Wisdom Shouts Out (Proverbs 1:20-33)

We have been studying Proverbs 1 over the last few days, and today I hope to close out the chapter. There is a fair few verses left, but I will try to group them and talk through the sections.

20 Wisdom shouts in the streets.

    She cries out in the public square.

23 Come and listen to my counsel.

I’ll share my heart with you

    and make you wise.

Proverbs 1:20, 23 (NLT)

Wisdom Cries Out

Wisdom, the thing we have been seeking and the overall purpose of Proverbs, takes on a female persona now and begins to talk to us – the reader.

Wisdom cries out, shouting in the streets and urging us to come and find her. This firstly implies that wisdom will not simply fall in our lap, but rather we must seek after it ourselves. I reflected in an earlier post that it takes effort on our part, and we must engage with the Bible as a whole, and Proverbs in particular, if we want to become wise.

Why does she shout in the street and cry out in the public square? Simply because that is where the people are gathered. Wisdom is on offer to all of us, not just a select few. In fact, and in some of the verses we skipped over, wisdom calls out to “simpletons!” Not so politically correct of course, but again, the point is that no one is excluded. Proverbs aims to help the unwise become wise.

Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise. Prov 1:23 #Bible #Wisdom

Don’t Ignore

24 “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come.

    I reached out to you, but you paid no attention.

25 You ignored my advice

    and rejected the correction I offered.

27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,

    when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone,

    and anguish and distress overwhelm you.

Proverbs 1:24-25, 27 (NLT)

The message of this section is clear – do not ignore the call to wisdom!

Wisdom is trying to get our attention, and so often we choose the foolish path. We make our choices based on our feelings, our gut or what others want us to do, and yet those are worldly ways. Our choices must be Bible-based and Spirit-led, for that is the only way to ensure success.

Look at what befalls those who ignore wisdom. They end up in calamity and disaster, with anguish overtaking them. When we go our own way, or follow the world, we will end up in a place we do not want to be. The world offers us no satisfaction, and we will only ever be truly fulfilled by our relationship with God. Remember that the beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord, and nothing works without that.

Avoid calamity. Avoid distress. Stay well away from the path that leads to disaster. Embrace the wisdom of God, and submerge yourself in His teachings. The bible is the manual for life, and nothing works quite right if we do not follow the user’s guide!

Harsh Words

Wisdom becomes rather harsh in the latter part of our passage. Having offered her help time and time again, and being snubbed by those who think they know better, Wisdom now refuses to answer. The foolish begin to search for her, but it is too late and they can no longer find her.

28 “When they cry for help, I will not answer.

    Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me.

29 For they hated knowledge

    and chose not to fear the Lord.

30 They rejected my advice

    and paid no attention when I corrected them.

31 Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way,

   choking on their own schemes.

32 For simpletons turn away from me—to death.

    Fools are destroyed by their own complacency.

Proverbs 1:28-32 (NLT)

They have hated knowledge and wisdom’s free gift. They have refused her guiding hand and the correction she offers. Verse 29 tells us that they have refused to fear the Lord.

Harsh as it may seem, we only have so many chances to reject God and His ways. A time will come when it will be too late to turn to Him. I do not want that for you! If you have not turned to God, then now is the time. None of us know how long we have, or when it will be too late, so take that critical step right this second!

Fall on your knees before the Lord and cry out to Him for His forgiveness. Ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life, and to save you from your sin. He will not refuse you. While you are at it, ask Him to fill you with wisdom, so that you might live a successful life in service to God.

Live in Peace

33 But all who listen to me will live in peace,

    untroubled by fear of harm.”

Proverbs 1:33 (NLT)

The chapter closes with these words – those who listen will live in peace.

Peace is something we all crave. Like wisdom, peace will not just happen to you, but must be sought. We have the fruit of peace in our hearts (see Galatians 5:22-23), and Jesus left us His peace as part of our inheritance (see John 14:27). Yet, this fruit must be cultivated so that it grows in our lives.

If you seek wisdom, you will find peace also #Bible #Peace #Wisdom

There are many benefits to living wisely, but for me at least, finding peace is enough to convince me.

Wisdom is calling you today, so do not ignore her plea. God, likewise, is knocking at your door, and hoping you will answer. Set your mind and heart towards Him today, and learn of His wisdom. This first chapter of Proverbs is there to convince us of our need for wisdom, and it certainly has me! How about you?

Let Me Love You, Lord (A Poem)

Last week I published a post on a poem based on Psalm 150. if you enjoyed that, then I hope you will enjoy reading this to.

