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Did you know that 1 in 9 American adults have Kidney Disease and 1 in 3 who don’t already have it, are at risk to get it? There are currently over 101,000 Americans on the Kidney Donor List waiting to receive a donor. Of that 101,000, twelve of them will die each day while waiting.
March is National Kidney Month and Thursday, March 10th, is World Kidney Day. It’s all about bringing awareness to the world how important the kidneys are, and different ways to keep them healthy.
The National Kidney Foundation lists 5 easy things we can be doing today to help keep your kidneys healthy.
- Find out the condition of your kidneys with an ACR urine test or GFR blood test. Go to www.kidney.org/KEEPHealthy to find out how you can be tested for free.
- Reduce your intake of over the counter pain meds with an anti-inflammatory component (NSAIDs).
- Eat more foods rich in nutrients and less that are processed. They suggest the DASH Diet
- Exercising at least 30 minutes per day.
- Manage your blood pressure and sugar levels. High blood pressure & diabetes are the leading causes of kidney disease and kidney failure.
So what about those who already have kidney disease and are in kidney failure? There are many ways you can help them as well.
- Cash donation
- Donate an old vehicle
- Give a stock gift
- Join a kidney walk
- Participate in a NKF Golf Classic Tournament
- Become an organ donor
You can go to the National Kidney Foundation Donate page for details.
The kidney is near and dear to my heart because over three years ago, God gave me the opportunity to save my husbands life by giving him a kidney. Since doing this, God has also given us many opportunities to share this story; a story about God saving my husband, as well as renewing our marriage. This video, from The 700 Club, is a peak into our story and how forgiveness played an important roll in how my husband received a new kidney.
Throughout much of my married life, I lived under the illusion that I had it all together – it was everyone else that needed fixing. Several years into my second marriage my husband, a Deputy Sheriff, became a workaholic and was never home. Meanwhile, I became a volunteeraholic, too busy to face the fact that we had become two strangers under one roof, raising three kids.
God revealed Himself to me through the different women I volunteered with. As my heart slowly opened to God’s presence, my marriage came crashing down around me. As I cried out for God’s help, I discovered my husband’s affair. I found myself surrounded by faithful people who gave me the strength to face the problems in my marriage and the tools needed to begin fixing it.
Over the next four years, my husband’s health deteriorated and he was forced to retire. Through this God continually showed me I was In His Way and then, when He knew He had my attention, He would proceed to show me how to do things In His Way. In the end, what God told me to do, saved my husband’s life, and our marriage. What was broken is now fixed by the grace and love of God.
My prayer for us today~ Father God, thank you for the forgiveness we receive through Your Son, Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins. I pray we would extend forgiveness to everyone in our life that has, or will, hurt us, Amen.
Hannah has a heart to connect with women of all ages and demographics in a way that is authentic, simple, and relatable. Hannah’s desire is to ignite an understanding, so women live with value and a knowing, that God is unconditional love and has great purpose and intention for all His daughters- regardless of their mistakes and stories.
FINDING YOUR PLACE IN THIS CRAZY WORLD
I walked towards the gate of Sunny’s new school this morning, behind the bars was an enclosed area for children to sit. My eyes found four children in wheelchairs. One little boy dangled bare feet from his chair, while another had his eyes closed and dribbled quietly in the corner of the school yard.
I gulped, took a breath, this is now where my boy ‘belongs,’ the revelation taunted me. I shut the gate behind me realising the severity of Sunny’s disability- it is worse than I thought. I heard a conversation in my head replay itself. “He can’t go to the local school; it doesn’t accommodate his needs- this school will be a better match.”
I felt my eyes prick with tears and my heart cracked just a little bit more. I cleared my throat and saw a teacher, introduced myself and felt my chin quiver. I could barely speak, “This is Sunny and it’s his first day here.” The warm, smiling face directed us to his classroom. I felt his hand touch mine, as he became scared, a child was walking towards us screaming, another was wearing ear phones to block the surrounding noise out.
I tried to still the noise in my head. “Hold it together Hannah. Hold.It.Together.”
I slide the glass door open to find his teacher calming more crying children in the classroom. I hung up Sunny’s bag, pulled diapers out and placed them on his desk and then put his lunch in the fridge. I stood wide-eyed and looking around, doing my best to ooze positivity. A short amount of time passes and I knew it was inevitable; I must leave for the day.
