Are you focused? Are you distracted? Are you focused on yourself? Are you focused on others? Are you comparing yourself to others? Are you comparing yourself against what God’s calling you to become? In and through it all are you keeping your eyes on the prize or are they looking at what others are doing or others have?
Do you envy others? Do you wish you were in someone else’s shoes?
Do you seek wise counsel? Where do you turn for advice? How do you know when you get off course? Do you know where true north is in your life? Do you know the difference between right and wrong? Are you willing to take the high road? Are you willing to help raise the bar so that the average is going up rather than moving towards the lowest common denominator?
Today’s reading starts in Proverbs…
1Do not envy evil people, or desire to be with them, 2for their hearts contemplate violence, and their lips speak mischief.
Strength Through Wise Counsel
3By wisdom a house is built, by understanding it is prepared, 4and by knowledge its rooms are filled with every rare and pleasing treasure. 5A wise man is strong, and a man of knowledge becomes even stronger. 6For with wise advice you wage war and in many counselors there is victory. 7Wisdom is unattainable for a fool— he does not open his mouth at the gate. 8One who plots evil will be called a schemer. 9A foolish scheme is sin, and people detest a mocker.
Counsel on Friendship
10If you falter in a day of adversity, your strength is small. 11Rescue those being dragged off to death, hold back those stumbling to slaughter. 12If you say, “Look, we didn’t know this.” Won’t He who weighs hearts perceive it? Won’t He who guards your soul know it? Won’t He repay each one according to his deeds? 13Eat honey, my son, for it is good, and honeycomb is sweet to your taste. 14Likewise know that wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off. 15Do not lurk like the wicked near the dwelling of the righteous. Do not assault his home. 16For though the righteous one may fall seven times, he gets up again, but the wicked stumble in adversity. 17Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, or let your heart be glad when he stumbles, 18or Adonai may see it as evil in His eyes, and turn His wrath away from him. 19Do not be upset because of evil people, or be envious of the wicked, 20for the evil person has no future, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out. 21My son, fear Adonai and the king, and do not associate with rebels. 22For their destruction will arise suddenly, and who knows the ruin both Adonai and the king can bring? 23These sayings are also from the wise: Partiality in judgment is not good. 24Whoever tells the guilty, “You are innocent,” people curse him and nations revile him. 25But for those who convict the guilty there will be delight— good blessing will come upon them. 26An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. 27Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready. After that, build your house. 28Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips. 29Do not say, “I will do to him what he has done to me; I will pay him back for his deed!”
Lesson of the Lazy
30I passed by the field of the slacker, by the vineyard of one lacking judgment. 31Surprisingly, it was all overgrown with thorns, the ground was covered with weeds, and its stone wall was broken down. 32Then I took to heart what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: 33“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep,” 34then your poverty comes tramping in, and your need like an armed soldier.
–from Proverbs 24
Will you search for the truth? Will you search for the wisdom? Will you go beyond taking it as it comes and work to make a difference? Will you keep moving forward towards the goal? Will you keep moving forward towards the prize?
The Glory of Searching a Matter
1These also are proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied: 2It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to search it out. 3As high as heaven and deep as earth, so the hearts of kings are unsearchable. 4Remove impurities from silver and out comes material for the refiner. 5Remove the wicked from before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness. 6Do not honor yourself in the king’s presence, and do not stand in the place of great men. 7Better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” than for you to be humiliated before a nobleman. What your eyes have seen, 8do not bring hastily to court, or what will you do afterward, when your neighbor puts you to shame? 9Argue your case with your associate, without betraying another’s confidence, 10or the one who hears it will shame you, and you will never lose your bad reputation.
A Fitting Reproof is Precious
11Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word aptly spoken. 12Like a gold earring or a gold ornament is a wise reproof to a receptive ear. 13Like the coolness of snow at harvest time is a faithful messenger to those who send him for he refreshes his master’s soul. 14Like clouds and wind without rain is one who boasts about a gift not given. 15Through patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue can break a bone.
