Steadfast - Proverbs 4:20, 22, 26


I wish sometimes that writer of the old, old parts of scripture could be alive today and tell us how their passages of scripture would be written today. Proverbs 4:20-27 is one of those passages. Since I don’t have their input, I like to rephrase it as I understand it to help me find ways to apply these truths to my life.


My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. – Proverbs 4:20

My child, study the word intently; absorb what it says and choose to fill your ears with the truth of the words.


Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. – Proverbs 4:21

Don’t let distracting media take your eyes off the beauty of God’s word; keep it fresh and bubbling up inside, ready to be called on at a moment’s notice.


For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. – Proverbs 4:22

The joy of being alive can be felt deeper and more intensely by those who understand the beauty that God has placed in His Word. It brings refreshment to the mind and relaxation to the body.


Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. – Proverbs 4:23

Protect your thoughts and be aware of your self-talk, because the flow of your life is determined by your internal dialogue and focus.


Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. – Proverbs 4:24

Don’t lie. Don’t gossip and don’t trick or manipulate. Ever.


Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. – Proverbs 4:25

Don’t let comparisons distract your or consumerism entice you. Look at what God’s given you and stay focused on the work He’s laid out in front of you.


Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. – Proverbs 4:26

Don’t live by accident. We weren’t put here to be pushed around mindlessly. Instead, think about who God made you to be and what work He’s asked you to right now. Think about your choices and live in such a way that you can become your best self through each and every choice you make.


Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. – Proverbs 4:27

It’s easy to feel that you made a mistake in your life choices or that you shouldn’t have chosen something that you did. Unless it’s a sin that you’re needing to turn away from, don’t give up on what you have. The choice you made is the choice you made. Walk it all the way out and see what God can do with everything you bring to Him.


God says His burden is light and His yoke I easy. Many days, I feel that. Some days I don’t. Temptation can easily come in and put a weight on us that we struggle under. But, we know who God is and He tells us how to live our lives. As we choose to believe in Him and accept His words, the burdens of this world begin to fall away.

This passage reminds me of the choice that is in walking with Him. I choose to walk with Him even when circumstances call me to doubt. I choose to keep my eyes on Him and live ethically even when immorality would be more fun or easier. I keep His Word near to me so I can learn more about Him every day.

Promise of Perfect Peace - Isaiah 26:3

Perfect Peace From Trusting the Rock

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. – Isaiah 26:3-4 ESV

Isaiah 26 has a promise of perfect peace. That sure sounds nice, especially during one of the busiest times of year. As easy as it would be to simply say, “God promises me perfect peace! Yay!” There’s a couple things that need to be considered in this passage in addition to that.

There are two types of promises in the scriptures, unconditional promises and conditional promises. Unconditional promises are the ones that we don’t have to do anything to get and conditional promise are ones that requires something of us first. The easiest type of conditional promise to see is the “If you…, then God …” format. For example, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15 ESV). The “if’ section is clearly defined in that passage.

Other verses are conditional promises but don’t contain the word “if”. Isaiah 26:3 is an example of this. Yes, it promises us perfect peace, but there’s a condition to it. In order to receive the promise of perfect piece, first I must stay my mind on God, meaning I must keep my mind focused on God.

The second things this verse tells me is how to stay my mind. It’s easy to say I’m going to stay my mind on Him. Then as the day gets busy and the world starts trying to distract me, I wander and lost my focus. As my focus wanders away, so does my peace. Fortunately for me, God tells me how to keep my focus on Him: trust Him. The person who trusts God is able to keep their mind focused on God and will reap the benefit of perfect peace.

Merriam-Webster defines trust as, “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” In order to have a firm belief in God’s reliability, truth, ability, or strength, we have to first know what His reliability, truth, ability, or strength are. We gain trust in God through two ways. One, we find it out through personal experience with Him. This can be different things in our lives, but many times it’s some kind of experience where we ask Him for something and we see the results. Because of that, we choose to have more trust in Him. The second way is through the scriptures. We see a promise in the Word and we choose to put our trust in it, even though we’ve personally not experienced it. For me, the second way is much harder but reaps much greater benefit when I do it.

