Avoid Temptation

One minute read.

Daily Reading: Isaiah 39:1-41:16, Ephesians 1:1-23, Psalm 66:1-20, Proverbs 23:25-28

Daily Verse: “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” Prov. 23:26

Avoid temptation.

Verses 26-28 warn against folly, portrayed as loose women, a prostitute, and a wayward wife. Falling for their seductive ways leads the son into a pit that leads to death.

We all have temptations that lead us to places we don’t want to go. Identifying life’s seductions that drag us down wrong paths helps us to avoid them. The teacher in today’s verse wants us to follow his example, shunning the temptress and keeping our eyes focused on him.

Jesus, the perfect teacher, helps us avoid pitfalls when focusing on Him.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Cor. 10:13

God gives us a way out of the temptations we face. When you get sucked in by allure, look for the exit door and run to it. Avoid the temptress by staying focused on Jesus.

Lord, forgive us for falling for the temptations of this world. As we focus our eyes on You, help us run from temptation, staying on the path of life You offer. Give us victory over the temptress. IJNIP. Amen

Acquire Truth

One minute read.

Daily Reading: Isaiah 37:1-38:22, Galatians 6:1-18, Psalm 65:1-13, Proverbs 23:24

Daily Verse: “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.” Prov. 23:24

Acquire truth.

Parents whose children seek truth and gain wisdom make them happy. Parents have total control over what their kids do for a very short time. But before long, children begin making decisions without consulting mom and dad. Good choices make happy parents.

Coco Gauff, winner of the 2023 U.S. Open, made her parents smile on Sept. 9th when she captured her first major tennis championship in NYC because of wise choices. But one of her best choices that day happened after the match.

While waiting for the trophy presentation, Coco did something I’ve never seen another player do. She got down on her knees and prayed, thanking God for the strength to play her best. In front of a crowd of 24,000 people, Coco showed them where she placed her faith.

Acquiring truth and seeking wisdom comes from a relationship with God. Parents have the honor of introducing their children to Jesus. Following Christ leads us to truth and wisdom.

Lord, thank You for giving us Jesus. As we introduce our children to Your Son, let them acquire truth and wisdom, making good decisions with their lives.   Guide and direct us in all our ways, the glory Yours in all we do. IJNIP. Amen

Buy Truth

One minute read.

Daily Reading: Isaiah 33:10-36:22, Galatians 5:13-26, Psalm 64:1-10, Proverbs 23:23

Daily Verse: “Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.” Prov. 23:23

Buy truth.

Acquiring truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding pleases God. When I returned to school for my master’s degree, I paid to learn the truth. Attending Regent University, a Christian education leader, I earned a diploma in Strategic Communication.

Becoming a better communicator taught me how to share the gospel through social media. Now, I use my education to help people develop closer relationships with the Lord and show them how to share it with others to the best of my ability.

In addition to my graduate degree, I continue to take writing classes to help me become a better writer. Last spring, I took a fiction writing class, which stretched me; I struggled to create stories when I worked so hard to focus on the truth. Yet, the course helped improve my writing.

Finding ways to increase our knowledge of the truth helps us build God’s kingdom by applying what we learn to share the good news of Christ’s love and sacrifice.

Lord, help us grow in our knowledge of the truth daily. Let us apply what we learn to increasing Your kingdom. With each day You give us, may we honor and glorify You in all we say and do. IJNIP. Amen

Listen Well

One minute read.

Daily Reading: Isaiah 30:12-33:9, Galatians 5:1-12, Psalm 63:1-11, Proverbs 23:22

Daily Verse: “Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” Prov. 23:22

Listen well.

Parents have life experiences we don’t. Listening to their wise counsel can save us from heartache. Mom and Dad give us advice so we don’t make the same mistakes they did. Only if we listen and learn will we avoid the pitfalls.

