5/02/13 - PTC_Proverbs 8 - "Fingernails on a Chalkboard"
Instruction on Proverbs PTs:
I am excited to jump into the Priority Time Challenge with Chris for the next eight weeks. This would be a great opportunity to start the Priority Time Challenge; all the details are here. I'll be taking us through the book of Proverbs. I LOVE the Proverbs and have made reading Proverbs a regular part of my daily "diet" of God's word for nearly 15 years.
Here's how we will go about it. Take the time to READ the entire chapter for the day straight through. Don't read too fast, the Proverbs are like miniature sermons. One or two sentences really pack a punch. So, read slowly and look for the one or two verses that really stand out to you today. You might select a passage that addresses a challenge you are facing, a need in your life or a growth area. I will share the passage that stands out to me each day and take you through the steps of a Priority Time. I will not post the entire chapter, just the passage that stands out to me. I encourage you to write in your journal, verbatim the passage that stands out to you each day as you log your progress through the steps of a Priority Time.
A Priority Time is a daily unhurried time to read the Word of God to know the God of the Word. Each day we will read a passage of scripture and highpoint a few verses for the purpose of Focused Thinking, Personal Application, Interactive Prayer, and Life Journaling.
- Focused Thinking: Ask the journalistic questions (5 W's and How).
- Personal Application: It turns information into transformation.
- Interactive Prayer: It is personal, private, and precise.
- Life Journaling: It is the process of recording thoughts, evaluating my experiences, and capturing my memories.
32 “Now then, my children, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death.”
Who? Again we see Wisdom taking on a persona much like a parent. This helps us see that God is a good and loving and very interested Father toward us. Wisdom (this persona of God's understanding and ways) addresses us like children. Every parent knows the deep desire for their children to find wisdom early and benefit from a lifetime of success. This should cause us to jump to two conclusions here - if you are a parent: train your children in wisdom as early and often as possible. We desperately need to hear more testimonies that include, "I was born in a Christian home and followed the Lord faithfully into adult life…" This is God's first and best way to change the world. Secondly, we need to accept that as part of the process of gaining God's wisdom we must swallow the pill that we musty come as children more than know-it-all adults. This is a humble position. It is humility that greases the skids of wisdom in our lives.
What? We are urged to listen to Wisdom's instruction because v34) "blessed are those who listen to me…" Everyone wants a blessed life, the problem is everyone also has their own ideas about what it means to be "blessed" and how they plan to achieve that. Here we see that blessing comes to those who v32) "keep my ways" and v33) "do not disregard it" and v34) "those who listen." Each of these qualifiers indicate a posture of humility toward God. More than attempting to "be smarter" our efforts would go much further if we would "be humbler."
When/Where? v34) "watching daily at my doors" there is a reality that God's wisdom has a shelf life. We need to return to God's doorway regularly, even daily to receive fresh wisdom. This is a function of humility. The prideful will think they can make it long stretches on yesterday's wisdom. God intends that we operate on "wisdom manna." Manna was the daily provision of bread for the Israelites in the wilderness. This concept comes to mind when i read this. We watch daily at Wisdom's door waiting for today's dose. I do believe wisdom has a cumulative effect but less in the information of wisdom and more in the pattern of humility and dependence. The wisest people i know dare not attempt to run too long before returning to Wisdom's door in eager dependence on God's wisdom and truth.
Why? God's wisdom is always designed to protect and promote. It provides protection from the dangers of life and promotes a good future. The implication of this text is the uncomfortable thought that God has little confidence in human wisdom. Why would He abundantly provide wisdom unless is was so desperately needed? When we gain God's wisdom we discover that He has given us life. True success comes though God's wisdom. We gain His favor. We all want God's favor. I literally pray for it daily, the difference is not the desire for it, it's the discipline to return humbly each day to find the wisdom that leads to life. God know's my way leads to death. My wisdom only harms me. All notions of "success" other than God's success are flawed, limited and temporary. God's success is perfect, unlimited and eternal.
How? The "how" has been in our face this whole time - humility. The difference between wanting God's favor and success and finding it is humility.
Personal Application: Humility is hard. My pride convinces me that i'm smarter, better and more important when i figure stuff out on my own. I want to move fast and solve problems and be the hero of my life story. God has an opposite view. He is the Hero. He is the source of every good thing. He alone holds success and has fire walled success with humility. Humility is the password to God's favor.
Interactive prayer: Lord, help me slow down. Give the me the discipline and patience to wait by your door. Help me look for your next move before making my next move. Help me apply what was modeled through Larry Cotten and Jim Pritchard and stop what i'm doing and pray for wisdom. You have made it clear that wisdom is available and you are glad to give it. My problem is i'm too prideful to ask. God curse the pride in me. For the sake of my wife, my kids and Your Church under my leadership - curse the pride in me. I confess that I have not EVER found anything truly life giving on my own. I need You far more desperately than I feel. So, curse my pride. Disable it. Cause it to fail.
Life Journaling: Humility is like fingernails on the chalkboard. I never like the sound of it. I am way to concerned about being a "self-made man." How lame is that!? I truly want to grow in humility. I know this is my responsibility to do. I must clothe myself in humility, I must humble myself. I know that God can create the opportunities for humility but its mine to choose. God help me. I want my humility to inspire my kids to desire humility - I know that if they can learn true humility they will find Your favor. God let it be so.
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