A Cautionary “Tell” on Highs & Lows

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A. M. Thoughts: 
Life brings with it many highs and lows. The highs are those feel good moments that allow for personal victories and triumphs. The lows are those what was that moments that challenge or stretch us beyond our level of comfort. Whether you find yourself on the high end or low end of these moments, it is important to center or rather to ground yourself by staying close to the LORD and in His Word. 

DANGER!!!

If one dwells on or in the high indefinitely, there is a possibility that pride may begin to consume you. How does this happen? It happens slowly. It happens subtly. It begins with a general sense of elation, but it later shifts and becomes an inflated sense of self. (No, not in all cases, of course.) One begins to think, “Look what I have done! Look at what I can do.” I versus God becomes the focus. 

There is danger in this thinking. When God is taken out of the equation, it is then easier for Satan to lure and entice. Without an attachment to God or a grounding in Him, more and more selfish liberties can be taken, more and more tainted excuses can be made for why something was accomplished, etc. It is at this point that the evil one has you. He knows that he simply has to attract self to self.  In doing so, he understands  that it negates your need for God. Be warned! This is dangerous.

In contrast (and yet not), if one dwells on the lows constantly, there is a possibility that hopelessness can suffocate or rather drain the life out of you. How does this happen? It happens slowly. It happens subtly. It begins with a doubt, moves into fear, and germinates and grows into immobility. One begins to think, “Can I do this? Is there anything I can even do to fix this, change that, or make things right?” I versus God becomes the focus.

There is danger in this thinking. When dark, debilitating thoughts become more prominent in one’s mind and heart, there is then no room for God. (No, not in all cases, of course.) If God is pushed out or crowded out, the evil knows that he’s got you. He understands that darkness can be eradicated by light. The Light – the LORD Himself – casts out ALL darkness. He and He alone casts out Satan every time you hope, believe and trust in Him. He doesn’t want you to realize the power you have access to. 

Scripture Reflection: Proverbs

Challenge: Make a list of your successes. Give thanks to God for every one of them. Next, write down your challenges. Thank God for them also. Once you have done the aforementioned, prostrate yourself before the LORD and fully surrender your highs and lows. Give yourself into His keeping. Ask the LORD to direct you, to guide you, and to tell you (by way of His Word) what He would have you do from this point forward.

#5/52STUDY17

Gaining Wisdom – 8 weeks in the Proverbs, Week 8

Gaining Wisdom – 8 weeks in the Proverbs 

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Lesson material for the final week of The Phone Tree Bible Study Group’s 2012 Summer Challenge will be emailed directly to those who express an interest in having it. Summer Challenge participants will receive chapter summaries, power Scriptures, practical life messages, and questions to consider, as well as a special inspirational gift of thanks.

If you would like to receive lesson material for week 8, simply leave a response to this post.

God bless and much love in Christ,

Kim

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His Word. Life Relevance. Holy Direction.

Gaining Wisdom – 8 weeks in the Proverbs, Week 7

The Phone Tree Bible Study Group’s 2012 Summer Challenge

Gaining Wisdom – 8 weeks in the Proverbs 

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Scripture Reading: Proverbs 24-27

Gaining Wisdom:

Chapter 24 Summary – > The beauty of wisdom is purposeful for soul transformation.

Power Scripture: “Know that wisdom is thus for your soul; if you find it, then there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 24:14

Practical Life Message: To live a life filled with wisdom is to live knowing that your life path has direction and meaning. To know the direction and meaning of your life is to know its end – a beautiful inheritance.

Chapter 25 Summary – > There is great value in being quiet, remaining humble, and ceasing from arguing.

Power Scripture: “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.”Proverbs 25:21

Practical Life Message: The humble heart understands that it is good to demonstrate love to her enemies as well as to her friends. She provides as they have need, knowing that God is doing a work in her and in them.

Chapter 26 Summary – > A fool is without purpose, and a wise man knows His [the LORD’s] intent.

Power Scripture: “He who hates disguises it with his lips, but he lays up deceit in his heart.” Proverbs 26:24

Practical Life Message: How do you recognize a fool? You recognize a fool by the fruit of his lips and the work of his hands. The foolish deceive themselves, striving to justify that which is wicked. They have mouths which are filled with empty words and that come from an ignorant mind and poisonous heart.

Chapter 27 Summary – > There are things that all must undoubtedly know in order to live wisely.

Power Scripture: “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man.” Proverbs 27:19

Practical Life Message: Your true heart will always be made known. It can be seen in your words, thoughts, deeds and actions.

7 Questions to Consider:

1) Is your desire to experience a transformation of the heart and soul?

