Proverbs: Living Wisely – True or False

SATURDAY, MARCH 11

READ
James 3:13–16; 1 John 4:1–6

REFLECT
Similar to Proverbs, James is a very practical book. Here, James gives a warning the people to be aware of false teachers and doctrine. First John was written to remind believers of the assurance of their salvation and the full divinity and humanity of Christ. The reference of antichrist in this context is people against Christ.

1. What emotions are present if you’re boasting and being false to truth? 
2. What does “being false to truth” mean?
3. How do we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error?

RESPOND
There are tons of doctrines, ideas, theories and beliefs floating around about God, salvation, who Jesus is, etc., and being firmly founded in what you know to be true is essential. The first thing to do when thinking through any kind of theory is first to go to Scripture with it. Let Scripture prove or disprove these ideas. Secondly, address the source of these claims. A pastor? Friend? Teammate? Someone on television? What legitimacy does that person have? Above all, remember the salvation you were given and called to (Galatians 2:20). Don’t let the Enemy sway you or trick you, but be equipped to stand against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11). Lastly, pray for discernment, that God would reveal to you truth and lies and that you would be able to tell the difierence.

1. Why would Satan try to trick you with false doctrine?
2. What can you do to defend yourself (1 Peter 5:8–9; Ephesians 6)?
3. How aware are you of false information that may or may not subtly be fed to you as “truth?” Why do you think that?

REMEMBER
Find someone (family member or friend) and quote this week’s memory verse to him or her. Pray that God would show you areas of false teaching and right teaching and that you would be able to apply it or dispose of it.

Proverbs: Living Wisely – Ask for Wisdom

FRIDAY, MARCH 10

READ
James 1:6–8; Matthew 6:33; Matthew 7:7–11; Psalm 37:4–7

REFLECT
James follows up his reminder that we need wisdom by saying how we should ask for it. There are two parts to asking for wisdom. One is the initial step of asking, followed by the necessity of faith.

1. Why does James equate doubt with a wave of the sea?
2. What is the first thing God commanded before He will give you the desires of your heart? 
3. What are the last two commands listed in Psalm 37:7?

RESPOND
James is clear that if we have faith when we ask for wisdom, God will give it to us. The idea is that you either believe He will give it to you, or you don’t believe He will. Matthew and Psalm 37 show the  ip side to this. Though we may ask for something, if our heart’s desire isn’t the same as Christ’s, it’s either selfish or not part of God’s grand design. Delighting ourselves with God takes on a bigger meaning than just “Hey, thanks,” but carries with it the idea of being swallowed up in God, His greatness, His plan, His desires—and that our desires should mirror His, and this should be to make His name great! Psalm 66 portrays this beautifully. God desires for you to be wise, but is your desire for wisdom for your sake or His? Intentions are everything. You may give to the poor, tithe regularly, and be at church every time the doors are open, but if your intentions are for some checklist you’ve created to make yourself feel better or make yourself look good, you’re missing the point. Everything in you should long to proclaim the excellence of He who called you (1 Peter 2:9), and out of that should come a lifestyle change. Seek wisdom (Proverbs 4:7), but do it with the intention and desire to glorify God—not yourself.

1. How do you delight yourself in God and seek His kingdom first? 
2. In what areas do you have doubt? Have you taken those to Him?
3. Psalm 27:4 should be our heart’s desire, and it is the solution to any issue we may confront. Is that your heart’s desire? Do your thoughts and actions show it?

REMEMBER
Text a friend or family member this week’s memory verse. Pray that God would give you more faith. Pray that God would eliminate any doubt you have, not in blindness, but in enlightenment.

Proverbs: Living Wisely – Ask for Wisdom

THURSDAY, MARCH 9

READ
James 1:2–5; 2 Chronicles 1:7–13 (same story in 1 Kings 3:3–13)

REFLECT
To be wise is a step beyond simply knowing something. Wisdom is having experience and knowledge as well as having good judgment. James is encouraging other believers who are in the midst of trials to ask for wisdom to know how to deal with the struggles. Solomon was the son of David and knew what strain and responsibility lay on his shoulders to lead the kingdom of Israel. Solomon came to be considered the wisest man who had ever lived (1 Kings 4:29–34) besides Jesus, and went on to write Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon and Psalms 72 and 127.

1. What are we supposed to do if we lack wisdom?
2. Why did Solomon ask for wisdom and not riches or long life?
3. According to the 1 Kings passage, why did God show David great and steadfast love?

RESPOND
We all need wisdom. Wisdom helps with discernment of situations and helps apply knowledge. We daily encounter situations that require wise decisions. Unfortunately when we are a kid and someone tells us not to touch the hot stove, we touch it anyway. That experience teaches us not to do it again, but why do we ignore the wisdom of those who have gone before us? We never have it all figured out. As James points out, we need to sit daily at Jesus’ feet and ask Him to teach us and give us wisdom. Ecclesiastes and Proverbs have phenomenal examples of the importance of wisdom, but in Ecclesiastes 9:11–18, Solomon shares the story of how wisdom is better than strength, yet rarely does anyone recognize the wise, despite their greater value.

1. Why is it dificult to listen and obey the wisdom of others?
2. Why is wisdom to be valued over strength or looks or abilities or possessions? 
3. In what area of your life could you use more wisdom?

REMEMBER
Somewhere on this page, write out this week’s memory verse twice. Pray that God would give you wisdom and discernment.

Proverbs: Living Wisely – Stand Up

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8

READ
Proverbs 31:8–9; Luke 10:30–35

REFLECT
God’s Word calls Christians to stand up for others. Luke gives the account of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan wasn’t just a good person, and that he would help a Jew was a bigger deal than people think. In the Old Testament, the line of kings was not a good one. The first king was Saul, then David, then Solomon, then a series of what the Bible says were bad kings. God punished Israel by splitting the country into the Northern and Southern kingdoms, then He allowed the Northern country to be conquered by Assyria (2 Kings 17). Fast forward in time: Gentiles (non-Jews) lived to the north, whose descendants were the Assyrian invaders; Jews in Jerusalem lived to the south; and between them were the Samaritans. Samaritans were a mixed race of Jews and Gentiles. To the Jewish people, they were mixed blood traitors to their Jewish heritage. It was racial hatred. That’s why Jesus’ command shows that Christianity and the love of Christ surpass any dispute. Standing up for the weak is a calling on each of our lives.

1. What does the Proverbs passage call us to do?
2. What did the Samaritan feel when he saw the beaten and robbed man on the side of the road? 
3. How did the Samaritan go above and beyond to care for the weak?

RESPOND
As Proverbs points out, we are to stand up for justice. This isn’t just when it’s convenient, because rarely is standing up for the rights of someone convenient. The Good Samaritan shows that the obligation of standing up for the weak surpasses any kind of trouble it may cause us. That may mean standing up for the kid who gets picked on in your team or in your class. It may mean that you have to be the one to speak up when gossip is spreading. Whatever situation you encounter, standing up for the rights of others usually (1) separates you from the crowd, meaning a possible hit to friendships, and (2) lets people know that you’re called to a higher calling, and that is to glorify Christ through everything you say and do. The question is: Are you going to pass people by when you can step in on their behalf, or are you going to blend in with the crowd and pretend like you don’t notice?

1. What makes standing up for people dificult?
2. Why would standing up for people be significant to God?
3. Why should you be more concerned about how God views you than how the world views you?

REMEMBER
Post this week’s memory verse on whatever forms of social media you use. If you’re using Instagram, take a screen shot of the passage in your Bible App or write it out on your Notes App and take a screen shot and post it. Pray that God would give you a heart and desire for justice. Pray that He would open your eyes to areas where you can step in, not for your sake, but His.

Proverbs: Living Wisely – Trusting Him

TUESDAY, MARCH 7

READ
Proverbs 30:5–6; Psalm 18:25–32; Isaiah 40:25–31; 2 Timothy 3:16–17

REFLECT
The word of man should be trusted with hesitancy, but the Word of God is perfect. It can withstand the test of time, pressure and scrutiny. Solomon’s father, David, wrote a similar statement in Psalm 18:30. Isaiah 40 shows God as being too far out of our league to be able to compare to, yet He still comes to our aid.

1. How are God and His words a shield to those who trust them?
2. According to David in Psalm 18, how does God show Himself?
3. What does 2 Timothy say Scripture is good for? Verse 17 explains why. What is it?

RESPOND
God is faithful. He possesses the power to do whatever He wishes, and is incapable of sin. With that combination, how could we not put our trust and faith in what He has to say! So often we place our trust in temporary things and people, and they will all inevitably fail us. But God is constant (Psalm 46:1), faithful (Hebrews 13:8) and worthy (Revelation 4:11). The question is: Do you believe that? Is your faith and trust just “head knowledge” or a daily practice of giving things up to Him and serving Him?

1. What does it mean to put your faith and trust in God and His Word? 2. Why is that difficult to do?
3. How can you change it?

REMEMBER
Pray that God would give you a joy and desire for His perfect Word.

“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”
—Proverbs 30:5

Proverbs: Living Wisely – Reproof

MONDAY, MARCH 6

READ
Proverbs 29:1; 1 Corinthians 1:26–31; 1 Peter 5:5–6

REFLECT
Reproof is the act of someone showing disapproval for an action or even a way of living, while “stiffening one’s neck” means to ignore the reproof.

