Proverbs 19 3-19-20

Relationships are a big deal where heaven is concerned: Christ, our family, friends, even enemies. It’s all about CONNECTION.

The poor [in relationships] are shunned by all their relatives—
    how much more do their friends avoid them [in times of trouble]!
Though the poor [in relationships] pursue them with pleading,
    they are nowhere to be found [when they are needed most].

Of course, our relationship with Christ is first and foremost. We connect with Him in prayer everyday so that when the day of TRIAL comes, we are not having to learn how to listen and follow closely during difficult times. I’m not saying that staying close to Jesus insulates us from hard times or the feelings that come with them–we all deal with those feelings! I’ve been having to deal with the extra work that our current crisis has caused. Other people are having to deal with financial stress; others with what to do with children who are not in school. Still others who have pre-existing conditions are concerned about their health. If you have been lackadaisical in your time with the LORD, NOW is the time to turn to Him. The tendency is to continue on the path we have been traveling, which means that if a person has NOT established a solid relationship with the LORD, then during crisis, he will continue in his own strength and intellect. What we must remember is that we are SHEEP. We are also confined to three dimensions. Satan is not. He sets traps for us left and right. If we are not following closely to Christ and staying on the straight and narrow way, then we will fall into his traps.

20 Listen to advice and accept discipline,
    and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

Let’s be counted among the wise by placing ourselves at His feet each day, walking with Him throughout the day, and following His directions constantly. Let’s listen to His advice and accept His discipline (correction and training). In doing so, we will be counted among the wise when crisis comes and our anchor holds.

23 The fear of the Lord leads to life;
    then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

When we regard the LORD Jesus as our King, we are safe under His umbrella of responsibility. We can rest in the knowledge that in our obedience, we are blameless. Trouble may come, but it can never sever our relationship with Christ, nor can it bring condemnation upon us because we are safe under His protection and love. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (see Romans 8:31-39).

May we take to heart what Jesus said to Peter, James and John on the night of His arrest:

37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,”he said to Peter, are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:37-38

I like to add, “WAKE UP!” to the sentence. Let’s WAKE UP and watch and pray so that we will not fall into temptation. Part of us (the part influenced by the Holy Spirit) wants to be holy, faithful, and consistent, while the other part of us (the part influenced by our flesh, our natural person) makes us wait, drag our feet, or find something else to do. Peter learned a hard lesson that night. Let’s not have to learn the same lesson!

Abba, I know I’m preaching to myself here. Even as I type these words, I hear Your Spirit saying, “That’s right; stay the course!” I repent of my selfish attitude about having more work to do. I want to respond to the needs of the day with righteous enthusiasm, for I know that You will be using our present circumstances to bring Yourself glory, and I want to be part of that process. Give me a willing heart, O God. I also ask for patient endurance–I know I need it! Leaning on You, Amen.

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