Category Archives: Proverbs

It can’t be cut off

Proverbs 23: 17-18

Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.  There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.  NIV

I read ahead.

Some mornings, this project is really easy.  I open the concordance, look up the next verse in whatever word search I’m working on (currently “hope”) and there it is, a reminder not to worry.

Many mornings, it is just the reminder that I need and it speaks to my heart in powerful ways.

This morning, the next verse on the list wasn’t a reminder, so I skipped to this one, which didn’t seem right.  I have only twelve reminders left to find, and I feel that they should be good ones.  So, I continued skimming Proverbs.

What I found was that Solomon has used this same phrase a couple of times, “your hope will not be cut off.”

It appears here in conjunction with an admonishment not to envy and in 24:14 in conjunction with finding wisdom, “Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” NIV

Your hope will not be cut off …

I can see that this is true, and that it also is a reminder not to worry.  If my hope is in Christ, in the life everlasting that He promises in John 3:16, nothing that happens here can alter my hope … my hope cannot be cut off.

Cut off.

Sometimes, I think of that in conjunction with a knife — cutting off a piece of cheese.

My hope cannot be severed from me.

Some people use the term in the same way that I would use “turn off,”  “Cut off the light.”

The light of my life can never be extinguished.

I’ve used it to describe the premature failure of something, “The phone just cut off.”

My hope will never fail me.

My hope cannot be cut off.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Hope deferred …

Proverbs 13:12

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. NIV

Hope deferred …

When I was worrying, that’s exactly what I was doing — deferring my hope.  I didn’t have time for hope or optimism, I was too busy attempting to control my world and worrying about my inability to do so.

The Message paraphrases it, “Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick.”

Boy, can it!

But often, my own disappointment comes from thinking something will happen a certain way.  When it doesn’t I’m disappointed.

Hope, however, is an active verb.  I can will myself to hope (in place of the verb, “worry”) even in the worst of times.

Because my hope is secure, in Christ.

I want to say something about that last part, too, “a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

When I was very worried, I wasn’t enjoying my time here very much.

Now, I am.

In my new world I do lots of things I’ve always wanted to do, but never had the time for.

Just last week, I met a friend for lunch.  She wanted to go to one of my favorite restaurants that is next to a very large highway.  There is a walking bridge across the highway.  I’ve driven under that bridge for years.  I’ve always wanted to walk across it.  People rave about it.  It connects one neighborhood to another.  My husband has even ridden his bike across it, but, I’d never been up there.

Instead of crossing the highway by car and then spending 20 minutes looking for a parking space, I parked at the edge of the neighborhood at the base of the bridge and walked across.

It was a cold, windy, sunny day, and I enjoyed every minute of that walk.  I enjoyed how the neighbors have worn a path to the base of the bridge, and that the ground is starting to thaw so the path is getting a bit soupy.  I enjoyed  how the ramp is engineered on a slow, wrapping slope, so that you don’t get winded climbing stories into the air.

I enjoyed watching and listening to the cars buzzing past below me.  And, I enjoyed that the other end dumped me out just steps from the restaurant, much closer than I could have parked.  It was a glorious experience, a longing fulfilled.

I once had a good friend who would often say, “You are easily amused.”

I am.

For a while, I suppose, I had lost the ability to be easily amused.  I lost it in a sea of deferred hope.  I was heartsick.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


Filed under Hope, Old Testament, Proverbs

The hope is in the opposite

Proverbs 11:7

When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; all he expected from his power comes to nothing.  NIV

What I love about this verse, this reminder, is … well, what it doesn’t say.  To me, this verse implies the opposite of what it says.

“Righteous” (or “redeemed”) is the opposite of “wicked.”

“Is gloriously fulfilled,” is the opposite of “perishes.”

“God’s power” is the opposite of “his power.”

“Everything” is the opposite of “nothing.”

When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; all he expected from his power comes to nothing.  TRUE.

But, when I take the opposites of this truth, I find another: When a redeemed man dies, his hope is gloriously fulfilled; all he expected from God’s power comes to everything.

