March 15, 2010


Greetings my sisters,

Congratulations on completing our Proverbs Study. Thank you for the time you invested and the wonderful comments and stories you shared. It has been a joy to spend this month with you.

Please leave comments on my blog today and share how God has used this study in your life. More specifically, how has spending time with God in His Word practically changed your life. I will share your comments with the publishers who are reviewing the Study for possible publication. I also will select one winner from the comments left on my blog to receive a copy of the complete Proverbs Study. Please include your e-mail address in your comment so that I may contact you if you are the winner.

God promises that His Word that goes out from His mouth will not return void but will accomplish what He desires and achieve the purposes for which He sent it. That has been my prayer for each of us as we have studied together. So I cannot wait to hear how God was at work in His Word this month, accomplishing His desires and achieving His purposes in your lives. Through your comments and stories, may He receive great glory, honor, and praise!!

One more thing, my devotional, entitled Prepared by God, will run on our P31 Web Site this Wednesday, March 17th. Please stop by our Proverbs 31 web site to check out the devo and then pop over here and leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

Thank you again for the past four weeks. I will miss our time together and hope you will continue to visit and update me on your journey with God!

March 8, 2010

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

I can’t believe four weeks have passed so quickly. As we end this study, my heart is sad. I have loved every minute of our time together. God has taught me much through my time of preparation as well as through your candid answers and comments. Your words reveal that God has been faithfully been at work in and through our time together.

Even though I cannot see you face to face, I have prayed for you. You have shared from the depths of your heart, and that means so much to me. It has been my joy to walk side by side with you through the living and active Word of God. My prayer as we have studied Proverbs together is that you have seen how it speaks to the situations, opportunities, issues, questions, and decisions you may encounter. May He now take all that we have learned, and what we will learn this week, and plant it deep within our hearts so that it will take root and begin real life transformation.

So, before we say goodbye, let’s open our Bibles one more time. Your only reading this week will be what you find in your homework. So please, grab your cup of coffee (or sweet tea), your Bible, and your journal, and let’s join God in His Word.

We have talked about wise choices these past few weeks. I think all of us, when faced with a problem or question, truly desire to make the wise choice. We want to do the wise thing. But we do not always know what that is. Sometimes the answer to our question is not spelled out in Scripture. There is no chapter number. There is no page number. We can infer from God’s Word what He wants us to do, but it is not stated in black and white. So, when there is no page number, when there is no verse speaking directly to your situation, what do you do?


First, we look to John 14:15-18.

Jesus spent three years walking side by side with His disciples. He taught them all the knew, encouraged them daily, and they depended on Him for all their needs. But, Jesus knew he had to leave them. He knew that when He departed they would feel frightened and abandoned. He wanted to comfort them and prepare them, so He spoke these words:

If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with yo and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:15-18

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

Jesus was speaking some radical, powerful words to His disciples. He told them that the Spirit of Truth that at that time was living with them would soon be in them. Think about the ramifications of that promise. The Spirit of the Living God would come to live inside of each one of them. God made good on this promise and transformed this bumbling, fearful group of misfits into some of the greatest evangelists that ever lived.

God desires the same result in each of our lives. The Spirit of God dwells inside you and me. It is the gift of His Spirit that allows us to love the unlovable, overcome the unthinkable, and believe the impossible. And what’s even more amazing is that God gives us this gift without measure!

The Holy Spirit is how we understand God’s Word and His Will for our lives. When we don’t know what to do or what steps to take, we need only ask God to fill us with more of His Holy spirit and manifest His Presence in a very real way in our lives.


Sometimes after much time in God’s Word and prayer, we still struggle to hear His “answer.” That is when we go back to our first lesson. Solomon repeatedly tells us that one of the secrets to being wise and to making wise decisions is to surround yourself with wise people.

Wise people seek wise counsel.

