Tag Archives: Proverbs

A Simple Call to Trust

While sipping on my hot green tea and basking in the morning sunshine as it gently filters through the slits in my living room blinds, I’m reminded of a simple nugget of truth. It’s a passage of scripture that I hope to cling onto for the rest of my life and pursue with ferocious intentionality.

Like me, you have probably read this passage time and time again, but today my eyes have been opened to its one, true  meaning. Allow me to both briefly share what God is whispering into my heart this morning and encourage you in purposeful meditation on the power of this passage.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

Proverbs 3:5

Here’s how I interpret this:

“Trust (rely, depend, hope, expect, fully rest in, be completely assured) in the Lord with all (whole, entire, full, completely) your (emphasizing importance of individual, personal responsibility) heart (the core of who you are)…”

Allow me to break this down a little bit more:

As individuals, we should be fully and completely assured by taking full confidence in the Lord (instead of people, circumstances, or tangible items) with the entire core of who we are.

You see, God does not long for just a portion of our hearts; He wants it all. What does this mean for us as modern-day believers? For starters, He wants us as His children to trust Him for our eternal salvation. But it goes even further: God wants us to trust Him in everything. Everything.

That means we can take full confidence in God’s ability to help us with our jobs, our marriages, raising our children, our finances, our health conditions, our friendships, our callings, our personal hobbies, our education, our businesses, our decisions, our homes, our cars, our mission work, our relationships in all areas (work, ministry, business,etc), our hurts, our beliefs, our fears, our longings, our desires, our addictions, our sin, our past, our present, and our future. God wants it all. And I believe this is the statement He is conveying here, because of these two words: “trust” and “all”.

Let’s continue through the passage:

“…and (indicating a direct link between this clause and the prior) lean not (do not shift weight, turn to, or depend) on your (once again indicating personal responsibility) own understanding (the reasoning, perspective or comprehension that you possess).”

Our understanding is finite, while His is infinite. God isn’t telling us to stop thinking or reasoning; after all, He created us in His image with these abilities. Rather, He is cautioning us against becoming so confident in ourselves (finding assurance in what we know) that God becomes neglected and not depended upon. Without His leading in our lives, He knows that we’ll end up making dire mistakes. In His love, He wants us to avoid those.

God also knows that trust is required to form deep, mutually-loving relationships, which is what interests Him the most. He created us to be in a relationship with Him, not merely to do things for Him. In fact, because He is God, He doesn’t actually need us to do anything for Him. God doesn’t need our works. Yet, when works flow naturally from a heart that is trusting and abiding in Him, they simply become a form of beautiful worship, rather than the focus of the relationship.

In order to work for Him, we don’t necessarily need to trust Him fully. But if we desire a deep, intimate relationship with Jesus, there’s no other way around it: we must trust Him with all our hearts and allow Him to be Lord. By not leaning on our own understanding, we are giving Him permission to faithfully guide us in the way we should live.

This post is written for the glory of the Lord. Jesus Christ deserves all the honor and renown as the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Great I AM. May His spirit instruct you as you read this today, and may you be blessed with a deeper, more abundant walk with our Sweet Savior.

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Simple Optimism: Encouragement for the Day

True optimism is not found in a random positive quote from the internet (though some of them are quite good), but by taking a personal inventory of your God-given greatness.

What do you possess that others admire or that God Himself adores about you?

We all have something.

How can I be so sure?

Because His word says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And that we are created in His image. If He says it, then it must be true.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

Try this: list at least five things that you love about yourself.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

How did it go? Was this an easy activity for you? Or did you find it a bit challenging?

In all honesty, this took me some time. Not because I don’t love myself, but rather because I don’t think of these specific characteristics often. Yet, this practice of positive thinking is not only biblical but extremely healthy for us. Positive thoughts truly do produce a positive outlook. And the manner in which we carry out our day is ALWAYS driven by an outlook (whether negative or positive).

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

Focusing on the good within ourselves cultivates a deep desire to practice “self care”. This is both loving and wise.

“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

So, here goes…..

1. I love my ability to communicate, whether it’s through public speaking or writing a piece of material. And I really enjoy reading my own work.

2. I love my passion towards making a positive difference in other people’s lives.

3. I love my entrepreneurial spirit and my ability to cast vision to others.

4. I love my laugh.

5. I love my deep-embedded interest for foreign travel and cultural experiences.

Now, here’s for another exercise. How about listing 5 things that you would describe as positive in the world that surrounds you. What do you enjoy? What do you appreciate in all of God’s creation? 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Was that exercise a bit easier? For me it was. Now can you see the importance of setting your mind on the things that produce joy, laughter, motivation, and determination in order to retain an optimistic mindset?

“Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” Psalm 100:2

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

Here’s my list from this morning: 

1. I’m thrilled that I get to wake up and enjoy a mug of my hot green/jasmine tea.

2. I really enjoy my garden. I get so tickled every time a new beautiful bud begins to bloom. And the fact that I can cook with my fresh herbs.

