Day 15 - Come Into the House of Wisdom | Wisdom Becomes You Devotional

Proverbs 9:1(NLT) Wisdom has built her house; she has carved its seven columns. 2 She has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table. 3 She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come. She calls out from the heights overlooking the city. 4 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says, 5 “Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed.6 Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment.”

Bible commentators suggest that Proverbs Chapters 1-9 are the introduction to the book, since Chapter Ten begins with the words, "The Proverbs of Solomon."

It is fitting that Chapter Nine summarizes the message of the necessity of embracing wisdom, as well as the dangers of rejecting wisdom. In this text, we see wisdom portrayed as a "good" woman, in contrast to other narratives of the "immoral woman" to describe the condition of persons who lack wisdom.

What is remarkable about this text is the portrayal of wisdom as a house possessing the following characteristics:  Stability ("seven pillars"), Provision ("banquet prepared"), Inclusiveness, (Servants sent to invite persons needing wisdom), and Satisfaction, ("Come, eat my food").

I think of this as "The House of Wisdom." The message is, "Come into the house where wisdom is present." In a similar invitation, Jesus said, "Come unto me all you who labor…I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28).  The message is an invitation to come and dwell with God in His House of Wisdom.

Verse Six is especially powerful: When we come into the House of Wisdom, we should make the choice to "Leave [our] simple ways behind, and begin to live." Coming to God provides an opportunity to leave behind the baggage of ignorance and foolishness. When we gain wisdom from the Lord, we must not go back to pick up our old ways. For example, I used to feel compelled to have the "last word." But after spending some time in the House of Wisdom, I left that simple-minded behavior behind years ago.

Accept the invitation and learn how to prosper God's way.

Reflection Question: What will you gain in the House of Wisdom?
Key insight I gained today:

Today’s action item based on insight:

Day 14 - Is Your Cart in Front of Your Horse? | Wisdom Becomes You Devotional

Proverbs 24:27, Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.
Ambition is a powerful emotion and motivator.  Ambition defined: An earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment.
Wanting to build and live in a very nice house is an ambition. It is something to dream about and tell others. We all have ambitions, but ambition without purpose and godly vision can only lead to arrogance. 
We use phrases like “putting the cart before the horse” or “major on majors” to express something similar to our Scripture text. 
I remember asking God about some property I considered buying. It was as if God said to me, “What about it?” I wanted God to give me a “yea” or “nay” on buying it. He wanted me to do what Proverbs 24:27 said, “plan and prepare.” Ultimately, raw ambition is little more than a form of dreamy laziness. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan once used the phrase, “Irrational exuberance” to describe unrealistic investor attitudes.
Allow hope to sketch an outline of where you want to go, but spend your time planning, preparing, and exercising wisdom. 

Reflection Question: What is something you feel ambitious about that needs better planning to make happen?
Key insight I gained today:

Today’s action item based on insight:

Day 13 - Raising Hope and Removing Fear | Wisdom Becomes You Devotional

Proverbs 10:24, The fears of the wicked will be fulfilled; the hopes of the godly will be granted.
Fear and hope are strangely related. A lot of the negative things that happen to people are often attributed to fate, to the devil, to other people, and even to God.
While there is certainly no such thing as “mind over matter,” there is the reality of “mind over self.”
Hopes and fears move us to action both extrinsically (outward) and intrinsically (inward). Hope and fear also motivate us consciously and unconsciously.
Hope and fear are related because both are based in expectation. Hope expects a good outcome. Fear expects danger and harm. People who live in fear will take unusual measures to guard against imagined threats and dangers. People who have hope will take measures to secure their dreams and bring to pass what they see in their hearts and minds.
Our Scripture text refers to the fears of the “wicked.” Is it possible for the godly to have fear? The answer is yes, and the godly won’t experience better outcomes if operating in fear.
We should only focus on the hopes that God wants to grant to the godly. So trust Him and live a godly life through Christ.

Reflection Question: What are 1-3 hopes you expect to be granted?
Key insight I gained today:
Today’s action item based on insight:


Kenya Mission 2018

Day 12 - Full Barns. Overflowing Vats | Wisdom Becomes You Devotional

Proverbs 3:9, Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. 10 Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.

This is one of our favorite Scriptures to motivate people to give money to the Lord through our ministries and local churches. It is appropriate for that purpose, but there is much more to it.
It is actually a Scripture that addresses the quality of our giving that leads to the quality of our harvest of blessings. Jesus said it this way, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Luke 6:38)
These Scriptures seem to focus only on the amount given, but the quality of giving is more important than the amount. For example, if a person is complaining while giving a large amount, it is neither the “best part” nor a “good measure.” While the church that receives the offering will certainly be glad to receive it, the giver may not receive much of a return. In other words, that unwilling giver might receive “wine” (some provision), but not receive “good wine” (maximum or strategic provision).
A person who cannot give a large amount of money (or some other kind of offering), yet offers their “best part” and “good measure” taps into the resources of God’s kingdom and grace in a special way. 
For example, the best part of our financial offering comes before paying taxes and bills. Giving to God what is left over after taxes and bills is far from the best part. This way of giving to God cannot be easily explained, but it is easily proven by those who practice it! 
The key words in this text are “Honor the Lord.” The word honor literally means “a valuing.” The picture is one of something valuable, precious or weighty, such as gold. Other definitions include: appreciation, esteem, favorable regard, respect.
Much more than what you give to the Lord is the value, esteem, respect, you have towards God when giving it. Anyone you honor will notice it. God does not need honor from us, but because He is honorable, you can only receive blessing from giving Him your “best part” and “good measure.”   God takes note of being honored.

Reflection Question: What are 1-2 examples of your “best part” that should be given to God?
Key insight I gained today:

Today’s action item based on insight:

Kenya Mission 2018

Day 11 - You’ll Get What You Chase | Wisdom Becomes You Devotional

Proverbs 2:2, Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. 3 Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. 4 Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. 5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God.
In the realm of education (in which I earned a Masters of Science degree), we know there is both active and passive learning. Passive learning is like watching television or listening to someone talk, with no engagement by the learner. Active learning engages the physical senses of the learner and uses something called “authentic context,” which provides instruction that relates to the context of the learner’s world. 
The Spirit of God who inspired Solomon to write this part of Proverbs knows all about learning. This is why he used language that related to the context of the readers. Searching “as you would for silver” or “hidden treasures” is more compelling than just “searching.”
On another level, gaining wisdom and understanding is actually more valuable to your life than owning silver and earthly treasures. It is ironic that in our world and culture, making money is considered by many to be the greatest objective in life and spiritual matters do not rate very high. When Jesus said that no one can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24), He was talking about God and money/earthly possessions. Material gain and wisdom are not mutually exclusive, but they must not be equally valued.
The greater point to the text is this: What is your level of intensity and desire for God’s wisdom and understanding? The writer is saying that when people pursue wisdom and understanding with the same motivation they pursue money and things, they will understand the fear of God and gain divine knowledge. It is a matter of desire and priority.
Reflection Question: What do you pursue more than wisdom and understanding from God? How can you correct that imbalance?
Key insight I gained today:
Today’s action item based on insight: