Proverbs Chapter 8

by Rick

(8:1) Lady Wisdom

(Prov 8:1 MSG) Do you hear Lady Wisdom calling? Can you hear Madame Insight raising her voice?

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In chapter seven Solomon gave us a clear warning against succumbing to the attractive and beguiling immoral woman.  Her aim was to get us off of God’s path and we learned that her end is death.  In contrast, Solomon now mentions a woman that desires God’s best for our lives.  She will lead us down the path of righteousness.  She will counsel us in the way that we should go.  Her instruction is clear, her truth undeniable and her judgment completely sound.  Her name is Lady Wisdom; also referenced to here as Madame Insight.  Although she is not a real woman, she does have a real voice.  She cries out from the pages of the Bible.  She whispers through the lips of the Holy Spirit.  She echoes through the recesses of our heart.  She shows up and speaks through Pastors and teachers.  Her words come across pulpits, podiums, soapboxes, and whatever platform she is given.  And now, with the use of technology, she can even be found on the Internet.  She uses web pages, podcasts, DVDs, CDs, email, and whatever she can use to reach those that are seeking her.  Yes, she is everywhere and seemingly every-how.  From streaming across the World Wide Web to hiding and waiting for an audience within the quiet corners of prayer closets, she is ready, willing, and able to speak.  The question is: are we listening?

Our lives are so hectic today.  From overflowing email inboxes, Blackberrys, cell phones, texting, calendars (some time more than one), teleconferences, briefings, meetings, kids schedules, rehearsals, games, practices, dinner, exercise, and the list could go on and on.  We are so busy that we sometimes don’t have time – No, we don’t MAKE time – for God!  My mother loves to cook.  She is anointed in the kitchen.  Everyone in my family and all of our friends love it when she makes a meal.  But what I found is that she does not eat much.  I have heard it said that cooks are the worst eaters.  Many of them love to cook, but they don’t take the time to enjoy the food themselves.  I have to be very careful of this.  I share Today’s Word with you five days a week.  Additionally, I preach or teach at least once, if not several times a week also, and if I am not careful, I may miss eating for myself.  I am guilty of being busy – always busy – and I too must take the time to slow down long enough to hear the voice of lady wisdom.  Sure, I hear her as I am preparing messages to share with others, and yes, the messages speak TO me, before they speak THROUGH me, but that is not the point.  Just because I share this with you, it does not exonerate me from having to take the time to hear from God for my own family, my own life, and my own challenges.  Lady wisdom is always speaking and I, like you, must take the time to hear what she has to say.  In this chapter we will learn many of the benefits of heading the counsel of Lady Wisdom, but you will never heed what you do not hear.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should slow down long enough to hear from God.  I know you are busy, we are all busy, but being busy is not an excuse.  If you are going to wait until you are not busy, then you are going to be waiting a long time.  Get up earlier in the morning, skip a lunch hear or there, schedule time on your calendar, do whatever it takes to slow down long enough to hear from Lady Wisdom.  It is my prayer that she speaks to you daily as you read Today’s Word and that what you hear transforms your life FOR HIS GLORY!

Confession for today:  Father, I know that Lady Wisdom is always transmitting, but I am not always receiving.  Therefore, I declare, by faith, that I will make time for You.  I schedule time to spend quality time with You.  I want to hear what You have to say.  Speak Lord, your servant is listening.  Speak to me in ways that I can understand.  I slow down, I quiet myself, and I listen.  I do what You tell me to do and I receive the benefits of it.  I walk in Your Word, I walk in Your will, I walk in Your way, and I do it BY FAITH!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(8:2) Crossroad Decisions

(Prov 8:2 NLT) On the hilltop along the road, she takes her stand at the crossroads.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In yesterday’s message we dealt with how Lady Wisdom is always calling; how Madame insight is consistently raising her voice.  Now we learn that she stands out in the open, up on a hilltop, strategically placed by a crossroad.  She knows that travelers that come her way will have to make a decision when they get to that crossroad and she is ready, willing, and able to help them make it.  She stands tall for all men to see her and she cries out for all to hear.  The question is the same one I asked yesterday: are we listening.

In chapter eight Solomon seems to have come full circle.  In the first chapter he said, “Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square” (1:20).  In the message I shared from that verse I wrote, “God’s wisdom is the queen or the mother of all wisdom… She calls aloud in the streets, crying out louder than the noise of cities, raising her voice in the public, making her speech in the gateway of the cities.  The point being that God’s wisdom is available.  God is daily and earnestly inviting sinners to repentance, believers to the reality of righteousness, the burdened to cast their cares upon Him, the weary to find rest, the brokenhearted to find healing, the downtrodden to find encouragement, and those that are living in faith to continue to grow in God from glory to glory; from faith to faith.   No, God is not some distant and despondent God that hides His wisdom, His will, His heart, or His power.  God is a loving, caring, and sharing heavenly Father that dearly wants close and intimate relationships with His children.”

