Sunday, June 1, 2008

Monday Morning Cover to Cover

What is one verse that speaks to your heart from Proverbs 1 through Proverbs 18? A few of us are reading the Bible chronologically and that's where we are. Share one verse with us or whatever you'd like, and then link us to your blog if you posted about proverbs.

GUARD Your Heart
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23. And we were called to really live. No cruise control. Am I living by focusing on the events of my life that need to be resolved; am I living my life about what is happening to me in order to improve my situation---if I am, my focus is on the wrong things unless I am experiencing the goodness of my God. If I am on guard, I am asking myself what is happening to me deep down at the core of my heart when I face my life not just trying to solve my problems and make my life work. In the book, Finding God by Lawrence Crabb, he tells us to be on guard against “good enough Christianity.” He says sometimes we are fighting the wrong battles: we want people to feel better, to enjoy relationships, to feel identity and meaning---and “we don’t need Jesus to know those three things. We need to be broken over what is ungodly in our lives.” Guard our heart where all the passion flows out.

GIVE Thought to Your Ways - Proverbs 14: 8 says "The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways." What changes our ways? When we try to figure out our sin by a checklist, it rarely disrupts us to repentance. We just try to get better. A friend of mine told me that parts of our heart are committed to two things: “penance and self-improvement.” I corrected my son at the breakfast table the other morning on an issue and his immediate response was: “You’re right. I need to do better, Mom. I’ll try harder.” We want our children to receive correction but as he was walking out the front door for school, I said to him: I don’t think God intends for you to try harder to be a good Christian. I wonder what his God was saying to him that he needed to repent of? The Christian life isn’t about trying harder to be better. It’s about being dead to sin and alive to God.” I just finished reading Frederick Buechner’s autobiography, Telling Secrets. He writes about how fully alive Jesus Christ lived his life. “People are so apt to drift along on the surface of their lives, not really seeing or hearing or feeling very much because most of the time they are little more than half alive, the rest of the time they are dazed, dreaming, or detached. Most of us escape so much by being less than fully alive, but Jesus seems to escape nothing: the dead sparrow, the woman touching the hem of his robe, the disciples shooing away the children, the sawed-off little crook named Zaccheus up in a tree.” Seek to be alive. I believe I have asked the wrong questions for way too long, trying to solve my problems and bring them to resolution. But, my beautiful God has so shown up and I am so alive in ways I have never been before. I wish I could find words to tell you what my God has done---just ask my husband. It used to be about all the unbelievable things God has done for me---He has! No more---now my life is all about the beautiful God He is! He is!

GRACE to You for His Eyes are Everywhere - Proverbs 15:3.... The eyes of the LORD are everywhere,keeping watch on the wicked and the good. “The right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge.” Another quote by C. S. Lewis. “When a man is getting better, he understands more and more the evil that is left within him." Where sin abounds, grace is there all the more. "When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness, less and less.” No escaping God's eyes. Lucy saw Aslan in Prince Caspian, The Chronicles of Narnia. Alsan’s eyes were on her and she knew it. But what did she do with it? She ignored Him. Are we dismissing our God this day? When in steep trouble in the midst of a losing battle, Lucy came to Aslan for help, and he asked her: “What stopped you from coming to Me?” He is saying to us all: Come. Come closer. Come in this moment where you are. We don’t need to improve ourselves to get there nor do we need to do penance. We don’t need to apply the proverbs and clean ourselves up. We need to repent from what we are doing that our beautiful God has brought to our minds and heart. The prodigal son was welcomed---not corrected; lavished with love----not with discipline.

I have been giving thought to my ways these past couple of years when my world fell apart. Lewis writes: “People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says: if you keep a lot of rules, I’ll reward you.” Get down all the sayings of Proverbs and you’ll know what to do in any given situation. Doesn’t work that way. I told my students this week what this author wrote that every time you make a choice, you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than what it was before. Yes, we are asking God to slowly turn things around for us that we are truly alive in Him and to others and to ourselves; the alternative is turning things into a state of war and hatred with God and others and even self-hatred. We are always progressing toward God or idols.


I hear so much "Christian talk" that so misses me. Doesn't change my heart. I've thought so much this past year about what really changes people??? What has robbed you of walking with your God this day? Open our eyes, o gracious God, that we may see how to guard our hearts and give careful thought to our ways. Come. And He is saying, "come closer."

27 comments:

Nise' 6/02/2008  

I lovd how God uses our sisters in Christ to speak to us! What you said I needed to hear!

My post on this week's reading is here.

Mary Lou 6/02/2008  

Bev, oh, how He moves. He has been speaking to me about guarding my heart over and over. He has told me to dig up the bad stuff and plant the good things He wants there. We are not to neglect our hearts. We need to stay in His word and listen to Him and let our hearts stay tender and soft toward Him and not let them grow hardened.Something that was said to me yesterday keeps going round in my head..consequences last forever, circumstances change quickly..so we should think through our choices very carefully. He has been speaking to me of "the one of so many words" to be more careful of what I say. Words do have so much power. Praying that you have a blessed week and those around you will be blessed by your heart...Blessings..Mary Lou

Laura 6/02/2008  

Bev,
Thanks for bringing me closer to Him today. I love to read your comments about the scriptures you are journeying through. You are such a strong woman of faith. I know God has something amazing waiting for you on the other side of this journey!
Laura

annie's eyes 6/02/2008  

Being less than fully alive so speaks to my heart. I hadn't connected the dead to sin and alive to God. Your words ring true this morning as I seek more of Him. Not what He does for me, as you say. But God Himself! I see another book I am going to have to get--I haven't read much of Buechner, but love his words. Blessings to you all today as we seek His wisdom in Proverbs. You can read my reflections here. Have a good week!

