November 6

Proverbs 3:5-7 (NIV) 5Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 7Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.

One of our greatest temptations is to trust our self. We say, "If you want it done right, do it yourself." We look to our own experiences, our own insights, our own intellect, when it is not even comparable with the infinite wisdom of God. Is it because we don't think God will answer us? Or perhaps we think He will not answer in a way that will please us. Why can't we trust Him to answer us in a way that is ultimately best for us? That is to place trust in His nature, in His heart. If I refuse to do that, I must ask myself why. Either I do not believe He is who the Word declares Him to be, or I prefer to make my own decisions and be my own lord. If I love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, I should trust Him with all my heart as well.

The LORD intricately plans all your ways. Do you see His hand? Can you see the abounding mercy? We should acknowledge His grace in our lives, and let Him reveal to us what He is doing. When we look to His direction, the crooked paths become straight. Life becomes a wonderful interaction with our Maker. He touches the world through us, and in the process, transforms our lives.

To be wise in our own eyes is to deceive our self. It is a refusal to acknowledge our frequent mistakes and our real condition. We desperately need the LORD for guidance and discernment. If we think we can do it on our own, we have no fear of a just God, who, like a father, will discipline us.

Consider: Shun evil by following His directions. Let each day be filled with the wonder of His presence guiding you, so that His ways become your ways.

November 6

2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NIV) 6For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

This letter was the last that Paul wrote. He knew his time had come. He compared his final days to being poured out like a drink offering. Under the Old Covenant, one of the offerings to God was wine poured out upon the altar. (Genesis 35:14; Exodus 29:40) It was usually offered with the body of an animal. Paul was ready to lay his life one final time upon the altar of God. He was beheaded shortly after writing this letter in Rome.

He could declare three things about his ministry. He fought a good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. Life is going to be a fight no matter which course you choose. Paul had chosen the good fight. He chose to fight for the kingdom of God. He chose to fight for what is worthwhile.

He finished the race. He didn't go part way and give up because of difficulty, and Paul faced some of the greatest difficulties man can face. He endured. We can't say that until we are at the end as Paul was. By faith we can say that we will finish the race.

He kept the faith. What is the difference between finishing the race and keeping the faith? Some may have their lives cut short because they are losing their faith. Though they finish the race, their faith was faltering. Paul kept the faith alive in his heart even when he did not understand his circumstances. He walked by faith and not by sight to the end. He knew that a crown of righteousness awaited him and all who long for Jesus' appearing. He knew the reward was worth enduring the battle.

Remember: Fight the good fight and cling to your faith. The reward is well worth it. Endure to the end. Finish the course He has laid out for you.