Listen to these verses:

Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance. Proverbs 1:5

The wise are glad to be instructed, but babbling fools fall flat on their faith. Proverbs 10:8

People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray. Proverbs 10:17

The heartfelt counsel of a [godly] friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9

Plans succeed through good counsel. Proverbs 20:18a

Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. Proverbs 19:20

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel. Proverbs 12:15

When we are confused and cannot “see” or “hear” God’s leading in a particular matter, we should pray for the Lord to bring us wise counsel. She might be a friend, a mentor, a parent, a spouse, a pastor, or a teacher. But how can we ensure that the one whom we choose really is “wise” counsel?

Ask yourselves three questions:

Is she a godly person?

Does she spend time in and know the Word of God? Is she a woman of prayer? Does she surround herself with godly friends? If you see evidence of these in her life, you can be assured she will provide wise counsel.

Has she been down the path upon which I am traveling?

As a mother of a teenage daughter, I seek out godly women with daughters a few years ahead of mine. They have completed the journey on which I am about to embark. They have godly wisdom as well as practical experience. Ask yourselves: Do their lives glorify God? Are the choices they have made in marriage, parenting, career (or whatever your issue) God-honoring?

Is this someone who will speak truth to me?

Yes, you want wisdom from someone who will speak truth to you even when it is difficult. Anyone can tell you what you want to hear. A godly advisor is not afraid to speak truth in love. They have no mixed motives. Their hearts are pure.

One day I received an e-mail from a good friend and someone with whom I was a co-leader in Bible study. She sent the e-mail to a large distribution list. In it, she jokingly used crude and foul language. It bothered me. We had been in Bible study together for years and everyone knew it. I prayed about whether or not to speak to her. I feared risking our friendship. But, her words continued to play repeatedly in my mind. I knew God wanted me to speak truth to her.

Finally, I obeyed and sent her an e-mail. I shared how her words not only reflected poorly on her but also on us as Christians and as leaders in our Bible study. I felt sick as I pressed “send.” Immediately after I sent it, I prayed for her heart to receive it in the love with which it was sent.

Her response amazed me. She was so appreciative and said she never once thought about the effect or impact her e-mail would have on God, His character, on her, and on our study. We had a great conversation about how we are salt and light in this world. How we need be in the world but not of it. She thanked me for holding her accountable. It was a wonderful place of trust and growth in our friendship. Since that time, she has done the same for me.

Godly friends will lead you back to God’s Word every time. Godly friends will pray for you and encourage you every step of the way. The will not give a flip answer; they will wait to hear from God. They will speak TRUTH in LOVE.

As we end our time together, never forget….God gave us His Word so that our faith would grow.

Romans 10:17 says,

Faith comes hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of God.

God gave us His Word to speak into our lives today.

2 Timothy 3:16 says,

All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that men of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The Bible is a book written by God to be read by us so that we may KNOW God and KNOW who we are in Him. No matter where you are…seeking Him for the first time, a new Christian, or someone who has walked with Him for years, He will meet you where you are. But, it is up to you. No one else can take your journey for you. He is waiting to reveal Himself and His wonderful plan for your life!!

Answer the following questions. You can do as few or as many as you have time. May God take whatever time you have and use it to speak a fresh Word in His heart.

Meet me here next week and share your comments about the study, most especially how God used it in your life and the life of your family. We will share these comments with the publishers to whom I have submitted the Proverbs curriculum. From the comments I receive, I will select a name to receive a copy of the full 5 week curriculum.

1. As you follow the path of wisdom and walk in the righteousness that is yours in Christ, God promises many blessings. The first is divine guidance and direction. Read the following verses and share what you learn:

Proverbs 10:9 Proverbs 11:3, 5 Proverbs 13:6 Proverbs 14:16, 26 Proverbs 16:1, 3, 9

Proverbs 19:21 Proverbs 20:24 (relate to Proverbs 3:5-6) Proverbs 21:5, 21, 23

Proverbs 23:19-21, 29-35

2. Read Proverbs 8:17-21 and Philippians 4:19. What does God promise in these verses?

3. Read Matthew 11:28-30. God wants you to trust Him with your needs. Let’s pray together for you to surrender…your needs, your doubts, your questions, your burdens, and your frustrations and trust Him to take care of them today.