1. What causes people to ignore the advice of others? (Look at verse 23 if you need help.) 
2. What does this passage mean when it says they will be “broken beyond healing”?
3. Why does the 1 Corinthians passage say that if we boast, we should boast in God?
4. To what kind of person does God extend grace?

RESPOND
God has called us to walk in humility. The opposite of being humble is to be prideful. The root of many sins is pride. Think about it. When you’re jealous, angry, selfish and so on, you think you’re owed something you’re not. You think that you are the center of your universe. Our culture and our nature teach that to be humiliated is a negative thing, but all it shows is that your pride was hurt in some way. God calls the weak and humble because either His power can be more greatly displayed in weakness, or because they have a teachable, moldable, usable attitude and perspective. As Proverbs points out though, God will forcefully humble the proud. When you get time, look at how God humbled Pharaoh in Exodus; in the book of Judges, He humbled Samson when he thought he could do anything he wanted; He humbled the first king of Israel, Saul, when he thought he could disobey God in 1 Samuel; He punished the kingdom of Israel by having it conquered and dispersed at the end of 2 Kings; then He humbled Nebuchadnezzar in his arrogance in Daniel 4. Those are just a few examples of “stiff-necked people” that God humbled because they thought they were a “bigger deal” than they really were. Because there was no way we could ever save ourselves from hell and our sin, Jesus died so we wouldn’t have to go there. As believers, everything in us should be humbled because Jesus cleansed us when we couldn’t cleanse ourselves (1 John 1:9). That should instill in us an overwhelming sense of gratitude!

1. Why is humility such a hard attribute to display continually?
2. In what areas do you feel you are good? Sports? School? Jokes? Looks? Do you have any pride in those areas?
3. After reading, why do you feel like God desires you to be humble?

REMEMBER
Pray that God would show you any prideful areas in your life. Pray that He would break you and humiliate you in those areas.

“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”
—Proverbs 30:5

Proverbs: Living Wisely – Accountability

SATURDAY, MARCH 4

SATURDAY, MARCH 4

READ
Proverbs 27

REFLECT
Solomon puts a deep focus on community and accountability in this chapter of Proverbs. We see how we can prosper with open rebuke among our friends and how we need to be honest and open with each other in our struggles so that we can build each other up, making one another stronger and more effective for the work of the Lord.

1. What can we profit from an open rebuke?
2. How is a man tested?
3. How can the wounds of a friend be faithful in verse 6?
4. As we read in verse 17, how can one man sharpen another?

RESPOND
Accountability is key in our Christian walk to help us grow and take us to the next level in our relationship with God. We all need to have someone to share our struggles with and to encourage us to overcome them through Scripture. The Devil loves to isolate people and use that to tempt them into ruin, but as we see here in Proverbs, we are called to community so we can challenge each other with a rebuke when we see each other going down a wrong path. This ultimately keeps our witness and relationship with God strong so we can bring lost people to know the power, love and redemption of the Lord.

1. Do you meet with someone weekly to express the things you struggle with? If so, how real are you with them? If not, what is holding you back?
2. When was the last time you had a friend call you out on a sin? How did it make you feel? 
3. How can you benefit from having accountability in your life?

REMEMBER
If you do not have someone you meet with for accountability and strengthening your walk with God, ask the Lord to put someone on your heart to begin meeting with weekly. If you do have someone you meet with, pray for his or her daily walk and growth in relationship with God.

“How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”
—Proverbs 16:16

Proverbs: Living Wisely – Sarcasm

FRIDAY, MARCH 3

READ
Proverbs 26

REFLECT
Proverbs 26 is broken down into four parts beginning with a warning to the foolish and what to expect from their foolish efforts and words. Solomon follows up by calling out laziness, then gives a warning to the power of careless words and finishes with presenting the characteristics and downfalls of a liar.

1. In verse 7, why is a proverb in the mouth of a fool useless?
2. In verse 12, why is it worse to be wise in your own eyes than be a fool?
3. What is the madman doing to his neighbor when he says, “I am only joking,” in verse 19?

RESPOND
In verses 18–19 we see that Solomon points to the person who deceives his neighbor but responds that it was all a joke and calls him a madman, someone who doesn’t think about the consequences of his words or actions. Think about a time that you did or said something cruel to someone, but when they confronted you, you said you were just kidding. We all know the “I’m just kidding” response is a cover- up for the conviction. As followers of Christ and God’s Word, we are to stay away from such behavior. Notice that these verses are preceded with a warning about a person who meddles in others’ business, and followed by the warnings of a liar. These aren’t exactly the kind of actions that draw people to the love of Christ, so let us be above the “just kidding” comments and weigh the consequences of our words and our jokes.

1. When was the last time you used “I’m just kidding” to cover up conviction?
2. Why did Solomon focus so much on the consequences of our words? Where else in Scripture can we see warnings like these about our words?

REMEMBER
Ask God to take control of your tongue, to convict you when you are using your words carelessly. Begin to challenge yourself when you have something to say to think about what will come of it. Does it draw people to Jesus or push them away?

“How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”
—Proverbs 16:16

Proverbs: Living Wisely – Kindness toward Enemies

THURSDAY, MARCH 2

READ
Proverbs 25

REFLECT
Proverbs 25 focuses mainly on the need to be patient and loving toward your enemies. Verse 21 says, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.” This clearly shows the enemy that there is something different and it is because God is in you. Christians are not to act like those of the world; we are to be different. We are to have control over our anger, be patient when others are not, and most definitely show love to those who do not show love to us. This is the mark of a Christ-follower and these are the guidelines God has given us to live by.

1. As verse 7 says, why is it “better for him to say to you, ‘Come up here,’ than to put yourself lower before a prince, whom your eyes have seen?” How does this play into your character?
2. What are the characteristics written in Proverbs 25 that should be found in a Christian? 3. How can kindness to enemies possibly influence their beliefs about Christianity?

RESPOND
These wise words of Solomon are a great path to being a powerful witness to all of those around us, especially the people with whom we may not exactly see eye to eye. When we have a classmate or someone on an opposing team react in hate toward us, we are not called to retaliate. Jesus tells us not only to love but also to pray for our enemies in Matthew 5. So let us check our pride at the door the next time we want to return hate with more hate, and rather choose to show the love that Christ showed to us on the cross when we absolutely didn’t deserve it.

1. How did you react the last time someone said something hateful toward you?
2. Verse 15 says a “soft word can break a bone.” Who is someone to whom you can offer a soft word to break down the hard exterior he or she may have put up toward you?

REMEMBER
Take a moment to pray for someone you don’t get along with. Pray for God to bless that person and show him or her favor, and most importantly, pray for an opportunity to speak a soft word and put your differences behind you this week.

“How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”
—Proverbs 16:16

Proverbs: Living Wisely – No Partiality

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27

READ
Proverbs 22

REFLECT
Proverbs 22 continues with the assorted sayings from the previous proverbs with verses 1 through 16, and then in verse 17 it begins the “words of the wise.” An important theme is developed throughout this chapter focusing on the rich and the poor. No matter what our financial status is, we are all created by the Lord, and if we find ourselves in riches then we know that the Lord blesses those who are generous. We are all called to share with those in need.

1. Why is a good name more valuable than riches?
2. In verse 4, what are the rewards for humility and fear of the Lord? Which is the most important to you? 
3. How does the Lord repay those who oppress the poor in verses 16 and 23?
4. How are the poor and the rich made equal in verse 2?

RESPOND
We live in a society that tends to shy away from the poor, to neglect them rather than help. In just this proverb alone we find many cases where the Lord actively fights for the poor. We need to take the truth found in verse 2 and implement it into our daily lives so that when we see a classmate in need or a person on the street begging for food, we won’t react by thinking, “Man, I’m glad I’m not that guy,” or “I can’t be seen with her.” Remember, the Lord made them just as He made you. Just as the Lord fights for the poor, we are called to do the same.

1. When was the last time you were embarrassed to be seen with someone? Why?
2. When was the last time you gave to someone in need?
3. How can you be generous and share your bread like in verse 9?

REMEMBER
Ask God for an opportunity to be generous to someone in need. Be prepared and expectant.

“How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”
—Proverbs 16:16

Proverbs: Living Wisely – Avoid Fighting

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25

READ 
Proverbs 20:3; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Colossians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Romans 12:18; Proverbs 15:18; James 3:13–18

REFLECT
Stirring up conflict is not justified. This passage shows us that he who starts a quarrel is a fool. Remember what a fool is? Read Psalm 14:1. This passage paints a picture for us of a fool as someone who doesn’t believe in God, as someone who puts God on the back burner instead of making Him a priority. Not to take God’s commandments seriously is not to take God seriously. Abstaining from strife, however, brings honor. Honor is an intangible characteristic that is brought about by right living, or rather one who lives wisely. The wise are more concerned with bringing peace than being right, but the fool cannot restrain himself. He is like a hothead who has issues submitting to authority.

1. Do you know someone who has a difficult time restraining himself/herself, or maybe someone who seems to bring conflict to many situations? How do others view his/her character?
2. Read James 3:13–18. How does this passage contrast two different wisdoms? Which wisdom is the kind from above?
3. Read Proverbs 15:8. Which of the two have you been following lately? How does being contentious affect you in the long run?
4. What is at the root of someone’s heart that stirs up conflict? Where does this come from?

