Tag: Favor of God

Just Do It

When we read these words we think of Nike right? Did you know these words come straight from the Bible? Yep, 1 Chronicles 28:20

Be strong and of good courage, and do it, do not fear or be dismayed, for the LORD God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you or forsake you

What has God asked you to do?

Whatever it is, He is saying don’t be afraid, be full of courage and just Do It! I Am with you—I love you, I believe in you. I will strengthen you—sustain you, I’ll never leave you and if I Am for you who could ever stand against you?

If you don’t feel strong or courageous remember in your weakness, as you lean into Him, His grace is sufficient.

What’s more—God wants to make you great. True fact stated in 1 Chronicles 29:12

Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

God is no respecter of persons if His Word says; it is in His hand to make great and strengthen all—then that means you!

So go ahead don’t hesitate, ask God to strengthen you and make you great!

Just a word of encouragement today, to accept God’s gifts of strength and courage. Just Do It—be all He has created you to be! (or at least start to move in that direction!)

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Change Your Situation!

Life is full of ups and downs—some big, others small. That’s just life—no need for anxiety! The questions are—how do we manage life in the seemingly dry or difficult times? How do we turn a desert place into a spring? Make a dead place alive? How do I change my situation???

Psalm 84 has the answer,

Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring.

1.      1.  We are blessed when we find our strength in God. Blessed doesn’t mean we won’t have ups and downs—no, it simply means we are never alone or left without solutions in our ups and downs.

Finding our strength in God is a trade—we give Him our weakness in exchange for His incomprehensible strength. Acknowledging our weakness—basically humbling our self—makes way for a flood of God’s grace, strengthening us to get through any situation.

2.       2. We set our heart on eternity—ever looking forward. As long as we focus on this world and all the fulfillment it can bring—we will come up empty. We must set our focus on Jesus, knowing we are on pilgrimage—a journey—always moving forward—constantly drawing nearer.

3.     (Next is the answer to the big question…”How do I change my situation?”)

3. When we pass through a desert place, we determine—resolve in our self to make it a spring.

You can change your situation. How? By calling God into it. As God’s presence fills our heart, soul and life even the driest of times are refreshed.The dead places are made alive by His very life in ours.

I love how verse 6 of Psalm 84 says “they” make it a spring. It’s a choice. We can wallow in the dust of our hard place, whining to God or worse accusing Him of unfaithfulness, or we can choose to make it a spring. Yes it’s hard. But worth it! Remember; the purest gold is wrought from the hottest fire!

Please be encouraged—to determine—to make every dry, dead place in your life a spring.

 

Suddenly Moments

What do you do when you are having a bad day? Do you ever just worship God? Give thanks, glory or praise? Understandably being the humans that we are—this is not always our default reaction.

But I want to challenge you to step out of your normal default box and into the realm of suddenly moments—that result in God shaking our life to its very core and bringing about change.

I heard an amazing message—totally worth repeating—on Acts 16. Follow along with me as I reiterate what was happening and how God—our Knight in shining armor suddenly comes to save the day.

Paul and Silas, in the will of God—directed by Him—went to Macedonia. As they were lingering in Philippi, they met a God-fearing woman named Lydia who on hearing the Word of the Lord believed with all her heart, as a result she and her household were baptized and insisted the men stay at their home. At this point all is going well, Paul’s preaching—God’s moving and they are invited to stay and be cared for, in a rather nice place. Acts 16:6-15

One day on the way to prayer a demon possessed psychic, slave girl, started following them around, drawing attention to them by yelling out “These men are working for the Most High God. They’re laying out the road of salvation for you!”

Paul, not wanting to be in agreement with her or to be identified as being with her, ignored her for a few days then finally when too annoyed he cast the demon out of her. The slave girl was suddenly free and her owners very upset—their lucrative little business had come to an end. Consequently, Paul and Silas were dragged into the market place—they were lied about and accused, causing the crowd to turn into an angry gang. Their clothes were torn off and they were ordered to be severely beaten and thrown into prison, under high security wearing leg irons.  Acts 16:16-24

Paul and Silas—bloody and beaten, sit chained in prison. Would you say they were having a bad day? Absolutely!

