Don’t Panic

Today is Wednesday, the twenty-sixth of January, 2022, in the third week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be with you, today.

Day 23,330

Today feels busy, but the only thing that really needs to happen is getting Maggie (cat) her rabies shot so the city of Watauga won’t penalize us. I plan to take her to the TCAP location in Hurst right after I finish my morning devotional. I’m not sure if this is going to be cost-free or not. We have a voucher from the animal shelter where we got her. I also don’t know how long it will take, because there are no appointments for vaccinations. They only do appointments for neutering. S actually plans to go with me. I asked her last night, and she said, “Yes. She’s my cat, so I’m going.” ❤

I might make a trip to a grocery store after lunch. There are some things we need, and I know that at least one of them is out of stock at Albertson’s, and one of them, we can only get from Walmart Neighborhood. Instant update. I just signed up for a thirty-day free trial for “W+,” their delivery/shipping service. After thirty days, it’s $98 a year, which provides all deliveries and shipping (for items that are not in the store) at no additional cost. So the groceries will be delivered between 2-3 this afternoon (or later, if they get behind, which I have heard they have been struggling with).

Okay. Time to get moving, because I told S I plan to leave around 10:00.


"O Lord,
you have mercy on all.
Take away my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me
the fire of your Holy Spirit.
Take away my heart of stone
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore you,
a heart to delight in you,
to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ’s sake.
(Prayer for A Renewed Heart, St. Ambrose)
We have thought on your steadfast love, O God,
 in the midst of your temple. 
As your name, O God,
 so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth.
 Your right hand is filled with righteousness. 
(Psalms 48:9-10 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the greatness of the name of the Lord, and His righteousness that fills His right hand
2. for the grace of God, and the willingness to extend that same grace to others
3. for the gifts of God, which I am called to "fan into flame" (2 Timothy 1)
4. for the holiness of God, called by Eugene Peterson "a furnace that transforms the men and women who enter it"
5. for the presence of God, made manifest in Creation
"It echoes on and on
The sound of heaven's song
Resting over us
The glory of our God"
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus, 
To Timothy, my beloved child: 
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 
I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 
As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now,
 I am sure, dwells in you as well. 
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 
(2 Timothy 1:1-8 ESV)

There is a reason that I end every day’s blog entry with “grace and peace, friends.” It’s not just a greeting or a cool way to end a letter or post. Just like the beginning, when I say things like, “May the peace of Christ be with you today,” I sincerely hope that God’s grace and peace would be with you, this day. I don’t say these things lightly, and I don’t believe that Paul did, either, when he opened up his letters like that. He wished/prayed for “grace, mercy, and peace” to be with the recipient of his letter, in this case, his protege Timothy.

I wonder what the gift was, that he is reminding Timothy to “fan into flame.” I don’t know that we are told this. But I am encouraged, here, to consider what gift I might need to do that with. What do I need to “fan into flame?” The first thing that comes to mind is the gift of music. Sadly, my gift has fallen into disuse. But it remains. Playing music is kind of like riding a bicycle. I can still do it . . . there are things that you never forget. However, the muscles and fingertips get out of shape (as do the lips, in the case of brass instruments). Technique flounders. So some “fanning” is necessary. And I have, literally, no excuse for not practicing/playing more, these days. So there’s a gift I need to fan into flame.

But what is the reason for fanning this gift into flame? Verse 7 provides that. Because we are not given a spirit of fear or timidity (which is what the word literally means), but of “power and love and self-control.” Some versions say “a sound mind,” but the word literally means “discipline” or “self-control.” And discipline is something that is needed to fan a gift into flame.

 Glory be to God the Father, 
God the Son, 
and God the Holy Spirit. 
As it was in the beginning, 
so it is now and so it shall ever be, 
world without end. 
Alleluia. Amen.

As Eugene Peterson gets to the book of Isaiah in Symphony of Salvation, he calls the chapter “The Salvation Symphony.” Peterson calls Isaiah a poet, “a maker, making God present and that presence urgent.” He also says that Isaiah’s typical name for God in the book is “The Holy.”

But by working justice, 
GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies will be a mountain.
 By working righteousness, 
Holy God will show what "holy" is. 
(Isaiah 5:16 MSG)

To be sure, Isaiah is a mountain of work in the approximate middle of our Scriptures. Some of my favorite verses occur in this prophetic book. But I have not examined it in the light of “holy,” as Peterson suggests. “The more hours we spend pondering the words of Isaiah, the more the word holy changes in our understanding.” Says, Peterson, “Holiness is a furnace that transforms the men and women who enter it.”

