Protection From the Storm

Proverbs 14: 26- 27

Christmas Day was an oddly warm one in North Texas this year. However, the following day was even more abnormal, and came with sorrow. It brought terrible storms riddled with violently destructive tornadoes that ripped through neighborhoods, destroying homes.

One particular family of five took shelter in their utility room while the storm raged around them. When the tornado passed, their entire home was destroyed—every part of it, except the utility room where the family huddled and prayed. This family is led by God-fearing parents. This mother and father do not fear the Lord only in the middle of a storm, but also in the normalcy of everyday life. Their lives reflect Jesus daily, and they teach their children to do the same.

This story is a perfect example of the promises found in Proverbs 14:26-27. Faith can truly be a terrifying thing. The storm clouds and thunder of life threaten our content lives, and we find we must decide what we trust in. When the paycheck doesn’t add up to the bills, when the loved one is lost, when the biggest mistakes seem irreversible, fear of the future creeps in. Proverbs offers the promise that those who fear God are secure. Just like the parents in the tornado, the fear of the Lord shelters not only one person, but also the children—the families—of the one who trusts in the Lord. Fear of the Lord offers not only protection but a fountain of life—this is abundant, joyful life.

The securities of God may not always be total physical protection from natural disaster, but a look at scripture shows that God is always about his glory, which includes what is best for his children. Put your trust in the Lord, and he will be your refuge.


Righteous Legacy

Proverbs 13: 21-23

“Trouble chases sinners, while blessings reward the righteous. Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.” Proverbs 13:21-22

Sin is tempting, plain and simple. Living frivolously is sometimes extremely alluring. After all, if sin were not appealing, everyone would be daily pursuers of holiness, rather than chasers of their own comfort. It is especially hard to resist sin when it is accompanied by instant gratification. However, the book of wisdom reminds us yet again that trouble chases sinners, and blessings come to reward righteousness. What we must remember is that these blessing which Proverbs speak of will likely come in a different form than we would imagine, but when they do come, they taste so much sweeter than we could ever hope.

These blessings that come from righteousness become a legacy. A life lived for more than just selfish indulgences is a life lived thinking of others first. This kind of life leaves an example of provision and upstanding character for generations to come. Righteous living has a ripple effect that reaches countless others.

A poor person’s farm may produce much food, but injustice sweeps it all away. Proverbs 13:23

Oppression is not a new concept. There have been ostracized peoples and peoples in a cycle of poverty for centuries, and there are many still stuck in the cycle today. We can be quick to come up with reasons for the lack of “success” or inability to fulfill the American dream, but there are plenty who wake up each day in poverty, work until the point of exhaustion, and go to sleep with little to show for their efforts. It is the job of the Christian to fight for these people. We must recognize faulty, unjust systems and use our voices and our resources to make a change.


Escaping the Snare with Integrity

Proverbs 12: 13-14

The wicked are trapped by their own words, but the godly escape such trouble (verse 13).

Integrity is highly underrated in our culture. It takes just a few altered sentences to make a better sale, a more interesting story, or a cleaner alibi. However, the stretching or altering of the truth is wickedness from the lips. This verse says that the wicked are trapped, translated from the Hebrew word meaning “snared,” by their own words.

This gives the image of a hunter who has laid a trap along the usual path of a wild animal. He has studied the creature, has observed its normal routine, and knows its habits. He has therefore set a snare in the animal’s normal path that he knows it will walk right into. Why? Because that’s where it goes daily.

The same can be said of those who do not fight to have God-honoring, integrity-filled speech. The more routine wicked speech becomes, the more the enemy knows just how to set a trap. Just as the animal in the woods is being studied, so is the one who regularly makes a habit of stretching the truth, spreading gossip, and causing dissention with their speech. It’s only a matter of time until the wicked person stumbles into the snare that is waiting for them.

The godly, however, are protected. They escape this snare because when confronted, they don’t have to worry about what they said or how much someone knows of their speech. Their conscious is clear, their integrity intact.

Wise words bring many benefits, and hard work brings rewards (verse 14).

If you think guarding your speech is easy, you are far stronger than I. It takes genuine work to keep speech clean, full of integrity, and God-honoring. However, it brings benefits. Think of people in your life who you know wouldn’t say something negative about another person. Mayne they’re not as fun to be around when you want to feed your flesh and gossip, but you know that those people are safe-harbors. Their word can be trusted at face-value and others feel loved and cared for by them. People know that their success comes from genuine, hard work, rather than cutting corners.

The work that it takes to keep speech full of integrity is worth it.



Photography: @jacobnnorris


Guidance Breeds Victory

Proverbs 11: 14-15

14For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.

In the individualistic society we live in, it is not only easy but natural to fall into solitary decision-making. It’s so common to feel like we have community because we have multitudes of good acquaintances—people we say hi to in passing, co-workers we have long small-talk chats with, and followers that we respond to on social media. However, the absence of depth breeds the absence of advisors.


This verse in Proverbs clearly describes the consequences of a lack of advisors. Leaders without advisors trust in their own perspectives and world views and, without the input of others, can make decisions that destroy their realm of influence. This means moms can make over-bearing or too-loose restrictions on children. A teenage girl can enter into a damaging relationship where no accountability keeps an eye on her behavior, and her friends follow suit. The pastor of a church can begin to make decisions that cease to meet the needs of the congregation at large. Even making personal life decisions without the influence and wisdom of God-seeking friends can send a life into a downward spiral that is not easily recovered. Examine your community; if you were to make a decision today that dishonors God, is there anyone in your life who would notice?


15 Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer, but whoever refuses to shake hands in pledge is safe.


Just as a leader needs trusted advisors, he should also keep watch over who he takes responsibility for. Everyone needs the love and guidance of Jesus, but as shepherds over a flock, a leader must keep watch for wolves disguised as sheep. There will be some who enter your realm of influence to destroy the good happening there; be filled with love as you lead, but keep your eyes open to the plot of the enemy.



Treasuring Knowledge

Proverbs 10:13-14

13Wise words come from the lips of people with understanding, but those lacking sense will be beaten with a rod.

The most vivid modern-life scenario I can think of this verse is high school. Thinking back, I can remember some teenagers who had maturity. They asked questions in class, read outside of school work, or did community service of their own volition. They were students whose worlds did not focus on their own personal advancement; they had a better understanding of the world around them and usually sought out more insight than they already had.

Then there were other teenagers who couldn’t care less about wisdom if they tried. They did just enough school work to get by or never listened to the perspectives of others, and they certainly didn’t make the wisest of choices.

Students who possessed understanding were the ones whose words counted. Maybe they said little in class, but when they did make a comment, everyone’s ears perked up and heard what was said. People who lived in foolishness at some point suffered consequences of their lack of wisdom. They submitted themselves to the equivalent of a beating by a rod—embarrassment and pain.

14 Wise people treasure knowledge but the babbling of a fool invites disaster.

I expected this dynamic of the wise and foolish dwelling together to disappear into adulthood. Surely with age, everyone would become understanding of each other. This is not the case, however. With every new arena of life comes a fresh crop of people who love wisdom mixed in with those who do not dare seek understanding. Proverbs nudges us again and again to treasure, value, crave knowledge and understanding in order to be truly wise. If we do not, our words will be considered those of a babbling fool.