What did they do? Did they accuse God of unfaithfulness by whining and complaining?

No—just the opposite! Paul and Silas were found praying and worshipping.

What would you do?

I love how Paul and Silas handled the situation! Their default heart and soul reaction was to pray and worship God—in doing so they were giving thanks.

I pray our default heart reaction would be to silence the mouth of the accuser and give thanks by worshipping God.

How? Why? Because the truth is—He is always good. We must train our heart and soul to worship and give thanks according to truth—not circumstance.

This is when the suddenly moments of God’s faithfulness rule our life.

What happens next in Acts 16:25-26 is the cry of our heart.

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

Suddenly there was a great earthquake! Paul and Silas’ worship caused God to shake the very foundations and set the prisoners free—the scripture says immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

Not just our own freedom from the prisons we find ourselves inoccurs when we worship, but freedom for others as well.

I don’t know about you but I need and want God to suddenly shake the foundation of various situations in my life and in the life of those I love and care about.

This Word from the book of Acts has brought fresh understanding to the scripture in 2 Thessalonians 5:18

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Please be encouraged to grab ahold of and own this concept. Worship God, giving Him thanks in every situation—lifting our eyes from life and circumstances to the God of the impossible—the One who can suddenly shake any situation and change the landscape of impossible surroundings.

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A Heart-Style of Thanksgiving

I love the Thanksgiving holiday, one of my favorite traditions is what my family does after the meal. We go around the table and express what and who we are thankful for.

God in his immeasurable goodness takes thanksgiving to the highest level. It’s not about a meal—it’s about thousands of meals. It’s not about gathering yearly, but gathering daily. Especially, it’s not about telling each other and God how thankful we are once a year, just as we’ve finished an abundant meal. No, life lived in relationship with God is about having a thankful heart—daily—in good times and in bad. Essentially, thanksgiving is a heart-style as well as a lifestyle.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 truthfully tells us,

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Have you ever wondered what God’s will is for your life? Here’s your answer—give thanks.

Why does God want us to give thanks for everything? Why is this heart-style His will?

One attribute I adore about God is His infinite wisdom. God knows everything beginning to end. The reason He wants us to live a life of gratitude is because He knows and understands what thankfulness accomplishes in our heart and life.

The biggest revelation to me about living a heart-style of thanksgiving is the fact that thankfulness in hard times causes our heart to stay soft towards God. When we are thankful, there is no room to blame God.

A few years back my family, to put it mildly, experienced somewhat of a car crisis. I prayed for a newer car for quite a while—expecting God, my provider, to hear and answer my prayer. The answer was long in coming—really long in coming.

God showed me that I must thank Him for not having a car. Thank Him for the season—thank Him for His grace in this season—thank Him for being good and faithful, no matter what I’m going through or what my life looks like.

Prior to learning thankfulness in that season, I found myself questioning Him, whining, grumbling and yes, complaining about my car situation. He showed me was my heart attitude was one of blame towards Him, not only blame but one of unbelief. Ouch, this grieved me!

You see thankfulness causes our heart to be tender and trusting—of faith. Instead of irritably wondering what’s going on—when will God come through and worse why and how could He do such a thing, or allow such suffering in my life—which would be unbelief.

A heart-style of thanksgiving releases us in to the abundant life Jesus came to give us. (John 10:10) Gratitude is in essence putting on rose-colored glasses.

