Pleasant Words

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16.24

Words have power. They have the power, both to destroy and to edify.

James 3 talks about the tongue. It is hard to tame. It is compared to a flame that can quickly start a blazing forest fire that destroys everything in its path.

Psalm 12.6 reads that the Lord’s words are absolutely reliable. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for us, 2 Timothy 3.16. God’s word teaches a person how to live. It teaches you how to make corrections in your life. Scripture trains us how to live righteously.

Proverbs 12.18 states that words that are recklessly spoken are like the thrust of a sword. They have the power to debilitate a person to the point that the person may never overcome what was said. Negative words can destroy a person’s character.

Proverbs 12.18 also states that the words of the wise bring healing. Positive affirmations can change a person’s habits. They can change a person’s perspective and attitude.

The words that we use in speaking with others or with ourselves are powerful. Let our words be pleasant and reliable, with the ability to heal.

#risingjoy #Proverbs #words

An important characteristic of the noble woman

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31.26

Proverbs refers to various types of women: prostitutes, adulterers, contentious and nagging, to name a few. Proverbs 31 gives an account of the noble woman.

One of her characteristics, and there are many, is that her speech is full of wisdom. Her wisdom comes from above, James 3.17, and is demonstrated by not only her words, but also by her attitudes that are peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, and impartial.

Loving instruction has been translated as law of kindness in other translations. She has learned the importance of being quick to hear and slow to speak, James 1.19, being able to teach others and to give wise counsel. She chooses her words carefully so that nothing unwholesome comes from her mouth, but only words that will benefit the one in need, Ephesians 4.29.

So often, women do not acknowledge the importance that they have in the lives of their families. Wanting so much more, they go forth to conquer the world, or change it. They do not see that the lives that they are shaping in the home have the capacity to change the world.

#risingjoy #Proverbs #women

Tracking righteousness

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

The one who pursues righteousness and love finds life, bounty, and honor. Proverbs 21.21

Have you ever watched a film where there was a tracker, someone who was trying to follow a trail? Usually there are moments when he has to stop and look closely to see in what direction he needs to go. He may have to follow clues that are very difficult for untrained eyes to see.

This verse talks about one who pursues righteousness. The verb pursue can also mean track. The person who tracks righteousness knows where to look for the clues to find it. They also search tirelessly for the goal.

This person also tracks love which in some versions has been translated kindness. Love in the Biblical sense is doing what is best for someone, what is good and kind.

God loves those who pursue righteousness, Proverbs 15.9. The rewards for this pursuit are life, bounty, and honor. God has already made these things possible for the Christian. John 17.3 defines what eternal life is to his readers. It is knowing God and Jesus Christ. In Matthew 6.25-33, we read where God will provide the necessary things for our existence such as food and clothes if we make his kingdom our priority. Some of Paul’s last words to Timothy were to pursue righteousness in the company of other Christians, 2 Timothy 2.22.

We are not alone in this pursuit. We need each other to help us to be the best that we can be!

#risingjoy #Proverbs #seek

Ask for justice

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Many people seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the Lord that one receives justice. Proverbs 29.26

It is a natural tendency to look to what we see as authority for justice. It is our belief that they should act with integrity.

Jesus told a parable to his disciples in Luke 18.1-8. There was a judge in a certain city that did not fear God nor respect people. There was a widow who lived in that city who continued to approach the judge about her cause. She came before him so many times that he decided to give her justice just so she would leave him alone.

This parable is teaching about the need to always pray and not get discouraged. God loves his people and he will act on their behalf. We need to continue to ask for justice. God will grant it to those who are persistent in asking for it.

#risingjoy #Proverbs #justice #prayer

Learning the lesson the hard way

Rising Joy, Vicki Matheny

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Proverbs 21.3

King Saul learned this lesson and its consequences the hard way. In 1 Samuel 15, we read the instructions that the Lord gave to Saul through the prophet Samuel. He was told to go and strike down the Amalekites destroying everything they had. He was to put everyone and everything to death.