I found my car, placed keys in the ignition and turned it on. I can’t hold it in, I break, sobbing silently.
I feel sadness oozing out, like hot lava from a volcano.
My grief struck me and took my breath away. I tried to stop the tears, as it was the first day that I was actually wearing make-up in a long time, and of course it was now down my cheeks. “Typical” I think to myself- my sense of humour stops me from weeping for a moment.
Before Sunny was born, I thought he’d be ‘normal and healthy.’ The reality is he’s seven, wears diapers, can’t have a proper conversation with me, has melt downs in public where I would like to tell people to “Please stop staring, as we are not a circus,” And my life, my family’s life is strained daily.
A strange feeling washed over me as I wept against the steering wheel. I felt displaced all of a sudden.
Who do I fit in with?
Have you ever felt displaced?
The type of feeling where you just don’t.quite.fit.in?
Oh, it may only be one degree of separation from those surrounding you, but that tearing is just enough to make you want to become invisible at times. A nagging feeling fills the pit of your stomach causing angst, you try to ignore the pull which brings you down…even if it’s just a little bit, but it lingers.
You might be in a room filled with people who you’ve known your whole life, yet the truth be known, they are strangers to you and you to them.
Or you hold the attention of those around you in social settings, oozing confidence, yet if you’re truthful; you’re the loneliest woman standing in front of others and who would never suspect.
There’s lack of finding a home, a tribe, where you identify with others and they identify with you.
There are barriers, some you can’t express or put language to, as they are unintentional and others you have built which are blind spots in your life and work as a repellant towards those who attempt to connect with you. They barb and spike people and send them retreating quietly but quickly.
The girl who is willing to look at her blind spots by getting on her knees and asking God to reveal them, is the girl who reflects great courage and strength.
And if you’re really honest, you might fess up to being the girl who deliberately places a wedge between yourself and friends, as you use distance to protect your heart. You hate the thought of being displaced but what scares you even more-is to be deeply known by someone.
This breeds a cycle which spins around and around which contributes and heightens your feelings of not belonging, but isn’t that safer than being known?
For being known, seen and loved by another, runs at a risk of being hurt, for revealing your heart requires authenticity, and authenticity demands truth. And who in the world really wants to be truthful?
So you submit to fear and the enemy who brings it to you, permitting the lies to swirl around your mind, you listen to the snickers and believe the quiet whispers. You swallow the deceit like a pill, which is digested deep within, and what we allow to be planted in our lives is manifested through thinking, behaviour and actions- it’s an outpouring.
- You hear the word ‘courage’ and believe it’s for everyone else,
- You hear about being ‘valued’ yet that’s for the girl next door,
- You hear stories of others having their hearts healed, but that’s not for you, surely not?
- Yet the truth is, you have been formed for relationship, connection and a joyous life.
- Isn’t that why Jesus left the heavens and came to earth?
- Isn’t that what Christianity is built on?
So I beg you friend, if you, like me, have felt displaced, than I pray, that you have the courage of a lion to rise and face the lies which keep you chained up, to rebuke the fear which wants to settle in your life, to smash the walls which keep you caged, to call out to the God of the Universe who leans in and hears the cries of his daughters, and live in friendships that are full of joy and satisfy the innate and very real feeling of needing a place to be seen, heard, known and loved.
Hannah’s newly released book, Ravishing, is written candidly, vulnerably and with transparency about the journey of being married to a Pastor and discovering God’s relentless love along the way. Ravishing is a story where Heavenly grace trumps every time and shows that God is truly in the game of changing lives. You can find out more about Hannah on her website, hannahbryant.com or follow her on instagram – @Ravishingcollective.
February is the month everyone is talking about love; how good it makes them feel when they receive it or how much they wish they had it. Many people talk about love as if its something they should receive because they are entitled to it.
In Matthew 22, Jesus says the two greatest commands are to love. We are to first love God with all our heart, soul and mind and then love our neighbors as ourselves. But what does it look like to love?
- Love is patient
- Love is kind
- Love does not envy
- Love does not boast
- Love is not proud
- Love is not rude
- Love is not self-seeking
- Love is not easily angered
- Love keeps no record of wrongs
- Love does not delight in evil
- Love rejoices with the truth
- Love always protects
- Love always trusts
- Love always hopes
- Love always perseveres
- Love never fails
Over the past few months, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 has been rattling around in my head. In this passage of scripture, God gives us a clear definition of what love is and is not. I confess, the first time I read this passage, I used it as a checklist for others and how they were failing to love me the way God wanted them to. I use to pray for God to help them love me the way I deserved to be loved.