A heart-style of thanksgiving causes praise to abound in and through us, changing our perspective on life. It brings Philippians 4:11-12 to life;

…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation

Not only does thanksgiving cause us not to blame God—changing our unbelief to faith, but it releases miracles and brings salvation. Even Jesus Himself gave thanks to God, and every time He did—the miraculous followed. (John 6:11, John11:41, Luke 22:17.19)

The foremost aspect of a heart-style of thanksgiving is the very fact that it brings us into a deeper relationship with God and His Son. In Philippians 4:11-12, Paul says He’s learned the secret of contentment—the secret is not thanksgiving—it’s Jesus. Thanksgiving paves the way to make Jesus what He should be in our lives—the main thing—Lord of all.

Please be encouraged to make thanksgiving your heart-style, therefore causing your heart to overflow with the Love of God—Jesus Himself.

Skillful Living 101—22 Parenting

Parenting . . . the hardest most complex job on earth. Yet parenting holds the highest value and reward of anything we might possibly do with our life.

Psalm 127:3

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

As a parent I am so grateful to have an instruction manual on child rearing—as I’m sure all parents are.

Unfortunately—most instruction manuals or directions don’t get read until completely necessary. If you’re young—please be encouraged to read the manual now! If you are in the middle of raising children—read the manual now! If your children are young adults—especially read the manual now! If you are a grandparent—read the manual now! It’s never too early or too late!

Being on this end of life where all but one of my kids are grown adults, I sometimes bemoan the fact that there are no “do-overs” when it comes to raising children.

If your kids are grown and your heart is heavy—caught up in regretfully recounting your mistakes—remember there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. Ask for forgiveness—forgive yourself and do God’s best from here on out. God is a faithful redeemer—He redeems our errors and covers our sin.

The first ingredient to parenting is humble, unconditional love. We must by grace and the Holy Spirit’s assistance, love our kids the way God loves us—He never gives up on us. We must always hope and believe in our children. Sometimes love takes on different forms of behavior—this means—tough love is sometimes necessary.

At times I marvel at how complex parenting really is. Parenting is a letting go adventure. These children are born to us, of our own flesh and blood—and we lovingly train them to grow up—leave us—and live their own lives.

Parenting, from the very first hour, demands complete reliance on God. I am so thankful to have an all knowing, all loving, all understanding One to lean on. Prayerfully depending on God is imperative. Since raising children is a lifelong commitment with so many ups, downs and curves—all scripture applies.

One of the things I know—from experience—is we the parents, cannot instruct or impart to our children what we do not ourselves possess. If we want our children to be healthy people of integrity and good character, then we must be as well. There is no room for double-mindedness. Most things are caught rather than taught.

Proverbs—the Book of Skillful Living has crucial advice on parenting—no matter your stage of life.

Let’s look at Proverbs 22 and, with a sincere heart, intentionally live these principles and purpose to teach them to our children and grandchildren.

Verse 1—“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.”

  • Taking on the name of Christ—invaluable
  • God’s favor—vital

Verse 2—“The rich and the poor have this in common; the Lord is the maker of them all.”

  • Identity is found in Christ alone

Verse 4—“By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.”

  • Humility and the fear of the Lord are high priorities to God
  • The fear of the Lord inherit within a person helps them to love and obey God and parents
  • Honoring God aids us in honoring our self and others, as well as authority

Verse 5, 3, 8, 10, 24, 25—“Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards his soul will be far from them.”

  • Guarding your soul from evil is crucial to a successful life

Verse 6—“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

  • We can never stop pouring God’s love and Word into our kids. I’ve seen this dynamic take place in the life of my 2nd son. When he gave up living for himself and surrendered to God—all that had been poured into his heart as a child never departed—God’s Word is timeless, alive and active, it never sleeps but always accomplishes what God sets out to do.
  • Love the church and teach kids the same

Verses 11 & 14—“He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend.” “The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit; he who is abhorred by the Lord will fall there.”

  • A love for purity and grace are never overrated
  • Friendship with the King—highly valuable!