Lady wisdom of chapter eight is a stark contrast from the adulteress of chapter seven.  The adulteress was lurking in the streets, hiding in the dark, seeking wayward young men to deceive with her whispering and conniving lips.  Lady wisdom is out in the open; she stands proudly in the light, and speaks loudly and clearly.  There is no shame in righteousness.  She stands in her strategic location (crossroads) and she does all she can to lead travelers down the right path.  This reminds me of a passage in Isaiah where God wanted to lead the nation of Israel – who had strayed from His ways – back to His best.  He said, “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’ ” (Isa 30:21).  And that’s what we want.  We want to know that the path we are taking is the right one.  That we are taking the path that leads to God’s best and avoiding the one that leads to destruction.  Later on in Proverbs Solomon said, “There is a way that may seem right to a man.  But in the end it leads to death” (14:12).  Whenever I share scriptures like these I inevitably get the question, “Well Rick, how do I know what to do?  How do I hear God’s voice?”  That is not a question I can answer quickly.  Maybe I will do a series on it some day.  But for now, I will say that God’s wisdom is available.  Lady Wisdom is raising her voice.  She is not hiding from you or anyone.  She wants to speak, but most people don’t take the time to listen.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should take the time and make the effort to hear from God.  Study His Word.  Learn His counsel.  Seek to understand His ways.  Knowing His Word is important in hearing His voice, because when it comes to discerning the difference between God’s voice, the enemy’s voice, and your own thoughts, it is important to know what God already said.  He will never go against what He already said.  So read what He said, study His ways, learn His character and nature, and seek His help.  The Father wants to lead you through the crossroad decisions of your life!  Will you let Him?

Confession for today:  Father, You said in Your Word that Your sheep hear Your voice and that the voice of a stranger, they would not follow.  I am the sheep of Your pasture.  You are my Good Shepherd and I shall not want.  When I need direction, You provide it.  When I need to hear Lady Wisdom, You help me to tune in to her frequency.  I do my part, by taking the time to study and making the effort to spend quality quiet time with You; and I believe You will do Your part in leading me in the way that I should go!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

(8:3) God’s Word is right 100% of the time

(Prov 8:3-6 NLT) By the gates at the entrance to the town, on the road leading in, she cries aloud, “I call to you, to all of you! I raise my voice to all people.  You simple people, use good judgment.  You foolish people, show some understanding.  Listen to me!  For I have important things to tell you.  Everything I say is right.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In our last message we dealt with making key decisions; decisions made at the crossroads of life.  I hope you understand by now how important our decisions are and how we reap whatever we sow, so seeking God’s counsel is absolutely critical in life.  The Good News is that His wisdom is available.  Lady Wisdom is crying out.  Our part is to slow down, quiet ourselves, and seek to hear her voice.

Here Solomon tells us that she cries out by the gates at the entrance of the town.  She strategically places herself where she can be most affective.  She is at a spot where she can address all those coming into and out form the city.  And as she stands there, as she raises her voice, as she sounds her clarion call, she does so with the intent of reaching ALL people.  This is an address to all of mankind.  God never discriminates based upon race, gender or age.  No, he is equally available to all.  Part of the Good News of the Gospel is that it is available to all men. Paul said, “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female.  For you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).  Yes, God’s wisdom is available to all, but not all enjoy the benefits of applying it to their lives.

Solomon then addresses two categories of people: the simple and the foolish.  To the simple he says, “Use good judgment.”  The simple are those who are childish.  We all have to grow up at some point.  A child does not see the ramifications of their actions.  They don’t understand the long-lasting affects poor decisions can have on our lives.  We were all there.  We were all children once, but that is the point, we should not be or act like children forever.  Paul said, “When I was a child, I talked like a child.  I thought like a child.  I had the understanding of a child.  When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me” (1st Cor 13:11).  There comes a point where we have to put childish things behind us.  Solomon admonishes the childish to use good judgment; to listen to the voice of lady wisdom; to apply God’s teaching to their lives.  To the foolish he says, “Show some understanding.”  These are not people who are childish, they are those who understand what right it, but simply choose not to do it.  They are stiff-necked.  They may know better, but they don’t DO better.  The message to these people is to use the knowledge they have.  If they know better, then they ought to start DOING what they know and they have to stop making excuses.  You don’t really show that you have an understanding of God’s Word until you are able to put it into practice in your life.  So please do just that.  Show some understanding by applying God’s truth to your life and you will be all the better for it!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should heed Solomon’s closing words in this passage, where he said, “Listen to me!  For I have important things to tell you.  Everything I say is right.”  Not only are God’s Words important, but they are also RIGHT!  He never gives bad advice.  The counsel of His Word is always ‘spot-on.’  What would you do if you met someone who was right 100% of the time?  I believe you would listen to them, and that is exactly what Solomon is saying.  Lady Wisdom (God’s Word) is right 100% of the time.  You have unrestricted access to the best counsel on the planet, so why not use it?

Confession for today:  Father, I know that Your Word is always right, and I have unrestricted access to the Your Word, so I will read it, believe it, apply it, and be transformed by it.  I will not be the simple or the foolish anymore.  I grow up and I apply Your Wisdom to my life daily.  In so doing, I declare, by faith, that I become the man/woman of God that You have destined, designed and desired for me to be.  I live by best life now, because I apply Your Wisdom to my life in every situation!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

(8:7-9) Deception and Corruption vs. Honesty and Purity

(Prov 8:7-9 NLT) For I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception.  My advice is wholesome.  There is nothing devious or crooked in it.  My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In our last message we learned that Lady Wisdom (God’s Word) is right 100% of the time.  I asked the question: what would you do if you met someone who was right 100% of the time?  The obvious answer is that you would listen to them and esteem what they had to say. Well, not only is Lady Wisdom right 100% of the time, but we have unrestricted access to her through God’s Word.  Think about this: how much would you pay for an hour of time with Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, General David Petraeus, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Pastor Rick Warren, or any other exceptional leader?  Regardless of the cost, you know the time with them would be extremely valuable.  The wisdom you could glean from them could impact your life significantly.  Now, as much as I admire those and the other great minds we have on the planet, they all pale in comparison to the wisdom of God’s Word.  You and I have 24/7, unrestricted access to the best counsel available to mankind, and we have it in the 66 books of the Bible.