My parents both reside in heaven now. But I still hear their advice in my head. When doing a task, I hear my dad’s words, “If you’re going to do something, do it right the first time; that way, you don’t have to do it again.” And every time I feel impulsive, I hear my mom say, “Stop and think, for Pete’s sake.” I drove her crazy with my bull in a China shop attitude towards life.

God uses parents to give us life and help us through it. Listening to their advice should make our days easier, not harder. Just like scripture guides and directs us with its wisdom if we read it and apply it.

In life, we will have struggles. But listening to our parents will help us overcome them and persevere on the difficult days.

Lord, forgive us for not listening to our parents. Help us become better listeners as we hear and apply what they say to our lives. Let us become wiser as we follow our parent’s directions. IJNIP. Amen

Avoid Gluttony

One minute read.

Daily Reading: Isaiah 28:14-30:11, Galatians 3:23-4:31, Psalm 62:1-12, Proverbs 23:19-21

Daily Verse: “Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.” Prov. 23:20-21

Avoid gluttony.

Excessive eating and drinking come from more profound problems.  As a person who has struggled with anxiety and depression my entire life, in years past, I drank too much to numb the pain.  In the same way, emotional eating caused me weight issues.

Seeking Christian therapy and learning coping techniques to deal with and address my emotional issues helped me learn to live life in moderation.  I still drink, but I don’t overindulge, able to enjoy a glass of wine without letting it get out of hand.  In my twenties, not so much.

Avoiding gluttony means addressing the hidden issues that cause a person to overindulge.  Obesity-related health issues cost billions of dollars in the United States annually.  Heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers link back to excess weight.  Both drinking and overeating cause damage.

Overindulge in Jesus, lay your emotional burdens at His feet, and allow Him to guide you on a healthy living path by applying His teachings and seeking wise counsel.

Lord, forgive us for gluttony in our lives. Lead us on the path of moderation as we follow You. Help us not overindulge in things of this world but instead, overindulge in time with Jesus. IJNIP. Amen

Future Hope

One minute read.

Daily Reading: Isaiah 25:1-28:13, Galatians 3:10-22, Psalm 61:1-8, Proverbs 23:17-18

Daily Verse: “Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” Prov. 23:18

Future hope.

“But they seem to be doing great while I’m suffering.”  I hear some form of this statement a lot when talking to people going through difficult times. A woman going through a divorce that sees her husband thriving with his new girlfriend while she suffers doesn’t seem right. Wondering how God will bring good from our struggles while the persecutors continue to succeed baffles anyone.

We must remember at those times, we don’t know the whole story. Just because someone seems to have it all doesn’t mean they do. And God doesn’t waste any of our struggles, using them to grow and mature us into who He wants us to become.

Our hope comes from Jesus, not man. Putting your hearts desires into a person will lead to heartache. But placing your trust in Christ will lead to a fruitful future, one garnered in unconditional love and unspeakable joy.

Treasure awaits us in heaven. In the meantime, this life prepares us for eternity as we grow and mature through the struggles we endure on Earth. Persevere for the divine pay-off.

Lord, forgive us for questioning Your will. Instead, help us learn what You have for us in the struggles we endure. Give us hope for the future and the strength needed to persevere. In all things, let You receive the glory and honor. IJNIP. Amen

Glad Hearts

One minute read.

Daily Reading: Isaiah 22:1-24:23, Galatians 2:17-3:9, Psalm 60:1-12, Proverbs 23:15-16

Daily Verse: “My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad.” Prov. 23:15

Glad hearts.

Parents love it when their children make wise decisions and speak honestly. The contents of the heart show themselves in the words and actions of the person.

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart,” Matthew 15:18a

One of my favorite moments happened in a tennis lesson with four students, ages 5-7. Playing a game, boys against the girls, they had to see who got the most tennis balls on their side of the court. One ball ended up in the middle; I let one of the girls decide what to do with the ball.

She smiled up at me impishly and kicked the ball to the boy’s side, giving them the win. And she taught me a lesson in good sportsmanship at the same time. When I shared the story with her mom, she had a glad heart.

