Come on now, read at least the first seven verses of Proverbs 2.  You can do this without missing too much precious time on your smartphone, right?  All of Proverbs is like a spiritual Google roadmap.  Maybe better?  Must you ask?  After all, sometimes the internet is out-of-date.  I remember driving across country, somewhere in Texas or Louisiana, needing to fill up our gas tank and being led by Google maps to a station that hadn’t yet opened.  Just workmen and shiny new, unused gas pumps.  No help there.

Proverbs 2 presents a different kind of roadmap, one for good, godly living.  The life we’d like to live.  As with anything that’s worthwhile, it takes effort.  Blood, sweat, and tears in a manner of speaking.  Living God’s way doesn’t just float out of the sky and land on our collective heads.  Neither by osmosis as we sleep.  Nor some freebie in the sticky popcorn Cracker Jack box of life.  Takes your level best.

Now, wait a cotton-pickin’ minute!  Sounds like we have to work for God’s salvation, doesn’t it?  Hold on.  Get this straight.  Our relationship with God is His free gift.  No backbreaking effort is required.  No being perfect before membership is accepted.  Rather, it’s free for the asking for Jesus paid it all.  Our bill He covered.  No debt owed, which we couldn’t pay anyway.  Nothing is required except some gratitude, and some trust in Jesus alone, while admitting our failure to follow God on our own, and remembering that God’s the greatest giver.  That’s how our relationship with God gets off the ground.  Got it?

But after becoming His own, then get out of bed, cease making lazy circles in your life, and get to work…for Him…for others…for a change.  That’s all woven tightly into those Proverbs 2 maxims.  About making your ears attentive to the things of God.  Leaning into what will increase your understanding of godly living.  Seeking God’s wisdom is much like a job that produces a livelihood.  Searching out His Word in the Bible.  Our head in its pages.  Our heart passionately His.

Getting serious about following Jesus.  Putting Him front and center.  Getting off your high horse.  Discontinuing navel-gazing, and begin caring about somebody else.

All of the above signals an exciting life.  One that makes a mark, leaving a lasting one at that.  A life that paves the way for an unimaginable and mind-boggling heavenly paradise.  Certainly far better than anywhere that Google maps may take you.

Thank you, Jesus, for a life worth living.  Amen.

GRIEF Isaiah 63

Having tender feelings has its drawbacks.  Likewise, being emotionally hard as a rock is to be regretted.  A balance, somewhere in the middle, would be what the doctor orders.  As one somewhat sensitive (we’re now called HSPs so I’ve read.  Please don’t call me that as it might hurt my feelings!), I can still feel some hurts caused years ago.  Don’t remind me.  They might be front and center anyway.  All the more to ruin my day.

But it doesn’t end with your feelings or mine.  For there’s more to consider.  Isaiah 63: 10–‘But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit…’  St. Paul pens these words–‘And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…’ (Eph. 4:20).

Guess what?  God has feelings too.  He loves us so much that He’s put Himself at risk of having His feelings devastated.  God can be grieved, wounded, and broken-hearted… by you and me.  Oy vay!

How does God get hurt?  Any ideas?  Of course, you do.  Like when we lie to get out of something we don’t want to do.  Or stretching the numbers of readers of these devotionals to pump up my fragile ego?  Or not speaking up for Him when we should have?  Or spouting off when we should have shut our trap?  Or taking for granted all that the Lord gives us and does for us, which is a ton and a half at the very least?  On and on I can go.  Good grief!  But surely it isn’t good when I grieve the Lord.

I’d like to spend this week giving Jesus less to be unhappy about.  Less grief than I usually give Him.  Giving Him more joy.  Pleasing Him for a change.  To hear Him say ‘well done, good and faithful servant’ (Matthew 25:21) would make me so happy, which is what I most want–Jesus…being pleased with me.  I’d like some company.  How about it?

Have a great week delighting our Lord Jesus!

Thank you, Jesus, for making life so good.  Amen.


Three months before surgery, I’m administered some fancy-dancy injection that will do its wonders before I’m under the knife.  Or so they say.  With nary a side effect?  Fat chance.  One promised by the specialist will be hot flashes.  Now that’s something to look forward to.

For the first month, nothing.  My wife seems somewhat disappointed, hoping that I’d be sensitized to what she’s endured for years.  Not to worry, my dear.  Time is up.  For those nasty flashes and flushes shift into high gear with a vengeance.  At bedtime I’m freezing, pulling up the covers, only to violently toss them off, as my internal furnace kicks in with a blast of heat from head to toe.

I want out of these hot flashes.  Which is what the Bible also recommends.  Okay, maybe of a different kind.  Nevertheless, turn down the heat.  Psalm 37:1,8–‘Fret not yourself…Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!  Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.’

What’s with that word ‘fret’?   Rather archaic, isn’t it?   ‘Fret’?  In the Hebrew language, it means to ‘get heated’.  Also, to eat away at, corrode, fray, and gnaw at.  None good, so best turn down the heat.  ‘Fret not…’

Hot flashes of anger will rot hearts and minds, ours and others.  We all know some who regularly blow their tops, releasing harmful steam from under their collars.  One way they bully people is to make others afraid that the hothead will blow a gasket right in their face at the drop of a hat or two.  No fun to be around.   Better steer clear.  Get out of their way.  This is why hotheads keep their fingers crossed, hoping their anger will work its intended purpose–to get their own way and you out of it.

Rather, Psalm 37 wants us to focus on trusting the Lord, and remembering how quickly life passes by.  What a shame to spend so much time fretting and fuming, stewing and spewing anger into the air, raising the roof, making a scene, and going ballistic.  Better to let go and let God handle what’s scorching and searing us.

I need this as much as anyone else.  So, I reread God’s prescription in Psalm 37–‘Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.  Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act’ (vs. 3-5).  That’s better, isn’t it?

Leaning on Jesus.  Trusting the Lord.  Being faithful and content right where you find yourself.  Finding the Lord to be delightful and giving.  Reflecting on God’s love and forgiveness rather than on how to get your own way.  Deciding to get off yourself.  Thinking about what makes someone else tick, cutting them some slack rather than ticking them off.  Tossing your hat in His ring, knowing that He’ll take care of it all.  By His means.  By His clock.

Time for your angry hot flashes to go?  Think so?  I’m working on it, but more is needed.  Quite a bit more, honestly.

Lord Jesus, I delight myself in you.  I love you.  Amen.