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Cleave From Fools  

Stay away from a fool,
    for you will not find knowledge on their lips. Proverbs 14:7

I imagine today’s wise advice has everyone shaking their heads in agreement.  If a spotlight were pointed at your gaggle of friends, however, would there be that one person you know you should limit your time around?  The one always making bad decisions, dragging you into uncomfortable situations, struggling in their marriage because of their behavior, and the list goes on and on.  

Why do we keep these folks on our Christmas card list or included in our party invitations?  Unfortunately, some are a bit too close to home as relatives.  But those other ones, those are head scratchers.  Maybe you think they are funny, your kids are on the same sports team, you’re in a Bible study group with them, or they are a neighbor.  As Christians aren’t we to show kindness, compassion and grace?  

Yes, to all of the above.  However, nowhere in scripture will you find the Lord advising to bring into your close sphere a fool.  As scripturally well-informed Christians we should be able to spot fools fairly quickly and make wise choices about boundaries.  According to an article in Sharper Iron, look for these traits: arrogance, overconfidence, lacking shame, braggart, reckless with words and choices, self-indulgent, quarrelsome, and insulting.  It doesn’t matter that they also have an amazing talent for scrapbooking, working out, wine collecting, or whatever mirrors some hobby or interest of yours.  Stay clear.  Smile and wave.  Be kind and gracious.  Protect your heart, mind, family and wallet.

Friend, a fool is no friend.  In the end, you will most likely look the fool along with them.  Take what they say with a discerning ear.  Surround yourself with people you can trust and help you on your sanctification journey.  God will cleave the fools.  You just need to let them go.  He will place the people you need in your path.

Holy Father, open my eyes to the foolish people I have held on to in my life.  Help me to be discerning with my time and boundaries concerning them.  Bring me wise mentors into my life.  Amen

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Give Your Best, First

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.  Proverb 3:27

A 2015 study done by Money.com found that Americans donated around $358 billion dollars that previous year.  Of those donations, $115 billion went to religious related charities.  In addition, the study calculated that Americans devoted $173 billion in volunteer work.  Pretty impressive!  But here’s an even more interesting fact.  Americans weren’t in the top 10 list of being most likely to donate.  The top country? Myanmar.  A tiny land whose citizens frequently keep their country in the top spot with 81% of respondents saying they had made a donation in the past month.  The United States sits at 61%.  Still an impressive number, however.

On average, according to another survey, US Christians give just 2.5% of their income to their churches.  And while the message of the New Testament reminds us we aren’t under the old laws of tithing, the apostle Paul consistently tells us to give with a cheerful heart – not just to our churches but to those in need.

Too many times we look to see what is left over before we will uncurl our tight fists around our dollars.  But throughout scripture, God reminds us of two points. 1) To always give our best, first and 2) He owns everything already and we are just His stewards.  When we scrimp with our giving and with our time we are, in effect, holding on to what really isn’t ours.  We aren’t effectively managing the resources God has entrusted us to help His plan unfold.

Friend, while you should pray on how to best use your resources (money and time) for His Kingdom, you don’t need to pray night and day whether you should be more charitable to the people around you.  God has already given us those marching orders.  When we hear “He will provide” so often that means He is asking you to provide in His name to someone who needs to see a little bit of Jesus at work.

Gracious Father, you have provided for me in so many ways.  If I can only provide a few coins or hours of my time let it be so someone will know your name.  And if I can provide more help me to give fully with a cheerful and loving heart.  Amen 

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Saved From Wickedness

“Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men…” Proverb 2:12

When I was younger I don’t think as many people were as wary as they are today of being scammed.  There wasn’t the internet and email – telling us about our cousin trapped over in Africa and needing $50 sent to him. Calling long distance and even making calls across town used to cost money.  So bulk calling 1,000s of old ladies each day and frightening them into giving up their entire savings just wasn’t as prevalent.  Don’t get me wrong, there were still plenty of snake oil salesmen.  It just took more effort.  