Wise hearts make life-giving decisions and bring happiness to their parents.

Lord, thank You for giving us the wisdom to share with others. Help us counsel children well, giving them wise hearts that produce good decisions. Gladden our hearts with the life-giving choices made by children. IJNIP. Amen

Necessary Discipline

One minute read.

Daily Reading: Isaiah 19:1-21:17, Galatians 2:1-16, Psalm 59:1-17, Proverbs 23:13-14

Daily Verse: “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.” Prov. 23:13

Necessary discipline.

Children need discipline, a controversial topic in our world today. A recent meme on Facebook illustrates the difference between my childhood and today’s generation:

“Some of y’all come from the ‘If you quit crying, I’ll buy you something’ generation. We came from the ‘If you don’t quit crying, I will give you something to cry about’ generation.”

How many times I heard my mother say, “I’ll give you something to cry about,” I don’t know. But I can tell you her tactics worked. My mother never abused me, but a swift smack to the rear didn’t kill me and helped me learn the lesson. And I didn’t get that many paddlings because after experiencing one, I didn’t want another. The mere threat of one straightened me out.

As always, I pray for parents dealing with discipline in today’s world. No one should abuse their children. Parents have the difficult task of disciplining their kids in an effective manner that promotes learning and growth. God help them honor You in their efforts to raise the children given to them.

Lord, thank You for the children You’ve given us. Please help parents navigate the controversial topic of discipline well. Guide and direct guardians to find effective ways of teaching their wards and helping them become responsible adults. IJNIP. Amen

Listen Well

One minute read.

Daily Reading: Isaiah 15:1-18:7, Galatians 1:1-24, Psalm 58:1-11, Proverbs 23:12

Daily Verse: “Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.” Prov. 23:12

Listen well.

In the olden days, long before modern technology, people couldn’t access Bibles. Scrolls held the scriptures. People listened to religious leaders read from the rolled pieces of paper; the better they listened, the more they learned.

You will find me in church on Sunday mornings, listening to the pastor and scribbling notes in my Love Like Jesus journal. Writing down key points helps me remember and adapt them to my life. I learn valuable lessons each week that help me become more like Jesus.

Reading the Bible helps us discover wisdom, and so does listening to it. One of my mentors loves to take long walks and listen to scripture, allowing it to permeate her soul.   YouVersion makes listening to God’s word easy and accessible.

Wisdom comes in many ways; don’t underestimate the value of listening. Take notes, tune into God’s word, listen well, and acquire knowledge. Apply your heart to instruction and become more like Jesus one day at a time.

Lord, forgive us for not paying attention and listening well. Help us focus our minds and ears, listening well to Your word and those teaching it. As we hear Your instructions, let us apply them to our lives and become more like Jesus. IJNIP. Amen

Waste of Time

One minute read.

Daily Reading: Isaiah 12:1-14:32, 2 Cor. 13:1-14, Psalm 57:1-11, Proverbs 23:9-11

Daily Verse: “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words.” Prov. 23:9

Waste of Time

Trying to help someone who doesn’t want it does no good. Fools reject discipline and instruction, thinking they know better or not respecting the teacher, scorning them.

When teaching tennis, one of my students asked me to help him with his serve. Since he started playing matches, my pupil realized the importance of a consistent and powerful serve.

Smiling to myself, I thought, “It’s about time.”

I tried to improve the student’s serve with basic pointers for years, but he wouldn’t listen. Because the kid didn’t have match experience, my words fell on deaf ears. Eventually, I gave up trying, understanding giving him tips wasted my breath, instead focusing on students who wanted to learn. He became teachable once he realized the importance of the serve in a game situation.

Focus on people who want to hear what you have to say. Don’t waste your breath on unteachable people. Instead, pray for them and ask the Lord to help them become teachable.

Lord, forgive us for rejecting discipline and instruction. Help us always remain teachable and give us the wisdom to discern those who want to learn and grow in our lives. Let us choose our words wisely and not waste them on fools. IJNIP. Amen