God’s Book of wisdom tells us this morning that He will always speak the truth and that He detests every kind of deception.  All you have to do is watch the News for a few minutes before you hear of the wide spread corruption that has led to the current financial crisis.  I am in Iraq and corruption here is no different.  My point is that in the world we will have to deal with deceptive and corruptive people, but God always comes to us in truth.  There is no deception or corruption in Him at all.  Even a well-intentioned person may succumb to the temptation to mislead someone in a business deal, but there is NO misleading in God.  The text says that His counsel is wholesome.  There is nothing devious or crooked in Him whatsoever.

Paul said, “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.  In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve”  (2nd Cor 11:13-15).  John said, “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit.  You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God.  For there are many false prophets in the world” (1st John 4:1,2); “Many deceivers have gone out into the world.  They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body.  Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist” ( 2nd John 1:7); and in contrast John said, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1st John 1:5).

I share this with you, because I want to awaken you to the reality of the deception the enemy operates in.  Not only is satan a liar, but he is the father of lying (John 8:44).  He is deceptive in every way.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you have a choice to make.  You can either walk in the counsel of the world – counsel that is riddled with deception, corruption, and lies – or you can you can accept/apply the clear and honest wisdom of God.  Believe me, the latter is better.  Walking in the wisdom of God is simply doing things God’s way.  It may not always be popular – the motivation to do right is often scarce and the temptation to do wrong plenteous – but doing things God’s way is always worth it.  When you do things His way you have a clear conscious, a pure heart, and clean hands.  That’s the way He wants you to live!

Confession for today:  Father, I thank You for Your clear, plain and honest counsel.  I am a blessed man/woman because I refuse to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful.  My delight is in Your Word and in Your counsel to I meditate day and night.  The result is that I shall be like a tree that is planted by the rivers of water.  I have a constant supply of what I need to grow (Your Word).  My leaves do not whither and everything I put my hands to do prospers (see Psalm 1:1-3).  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

(8:10,11) Pursue Wisdom, not Money!

(Prov 8:10,11 NLT) Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold.  For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies.  Nothing you desire can compare with it.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In our last message we learned how God’s wisdom will keep us from deception and corruption.  The enemy is a deceiver.  Everything he does is deceptive.  However, when we receive and apply God’s wisdom we are better equipped to avoid the pitfalls of life.  This is a good backdrop upon which to say what Solomon says in this passage.  I would venture to say that the #1 way the enemy deceives people is with the allusive pursuit of money.  Paul said, “Love for money causes all kinds of evil” (1st Tim 6:10).  Having money is not the problem.  Solomon was the richest man in the world.  His wealth would easily dwarf that of Bill Gates.  The issue is not having money; the issue is money having you.  Those who pursue money as their main focus in life wind up either getting it, but not having anything else, or not getting it and never being satisfied along the way.

Solomon was fully qualified to talk about both money and wisdom.  He was just a teenager when he took over the throne from his father David.  He was concerned about assuming such a great responsibility, so the Lord spoke to him through a dream.  In the dream God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”  This was Solomon’s golden opportunity.  He was young, in charge and somewhat afraid.  God told him what he wanted to hear, “Ask for whatever you want!”  Now, you know that most of us would have started rattling off a list of selfish desires, but young Solomon was different.  He said, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David… you have made your servant king in place of my father David.  But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.  Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.  So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.”  Wow.  Solomon had maturity beyond his years.  He did not ask for fame or fortune, he asked for wisdom and understanding; for help in carrying out the duties of the office that he had been charged with.  He knew that he was in authority, but also knew that he was under authority.  He submitted to God so that those that he led would submit to him.  How do you think God reacted to this?  He said, “I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.  Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings” (see 1 Kings 3).  Not only did God give Solomon wisdom, but He also gave him riches, honor, and an unequalled name.  Why?  Because he chose wisdom above money.  If you have wisdom, you can always get money, but the opposite is not always true.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that your heart and your head need to be right towards money.  Money is an amplifier.  If I give an alcoholic a million dollars, he will drink more.  If I give a drug addict a million dollars, he will take more drugs.  For God to give money to a fool does no good, but if He can get the fool to renew his mind, to receive/apply His wisdom, to have a pure heart and a clear head, then He can trust them with money.  There is nothing wrong with having money, but it should not be your #1 pursuit.  Pursue God, don’t pursue things, and before you know it, things will be pursuing you (see Mat 6:33).

