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August 12

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“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5 NLT).

From: August 12, 2019


This proverb teaches a proposition of success including its corollary, which leads to failure. The proposition is that “good planning and hard work lead to prosperity.” Notice that planning and work are further defined as “good” and “hard.” For there is certainly a thing called “bad” planning and “lazy” work. So, the one who would follow the proposition must pay careful attention to its detail. The Book of Proverbs is filled with further instruction on both good planning and hard work, so that the student of its wisdom can find more than adequate instruction. For instance, the one who would have good planning will seek the counsel of many (Prov. 11:14, 15:22) and remember that ultimately, it is God who determines our path, so He should always be consulted first (Prov. 16:1, 3, 9).
The corollary describes the path to poverty. And it is a well worn highway. “Hasty shortcuts” are the fashion of the day. For immediate gratification is today’s theme. No wonder poverty still remains in such a prosperous land. For the sin nature always seeks a shortcut, a get rich quick approach, a spin of the wheel, a lottery ticket that hits the jackpot. Yet, such an approach almost always ends in poverty.
Let us remember the apostle Paul’s Spirit inspired words, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Col. 3:23). For whatever is done by faith and for the Lord will prosper and last unto eternity.
PRAYER: Father, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. We are often tempted to take short cuts, but help us to remember Your instruction to seek You in our plans and to work with all our hearts as unto You, with You empowering our effort. We give You this day and this week. Help us to work for You and through You and by You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions” (1 Corinthians 7:30 NLT).

From: August 12, 2018

Are you weeping over a loss today? Be mindful that the Lord will soon wipe away every tear (Rev. 21:4), turning your mourning into dancing (Psa. 30:11). Are you rejoicing in your blessings today? Wonderful. Yet, let the One who blesses be the focus of your joy, rather than being overly enamored of the blessings themselves. Have you acquired possessions that make life easier and more beautiful? Be careful. For your possessions may seek to possess you instead. Don’t be absorbed by temporary conditions in this world. Instead, let Christ and His eternal kingdom be the focus of your life.

“For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long” (Psalm 32:3 ESV)

From: August 12, 2016

David described how he felt when he had unconfessed sin in his life. Keeping silent about the sin, he felt a sense of heaviness and separation from the Lord. He suffered a kind of spiritual arthritis in his bones, so that his prayers turned into groaning as he tried to bend his stiff knees before the Lord. Yet when he acknowledged his sin, the Lord forgave him. God’s steadfast love surrounded him. Why did he wait so long to confess? Why not admit the sin as soon as he felt the Spirit’s conviction? Why wait for the spiritual dryness and heaviness before crying out to the Lord?

“Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses” (Nehemiah 4:14 NKJV)

From: August 12, 2015

Nehemiah led a volunteer workforce to rebuild the wall surrounding Jerusalem, while at the same time facing dissension from within and opposition from without. Yet, he challenged the people to remember two things: 1) Remember the awesome greatness of the God upon Whom you depend and 2) Realize that you will have to be ready to fight for your families according to His strength. This is a good two-part reminder for us today. Remember the Lord and fearlessly fight for your families!

“Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away” (1 Corinthians 7:31 NLT)

From: August 12, 2014

Do not allow yourself to become “attached” to temporal, worldly things. Maintain a practice of use. Live the life of the open hand. One hand open to God to receive and one hand open to others to give. Learn to use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. Why let things own you? Live simply and generously. And experience the joy of setting your heart on eternal things.

“Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!” (Psalm 32:2)

From: August 12, 2012

Jesus has cleared our record of guilt. This does not mean that we are sinless, but that we are forgiven. This gives us the freedom to live in complete honesty with ourselves and others. We no longer hide our sin. We confess it, agreeing with God, and asking Him to cleanse us. What joy to be able to walk in the light of day, not fearing condemnation. No more excuses. No defending. Just depending on the cross of Christ. What joy to be free to live wholly for Jesus!

“But that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:35)

From: August 12, 2011

Paul is concerned about our priorities. Those overly concerned about worldly things become entangled and unable to focus their attention on serving the Lord. Is there anything or anyone that you have put before following Him? He is either Lord of all or not Lord at all.

Nehemiah had 1/2 working on the wall and the other 1/2 standing guard with swords.

From: August 12, 2009

Nehemiah had 1/2 working on the wall and the other 1/2 standing guard with swords. Application? Perhaps, that we tend to focus 100% on the work, while forgetting to stand spiritual guard?
Who do we have standing guard over our church, families, nation…?