Then God changed my heart. He gently reminded me I didn’t deserve love any more, or less, that anyone else did. We were all equal in His eyes. Because God loved me first, I was to love others first, to be the example of love.
We are called to love everyone, no matter what. If you come across someone you feel you can’t love, which we all will, many times throughout our lives, we can ask for God’s help. Pray, confess the difficulties you are experiencing while trying to love this person. Ask God to change your heart. Ask God to help you see this person the way He sees them. Ask God to show you, and help you understand, the gifts He has given them. Ask God for opportunities to love this person in a way only you can. I believe God will give you the ability to love this person, because He will change your heart, soul and mind.
I looked up each of the words that describe what love is or is not in the dictionary. This is what I came up with:
- Love bears provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like.
- Love desires to help others, is considerate or helpful.
- Love does not feel discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.
- Love does not speak with exaggeration and excessive pride about oneself.
- Love is not having or showing a high opinion of one’s own dignity, importance or superiority.
- Love is not discourteous, impolite, harsh or ungentle in a deliberate way.
- Love does not seek one’s own interest or selfish ends.
- Love is not easily displeased.
- Love does not intentionally remember being treated unfairly or unjustly.
- Love does not receive pleasure, satisfaction or enjoyment in wicked, harmful, or immoral acts.
- Love is delighted and joyful with acts of honesty and integrity.
- Love always defends or guards from attack, invasion, loss, annoyance, insult, etc.
- Love always sees others as confidently reliable.
- Love always looks forward with desire and confidence.
- Love is always steady in a course of action especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
- Love never falls short.
I don’t know about you, but this list seems overwhelming. Thankfully, God loves us and offers His grace to us regardless of how we fail to love the way He loves us. Also, we are not called to love in our own strength or ability. God will enable us to love, but we must first seek Him and His love for us.
God gifts us each in a way we naturally love. I usually find it fairly easy to be patient and kind toward others. How has God gifted you to love? I struggle with protecting and trusting others. I’m fearful of being hurt. What part of loving others do you struggle with?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the love you have for everyone everywhere. I pray Your love for us would pour out onto those in our lives, Amen.
A few years ago, I published a book, In His Way, for the purpose of sharing how God had radically changed my life and my marriage. I was walking around lost and broken, not even realizing it. My perception of the world around me was in 2D and black-n-white, dull and flat. Once I began to open my eyes and heart to God, I could suddenly see the beautiful 3D vibrant world that God created, all around me. The possibilities ahead of me seemed endless and fascinating!
As I’ve said before, and will continue to say, I am not a writer. I like the simplicity of numbers and equations. So when God planted the desire in my heart to write my testimony out in the form of a book, I put it in His hands when I published it. Through people, places and circumstances I realized the importance of sharing what God had done (or is doing), but had no idea how to get this into the hands of others.
They (believers of Christ Jesus) triumphed over him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony ~ Revelation 12:11
I know God has a plan and purpose for this book, my testimony, and has it timed out perfectly. Since I published In His Way, and left it in God’s hands, He has brought many wonderful opportunities to me, with very little effort or thought on my part. God is so wonderfully good isn’t He?
I’ve been featured in a few magazines and newspapers. I’ve also been blessed to participate in a few radio interviews and even a local northern California television show, Love Your Life Ministries.
God has done it again! A few months ago, the 700 Club , a television show on the Christian Broadcasting Network, contacted me. They said they wanted to explore the possibility of doing a segment on my husband and I about our testimony, which they discovered through my book. I was walking on clouds! God continues to amaze me! I don’t know why I’m always so surprised. Probably because I can’t understand how or what I could possibly do to make any kind of impact on any ones life. Thank goodness there is no need to understand what God will do or how He will do it. We must simply be willing to obediently act when He calls upon us and trust He will, in all ways, enable and equip us.
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~ Hebrews 13:20-21
About a week before Christmas, I received the call to schedule the interview. They wanted to come and film for an entire day, in our house. I was excited and felt as though I could barely function. My head was spinning and my to-do list suddenly grew a mile long with the thought of having them over to film in our house. The dusty blinds and cluttered corners were no longer acceptable, but how would I find the time or energy to get my house prepared for such a big event?