Verse15—“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” Proverbs 29:15, Proverbs 23:13-14, Proverbs 29:17, Proverbs 13:24

  • The Word repeatedly warns—If we love our children we will discipline them
  • Loving discipline and correction will create healthy adults
  • Warning to fathers: Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (Colossians 3:21) Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

Verses 18 & 19—“Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge; for it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips, so that your trust may be in the Lord”

  • Preserve wisdom, knowledge and trust in your heart
  • Teach kids to bind themselves to Godly wisdom

Verse 29 & 13—“Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.”

  • God seriously does not approve of slothful behavior
  • Diligently teach Children diligence
  • A good work ethic is priceless

Skillful Living Tools:

    • Children are a heritage and reward—enjoy them!
    • Children are a huge responsibility—train them in the ways of the Lord
    • Read and apply the instruction manual—the Bible
    • Pray without ceasing
    • Teach kids to prayerfully depend on God
    • Teach integrity and Godly moral character
    • Do not be double minded
    • Teach kids to be single focused—God first
    • Love never fails—unconditionally love the kids God gifted to you
    • Fathers, do not provoke your children
    • Love the church and teach kids the same

Please be encouraged to surrender your parenting to God and His Word—trusting Him for all the answers.

Side Note: God is redeeming the struggling, wayward child—no matter their age. My heart knows the anguish of watching your child self-destruct. My advice to you—keep your heart focused on God. Find peace and rest for your heart, in relationship with Him for He cares for you and can carry your burden, if you will just give it to Him. I am praying for you and your children.

Read and apply all of Proverbs 22 and please share with those who need to live skillfully!

Check out the Skillful Living Tool Box (updated) at the top of this page!

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Cold or Hot

Imagine eating your ice cream not quite cold and your dinner not totally hot. Would you pass on such a meal? Scripture says we need to choose—cold or hot?

Revelation 3:15-16

I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth!

What’s fascinating is—why didn’t God just say I wish you were hot? Why does He want us to be either cold or hot? The obvious is—with God there is no middle ground, we are either in or out—cold or hot. He doesn’t want anything to do with lukewarm. Why? The answer lays in the following verse; Revelation 3:17,

 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.

A lukewarm person does not recognize their need for God. Whereas a Christian who is living in a dedicated, submitted relationship with Him, where Jesus is Lord of their life (hot)—knows they need God—He is their life-line.

A cold person who is far from God can identify the separation between themselves and God and even though they don’t want God—they know they need Him. There is no grey area.

Lukewarm people, according to the scripture don’t realize they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.

What this means is that the lukewarm go about doing good, Christian stuff—drawing their resources from an empty well of self-sufficiency.

God is so amazing, patient, kind and loving; even though He will spit lukewarmness out of His mouth, He is a God of long-suffering and love—so naturally, true to His character—He provides a solution to lukewarmness. (Gotta love Him!) The lukewarm need only to make Him Lord, following the instructions in Revelation 3:18-19,

So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn [repent] your indifference.

The gold, the garments and the ointment needed to make us rich, cover our shame and correct our blindness are free. On the cross Jesus bought our freedom. One thing to remember is they may be free—but very costly. Likewise, we give our life as an offering of white hot love to God—nothing less will do.

Please be encouraged to go all out (be hot) in your relationship with God.

Skillful Living 101—20 Faithfulness

Have you ever spoken to someone confidentially, only to find out your confidence was betrayed? Or have you yourself been the one not able to hold a confidence?

Unfortunately, sometimes a faithful person is hard to find. In today’s culture faithfulness is not a value or high priority. Why? Because being a faithful person requires us to stretch beyond the norm and live selflessly—where we are not focused on our own needs, wants and desires.

Proverbs 20:6 states

Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?

Basic skillful living requires faithfulness. All day, every day, we are faced with the choice to be faithful. We must be faithful stewards of all God entrusts to us—family, spouse, relationships, work, church, the call of God on our life—faithfulness is required in our heart, soul, spirit and body. We have to be faithful with our words, thoughts, actions and reactions, with money and possessions—the list never ends! Who can do it? I know I struggle. The good news is—faithfulness is an attribute of God—the more time we spend with Him—the more we become like Him.