RESPOND
As a kid, the big concept to grasp in the realm of conflict was “flight or  fight.” We were told that we always have a decision to make, and sometimes it was presented as whether to be the hero or the coward. However, to avoid  fighting does not mean that one is a coward. As a matter of fact, many people have jobs making millions just to help others avoid fighting. Jesus was certainly not a coward, and while He wouldn’t swing a punch, He certainly wouldn’t walk away. With Christ there was always the third option, and it rested within the confines of His wisdom. While the Gospels show us that Jesus is wise— indeed, wiser than Solomon—Paul asserts that Jesus is not simply wise, but He is the very incarnation of God’s wisdom. Twice Paul identifies Jesus with God’s wisdom. Read 1 Corinthians 1:30. Now read Colossians 2:3. How is Jesus associated with wisdom in these passages? God wants our lives to be a reflection of His Son, Jesus Christ, and one of the best ways we can do that is by avoiding fighting with others. Jesus shows us that His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. Read 2 Corinthians 12:9.

1. Read Romans 12:18. How does this passage spur you on toward living in peace with others? Does this passage place on you a responsibility? If so, in what way does it do that?
2. Do you have a habit of quarreling with others? If so, where does this inward attitude come from? If not, is that because of a positive habit of pursuing Christ or simply because of an introverted personality?
3. How can you make strides this week to stop becoming part of the problem and start becoming part of the solution?

REMEMBER
Thank God that He fights for us and that He has gone before us to defeat sin once and for all. Also thank Him that He’s coming back again in the final battle, which He’s already won! Thank God for giving us a prime example of how to avoid fighting through the life of Jesus. Ask God to show you tangible ways this week to be a part of the solution instead of the problem.

“No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord.” —Proverbs 21:30

Proverbs: Living Wisely – Keeping the Commandments

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24

READ
Proverbs 19:16; Leviticus 26:21; 1 John 5:3; John 14:15

REFLECT
Here we see the happiness of those who walk in obedience. Those who “keep His commandments” secure a perfect peace. If we keep God’s Word, God’s Word will keep us from separation from Him, which leads to death. Some people never even consider what they do, but instead they walk contrary to God (Leviticus 26:21). There seems to be no de nite right or wrong; it is all gray areas to them. Notice that the word continue in verse 21 is the translation for making a habit of a constant action. The Lord provides grace in this text by showing that some will mess up and walk away from Him but will quickly recognize their sin and return to God. This verse clearly shows us that those people who make a habit of sin in their life with no regard for God’s commandments will su er. It is interesting to note that yet again, this proverb, like others in this week’s devotionals, brings with it an incredible reward: the gift of life. God shows us how to steward what He has entrusted to us: by keeping His commandments.

1. What does 1 John 5:3 say about what it looks like to love God?
2. Why does God give us the notion of blessing from doing what is good? Do you believe this is God’s natural tendency toward His people?
3. In John 14:15, what does Jesus say we will do if we love Him?
4. Why do you think this proverb paints such a strong contrast between life and death?

RESPOND
Keeping God’s commandments is not supposed to be burdensome, but rather a blessing. Reread 1 John 5:3. It should come as the natural over ow of your heart, having been ignited with the love of the Holy Spirit. If following God’s commands is a burden to you, you may need to examine yourself and take a close look at your heart. Ask God to reveal your attitude in how you go about treating His “commands” (not suggestions). Remember, God provides for us a beautiful reward for doing so: life! This passage shows us that living wisely is following God’s standard that He has set for us, relying on Him to give us the strength to live it out.

1. Do you see God’s commands as burdensome or a blessing? What can you do to better your thoughts to view God’s standard as a means of walking with Him and not some set of rules that you have to follow?
2. Why does God have rewards in store for those who are obedient to Him?
3. How can you better keep yourself accountable to being obedient to God this week?

REMEMBER
Sit and meditate through Proverbs 21:30, asking God to reveal to you what wisdom in your life needs to look like. Thank God that He has given us a set of holy guidelines to maintain our walk with Him. Thank the Lord that He has given us the opportunity to be in His presence. Pray that God would give you the drive to study His commands further. Pray that God would give you an attitude of joy when pursuing obedience to His commands this week. Ask Him to cleanse your heart of any burdensome thoughts and to see His holy standard as a blessing, a roadway to life.

Proverbs: Living Wisely – Choosing Friends Wisely

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23

READ
Proverbs 18:24; James 4:4; John 15:3

REFLECT
Wisdom is a rich concept and not easily summarized. Since the book’s purpose is to make one wise, it is beneficial to understand the foundation of wisdom. Wisdom is the skill of living. It is the ability to avoid problems and the skill to handle them when they arise. Wisdom is not just intelligence. This is why the book attributes wisdom to animals so often, not because they have great intelligence, but because they navigate life well. Proverbs brings to mind short sayings of practical advice, and in this instance, the advice is extremely practical. This proverb focuses on the relationship of companions. It draws a line between a companion and a true friend who sticks closer than a brother. The text implies that the man of “typical” friends is about to be ruined because he lacks the true dedicated friend. A companion here is seen as one who fails to come through in adversity, while a friend who sticks closer than a brother is there in the most di cult of times, never leaving your side.

1. What does “a friend sticks closer than a brother” mean?
2. How does a friend stay with you through adversity?
3. What are the qualities you look for in a friend?
4. Read James 4:4. What types of friendship does this passage warn against?

RESPOND
In the beginning, it was God who determined that it was not good for man to be alone. In this world, there are many different types of friends, and with social networking it seems as if the number of “friends” we have is endless. But just how many of your Facebook friends do you keep in contact with? How many of your Instagram followers do you even know? The Bible places a high value on a certain type of friend, but not just the “faucet” friends you can turn on and o  or the fake ones whom you only stick by for selfish reasons. Solomon introduces us to a unique friend, one who sticks closer than a brother. A genuine friendship is someone you can be yourself with. This is why Proverbs uses the analogy of brotherhood, the highest form of earthly friendship. Brothers have a biological connection and similar experiences, and they’ve fought together as well as cried together. Do you believe you have a friend like this? If you’re not sure, be encouraged that God is our  first friend, the One who sacrificed everything for you. Our friendships should not only grow horizontally with each other, but vertically with God.

1. Do you genuinely have a friend that sticks closer than a brother?
2. What kind of friend are you? Are you constantly giving of yourself or taking?
3. Read John 15:13. How does this passage describe the greatest friendship of all?

REMEMBER
Thank God for His friendship. Ask God to give you genuine, godly friends to walk with you in your faith, and to help you be the friend that sticks closer than a brother.

“No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord.” —Proverbs 21:30

Proverbs: Living Wisely – Revengeful Retaliation

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22

READ 
Proverbs 17:13; Matthew 5:38–40; Romans 12:17–21; James 1:25

REFLECT
Proverbs 17:13 gives us insight into the heart of each person. Everyone is interested in revenge. It’s something we find sweet and satisfying—knowing they got what was coming to them. We love to get even, but Jesus has something to say about this. In Matthew 5–7, He delivers the Sermon on the Mount where He describes what it means to be His follower. He tells us that our good deeds must be genuine—not just the outward actions but also the internal attitudes. Jesus was referring to the Pharisees of His day who looked like they had it all together, but their hearts were not right. Jesus wants our external actions and our internal attitudes to match His character. For example, everyone agrees that murder is wrong. That’s obvious. But murder is merely an external evidence of an internal attitude. Jesus said that it’s also wrong to harbor unresolved anger in your heart—whether or not it leads to murder. When someone hurts us, our natural tendency is payback, but Jesus teaches us a dfferent way. He doesn’t say there can’t be some form of measured justice. After all, there are certainly crimes that deserve punishment—debts to be repaid and people who should be held accountable for their actions. However, it is wrong to take personal revenge. Jesus shows us that personal retribution is wrong (see Matthew 5:38–40).

1. What is the cause and effect (if..., then...) in Proverbs 17:13?
2. What does it mean for evil to be upon your house?
3. In Romans 12:17, what would be the honorable thing to do?
4. How should Romans 12:19 bring you comfort after having been wronged?

RESPOND
One of the most difficult things in the world for a doctor must be to tell people that they are dying. Sometimes treatment is given to alleviate some of the suffering, but it only deals with the symptoms.
We tend to do this with our attitude. Deep inside our soul, we have been hurt by another person, and sometimes the only way we think we can  x it is by retaliating against the person who caused the damage in the first place. Ironically, our wounds are much deeper, and getting revenge is only bandaging surface- level symptoms. There is a deeper issue rooted in the heart that needs to be addressed. As Christians, our primary method of understanding the will of God is through His Word. But “whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it— they will be blessed in what they do.” As evidenced by this verse, God’s Word provides a freedom in Christ for us that is unmatched by the rest of the world and its desires. But the passage reminds of us something crucial, that we must continue in the Word; otherwise, we will forget what it’s supposed to look like. Finally, we must not just be about looking into God’s Word, but doing what it says. Practicing the spiritual discipline of forgiveness will free you of any bondage you have to the person who has wronged you. As James 1:25 points out, you will be blessed.

