear brow,
There would be no sigh to smother,
No hidden tear to flow,
As we listen in the starlight
To the “bells across the snow.”
O Christmas, merry Christmas,
This never more can be;
We cannot bring again the days
Of our unshadowed glee,
But Christmas, happy Christmas,
Sweet herald of good will,
With holy songs of glory
Brings holy gladness still.
For peace and hope may brighten,
And patient love may glow,
As we listen in the starlight
To the “bells across the snow.” —Frances Ridley Havergal

Saturday In The Psalms—God’s Voice Of Peace

Lord, You have been favorable … You have forgiven … You have covered all their sin. Selah (Psalm 85:1-2).

God’s favor, forgiveness, and covering of sin. Justice would say that God doesn’t have to do any of these things. The people sinned—they violated the holy law—and thus deserve death. But pause and consider this [that’s what Selah means]: God instead shows His favor, deliverance, and forgiveness. All His anger has been turned away!

How do we respond to this? The psalmist asks for restoration and revival. Revival comes when we turn back to God and turn away from our sin, and here we see God initiating revival … making revival possible.

Listen to God’s voice: He speaks peace, which allows us to experience revival. Jesus didn’t say, “Go and sin no more; I do not condemn you.” No! He said, “Neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

The removal of the wrath of condemnation makes the revival of the soul possible!

Once we hear God’s voice of peace, we can then know His…

  • … mercy
  • … truth
  • … righteousness
  • … goodness
  • … pathway
  • … freedom

God, You are so good! So loving, kind, merciful! Showing Your favor to all who will listen to Your words of peace!

The Power In Rejoicing

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! … Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:4, 6).

Paul isn’t playing around here—when he says to rejoice, it’s not a suggestion or a good idea. He says REJOICE with the force of a commandment!

Even the Greek word for rejoice isn’t a mild “yea!” It carries with is the idea of big joy! It’s the kind of rejoicing that is…

  • exceedingly great!
  • overflowing!
  • bubbling up!
  • never ending!
  • continuously gushing!

Why would Paul make this kind of rejoicing a command? Because God is serious about pointing us to the only path that will guard our hearts and minds. When we are rejoicing, praying, and thanksgiving, then the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

Do you realize how much of our worrying is pointless? My friend Scott pointed out the following research:

  • 40% of the things we worry about will never even happen
  • 30% of the things we worry about happened in the past and cannot be changed
  • 12% of our worries are regarding health issues we don’t even have
  • 10% of our worries are about our friends and loved ones which are based on rumors

That means … only 8% of the things we worry about have any basis in reality!

Think about that—9 out of 10 things that consume our minds with worry aren’t even worth our time!

That’s why Paul commands rejoicing as a means to freedom and peace.

  • What should we worry about? Nothing! 
  • What should we pray about? Everything!
  • What should rejoice about? All things!  

This is the one and only path to transcendent peace! 

This is part two in our series The Antidote For Anxiety. Be sure to check out the video below, and also check out the first part of this series—Honk! Honk! Honk!

The Christian’s Secret Weapon

Over the past couple of weeks, people have been rattled by both real and imagined catastrophic events. We experienced a fabulous astronomical sight in a full solar eclipse, wept for our fellow citizens in Texas and Florida as hurricanes battered their businesses and homes, and then dealt with doomsayers who predicted the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Peter spent a lot of time right next to Jesus, soaking up His teaching and observing how Jesus lived. One thing Peter never saw in Jesus was panic.

So it’s not unexpected that Peter would write to followers of Jesus: Don’t fear what the world fears (1 Peter 3:14). Instead, Peter counsels his friends to keep their focus on Jesus.

Don’t run around in fear, but instead in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Some other translations say things like…

    • …revere Christ as Lord
    • …acknowledge Him as Lord
    • …worship Christ as Lord of your life
    • …keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ (see 1 Peter 3:15)

In other words: let Jesus Christ be your focal point.

When you live this way—focused on the eternal Jesus and not the temporary shakings on earth—Earthlings are bound to notice that there is something different about you. So Peter tells us to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that you have.

Hope—not wishful thinking, but a rock-solid, joyful, confident expectation!

This hope is the Christian’s secret weapon!

This hope is unshakable during difficult times. This hope is unshakable on death’s doorstep. This hope is unshakable when the end of the world is predicted.

The Christian who has a personal experience of the hope that Jesus brings is never at the mercy of the happenings in the world nor the arguments from non-Christians.

But Peter cautions us to never use this hope as a club. He tells us to make sure we never use hope as a means of feeling superior to others. Instead we are to speak to others about our hope gently, respectfully, and with a clear conscience.