I might look at poverty in the eye,Suffer lack with a hopeful sigh,I may feel down and ready to cry,But Lord let me love you without asking why!I …

Let Me Love You, Lord (A Poem)

And here is a link to my poem published last week in case you missed it…

Psalm 150 Poetry

He Never Fails

I really enjoyed reading this post, and the part about keeping our promises is very important.

I hope you enjoy reading it too.

What God says, He does. He is trustworthy. He does not act according to what we think or what we say to Him. God acts according to what He thinks and…

He Never Fails

Word Count

WordPress helpfully keeps a total of the words you have written on your blog each year. Although we are only about a week into 2022, I am reliably informed that I have written nearly 4500 words so far.

This is good for me to know, because I really do want to make good progress on some unfinished books I am writing this year.

One project has around 10,000 words written, and another approximately 17,000 words completed.

Knowing that I’ve already written 4500 words on the blog this year, helps me to believe that it may even be possible to complete both projects in the coming 12 months!

why am I telling you this? Simply for accountability!

I want to try to post regular updates on how the books are progressing, as a way of keeping myself honest! Do pull me up dear reader, if I do not do this!

I also ask for your prayers, and that my writing would be fruitful. Please ask the Lord to help me complete these projects this year, but more importantly that they will be a vehicle for him to bless those who read them.

Word count is not the best way to measure the quality of a book… But in this stage of the project, it sure does help me keep track!

Thank you for your ongoing support and prayers!

Confession Time

Reading another blog recently, I was struck by the openness and honesty of the author. They were describing their own struggles with sin over the past year, and I actually found it quite refreshing to hear. Not that sin should be celebrated you understand, but rather we all struggle and yet few of us talk about it.

We all want to put on our best face to other people, and so rarely share anything that might make us look bad. Social media can amplify this, giving us glimpses of only the best bits of life. It was once said that social media is life through a very fine filter.

As a result of this lack of openness, we sometimes find ourselves feeling like the only one in the world struggling with one issue or another. Or am I alone in that? I hope not!

The devil loves to make us think we are alone in our battles. If he can fool us into thinking no one else is facing such things, then he can trick us into thinking we are worse than everyone else around us.

If you are in any form of ministry, be it pastoring a church or writing a blog, this problem can be all the worse. Those in ministry should stretch for higher standards. I often wrestle with the following verses from James’ letter:

Let not many of you be teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive heavier judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. Anyone who doesn’t stumble in word is a perfect person, able to bridle the whole body also.

James 3:1-2 (WEB)

Heavier judgement, as rendered in this translation, does not sound all that fun! Why make the test harder than it needs to be right? Why bother to teach at all?

For those called to do so, it is an occupational hazard! Once you have discovered your call, you can no more ignore it than you can stop your own heart beating.

Jeremiah said:

If I say, I will not make mention of him,

    or speak any more in his name,

then there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones.

    I am weary with holding it in.

    I can’t.

Jeremiah 20:9 (WEB)

Not to speak of the Lord was not an option for Jeremiah. For those called to share the Gospel, they cannot cease to proclaim the truth either.

So, teachers are teachers, and subject to “heavier judgement.” The issue is that this can lead to an almost false persona. We want the people we are teaching to think well of us. We incorrectly believe that if they really knew us, then they would cease to listen to what we have to say.

As a teacher, you need to be able to demonstrate some measure of success in your subject. I do not go around teaching the finer points of plumbing because I know not the difference between a U-bend and a stopcock! If I cannot demonstrate that I know the Bible and can put its teaching into practice, then my instruction will have little power behind it.

Does this mean we can never be open? No, of course not! No one is perfect, least of all me, and we cannot and should not expect perfection from our teachers. I actually think more highly of someone who is open about their struggles than those who claim to have none at all.

John says in his first letter:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9 (WEB)

We know that when confessing our sins to God, He will forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. It goes on to say that if we claim to be without sin, we are deceiving ourselves and making God out to be a liar.

So, do you need a time of confession? Not everyone should write a blog and tell the world of their shortcomings, but tell a trusted friend.

For me, I am constantly wrestling with pride. I confess to you, trusted reader, that I have myself on my mind far too often! When I get scared, it is because I am thinking of myself. When I get angry, it is because someone or something has interrupted my plan. When I get tired, I forget my priorities and end up living to please myself and not the Lord. All of these issues stem from pride. It is part of why I believe God is steering me towards studying the subjects of meekness and humility at the moment.