Thankfully, not only were we praying, but many others were praying for us as well. So I was warmly comforted by God’s peace and reminded He would give me the time and energy to get done what He desired I attend to and nothing else. I have to confess, we did have a moment of panic, worrying our house needed something to make it look presentable. We found ourselves at the store about to lay down a lot of money for new valances for the front room, which is where we planned to do the interview.
I’m glad God knew we would have this moment of weakness and made sure there wasn’t enough of anything we liked. After we stood around trying to figure out what we were going to do, we came to our senses and left the store, empty handed. We remembered God had it covered and it was going to be exactly what He wanted it to be regardless of what the valances, or lack of, looked like.
The day of the interview has come and gone. It was a beautiful cool Northern California day, perfect for a few shots outside. I enjoyed getting to know the ladies who came to film. I think I might have asked them as many questions as they asked us. They were kind, thoughtful and extremely talented in their field of work. I was sad for them to go. I could have chatted with them for hours. I find their jobs intriguing. They get to travel, meet with people in their homes and hear how God has transformed their lives. Sounds like a slice of heaven to me! I don’t think there are many other jobs as wonderful as that out there.
So stay tuned! I will definitely post a link to the interview after it airs. I’m excited to see what God will do through our testimony. I’m also ecstatic to see what God will do next, for and through my book.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the testimony you have given to ever believer all across the world. I pray we would obediently and boldly share it with those You place in our lives, Amen.
Yesterday, on date night, we watched the newest Hunger Game movie. It was intense and extremely scary. Thankfully I had my man with me to protect me. I’m sure he had a good laugh watching me freak out in the theater. It’s a good thing we were sitting in the very back of the theater. I kept closing my eyes, covering my eyes and looking anywhere except the ginormous movie screen. I was tempted to leave the theater with the excuse I had to use the restroom, but was afraid I’d miss something important.
A time for crying and a time for laughing, a time for mourning and a time for dancing ~ Ecclesiastes 3:4 CEB
Earlier today we watched something I could calmly sit through. Well, I don’t think calmly is the right word. It was something I could sit through without getting scared. Oh, and for reference, I think the Indiana Jones movies are all scary. Back on topic, we watched Ellen Degeneres: Here and Now from 2003. She’s not scary, but very funny. Who makes you laugh?
A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing ~ Proverbs 17:22 AMP
I’m thankful for the gift of laughing. I enjoy laughing, especially with family and friends. Not just the kind of laughing that happens from watching something funny on television, but the kind of laughing that happens when your being silly.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I went to a Christmas party. We each brought a gift for the gift exchange where you could steal gifts from one another. The gift I opened had silly Santa hats in it and then later, after my husband’s gift was stolen, he ended up with a gift with two more silly Santa hats. My husband was about to put the Santa hat on, when I said he should wear the elf hat. The moment he put on the hat I started laughing and could not stop. He looked absolutely ridiculous in the hat, but what made it hilarious were the funny faces he kept making. It was awesome! He owned the fact that he looked ridiculous and went with it. Now that was funny. I laughed so hard that night. It was in deed a fun night filled with amazing food, great fellowship and lots of laughter created by silliness. When was the last time you laughed because of something silly?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of laughter and how it brings healing and joy to our heart. I pray we would let our guards down more often and be silly, Amen.
I’m thankful for the obedience of Mary and Joseph when the angel Gabriel told them about the baby they would have. I wish I were as obedient to God as they were. I know I can be, but it’s so hard. It can be very difficult not to worry and let fear of what might happen take over and rule my mind. I’m thankful for the inspiring story of Joseph and Mary’s faith.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. ~ Luke 1:26-38
Back in Mary’s day, a woman becoming pregnant before marriage was a sin, punishable by death. I would have been freaking out if I were Mary. Did Mary freak out? No, she simply asked a question so she could better understand what the angel Gabriel was talking about. I can’t fathom trying to comprehend having the Holy Spirit ‘come upon me’ causing me to become pregnant. Not even today. I think that explanation would bring hundreds of questions into my mind, leading me to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’. Mary did nothing even close to this. She answered calmly (I say calmly because there’s no exclamation point at the end of her answer) “My it be as you have said”.
