February 22, 2010

Proverbs Study – Chapter Two: Applying God’s Word to Your Everyday Life

Good Morning!! May I tell you how you have blessed me this past week as you have shared what God has taught you in His Word. For some of you this is your very first Bible study, and I am OVERJOYED and HONORED the Lord brought you here to begin that journey.

Today we are talking about what it means to walk in obedience to God’s Word. God sets boundaries for us in His Word. Those boundaries are meant to protect us, our families, and our relationships from evil and harm. Let’s travel forward a few centuries to the book of Ephesians. Paul wrote this letter to an audience of Jewish and Gentile believers who made up the Ephesian church. Paul knew these people were desperately trying to live a godly life in a pagan culture. There were temptations all around. Their culture was pulling them in one direction and their faith in another.

Does that sound familiar? It could easily describe our world today.

In Ephesians 5:15 Paul writes,

Be very careful then how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity…

In the original Greek language it says, walk circumspectly. Circumspectly derives from the Greek word “akrothinion,” which expresses accuracy. By using this word, God is asking us to walk accurately and carefully according to His Word. This is where our struggle as humans begins. More often than not, the world, our feelings, and/or our emotions direct us one way and God another. What our culture deems acceptable and what God says is acceptable often conflict.

Sometimes the lines are hard to draw. The reality is very few of us intentionally plan to make bad choices. But we also do not plan NOT to make bad choices. Quite often it’s simply that we speak and/or make decisions without much thought, without thinking through all the consequences. We make small compromises in what seem to be minor decisions. And then one day those small decisions eventually turn into something bigger that can destroy our families, our marriages, and our lives.

God gives us the boundaries, rules, and commandments to obey. If we learn and commit to obey those ahead of time, when we are faced with the choice, our decision is already made. We do not even have to think about it.

Paul puts us on the right path in Ephesians 5:15-17 because he tells us how to plan NOT to make bad choices:

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise….Don’t act thoughtlessly but understand what the Lord wants you to do. (NLT)

Proverbs teaches fools live in the world. Though we too live in the world, we are not to be of it. Listen to Romans 12:2:

Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. (NLT)

Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (NIV)

As we mature in our walk with God, overtime we become more and more like Him and less and less like the world. How do we accomplish this? By renewing our minds? How do we do this? By lining our thinking up with God’s.

The best way I can teach this is by sharing a story.

I vividly remember one night last summer when I had prepared a wonderful dinner for my family as a surprise. Monty told me earlier in the day that he would be home at 6:30, so I planned dinner to be ready at 6:30. The kids and I sat down for dinner at 6:30…no Dad. 6:35…no Dad. 6:45…no Dad. No call from Dad. By 6:50, when the phone finally did ring, I was fuming and did not answer. I told the kids to eat. When he finally walked in at 7:00, I was so angry I would not even look at him or speak to him.

I reacted selfishly based on my hurt feelings and my emotions.

Friends, this night would have ended so differently had I been prepared with God’s Word in my heart and on my mind. I would have had a weapon to combat my feelings and emotions. Instead, they ran wild.

Let’s replay the night but this time I have prepared my mind. 6:30 arrives, no Monty. The thoughts enter my mind: Where is he? Why hasn’t he called? He knows we eat at 6:30 every night. He always calls when he is late. My anger begins to rise as time ticks away. But then I remember some verses I posted above my kitchen sink. I walk over and read them:

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

A fool gives full vent to [her] anger, but a wise [woman] keeps himself under control. Proverbs 29:11

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

In the heat of my anger, I look up and read the powerful, life-giving, life-transforming, mind-renewing words of my Savior who only wants the very best for me, my marriage, and my family. When I read them, I am reminded of God’s character and who He wants me to be. The Holy Spirit softens my heart. So when the phone rings at 6:50, I answer it. I hear my husband’s sincere apology and accept it. He walks in the door at 7:00, after a long day’s work, forgiven and ready to enjoy a wonderful meal with his family…experiencing grace, love, forgiveness, and joy.

Which is the better scenario?

If there are places in your life where you struggle to live out God’s Truth, where you follow the ways of the world rather than the ways of God. Don’t give up. Find verses that address your situation. Read them. Immerse yourself in them. Pray them. Apply them. Persevere. Believe God at His word. He will renew your mind and do a mighty work in your specific circumstances. As you continually expose your heart and mind to Truth, He will renew your mind.