I am far from perfect, and make mistake after mistake at times. What I find really frustrating is the cycle of sin I find it hard to escape from. I fight against one temptation, beat it for a while, then slip back. Can you relate?

I could write a thousand more words about my faults, but not sure how interesting a read it would be! The point is, I confess to you that I live in the world, I have a flesh to grapple with, and there is a real-life enemy to contend with. It is the same for you.

Do you need to set aside some time for a “spiritual bath?” Need you sit down with Jesus and talk through some of your own struggles and sins? Is there a trusted person in your life you can speak to and confess your sins to?

I praise and thank God for the cleansing work of His Son! Jesus’ shed blood on the cross means that every sin is covered. As long as we live on this Earth, we will wrestle with sin. But we must keep fighting! Only when we give up and give in, are we truly defeated.

Let me finish by reminding you that you are not alone. No matter what sins you wrestle with, there is someone else going through the exact same thing. You are not alone! Only by each of us being honest about our failings can we reassure one another and offer each other support.

Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other. And let each of us rejoice in Christ’s finished work that we may go free! Praise His Holy Name!

The Berean Approach – Andy Brown (repost)

I don’t want you to just take my word for it… We take a little break from our current series on Psalm 103 to discuss something important. It is an immense privilege to share God’s Word with you through this blog, and I take that responsibility very seriously. But you, the reader, have a responsibility…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2018/04/12/the-berean-approach/

It’s a new year, so let it go!

I really enjoyed this post from another Andy B. lots of wisdom in these words… Do check it out if you have the time.

It’s been lovely seeing both the personal, and generic messages, from friends and family, wishing everyone a Happy New Year. So, Happy New Year from …

It’s a new year, so let it go!

A Stirring to Pray – (Best of 2021)

Continuing my “best of “series, it seems appropriate to share this post on prayer as it goes right alongside my earlier post this morning.

I hope you enjoy reading it!

Have a very blessed 2022!

-

During the height of the lockdown in the UK, where we were only allowed out for short periods of exercise, I began to fairly regularly record prayer videos which I put out here on the blog and on my Facebook page. You can see an example here, if you’re interested. I really love to pray…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2021/06/12/a-stirring-to-pray/

New Year Prayers

We find ourselves at another New Year’s Eve! Where does the time go?

If I have mentioned this before on the blog, then I do apologise! There is a church near me who likes to pray in the new year. They hold a gathering in the evening, and begin a late night service together so that the congregation can be praying as the clock strikes twelve. I think this is a wonderful practice, and a great way to start 2022 off in the right way.

Jesus often prayed through the night, such as:

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.

Luke 6:12

I too want to start 2022 off in prayer. Due to other commitments, I cannot guarantee that I’ll actually be praying when the stroke of midnight comes, but I do want to spend some time today with the Lord.

For at least part of my prayers, I want this verse from the psalms to be a focus:

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.

Psalm 42:8

Every day this new year, let the Lord’s love be directed towards us, and may He sing over us in the night. May we each be rooted and grounded in His love which endures forever! Let us rejoice in His forgiveness, and joy that comes from knowing He remembers our sins no more!

I know that not everyone will be starting this new year in a state of joy, and many face trials of various kinds. So, how can I pray for you? What is happening in your life and how can I lift these things to our gracious God?

There are numerous ways to get in touch with me and let me know your prayer requests or praise reports. Simply comment below if easiest, and others can join in praying also. If your request is more private, please use the Contact form.

As ever, I consider it a tremendous privilege to pray for you. I believe in the power of prayer, and believe that God is ever active and responsive to the calls of His people.

In years gone by, my family and I have kept a “blessing jar” where we note down the blessings that have come to us throughout the year. We jot down anything from promotions at work, to special times of worship, to new friends made. Then, on New Year’s Eve, we go through them and remind ourselves of the goodness of God.

What do you have to be thankful for this year? There were no doubt many problems that you faced, and many you overcame. What has God done for you this year that you could thank Him for? As well as your prayer requests, I’d be glad to offer up a word of thanks to Him too. We are a family, and as God blesses you, I rejoice in that too!

Whatever you are doing this New Year’s Eve, be it a big party or a quiet time alone at home, take a moment to thank Jesus for the year gone by and say a word of prayer for the year to come.

May God richly bless you and those you love in the next twelve months!

Success – (Best of 2021 sort of…)

I have just received a notification from WordPress to say that today I have had a new record – most views in a day! For this, I can only say a massive thank you to all of my readers.

