Always Planning Evil

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I am unable to include devotional thoughts today, but this passage is an interesting one to ponder. It tells us that the wicked person’s words and actions are untrustworthy. The worthless person is always plotting and scheming and cannot be trusted. Be sure that God knows their every thought and action and they will be held accountable.

Reading the Word

Proverbs 6:12–15 (ESV)

12 A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech,
13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

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Made for Wisdom

thoughtful young bearded ethnic man with globe sitting at table in modern room

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Reading the Word

Proverbs 3:19–20 (ESV)

19 The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens;
20 by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.

Understanding and Applying the Word

It was by wisdom that God established all of creation. The idea of these verses is that a person who rejects wisdom and understanding rejects what the Lord has built into the world. To do so goes against the way things were designed to be and will result in hardship and struggle. This message is developed more fully in Proverbs 8:22-31.

Growth in wisdom is part of the created order. God has created us to seek understanding because it helps us thrive in life, but more importantly, because it leads us to Him, the beginning of wisdom.

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The Father’s Discipline

happy dad looking at toddler on sandy beach

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Reading the Word

Proverbs 3:11–12 (ESV)

11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof,
12 for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The Book of Proverbs is about growing in wisdom. One of the primary ways we do that is through failure and discipline. We have the choice to learn from such correction or become hardened and unteachable.

In today’s reading, we see that the Lord is compared to a father who disciplines his children. As the father uses such correction out of love and wanting what is best for his children, so also the Lord. We should not think that God’s discipline is for our pain and misery. It is from love. It is for our benefit in order that we might learn and grow in wisdom. Praise our Father who loves us enough to correct us when we go astray.

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Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 35–6 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Proverbs 3:5–8 (ESV)

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Understanding and Applying the Word

We all want to be our own authority. We want to make our own decisions about right and wrong and what is best for us. This is the very reason Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden. They wanted to be “like God” and know good and evil for themselves. In other words, they wanted to make their own decisions rather than listen to God.

The problem with us being in authority is we are not God. We do not have a full understanding of all things and what is best for us in each and every situation. God, on the other hand, is the all-knowing, loving Creator. He made us and placed us in the world he designed and has told us how to live. This is the same God who loves us and wants the very best for us. The wise thing to do is to listen to him.

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I Will Rejoice in the Lord

Habakkuk 317–18 [widescreen]

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading for the day. Be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along every day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Habakkuk 3:17–19 (ESV)

17Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,

18yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

19God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.

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Lady Wisdom Calls Out

Proverbs 120 169

Reading the Word

Proverbs 1:20–23 (ESV)

20  Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
in the markets she raises her voice;
21  at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
22  “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
23  If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Wisdom is personified as a woman who calls out to all. If they will go to her, they can learn from her. She will teach them. With this invitation there are two questions: How long will the simple (unwise) love being so? And how long will scoffers continue to scoff and hate knowledge?

No one chooses to be a fool. Some just think they are already wise and have no need for a teacher. Instead of learning, they scoff at others. Instead of receiving wisdom and knowledge, they reject it and turn from it. Such a mindset sets a person up for many difficulties down the road. Wisdom is a willing teacher if only we are also willing students. Learning requires a willingness to admit being wrong and also to change, which can be hard, but worth it in the end.

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Learning from Your Parents

father talking to his son

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Reading the Word

Proverbs 1:8–9 (ESV)

8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching,
9 for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Yesterday, I posted the opening words to the Book of Proverbs. As I considered those words, I thought, “Why not spend some time in the Book of Proverbs and examine some f the things we learn there?” So, that is what I plan to do for the next several days. Let me know if you have any favorites that you want to be sure to cover because I do not plan to look at every single verse.

In today’s reading, we find one of the chief sources of wisdom that God has given us: our parents. They are with us from the very beginning and are able to teach us about life through their own learning and experiences. If we listen carefully to our parents, we can be spared much trouble in life or the need to learn things “the hard way.” I know that not every parent is a great source of wisdom. Many are not. However, proverbs are statements of general truths and parents are some of the most important teachers we have. It is wise to listen to them.

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Growing in Wisdom

Proverbs 17 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Proverbs 1:5–7 (ESV)

5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
6 to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.

7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The Book of Proverbs tells us that there are two kinds of people who are unwise. There are those who are unwise because they have not yet had a chance to learn and are still in process. Children would be an example of this category as they learn and grow to maturity. The second kind of unwise are the foolish. This group has had opportunities to learn and grow, but they refuse to take instruction. Instead they remain in their ignorance and suffer the consequences.

The ultimate source for wisdom is from the Creator of all things. Who better to tell us what this world is all about and how to best live in it? So, the beginning of wisdom is to “fear” the Lord. This means that we know he is there, that he deserves our worship, and that we will give an account to him for our lives. The wise person puts God at the center of all things and seeks to understand all that God has said in his word. Do not fail to grow in wisdom through neglect of the word of God. Make daily Bible reading a top priority in your life. It would be foolish to do otherwise.

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The Chief of Sinners

1 Timothy 115 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

1 Timothy 1:12–15 (ESV)

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The writings of Paul seem to dominate the New Testament. It is through his letters that we truly gain our understanding of most of our foundational Christian doctrines. God certainly used Paul in a great way. As Paul reflected on this truth, he did so with humility. Paul understood that it was only by God’s grace that he had been able to do anything at all for the Lord. After all, he was a “blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent” of God and God’s people, but God had saved Paul and chose to use him.

 Paul knew that his salvation was fully by grace. He was the “foremost” sinner. He was not in any way deserving of salvation. It was only through Jesus Christ, the one who came into this world to save sinners, that he was saved. Paul never forgot this truth and we must not forget it either. We owe everything to God’s grace. It does not matter how much we may accomplish for the Lord in this life. We may accomplish great things or remain unknown. Regardless, all that we are and all that we are able to do are only because of what God has done for us. Jesus Christ has come into the world to save sinners and use them for his glory. Let us praise his name!

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The Folly of the Cross

1 Corinthians 118 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

1 Corinthians 1:18–25 (ESV)

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Understanding and Applying the Word

There really is no middle road when it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ. A person will either laugh at the foolishness of the message. After all, how does a man come back from the dead? Or a person will see the glorious hand of God and the power of God working through the events of the cross to bring salvation to all who will believe.

The message of the gospel is Jesus Christ crucified. The perfect, sinless Son of God was hung on a cross until he died. He was buried in a tomb. And later, he rose from the dead alive again. That is the message and it is through these events that God is saving mankind. This is the message that Christians are called to proclaim and it is the only message that can give life to a dying world. Many will laugh and consider it nonsense, but for those who believe, their is forgiveness and eternal life.

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