Let today be the day you commit to feed the Spirit of God living within you, yield to His control, submit to His Word, and renew your mind, so He can transform your life, your marriage, your family, your job, and/or your home.

Homework: Read Proverbs Chapters Three and Four and answer the following questions. You can do as few or as little as you have time. May God take whatever time you have and use it to speak a fresh Word into your heart.

1. In Proverbs 3:1-12 Solomon gives four commands that if obeyed result in great blessings. Find the four commands and the resulting blessings/rewards. (Hint: Proverbs 3:5-6, 3:7-8, 3:9-10, and 3:11-12).

2. In Proverbs 1:22-33 explain what wisdom says to fools.

3. Read the following verses and explain why in our world today, people reject the wisdom of God.

a. Mark 4:3-20 b. John 3:19 c. 1 Corinthians 2:14

4. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “trust in the Lord with all your heart.” One author writes that the kind of trust spoken of here means to “lie helpless face down.” It is placing your entire confidence in God…in who He says He is, in His wisdom, His power, and His goodness.”

How are you at trusting God wholeheartedly?

What, if anything, keeps you from trusting God with your whole heart?

What would help you trust Him more?

5. What is the promised blessings in Proverbs 3:6b?

Upon what is the fulfillment of this promised conditioned? (hint: Judges 2:17)

Read Romans 12:2. If you choose to walk in obedience to this command, what, if anything, would you have to change in your life?

6. Read Colossians 2:2-3. Paul writes these words to the church at Colosse because he wants to encourage them. he wants them to be filled with a rich and deep understanding of God that cannot be shaken no matter what troubles may come. When all other comforts fail, when answers cannot be found, when sense cannot be made of circumstances, Paul wants them to know the answers will be found in Christ.

Read Habakkuk 3:17-18. Habakkuk learns a great lesson of faith – to trust in God’s providence and His Wisdom regardless of circumstances. What do his words speak to you today in your circumstances.

7. Read Proverbs 4:10-12, 18. Describe the path of wisdom. Contrast the path of wickedness as described in Proverbs 4:14-17, 19. What is wisdom’s advice to the wise in these verses?

8. Does the path of wisdom described in Proverbs differ from the path upon which you have been traveling? How?

9. Read Proverbs 4:20-21, 23-27. This is one of my favorite passages.

List the body parts Solomon speaks of and the instructions given for each one.

Write out Proverbs 4:22. Based on what you have studied, what does this verse speak to you personally?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, Creator and Author of Life, I come before You with a thankful heart for all that You have taught me this week. Thank You for revealing Truth to me! I humbled myself before You and asked that You fill me with Your Spirit of Truth and You were faithful to do so. Help me never to forget all that You have taught me. Remind me daily that within me I have all the riches and treasures of Your wisdom and knowledge. Continue to give me a heart that loves Truth and seeks after Truth above all else. Keep my eyes fixed on You. Guard my heart. If I ever turn from Your path, reveal Yourself to me in very real and powerful ways and draw me back. Make my heart tender to hear Your voice and give me recall of all that I have learned so that I may stick with You. I love You, Lord. AMEN.

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this today Wendy! I needed a reminder. Struggling with some agitation, hurt feelings. Want to be a godly wife. So thank you for the reminder.

    • karen garr says:

      thank you WENDY FOR THIS BIBLE STUDY. I,VE BEEN TRYING TO LEARN HOW TO APPLY GODS WORD TO MY LIVE DAILY.GOD BLESS YOU.

      • You are so welcome! So thankful God led you to this study to answer your prayers regarding how to live out His Word in your everyday life.

        Blessings,

        Wendy

  2. Sylvia Basham says:

    Ugghh! I really did not want to read your illustration today! {{But I really needed to read your illustration today!}}

    Do you ever get into one of "those moods" where you feel you deserve to behave badly….I camped out at that place this weekend. Thanks for {not so gently} tugging me back to the rightful thinking.

  3. Sharon Sloan says:

    I love this study, Wendy! Rich with God's Word. Thank you so much! Will be finishing reading all the scriptures tomorrow. Time to tuck the cherubs in to bed…..then myself! :)

    Sweet dreams, friend!