Ascertaining faithfulness first takes humility—an admission of our lack, then a simple exchange—our lack of faithfulness for His abundant faithfulness. It’s a process that happens layer by layer.

The Book of skillful living—Proverbs, has endless advice on how to be faithful. Something to remember as we glean life skills from the book of Proverbs is that skillful living is not just a cloak we wear, nor is it a to do list. The skillful living the Bible teaches has to embed in our very being, becoming who we are—not just what we do. This is why we need to live the Word not just read it!

We could probably go through every Proverb in Chapter 20 and see how faithfulness applies, but we will look at just a few.

Verse 1—“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”

  • My father was a drinker—I was a drinker—anyone who loves or even knows a drinker can attest to the fact that faithfulness is not a high priority in their life. Be wise—don’t be led astray by the seductiveness of drinking—even in its simplest form—it’s a substitute for the fulfillment a deep relationship with God can give.

Verse 7— “The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him.”

  • Faithfulness to righteousness and integrity, cause blessings to fall on us and our family.

Verse 15—“Drinking from the beautiful chalice of knowledge is better than adorning oneself with gold and rare gems.”

  • Be faithful in attaining godly knowledge—then we will truly be rich.

Verse 20— “Whoever curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in deep darkness.”

  • Faithfulness to authority can save our life!

Verse 23—“God hates cheating in the marketplace; rigged scales are an outrage.”

  • Be faithful in business—who wants to outrage God?

Verse 27—“The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.”

  • When the light of God illuminates our inner person—may He find faithfulness.

Skillful Living Tools

  • Esteem faithfulness
  • Choose faithfulness over selfishness
  • Basic skillful living requires faithfulness
  • Ascertaining faithfulness takes humility
  • Be wise—don’t be led astray by the seductiveness of alcohol
  • Faithfulness to righteousness and integrity, cause blessings to fall on you and your family
  • Faithfulness to authority can save our life!
  • Be faithful in businessdon’t outrage God
  • God requires faithfulness in our inner person

Please be encouraged to seek, find and apprehend the faithfulness of God for every detail of your life.

Read and apply all of Proverbs 20 and please share with those who need to live skillfully!

Check out the Skillful Living Tool Box (updated) at the top of this page!

One Goal

When you’re on the verge of something new, do you feel excitement or panic? Expectation or dread?

There were many years in my life where a new year just brought dread. I was exhausted of false hope—anxiety filled my heart at the thought of making resolutions. Expectancy of change was illusive.

Why? Well—in those days my hope was in what I could do. After years of making resolutions and setting up goals for myself that I never accomplished—my hope was diminished.

As I have learned to make Christ my hope and to lean not on my own abilities but His ability in me—I’m hopeful, expectant and very excited for the new year.

As we converge on this new year, may there be just one goal in our heart—to love and know God more.

I guarantee that from this one thing of knowing, loving and submitting to God, an abundance of life, blessing, favor, knowledge, wisdom, understanding and hope will be birthed in your life.

Please be encouraged set your hope—not in what you can do—but in what He can do in you.

One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. Psalm 27:4

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37

Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring. Hosea 6:3

Skillful Living 101—16 Choosing the Right Path

Making decisions and choosing the right paths in life, are daily concerns. If we are not sure how to get God’s direction then we can easily get overwhelmed. The skillful living advice found in Proverbs 16 is a valuable fortune to attain; it holds truth that can help guide us in the right direction, assisting us in avoiding pitfalls that occur when taking the wrong path.

Basically choosing the right paths and or direction in life is a surrender issue.

Verse 9 sums it all up for us,

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

Listen to Proverbs 19:21

You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

There are two ways to go about finding God’s direction—both lead to the same ending.