Heavenly Father, I thank You that You promise me a sound mind, one uncluttered by fear, anxiety, and worry. I ask You help me to trust You and trust Your Word. Help me to hand [blank] over to You. May the Truth of Your Word be firmly established in my heart so that my faith in You grows brighter and stronger and my worries, fears, and anxieties grow dim. I know that trusting You with these things is a choice, and I CHOOSE today to trust You. May my faith from this day forward be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Instill in me a confidence that You will work everything – all that concerns me, that keeps me awake, that makes my heart race, that causes stress and headaches – together for good to accomplish Your plan and Your purposes for my life. Father, Your Word says that without faith it is impossible to please You and that she who comes to You must believe that You are who You say You are and that You are a rewarder of those who diligently seek You. Today, Lord I believe You , and I commit to diligently seek You in the midst of my circumstances. I ask for Your peace and Your blessings as I take this step. In Jesus Name. Amen.

4. Another blessing we receive as we walk the path of righteousness is godly counsel. However, as with other blessings it requires ears to hear and a heart to obey. Read the following verses and note what you learn:

Proverbs 10:32 Proverbs 12:15, 26 Proverbs 13:14, 20 Proverbs 14:7 Proverbs 18:4

Proverbs 25:19 Proverbs 27:9, 17 Proverbs 15:7, 22

5. When a problem arises in your life, to whom or what do you turn first? Scripture warns against relying on human wisdom and ungodly counsel. Instead God directs us to listen to the experience of those who have journeyed the path of wisdom before us. Name some godly influences and how they have impacted your life. Take a moment to drop them a note or an e-mail and thank them for what they have meant in your life.

6. Part of God’s plan also requires wise women willingly accept discipline. Read the following verses and share what you learn:

Proverbs 10:17 Proverbs 13:1, 18, 24 Proverbs 15:5, 31-32 Proverbs 16:20

Proverbs 18:15 Proverbs 19:18 Proverbs 29:18, 19 2 Timothy 3:16

Is it hard for you to accept that sometimes God may use His Word to discipline and correct you? How do you respond when you hear His Word correcting you?

7. Proverbs 27:19 says, As water reflects a face, so a [woman’s] heart reflects the [woman]. I hope you have learned through these past weeks that the condition of your heart reflects your true character. Honestly examine your heart today.

What are the parts of your heart you love and that are pleasing to the Lord. And YES, you must do this exercise!!! There are wonderful parts of you that God has created, shaped, and molded. Pray for Him to open your eyes to see them. Write a prayer of thanksgiving, thanking Him and praising Him for those beautiful parts of you that reflect His heart and His love.

Now what are the parts of your heart that sadden you, that fail to reflect God’s character. As you do this, read Psalm 139:23-24 and Psalm 51, both written by King David. Write a prayer asking the Lord to help you change these parts of your heart and make your heart more like His.

8. Read Proverbs 24:3-4. These past few weeks, you have learned how to gain a heart of wisdom and how to seek out God’s treasures. As you consider this verse, ask the Lord how to reveal to you how you can live out these truths in your home? How can you build your house? Share your ideas with us.


February 28, 2010

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

A few years ago, my daughter and I struggled through a very difficult time. At times our house felt like a battle zone. We argued about something nearly every day. It was exhausting. It seemed at times she literally hated me. I felt helpless and hopeless. My constant cry being “What is wrong with her?”

One afternoon, I confronted her and unloaded all the anger and frustration that had been building in my heart. Although I did not yell or scream, my words were strong and harsh. At the end of my diatribe, my girl began crying…something she very rarely did. Then she spoke these words: “All you ever do is tell me what I do is wrong.” “I can’t do anything right in your eyes.” “Do you realize how often you tell me I am mean and have a hardened heart?” “Well, mom, I guess that is just who I am…mean with a bad heart, and I will never be any different.”