"'Who among us can survive this firestorm? 
Who of us can get out of this purge with our lives?'" 
The answer's simple: 
Live right, 
speak the truth, 
despise exploitation, 
refuse bribes, 
reject violence, 
avoid evil amusements. 
This is how you raise your standard of living! 
A safe and stable way to live. 
A nourishing, satisfying way to live. 
(Isaiah 33:14-16 MSG)

“The book of Isaiah is expansive, dealing with virtually everything that is involved in being the People of God on this planet Earth.”

"Count on it: 
Everyone who had it in for you will end up out in the cold— real losers. 
Those who worked against you will end up empty-handed— nothing to show for their lives. 
When you go out looking for your old adversaries you won't find them— 
Not a trace of your old enemies, not even a memory. 
That's right. Because I, your GOD, 
have a firm grip on you and I'm not letting go. 
I'm telling you, 'Don't panic. I'm right here to help you.' 
(Isaiah 41:11-13 MSG)

I added the italics in that passage.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
(Psalms 19:1 ESV)

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
(Psalms 29:2 ESV)

Father, this morning, I lift up a prayer to You to help me be motivated to fan my gifts into flame for You. I praise You and thank You for the gifts You have given me, and confess my lack of motivation to practice them and put them to good use. I’m not sure what opportunities will arise to do so, but You are in control of that. I simply pray for Your Spirit to move me to work them out.

I thank You for the spirit of power and love and self-control that You give us. I pray that Your Church, the Body of Christ, would exercise those things in unity, to show the world Your truth and love for us.

I also thank You for the book of Isaiah and it’s exploration of Your holiness. May we all enter into that furnace of cleansing and may everything that is not holy be burned away from us. Thank You for Your might presence in our lives, that give us the confidence to “don’t panic.” All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Don't panic. 
I'm with you. 
There's no need to fear for I'm your God. 
I'll give you strength. 
I'll help you. 
I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. 
(Isaiah 41:10 MSG)

Grace and peace, friends.

The Answer To the Chaos

Today is Friday, January 3, 2020. The tenth day of Christmas. Peace be with you!

Day 22,576

Nothing really going on around here, to speak of. We are looking forward to a quiet weekend. The only plans we have are our scattered house church meeting on Sunday.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
Psalm 105.4

Today I am grateful:
1. For the admonition to seek the Lord’s presence continually.
2. That when I seek the Lord, he will deliver me from all of my fears (Psalm 34.4)
3. That the Lord is my refuge, through Jesus Christ, his Son.
4. That the Lord helps me remember things that draw me into him.
5. That this world is a “perfectly safe place for us to be” (Dallas Willard).

Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! 
You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” 
Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!

Psalm 27.7-9

But you, you are to be feared! Who can stand before you when once your anger is roused?
Psalm 76.7

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34.4

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. 
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

Luke 2.41-52

I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. 
Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. 
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. 
One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. 
On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. 
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. 
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

Psalm 145.1-7

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

“O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, you Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

Isaiah 30.15, 18

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.
Psalm 143.5

Remember his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
1 Chronicles 16.15

They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God their redeemer.
Psalm 78.35

(From The Songs of Jesus,, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)

Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 
“As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 
I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 
You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” 
Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Psalm 2.5-12

“God’s response to human pride and power is to install his ‘son’ on Zion.” This passage speaks not of Israel’s “king,” but of Jesus, the Son of God, the true King. Jesus would eventually put things right by going to “Zion” (Jerusalem) to die for our sins.

The idea of kissing the Son (verse 12) is to “rest in and live for him. If we do this, we have assurance that no matter what happens to us, ultimately everything will be all right.” If we do not choose to live for him, we will be fighting against him. There is no refuge from God . . . only refuge in him.

Prayer: “Lord, your answer to the chaos and strife of the world is your Son, Jesus Christ. He will eventually break brokenness, kill death, destroy destruction, and swallow every sorrow. Teach me how to take refuge in you–in your forgiveness through Jesus, in your wise will, and in my assured, glorious future. Amen.”

Father, thank you for the refuge that we have in you. Thank you for the answer to the chaos. I praise you that, because of Jesus and our relationship with him, this world is a perfectly safe place for us to be. Teach me how to rest in that refuge.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number.” Job 5.8-9

Grace and peace, friends.

“I Saw the Lord”

Good morning! It’s Friday, July 13! Today, it’s all about food. It’s “Beans ‘n’ Franks Day,” and it’s “National French Fries Day.” Honestly, there’s not a lot of chance that I’ll eat either one, today. I haven’t had “beans ‘n’ franks” in years, though…that kind of sounds good.
On this date, in 1985, the Live Aid concert took place. It began at Wembley Stadium in London, continued at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, and other arenas around the world, linked by satellite. It was put on to give aid to famine-stricken Africans. On this date in 1960, John F. Kennedy was nominated for president by the Democratic Party Convention. On this date in 1930, the first World Cup was held. And on this date in 2010, baseball became a little less interesting as George Steinbrenner passed away. Sadly, his kids had already messed up his baseball dynasty. Or not sadly, depending on who you root for…

I’m leaving work early today, for a doctor’s appointment at 2:15pm. It’s just a follow up to check up on my type 2 diabetes. My sugar levels have decreased dramatically as I’ve lost weight. I’m hoping they will cut back my Metformin dosage. I checked my chart, and I’ve lost over 40 pounds since my last visit in March. That should make the doctor very happy, right? Christi is working from home today, so we should have a nice evening after I get home from my appointment. We’ll get an early start to the weekend.

