August 14 / Proverbs 14 / Luke 1

robin-williams1Billy Graham

Proverbs 14:4

There are no oxen where the stall is clean, but an abundance of yield comes by the strength of a bull.

The meaning of this verse is that a productive life is messy. One desires a neat and tidy life, just as the ideal stall would be clean. However, a stall by the nature of things would mean an empty stall since oxen do not have to be in a stall long before it is messy. However, without oxen, there is no productivity. After all, as colon 2 points out, crops do not appear magically out of thin air but rather as a result of much hard work. For instance, animals are typically used to plow the ground in order to plant the seed that produces crops. Another related way of construing the meaning of the line is to take it to mean that one must spend (acquire oxen) in order to get ahead (produce crops).  -Tremper Longman III

Proverbs 14:13

Even in laughter the heart may feel pain, and in the ned joy may turn to sorrow.

What we see on the surface of many people is not always the reality going on inside. This is timely with the death of Robin Williams this week. We don’t say any of this judgmentally, but rather compassionately, to remind ourselves that many people are hurting and don’t feel they can show or even know how.

We as Jesus followers, loving others deeply, must be on the lookout for those who are hurting and in desperate need of heartfelt companionship. We must be looking beneath the surface as best we can.

This is not always fun or comfortable, which is why many avoid it or are frightened by it I guess. Visiting my guy in prison is not always the funnest excursion on the planet, but it makes his day and it is ALWAYS worth it. He longs for my visit. And whatever we do to the least of these, we do to God. So I imagine, “Lord, when were you in prison and I visited you?” And He may say, “Whenever you visited Reese, you visited Me.”

Do you know anyone who is in any way alone? Perhaps it is not obvious from the outer appearance. But looking beyond what is easily detected, do you see someone who is not seen or known? They are crying out, I promise you, if only from the inside. Reach out to them today, there’s no telling what you may heal or save the world from.*

Robin Williams once said,

“I used to think the worst thing in life is to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.”

Luke 1:19-20,45

Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”

You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.

From what I understand, a turning point in Billy Graham’s life was when he was alone in the woods one day with His Bible and God. And he told God that he believed, and would believe, everything God said in that book. From that day onward, his life and ministry were radically changed.

Your greatest power is belief. What you believe in you follow. Whatever you accept as true either limits or expands your possibilities.

We our little selves have the ability to put God in a tiny container or else release Him to infinity. Nothing is impossible with God, so why do we lock Him in a room and go out to do it all on our own? Why not take Him with you by acknowledging His eternal presence and power…?

*All of the people who commit mass shootings-do you think they are seen, know, accepted, and loved?


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