Delicious Gossip

Have you ever heard a juicy piece of gossip about someone? You tried to act all surprised and shocked, yet you ate it up! This bit of gossip, whether true or not, made you feel better about yourself, didn’t it? It also caused you to judge the person, didn’t it? You don’t even know if it was true, but it sure tasted good! King Solomon said that this is very true of human beings. We love juicy gossip. This is what he wrote in Proverbs 26:22 (NIV):
The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.
Gossip is very dangerous. It can tear relationships and friendships apart. Solomon said so in Proverbs 16:28 (NIV) when he wrote:
A perverse person stirs up conflict,
and a gossip separates close friends.
The apostle Paul told the church of Rome in Romans 1:28 says that gossip is a part of the wicked acts of humanity. Gossip may be delicious, but it can quickly turn sour in your stomach. When you hear some delicious gossip, let it end with you. Don’t be too eager to run out and share it with others. Besides, you don’t know if the one who was talking to you will be talking about you next.

Mind Your Own Business

Have you ever wished you had stayed out of someone else’s business? Maybe there was a time when your in-laws were fighting and you got roped into it. Perhaps your friends were in an argument and they wanted you to take sides. Like a fool, you went and got involved. It became all too apparent that this was not your battle and yet you were stuck in the middle of it. If only you had had the sense to mind your own business. King Solomon warned against rushing into someone else’s fight. This is what he said in Proverbs 26:17 (NIV):
Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears
is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.
Think about a stray dog for just a moment. If you were to grab one by the ears, it would turn on you in a rage, wouldn’t it? That’s a pretty dumb thing to do, isn’t it? Yet we will involve ourselves in other people’s quarrels and arguments all of the time. We end up taking one side over the other and too often find ourselves the object of one of the party’s anger, if not both. Do yourself a favor and mind your own business. Let them sort it out for themselves and you’ll still have two friends.

Be Kind To Your Enemies

Have you heard the phrase, “kill them with kindness”? It means that when people are mean to you, you should show them kindness instead of trying to get revenge. King Solomon said that when we are kind to our enemies, not only are we rewarded by God, but we also create feelings of guilt and shame in our enemies. This is what Solomon wrote in Proverbs 25:21-22 (NIV):
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.
I believe that there are other benefits to not seeking revenge, but in showing kindness instead. When we show kindness to our enemies, we show the world to whom we really belong. Jesus said that we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. The way of Jesus is kindness and love, not revenge and retaliation. When we show kindness, we may also turn an enemy into a friend. If someone is mean to you today, don’t try and exact revenge. Demonstrate kindness to them and experience the favor and reward of the Lord.

Zealous, Not Jealous

Have you ever wondered why bad people prosper? Have you ever questioned as to why you seem to struggle and yet immoral people have it all? You see unscrupulous people thriving while you are barely able to make ends meet. Why does this happen? It fills your heart with jealousy for those who succeed, doesn’t it? What’s the point of being a follower of Jesus if those who reject Him are prospering? King Solomon warns us against this line of thinking in Proverbs 23:17-18 (NIV), when he wrote:
Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
18 There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.
Solomon reminds us that there is hope beyond this life. Don’t get so hung up on the things of this world that you miss the thing that matters most – Heaven. There’s more to life than riches and fame. The other thing you don’t know about those who seemingly have it all is what their life is really like. Maybe they have the world by the tail and they’re absolutely miserable. Perhaps they would give everything just to have the hope of life beyond the grave like you do. So don’t be jealous of sinners, but be zealous for the Lord.

Money Is Fleeting

We spend so much of our time trying to obtain wealth, don’t we? We think that money will make us happy and satisfied. So many people would love to be rich. We look at movie stars, CEOs and millionaires with jealousy in our eyes and greed in our hearts. People will play the lottery every time it gets over $300 million in the hopes of cashing in on a jackpot. Some people play it religiously with the dream of untold wealth. The book of Proverbs says that we should not be obsessed with getting rich. Here’s what it says in Proverbs 23:4-5 (NIV):
Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
do not trust your own cleverness.
5 Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
for they will surely sprout wings
and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
Money is fleeting, according to Solomon. One day it is here and the next it is gone. Just when you think you’ve got everything cinched up tight, your money can leave you high and dry. Instead of trying to get rich, why don’t we learn how to save instead of spend? How about we try to curb our out of control spending and credit card usage? Let’s learn to make a few sacrifices instead of indulging every desire for retail therapy. We just might be richer than we realize.