Saul attacked the Amalekites and put everything to death, almost. He let King Agag live, as well as the best of the flocks and animals that were of value. God’s reaction? He regretted that he had made Saul king, 1 Samuel 15.10-11.

When later met by Samuel, Saul said that he had done what the Lord had told him to do. When confronted by the prophet, he said that the army had spared the best of the flocks and cattle to sacrifice to God. But, Samuel made it clear that what Saul had done was not acceptable to the Lord.

To do righteousness is to be correct, obedient. Saul failed miserably in this, for this was not the first time that he had not obeyed the Lord. The Lord took the kingdom away from Saul.

We need to be aware of our actions. Are we truly obeying what God has commanded us to do? Or have we, like Saul, done what we thought was better and expect God to put his stamp of approval on it? Rejection of what God has instructed, rebellion, is just as bad as any other sin.

#risingjoy #Proverbs #actions

The benefits of seeking wisdom

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

He stores up effective counsel for the upright, and is like a shield for those who live with integrity, to guard the paths of the righteous and to protect the way of his pious ones. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity – every good way. Proverbs 2.7-9

The beginning of Proverbs 2 talks about the benefits of seeking wisdom. It is something that must be searched after diligently like hidden treasure.

The Lord gives wisdom. James wrote in his letter, 1.5, that if any one feels a lack of wisdom in their life, they can ask God who will give to all generously.

For the one who searches for wisdom with everything they have, God will be like a shield to guard their path and to protect their way. Let us not be like fools who despise wisdom and instruction, but fear the Lord, for from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding, Proverbs 2.6.

#risingjoy #Proverbs #wisdom

Justice a rational trait

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Doing justice brings joy to the righteous and terror to those who do evil. Proverbs 21.15

Justice is a trait that is rational. Both sides of a situation have to be weighed to be able to make a fair judgment. Hearing both sides of an argument can, at times, bring confusion. What is one to do? Where do we find the source of justice?

Solomon wrote in Proverbs 1.3 that the proverbs that he had written would give instruction in justice. The beginning of justice is to fear the Lord, 1.7. Being just is the same as being correct and acting accordingly. The Bible is where we turn to find what is correct, 2 Timothy 3.16-17. The instruction given in the Scriptures teaches one how to be a just person.

Left to himself, man does not have this capability. Because when justice wins out, the evildoer is terrorized. If you do evil, it is only a matter of time before you are caught.

Let us be the ones who are just trying to do what is right!

#risingjoy #Proverbs #justice

Violence

“There is no young person who is in such grave peril as the one who idealizes a violent man, and there is no society in as grave a position as the one that makes heroes out of its most violent members.”

—Stan Mitchell, The Wise Get Wiser, and the Foolish More Foolish, p. 11 (2002), commenting on Proverbs 3.31-32.

#violence #Proverbs

Before finding their way back

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

A cheerful heart brings good healing, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17.22

In this verse, we see the contrast between someone who has a cheerful heart and someone who has a crushed spirit. One is optimistic and happy. The other is unhealthy and lifeless. Yet, it is indicated that both are suffering from an ailment, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual.

Our attitudes are so important in this process called life. Positive attitudes seem to bring, if not healing, an extended life. Negative attitudes take us to a dark place that is full of despair and the road back is often long and painful to walk. Many give up before finding their way back.

One thing that helps is our relationship with God. If we have no relationship with him, when the bad times come, we have no strength outside of our own. Our own strength is not strong enough to get us through the bad times. However, for his children, he has stated that his grace is sufficient to get us through whatever circumstance in which we find ourselves, 2 Corinthians 12.9. Paul writes that he would gladly boast in his weakness so that Christ’s power might reside in him.

Let us all seek the power that comes from a correct relationship with God! A relationship that produces a cheerful heart that brings good healing.