Her words pierced to the core of my heart. As she walked out of the room, I fell on my knees, my face to the floor, and wept…wept till I could cry no more. My head pounding, my eyes swollen, I took out my journal and wrote:

Father, I am struggling with my girl every single day. I am exhausted, and I cannot do this anymore. I cannot deal with her, and I don’t know what to do. She is self-centered, angry, hormonal, and lacks any semblance of kindness and compassion. She is growing up and pulling away and it hurts so much I can’t stand it. I have nowhere else to go. I have nothing left. So I am bringing her to you. I commit to fast and to pray for me, for her, and for our relationship.

I committed to fast one day a week for as long as it took to hear from God. Within weeks, a few women approached me to teach a 4 week series on wisdom to young mothers. Everything in me wanted to say no. What kind of wisdom could I offer other mothers about raising their children? I was a complete failure in raising my own. But as I prayed, I knew God was calling me to teach this series. In the end, I accepted, and I am so thankful I did.

As I opened my Bible in preparation for this opportunity, God took me to the book of Proverbs. What I thought was a lesson for 120 other women was most assuredly a lesson meant for me.

The Scriptures to which He led me spoke to the cry of my heart:

The words of the godly are life-giving fountains. (Prov. 10:11)

Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise are healing. (Prov. 12:18)

A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. (Prov. 14:1)

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. (Prov. 15:1)

Gentle words are a tree of life. (Prov. 15:13)

If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. (Prov. 15:31)

Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. (Prov. 16:21)

These verses brought me to a humbling realization. God wanted me to examine my behavior and my heart, not my daughter’s! In fact, I read many verses addressing disobedient, foolish children and not a single one spoke to me. I passed over each one. God made it ever so clear that He had a work to do in me…not my girl.

The Holy Spirit repeatedly played Lauren’s words in my head…how I criticized her, labeled her mean, told her nothing she did was right. Of course, I had heard her say these words many times in the past in a fit of anger, but I never took them to heart. I disregarded them as rude comments spewed from the mouth of an irrational, unreasonable, disrespectful teenager. But this time they came through tears…her tears. It was different…her broken spirit manifesting itself.

I had spoken hurtful comments in the form of sarcasm to make my points. My words …”mean,” “messy,” “self-centered”…had crushed her spirit. She seemed so tough on the outside, but she was broken on the inside.

I grabbed my journal. The prayer I had written now totally transformed:

Lord, I hear You. My heart is breaking. Please help me. Begin a work in me. I come to You in Jesus’ name and surrender Lauren to You. You know what she needs right now, and I do not. Teach me, Lord, how to mother her. I commit to pray about everything I have been trying to control. Teach me, remind me, and guide me every step of the way. You have created her to be different from me. She is a free spirit; I am not. She is her own person now; help me to accept that. Help me to love who You have made her to be. Enable me to me to release her to You, Your protection, Your guidance, and Your counsel. Restore to me the joy of my salvation. Continue to feed me Your Wisdom. Speak to my heart; show me when to speak and when to hold my tongue; put a guard at my mouth and a sentry at my lips.

Friends, if you find yourself struggling in a relationship, go to God’s Word. He will direct your steps. And His first step will be to look into your own heart. Matthew 12:33 says,

A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, it’s fruit will be bad…For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.

We bear fruit consistent with who and what we are. The question God presented with me that day was what did my words reflect about the condition of my heart?

As we end today, I want to share a simple but profound truth:

If you want more of God in your in your home and in your relationships, you must have more of God in your heart.

To have a God-honoring heart, you must determine what fills the treasury of your heart.

When you have

God’s Word hidden in your heart,

the law of God written on your heart,

divine Truths dwelling and ruling in your heart,

then your treasury will be full,

and you will bring forth good things from your heart.

Proverbs 4:23 says,

Above all else guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.

How can we do this?

Set your heart on God’s laws (Psalm 119:30)
Hide God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:1)
Obey His commands (Proverbs 3:1)
Write His commands on the tablet of your heart (Prov. 3:3)

When you do this, He will show forth in everything you say and do!