  1. We can make our plans and take our own steps in pursuing those plans.
  2. A. We can ask God for His plans and direction. Patiently waiting, relying on the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to guide us.
    B. We can make plans and submit them to God, asking for His will to be done. Relinquishing our desires knowing His will is best. Also patiently waiting, relying on the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to guide us.

No matter which way we go about choosing, or what choice we make—the end result will be the same—God’s purpose for our life will prevail.

I’m half a century old, and believe me I have tried and retried over and over again to make the first way of choosing work—but it never has.

God loves us too much, to allow our plans for our life to supersede His.

This might be frustrating to some people, because they just want to do what they want, but truly God knows the beginning to the end of each situation. He knows how it will start and how it will end and every detail in the middle. He wants the best for us, that’s why He wants us to choose His paths.

Taking our own paths and following our own direction is not only disobedience, but painful. Sometimes after we wake up from a bad choice—be it years, months or days later, we have regret, desiring that we would have listened to God or the good counsel He put in front of us.

I’ll never forget these words; “Careful, that pitfall will cost you two years, oh watch out for that one, it’ll take five years to get out.” They were spoken by an older prophetic gentleman; he was talking about wanting to warn people before they charged through life, not inquiring of God’s direction.

Being a Mom of teens and young adults, I’m constantly reiterating the concept of these scriptures. My kids are visionaries with huge dreams and plans—I love this about them and believe these are God given qualities inherit within them, but that doesn’t mean every idea is God breathed. My advice to them is to submit their plans to God and find out which path He wants them to take. I desire my kids to be discerning of God’s voice and will—this will assist them in not wasting their life getting in and out of pitfalls.

Understandably the desert of some pitfalls are places God allows us to go through, where we can find Him in a new way as we learn life’s lessons, but I don’t necessarily believe they are all God ordained stops in life. We can learn just as much, if not more, by first submitting to the obedience of God’s will. There are huge blessings in seeking, finding and following God’s will.

I had an interesting conversation with a young friend, who told me a story about his relationship with a random girl—now in his life forever. The gist of the story was this; he was reflecting on what he called the ripple effect. He met a girl, knew her only a week or two and had sex with her. He said he didn’t love her, she was not really his type but it had been awhile—so he indulged himself. The relationship, loaded with issues, became one of convenience for both of them—until she got pregnant.

The ripple effect started first by living a casual lifestyle of ignoring God, second by fulfilling the lust of the flesh and having sex outside of marriage. Then pregnancy, it continued with an unwanted dysfunctional relationship, sharing a child, who will no doubt reap the consequences. He sadly said “One bad choice has caused a lifelong ripple in my life.”

Opening one door of self-will, can lead to many other doors that inevitably open more doors— leading to hardship, heartache and wasted time.

Proverbs 16 gives generous advice on this concept, it would significantly benefit us and those we influence, to listen and follow its guidance.

Verse 1—“Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word.” (MSG)
Verse 2—“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits (the thoughts and intents of the heart).” (AMP)
Verse 3—“Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” (NLT)
Verse 5—“The Lord detests the proud; they will surely be punished.” (NLT)
Verse 7—“When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (NKJ)
Verse 9—“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps” (NLT)
Verse 16—“How much better it is to get skillful and godly Wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.” (AMP)
Verse 17—“The road of right living bypasses evil; watch your step and save your life.” (MSG)
Verse 18—“First pride, then the crash—the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” (MSG)
Verse 20—“It pays to take life seriously; things work out when you trust in God.” (MSG)
Verse 25—“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (NKJ)
Verse 33—“Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.” (MSG)

The heart breaking ripple effect can be avoided by tucking our self into relationship with God, where we hear His voice, know His will and delight in obedience.