Confession for today:  Father, I choose the pursuit of Your wisdom over the pursuit of silver and gold.  Your wisdom is more valuable to me than rubies.  I declare, by faith, that my mind is renewed concerning money.  I seek first Your Kingdom and Your righteousness and I develop a burning desire to do the things You desire for me to do in the earth.  I receive Your vision for my life and it is because of Your vision that I can fully expect the provision to come.  Everything I need to accomplish Your will for my life will freely come into my hands and I declare that I will use it for Your glory!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

(8:12) Witty Inventions and Ideas

(Prov 8:12 KJV) I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In this text Solomon tells us that Lady Wisdom will give us prudence.  Webster defines prudence as: sagacity or shrewdness in the management of affairs; skill and good judgment in the use of resources.  When we are Born-Again and the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, we have the ability to tap into Godly wisdom 24/7.  In addition to what the Bible teaches us, the Holy Spirit Himself will lead, guide, and direct us in the way that we should go.  It is this guidance that gives us sagacity in daily affairs.  I believe in education, but I want to be clear that oftentimes God, through His wisdom and revelation, will lead us to do something that we did not learn within the halls of higher-education.  Let me use George Washington Carver as an example.  He was an educated man, but what he did with a peanut extended far beyond what he learned in school.  It is said that he would lock himself in his laboratory for hours at a time, with nothing but His Bible, peanuts, and a pad and pencil.  He would ask God to show him what he could do with a peanut and his time with God resulted in over 100 useful products made from peanuts that include: cosmetics, dyes, paints, plastics, gasoline and nitroglycerin. He got all of this from a peanut.  Why?  Because he took the time to allow God to give him wisdom beyond the natural.

Theologian Adam Clarke, when commenting on this verse said, “Prudence is defined, wisdom applied to practice; so wherever true wisdom is, it will lead to action, and its activity will be always in reference to the accomplishment of the best ends by the use of the most appropriate means.  Hence comes what is here called knowledge of witty inventions.”

As I prayed over this verse this morning I thought of many Biblical characters.  A good example is Joseph.  His brothers sold him as a slave and he wound up in Potiphar’s house.  It took him no time to apply the wisdom God was giving him.  Before he knew it, Potiphar had promoted him to the lead position on the compound.  He was in charge of everything.  Nothing in the Bible suggests that Joseph was naturally prepared for such a job.  It was the wisdom of God upon his life that gave him the ideas he needed, to set things in place, in such a way as to get results.  Potiphar noticed that everything Joseph touched turned out well, so he promoted him all the way up to the #1 position.  We know that Joseph later wound up in a state-run prison.  Guess what happened there?  The wisdom of God, leading him to make decisions that produced results, caused him to get promoted again.  Before he knew it he was running a government facility.  He was in charge of everything!  And finally, we know that he got his big chance to stand in front of Pharaoh.  Once again, by the wisdom/revelation of God, he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and Pharaoh promoted him to the #1 position in all of Egypt.  Joseph was over everyone but Pharaoh.  Nothing happened, in the entire nation, without Joseph’s approval.  By the wisdom of God Joseph came up with an elaborate system of collecting, storing, and then distributing grain that made Egypt the most powerful nation on the planet.  It was not formal education that prepared him for the fiscal and logistical challenges the nation was facing, but rather the wisdom of God.  God’s wisdom enabled him to come up with the ideas he needed to make Egypt successful and to save the lives of millions in the midst of a famine.

So what does this mean to you today? It simply means that God’s wisdom – from His Word and His Spirit – can give you insight, revelation, and knowledge for witty inventions and ideas that you might not get any other way.  I can’t tell you the countless times the Lord has given me great ideas for work or in the church.  I am considered a ‘critical thinker’ and I do love to think, but I believe most of my ideas are birthed from my prayer lifeThe same is available to you!

Confession for today:  Father, I thank You for prudence, insight, revelation, and knowledge for witty inventions and good ideas.  As I pray and read Your Word, I believe You will reveal to me things that I need to do; practical things that will make a difference in my life, home, workplace, and church.  Use me Father, for Your glory!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

(8:13) Hating Sin

(Prov 8:13 NIrV) To have respect for the LORD is to hate evil.  I hate pride and bragging.  I hate evil ways and twisted words.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  Yesterday we learned that walking with Lady Wisdom – by reading/applying God’s Word and by allowing His Spirit to guide us – we can receive the blessed benefit of receiving witty inventions and divinely inspired ideas.  Yes, it is good to walk with the Lord.  There are awesome benefits laid up for Kingdom citizens.  I am sure that Solomon learned a great deal from his father (David) and one of my favorite psalms is a psalm that his father wrote.  The 103rd psalm starts out by saying, “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name.  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all our iniquities; who heals all our diseases; Who redeems our life from destruction; who crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfies our mouth with good things; so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (verses 1-5).  God desires great things for us.  He takes the time to think about us (Psalm 8:4).  He makes plans for our lives, good plans, plans to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).  But please don’t think that we have nothing to do with what happens to us.  He has plans, but we must cooperate with those plans; and part of that cooperation is learning to love what He loves and to hate what He hates.

Our text says, “To have respect for the LORD is to hate evil.”  Other translations call this “The fear of God.”  Many people today don’t fear God.  I don’t mean a fear that leads to timidity, but rather a healthy reverential fear.  Many have lost the reverence for God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, creator and sustainer of all life, alpha and omega, beginning and ending, author and finisher of our faith.  Lady Wisdom tells us that she hates pride and bragging, she hates evil ways and twisted words.  She doesn’t stand by as people tell dirty jokes.  She doesn’t celebrate those that are puffed up in arrogance.  She calls right right and wrong wrong!  She says what she means and she means what she says.  She humbles herself under the mighty hand of God, because she knows that if she is faithful, God will exalt her in due season (1st Peter 5:6).