1. Romans 12:20 doesn’t just say to forgive an enemy but to go the extra mile. How does it describe doing so? 2. What would going the extra mile in your life look like toward someone who has wronged you?
3. When was a time you were wronged by someone? How did you want to respond? How did you actually respond? What were the consequences and/or blessings of your actions?

REMEMBER
Thank God that He went the extra mile when you didn’t deserve it. Pray that He would help you begin to heal the deeper wounds of your heart this week by forgiving those who have wronged you.

“No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord.” —Proverbs 21:30

Proverbs: Living Wisely – Pride

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21

READ
Proverbs 16:18–20, 15:33, 30:13, 18:12; James 4:6; Philippians 2:5–11; 2 Corinthians 12:7; James 1:5

REFLECT
Do you ever wonder what it must have been like to be the richest man in the history of the world, and then to write about pride? That’s where we find ourselves in this text as Solomon expands on how to live wisely by avoiding a prideful spirit. He discusses the consequences of pride as well as the safer alternative. The focus has shifted from outward ethical behaviors to inward spiritual attitudes. Instead of watching their “way” (verse 17) in defiance of another wisdom principle (15:33), the arrogant raise their eyes before God and humanity (30:13) and they stumble to their death (18:12). Verse 17 shows that the upright are lowly and submissive to God, and 15:33 tells us that “before honor comes humility.” The word haughty is translated “high.” Therefore, to be haughty is to have a higher view of oneself than one ought. Verse 19 tells us what the better option is. The New Testament is also clear on God’s response to the proud and the humble (see James 4:6). Since man did not fully comprehend the idea of humility, God came down Himself in the form of a man to show us what it looks like. Christ is the ultimate example of humility (see Philippians 2:5–11).

1. Proverbs discusses pride 53 times! Why do you think this is such a problem for man?
2. See James 4:6. What does it mean for God to “oppose” the proud?
3. What does Proverbs 15:33 tell us is the reward for humility? What would this reward look like for you? 4. Why do you think Proverbs 16:19 says it’s better “to be of a lowly spirit”?

RESPOND
Getting rid of pride is not like plugging a + b into an equation. You can’t just toss your “pride” into the laundry and expect to pull out clean “humility.” It’s not always that easy. Some have even suggested that “pride” is the thorn in Paul’s flesh in 2 Corinthians 12:7, thinking more highly of himself than he ought. Many of us struggle with this sin of pride, and it needs to be taken care of immediately. Sins such as pride can easily creep into the heart, and it’s no wonder Proverbs talks about this spiritual attitude so many times. We need to examine any pride in our own lives, and ask God to remove it and replace it with a spirit of humility.

1. Can you think of a time when someone younger than you exhibited genuine humility? What happened? How did this affect you?
2. Philippians 2 shows us Christ’s ultimate example of humility, so if we want to look more like Him, what are some ways we can exhibit similar spiritual attitudes?
3. Write down areas of your life that show signs of pride. Examine how that sin arrived in your heart. 4. Proverbs 16:18 shows us that pride goes before what? What could that look like for you if you don’t get rid of your pride?
 
REMEMBER
James 1:5 tells those who lack wisdom to ask God who gives generously to all. Ask God for wisdom this week. Ask Him to start with your fear of Him. Remember: To fear the Lord is to be obedient to His revealed will. Thank the Lord for His ultimate example of humility shown to us on the cross. Pray that God would help you exemplify the humility of Christ to others this week.

“No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord.” —Proverbs 21:30

Proverbs: Living Wisely – Parental Correction

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20

READ
Proverbs 15:5; Matthew 12:42; James 3:15; Exodus 20:12; Proverbs 1:7–9; Isaiah 32:6; Matthew 5:22

REFLECT
The book of Proverbs is known as “Wisdom Literature” primarily because of its instructive format. The majority of the book is attributed to King Solomon, son of David. In the New Testament, the school
of wisdom is reflected in many of Christ’s teachings. Jesus used parables and proverbs drawn from nature, and He was able to pose and solve puzzling questions. He is referred to as one “greater than Solomon” (Matthew 12:42), so Jesus is the master teacher. The book of James, which stresses wisdom from above (3:15) and uses analogies from Proverbs, is another New Testament example of wisdom literature. The wisdom instructed in this verse shows the value of children accepting correction from their parents. When the Ten Commandments were given in Exodus 20:12, one of them was to “honor your father and mother.” In this proverb, the text expands on that meaning of honor. Specifically, it refers to instruction, a form of discipline which, according to the book of Hebrews, is a greater form of love (Hebrews 12:5–11). In this proverb, we see that those who ignore their parents are fools while those who listen to their parents’ instruction and do what they say are prudent (another word for wise).

1. What is a fool? See also Proverbs 1:7–9 (Isaiah 32:6 provides a proper summary into Proverbs’ view of the fool; see also Jesus’ warning in Matthew 5:22).
2. Why is instruction important for us? Why is it not easy for our flesh to accept it?
3. To what does Proverbs 1:9 compare parents’ instruction? What are these items used for? How does
their purpose relate to parents’ instruction?
4. Honoring one’s parents in Exodus 20:12 also brings with it a reward. What is that reward?

RESPOND
There will definitely be times we don’t want to listen to our parents for many different reasons. While we may think that our reasoning is substantial enough to do things our way, God’s Word is clear that we should submit to our parents’ authority. It doesn’t always mean it makes sense, but God’s peace will consume our hearts when we choose to honor their instructions.

1. What are some reasons you choose not to listen to your parents’ instructions?
2. How would your parents respond to you if you began to listen and act on every instruction? Would
a stronger trust be formed?
3. How does instruction and correction help us look more like Christ?

REMEMBER
Thank God for the parents/guardians He has given us. Thank God for any instruction or correction you have received this week since it is sharpening you to look more like Him. Pray for humility and wisdom to listen to instructions from your parents this week.

“No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord.”
—Proverbs 21:30

Proverbs: Benefits of Wisdom

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18

READ
Proverbs 13; James 3:1–12 (Focus on Proverbs 13:3)

REFLECT
Proverbs 13:3 warns us about guarding our mouths and protecting the things we say. James 3 covers the exact same topic. James knew that the stuff we say can get us into trouble, and that if we don’t watch out, our tongue can lead us o  course.

1. What does Proverbs 3:13 say will happen to a man who opens wide his lips? 2. What does James 3:4 compare the tongue to?
3. What is the warning James gives us about how we speak?
4. What is James 3:9–12 telling us about our speech?

RESPOND
The average person says more than 7,000 words per day (and some of you say about twice that)! That gives us a whole lot of words that we can either use for good things or bad things. Think about all of the different things you talk about every day. We talk when we’re excited, upset, angry, scared, stressed out—the list goes on. So how do we control what we say? James 1:19 says we need to be “slow to speak.” We have to think through what we say and make sure that everything we say is bringing glory to God, instead of just saying the first thing that comes into our minds. People are listening to everything we say, so, as Christians, it’s important to keep everything we say in check.

1. How do we prevent our speech from getting us into trouble?
2. Why is it important for us to monitor our speech?
3. What are some of the consequences that could come from our being too loose with what we say? 4. How can you use what you say to build up those around you, instead of tearing them down?

REMEMBER
Ask God to give you wisdom in how you speak to and about people. Pray that you’ll set an example for others with your speech.
“For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.”
—Proverbs 8:35–36

Proverbs: Benefits of Wisdom

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17

READ
Proverbs 12; Hebrews 12:5–11 (Focus on Proverbs 12:1, 15)

REFLECT
While this passage is full of great proverbs, we want to focus on verses 1 and 15. These two verses have one common theme: taking advice from others. Verse 1 begins by encouraging us to be the kind of people who love discipline and hate reproof (or criticism). Verse 15 tells us that wise men take advice, while fools do their own thing. Hebrews 12 covers the importance of discipline in our lives and why God chooses to discipline us.

1. How does verse 1 describe people who hate criticism?
2. Read Proverbs 3:5–7. How does that relate to Proverbs 12:15? 3. According to Hebrews 12:10, why does God discipline us?
4. What is the result of discipline according to Hebrews 12:11?

RESPOND
I don’t know about you, but it’s often hard for me to admit that I could ever be wrong. I like to think that I have things pretty well figured out and don’t need anyone else’s help. Proverbs 12 tells me that I’m foolish when I act like that. Whether or not we like to admit it right away, it is biblical for us to take the advice from the people who have come before us. God has placed people in our lives who have experienced things we have not, and they have certain wisdom that we need, so it is important for us to recognize that they are in our lives to share that wisdom with us.

1. Why is it sometimes difficult to accept the advice of others?
2. What is the bene t of taking advice and wisdom from others?
3. Describe a time when you took advice from someone and it bene ted you.

REMEMBER
Start by thanking God for sending people with wisdom into our lives. Ask God to give you the humility to seek the wisdom of others in your life. Pray that you’ll be able to share your wisdom with those around you as well.

“For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.”
—Proverbs 8:35–36

Proverbs: Benefits of Wisdom

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16

READ
Proverbs 11; 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 (Focus on Proverbs 11:22)

REFLECT
Our focus verse in this passage is Proverbs 11:22. This verse addresses the topic of modesty and discretion. While modesty is typically a topic directed at females, discretion with our bodies is applicable to everyone, which is where 1 Corinthians 6 comes into play. These verses serve as a reminder that our bodies are meant to glorify God, not ourselves.