For as long ago as Adam and Eve decided to forego God’s admonishment not to listen to the first slippery, silver-tongued creature, we humans have been subjected to all manner of men and women who want to lighten our wallets, steal our vote, abuse us in some way, gain power and authority over us. 

According to psychology researcher Roy Baumeister, the majority of “evil doers” are really just people who tend to minimize the harmful impact of what they are doing or rationalize their reasons.  They often see their action as much less of a big deal than the impact experienced from the victim’s point of view.  Many of these folks may even see themselves as the victims – of society, their upbringing, their financial situation, etc.  They “deserve” what they are bilking out of you.

God shows us through His wisdom, using patience, prudence, discernment, how to avoid the ways of those who want to take advantage of us.  You know the saying, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”  I have a friend who once lost money to a phone scammer who wanted to help her save on her phone bill.  All sorts of bells and whistles were going off in her head during the conversation – the Holy Spirit warning her with God’s wisdom!  But her desire for a “deal” was stronger.  

Large churches have imploded once enough people in the congregation finally started to heed God’s warning to be wise.  Realizing their shepherd was more concerned about their ego or their pocketbook than their job of caring for their flock.

Friends, if it sounds too good, it probably is.  If it’s not aligned with scripture you need to be wary.  If it whispers to your more sinful side you need to turn to God.  His Words will keep you from the ways of the wicked.

Father, the wicked ways of this world attack me each day.  Help me have a wise and discerning mind so that I can remain safe with you.  Amen 

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Open Communication

“Then Moses said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded you to do, so that that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” Leviticus 9:6

Holy God, it amazes me that you, in your infinite and powerful ways wants to talk to me.  That the God of the universe wants me to come to you each and every day with my needs and my fears.  Today I come to you with praise and thanksgiving that you love me so much.  Amen

I heard a description of an early  “church service” the other day.  The first half was open to anyone and featured scripture reading and the teaching of the gospel.  Then the pastor would call out, “the doors, the doors” and it was the message to those who were not baptized or confessed believers to leave.  The doors would then be closed and the second half of the service commenced.  This is when the holy gift of communicating with God began.  The church membership would have an “upper room” type meeting with breaking of bread and prayer to the Most Holy One.

What I like about this is that shows reverence to the second greatest blessing God bestowed on us (the first being Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins) – a loving, two-way path communicating with God.  A gift given to believers by Jesus and spurred on by the Holy Spirit that lives in the children of God.  I’m not suggesting only believers should pray, it’s just an acknowledgement of the seriousness of this gift we’ve been given.

In the Bible verse today, we see the seeds of God’s desire to communicate with us in the priestly ministry of the ancients.  God spoke through Moses on how to address Him through sacrifices and other holy activities.  He tells the priests in training that when they take these steps, they will see God’s glory revealed to them.  The same is true with the gift of prayer.  

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1

The disciples, just as in Moses’ day, desired to learn how to communicate with God.  How to open up the heavens so they could see the glory of the One Almighty.  And so Jesus taught them the prayer I mentioned yesterday, what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.”  It starts with reverence, placing God in our hearts and minds rightly where He belongs.  It moves on to acknowledging God as the provider of all our needs and our submission to Him.  We then ask for forgiveness and to forgive others.  And finally for daily guidance.

The gift of prayer is God’s message to us that we are not believers of a god who is unable to do all things, or a god who can’t be trusted, or a god to whom we need to beg to hear us.  Before we pray we need to be fully informed of how we view Him.  If we don’t believe He is merciful then we might believe He will punish us if we bring our sins to Him.  Our prayers should always include a request for wisdom about Him so that when He answers our prayer – which He always does – we will understand the answer and see the glory in His ways.

Today, I want to leave you with this beautiful prayer from King David showing us how to glorify and praise God in all His magnificent ways.