Father, I pray for wisdom this morning, as I read your word. Keep me close to you in spirit all day today.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 43. This psalm (author not identified) begins with a prayer for vindication. There is a brief moment of felling rejected by God, then a prayer for light and truth. It closes with the same appeal to the soul that is in Psalm 42.
Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people,
from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me!
For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
why have you rejected me?
Why do I go about mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?

Send out your light and your truth;
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

I really like the middle section of that psalm, especially the line, “to God my exceeding joy.” If we know, as we do, that God loves us, and that his love is everlasting and steadfast, then he certainly should be our “exceeding joy.” Here’s something to think about; when you are in that high emotional state, in the middle of the best worship you’ve ever experienced, and then when you are in the midst of your deepest, darkest sin…God loves you exactly the same at both times. That truth should have a profound impact on all of us.

My Utmost For His Highest

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord… Isaiah 6:1

Uzziah had reigned for a long time, and reigned well. So there was great sadness when he died. Has God ever had to remove a close friend from our lives “in order to bring Himself in their place?” Don’t get all indignant and say, “Well, MY God would never do such a thing!” Be careful what you proclaim that “your” God would never do! God took one of Israel’s best kings. What was Isaiah’s reaction? “In the year that the one who stood to me for all that God was, died – I gave up everything? I became ill? I got disheartened? or – I saw the Lord?”
Here’s an important statement: “My vision of God depends upon the state of my character.” Yes. “Character determines revelation.” Before I can echo the statement of Isaiah and say “I saw the Lord,” there must be something related to God in my character. First of all, unless I am “born again,” I can only see along the lines of my prejudices, anyway. But even after salvation, it is a struggle, isn’t it? Those prejudices keep popping up and clouding my revelation. You don’t know how many times a day I catch myself with thoughts that are unholy and uncalled for. But God is faithful, and, by his Spirit, those times are becoming less frequent, as he chisels away at me.
‘It must be God first, God second, and God third, until the life is faced steadily with God and no one else is of any account whatsoever.” Does this mean I don’t care about anyone else at all? No! But it means that God is the most important person in my life. As I have said before, with all due respect to the “I Am Second” campaign…I am not second! I am last!
I am willing to live up to the vision. God has given me vision. I don’t want to mess this one up.

“Thank you, Lord, for drawing us to Yourself.
You opened our blind eyes to see our desperate need for salvation.
You moved our stubborn wills to repent of our sin.
You awakened our cold, dead hearts to believe in Christ.”
At the Throne of Grace (p 129)

Yes, Lord! You have drawn me to yourself and opened my blind eyes to see your truth! You have moved my stubborn will, and long ago, you awakened my cold, dead heart, so that I would believe in Christ. I praise you for this, my God!
You have sent out your light and your truth, and they are guiding me toward your holy hill. You have become my exceeding joy, as I celebrate you throughout the day, more and more. I pray that, as I live this day, Father, that this will be true even more. Remind me frequently, during this day, to stop and breathe a prayer, either of intercession or of praise. Let my life be a life of prayer and worship.
You have given me a vision, Lord! I did not have to lose a close friend (at least not at this point in my life) or a beloved king to receive this vision, but you have stepped in and…
Suddenly, I am made aware that there may be something that you are “replacing” in my life. At this point, I will not go into it, but the thought is there. And I am glad for this, if it is true, because whatever it is that you have moved in front of was not worthy of my great devotion, anyway. Only you are worthy of my sincerest praise and devotion. I will celebrate you, Lord. I will worship you. I pray that this vision that you have given me will grow to fruition. Teach me to pray more effectively. Teach me to pour out my heart and soul on behalf of others; teach me to weep when they weep and rejoice when they rejoice. I would be nothing, Lord. I would be emptied so that you can fill me up.

I pray that you give your church wisdom, Father! It is your will to give us wisdom. Your word tells us that if we lack wisdom, we should ask. And you are the only true source of wisdom. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; (Proverbs 2:6) I pray for wisdom for your children.

I pray for this day. May the morning go smoothly, so that I can leave work with confidence that my fill-in won’t have any serious issues. I pray that my doctor’s visit this afternoon will be a positive visit with positive results. I pray that Christi will have a smooth day, working from home.