1. What does the analogy in Proverbs 11:22 mean? Think about the differences between a gold ring and a pig.
2. What does discretion mean in this context?
3. What does Paul say our bodies are in 1 Corinthians 6:19?
4. The next sentence says, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” What does it mean that we are not our own?

RESPOND
Several times throughout Scripture, women are encouraged to dress modestly. However, the responsibility doesn’t just rest on the girls’ shoulders. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that if your right eye causes you to lust, you should go so far as to tear it out and throw it away to avoid lusting again. 1 Corinthians 6:18 tells us to flee sexual immorality, which applies to both men and women. Fleeing tells us how serious it is. You never  flee from something good, right? We need to avoid it at all costs, and remember that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and are meant to bring honor and glory to God, not ourselves.

1. What can you do, whether you’re a guy or girl, to make sure you’re honoring God when it comes to this subject?
2. Why is it important for us to remember that we were bought with a price? 3. How are you going to make sure you flee sexual immorality?

REMEMBER
Start by asking God to help you avoid sexual immorality. Pray that God will help keep you from stumbling or from causing others to stumble. Pray that you’ll always use your body to bring glory to God.

“For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.”
—Proverbs 8:35–36

Proverbs: Benefits of Wisdom

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15

READ
Proverbs 10 (Focus on verse 1)

REFLECT
Proverbs 10 through 22 are much diFFerent than 1 through 9. The  FIrst nine chapters were longer wisdom poems. Chapters 10 through 22 are full of individual phrases or sentences about a variety of diFFerent topics, all grouped together. Solomon, the author, begins these proverbs by talking about the role wisdom plays in our relationships with our parents. The fact that Solomon opens all of these proverbs with one about parental relationships should indicate that it’s pretty important.

1. What does Solomon say about a wise and foolish son?
2. Read verse 17 again. How does that tie in with verse 1? 3. Why is it important to heed instruction from our parents?

RESPOND
There are several diFFerent themes that pop up all throughout Scripture (Old Testament and New). Relationships between parents and children is one of them. Flip to Ephesians 6:1–3 and read what Paul says. In verse 1, Paul says it about as clearly as he can: “Obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Notice that there’s not a little asterisk there that says “just when you agree with them.” It’s important for us to remember that, whether or not we agree with our parents, they have been placed in authority over us by God. It’s important for us not just to do whatever they say and follow their rules, but also take their instruction and reproof (correction) as well.

1. Why is it so hard to do exactly what Paul is saying here?
2. Where else in Scripture are we instructed to obey our parents?
3. What is an area of your life in which you can heed your parents’ instruction this week instead of arguing?
4. Notice what Proverbs 10:17 says about leading others astray. How can you make sure you’re leading your peers in the right direction as well?

REMEMBER
Ask God to help you follow the instructions and correction your parents give you. Ask Him to help you obey your parents even when you disagree with them, because you know it’s biblical. Pray for opportunities to lead others on the path to life as well.

“For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.”
—Proverbs 8:35–36

Proverbs: Benefits of Wisdom

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14

READ
Proverbs 9

REFLECT
In Proverbs 9 we see two different things pitted against each other: wisdom and folly. Folly is de ned as a “lack of understanding or sense.” Wisdom and folly are personified as two different women in this passage. Lady Wisdom is far more respectable and desirable. Lady Folly, on the other hand, is looked at as empty and lacking in wisdom. By presenting both paths, the author sums up the first nine chapters of Proverbs and encourages the reader to walk in the path of wisdom. At the end of the chapter, we learn that folly ultimately leads not to just a physical, but a spiritual death.

1. What does the description of Lady Wisdom’s house tell us about her? What are some of the characteristics you see?
2. What does this passage say will happen to those who choose wisdom?
3. What does this passage say about the fear of the Lord? What does that mean?
4. In a couple of sentences, describe some of the differences between Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly.

RESPOND
Think about an election. You have two candidates laying out what they believe is the best path.That’s what this passage evokes. We’re given two examples (or “candidates”), and we’re told which direction wisdom will lead us and which direction folly will take us. It’s then up to us to choose the way of wisdom. While it’s often easy or seems more fun to go down the way of folly, this passage should reveal which path we should take and why.

1. Why are we often tempted to choose folly over wisdom?
2. How can we  figure out which roads are taking us to wisdom and which are taking us to folly? 3. What are some of the promises we see in this passage that we can apply to our everyday lives?

REMEMBER
Start by thanking God for the opportunity to choose between these two paths. Ask Him to constantly help you to choose the path of wisdom. Pray for constant guidance and wisdom as you grow older.

“For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.”
—Proverbs 8:35–36

Proverbs: Benefits of Wisdom

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13

READ

Proverbs 8; James 3:13–18 (Focus on Proverbs 8:1–21)

REFLECT

In Proverbs 8 we see wisdom personi ed as a great lady. We also see that the Word of God is wisdom. Solomon also writes about the value and the purpose of wisdom in our lives. Verses 6 through 13 deal with the incomparable value of wisdom, and verses 14 through 21 talk about the role wisdom plays in being successful in the material and immaterial world.

1. What are some of the things that Solomon says wisdom is better than?
2. What does this passage say about the speech of a wise person?
3. What does this passage say about the fear of the Lord?
4. Reread verses 20 and 21. What does it mean for wisdom to “walk in the way of righteousness”?

RESPOND

Wisdom is important because it can help lead us to righteousness. This wisdom from God will bring us closer to Him. If you read James 3:13–18, you see that there are two di erent types of wisdom: wisdom from above and wisdom from earth. It says that earthly wisdom is sel sh and evil in every way. Wisdom from above, however, is pure and full of mercy. Those of us who pursue wisdom from above will be the ones whom God blesses.

1. Why is it important to pursue wisdom from above?
2. Recall a time in which you sought wisdom from God. What was the result?
3. How do righteousness and wisdom work together? Can you have one without the other?

REMEMBER

Pray that you’ll pursue wisdom from above. Pray that this wisdom will guide you down the path of righteousness. Pray that your actions this week will bring glory to God.

“For whoever nds me nds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to nd me injures himself; all who hate me love death.”
—Proverbs 8:35–36 

Proverbs: Benefits of Wisdom

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11

READ
Proverbs 6 (Focus on verses 6–19)

REFLECT
Laziness and worthlessness are addressed by this proverb. Solomon makes an example of one of the smallest of creatures, the ant, and compels his readers to be as diligent as this insect. Too much sleep, Solomon writes, is for the lazy; and laziness, like a thief, will bring poverty and neediness to an individual.

Solomon then portrays the worthless man: wicked, full of deceitful speech, deceptive in every way, desires to do evil and see disruption emerge. The result of this wickedness, however, is a sudden end and a punishment that will not be reconcilable.

Finally, this proverb lays out a list of what God hates. The mention of 6 and then 7 is to draw attention to the fact that the seventh hated item is important. The first six items are obvious sins. The last item, however, is not often considered along with the other six. Causing strife among friends is the seventh item that God hates. While this list is not a complete list of literally everything that God hates, it is important that these seven particular items have made the cut.

1. What is significant about the ant’s actions, according to verses 7 through 8?
2. In verse 10, how much sleep, slumber and folding of the hands causes poverty?
3. Compare the worthless person to the list of things that are an abomination to the Lord. How do they match up?

RESPOND
In the letter written by James in 4:14, he warns his readers, “What is your life? For you are a mist
that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” This life we are given to live, when compared to the history of time, is short. There is simply no time to be lazy. There are souls who are destined to be separated eternally from God because they have not heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We do not have time to be lazy and allow others to miss out on this Good News. Laziness and wickedness are inhibitors to the Gospel, and through this proverb we see the immediate and long-term dangers of both.

1. In what areas of your life can you identify laziness?
2. How are you actively combating wickedness and laziness in your everyday life?
3. What is your best strategy for overcoming laziness and not allowing it to become part of your life?

REMEMBER
Thank God for never wasting a moment. Thank Him for constantly standing guard against Satan and evil. Ask Him to build up your ability to fight against laziness so that you can fight against wickedness. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify the areas in your life in which laziness has begun to manifest itself.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
—Proverbs 1:7

Proverbs: Benefits of Wisdom

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10

READ
Proverbs 5 (Focus on verses 1–14)

REFLECT
In this proverb, we see Solomon specifically warning against sexual immorality. The proverb speaks of being sexually immoral as a forbidden woman, but it is important to remember that this proverb does not speak against lust alone, but against all forms of sexual sin that tempt us: adultery, premarital sex, homosexuality, etc. What is so beneficial about this proverb is that Solomon enlightens his readers with the results of failing to heed these words so that the readers are will know what dangers await them on the other side of these actions. This allows us to see that regardless of how tempting and deceptively wonderful sexual sin may seem, it will simply be “bitter as wormwood” and “sharp as a two-edged sword.”

1. Consider verses 5 and 6. The deceptive woman is so blind because of her own sin that she doesn’t even know where she is going. To where do her aimless steps lead?
2. How far away from sexual temptation are we to be (verse 8)?
3. When someone gives in to sexual temptation, how is his or her life affected?

RESPOND
The proverbs we have read are practical, especially this one. This proverb address a particular type of sin that Paul describes as unique because sexual sin, as opposed to all other sin, is done against one’s own body, which is meant to be a holy temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:18–19). God warns us to flee from this type of sin, not even to go near it so that we will not be tempted.