  4. Thanks for this post and this study. I am learning so much from reading the verses and trying to apply them. I am thankful that God has come into my life at this time ~ He knows me through and through. I love what you say at the beginning of these weekly studies…"May God take whatever time you have and use it to speak a fresh Word into your heart".

  5. I am enjoying your post and the Bible study. God is speaking to me through this study:)

    <><
    Angela

  6. Hi Wendy,
    1.trust with all your heart-straight paths
    respect/fear the Lord-health
    give best to Lord-abundance
    obedience-shown the right way
    2.Must be willing to listen, if we have no need for Gods direction we have fallen into foolish and disastrous pride.Rebellion leads to sonsequences.
    3.Jesus words are for honest seekers,not everyone is ready to listen-pray for them.
    some are frightened and dont want to change-pray they see its better to live in light rather than darkness.
    rejecting God cant have His Spirit-cant then understand Gods beautiful message.
    4.trusting more the better I know Him
    anxiety for my unsaved family causes untrust – I know God is in control,trust more.
    Remember His Faithfullness and immerse myself in His word to remind myself of His wisdom,power and goodness.
    5.He will make your paths straight conditioned on acknowelging God in every part of our lives, be obedient and trust wholeheartedly.
    To be obedient need to not conform to the world and definitely catch my thoughts before i speak.
    6.No matter how weighed down I feel by family strife and difficuties close in around me, I can find comfort in Gods strength. Keep my eye on Him and not my circumstances for my joy.
    7.wisdoms path – long life,straight path,no stumbling and light.
    path of wickedness – sleeplessness,violence, stumbling and darkness.
    Advice to the wise Trust God completely
    8.Lots of stumbling obviously not enough trusting.I pray for Gods strength to trust 100%
    9.heart – guard it. our feelings dictate how we live, we always have time for what we enjoy. put boundaries on our desires, keep our eyes fixed on the goal.
    4:22 For they are life to those who find them (Gods Word) and health to a mans body
    His Word is everything that we could need to live our lives
    Thankyou Lord.
    and Thankyou Wendy for this study
    Susanx

  7. Lynn - JnL4God says:

    I'm Here and working through the Homework.. real good stuff. I'll be back just wanted to let you know I was still here. :)

  8. Wendy Blight says:

    Susan,

    I just love how you used the word "immerse" when you talked of God's Word. It's something I know I need to do, but when you look at the definition of immerse, "to involve deeply, absorb, bury," I know I fall so short of my Father's desire. Yet it is only in immersion of His Word that it will be life to our body and healing to our bones!!

    I just love hearing what God speaks to you girls!!! Please keep sharing your comments.

    Blessings on you today,

    Wendy

  9. Hi Wendy!
    I was just thinking of you today! Wanted to stop by to let you know.
    Love to you!
    Melanie

  10. Renee Swope says:

    Rich truths. Great teaching. Loved your story and unfortunately, I could relate to it. Great picture of choosing foolishness (anger) over grace, or choosing (wisdom) patience over bitterness. Can't wait to dig into these verses and see what God has for me today. Praying He opens the door for this wonderful study to be published!!!

  11. Verses 1 and 2 of Proverbs 3 made me really look at how much I worry. And in all honesty I know it solves nothing, yet I can't seem to help myself. People have died from worrying… so many health problems can be associated with anxiety and worry. Worrying causes us to lose minutes, hours, days, even years of our lives. It robs us of the joys God has for us. I'm actually quite tired of worrying because what it means is that I've tried to take my life and situations out of God's hand. A few year ago, God had me memorize Philippians 4:6-7 and I think it's something that I need to keep repeating on a daily basis.

    Wendy, as we go through these books of Proberbs, I am seeing so much more clearly how I've taken our Faithful God for granted, and how much I give Him my cares, only to turn around and snatch them right back from Him. As much as I thought I'd worked on alot of trusting issues with Him, I'm beginning to see that I haven't. I can't tell you how much this study means to me. My husband told me the other day that I needed to drop something because I'm becoming overwhelmed with all the bible studies and other things I'm doing. I had thought about this one, knowing I could come back and pick it up… but after reading through all the verses and seeing what God is speaking to me, I know that He has me doing this at this time.

    Proverbs 4:22 spoke to my parched spirit.
    Jesus is the true source of life, and once He has given us that life, The WORD becomes our nourishment, its our sustinance — our Bread, our Water. For without the Living Water, and Bread of Life, we are only existing and not living.