The point Solomon is making is clear and that is that the more a person fears and respects God, the more he or she will hate evil.  The more we grow in God the more we should develop distaste for unrighteousness.  Love for God and love for sin cannot coexist.  Now, I am not saying that you will be completely sinless, but I am saying that you should not practice sin.  Sin should no longer be your lifestyle.  Sin should no longer be tolerable to you.  It should bother you to be around sin.  It should irritate when sin passes through your eye gates or your ear gates.  If sin does not affect you at all, then there is something wrong.  That’s why we must be very careful no to harbor secret sin in our heart.  If we tolerate sin within ourselves we will build up a tolerance for sin altogether.  Before we know it, we will find ourselves developing excuses for why we do this and that; knowing that what we are doing is wrong.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should make a clean break from sin today.  Commit yourself completely to God.  I know you want God’s best.  I know you want God’s blessing.  I know you want to walk in grace, peace, protection, power, and health; but don’t think that you can live like a heathen and still receive divine benefits.  I know many preachers today don’t talk about sin at all, but it must be taught and a commitment to righteousness must be preached.  If you really want to walk in Your Best Life Now, then make a commitment to walk in the purity God desires for you to walk in.

Prayer of rededication:  Father, I commit myself unto You afresh.  I rededicate my life to You and I ask that You help me to walk in the purity You expect me to walk in.  Holy Spirit, lead me, guide me, and direct me in the path of righteousness for Your name’s sake.  I commit myself into Your hands.  I make a clean break from sin.  I walk in the newness of life.  I know that I have a part in what happens to me and I commit myself to do my part, by faith.  Use me Father, for Your Glory!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

(8:14-16) Wisdom is the Difference Maker

(Prov 8:14-16 NLT) Common sense and success belong to me.  Insight and strength are mine.  Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees.  Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In our last message we learned that God does want us to walk in His wisdom and He wants us to experience His best for our lives, but His desire to bless us does not give us a license to sin.  He expects His wisdom upon our lives to lead us from and not towards sin.  Our heavenly Father wants us to live pure, upright, and consecrated lives, so that we can be the light He needs us to be in a dark world.

In this passage Solomon continues to speak as ‘Lady Wisdom’ and she tells us that common sense and success belong to her.  One of the things I learned some time ago is that common sense is not all that common; but for those that possess it, our text tells us where it came from.  Jehovah tells us that He is the source of all true wisdom.  James made it plain when he said, “Every good and perfect gift is from God” (James 1:17).  While there are many things in the world that God did not do, that He did not originate and that He did not intend, everything that is good can be traced back to Him.  Believe me, the enemy is not out to do good.  His purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).  That being the case, we can see how God’s hand is behind the good done by kings, rulers and those in authority.  God tells us that rulers lead with his help and it is only because of His wisdom that nobles can make righteous judgments.

I like to read and I have read quite a few books on personal development, management and leadership principles.  What I have found is that most of the principles that work have their roots in the Bible.  Everything from developing a vision and mission statement for unity of purpose, delegation of authority, unity of command, personal meditation, hard work, diligence, dedication, and etc. all have biblical roots.  Its funny to me when I discuss a topic with someone who just read a book about it (whatever the “it” may be), only to find out that I know more about that topic than the person discussing it with me; not because I read their book, but because I read the Bible.  I have been walking with God for just over 13 years now and I am convinced that His book is a book of wisdom.  I routinely have engaging conversations and professional interaction with strong intellectuals and I am thankful to God that I am never ill prepared.  I am able to articulate my thoughts, make my case, and oftentimes receive the desired result, all because of the wisdom of God.  And the more I am exposed to bright minds, the more I realize that the wisdom that works is the wisdom from God.  Common sense and success belong to Him.

So what does this mean to you today? To the leader it means that you should acknowledge God as the source of all true wisdom.  Don’t allow arrogance to make you think that you achieved what you have achieved by yourself.  Humble yourself before God and He will take you to new levels of success and wisdom. To the led it means that we should pray for our leaders, not fight against them.  If God is able to help rulers to lead – and He can – then we are to pray for those in authority.  Pray for God’s wisdom to operate freely in the lives of your leaders and pray for wisdom in your own life for dealing with superiors and subordinates alike.  You will be amazed at the difference God’s wisdom, when properly applied, can make in your life.

