Proverbs

Steve Arterburn

Common sense’the idea sounds so folksy and simple.  Oddly enough, however, we seem to have less and less of it.  Perhaps it’s because we’re too busy or distant to learn from our parents and grandparents.  And just as common sense is rare, godly wisdom is also hard to find.  

We all have priorities, whether we’re aware of them or not.  So it’s never a question of having priorities, but rather of straightening them out.  A big part of your spiritual renewal involves sorting out your priorities in accordance with God’s will.  Need help?

The book of Proverbs is all about establishing priorities that please God.  As your priorities become a reflection of God’s will, your spiritual growth will progress.

Another aspect of wisdom is setting personal boundaries regarding how and when to say no.  In Proverbs, you’ll discover a large number of situations where saying no is the wisest option’in family situations, sexual situations, monetary situations, and business situations.

In addition, this invaluable book will provide sound advice for building healthy relationships with friends, family, and co-workers. Here you’re called to be consistent, tactful, and to use discipline.  

Wisdom is a rare commodity these days.  But as God’s man, you cannot live well without it.  I’ll leave you with the key verse of Proverbs, and I hope you will search out the other treasures that can be found in this great book.

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.  Only fools despise wisdom and discipline (1:7).

Priorities

Steve Arterburn

‘I really don’t know what’s wrong with me,’ said forty-two-year-old Tyrone to his counselor.  ‘I’ve attained many of my personal and business goals.  But I’m still breeding ulcers, trying to climb up the ladder.  With all my success, I’m still bummed when someone else beats me to a big sale or a new account.  I have a wonderful wife and two great kids, but I kind of feel like an outsider when I’m with them.  I’m often around people and have lots of friends.  But I don’t enjoy it, and I don’t think they’re really enjoying me.  I’m afraid my dark moods are distancing me from the ones I love.  But I don’t know what to do about it.’

Tyrone looks and acts like the American Dream personified.  By all outward appearances he’s succeeded in the areas of life that really matter in our society: family, friends, career, and finance.  But like so many men, Tyrone’s warm smile and confident exterior mask a deep sadness and uncertainty.  He often wonders what’s really worthwhile in life.  Despite all the trophies he’s accumulated indicating he’s a winner, he always feels defeated.

Can you relate to Tyrone?   The pursuit of the American Dream has left many feeling alone and angry, because prosperity can’t be measured by money or even family.  Who does the Bible teach is prosperous or blessed?  Only when you seek to find joy in your Creator and not in His creation, will your soul begin to find significance and true happiness. Stop and assess where you seek your joy.

Praying for Others

Steve Arterburn

Here’s a great principle of prayer: You can do a great deal for people after you pray for them but little of lasting value until you pray for them.  

I don’t think I need to argue about the value of praying for your spouse, kids, and friends.  But sometimes in our busy culture it’s tough to clear your mind and get started.  So let’s look to a man who knew the value of prayer.  The apostle Paul begins many of his letters with a helpful pattern.  

If you look at his letter to the Philippians, for instance, you’ll see it begins with a blessing of grace and peace.  Grace is the reason for our salvation and peace is the result.  Paul then gives thanks for the Philippian believers.  Cherish the work that God’s doing in and through others.  Next Paul makes requests to aid the spiritual growth of his friends.  He wants them to grow in their love, knowledge, and understanding of Christ.  Last, Paul prays that they’d behave in a manner that honors God in light of coming judgment.  This isn’t a fear tactic but a reminder to live for the ultimate goal of heaven, not the short-term rewards of comfort and pleasure.  

God loves it when we come to him in prayer.  Will you select one person that God has placed on your heart, and write a prayer for them?  For help, look to Paul’s letter to the Philippians.