No Excuse For Laziness

When it comes to work, some people will find any excuse to try and get out of it. Some people are just lazy. Whether they had a poor example of hard work growing up or they’ve grown lazy over the years because they’ve been enabled, the fact is that some people just don’t want to work. They will come up with every reason to justify their laziness. They will even make up fictitious reasons to avoid work. King Solomon wrote about this in Proverbs 22:13 (NIV) when he wrote:
The sluggard says, “There’s a lion outside!
I’ll be killed in the public square!”
Of course this is an extreme example of an excuse to get out of work. The principle remains, though. Lazy people will try to get out of work and they might get creative while doing so. God’s Word tells us that we should not be lazy, but rather we should work hard as though we were working for Jesus and not for human beings (Colossians 3:23). If Jesus were your boss, what kind of work ethic would you exhibit? If you knew that God was going to give you a performance review, how would your work habits change? Make a decision today to work hard, not only for your reputation as an employee, but as a follower of Christ.

The Blessings Of Generosity

In Genesis 12, God called Abram to follow Him. God said that He would bless Abram to be a blessing and that the whole world would be blessed through him. The New Testament tells us that we will be enriched in every way so that we can be generous on every occasion (2 Corinthians 9:11). There is a purpose behind our blessings. The purpose is to bless others. King Solomon wrote about this in Proverbs 22:9 (NIV), when he said:
The generous will themselves be blessed,
for they share their food with the poor.
Stinginess and greed have no place in the heart of a follower of Jesus. We are not blessed in order to hoard more and more for ourselves. We are blessed by God for the purpose of blessing others. Jesus is our model for generosity. He let go of everything and humbly came to earth to bless humanity. He didn’t grasp anything so tightly that He couldn’t let go of it. Instead, Jesus gave up the riches of Heaven to come and bless the Earth. God generously gave us His one and only Son so that we could receive the blessings of Heaven. We must, in turn, learn to let go of all that we have in order to bless others. Let us share what we have knowing that we will receive blessing upon blessing when we do.

Start Them Off Right?

As Christian parents, we want our children to grow in faith and in wisdom. We want our kids to grow up to love Jesus with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength. We want to pass on our faith to the next generation. So we take them to church. We take them to youth group. We have conversations with them about God. We try to live a godly life in front of them. We pray for our kids and ask God to protect them. These are all good things to do. King Solomon said so when he wrote these words in Proverbs 22:6 (NIV):
Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
What happens, though, when they turn from it? I have talked with several brokenhearted  parents who cling to this verse as a promise from God and feel as though God has let them down. They did all of the right things, but their kids have wandered from the faith. Proverbs aren’t necessarily promises. They’re better seen as guiding principles. Everyone has to make their faith their own. Every generation has to make up their own minds regarding faith in Christ. As a parent, do your best to instill faith in your children and never stop praying for them, even when they are older. Trust the Lord to constantly call them back to His loving arms of grace.

Your Character Is Valuable

What do people think about when they hear your name? How does your reputation precede you? What do people think about your character? If someone were to accuse you of something behind your back, what would the person listening do? Would they deny it saying, “She would NEVER do something like that!”? Or would they say, “I could totally see him doing that!”? Your name and your character are so important, according to King Solomon. Pay attention to what he wrote in Proverbs 22:1 (NIV):
A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
Character and reputation matter more than wealth. You can be rich beyond your wildest dreams, but if you’re a jerk, no one will want to be around you no matter who much wealth you’ve accumulated. After you’re gone people won’t talk about how rich you were. They’ll talk about how you treated them or how you lived. What would you want people saying about you at your funeral? How many people would show up to celebrate your life? Money can’t buy friends, but good character will cause others to admire you. Do not long for riches. Instead, live with character and your reputation will always be remembered.

The Lord Wins

We like to make plans, don’t we? We think about the future quite a bit. We either approach it with great anticipation or with dread. We are either embracing it with hope or we are filled with fear over what the future holds. During the last election, there was a great deal of talk about the future. Both candidates promised a better future. Supporters of each candidate believed that their guy could make it happen and that voting for the other guy’s plan was a recipe for failure and disaster. King Solomon tells us that God is ultimately in control. He wrote these words in Proverbs 21:30 (NIV):
There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan
that can succeed against the Lord.
You do not have to fear the future if you are on God’s side. Scripture makes it very clear that the Lord wins in the end. Jesus Christ is the Victor and the Champion of history. No plan made by any politician will succeed if he or she is not on the Lord’s side. There may be short-term gains, but the ultimate victory belongs to God. Do not align yourself with any worldly leader, but rather with Jesus. True future success is found in Him.

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