  12. Hey Wendy,
    Just wanted to let you know that I am loving the study. Even printed an extra out for my hubby and he really enjoyed it. It has made me look at God in a whole new way and my desire to trust him with everything is even greater. Can't wait until week 3.
    Juli

  13. Your question about trusting God really hits home with me – especially tonight because I seem to have a major trust issue with God at the moment. I'm walking the road of trying to get my "mystery illness" diagnosed. I've been doing this for 3 years now. Some days I totally feel like I trust God to provide the doctors with answers and other times, like tonight, the answers seem so far away.

    I'm not totally sure what keeps me from trusting God more…probably it has more to do with the fact that His ways aren't my ways. If I had had my way I would have already been diagnosed or not be sick at all, but God apparantly feels that the road I'm walking on is what's best for me.

    Sometimes I also feel that it's harder for me to trust God the longer the journey is. I know that sounds rather backwards but I find that I have much more confidence in God at the beginning of the journey. Like with this disease…I was much more confident that God would provide me with the right doctors who would be able to figure me out…but the more doctors I see and the more symptoms I have and the longer it takes to diagnose me…it feels almost like God has forgotten about me – though I know deep down that that's not true.

    Carol from nyc

  14. Hi Carol,
    You are on my heart and in my prayers
    Joel 2:25 "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten–the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm–my great army that I sent among you.
    That our Lord will return this time to you and increase your trust so that you can have peaceful rest in him.
    Ruth 3:18, “Sit still, My daughter, the apple of My eye,Carol waiting as long as it takes, until you learn how the matter, will turn out, because surely the Man Christ Jesus, your Kinsman-Redeemer, will not by any means be idle, or silent, or have any peace until He finishes His purposes, working until the job is done, in His eternal now.”
    Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance- Jude 2
    Susanx

  15. Sharon Sloan says:

    Hi, Wendy! Well, it's Friday morning and I just read Chapters 3 and 4 of Proverbs completely. Oh how I love what God's Word says about wisdom! My favorite:
    3:17 – Her ways are pleasant ways,
    and all her paths are peace.
    Just delightful. Yielding to His Spirit and obeying His Word. That is life! He is life!

    Love you Wendy! Praying over you with this study! Rejoicing in His goodness through you!

    Steeped in His Word,
    Sharon

  16. Thank you so much Susan…your post brought tears to my eyes. Today my perspective on life is much better. I was reading the passage in Habakkuk and even when I feel weak I know that "the Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights".

    Carol

  17. Beautiful Daughters says:

    Wendy, I am popping in to tell you that I am joining you on week 2. Cannot wait to dig into God's word with all of you!
    Hugs to you,
    Rachel

  18. If it is not too late I am joining you too. Thank you, Gwin

  19. Lynn - JnL4God says:

    Hi
    I just finished up, really good stuff! Not sure if you want us to so I won't list all my answers but the last part about 4:22 making it personal, I am seeing that I really need to pay close attention and heed to Gods word – then I will have great success. I know this but reading and seeing Gods promises of success and peace and ease when we seek Him and follow Him, are such great reminders of how to have a stress free life.
    Thanks Wendy.
    Lynn

  20. Wendy Blight says:

    Rachel and Gwin,

    So excited to have you join us!!

    Carol, we will be praying for God's wisdom and discernment for every doctor caring for you and working on a diagnosis for your symptoms. We pray to for God's healing. He teaches us in Proverbs that His Word is health to our body and healing to our bones…praying that for you today!!

    Girls, thank you for sharing your thoughts on the homework and the Scriptures God used to speak to you. I just love seeing how God uses His Word to speak personally to each one of you. I can't wait for next week.

    Blessings,

    Wendy

  21. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for this study. I just finished the second week and looking forward to the third. God definitely directed my path to this study. Proverbs 3:5-6 have been my favorite verses for as long as I can remember. I quote them to myself almost daily. That is my goal to completely surrender to God and trust him with all my heart and let him lead my path. I heard it said one time, that we have faith and trust God to save us from our sins, but we can't seem to trust him with our everyday life. I believe that is so true. For me my everyday life doesn't seem important enough for God to care, however I KNOW HE DOES CARE. Thanks so much for this study Wendy.

    CRM
    Virginia

Speak Your Mind

*