My Father, as I now proceed into my private prayer time, I pray for wisdom, clarity and focus. If I do not know what to pray, I pray for the Spirit to intercede for me.

Your grace is sufficient.

If God has removed something or someone from your life, something that you held onto dearly, see if there is a vision of God there to stand in their place. Isaiah saw the Lord. Will we see God, or will we lose hope?

Grace and peace, friends.

The Fear of the Lord Is the Beginning of Knowledge

A good Sunday morning to all. We’re relaxing with our coffee for a little while before getting ready to go worship this morning. We’re looking forward to going to The Exchange Church today.

Today’s Bible readings from Discovering the Bible, by Gordon L. Addington:
Matthew 9:1-17
1 And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city.
2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”
3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”
4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?
5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he then said to the paralytic–“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.”
7 And he rose and went home.
8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

Matthew’s account of this event is a little more brief than others. But it still gets the same points across. In a way, Jesus’s response is almost humorous. Seriously, which IS easier? It’s very easy to say, “Your sins are forgiven.” As difficult as it is to forgive people, sometimes, I have yet been able to get a lame man to get up and walk. But Jesus did that with just as much ease as forgiving the man’s sins. And all the scribes could do is stand there and gawk.

9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples.
11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

It’s typical of “righteous” people to criticize ministers who spend time among “sinners.” But how else are you going to give people the gospel? “Preaching to the choir” doesn’t do any good. This is why I don’t think the Sunday morning worship service (or whenever it happens to be) is the place for strictly evangelistic sermons. Once in a great while is okay, but the worship service is where God’s children come to worship him. If there is going to be a message (which really doesn’t fit in the New Testament model), it needs to be something that edifies the Church. The evangelism is supposed to happen outside the walls of the worship place. Inviting people to come to church is not evangelism.
Anyway, Jesus gave some very pointed statements here. The doctor doesn’t go visit people who aren’t sick. (Doctor’s don’t go visit anyone any more, but the point is still taken.) Although we do have “well visits,” these days, the point is, you normally don’t go to the doctor unless there is something wrong. Jesus didn’t come to call people who were already “righteous.” Of course, the scribes and pharisees weren’t really righteous, but the perceived themselves so. So the point is, you can’t come to Jesus unless you know you’re “sick.” The quote, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,” comes from Hosea 6:6.

14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.
16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made.
17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

Interesting teaching on fasting here. The Jews had a pattern of fasting that was traditionally observed. Apparently, Jesus and his disciples were not observing this. Or at least his disciples weren’t. But Jesus told them that the old patterns were not appropriate any more. The analogy used is interesting. Not knowing much about wine production, I have to rely on other people’s interpretations of this. But Jesus’s words are pretty self-explanatory. If we continue to hold onto old traditions when something better is here, we will not experience the fullness that that we could experience.

Isaiah 1
We finally arrive at the “big daddy” of all prophets. No disrespect meant there, by the way. Isaiah’s prophecies spanned four kings; Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.
The people have disobeyed the Lord. It has gotten to the point that he compares them to Sodom and Gomorrah. Finally, in verse 11, he says, “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.” What is required of them? He tells them in verses 16-20:
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil,
17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

He does promise restoration in verses 25-26, but says in verse 28 that rebels and sinners shall be broken together, and those who forsake the LORD shall be consumed.
One important verse to note is verse 3. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand. Even a dumb animal knows who its owner is. But Israel does not recognize God; they do not understand. How tragic.

Proverbs 1:1-7
At the beginning of Proverbs, Solomon gives us the reason for the book.
2 To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight,
3 to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity;
4 to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth

And how do we begin? 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. There is no knowledge without the fear of God. If we despise wisdom and instruction, we are fools.

Father, may I never despise wisdom and instruction. May I always be open to the advice and instruction of someone wiser than me (and there are a LOT of people wiser than me). I pray for wisdom. As I read through Proverbs in the next few weeks, I pray for your wisdom to invade my life. Let me take them to heart and incorporate them into my life. As I read the prophecies of Isaiah, may they infiltrate my thinking and affect my life in new ways. I pray that I might continue to find new things in your Word. Not because they are new, but because I have not noticed them before. Your Word is alive, Father. I pray that it comes alive in my life.

As we go to worship this morning, Father, I pray for an encounter with you. I want to give to you. I want to worship you with every ounce of my being today. Let it be so. Let me give heart, soul, mind, and strength to you as I praise you today. And let met walk out of that place changed, even if just a little bit.

I pray for this coming week ahead, Lord. May it be a better week at work. And I am still praying for relief from the heat wave and some rain in our area, along with other areas that are also suffering in the same way.

I encourage anyone who reads this to take a spin through Proverbs. Learn the wisdom that comes from the fear of the Lord.

Grace and peace, friends.