Psalm 63

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your right hand upholds me.
Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
    they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
    and become food for jackals.
11 But the king will rejoice in God;
    all who swear by God will glory in him,
    while the mouths of liars will be silenced.
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Promise Keeper

“Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” John 11:40

Faithful Father, you have never lied and you never will.  I believe you.  Amen

I had a Christian woman tell me this once: “I know God has forgiven me.  But it’s hard for me to believe it.  It’s too hard for me to forgive myself.”  That’s why I nodded along when I heard a Christian teacher once say that there’s too many of us out there that have accepted our Lord as Savior but we just aren’t living our lives like we believe His promises.  It’s even hard for me sometimes when I look in the mirror to see what God sees.  To believe He loves me, blemishes and all.  It’s hard to believe He will take care of me without my striving and worrying.  But He will.

“You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3

He has never, ever lied my friend.  He never, ever will.  What might happen, however, is that He will fulfill a promise in ways you didn’t expect.  Or in ways you may not agree or understand.  In fact, when I was doing a bit of research about God’s promises I found a blog that refuted God fulfilling promises.  In truth, the person sounded very wounded.  He also sounded poorly educated about God’s character and His ways.  His first example was of Genesis 2:17 when God admonishes Adam and Eve not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, “…for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”  The blogger explained that not only had they eaten the fruit but they went on to live for more than 900 years.

What he missed is 1) their immediate death was a loss of the close spiritual relationship with God and their sinlessness and 2) they did, in fact die.  You see, when we look at God’s promises without a knowledge of Him and through our own broken lenses we can miss God at work.  If we, instead, believe that God is the only perfect being to exist and His ways are always right then we ask better questions and submit to Him in trust.  

I recently had a conversation with a godly woman about women as pastors.  Having become more educated about scripture I felt confident in holding my own – as she said the Bible has conflicting lessons about this topic.  My first comment was this: “God’s Word is never in conflict.  If you see conflict you are either misunderstanding context, historical meaning, or having translation issues.  Understanding that parts of God’s will and God’s promises may be difficult to accept also helps us to realize our sinful desires rarely line up with God.

Friend, if you are struggling to accept that God will not back out of a promise to you, turn back to His Word.  He is faithful.  More faithful than anyone will ever be in your life.   And for that we can celebrate with glory to Him!

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Everyday Glory

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11

Holy Spirit, whatever decisions and choices I make today help them to be in service and glorification of God. Amen

I read an Instagram post the other day that asked this question: “Are you doing what makes you happy or what glorifies God?”  I would venture to say on a day-to-day, hour-by-hour basis we probably lean toward what makes us happy.  Sure, when it comes to bigger more difficult decisions, we may seek God’s counsel.  But how often when we are choosing what to eat, what to do with our free time, when we go about our chores and errands, before we open the door to enter work or school do we think, what’s God say about this? What could I do in this very situation that would make God happy?  What could I say to my spouse/friend/adult child that would sound like a word from the Lord?

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

We can take this piece of scripture and use it as a sort of “out” when it comes to our everyday lives being aligned with God.  We can never know all that God is thinking so we just go about our lives as best we can, right?  That may be true if we never study scripture or pray for the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom.  Because when we do those two things, God will constantly be on our minds and lips.  He may even want that mundane day you have planned turned into something that glorifies Him.

We will never be fully satisfied with making our own choices about our lives.  It may appear that some people who have fame and fortune without God “have it all.”  As Christ followers we know true satisfaction, however, comes from the only constant thing in the world – God.  He knows what’s best for us.  He knows what will work in our lives to glorify the kingdom.  

Friend, when we change our daily thinking to God’s plan, not ours, we will also enjoy the fruits of the spirit – peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness. And that sounds a lot better than anything I might’ve planned for my day.

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His Abundance

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  Colossians 1:27

Father God, your riches are boundless, your love endless, and your provisions unending!  While I go throughout my day today help me to take my thoughts off the world’s insufficiencies and turn my eyes to your plentiful ways.  Amen

It was only a short time ago that most of us worried about the scarcity of one product – toilet paper.  It was a man-made problem borne out fear and selfishness.  In fact, one day while at a home improvement store I witnessed a man and woman gleefully overloading their pickup truck with hundreds of rolls of toilet paper.  I’m sure their plan was to sell most of it and their excitement was over the thousands of dollars they would make.  A small part of me hopes they still have a garage full of toilet paper.  My husband’s solution to this dire 21stcentury problem was to install bidets in our bathrooms, therefore eliminating the need for toilet paper. Two points-of-view to the same problem. Scarcity vs. abundance.

