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

Avoid Stingy Hospitality

One minute read.

Daily Reading: Isaiah 10:1-11:16, 2 Cor. 12:11-21, Psalm 56:1-13, Proverbs 23:6-8

Daily Verse: “Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies,” Prov. 23:6

Avoid stingy hospitality.

People who grudgingly show hospitality towards others make the evening unpleasant. Instead of wanting you to enjoy their offerings, they feel resentment.

“Look how much they’re eating! Save some for someone else,” a friend told me years ago at a social gathering at her home. “They don’t even appreciate the hard work I did preparing it.”  Not saying a word, I walked away; understanding words would do no good.

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Cor. 9:7

God doesn’t want us to give grudgingly but with a cheerful heart. If entertaining people irritate you, then don’t entertain them. And don’t eat the bread of someone who has a stingy heart.

Everything we have comes from the Lord and will perish one day. Hold things loosely, and share God’s blessings freely with others. Extending hospitality willingly to others glorifies our Maker and shines light into a dark world.

Lord, forgive us for stingy hearts. Give us opportunities to share Your blessings with others freely and with cheerful hearts. Help us shine Your light into the world around us, one act of love at a time. IJNIP. Amen

Fleeting Wealth

One minute read.

Daily Reading: Isaiah 8:1-9:21, 2 Cor. 12:1-10, Psalm 55:1-23, Proverbs 23:4-5

Daily Verse: “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.” Prov. 23:4

Fleeting wealth.

Solomon warns us not to wear ourselves out acquiring wealth because it disappears quickly. A bird flying off symbolized fleeting wealth in the ancient world; becoming a slave to money steals the joy out of life.

“Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much, disown you, and say, ‘Who is the Lord? Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” Prov. 30:8-9

Living a contented life means learning to live with enough. If we have too much wealth, we may forget Who provided it for us, turning away from the Lord. Too little money, and we may do something to dishonor God. Satisfaction with what the Lord offers leads us to a contented life. We don’t need everything; we need enough. And in America, we have more than enough.

Focus on what you do have instead of what you don’t have, and you will find peace. Developing an attitude of gratitude leads to a contented life.

Lord, forgive us for wearing ourselves out for the things of this world that won’t last. Help us develop attitudes of gratitude as we focus on the blessings that abound in our lives. Let us live joyfully for You! IJNIP. Amen

Don’t Overindulge

One minute read.

Daily Reading: Isaiah 6:1-7:25, 2 Corinthians 11:16-33, Psalm 54:1-7, Proverbs 23:1-3

Daily Verse: “Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food.” Prov. 23:3

Don’t overindulge.

Proverbs 23 starts with a warning about overeating the ruler’s food because it may sabotage your chances for advancement. Remembering that everyone has ulterior motives helps curb my appetite. People don’t generally do things without expecting something in return. Human nature exposed.

Oliver Anthony, the YouTube sensation who turned down an 8-million-dollar contract, continues to grow in popularity because he refuses to overindulge in the ruler’s food. His song, “Rich Men North of Richmond,” says it all.

Overindulging in the lies told through the media will impact lives. Understanding a handful of companies control the message allows us to become discerning about what we ingest. Fact-checking and not believing everything we hear will help us find truth in today’s world.

Whether food or media, overindulging hurts our lives. Living a life of moderation applies to all areas, not just the dinner table.  

Lord, forgive us for overindulging in the ruler’s delicacies. Help us apply moderation to our lives in all areas, not letting anyone exploit our naivete. In all things, let us put You first, following You in all Your ways. IJNIP. Amen

Sacred Boundaries

One minute read.

Daily Reading: Isaiah 3:1-5:30, 2 Corinthians 11:1-15, Psalm 53:1-6 Proverbs 22:28-29

Daily Verse: “Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set.” Prov. 22:28

Sacred boundaries.

Removing boundaries set by God caused problems in ancient times, violating sacred inheritances. People often tried to gain more land by infringing on another’s property. The Lord wants the ancient traditions preserved, not moved.

As a crafter, I rent a space from a local retailer to sell my wares. Each vendor has a designated amount of square footage to occupy. People often try to take some of their neighbor’s space, especially if they have an empty spot. Protecting my boundaries means keeping my area full and ensuring my neighbors don’t encroach on my territory.

Testing the limits, no matter what the boundaries, occurs naturally with humans. We always want more, not satisfied with what God gives us. Respecting boundaries and trusting the Lord’s provision will help us live contented lives.

Don’t cross the boundaries God sets for you. Ask the Lord to expand your territory instead of trying to do it yourself.

Lord, forgive us for encroaching on someone else’s physical or emotional boundary. Help us to respect other’s lines in the sand and trust You to expand our territories. IJNIP. Amen