That’s what I’ll think about today.



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It’s an idol

Proverbs 21: 21-22

He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.  A wise man attacks the city of the mighty and pulls down thd stronghold in which they trust. NIV

I’m continuing my word search on “trust” in the NIV.  Proverbs 21:22 is the next verse on the list.

… stronghold in which they trust.

When I worry, I am putting more trust in a stronghold (my flawed and completely unreliable perspective of the future) than in the maker of heaven and earth.

Worry is an idol.  That’s completely sobering.

“No idols” is one of the most basic premises of our relationship to God!  We are told, in Exodus, not to make any graven images (nothing that we make or conceive should be worshiped by us) and to have no other gods before God.

I’ve not seen worry for the idol that it is before this moment.  I’m thankful for that perspective.

And, I love what these two verses convey together.

If I will pursue righteousness and love (God’s ways) I will be blessed with life (eternal life in unity with Christ) and prosperity (a lifetime of enough IS abundance and abundance is prosperity).

If I am wise, I will make righteousness and love my key pursuits and I will demolish the strongholds that might tempt me to trust in them, instead of in God.

I will obediently follow my Lord and Savior.

That’s what I’ll think about today.



Filed under Old Testament, Proverbs, Trust

Do you have hope?

Proverbs 24: 19-20

Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.  NIV

Curiously, one of the most fun things about this project is the hunt for each day’s reminder.

I’m never quite sure where the search will take me.  I have several word searches that I’ve begun, but, candidly, I’ve been reluctant to finish any of them in all 66 books of the Bible because, I think, I feared that there would not be 365 reminders and then I would have failed.

But, as each day passes and there seem to be no lack of reminders, I’m gaining confidence that my goal will be achieved.

This morning, I decided to do some clean up on the “worry” list.

I’ve already completely mined The Message for the word “worry.”  This morning, I chose the Holman Christian Standard Bible and I found myself in Proverbs.  When I looked up this verse in the NIV, it reminded me that I’ve not yet finished the “fret” list … perhaps that’s one to return to tomorrow.

Today, I am reminded that the evil man “has no future hope.”

This is sad to me.

I spent all day yesterday thinking about “waiting” and “hoping” as synonyms.

Last night, during Bible Study, I was reminded that my hope is assured.  My God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

But, the evil man, the non-believer, has no future hope.

He IS waiting merely for buses and doctors, and ultimately for an end apart from Jesus.

The evil man has real cause to worry … the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.

As I make my way through this day, I’ll think about that.  How can I reduce another’s worry by helping him or her to find the path home?

That’s what I’ll think about today.



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Be prepared!

Proverbs 31:21

When it snows she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. NIV

This verse is part of a long passage in Proverbs extolling the virtues of a good wife.  In The Message, this verse reads, “She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.” MSG

I’m married to a boy scout.  I can’t recite all of the things that a scout aspires to be, but I know that they are called to be trustworthy, clean, reverent, and above all, prepared.

The good wife in Proverbs is prepared.

She has no worries because she has carefully thought through potential outcomes and has made preparations to deal with them when they come.

Once she’s done all that, she’s finished.

She doesn’t obsess over something that she may have forgotten, or some circumstance she may not have anticipated.

Verse 25 says, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” NIV

She’s an amazing woman, with no worries.

There’s a lot here to think about today.

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You’re safe

Proverbs 18:10

The name of the LORD is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe. NIV

I love the images in this verse.  The Message translates it, “God’s name is a place of protection — good people can run there and be safe.” MSG

The thing about it is, I can never be good enough to earn God’s protection or his love.  He loves me because I am his creation … not because of what I do or what I don’t do.  And, no matter what I do, I can’t be made righteous on my own.

But, through the gift of his son, Jesus, I am made righteous … I am afforded that safety.

I am so thankful for that!

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Don’t be a frog in boiling water

Proverbs 1:33

“But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease without fear of harm.” NIV

This is the last morning of my trip.  I’ve enjoyed my tour through various versions of the Bible on Bible, and I’m thinking that there are many reminders left to find … perhaps even the 143 I am looking for.