1. With which sexual sin(s) do you most often struggle?
2. What steps can you take to back even further away from this sin so that you will not be tempted again?
3. Consider telling your best friend, mentor or leaders in the Girls’ Ministry for girls, and the male ministers for boys about the sexual sin with which you struggle. As the body of the church, we are all meant to encourage one another and help one another through struggles such as these.

REMEMBER
Praise God for being stronger than any sexual sin. Praise Him as the one who will eventually conquer the forbidden woman and will free us from all temptation. Ask God to put strongholds in your life and people in your life to hold you accountable for whatever sin you may be struggling with. Trust in Him to follow through with His promise of protection following our obedience to His Word.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
—Proverbs 1:7

Proverbs: Benefits of Wisdom

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9

READ
Proverbs 4 (Focus on verses 10–27)

REFLECT
Again and again within these proverbs we see the same theme: keep the words of the Lord and He will extend your blessing. In both the last proverb and many times in this one, a “path” metaphor is employed. In Proverbs 3, we are told to make our paths straight. In this proverb, we are told not to go onto the path of evil or the path of the wicked, and we see the impending consequences of such a decision. Solomon then tells us, however, of the joyous results of walking on a path of righteousness. Finally, Solomon writes that while on this path we should keep our eyes straight ahead and avoid swerving to the right or left.

1. Consider this: the fastest path between two points is a straight line. How does this help us to understand why we should keep our path straight?
2. Contrast the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked in verses 18 and 19.

RESPOND
The path on which we walk during this life is our choice. God makes that clear, and He urges us to walk among the righteous on the path He has laid for us. Our path is the example of Christ Jesus. Christ walked the shortest distance between birth and uniting with the Father, and then He died so that we could do the same. He didn’t stray to the left or to the right. We are called to do the same. How? By keeping the words of the Bible close to our heart, by knowing them and living them.

1. What distractions (whether seemingly good or obviously bad) or sins cause you to swerve to the left or right while trying to stay on the path of right living?
2. What degree of effort are you making to stay on this path of right living? We know that to stay on the path, we need to know and live out the Word of God. How e effectively are you doing this?
3. What can you do today to “turn your foot away from evil”?

REMEMBER
Thank God for laying out the path for us. Thank Him for sending His Son to be the perfect example of how to walk this path. Don’t pray that God will show you how to walk on this path; He already has. Instead, pray that He will strengthen you through His Word to be able to walk in a straight path with the goal in mind: to make Him more famous.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
—Proverbs 1:7

Proverbs: Benefits of Wisdom

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8
 

READ
Proverbs 3 (Focus on verses 1–12)

REFLECT
These key verses in Proverbs 3 are filled with wisdom. Solomon implores his readers to obey the commands of God in steadfast love and faithfulness so that they will find favor with both God and man. He then tells the readers of this proverb not to rely on their own understanding, which will most certainly be  awed and warped by sin, but instead to rely on the understanding of God that is perfect and holy and incapable of truly being warped. This proverb goes on to echo the need to rely on God and never on the sinful flesh that drives us to do evil.

1. Consider the metaphor of leaning on one’s own understanding vs. God’s understanding. What does it mean to lean on your own understanding? What is the importance of leaning on God’s?
2. What is the metaphorical and literal result of honoring the Lord with our wealth and our first fruits? (Remember, these are proverbs, so they take everyday objects and use them to convey life lessons.)
3. Whom does the Lord reprove (correct)?

RESPOND
The real-life application of this proverb is simple, yet powerful. Put no trust in yourself. Put all your trust in God. This message is so simple yet so incredibly difficult—maybe that’s why it’s repeated over and over again throughout the Bible. Perhaps the most difficult struggle in this life is to die truly to the sinful nature of our flesh and give God complete control. This one act goes against everything you are told in the world—to take care of yourself and make a name for yourself. This proverb seeks to convey the opposite. Allow God to guide you and make a name for Him.

1. On whose understanding do you lean? Your own? Your mom’s? Your dad’s? Your pastor’s? The Lord’s?
2. If we are not to despise the Lord’s discipline, then we shouldn’t be put o  when we are disciplined and corrected by His Word. Are you in love with His Word in such a way that you can rejoice in His correction through it?

REMEMBER
Lift the name of God and praise Him for having a perfect understanding on which we can lean. Ask God for His discipline and correction in your life and choose to find joy in this discipline. Remember: the Lord disciplines those He loves.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
—Proverbs 1:7

Proverbs: Benefits of Wisdom

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7

READ

Proverbs 2

REFLECT

This proverb speaks of the value of wisdom. Solomon tells us that if we “search for [wisdom] as for hidden treasures,” we will then understand what it means to fear the Lord and receive wisdom from Him. The Lord is the source of wisdom, and through His Word and wisdom come understanding and knowledge. Even more than that, a proper understanding of fearing the Lord brings deliverance from evil ways, evil pleasures and evil men.

Verses 12 through 15 speak loudly in this proverb, and this is only the second chapter of the entire book. Something mentioned this early probably means that it holds a good deal of importance. Wisdom will deliver us from people whose speech is perverted and people who nd joy in doing evil and in the perverseness of evil. Essentially, wisdom will bring us out of a desire to do and say perverted things and will keep us from nding joy in such sinful actions and words. One sign of wisdom is this: when dirty jokes or slanderous talk is no longer funny to you. Regardless of how funny something may seem, it is no less evil; and the Bible speaks clearly against such “jokes.”

1. What will be the e ects of wisdom and knowledge, according to verses 10 and 11?

2. What is the reward of those who do not follow the forbidden women of verse 16 (verse 21)? 3. In this proverb, what does the land represent? Why would inheriting land be important?

RESPOND

There is no place for evil among the wise. In fact, wisdom is the complete opposite of evil. One is wise by refusing to be associated with evil. Take a minute to think about what evil may be in your life—evil that you actively choose. Is it a simple phrase or dirty joke that you say or think is funny? Is it a temptation that you can’t overcome? Maybe it’s a bad habit that has grown into an evil lifestyle? Identify this evil and ask God to take it away. Ask God to ll you with wisdom so that you may be delivered from evil.

1. Be honest with yourself and God. What evil(s) do you recognize in your life?

2. Be ready to combat this evil. Develop a game plan now to combat this evil the next time it comes up, whether it’s something as simple as walking away from a situation or even asking for someone to hold you accountable for what you say and do.

REMEMBER

Praise God for being the ultimate source of wisdom and for delivering His wisdom to you through this book. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to recognize the evil in your life and to help you ght against it. Ask God to increase your wisdom through His Word.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

—Proverbs 1:7 

Proverbs: Benefits of Wisdom

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6 

READ 

Proverbs 1 (Focus on verses 1–7) 

REFLECT 
The book of Proverbs, written mostly by King Solomon before the time when he turned from God, is a compilation of Solomon’s wisdom. According to 1 Kings 4:32, Solomon wrote more than 3,000 proverbs; however, only 523 were compiled for this book. The word proverb means “to be like,” and therefore a proverb is a poetic form of writing that conveys a comparison. 

In an Introduction to the Old Testament Poetic Books, the author states, “This book represents the commonsense approach to life and faith. It touches the shared concerns of all who are given the gift of life and struggle with how to live it.” The Proverbs are meant to take these common, everyday life lessons and present them in a new, fresh way that shows the value of these life lessons. 

These specific verses serve as an introduction to the book of Proverbs, the first half of which is written by King Solomon. Verses 2 through 4 reveal the purpose of the Proverbs followed in verses 5 and 6 by the effects that the Proverbs will have on those who understand them. Last, the preamble to the Proverbs is given: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Without that fear, one cannot attain knowledge. According to verse 7, those who despise such knowledge and wisdom are fools. 

1. Read 1 Kings 4:29–34 for a better understanding of the true origin of Solomon’s knowledge. What is the true source of wisdom? 
2. How do you understand the “fear of the Lord”? Is this a literal fear? Should it be? 3. Keep reading in Proverbs 1. How is wisdom personifed (verse 20)? 

RESPOND 
Wisdom is something we commonly associate with old age. True wisdom, however, is accessible to all and extremely valuable. Look at verse 4 again: “to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth.” These proverbs were written for you. As you read the Proverbs this week, keep in mind that they are specifically aimed at you and that they are a part of God’s Word—His instruction for our lives. 

1. List a couple of people whom you consider wise. What about them makes them wise? 
2. Why is wisdom valuable? How is wisdom useful in daily life? 

REMEMBER 
Pray that God will reveal His wisdom to you throughout this week and that you will understand His Word as you read it. Pray that this wisdom written down by Solomon thousands of years ago will be fresh as you read it today and this week. 
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” 
—Proverbs 1:7 

Freedom: Power of Prayer

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5

READ
John 17:1–26 “A High Priestly Prayer”

REFLECT
The Bible is filled with great prayers. We are impressed with Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8, Abraham’s prayer in Genesis 18, and Moses’ prayer in Exodus 32, but this prayer is one of the greatest recorded in the Bible. Genuine prayer reveals a person’s innermost being, and John 17 is a unique opportunity to see the nature and heart of Jesus. Jesus lifts His eyes up to heaven and begins to pray what is called the High Priestly Prayer. He begins by praying for Himself in verses 1 through 5. He prays about His purpose on earth and the work soon to be accomplished by His death and Resurrection. Notice that this prayer could not come from Jesus if He were not Yahweh Himself, since He explains being there before creation and being glorified with God.