2) Are you aware of God’s hope and future for your life?

3) What good is a proverb in the life of a fool if the foolish one is you?

4) Do you have a troubled heart? (Spiritual Fitness Challenge: Journal a prayer to God about this matter.)

5) What do you boast in – God or self?

6) Who do you sharpen and who sharpens you? (Meditate on Proverbs 27:17.)

7) Have you gained a greater appreciation for the spiritual food of God and/or for His holy sustenance?

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His Word. Life Relevance. Holy Direction.

Gaining Wisdom – 8 weeks in the Proverbs, Week 6

The Phone Tree Bible Study Group’s 2012 Summer Challenge

Gaining Wisdom – 8 weeks in the Proverbs 

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Scripture Reading: Proverbs 20-23

Gaining Wisdom:

Chapter 20 Summary – > Take heed, there is a way to conduct oneself in life.

Power Scripture: “Man’s steps are ordained by the LORD, how then can man understand his way?” Proverbs 20:24

Practical Life Message: The order in which one steps is best directed by the LORD. When we veer from the ordered path that God has set, we falter.

Chapter 21 Summary – > The righteous love justice while the unrighteous love foolishness.

Power Scripture: “A man who wanders from the way of understanding will rest in the assembly of the dead.”Proverbs 21:16

Practical Life Message: Leaving or straying from the course that God established leads only to death. Follow His sure light and allow His lamp to shine forth on the direction you should go.

Chapter 22 Summary – > Know with certainty the words of God’s truth.

Power Scripture: “The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, honor and life.” Proverbs 22:4

Practical Life Message: What matters in life – the ability to submit to the Most High God.

Chapter 23 Summary – > Be warned; know the things that you should avoid in life.

Power Scripture: “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it.” Proverbs 23:4

Practical Life Message: Desiring to find wealth and fame in riches is not as important as living a life of honor and integrity. It is better to have a good reputation and to be known as just, fair and upright than to have a reputation of question associated with riches and the troubles thereof.

7 Questions to Consider:

1) Do you tend to contribute to strife in your life or in the lives of others?

2) How can you be sure that you allow the LORD to order your steps?

3) Are you a worker of justice or of iniquity?

4) In what ways do you guard your tongue?

5) Would you describe yourself as humble or haughty?

6) What is the most excellent word you have learned from the Scriptures to date?

7) Have you given your heart over to Wisdom?

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His Word. Life Relevance. Holy Direction.

Gaining Wisdom – 8 weeks in the Proverbs, Week 5

The Phone Tree Bible Study Group’s 2012 Summer Challenge

Gaining Wisdom – 8 weeks in the Proverbs 

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Scripture Reading: Proverbs 16-19

Gaining Wisdom:

Chapter 16 Summary – > God knows the depths and the truths of the heart.

Power Scripture: “Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3

Practical Life Message: In everything you do, make sure that the LORD God is in the plan. He knows whether your heart is for Him and His glory or whether it is for yourself and your own glory. If His glory takes priority, then your way will be firm, stable and sure. If your glory takes priority, then your way will be shaky, unstable, and flawed.

Chapter 17 Summary – > Life or death can be traced back to the heart just as surely as it can roll off the tongue.

Power Scripture: “He who returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.”Proverbs 17:13

Practical Life Message: What value is there in evil? None. To recompense evil for good, whether by tongue, thought or deed, brings nothing but darkness to the one who engages in it.

Chapter 18 Summary – > The path of man should be directed heavenward; it should lead to the throne of the Righteous One.

Power Scripture: “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.” Proverbs 18:10

Practical Life Message: In the I AM, there is protection, shelter, safety, strength, and a divine dwelling. Direct every step, every movement, and every action toward getting to Him.

Chapter 19 Summary – > There is value in being a poor man.

Power Scripture: “What is desirable in a man is his kindness, and it is better to be a poor man than a liar.” Proverbs 19:22

Practical Life Message: Self-worth is important, and it is good to have, however Christ-worth is more important and it is essential to have. The poor man understands this. Live in such a way that you can fully grasp what poor in spirit means.

(Special Note: “To be poor in spirit is to acknowledge honestly and with understanding our spiritual poverty —indeed our spiritual bankruptcy—before God. God wants His children to have this recognition of poverty regarding true spiritual things, and possess the drive to seek their enrichment from Him.”  – J.W. Ritenbaugh

7 Questions to Consider:

1) If the LORD were to weigh your heart in this present season, what would He discover?

2) How much attention do you give to the Word of God?

3) What is your attitude about the poor?

4) Do you experience difficulty “turning the other cheek?”