Confession for Today:  Father, I acknowledge You as the source of all true wisdom.  Every good and perfect gift comes from You.  I speak life and not death over my leaders.  I say that they are wise, that they exercise righteous judgment, and I support them in every endeavor.  I also thank You for those that I lead.  I declare that I have perfect wisdom concerning every situation.  I face every challenge head-on and I am able to make timely and accurate decisions daily.  I lead well, because I am led well.  I follow You and it enables me to both follow and lead others.  Your wisdom is the difference maker in my life!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

(8:17-19) Seeking God for True Success

(Prov 8:17-19 CEV) I love everyone who loves me, and I will be found by all who honestly search.  I can make you rich and famous, important and successful.  What you receive from me is more valuable than even the finest gold or the purest silver.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In our last message we learned how God’s wisdom can truly be difference maker in our lives.  Lady Wisdom continues to speak to us this morning about the benefits of walking in her ways.  Let’s see what these verses mean to you today:

I love everyone who loves me, and I will be found by all who honestly search:  First of all, we must settle the issue of God’s love in our heart.  God loves us and He desires for us to live long, full, and fulfilling lives.  That’s why He makes wisdom available to us.  Lady Wisdom is available and out text says that she will be found by all those that honestly search for her.  The point is that Godly wisdom is not just going to fall into your lap, but it will not hide from you either.  If you seek wisdom, if you read the Word, if you pray earnestly, God will reveal or unveil His guidance, insight, revelation and knowledge for living to you.  If you do your part (seeking), He will do His (revealing).  And one final point this from portion of the text is that the KJV says, “Those that seek me early shall find me.”  Not only should we seek God and earnestly pursue His wisdom – His way of doing things – but I am a firm believer that we should seek Him early in the morning.  We live in a time where, email, calendars, news programs, ESPN and etc. consume our time.  If you are not careful you will rush right into the day without truly being prepared for it.  When you seek God early, before you do anything, you are much better prepared to face every challenge head on.  Why?  Because you are confident that you are walking with God and He is walking with you – together you overcome any hindrance, obstacle or issue.

I can make you rich and famous, important and successful:  One of the greatest tricks of the enemy is to attempt to get us to pursue, by unrighteous means, the things that God can bless us with when we live an upright life.  How did satan trick Eve in the garden?  He told her that if she ate of the fruit that she would be like God.  Well, guess what?  She was already like God.  She was already created in the image and after the likeness of God.  She already had dominion over the fish of the sea, the beasts of the field and the birds of the air.  She was already blessed.  She already had everything she needed.  She was able to walk with God, uninterrupted, in the cool of the day.  She had it all, but she threw it all away because she was tricked into thinking that satan had something better to offer.  God here says that He can make us rich, famous, important and successful.  The point is that we don’t have to compromise our values and integrity to get ahead.  If we do things God’s way we can still experience success in life and we get the added benefit of a clear conscience a free heart, and a peaceful soul.

What you receive from me is more valuable than even the finest gold or the purest silver:  Life is about more than just money.  Although money is “a” factor, it should not be “the” driving factor in our lives.  If you make all your decisions based upon money alone, you will find yourself like Eve – comprising to get ahead.  What God has to offer is bigger than money and the good news is that it does not exclude it.  If you live your life God’s way you can still be strong and stable financially, but more importantly, you will also have a healthy body, a sound mind, a close-knit family and a better understanding of true success in life.  God’s wisdom is much more valuable than silver and gold, pursue her with your whole heart.

Confession for Today:  Father, I declare, by faith, that I will seek You early in the morning.  Before I face my day I take the time to seek Your face.  My morning time with You enable me to tell my day what type of day it is going to be.  Lady Wisdom is operating in my life and she gives me a healthy understanding of money.  I can have money, because money does not have me.  I know that money makes an excellent servant, but a poor master, and I declare that money is not my master, You are!  I seek You with my whole heart and I experience the success in life that You desire for me to experience, so that I can make a difference everywhere You send me.  The more You bless me, the more I am a blessing to others!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

(8:20,21) Taking Righteous Road

(Prov 8:20,21 NIrV)  I walk in ways that are honest.  I take paths that are right.  I leave riches to those who love me.  I give them more than they have room for.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In our last message we learned how we can seek God for true success; success that is attained through righteous means and therefore, comes without string-attached.  When you become successful God’s way you are able to maintain a clear conscience a free heart, and a peaceful soul.

This message flows in that same vein.  Lady Wisdom continues to speak here and she tells us that her ways are honest and her path is right.  The Message Bible translation calls her path, “Righteous Road.”  There was a time when a man’s word was his bond, when a handshake was a binding contract, and when people said what they meant and they meant what they said.  This was the way my mother was raised and it was the way she raised me.  She taught me things like: the value of maintaining a good name, the honor in hard work, and the importance of doing things right.  Yes, I used the word, “right,” and it is the same word used in our text.  My mother was not afraid tell me what was right and what was wrong.  It was not long ago that cursing was wrong, that foul language could not be played on the radio or broadcasted on television; that it was wrong for two men or two women to be together, much less be married; that it was wrong to take possession of a good or service (loan), but then fail to pay it (bankruptcy), causing a loss to the person that trusted you; that it was wrong to lie, even if that lie would help you get ahead; and the list could go on.  We live in a time where political correctness and a fear of offending anyone has caused us to avoid absolutes altogether.  But Solomon is not mincing words here and neither did my mother.  She was clear that some things are right and some things are wrong.

If you choose to live you life in accordance with God’s Word, if you choose to walk down Righteous Road, then it will mean that you will have to take a stand, from time to time, for what you believe in.  But don’t allow this to discourage you; our text makes it clear that there is a reward in store for those that choose to live upright before God.  Lady Wisdom says that she leaves riches to those that love her, those that choose to receive/apply what she teaches.  The riches referred to here do not exclude money, but they are certainly not limited to it.  The reason God wants you to walk upright, to become the person He wants you to be, to maximize your potential in life, is so that he can bless your children and your children’s children because of you (see Prov 13:22).  He wants you to leave an inheritance of righteousness to your seed.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.  If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.