Michelle V 6/02/2008  

I really needed to hear that today! It's not about what He can do for us. It's about a relationship with Him. It's about coming closer to Him!

Michelle

Karen 6/02/2008  

I am so blessed by your words. And I am grateful for your obedience to Him.

Hopefully, my reflections are here.

Blessings to you this week!
karen

Karen 6/02/2008  

Okay, so they aren't where they are supposed to be. But they are on my blog somewhere. Think of it as an adventure!

karen

Marina 6/02/2008  

Bev, you are such a blessing and the Lord just shine through you you have such a calling on your life God is still working with you and what a wonderful job he has done.
I have commented on my blog what I learn but there was so much it was really hard to pin down.love,marina

Bev Brandon 6/02/2008  

'Nise, loved your post!

Bev Brandon 6/02/2008  

Mary Lou, So touched how you are always dealing with the fray of your heart!

Bev Brandon 6/02/2008  

Laura, tried a couple of times to leave a comment on your "fireflies" but couldn't. And yes they are lighting up the rolling flatlands of Texas. I've never noticed so many before this month! Love your heart pursuing His, wrapped around His Heart!

Bev Brandon 6/02/2008  

Annette, Your post was something else! And your comments to Angie B. simply took my breath away with your words----your merciful heart looking into the situation. I felt as though it was the heart of God breathing on that post.

Bev Brandon 6/02/2008  

Michelle V - you really did jump in with both feet into this...what a beautiful heart you have!

Bev Brandon 6/02/2008  

Karen, you are hilarious! I am so delighted to be on this journey with you! I laughed at the link---I was successful once and then what happened---I've never linked again. Loved your choice of words on your blog!

Bev Brandon 6/02/2008  

Marina, oh---how could we just pick one---really impossible! Thanks so much for joining us and posting on your blog from a humble beautiful heart you have!

Ang baylis 6/03/2008  

He looks SO beautiful on you, Bev! I know I keep saying this, but I love reading the Bible along side of all of you wise, godly women. Come here. if you want to read what lingers for me this week! Have a great week!
In His Love,
Angie xoxo

Shonda 6/03/2008  

Bev,
A day late...but wanted to come on over. I have so much going on right now. I stay current with the reading, but not always able to post in this season. I'm so glad I'm reading the Bible through with you and all the others. I learn so much from reading it with a fresh perspective and gleaning from what speaks to the hearts of others. I am in love with God's Word!!

I always learn from you and I'm thankful I can come read your posts. I'm in a stage in my life that I want to be corrected and quickly. I don't want to get away with anything. I've learned that if I think I'm getting away with something, the consequences are just more severe when caught. I want to be corrected immediately. I love the fact that we have God's Grace through Christ! He changes us from the inside out. The nearer we draw to HIM, the nearer He comes to us!! PTL!!

Love & blessings in Christ--

Holly 6/03/2008  

Hey Bev, I have had you on my mind and in my prayers all day. Chris just gave my Chronological Bible to a new Christian (his wife just had a baby last week) at his work. So now I'm reading in my Bible, but don't have the plan. Could you send it to me? I am so glad Jason has my Bible, but now I don't know where to be reading.

I look forward to posting on Proverbs next week!
Love you friend!!
holly

Bev Brandon 6/03/2008  

Angie, I just loved what you had to say on your post! And for your precious nephew, I've thought about him today and prayed for him. I had Special Ed students today that were so precious to me. We all have to deal with our disappointments in life! And our rage in our hearts against our beautiful God for not getting our own way.

Bev Brandon 6/03/2008  

Shonda, he hears you...and just like the blind man who received spiritual sight and physical sight, you have been so touched by HIM and it's so obvious. But the blind man lost a whole lot when he followed his Christ---lost his reputation, his friends, his family, his job, his community...keep on living open handed to HIM!

Bev Brandon 6/03/2008  

Basically this week we are reading Proverbs 19 - 31. I'll email you the schedule! How's Emma??? Thanks for doing that cookbook---I'll have to send one your way...trust your school year ended well. I know your choices to follow hard after HIM were good ones!

Bev Brandon 6/03/2008  

The chronological reading schedule for this week is posted on my left sidebar at very top.

Lisa 6/04/2008  

Hey Bev!
Just wanted to stop by and tell you I am praying for you.

Rest in Him, friend!
Lisa :)

Bev Brandon 6/04/2008  

Thank you Lisa! Means a lot to me! I love how you follow the promptings of your heart. Love how you deal with the fray of your heart! Your story so grips me and makes me all the more want to be...in His Grip!

Toknowhim 6/04/2008  

Sweet Bev,

I think I saw you on "Life Today" today. The program had Beth Moore as the guest...she was in the orange or pink jacket...Was that you my sweet friend?

Love to you... Kim

Bev Brandon 6/04/2008  

Sweet Kim, I was on the LOI interview about Beth's Voices of the Faithful book. I don't know if my jacket was pink or hers...maybe she had on orange. They put me in the front row on the end. When they would show those Thailand clips, I would SOB...and I do mean like sobbing. To think of my precious girl there in Thailand giving her life away means so much to me. She led one of her precious friends to faith in Christ this week! I just love what James is doing in Thailand now!

jennyhope 6/05/2008  

you are so right on here. Also, Proverbs 4:23 has come up in front of my face like 6 times this week. I am not kidding. Thanks for this inspired post! love you sweet Bev

Praying for Our Friend Joanne Psalm 131:3 Waiting on God. Hope Now. Hope Always.

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I have another blog where I blog daily as a small group of us read through the New Testament this year. It's called A String of Pearls. We carry each other on mats (when we just can't walk anymore) to Jesus and sweet things like that.

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