5) Do you run to the LORD when you are in need of refuge or do you run to something or someone else?

6) Are you a woman of integrity?

7) Are you willing to accept the counsel of the LORD but not discipline?

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His Word. Life Relevance. Holy Direction.

Gaining Wisdom – 8 weeks in the Proverbs, Week 4

The Phone Tree Bible Study Group’s 2012 Summer Challenge

Gaining Wisdom – 8 weeks in the Proverbs 

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Scripture Reading: Proverbs 12-15

Gaining Wisdom:

Chapter 12 Summary – > There is a way that is right and a way that is wrong. To subscribe to right is life. To subscribe to wrong is death.

Power Scripture: “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad.” Proverbs 12:25

Practical Life Message: The burdens of life and the chaos it produces internally are heavy. They get hard to carry, impacting the very soul. But there is One who has a good word that not only makes the heart glad but also brings eternal relief.

Chapter 13 Summary – > Great wisdom comes in understanding the way of righteousness and accepting it as a way of life.

Power Scripture: “The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the stomach of the wicked is in need.”Proverbs 13:25

Practical Life Message: She who understands righteousness and lives by it is filled to the measure, but she who is filled only with wickedness always craves to be fed. One must remember that in the way of unrighteousness, there will always be dissatisfaction and a hunger for more.

Chapter 14 Summary – > The way that seems right is often wrong.

Power Scripture: “The naive believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps.” Proverbs 14:15

Practical Life Message: A step toward righteousness is sure, firm, and blessed by God. Of the woman who appreciates where she places her feet, it can be said that there is wisdom. As such, one should step boldly and confidently toward the Most High and rest in His knowledge and surety.

Chapter 15 Summary – > The reward for the upright is prosperity in the LORD. There is no such reward for the one who chooses to oppose the Creator.

Power Scripture: “The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.” Proverbs 15:33

Practical Life Message: Fear of the Most High is the beginning of all knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Reverence Him. Humble yourself before Him. Live for His glory.

7 Questions to Consider:

1) Do you move by righteous acts or wicked acts?

2) Are you burdened by weights you’ve attempted to carry on your own?

3) Where do you seek to find satisfaction?

4) Is your way guided by your own steps or the steps of the Holy One?

5) Do you presently surround yourself with fools (consider the Scriptural definition of fool)?

6) Are there things in your life that would be considered abominations to God?

7) Are you in pursuit of righteousness? Why or why not? (Note: Meditate on Proverbs 15:9b.)

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His Word. Life Relevance. Holy Direction.

Gaining Wisdom – 8 weeks in the Proverbs, Week 3

The Phone Tree Bible Study Group’s 2012 Summer Challenge

Gaining Wisdom – 8 weeks in the Proverbs 

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Scripture Reading: Proverbs 8-11

Gaining Wisdom:

Chapter 8 Summary – > Wisdom defined is the LORD.

Power Scripture: “Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.” Proverbs 8:30

Practical Life Message: From the beginning, wisdom existed. It was mastered at the genesis of time. It was established before the formation of works. It was in place where I AM resided, and it is purposed to grant life and favor.

Chapter 9 Summary – > Wisdom calls out, inviting in the naïve, foolish, and unwise to come.

Power Scripture: “Come, eat of my food and drink the wine I have mixed.”Proverbs 9:5

Practical Life Message: Partaking of the abundant delights and succulent instruction found in the word of God can be filling to the heart that is willing. God – by way of wisdom – calls us to consume. He invites all to be fed.

Chapter 10 Summary – > A distinct difference is evident between the righteous and the wicked.

Power Scripture: “What the wicked fears will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted.” Proverbs 10:24

Practical Life Message: The righteous man is confident in where he stands and in what he believes as it relates to God. He understands that God will not allow him to go without. The wicked man, in contrast, has no hope because he does not trust. He does not grasp the fact that God provides in every respect.

Chapter 11 Summary – > The righteous are a delight to the LORD.

Power Scripture: “…the blameless in their walk are His delight.” Proverbs 11:20b 

Practical Life Message: Live life as unto the LORD. Be His delight and know His blessed promises of deliverance. As His Word declares, it shall be so for the woman/man who chooses to walk upright.

7 Questions to Consider:

1) What does it mean to fear the LORD?

2) What possessions do you treasure most?

3) Do you consider yourself to be wise? Why or why not?

4) What is the value of having integrity?

5) Do you store up knowledge or foolishness?

6) When you examine your life, do you consider yourself to be humble or proud?

7) Who do you seek guidance from most?

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His Word. Life Relevance. Holy Direction.