2.  Your life is about more than just you.

3.  When God invests in you He is also investing in the legacy you will leave behind.

4.  The decisions you make today can affect your children and your children’s children.

5.  What you compromise to gain you will have to compromise to keep.

6.  Success God’s way comes with no string-attached!

Confession for Today:  Father, I thank You for teaching me what is right and what is wrong.  I declare, by faith, that I cleave to that which is right and I resist all that is wrong.  I don’t seek unrighteous success or pursue ill-gotten gain. I walk upright before You, I call right “right” and wrong “wrong,” and I do not compromise my values to get ahead.  I know that my life is bigger just than me. The decisions I make today can have a lasting affect on my children and my children’s children.  Therefore, I declare that I will take Righteous Road all the days of my life.  As I walk down Righteous Road I know that I can do so with a clear conscience, a free heart and a peaceful soul!  Help me Lord, to live that life that You desire for me to live.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(8:22-30) Divine Wisdom

(Prov 8:22-30 NLT)  (v.30) I was the architect at His side.  I was His constant delight, rejoicing always in His presence.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In our last message we dealt with taking Righteous Road as we travel through life, so that we can achieve success, but we can do it without strings-attached.  The point being that whatever we compromise to gain we will have to compromise to keep.  As we continue through chapter eight we see that Solomon is still speaking to us as Lady Wisdom.  Over the next few verses Lady Wisdom says some things to us, about the creation, that are worth noting:

The LORD formed me from the beginning, before He created anything else.  I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began.  I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters.  Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born—before He had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil.  I was there when He established the heavens, when He drew the horizon on the oceans.  I was there when He set the clouds above, when He established springs deep in the earth.  I was there when He set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries.  And when He marked off the earth’s foundations” (verses 22-29).

Lady Wisdom reveals to us that she was around before the world was created.  She was there before the Lord looked at darkness and spoke light.  She was there before He looked at chaos and created order.  She was there before He sprinkled the stars in the sky and hung the moon in place.  Not only was she there before, but our text tells us that she was there during.  And then verse 30 reveals to us her role – she was the architect at His side.  She was involved in figuring out how far the water could come and when it had to stop.  She was part of the process when God setup an irrigation system (clouds) for the earth where water could evaporate from the vast oceans, form clouds, and then release the water over the land.  She was there when God put plants in the soil that could suck up the water and produce oxygen.  She was there, she was involved, and she was the architect.  Why is this important?  It is important because this same wisdom is available to us.  The same wisdom that Solomon has been teaching us about for eight chapters now, the same wisdom that was there as the architect of creation, the same wisdom that God used and continues to use daily, is available to you and I as His children.  In Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae he prayed that the believers there be, “Filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:19).  James said, “If any of you need wisdom, ask God for it. He will give it to you” (James 1:5).  Solomon, Paul and James were not writing about mere human wisdom.  They were writing about the access we have to supernatural wisdom, through God’s precious Holy Spirit. 

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God can give you wisdom for daily living.  In one sense, He was already provided you His book of wisdom, by leaving you a documented record of His Word (the Bible).  But in another sense, He is ready, willing, and able to provide you wisdom – through prayer and communion with Him – for daily living.  Our Father knows that you face daily challenges.  He also knows that His wisdom can help you to overcome those challenges in the most efficient manner.  That is why He freely makes His wisdom available to you.  Why not ask Him for wisdom, in prayer, and then use His wisdom as you make your daily journey through life?

Confession for Today:  Father, I thank You for making all wisdom and spiritual understanding available for me.  I declare, by faith, that I have perfect knowledge concerning every situation.  I am not overwhelmed and I am not overcome.  I am equipped, enabled, and empowered by Your Spirit to operate in Your wisdom.  Between my intellect and Your Spirit I am more than ready to face the challenges of today and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

(8:30-34) Blessed TO BE a Blessing

(Prov 8:30-34 MSG) Delighted with the world of things and creatures, happily celebrating the human family.  “So, my dear friends, listen carefully; those who embrace these my ways are most blessed.   Mark a life of discipline and live wisely; don’t squander your precious life.   Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me, awake and ready for me each morning, alert and responsive as I start my day’s work.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In our last message Lady Wisdom told us that she was the architect behind creation.  She had God put the earth on the exact axis it needs to be so that our atmosphere remains intact.  She led Him to place the earth in the proper distance from the sun – any closer and we would burn, any further and we would freeze.  She was behind it all.  Creation is such an amazing feat that numerous books have been written about the marvelous works of God in it.  There have been countless scientists who have dedicated years, some even their lifetimes, to the work of proving evolution, only come to the conclusion that there MUST have been someone behind the creation of the planet.  Even many non-believers say that “Intelligent Design,” was behind creation.  Solomon gives the credit to Lady Wisdom and tells us plainly that her vast wisdom is available to us.

