Follow along for 31 Days of Devotionals from the books of Psalms and Proverbs written by Pastor Ryan Binkley and Pastor Banks Babade.
“A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool.”
Proverbs 17:10 NLT
There are some people who can receive some instruction, guidance, and correction just once, and they immediately respond. You can exhaust yourself with others because you have to talk with them over and over again about the same matter, and they still come up with excuses on their behavior. We all need correction, to make adjustments, and admonishment at times. As such, we simply need to have the mindset that when correction comes, we want to listen and respond in a Godly, wise manner. I have five children and sometimes it is just beautiful hearing them talk, have fun, and even banter back and forth a bit. The only part that gets frustrating is when one tells the other “please stop”, meaning someone has crossed the line and they need to pull back. Unfortunately, there are days when we hear “please stop” not just once, twice, or even three times. It is rare, but if someone is yelling “stop” over and over it becomes annoying because we know someone is just not listening to the other person. This happens in real life all the time, except we are not kids arguing, we are adults who just resist listening. If we will have a listening ear, then we can become a person of understanding. When one rebuke comes our way, we can take notice and respond accordingly. What if the world listened and respected each other the first time? If we did, then there would be no reason for prisons, lawsuits, or divorces. We must learn to listen, care, and love one another and wisdom will rule in our lives.
“ Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. Rescue me from my rebellion. Do not let fools mock me. I am silent before you; I won’t say a word, for my punishment is from you. But please stop striking me! I am exhausted by the blows from your hand. When you discipline us for our sins, you consume like a moth what is precious to us. Each of us is but a breath. Interlude”
Psalms 39:4-11 NLT
Father, I know that my days here on this earth are brief and short compared to eternity. Help me to understand that every day that I live is for you and not to take any day for granted. Our lives are just moments and we need to live them for You every day. Forgive me of my sin and rebellion and bring my heart close to you. I will listen and respond to your correction. I receive your guidance for my life and discipline. Let me live among the wise and thank you for loving me to guide and correct me today. Amen.
“People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.”
Proverbs 16:2 NLT
In 1st Corinthians, Paul teaches us that if would judge ourselves properly that we we would not be judged. Jesus told us to not judge others because when we do we are judging ourselves because we do the same thing that they do. So, if we judge at all it needs to be directed primarily towards ourselves. The reason we need to be reflective to our own actions, behavior, and motives is because generally we think that we are right and unfortunately many times we are incorrect. Usually we think the other person is in the wrong or that their behavior justifies our own. Even if we seem pure in our own eyes and in our perspective, let’s let the Lord examine your motives. Allow Him to speak to you about your heart and motive. If you do this is a healthy and not condemning way, you will walk in truth and humility. This will allow the spirit of the Lord to move freely in your life. I remember over a decade ago I had an employee that I really wanted to terminate and get off of my team. Their behavior was destructive as they regularly lost their temper with other associates in our company. I remember praying and praying about this individual and God would always tell me the good things about them. It was interesting that as bad as they were the Lord was always telling me things that I could do to lead better instead of me just focusing on their weakness. He would highlight their diligence and work ethic and always challenge me to see the good in them. Eventually we parted ways, but I learned more about myself and how to manage others during that time than in any other before or since. If we can see the good in others and ask the Lord to weigh our hearts, then we will be walking in humility and the truth and He will lead us discern ourselves and others properly.
“Don’t be upset because of evil people. Don’t be jealous of those who do wrong, because like the grass, they will soon dry up. Like green plants, they will soon die away. Trust the LORD and do good. Live in the land and feed on truth. Enjoy serving the LORD, and he will give you what you want. Depend on the LORD; trust him, and he will take care of you.”
Psalms 37:1-5 NCV
Lord, I give you my relationships today. I give you my most difficult relationship today and I trust You to help me see what you see in them. I pray blessing over my friends, family and even my enemies. I pray that Your goodness would surround all of our lives and that we would all feed on Your truth. May your ways surround me and may I hear your voice only. I trust and depend on You for my future and my life. Lead me in the way of truth and examine my heart. May my ways and heart be pleasing to you. I love you forever. Amen.
“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them.”
Proverbs 15:1, 4, 18 NLT
I was with my brother on a night on the town in London when I was in my early 20’s right out of college. My dad had taken us on trip to England and Scotland with a group of his business associates and we decided to head out one night after dinner and see the night life. This is when I just rededicated my life to the Lord and I was just getting back into church. We visited several places and nothing seemed to be that exciting and the world was becoming more and more less interesting to me. Afterwards, we were on our way home and I stopped and got a slice of pizza from a street vendor. My brother hailed a cab and as I was walking toward the cab a man came up to me and put a knife to my throat and demanded my pizza. Now, at this time in my life I also had some anger issues I was overcoming and sometimes they would lead to fighting. I quickly sized up this individual and as I was deciding what to do my life went into slow motion and slowly I could see what was going to happen next. I saw us fighting, me getting away, but also me getting arrested in London late in the evening. I knew we had a train ride to Scotland the next morning and a golf outing planned as well. Somehow, I knew that if I resisted and fought this person that I was going to miss that train and cause my dad to miss it as well. Then in one split second, I said to the man, “here, have some pizza”. Pizza saved the day. But it wasn’t just the pizza, it was also knowing when to have a cool temper. I saw the other day in the news, where a man came out of a pizza parlor to two men who were fighting. He stopped them and offered them pizza and all three of them took a slice and ate. The fighting was over and pizza won out again. I wonder how many fights would be solved and arguments would stop if someone would say, “hey, let’s get some pizza”. Or something, anything, just to change the subject, lower the tone, and say everything is going to be ok. A gentle answer deflects anger and is a tree of life. I made it home that evening and took a great train ride to Scotland the next morning and played on one of the legendary golf courses in the history of the sport. I went home that night without pizza but came back home alive and with a great memory. Maybe the pizza guy has found Christ since that day as well, I truly hope so.
“O Lord, I give my life to you. I trust in you, my God! Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat. No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.”
Psalms 25:1-3 NLT
Father, I put my life and trust in Your hands. Thank you for delivering me and not letting my enemies destroy me life. None who trusts in you is disgraced and I thank you for saving me and keeping me all the days of my life. Teach me Lord, to walk away from danger and to not allow trouble in my path. Lead me into truth and in Your arms of protection. I love You and give You my life today. Lead me in Your way forever and ever. Amen.