So here’s my question to you, fellow Christian: Can those around you see your hope? When they’re fearful and running for cover, do they see you right alongside them, or do they see you standing firm in hope as you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Your hope is a powerful persuader for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!

9 More Quotes From “The Christian In Complete Armour”

William Gurnall penned wise words for Christian warriors nearly 400 years ago, but their timelessness is still evident today. Check out a few more quotes from The Christian In Complete Armour

“The devil cannot think of anything he had rather glory in than to wound God’s name with His own sword. He coaxes man to sin and then brags that God made him do it. … Instead of letting satan wrest Scripture from us by his wily stratagems, let us be excited to bless God for the sword He has furnished us out of His grace.”

“The Sword of the Spirit in another person’s hand will not defend you.”

“God calls all mankind—some by the voice of natural conscience and others by the loud shout of His Word—to join Him ‘against the mighty’ (Judges 5:23). He does this not because He needs our help but because He prefers to reward obedience rather than to punish rebellion.”

“‘The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good’ (Proverbs 15:3). He sees when you close your closet door to pray in secret and rewards your sincerity; but He also sees when the door is closed for you to sin in secret—and He will not fail to reward your hypocrisy.”

“When the Spirit convicts you of sin, satan will try to convince you, ‘It is such a little one—spare it.’ Or he will bribe the soul with a vow of secrecy: ‘You can keep me and your good reputation, too. I will not be seen in your company to shame you among your neighbors. You may shut me up in the attic of your heart, out of sight, if only you will let me now and then have the wild embraces of your thoughts and affections in secret.’”

“The Christian ought to rely on divine strength because this plan results in the greatest advancement of God’s own glory (Ephesians 1:4, 12). If God had given you a lifetime supply of His grace to begin with and left you to handle your own account, you would have thought Him generous indeed. But He is magnified even more by the open account He sets up in your name. Now you must acknowledge not only that your strength comes from God in the first place, but that you are continually in debt for every withdrawal of strength you make throughout your Christian course.”

“Here is a word for Christians. Knowing your strength lies wholly in God and not in yourself, remain humble—even when God is blessing and using you most. Remember, when you have your best suit on, who made it and who paid for it! God’s favor is neither the work of your hands nor the price of your own worth. How can you boast of what you did not buy? If you embezzle God’s strength and credit it to your own account, He will soon call an audit and will take back what was His all along.”

“As an earthly parent you rejoice to see your own good qualities reproduced in your children. God, the perfect Parent, longs to see His attributes reflected in His saints. It is this image of God reflected in you that so enrages hell; it is this at which the demons hurl their mightiest weapons. When God defends you, He also defends Himself. Now knowing that the quarrel is God’s, surely He will not have you go forth to war at your own expense!”

“Your Heavenly Father is so eager to care for you, that while you are timidly asking for a nibble of peace and joy, He is longing for you to open your mouth wide so He can fill it. The more often you ask, the better; and the more you ask for, the more He welcomes you.”

You can read my full review of William Gurnall’s book by clicking here. I have shared other quotes from The Christian In Complete Armour here and here.

12 More Quotes From “Peace In The Face Of Cancer”

For anyone battling cancer or standing as a caregiver or friend to a cancer patient, Lynn Eib’s book Peace In The Face Of Cancer is an absolute must-read! I have already shared a few quotes from Lynn, but she also did a great job including quotes from other authors.

“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

“Every tear you cried will be redeemed. God will give you indescribable glory for your grief, not with a general wave of the hand, but in a considered and specific way. Each tear has been listed; each will be recompensed.” —Joni Eareckson Tada

“Hoping for the good news makes me feel helpless and vulnerable because it is what it is and my hoping won’t change what it is. Hoping for accurate news keeps me focused on useful information that will help me deal with what is. Hoping for accurate news helps me prepare for any news.” —Wendy Harpham

“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” —Kahlil Gibran

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” —Abraham Lincoln 

“What you believe and tell yourself can become a powerful medication in your personal pharmacy.” —Dr. William Backus

“The best way to show my gratitude to God is to accept everything, even my problems, with joy.” —Mother Teresa

“You give Me thanks (regardless of your feelings), and I give you joy (regardless of your circumstances).” —Jesus, in Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling

“Don’t count the days; makes the days count.” —Mohammad Ali 

“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” —Corrie ten Boom

“In emotional and mental health, what you believe it is all important. It makes a difference what you believe. Other people, circumstances, events and material things are not what make you happy.” —Dr. William Backus and Marie Chapian

“The people who do the best are those who don’t battle the disease, but dance with it. That means you have to be flexible and you have to know and accept your limitations. You have to allow people to help you, but without surrendering to the disease.” —Dr. George Fisher

Check out my review of Peace In The Face Of Cancer here. And check out some quotes from Lynn Eib here.

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