Proverbs 11 (The Message)
Without Good Direction, People Lose Their Way
1God hates cheating in the marketplace;
he loves it when business is aboveboard.
2 The stuck-up fall flat on their faces,
but down-to-earth people stand firm.
3 The integrity of the honest keeps them on track;
the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.
4 A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart,
but a principled life can stand up to the worst.
5 Moral character makes for smooth traveling;
an evil life is a hard life.
6 Good character is the best insurance;
crooks get trapped in their sinful lust.
7 When the wicked die, that’s it—
the story’s over, end of hope.
8 A good person is saved from much trouble;
a bad person runs straight into it.
9 The loose tongue of the godless spreads destruction;
the common sense of the godly preserves them.
WHAT COMES OUT OF YOUR MOUTH?
from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
The Bible stresses that what you say is an accurate indicator of what is in your heart. If your words bless and encourage others, they give evidence of a compassionate heart. If you often share the good news about Christ, you demonstrate a heart that is grateful for your own salvation. When others are in a crisis, do they know they will find peace and comfort in your words? Do you frequently and spontaneously offer prayers for others? Do your words and the manner in which you say them reveal a patient heart? All of these behaviors indicate a heart that is like the heart of the Father.
Or do you often regret your words? Are there people even now who are hurt or angry because of something you have said? Do you enjoy gossip? Do you tend to criticize others? Do you feel that you are not responsible for what comes out of your mouth when you are angry? Does your mouth spew grumbling and complaints? These behaviors come from a heart that is unlike God’s heart.
You may say, “Oh, but that’s just the way I am! I am always saying the wrong thing!” Yet Scripture clearly states that an abusive tongue is not under the control of the Spirit (see James 3:3-10). A sanctified mouth is a wonderful instrument for the Lord. A heart like the father’s heart will produce only pure and loving words. Without making any excuses for your words, ask the Holy Spirit to forgive you for any words that have brought harm. Then ask Him to discipline your mouth so that every word you speak is used by God to encourage and edify others.
10 When it goes well for good people, the whole town cheers;
when it goes badly for bad people, the town celebrates.
11 When right-living people bless the city, it flourishes;
evil talk turns it into a ghost town in no time.
12 Mean-spirited slander is heartless;
quiet discretion accompanies good sense.
13 A gadabout gossip can’t be trusted with a secret,
but someone of integrity won’t violate a confidence.
14 Without good direction, people lose their way;
the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.
15 Whoever makes deals with strangers is sure to get burned;
if you keep a cool head, you’ll avoid rash bargains.
16 A woman of gentle grace gets respect,
but men of rough violence grab for loot.
A God-Shaped Life
17 When you’re kind to others, you help yourself;
when you’re cruel to others, you hurt yourself.
HERE is “We Can Be Kind” sung by Nancy Lamott. Many times it seems that the simplest things are the things that make the difference!
18 Bad work gets paid with a bad check;
good work gets solid pay.
19 Take your stand with God’s loyal community and live,
or chase after phantoms of evil and die.
20 God can’t stand deceivers,
but oh how he relishes integrity.
21 Count on this: The wicked won’t get off scot-free,
and God’s loyal people will triumph.
22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful face on an empty head.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.”
23 The desires of good people lead straight to the best,
but wicked ambition ends in angry frustration.
24 The world of the generous gets larger and larger;
the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.
A miser once dreamed he had given away
Some bread to the beggar he’d met in the day.
He woke with a start and solemnly swore
That as long as he lived he would slumber no more.
25 The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;
those who help others are helped.
26 Curses on those who drive a hard bargain!
Blessings on all who play fair and square!
27 The one who seeks good finds delight;
the student of evil becomes evil.
28 A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump;
a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.
29 Exploit or abuse your family, and end up with a fistful of air;
common sense tells you it’s a stupid way to live.
30 A good life is a fruit-bearing tree;
a violent life destroys souls.
Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
31 If good people barely make it,
what’s in store for the bad!