#risingjoy #Proverbs #joy

An appropriate answer

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

A person has joy in giving an appropriate answer, and a word at the right time – how good it is! Proverbs 15.23

Being able to give an appropriate answer is wisdom in action. Courage is needed to give an appropriate answer that is not necessarily what someone wants to hear.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians in 4.29 that a person must not let any unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear. Then in 4.31 he wrote that we must put away every kind of bitterness, anger, wrath, quarreling, and evil, slanderous talk. Not only what we say but how we say it determines how we will be received.

Peter, the apostle who so often spoke first and then reaped the consequences of his words, also wrote in 1 Peter 3.15 that we need to always be prepared to answer anyone who asks about the hope that we possess. There is something that needs to take place first. We have to let Christ be the Lord of our heart.

The tongue is hard to tame and control. Perhaps that is why James 1.19 tells us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Make sure that your brain is paying attention before you speak.

It is true. A word spoken at the right time can bring healing. How good it is!

#risingjoy #Proverbs #words

Two types of people

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy. Proverbs 12.20

Let’s think about the two types of people to which this verse is referring. There are those who plot evil and those who promote peace.

It is hard to believe that a person would actively mislead another. Yet, that is what the word “deceit” means. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines it as “the act of causing someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid”. It is a deliberate act, usually with the intent of harming the person targeted in some way. The heart of those who plot evil contains deceit.

Then, there is the person who promotes peace. They do what they can to further the cause for peace. They want harmony to exist in relationships, in families, and in every area where possible. Peace creates bonds of unity and brings joy to the heart.

Nowhere is this more possible than in a relationship with God through his Son, Jesus. We should be announcing the good news of Jesus to bring others to a knowledge that peace can exist, that joy can abide in the heart.

#risingjoy #Proverbs #peace

Contrast in goals

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

The hope of the righteous is joy, but the expectation of the wicked will remain unfulfilled. Proverbs 10.28

There is such a contrast between righteousness and wickedness. Light and darkness. This contrast can also be seen in the goals that one may have.

Another meaning for the word hope is expectation. Solomon wrote that the hope or expectation of the righteous is joy. A righteous person is one who is obedient to the Lord. Galatians 5.22 lists joy as a part of the fruit of the Spirit. We know by faith, Hebrews 11.1, that what we await or hope for is an eternal home with God and that fills our hearts with joy.

However, the wicked are never satisfied. Proverbs 4.16 says that the wicked cannot sleep unless they cause harm; they are robbed of sleep until they make someone stumble. The wicked are never at peace nor do they know the true meaning of joy.

May we all learn what it means to be righteous and to live with the hope, the certainty, of our eternal destiny. May we have joy that overflows!

#risingjoy #Proverbs #righteousness

Fall seven times

Meditate on this verse:

Indeed a righteous person will fall seven times, and then get up again, but the guilty will collapse in calamity, Proverbs 24.16.

Offer this prayer:

Father, keep me from falling. But if and when I do fall, give me the grit to get up again. Keep me on the way, in the light, behind the Lord Jesus.

Savor this thought:

God takes our weakness into account. The gospel contains every provision for our continued forgiveness.

Take this action:

Identify those moments when you are most prone to falling. God doesn’t want you to fall, 1 John 2.1. What justifications do you use for falling?

#most #falling #Proverbs

The righteous person escapes, Proverbs 12.13

“The evil person is ensnared by the transgression of his speech, but the righteous person escapes out of trouble.”

Proverbs 12.13

Evil is full of lies, obfuscation, half-truths, and self-interest. The righteous person is honest, true, transparent, unselfish. Righteousness pays!

For all the talk of how evil has the advantage, it’s really not true. In the end, evil suffers from its own undoing. God is in control and rewards the righteous!

#votd #Proverbs #evil

Knife to your throat, Proverbs 23.1-2

“When you sit down to eat with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you possess a large appetite.”

Proverbs 23.1-2

In some situations, extreme self-control is necessary, especially in those areas where we are weakest. If not, others will take advantage of us.

The first step to such self-control is to “consider carefully.” We must evaluate situations objectively, not emotionally. Otherwise, our passions will be our downfall.

#votd #Proverbs #self-control