This morning, I looked in the New International Reader’s Version, where this verse reads, “But those who listen to me will live in safety. They will not worry. They won’t be afraid of getting hurt.” NIRV

I like what this verse says when you combine it with the one before it, “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.” NIV

The image that comes to mind is the frog in boiling water.

I’ve heard it said that if you drop a frog in boiling water, it will immediately jump out.  But, if you put it in a pot of water that is a nice, warm temperature, and then slowly increase the heat, the frog will happily stay there until it dies in the boiling water.

This is a good analogy to remember as we Christians strive to live in the world, but not to be of it.  If we are to live here without worries, we must listen to our Father.  If we follow His ways and His commands, we will live in safety, we won’t have to worry about getting hurt.

But, if we are disobedient, or wayward (which is a stupid, or simple choice) or if we are complacent to what is going on around us (like the temperature rising in the pot), things will not turn out so well.

I don’t want to have to worry about getting hurt … I want to stay on the narrow path.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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You’ll sleep better

Proverbs 3:21-24

My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight, they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.  Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble, when you lie down, you will not be afraid, when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.  NIV

This morning, I woke up with Proverbs 3:5-6 rolling around in my head.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” NIV

That verse has long been one of my favorites, and it is one that I looked at in the first two weeks of this project.   This morning, I went back to Proverbs 3, and read it through start to finish.  I had already found two reminders in that chapter, and this morning, here is a third.

“Dear Friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life; don’t for a minute lose sight of them.” MSG  That’s really quite true.  When we’re thinking clearly and employing common sense, we are much less likely to worry.  And, apparently, we sleep better, “You’ll take afternoon naps without a worry, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep.” MSG  That verse makes me smile … it seems just like an advertisement from an informercial.

Even though I’m amused by the wording of that verse, I can see that this is also absolutely true.  The lack of worry does make for a much better night’s sleep.

If I am trusting God with all my heart, if I am acknowledging him in everything that I do, if I am thinking clearly and employing common sense, I can’t be worrying.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Let the responsibility for success roll off your back and onto His

Proverbs 16:3

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.  NIV

A friend and I were looking at this verse last night.  We looked at several translations, and we agreed that we liked the New Living Translation the best, “Commit your actions to the Lord and your plans will succeed.” NLT

While we weren’t discussing the verse in the context of my project, it occurred to me when I got up this morning, that this really is a reminder not to worry, so I went back to it.  Often my worries stem from plans … I do worry that they won’t succeed, so, I wanted to dig into this verse a bit more.

Interestingly, when I consulted my concordance, it appears that this verse is the only time that the word “commit” is used in all of Proverbs.  My Hebrew to English dictionary says that the Hebrew word means “‘to commit, trust,’ is a figure of rolling care or responsibility onto the Lord.”


When I am working to achieve a goal, I often picture myself rolling a large boulder up an incline, or, if it is a task that involves many subtasks or many other people, the image is of a big grocery cart, filled with those subtasks or team members.  I’ve found that in every project, there is a tipping point.  If the thing can get pushed against whatever resistance is in the system to the peak … it will then gain momentum and take hold. I then see the boulder or the cart rolling down the other side of the peak on its own.  My job is then done … that task or project is off and running and I can go back down to the bottom and start pushing the next one.

So, having held this viewpoint for more than a decade, I find myself in awe of this verse.

It never occurred to me to roll the responsibility onto God.  I’ve earnestly asked him to bless my efforts, but, I still saw myself as the force behind the rock.  In my head, His blessings would take the form of lessening the incline, or allowing the peak to be reached sooner, or keeping the thing from rolling back down over me and crushing me and my efforts.  But, that’s not what this verse says — commit to the Lord whatever you do — roll the care or the responsibility of it onto Him …

There is a tremendous measure of relief as I think about rolling care or responsibility onto the Lord.

This is a significant discovery … one that I will need to think much more about today.

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