In this passage Solomon urges us to listen carefully.  After telling us that Lady Wisdom put the ‘intelligence’ in Intelligent Design, he tells us that if we embrace her we will be most blessed.  I hope you see a pattern here.  Verse after verse, chapter after chapter, God through Solomon is telling us that He desires that we will live life His way.  Why?  So that we can enjoy His best.  He wants us to life long and fruitful lives.  No loving father wants destruction, disaster and death for their children.  He wants so dearly to bless us, but because He is a God of integrity, He cannot go against His Word.  He will not bless mess.  That’s why He wants us to live our lives by His principles.  He tells us here to live a life of discipline and to develop self-control, because without discipline we can easily squander our lives away.  Year upon year can go by and before we know it, we are at the end of our lives, without anything to show for it.  Please don’t squander your life away.  Attempt – with all your heart – to be the blessed man/woman God desires for you to be.  Solomon tells us that this blessed man/woman awakens alert and responsive, ready to start their day’s work.  Why?  Because they start every day in prayer.  They seek direction, guidance, insight and understanding.  They know that their day is too important to attempt to face it alone. They spend quality time with the Father and they walk with Him throughout the day.  This practice, this discipline, this dedication, enables them to develop into the person God intends for them to be.  Once they are, He can truly bless them without measure.  Once they are blessed, then they are prepared to BE the blessing He needs for them to be in their environment.  “Blessed to be a blessing,” that’s what He promised to Abraham and to his seed.  Are you ready to receive the blessing? Are you ready to BE a blessing?

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants to use you to make a difference in your sphere of influence, but before He does, He needs you to be disciplined.  He wants to bless you, but He refuses to bless the lazy, disobedient and ill prepared.  So please do your part.  Enter every day with the proper attitude.  Spend quality time with the Father in prayer.  Seek His guidance and insight.  Ask Him for revelation and understanding.  Seek – with your whole heart – to do things His way.  If you do these things, then your loving, caring and sharing heavenly Father will have no reason to withhold His best from you!

Confession for Today:  Father, I declare, by faith, that I do my part and You do yours.  I enter into this day and every day with great expectation.  I pray, I seek Your face, and I am determined to live my life in accordance with Your Word.  I do things Your way and I get Your desired results.  My mind is alert, my body is awake, my spirit is attuned and I am ready to BE a blessing today.  Bless me to BE a blessing, Father, and use me for Your glory!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(8:35,36) Maximizing Your Potential and Purpose

(Prov 8:35,35 MSG) When you find me, you find life, real life, to say nothing of GOD’s good pleasure.   But if you wrong me, you damage your very soul; when you reject me, you’re flirting with death.”

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In our last message Lady Wisdom told us not to squander our lives.  The reason the Lord wants us to live a disciplined, dedicated and determined life is so that we can maximize our purpose and potential, in the earth, before we die.  Let’s say you created something with an explicit intended purpose.  You put everything it needed to complete that purpose inside of it.  Your creation, being a product of your design, would be especially prepared to complete the purpose you intended for it.  But let’s say that you then chose to set two key parameters: 1) the creation would have to discover the purpose you put inside of them and 2) it would have a choice as to whether or not it wanted to complete your purpose or go down another road.  There are obviously many more parameters in the story of man, but I hope you see the parallel.  We are free moral agents.  We can choose to either accept or reject God.  We can choose to pursue or ignore our purpose.  We can choose to maximize our potential or simply squander our lives.  The bottom line is that the choice is ours.

From the creator’s perspective the choice is clear.  He wants us to maximize our potential and purpose.  He wants us to arrive it His desired end for our lives and He will do all that He can – without violating our free will – to help us to arrive there.  This is where God’s Word, Spirit and wisdom come in.  He provided us His will (documented) in His Word and He provided us His Spirit to lead, guide and direct us through life.  Our text says that when we find wisdom we find real life.  Why does Solomon call it “real” life?  Because it is the life that God intends for us to have.  Listen, walking with God is about much more than just missing hell.  Sure, He does not want you to go to hell, and that is why Jesus paid the penalty for your sin on Calvary’s Cross.  But if you are a Born-Again believer and all God intended for you to do was to miss hell, then you could die right now.  The reason you are still alive is because purpose is still alive in your life.  God is not through with You.  You still have potential locked up inside of you.  You still have purpose flowing through your veins.

I’ve heard it said that he richest soil on the planet is found in cemeteries.  Why?  Because of all the people that die full of purpose and potential.  Countless riches (eternal) have been buried in cemeteries all over the world.  Don’t let it happen to you.  Determine to die empty.  Make a decision today that will change the rest of your life.  Solomon says that when we reject wisdom we damage our very soul and we are flirting with death.  Bigger than just physical death, he is talking about killing our purpose and potential. 

So what does this mean to you today? It means God wants dearly for you to maximize everything He put inside of you, but because He is a God of integrity, He will never violate the order He has established.  He will not violate your free will.  He will do everything He can to help you, but at the end of the day, the choice is yours.  You can either walk in His wisdom and enjoy His good pleasure or you can reject His wisdom and wind up damaging your own soul and flirting with premature death.  What will you choose?

Confession for Today:  Father, I know that You are the Creator and I am the creation.  I thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to die so that I could live.  I have accepted Him as my Lord and I have eternal life.  But I know that Your work in my life, in the earth, is not done.  Therefore, I declare, by faith, that I will maximize the potential and purpose You put down inside of me.  I make Godly decisions daily.  Every day I get incrementally closer to Your expected end for my life.  I refuse to die full.  I will get out of me all that You put in me and in-so-doing, I glorify You with my life and living!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!