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. ~ Matthew 1:18-25
Then there’s Joseph and how he reacted to the news. Joseph was worried about how Mary would be treated, so he was going to quietly divorce her. I love that he was concerned for her, so sweet. Since he was to stay with Mary, not divorce her, an angel spoke to Joseph in a dream. The angel explained the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and was fulfilling what God spoke of through the prophet Isaiah. Can you imagine waking up from a dream about the actual crazy circumstances going on in your life and thinking ‘oh, okay, time to take Mary home as my wife’ without a second thought?
I think the humble obedience of Joseph and Mary should be an example to all of us, how we should respond when God speaks to us. Joseph and Mary were protected and taken care of for their obedience. How has God blessed you for your obedience?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for Joseph and Mary, who are examples of true obedience to You. Lord I pray we would seek clarity to know you better, not question due to disbelief, Amen.
When I was growing up, my mom always tried to get me in the kitchen to teach me how to cook. I had no interest in learning and didn’t believe I would need to know how. I always had the same response when my mom tried to convince me how important it was to know how to cook, which was “mom, someday I’m going to be rich and have my own chef.”
I have to say, I am blessed with some earthly riches and have heavenly riches waiting for me in heaven, but I don’t think it’s enough to be considered ‘rich’ in the eyes of the world. I can, however, say I do have a chef. His name is Robert and he’s my husband. He’s not a chef by trade. He’s a retired Law Enforcement Officer who now volunteers as a Law Enforcement Chaplain.
When it comes to food I must admit, I am as lazy as it gets. I can cook, not well, but I can. I’ll cook when needed for the kids. Things like hot dogs, mac-n-cheese, tacos or grilled cheese. I can do chicken or pork chops on the Foreman grill, but when it comes to making myself something, forget it! I’ll grab a banana or yogurt before I’ll make eggs and toast. Pathetic I know!
Don’t worry, my kids eat just fine. How is that possible you ask? Simple, my husband enjoys cooking. He says it soothes him and makes him happy to know he’s made something we enjoy eating. We have a deal at our house, he cooks it and I clean up after it. He even does most of the grocery shopping. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me!
My husband spoils me! He’ll make anything I want to eat, almost anytime I want it. He’ll even go to the store to buy it if we don’t have it. One minute I mention ‘enchiladas sound good’, the next thing I know, that’s what’s for dinner.
I’m thankful for the husband God chose to bless me with. I never have to think about food, it simply appears. Each week, before heading to the store, my husband asks each of us what we would like for dinner. He also asks the kids what kind of snacks or lunch items they would like, so they don’t get bored eating the same thing week after week. I’m thankful for the special ways my husband cares for the kids and I. How does your spouse, or friend, perfectly care for you?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the ways you have gifted my husband, I pray for opportunities and ways to express my appreciation to him, Amen.
Warning Against the Adulterous Woman
My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and to insight, “You are my relative”. They will keep you from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words. At the window of my house I looked down through the lattice. I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who had no sense. He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. Vs 1-9
Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. (She is unruly and defiant, her feet never stay at home; now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.) She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said: “Today I fulfilled my vows, and I have food from my fellowship offering at home. So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love! My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey. He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon.” With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare little knowing it will cost him his life. Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death. Vs 10-27
The previous two chapters warned against the act of adultery. This chapter warns us about the adulteress/adulterer. It opens by telling us to not only keep and remember God’s commands, but to also make a point to regularly recall them. Practice them in our daily lives. This will help us to make good sound decisions that will be pleasing and glorifying to God Almighty, our Creator. How are you guarding and keeping His teachings? How has God’s wisdom saved you from the seductive words of another?
We’re told the adulteress/adulterer is everywhere. They are always watching and waiting for an opportunity to use their persuasive words to lead us astray. Again, we are told to listen and pay attention. If we don’t have God’s teachings and commands in our heart, we will easily fall victim to their smooth talk. We need God’s wisdom so we can discern between someone who truly cares for us and someone who seeks to use us for his or her gain, whether it be physical or spiritual. Have you witnessed another fall prey to someone’s persuasive words? How can you be helpful the next time you see this?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, your wisdom is greater than anything we could imagine. It’s meant to protect, guide and help us as we move throughout each day. Thank you Lord for your never ending love, grace and mercy offered to us as we try, and often fail, to become more like You. I pray for your wisdom, strength and courage to stand up against those who tempt us to leave the path You have planned for us. The path You created that is best for us, Amen.