1. What does it mean in verse 2 that Jesus has been given authority over all flesh to give eternal life?
2. Rewrite verse 3 in your own words.
3. What does it mean to be sanctified in the truth (verse 17)?

RESPOND
In verses 6 through 19, Jesus prays for His disciples. After spending years with them, teaching and encouraging them about their faith and futures, He commits them to the Father in prayer. He speaks of His mission among the disciples and how He didn’t simply teach them about who God was, but He manifested that character. Jesus was very aware of what was about to happen (His death on the Cross and Resurrection). But He took time to ask God to protect and keep these disciples so that God would be glorified in their work and ministry. He also asked that they would be sanctified by God’s truth, meaning to be set apart for service to God. In verses 20 through 26, Jesus prays for all future believers. Jesus spends a lot of time intentionally praying for believers to have unity. The stakes are high because this unity is linked to how the Church represents Jesus to the world. We are all on the same ground at the foot of the Cross.

1. Why does Jesus send them into the world (verse 18)?
2. Why does Jesus pray for unity? Why is it so important?
3. Do you share Jesus’ desires here for your life? Or are your desires taken more from the world?

REMEMBER
“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” —Philippians 2:14–15

Freedom: Confess and Repent

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4

READ
Jonah 3:4–10; 1 John 1:5–10

REFLECT
Jonah was called to the city of Nineveh to warn its people about the coming wrath of God for their blasphemy and transgressions against the Lord of hosts. After Jonah brought this news to Nineveh, verse 5 says that the people believed in God and the king called the whole city to repentance according to the sins they committed against God. Repentance means that you have a deep sorrow for the sins you have committed toward God, and then you turn toward God instead of continuing to sin. This also includes a confession of that continued sin. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” So if we confess our sins against the Lord and repent (or turn away) from that way of living and turn to God, He is faithful to forgive us and draw us near to Him!

1. Read Jonah 3:7–9 again. What specifically did the king of Nineveh call his people to do?
2.Why did God spare the people of Nineveh (verse 10)?

RESPOND
As we see in the city of Nineveh, repentance can save us from walking in darkness and ultimate destruction. God is giving you an opportunity to come back to Him and turn away from the sin that has a grip on you. We either walk in the light of Christ or the darkness of sin. The darkness is a lonely place that the devil uses to make you feel helpless, frustrated and spiritually dead. In Romans 8:11, Paul says that the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is the same Holy Spirit that lives inside of the believer. This means that you have the power of God at your disposal to overcome any sin that is creeping into your life. Today can be the day you confess that sin, repent of that sin and turn away from that sin.

1. Is there something in your life right now that is getting in the way of your relationship with the Lord? Unconfessed sin is a major barrier that can stalemate your growth with the Lord. Find someone you trust and talk to them about it.
2.Rewrite 1 John 1:9–10 in your own words.

REMEMBER
“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” —Philippians 2:14–15

Freedom: Joy Comes through Christ

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3

READ
Psalm 40:1–10

REFLECT
The first verse of Psalm 40 tells us a lot about how God wants us to approach Him. He will hear our heart’s loudest cry and respond to that desire, but often we will have to “wait patiently for the Lord” in the process. There are a lot of people and things, both good and bad, in this world we can turn to
in times of trouble or confusion, but none will be able to respond as the Lord can. The voices of those who would oppose God and His ways the psalmist calls “the proud” or “those who go astray after a lie.” But verse 4 says that we will be blessed if we make the Lord our trust and not those other worldly ways. Our goal at the end of the day is to be able to say, “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart” (verse 8).

1. What is the psalmist referring to when he says in verse 2 that God saved him from the “pit of destruction”?
2.What is verse 10 encouraging us to do with the Good News of our salvation?

RESPOND
Maybe you are going through a tough time right now, even as you read this. Or maybe you know someone close to you who is struggling through a rough time. The hope that is written about in Psalm 40 is the same hope available to us here and now! The God of the Bible is alive and well and ready to deliver you from that stress you are experiencing right now. True joy comes only through a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This salvation is what the psalmist is so joyful about in verses like 3 and 5. God knows what pain you are in right now and wants to walk you through it and into His loving arms. Do you trust Him enough to draw near to Him and wait for Him?

1. Having you been trying to find joy and happiness in something or someone other than Christ? Has it lasted?
2.Whether or not you are going through a tough time, are you sharing with others the joy that has come from your salvation?

REMEMBER
“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” —Philippians 2:14–15

Countdown to Freedom: Experiencing God

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2

READ
John 4:7–29

REFLECT
Jesus encountered a woman and made a simple request: “Give me a drink.” From that statement on, Jesus and this Samaritan woman embarked on an amazing conversation about salvation, the Messiah, Old Testament teachings and the people of God. When the woman woke up that morning, she had
no idea about the life-changing encounter she was going to have that day. Though this woman was a sinner, Jesus revealed Himself to her. He established the basis for true worship: It’s not of places and things, but a relationship grounded in spirit and truth. She walked to that well expecting to draw some water for the day. But as we see in John 4:28, “So the woman left her water jar and went away into town....” She had received something that was more important to her than water. She had to tell someone about Jesus, and as a result, her whole village met the Messiah.

1. What was Jesus referring to when He told the Samaritan woman that He had “living water” (verse 14)?
2.What did the Samaritan woman call Jesus in verse 19? Why did she come to that conclusion? 3. Who did Jesus claim He was in verse 26 when He said, “I who speak to you am He”?

RESPOND
We are all walking through life waiting for joy and happiness to happen to us. The world says we try to find joy and happiness through things such as money, dating relationships and self-satisfaction. Really, all it takes is one encounter with the risen Savior to change our lives forever. No amount of money could ever fulfill you like the grace and securities of God. The Samaritan woman realized she had been missing out on something her whole life, and it was staring her dead in the face in the person of Jesus Christ. Experiencing the King of the universe will change our lives forever, and He wants to meet with you today!

1. When was the last time you experienced God?
2.Have you ever told anyone about the first time you experienced God? The Samaritan woman ran to tell people! Write down that experience.

REMEMBER
“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” —Philippians 2:14–15

Countdown to Freedom: Friends Along for the Ride

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1

READ
Matthew 4:18–22; 9:9–13; 10:1–4

REFLECT
Jesus knew there was a need to bring certain chosen men along with Him during this time. In Matthew 4:18–22, Jesus said to Peter and Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” In Matthew 9:9–13, Matthew reflects on when Jesus called him into discipleship, and Matthew “rose and followed Him.” Matthew 10:1–4 lists Jesus’ closest disciples and friends, showing how they were equipped. Jesus used these men in mighty ways to grow His ministry while He was on earth.

1. What were Peter and Andrew doing when Jesus called them to follow Him
2.What was Matthew’s profession before he started walking with Jesus?
3.After receiving authority from Jesus, what were the 12 apostles able to do?

RESPOND
Jesus wanted to bring faithful men along with Him during this vital time in His life. If we know God is going to be somewhere, why would we not invite people to experience Him with us? This is more than just inviting friends or strangers to Freedom Weekend; this is inviting people to encounter the King of the universe! We never know what the Lord is going to do, so we need to make sure we invite everyone we know to be there so that no one misses out on His presence. Let’s follow Jesus’ example in these passages and bring our friends along for the journey this Freedom Weekend.

1. Write down names of friends that you have not asked to Freedom Weekend yet, and by the end of today, call them or text an invitation to them.
2.Think back to the last time you went to Freedom, camp or a church function, and you experienced God. If people invited you to that event, try to contact them and thank them. Without their obedience to invite you, you might not have experienced God at that time in your life.
3. Write out a prayer below asking God to do something in your life and in your friends’ lives at Freedom Weekend.

REMEMBER
“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” —Philippians 2:14–15

Countdown to Freedom: God Has a Task for You

TUESDAY, JANUARY 31

READ
Jeremiah 1:4–10

REFLECT
Jeremiah was originally a priest called by the Lord to be a prophet to the nation of Judah; he pleaded with the people for close to half a century. His calling and message came at a difficult time because his people were not interested in hearing from God. Jeremiah received the voice of the Lord at a young age, as indicated in Jeremiah’s response in verse 6. The Lord promised to give him the words and courage to bring this message of God’s judgment to the people. God is always sovereign. He sees the future and knows all things even before they happen, so He set Jeremiah apart for ministry long before Jeremiah was even born.

1. According to verse 5, when did the Lord know Jeremiah was going to be His prophet?
2. What were Jeremiah’s excuses for not being qualified to be a prophet?
3. What did the Lord do to show Jeremiah that He would be with him throughout his prophetic ministry (verse 9)?

RESPOND
Jeremiah is often called the “weeping prophet” because of the sorrow he experienced through bringing this tough message of God’s wrath toward the people’s actions and blasphemy toward God. Jeremiah had clearly been called by God to be a prophet to the nation of Judah, but he did not think he was qualified. Jeremiah thought he was too young and did not have the speaking skills to proclaim God’s word. Then the Lord reminded Jeremiah that He knew Jeremiah was going to be His prophet before Jeremiah was even born. The Lord had equipped and prepared Jeremiah for everything he would encounter during his prophetic ministry. The Lord prepared a special task for you before you were even born, just as He did for Jeremiah. This week, God may want to reveal your calling to you. So the question is, Are you ready to hear from the Lord?