I wish that this was a one-time process. Instead, this process is cyclical. Once you’ve started trusting in Him, you begin to reap the promises. Then, because you’ve seen the blessings, you begin to trust Him deeper and the promises become more real. This process of trusting more and reaping more continues for our whole lives. Our relationship with God should never be static or boring. God is always calling us deeper in and blessing us more and more. Verse 4 of Isaiah 26 says, “Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” The stability of God compared to the ups and downs of life is like waves against a rock. God never moves or budges, no matter how much we do and no matter how much life throws at us. We can trust Him forever and stay our mind on Him, because He is a rock today and always.

Without Complaining - Philippians 2:14-15

Without Complaining

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, – Philippians 2:14-15 ESV

For the most part, people tend to want to fit in. We like to find our group and enjoy being with people that “get us”. As Christians, we believe certain things not only in the abstract theological sense of things, but we believe that what we believe changes us and these changes should impact our behaviors. As a result of these behavior changes, we stand out from the world, and our differences should point others to see God.

Apostle Paul gives one sure way to stand out from the world in Philippians 2:14, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Why is this so important? How do we go about removing these things from our daily words? While this may seem like a straightforward command, the process of doing it every day requires discipline and commitment.

In order to begin choosing to not complain, it can be helpful to keep in mind what Jesus said about our words, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). When we are grumbling and complaining, what is the abundance of the heart that causes those words to come out of us? The answer in every case, no matter how much you don’t want to admit it, is selfishness. You’re feeling bad for your circumstances and your troubles and what you’re going through: you, you and more you.

In the case of complaining, we say out of one side of our mouth (pun intended) that God is our provider and out of the other side that we don’t have enough money. We say we’ll serve the Lord, but then we whine about how hard our job is or how boring it is or how mean our boss is.

We are called to speak out of the abundance of a heart that’s fully transformed by God and the words that come from that kind of heart are never complaining or grumbling or picking a fight. This is much easier said than done, however. There are two things that we have to do and continue doing to keep our words in line with His Spirit.

  1. Be aware of what we’re saying.

As we go about our day, it is easy to stop being aware of what you’re choosing to say. Words come so quickly sometimes and by habit so that we can have entire conversations that we barely remember. We have to start choosing to listen to our own words. This doesn’t mean fear what’s about to come out of your mouth, and at first, maybe not even trying to change it. It simply means practicing thinking about your own words.

An analogy from another part of life is a food journal. Many diets recommend tracking all the food that goes into your mouth as a way to start seeing where changes need to be made. This is the same idea, but for words instead of food. Of course, it would be impractical if not impossible to write down every word you say in the day. That’s not quite what we’re going for. Instead, a simple habit of listening to yourself sets you for the next step.

  1. Choose to frame things positively

We’ve all heard a conversation that goes something like, “It’s all going to turn out terribly!” Another response, “Don’t think that. Be positive!” The first person responds, “I’m positive it’s all going to turn out terribly!” While that might be good for a bit of a laugh, it’s not good for changing your perspective to something positive.

Part of negativity that leads to complaining is a lack of perspective that includes God. We tend to forget His promises and His greatness. How else can we give up on ourselves or our circumstances so easily? We have to choose each and every time to frame our response to things with the goodness of God in mind. Even our thoughts need to in line with this. Changing the words we speak without changing our thoughts leaves us with a feeling of hypocrisy or ineffectiveness.

By choosing to be in a positive perspective, we prepare ourselves for the last step.

  1. Change the bad and keep the good

We often think that being positive means ignoring our circumstances, but that’s not right either. Our circumstances may be very serious and need addressing. Sometimes we we’re most tempted to complain it’s because there’s valid issues that need to be dealt with. There’s nothing wrong with making changes in tough situation. Simply complaining about things will never get the problems solved; we have to make the choice to change things.

Sometimes we can’t change the circumstances, but we can always change ourselves. We can either change our choices to give us more freedom or we can simply change what we think about it. Use this time to see more of the Spirit coming through you in the form of patience or long-suffering. Find reasons to celebrate God with you no matter what’s happening. We can also consider reaching out to others for help, whether that be friends or professionals. Sometimes, circumstances depending, others can help us see the solution we need to fix a problem.

Watch your words, and surrender both them and your heart to the Lord so that His righteousness will be the only thing that is seen in you.