What God’s word taught me is to check my words before they leave my lips.

“Is this something I really need to say?”

“What is my motive in saying this?”

“Am I trying to make or point or get my way?”

“Are my words meant to hurt or heal?”

“Will my words draw us closer or push us apart?”

“Will my words draw me closer to God or farther away?”

We must cultivate a habit so that speaking words of life becomes our way of life and not an exception to the rule.

For Lauren and me, God did a mighty work in our lives. Today we have a beautiful relationship, one we treasure. You see, Lauren noticed the change in my heart and in my words. She commented on how she saw me trying to change and thanked me for it. And friends, as God changed me, Lauren changed. Her heart softened. She is more respectful and willingly follows rules. Our home is no longer a battle zone. It is a pleasant and peaceful place. God answered my prayer exceedingly, abundantly above more than I could have ever asked or imagined. No, it is not perfect, and as with any relationship, we are a work in progress. But we are a living testimony of God’s faithfulness to answer prayer.

Homework: Read Proverbs Chapters Ten and Eighteen 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) Why do words matter so much?

2) Being from Texas, I love Mexican food. Engage in a little comparison with me. If your words were salsa, which answer best describes your words when you are angry?

a)no salsa – I never use angry words

b)mild salsa – sometimes I use harsh words

c)medium salsa – I often speak harsh words, but I get over it rather quickly

d)hot salsa – I usually explode when angry and lose control

3) In the past have you tried to tame your tongue? If so, how did you do it and were you successful?

4) Over this week, we will study wisdom as it relates to our speech. Keep a journal or mental record of the words you speak. At the end of the week, honestly examine your words and characterize them (critical, controlling, negative, angry, biting, sarcastic, encouraging, uplifting, positive, bitter, peacemaking, etc.).

5) Read Proverbs 10:11, 13-14, 19-21, 31-32, Proverbs 18:20-21, and James 3:8-12.

Do you see parallels in these passages?

Explain what you find.

6) Continue reading in James 3:13-18.

Contrast the two kinds of wisdom discussed here.

How should this reflect itself in our speech?

7) Would you say that a woman’s speech determines her character? If someone followed you around for a week recording your conversation, how would they describe your character?

8) Define gossip.

Being honest, how often would you say you participate in some form of gossip (instigate, agree, actively listen)?

Why do you think we gossip even when we know what we are saying is hurtful and sometimes may even be false?

Are there people in your life who bring out the worst in your speech and tempt you to gossip?

9) Read the following verses: Proverbs 6:16-19, 11:13, 16:28, 18:8, 20:19, and 26:20.

Explain the dangers of gossip.

What does Proverbs 18:8 mean when it says gossip sinks deep into a person’s heart? What does that mean to you? Have you ever personally experienced this?

What advice do we receive in Proverbs 20:19?

10) Read Romans 12:2.

Take each sentence and put in your own words what God is speaking to you.

11) Read Colossians 3:16. Walking in obedience to God’s wisdom is a full time job. It requires a heart sold out to God’s Word being the ultimate authority in your life. You must continually fill you heart with His Truth and allow it to be at work within you.

How does this verse help you live out Romans 12:2?

12) Read Proverbs 8:6, 8:9, Psalm 119:137-138, and Romans 10:17.

What do these verses tell you about God’s Word?

Let’s pray together:

Heavenly Father, I come to You today as my Authority. I submit myself to the authority of Your Word this week as I study. Open my eyes to see and my ears to hear a personal message from You. Father, I confess that my heart wanders from You, my speech does not always glorify You, and my actions do not always honor You. But I am here in this study because I want to live my life differently; I want to live my life to honor You. Penetrate my heart this week. If necessary, Lord, put me through Your refining fire. Burn off those things that keep me from walking in step with You. Grow in me the things that will make me more like You. As I study this week, fill me and saturate me in Your Truth. I love You, Lord, and eagerly await all You have to teach me. I wait expectantly. Speak, Lord, speak. I ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN.