“Watch Your Step” ( Proverbs 14: 22, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“Do not those who intend evil go astray?”

The thought that anyone would deliberately intend evil is difficult to fathom; and this despite my acceptance of humankind’s fallen nature. God warns that “no man can establish himself by wickedness.” (Proverbs 12:3) Apparently some people believe their evil schemes will work to make their lives better. Instead, “an evil man is brought down by his wickedness.” (Proverbs 14:32) “The wicked [man] is destroyed by [his] own words.” (Proverbs 12:6) Therefore,”those who plot evil delude themselves;” (Proverbs 12:20) for the truth is “the renegade reaps the fruit of his conduct.” (Proverbs 14:14) “The stronghold of the wicked crumbles like clay.” (Proverbs 12:12) In the end, “the wicked man is trapped by his own falsehoods.” (Proverbs 12:13)

 

“To turn from evil is the highway of the upright; watch your step and save your life.” (Proverbs 16:17)

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“Do Not Flatter Yourselves” ( Proverbs 27: 1, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“Do not,” writes the wise man, “flatter yourself about tomorrow, for you never know what a day will bring forth.” James says, “A word with you, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there trading and making money.’ Yet you have no idea what tomorrow will bring. Your life, what is it?  You are no more than a mist, seen for a little while and then dispersing. What you ought to say is: ‘If it be the Lord’s will, we shall live to do this or that.’ But instead you boast and brag, and all such boasting is wrong.” (James 4:13-16)

Jesus tells us, “Set your mind on God’s kingdom and His justice before everything else, and all the rest will come to you as well. So do not be anxious about tomorrow; tomorrow will look after itself. Each day has troubles enough of it own.” (Matthew 6:33-34)

God warns us not to brag about our own deeds; those we plan for today or tomorrow. We are not to be arrogant, saying that we will do this or that. We are also not to worry about our futures with anxiety about what might happen or not happen to us. Instead we are to “set [our] minds on God’s kingdom,” recognizing that “it is God who works in [us], inspiring both the will and the deed, for His own good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)

“The Lord’s Standard” (Proverbs 21: 2, NEB) by Carley Evans


“A man may think he is always right, but the Lord fixes a standard for the heart.”

A person justifies his acts to himself. For example, if you are running late to an important meeting and many are waiting on you, is it right to run a red light if there are no cars coming in either direction? Some say, ‘Yes.’ Others say, ‘No.’ Some are just bewildered, knowing they’d consider running the light.

Whatever you decide, you justify your decision to yourself as the correct one. Otherwise, if you are like most people, you won’t do that which you’ve decided is wrong. In order to commit an illegal or immoral act, you must first decide it is ‘not so bad,’ ‘the correct or better thing to do in this situation,’ or ‘okay because everyone else is doing it.’

You see yourself as being in the right.

“But the Lord fixes a standard for the heart,” writes Solomon. Jesus knows that it is what comes out of the heart that defiles a man. And, unfortunately, a person’s heart is deceitful above all things, says Jeremiah.

God’s standard is high; fixed so high we can not attain to it. We must place ourselves under the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ where God’s mercy overshadows us. Here we are justified not by ourselves, but by God Himself. Rejoice! I say again – Rejoice!

“Pride Fails” (Ezekiel 28: 2, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas,’ yet you are but a man, and no god, though you make your heart like the heart of a god–“

 

James warns us, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?…Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that He has made to dwell in us?’ But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’…Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4: 4, 5, 6, 10)

Solomon warns, “The Lord tears down the house of the proud;” (Proverbs 15: 25) and tells us that “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16: 18)

Jesus preaches, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5: 5) “I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5: 39 – 44)

Humble yourselves; and God will exalt you.

“Open My Eyes, O Lord” (Psalm 119: 18, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law.”

Unless You open my eyes, my ears, my heart, my mind; I will not understand Your law, O Lord. I will hide from Your ways, O Lord unless You draw me to You. Unless You grant me Your help, I will not know and understand Your truth.

“Yes,” Solomon writes, “if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2: 3 – 6)

Unless You give me wisdom, O Lord; I will own no knowledge and gain no understanding. Unless You teach me to search for truth as for silver, I will remain in ignorance, darkness, and foolishness.

“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16: 2 – 3)

Unless You plant Your Word in my heart, in my mind; I will not follow you with my whole heart, O Lord.

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word. With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments! I have stored up Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes!” (Psalm 119: 9 – 12)

“Words In Season” (Proverbs 15: 23, ESV) by Carley Evans


One of the most difficult moments in a shared life is when someone else is hurting and you are seeking right and comforting words to speak. When and if you find those words, words which touch the other; you find joy. Your “word in season, how good it is!”

We’ve all experienced this. Someone close to us loses a child. Another deals with intractable pain. A husband commits adultery, abandoning the wife of his youth. A young adult commits suicide.

Every one of us has been in pain, and every one of us has sought the best words to speak to the other who is in pain.

Our “word in season, how good it is!”

Thank You, Lord that You promise to give us the right words.

“The Lord’s Purpose Prevails” (Proverbs 19: 20 – 21, NIV) by Carley Evans


“Listen to advice.”

“Accept instruction.”

God says that if you listen to advice and accept instruction from others, “in the end you will be wise.”

You may have many plans in your heart, “but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3: 3 – 6)

God’s purpose prevails; as you acknowledge Him, He makes your paths straight.

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” (Proverbs 2: 7)

Wisdom is “more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of [wisdom] will be blessed.” (Proverbs 3: 15 – 18)

God’s purpose prevails; as you fear Him, He makes your paths pleasant and peaceful.

“You will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble.” (Proverbs 3: 23)