Proverbs for Daily Life
16When you find honey, eat just enough, lest you are stuffed and vomit it. 17Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house, lest he become weary of you and loathe you. 18Like a club, a sword, or a sharp arrow is one who bears false witness against his neighbor. 19Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is confidence in the unfaithful in time of trouble. 20Like taking off a garment on a cold day or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart. 21If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, 22for you will heap coals of fire on his head and Adonai will reward you. 23A north wind brings rain, and a backbiting tongue angry faces. 24Better to dwell in a corner of a roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. 25Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. 26Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous person who yields before the wicked. 27It is not good to eat too much honey, or honorable to seek one’s own honor. 28Like a city whose walls are broken down is one with no control over his temper.
–from Proverbs 25
Are you living for the moment? Are you living for right here and right now? Are you living for eternity? Are you living for the temporary or the eternal? Are you living in love?
1Simon Peter, a slave and emissary of Messiah Yeshua, To those who have received a faith equal to ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Messiah Yeshua: 2May grace and shalom be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Yeshua our Lord.
Qualities for Living Forever
3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and virtue. 4Through these things He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, since you have escaped the corruption that evil desires have brought into the world. 5Now for this very reason, making every effort, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, patience; and to patience, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly love; and to brotherly love, love. 8For if these qualities are in you and increasing, they keep you from becoming idle and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 9But anyone who lacks these qualities is blind—nearsighted because he has forgotten his cleansing from past sins. 10Therefore, brothers and sisters, make all the more effort to make your calling and election certain—for if you keep doing these things, you will never stumble. 11For in this way entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Messiah Yeshua, will be richly provided for you. 12Therefore I intend to keep reminding you of these things, even though you know them and are well-grounded in the truth that you have. 13I think it right to stir you up with a reminder, as long as I remain alive in this “tent” of a body— 14knowing that my death is soon, as our Lord Yeshua the Messiah has made clear to me. 15And I will make every effort for you to always remember these things even after my departure.
Distinguishing True Testimony from Tales
16For we did not follow cleverly concocted tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, a voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory: “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased!” 18And we ourselves heard this voice come out of heaven, when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19Furthermore, we have the reliable prophetic word. You do well by paying attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20Above all understand this: no prophecy of Scripture comes about from a person’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever brought forth by human will; rather, people spoke from God as they were moved by the Ruach ha-Kodesh.
–from 2 Peter 1
Do you realize that it matters what you are saying? Do you realize it matters what you are doing? Do you realize it matters how you are living? Not only for you but for all those who are watching you, hearing you, and following you. Let’s help find! Find things that are lost! Find people who are lost! Let’s celebrate with them! Let’s welcome them home!
1Now all the tax collectors and sinners were drawing near to hear Yeshua. 2The Pharisees and the Torah scholars began to complain, saying, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3So He told this parable to them, saying, 4“Which man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, will not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until he finds it? 5When he has found it, he puts it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says, ‘Rejoice with me, for I’ve found my sheep that was lost!’ 7I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one repenting sinner than over the ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” 8“Or which woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search thoroughly until she finds it? 9When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I’ve found the coin I had lost!’ 10In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
11Then Yeshua said, “A certain man had two sons, 12and the younger of them said to the father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that comes to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. 13“Not many days later, the younger son gathered everything and traveled to a far country, and there he squandered his inheritance on wild living. 14Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine came against that country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16And he was longing to fill up on the carob pods the pigs were eating, but no one was giving him any. 17“But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have food overflowing, but here I am dying of hunger! 18I’ll get up and go to my father, and I’ll say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your presence. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired workers. 20“And he got up and went to his own father. But while he was still far away, his father saw him and felt compassion. He ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your presence. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22“But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him! Put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it! Let’s celebrate with a feast! 24For this son of mine was dead and has come back to life—he was lost and is found!’ Then they began to celebrate. 25“Now his older son was out in the field. And as he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26And he called out to one of the servants and began to ask what these things could be. 27“The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he got him back safe and sound.’ 28“But the older son was angry and didn’t want to go in. So his father came outside and pleaded with him. 29But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look, so many years I’ve slaved away for you—not once did I ignore your order. Yet you’ve never given me a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours came—the one who has squandered your wealth with prostitutes—for him you killed the fattened calf!” 31“Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and everything that is mine is yours. 32But it was right to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead but has come back to life! He was lost, but is found.’”
–from Luke 15