Skillful Living Tools

  • A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps
  • You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail
  • Choosing the right paths and or direction in life is a surrender issue
  • Submit plans, ideas and dreams to God, asking for His will to be done
  • Patiently wait on the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to guide you
  • Remember the ripple effect: choices have consequences
  • The road of right living bypasses evil
  • Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed
  • Pride comes before a fall
  • God always has the final say

Please be encouraged—skillful living comes by patiently submitting our plans to God before we proceed.

Please share with those who need to live skillfully!

Check out the Skillful Living Tool Box (updated weekly) at the top of this page!

Skillful Living 101—14 Upright

If you’ve read the Bible for any length of time, you’ve no doubt come across the word upright. A huge component to living skillfully, is to ascertain uprightness. I know it can seem as an out dated expression or concept, but truthfully, living uprightly is key to relationship with God and to blessings.

The attributes of the upright are: Integrity, blameless, prudent, virtue, honor, morality, truth, reliability, decency, discrete, honest and righteousness.

Two character traits of an upright person are wisdom, and understanding. The book of Proverbs is drenched with instruction on being wise and acquiring understanding.

Everyone with any sense—desires to navigate through life skillfully. Remember—the book of Proverbs is our guide for skillful living. A firm grasp on uprightness will assist us in living wisely.

One way to look at uprightness is to see it as freedom. Leviticus 26:13 says,

I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright.

The burden of bondage causes us to slump over with heaviness, worry, condemnation and shame. Freedom looses us to stand upright, both in our stature and in our heart and soul.

Almost all of Proverbs 14 has to do with walking uprightly, but I will highlight just a few (or more) significant verses, using NKJV and The Message.

Verse 1, “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.”
This is huge and one of my favorites (being a woman and all). If we are not in unity and submission with God and His will, as well as with our husbands, we—with our own hands demolish our family! Careful ladies!

Verse 2—“He who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.”
The Message version reiterates this verse very frankly. “An honest life shows respect for God; a degenerate life is a slap in his face.” Ouch!

Verse 3—“In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, but the lips of the wise will preserve them.”

Verse 9—“Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is favor.”
Upright people have a hard time sinning—God’s favor, is their reward.

Verse 10—“The house of the wicked will be overthrown, but the tent of the upright will flourish.”

Verse 12 & 13—“There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again—it leads straight to hell. Sure, those people appear to be having a good time, but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.”

Verse 25—“Souls are saved by truthful witness and betrayed by the spread of lies.”

Verse 29—“Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding; a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.”

Verse 30—“A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.”
One way to attain good health is to align your heart with God’s.

Verse 33—“Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, but what is in the heart of fools is made known.”

Maybe you’re wondering—how do I live uprightly? How do I get wisdom and understanding? These are not stupid questions!

First, start with sincerely asking God—if we seek Him we will find Him. Seeking God means to wholeheartedly go after Him.

Proverbs 8:17
I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.

Next, if you’re seriously seeking Him, expect that He will answer and show you His will. When He does—deny yourself and obey His directives.

A lot of the time God keeps silent because He knows we won’t listen and do what He tells us, that’s why we must seek Him diligently. If we want to be wise and have understanding thus live uprightly—the first wise step is to listen and obey.

Proverbs 1:28-29
When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me.  For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear (obey) the Lord.

Changing our lifestyle is not always easy and change has to start on the inside. In seeking God first, we can be confident that He will take care of all the things we are concerned about. (Matt. 6:33)

Please be encouraged to ask God to help you live your life uprightly, you will not regret it—there are many rewards for upright living!

Skillful Living Tools

  • To live skillfully—ascertain uprightness
  • Understand that living uprightly is freedom
  • Build your home with wisdom—don’t tear it apart with un-submissiveness
  • The home and family of the upright will flourish
  • Respect and honor God by living an honest life
  • Be slow to anger
  • The first step in being wise—is to listen and obey
  • Remember change starts on the inside

Please share with those who need to live skillfully!

Check out the Skillful Living Tool Box (updated weekly) at the top of this page!