3. I really like the idea of having a blank canvas each day, and the fact that it’s completely up to me in how I choose to live my day.

4. To add to point #3, I love that God gives me a dose of totally fresh and new mercies to tap into for whatever I need for the day. It’s just so cool.

5. I love that I can listen to Argentinean tango, cook a good meal, and stare into my husband’s face while catching up on each others lives. It’s just good stuff.

May these two simple exercises spark an appreciation both for the person that God designed you to be and for the world that surrounds you. There is so much treasure that can be found in every single day; we just have to look for it. This search always starts with an optimistic outlook, beloved. 

Feel free to post your comments below, because I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you for choosing His Daily Dose! Are you currently a subscriber? We’d love to have you! Just click HERE and begin receiving daily, encouraging posts sent straight to your inbox.

 

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Flattery is a Trap

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Charles Caleb Cotton

Flattery is a behavior to avoid, because according to the Word, flattery is a trap. And I have absolutely no interest in entertaining relationships with individuals who will set traps for my feet, nor do I desire to to set them for others. May we clean our mouths with hyssop of honorable speech through the power of Christ to speak that which is true in the most fitting occasion. This is love in action towards God and others.

So, what is flattery? 

According to Websters, flattery is defined as insincere or excessive praise. It can be used in a variety of situations such as one with mal-intentions pursuing self-gain through bribery, or more commonly seen, an individual filling a void of acceptance by saying what another wants to hear even if it isn’t true or perhaps untimely. Beware of people who flatter, because when the occasion demands for truth, these are the ones who will often scurry away avoiding confrontation in order to maintain “peace” in the relationship.

There is nothing genuine or honorable about this behavior because it contradicts the commandment to love God (and we do this by living in truth) and to love others as we love ourselves (don’t we all want a person who will love us in truth and not deception?).

In essence, flattery is a cheap thrill providing temporary relief in order to avoid a reality. Sounds uncomfortably sinister doesn’t it, almost like a drug addiction.

So, what prompts a person to flatter another?

Easy. It’s the fear of man, fear of confrontation, the lack of integrity and courage, and an inner insecurity spurring the person to adore another in exchange for approval and acceptance. I know, because I’ve done it more than once. Avoid this behavior at all cost. These are the people who will tell you everything is okay, when it is, in fact, not. These are also the people who will turn away when they seem a harmful action in your life, but esteem you for everything else in your life. This is not truth, and this is not genuine friendship, beloved.

What does the Bible have to say about flattery? 

“In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.” Proverbs 28:23 NLT

“To flatter friends is to lay a trap for their feet.” Proverbs 29:5 NLT

“Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” Proverbs 27:6 NLT

“A lying tongue hates its victims, and flattering words cause ruin.” Proverbs 26:28 NLT

“Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.” Romans 16:18 NLT

What are the potential outcomes of using flattery?

1. A wall is erected between relationships, eliminating the prospect of real intimacy. Since flattery is not rooted in truth and loving correction, but rooted in deception, the communication within the relationship becomes tainted. Any behavior that endorses deception rather than life (which is truth) will produce destruction. Be very careful of this, beloved. Do not cheapen your friendships by withholding the truth from a friend who may need to be lovingly corrected or edified in love.

“An open rebuke is better than hidden love!” Proverbs 27:5 NLT

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17 NLT

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Galatians 6:1 ESV

2. People do not rise to their full potential. When someone is constantly flattered with words (even if the intention is to excessively encourage them), a person may gain an unrealistic image of his or her abilities  and fail to rise to their highest potential.

Allow me to share a personal example with you. Once I began to write for HDD in 2013, I was seeking some honest feedback regarding the quality of my writing. I knew that God had called me as an “unqualified” servant to accomplish the task of writing daily for HDD. In that moment, I wasn’t looking to have my ego stroked, but rather to be corrected. However, comment after comment continued to falsely affirm my writing ability. People didn’t want to hurt my feelings, so they withheld their true opinion, and I continued to make the same mistakes. I’m not shifting the blame nor the responsibility onto others for my personal development in writing, but rather pushing the point that by avoiding confrontation for the sake of comfort, I temporarily had an inflated view of myself and learning was delayed. Let’s speak truth in love, and mutually encourage one another as Christ has called us to do for the glory of His name.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 ESV

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25 ESV

Application Questions 

1. Is flattery an issue in your own life? Are you a recipient or a giver? Perhaps both? If you answered yes to any of the questions, I encourage you to prayerfully evaluate the reason this exists in your life. Next, I would encourage you to repent of any sin it has caused, and ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to change your ways by speaking truth in love even when it may cause temporary hurt in a relationship. Lastly, make a list of the people to whom you have spoken flattery or received it, and ask the Lord to guide you in establishing boundaries with your words in these relationships.

 

Photo provided by listen-hard.com

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