 I am not certain why the site has attracted so many visitors today, but I am humbled by every single page view. Thank you!

And thanks go to Jesus for all of this. I could not write one word about him where it not for his wonderful grace. May he continue to take these imperfect words of mine and use them for his kingdom and glory.

I have been re-running a series of “best of “posts from this past year. Although not the most viewed, this one entitled “success “is particularly apt on the back of what I’ve just said.

I hope you enjoy reading it, whether it’s the first time you have seen it or not.

—

This week, WordPress notified me of two particular milestones my site has reached. It does not matter exactly what they are, and you will understand later why I choose not to share the specifics. In addition to that, my site also managed to exceed total views for 2020, also something of an achievement. Are these…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2021/06/26/success/

Don’t Speak Out of Your Pain (Best of 2021)

You have probably heard it said that people don’t always mean what they say when they are angry. Perhaps, you’ve even said things you didn’t mean when emotions were running high? Among other things, I’m quite certain the Apostle Paul had such things in mind when he wrote these words from Ephesians: Be angry, and…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2021/05/07/dont-speak-out-of-your-pain/

End of Another Year

As we approach the end of another year, it has become my practice to review what has been, and to look ahead to what may come.

2021 has been a tough year for many people, and likewise, my own family has seen a number of struggles. In early January, my grandmother (who we affectionately called the “Queen” of our family) went home to be with the Lord. She held the Word of God on her lips and held it in her heart as she left us, and this Christmas was not the same without her.

On the day of my grandmother’s funeral, we learned that my mother-in-law had again been diagnosed with cancer, and this awful disease took her from us in July.

It would be all too easy to focus on the negatives of this year, and by doing so start to believe that it was a “bad” year. There were many things to be thankful for however, such as our family moving into a wonderful new home in late summer, and my eldest daughter making the transition into secondary school.

Every year is a mix of tears and laughter, joy and pain. Sometimes the balance feels one way or the other, but I thank God that He walks with us through each and every step.

I am not big on “regrets” as it seems unproductive to waste energy on things that cannot be changed. Had I my time again though, I would have liked to prioritise this blog and my writing projects more. It was probably my most successful year on the blog, depending on how you measure success and yet I had little time to give to it in the latter part of this year. Even less time was given to my two unfinished books, and I want to put that right in 2022.

Like most other people I know, I only have 24 hours a days and seven days per week. It is what you do with those hours that matters. I cannot give this blog or my book projects more time by turning days into 26 or 28 hours… instead, I need to prioritise what is important. Lord, help me to do this right! As a starting point, I intend to cut back on a few other commitments so that I can focus on writing more.

I am particularly excited about a project my wife and I are starting. While that may sound contradictory to what I said above about cutting back, this project won’t take a huge amount of time for me, but do pray for my wife! I am keen to talk more about it, but will save the details for another post in future once it takes shape. Watch this space!

I want to close out this post by thinking about something God has been speaking to me about. The Lord drew my attention to these verses from the book of James:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

James 1:22-25 (NIV)

God wants me to be a “doer” this coming year, and not just a “hearer.”

I frequently listen to Christian teaching in the form of podcasts. My feed has over a hundred different episodes to be listened to. This stems from pre-COVID days when I used to commute daily. I would spend my time on the train listening to various things. Now, working from home mostly, I have less time to consume content like this.

I believe God has been showing me that while listening to such materials is great, the aim of the exercise is not to reduce the length of my feed and delete another completed episode, rather it is to learn something. I think God wants me to listen to fewer messages, but to really engage with the ones that I do.

James encourages believers to not just listen to the Bible, but to do what it says. Don’t just attend church, nod along to your pastor’s sermon, and then forget all about it by Monday morning. Take notes. Write down some actions. Ask yourself what you will do differently because of what you have heard. Only then will we be “doers of the Word.”

I hope and pray that you will have a blessed 2022. I know that the Lord has a good plan for your life, and His love for you has no limits. That does not mean 2022 won’t have its fair share of problems, but you can face them with Jesus by your side.

I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for reading any of my posts this year. I remain truly humbled that anyone wants to read my words, and your comments and messages of encouragement are such a blessing to me. I thank the Lord for each of you.

You cannot change the things of 2021, but you can walk into 2022 determined to serve the Lord.

I leave you with these verses from Revelation:

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.

12 In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

Revelation 5:11-13 (NIV)

He is indeed worthy! Praise His holy Name! Amen!