We humans have a tendency to always worry about not having enough, whether it be food, water, fuel, trees, love, friends, money, work, or even toilet paper.  But God’s plan for us is so completely different.  He is always wanting us to model our lives, actions and thoughts to His kingdom—which He shows to be the opposite of scarcity thinking.

"Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
    your justice like the great deep.
    You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
    you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light we see light."  Psalm 36:5-9

You might be thinking, “that all sounds good but what about droughts and food shortages and waning oil reserves?”  To that I say, trust God first for He is always about abundance.  Throughout scripture, especially in the letters to the churches, we are reminded about the basic lesson of childhood – sharing.  (Something the folks in the pickup truck forgot)  You see, God provides.  He may provide more to you than you need so that you can give to another.  He also provides others with knowledge and skills to discover new ways for God to meet our needs.  Abundant thinking is always solution-based rather than fear-based.

I learned a valuable “point of view” lesson once from Dr. Laura Schlessinger about marriage.  If you always have the perspective that divorce is not an option then you will always find new solutions to marital problems (barring issues with violence and other abuses).  It’s the same with God.  If we always have the perspective that God is a god of abundance – overflowing with unending love and grace and mercy for us – then we will seek ways to see Him at work.  We will see our own abundance as His tools to serve others. 

Friend, God’s kingdom is overflowing with milk and honey.  When we see the world in a panic over the latest scarcity-based fear we need to turn our eyes to God.  His kingdom of abundance is open to all who call Him Savior and for that we should give Him all glory and honor!

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My Every Need

"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19

“Dear Lord, before I even put my feet on the floor this morning I want to thank you for meeting all my needs today. I know not all my “wants” may be met but each time I am able to eat a meal, rest easy in my home, drive safely on my errands, pay my bills, find peace in my mind and joy in my heart I thank you and lift you up in glory for the love you have for me.  Amen”

My BSGs recently studied the intricacies of the trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It was great getting to know and understand to the best of our human abilities how each of the three interact with each other and with creation.  The foundation of the study was that God is love.  He didn’t need to make us humans because He was already complete within the trinity.  They love each other and are fulfilled by each other.  And glorify each other.  So creating “us” became a pure act of love.  

“It would be wrong to think of ourselves as God’s primary focal point and purpose; that is not the message of Scripture.”  says Christian teacher, Tara-Leigh Cobble.  “He created us and invited us into pre-existing joy.”

Pre-existing joy?  Think about it.  Throughout the gospels Jesus talks about how God loved Him before and how they glorify each other.  They had love and joy and everything they needed before “us.”

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world." John 17:24

So given this truth, how much more amazing is it that God cares about us?  About your bills.  About my aches and pains.  About our fears and worries.  There are those who believe that God created the world and then left us alone (deists).  But every single day He answers prayers.  For me, that good night sleep was an answered prayer.  The fact that my husband still has a job and can provide for us is an answered prayer.  That my oldest daughter has yet another day to decide to turn to Him and that my younger daughter already has are answered prayers.  That I have food to eat and a strong body to serve others.  For just having another day to glorify Him before my time is up.

He loves me.  He loves you.  He is providing for us.  So each morning let us lift up our eyes and present ourselves to Him as His servants.  Ready to glorify Him, ready to acknowledge His holy presence in our lives.

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Let’s Eat

“So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  1 Corinthians 10:31

“Blessed God, we praise You for who You are. You are the God who cares for our needs. We see this meal before us as a demonstration of Your wonderful grace to us. We glorify You for the day we have had. Thank You for the family gathered here and for every blessing we enjoy. Amen.”

When my kids were little we started praying at dinnertime.  We found a simple prayer that they could take turns saying.  “God is great! God is good! Let us thank Him For our food. Amen.”  It was an easy way to add glorifying and thanking God into our daily lives.  The problem was it became rote.  After awhile, there was no feeling, personalization or even love behind the prayer.  It was just something we did – quickly – so we could start eating.  For some of us we never even pray before meals.  Or we pray only during certain meals.  But Jesus gave thanks at every meal, glorifying the Father for being a provider of needs.  