Warnings Against Folly
My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Go—to the point of exhaustion—and give your neighbor no rest! Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler. Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. A troublemaker and a villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, who winks maliciously with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers, who plots evil with deceit in his heart—he always stirs up conflict. Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. Vs 1-19
Warning Against Adultery
My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life, keeping you from your neighbor’s wife, from the smooth talk of a wayward woman. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes. For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another man’s wife preys on your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house. But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away. For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse a bribe, however great it is. Vs 20-35
The chapter opens telling us we are not to let ourselves become dependent upon another. We are only to be dependent upon the Lord, not that of man. Man cannot provide what is best, that is something only God has the ability to do. If we do find ourselves under the thumb of another, we are to humbly, quickly and smoothly free ourselves.
We are then told seven things that are detestable by God and the punishment they may bring.
- Being snobbish
- Killing the innocent
- Devising wicked schemes
- Rushing toward evil
- A false witness
- Stirring up dissension
Choosing to take part in any of the above things can cause us to become lazy, which can lead to poverty. Poverty, material and/or spiritual, will lead us down a path of desperation, which can bring about a corrupt mouth followed by disaster and ultimately destruction that is unfixable. Wow! That’s harsh. If you remember the previous chapters, wisdom to help us avoid this is always offered to us by God. We have the choice whether or not we accept and use this wisdom. We are also given a glimpse of what could happen if we ignore His wisdom. Have you ever been overcome by folly, or laziness? I certainly have. A few years ago, I gave my husband a kidney and was told I needed to take it easy so my body could properly heal. While my body healed my mind became lazy. I became all to aware of how things could be put off or not done at all. It took a severe kick in the pants from God to get myself up off the couch and back into life. You can read more about this on my post ‘Wrestling With God’.
We now receive another warning against adultery. This warning is a little different than the one in the last chapter. We’re told to focus on the teachings and commands of our parents. They will guide us on our path to life. However, if we choose to ignore their knowledge and become captivated by an adulteress/adulterer there will be consequences. We will be despised and judged. This path will bring disgrace and shame; not only to ourselves, but also to those we love. Is there someone in your life you can help who’s been captivated by an adulteress/adulterer?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the warning which comes from folly. I pray Lord we use the wisdom you offer to steer clear of folly. May we also offer help and encouragement to those we see struggling with folly and the temptations of an adulteress/adulterer, Amen
Warning Against Adultery
My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it. Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, lest you lose your honor to others and your dignity to one who is cruel, lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich the house of another. At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or turn my ear to my instructors. And I was soon in serious trouble in the assembly of God’s people.” Vs 1-14
Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman? For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths. The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly. Vs 15-23
So far, in chapters 1 thru 5, ‘pay attention’ has been used 4 times and ‘listen’ 7 times. I’m getting the sense that it’s extremely important we listen for and make careful note of the wisdom God has for us.
The topic of adultery can bring up many feelings. Feelings of disgust, shame, anger or sadness. Whether you’ve been affected by adultery or not, you have an opinion about it and it stirs up many emotions. Speaking from experience, I found the best thing to do, when affected by adultery, is prayer. Surrender your feelings and emotions to God. I believe He will help you work through them so your marriage can be mended.
Again we are told the importance of discretion. This time because the temptations of an adulteress/adulterer seem sweet and smooth. After joining the path of an adulteress/adulterer, we will find it to be bitter and sharp. It will cause us to lose our honor and dignity. Most importantly, we will lose the trust of our spouse. This is a trust that will take time and patience to regain.
This next section, verses 15-17, took me awhile to understand. I had to read it a few times and let it sink in. (My elevator doesn’t always go quite as fast as others) This chapter went from a warning against giving in to the temptation of an adulteress/adulterer to drinking from your own well, not sharing it with others. What?!
When we get married we become one with our spouse. We are not to share our bodies with another. Our body is for our spouse and no other. We should be thankful for the spouse God has given to us. When we show thanks to God and our spouse, God will bless our marriage by allowing us to feel intoxicated and satisfied through the love of our spouse.
This chapter ends with another warning. God sees the sins of all. Choosing sin, adultery, and not turning from it, will cause us to stumble down a wicked path that will ultimately lead to death.
My Prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the warning to stay clear of the adulteress/adulterer’s path. I pray we would love our spouses the way we were created to, Amen