“30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.” Luke 24:30

The beauty of this scripture is what came next.  You see, the disciples had been walking along with the risen Jesus chatting with him, not realizing who he was.  For whatever reason they urged this stranger to come stay with them and join them for dinner.  After they gave thanks and broke bread, “…their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him.”

It wasn’t until 2020, when the Covid pandemic hit that the love and glorifying act of praying before meals finally sunk in for me.  Each evening when my husband came home from his job of caring for senior citizens exhausted, we decided to pray.  Before dinner we prayed for anything good that happened that day, we prayed for help, we prayed for the health and safety of his employees and residents.  We prayed for our leaders.  We thanked God for providing.   And my eyes were opened to Jesus.

“Lord God, not a sparrow is not known by You. Not a lily is not clothed by You. You know what we need, and we are thankful that You have provided the meal set here for us. Keep us from worrying about tomorrow but to be grateful for what You have provided us this day. Amen.”

A friend of mine has encouraged me to start praying before every meal.  Even yes, in public, which in the area where I live you just don’t see much.   Friend, at mealtimes we can see the obvious work of God in our lives.  Whether what’s on our plate is a feast or just enough to sustain us for one more day – we need to give all glory to Him who provides.


The prayers from today’s post came from https://connectusfund.org/25-beautiful-prayers-for-meals where you can find more prayers for meal times.  But I encourage you to just talk with God before you eat, having it come from your heart. 

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Knowing Me, Knowing You

“But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house.  And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.”  Hebrews 3:6

“Jesus, you know every single thing about me.  I cringe at times that you know the parts I try to keep hidden.  When I realize you still love me and want the best for me it brings me great joy.  I know your thoughts are higher than mine and your ways can be mysterious but I want to know you as best I can to bring up my end of this relationship.  Help me to get as close to you as I possibly can so that when I am faced with standing for your Name, I can fully glorify You. Amen”

I asked them what they would do if an acquaintance or stranger told them something horrible about another member of our little Bible study group.  That this sweet, kind woman we know from meeting with her each week had been terribly unkind to a child.  And without hesitation they all were willing to stop this gossiper in their tracks.  “That doesn’t sound like her.”  “That’s not the friend I know.”  “Are you sure you have the right person?”  They responded.  I asked how they knew their friend would never be unkind to a child.  And they all said because they know her character from spending time with her.

And then I said to them, “Now, a family member or friend comes up and says to you, ‘Jesus would be ok with an abortion.’  What would you say? “  Some hemmed and hawed a bit.  Another said firmly, “No He wouldn’t.”  For the former I asked them why they wouldn’t be so sure.  They didn’t want conflict.  They were a bit unsure if scripture was thrown at them what to do or say.

For the later, I asked how she could be so sure.  And her response was perfect.  “Because I know Jesus.”

 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’"  Matthew 7:21-23

Jesus recognized that there will be plenty of people who call themselves followers.  Who attend church and appear to be in a relationship with Him.  But He knows who is making a real effort to know Him as much as He knows us.  For my friends who struggled a bit with my question they work hard at knowing who God is and His character.  They KNOW the answer to probably every false statement said about Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes it just takes practice being able to stand up for what we know to be true and good.  And that’s exactly why we meet weekly to talk about God – who He is, what He has done and will do and how much He loves His creation.

Friends, the next time you are at church take a moment to look around.  Is your church one that encourages everyone to bring their Bibles, open them up and take notes?  One that makes Bible study a priority?  A church whose focus is squarely on getting to know God – not being your personal counselor?  Because I don’t know about you but when I was in college and even high school, that’s how I learned the subjects well.  I studied, diligently.  And when we are given the gift of having someone either ask us a question about God or the chance to correct a falsehood about Jesus we need to be prepared so that we can speak of the glory of God, of how He knows us and loves us.