1. Do you feel a certain call from the Lord? Describe what you feel the Lord might be calling you to do with your life.
2.Are you, like Jeremiah, questioning your ability to fulfill a task from
God? Write your reasons down and ask God how He is going to help you, despite those things.

REMEMBER
“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” —Philippians 2:14–15

Countdown to Freedom: Prayer Preparation

MONDAY, JANUARY 30

READ
Acts 1:9–14; 2:1–4

REFLECT
Here at the beginning of Acts, we find the resurrected Jesus ascending into heaven after His final farewell. The disciples held on to the teaching and promises of Jesus even though He was not there to lead them directly. In the beginning of Acts 2, we read about the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The coming of the Holy Spirit was a promise made by Jesus (Acts 1:8), and He was sent to teach them in the ways of the Lord and to bring remembrance of what Jesus taught (John 14:26).

1. What were the “two men in white robes” referring to when they said in verse 11, “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven”? (For help, look at Matthew 16:27.)
2. Who was in the Upper Room according to verses 13 and 14?

RESPOND
This was a very bittersweet time for the disciples. They just witnessed the Resurrection of Jesus and His victory over death, but He was also leaving them to return to heaven. The disciples did not know exactly when or how the Holy Spirit was coming, but they prepared for His arrival nonetheless. Before a movement of God, we should always prepare our hearts through prayer. Prayer aligns our hearts and spirits with the Father. With all that we do, we need to be consulting and seeking the Lord through His wisdom and understanding. We should learn from the disciples’ example and dedicate ourselves to prayer always!

1. How is your prayer life doing? When was the last time you dedicated more than 15 minutes to prayer?
2. Whom do you know who needs prayer right now? Compile a list of prayer requests for the week and pray for them every time you go to the Lord in prayer.

Prayer is our personal interaction with the God of the universe. So during this time, pray thanks and gratitude to God for how He has saved you and welcomed you into His family with open arms. Also pray for the people who are going to be a part of Freedom Weekend this week. Ask God to show you one person today whom you should invite to attend Freedom with you. Pray that God would bless the students, staff, speakers and worship band involved.

REMEMBER
“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” —Philippians 2:14–15

James: Patience and Prayer

SATURDAY, JANUARY 28

READ
James 5:12–18

REFLECT
James illustrates how we can stand firm in our faith. Whatever you are facing—joy or heartbreak—should drive you to prayer. The way we resist falling prey to the false promises and temptations of worldliness, the way we can remain steadfast in patience, is only possible through constant and resolute prayer. James again gives practical examples of those who prayerfully sought God. He illustrates what occurs when a righteous person prays. In our private time with the Lord, great things are accomplished through seeking Jesus. Corporate prayer can bring healing and can help us connect with Christ.

1. In what situation is prayer not the proper response?
2. What happened when Elijah prayed?
3. What does prayer accomplish?

RESPOND
Prayer connects our heart with the heart of God. It is the correct response when we are in the midst of trials. Prayer is not self-seeking. We are called to pray in all circumstances. Prayer is to be the central theme of our lives. It brings forgiveness of sin. Prayer aligns our desires with God’s. It heals personally and corporately. A life saturated in prayer is one of the distinctive characteristics of maturity in Christ. Our prayer life makes us effective in our ministry and sharing of the Gospel. Prayer produces patience. “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3–5). Spend time in prayer using the ACTS method as you seek the Lord: Adoration – spend time praising God for who He is; Confession – admit your sins to Him (really spend time allowing Him to cleanse you of anything that distances you from Him); Thanksgiving – thank Him for all that He has done in your life (express your gratitude to Him); Supplication – ask God for the things you desire within your own life. Thank God for the illustrations James gives us in chapter 5 of having patience in suffering and praying in faith.

1. What distinguishing characteristics mark your walk with Christ? How is your prayer life?
2. In times of difficulty and times of joy, do you find yourself drawing near to God or pulling away?
3. What have you learned in the book of James about being patient and faithful in prayer?

REMEMBER
Post James 5:8 on social media today.
“You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” —James 5:8

James: Patience and Prayer

FRIDAY, JANUARY 27

READ
James 5:10–11; Job 42:10–11

REFLECT
James references the life of Job to give hope and illustrate how one can have patience even in the midst of trials. The Lord is compassionate and merciful. James reminds the early church about the truth of who God is to help them be able to remain steadfast. Job 42:10–11 illustrates what happened after Job endured trials that literally stripped him of his wealth, his family, and even his health. Through prayer and patience, Job trusted the Lord, even as he did not understand why he was facing the trial in which he was placed.

1. What example of patience and suffering are we supposed to consider?
2. What is the purpose of trials?
3. How did God bless Job?

RESPOND
Whom do we seek to emulate when we are facing trials? (“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses ... let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus ... who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross.... Consider Him ... so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted” Hebrews 12:1–3.) We will be like the models we follow. We are given examples of those who remained patiently steadfast even in the most difficult of circumstances. Strong’s dictionary defines the Greek word we translate to mean “patience” as “cheerful or hopeful endurance.” We, then, are to choose to have a positive attitude even in the midst of the most difficult of times. This focus helps us to remain steadfast. Steadfast is defined as fixed in direction; steadily directed; firm in purpose, resolution, faith, attachment, etc. God calls us to be doers of the Word. Our aim is to look more like Christ and to remain firm in purpose. The way we do this is to fix our eyes on Christ. Pray that the Lord helps you to endure every circumstance in which you find yourself. Thank Him for His Word and the examples we have of those who stood firm before us. Praise Him for who He is—compassionate and merciful.

1. Whom do you look to as an example when you are facing troubles?
2. What does it mean to be blessed?
3. How can you stand firm this week even in the midst of trials?

REMEMBER
Read James 5:8 in two different translations. Spend time today reflecting on the truth found in that verse. After spending time with the Lord, recite James 5:8 to someone.
“You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” —James 5:8

James: Patience and Prayer

THURSDAY, JANUARY 26

READ
James 5:7–9

REFLECT
The main theme in the book of James is to be a doer of the Word, not just a hearer. It is a book written to Jewish Christians reminding them to withstand the temptations of worldly desires. Instead, they are to be patient even in their sufferings. James is reminding the early church that even when things become difficult, they should not grumble against one another. He begins chapter 5 by warning the rich, and follows up this warning with a call to the righteous to be patient. He reminds them to look up—the Lord is coming again. We know where we are going, and so this should enable us to be patient.

1. How long are Christians to remain patient?
2. What is the example used to illustrate patience?
3. Why should Christians not grumble against one another?

RESPOND
Everyone experiences difficulties. As followers of Christ, our endurance is directly tied to having patience. Patience is defined as “quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; and diligence.” One of the distinguishing characteristics of maturity in your walk with Christ is patience and prayerfulness in the midst of difficult times. Establishing one’s heart means placing your heart’s focus on one thing—Jesus. This does not mean it’s easy and everything is OK. In fact, the picture of establishing one’s heart draws to mind exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed and in the midst of all that, saying, I am diligently going to keep my focus on Jesus. When we prayerfully and actively seek patience, we find that we don’t grumble against one another. Instead, we persevere and have a right perspective that reflects Christ. Jesus will come again. Look at 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18. These words should give us great hope. This truth helps us to have patience and to persevere regardless of the current struggle in which we may find ourselves. Ask the Lord to give you true patience regardless of the circumstances you face. Pray that you can truly establish your heart to focus completely on Him. Thank Him that He will return again.

1. Are you facing difficulties right now?
2. How would others describe how you handle trials—grumbling constantly or being a patient prayer warrior?
3. How can you take steps to change your mindset and heart when it comes to difficulty and trials? 4. Are you focused on the coming of the Lord? Pray that the Lord helps you rejoice in this truth.

REMEMBER
Look again at James 5:8. Repeat this week’s verse until you can say it from memory.
“You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” —James 5:8

James: Patience and Prayer

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25

READ
James 5:1–6

REFLECT
Chapter 5 begins by addressing those who have placed their trust and worth in their worldly possessions. Their focus has been their self-indulgence. James has turned his attention from the businesspeople of yesterday’s passage to the landowners of the day. These men controlled much of Galilee. They didn’t care what they had to do to accumulate their wealth. Their actions even led to the deaths of innocent righteous people.

1. What is James calling the rich in this passage to do?
2. What is their treasure?
3. How did they accumulate their fortunes?

RESPOND
James is not saying it’s a sin to have money; however, he is pointing out that if our chief aim is our luxury and the amassing of a fortune, then our treasure is being found in the wrong place. Matthew 6:19–21 reminds us, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Our chief aim should never be self-indulgence and personal comfort—especially at the cost of others and our relationship with God. When that is our goal, we end up being an oppressor instead of one of the righteous. Where is your heart right now? What is your greatest treasure? What has God been teaching you today as you fasted and prayed to Him? Ask the Lord to help you desire
Him above all else. Thank Him for His warning found in the first verses of chapter 5. Pray that you lay up treasure in heaven. Pray that He helps you to desire His will for your life and that you seek to do the right thing in all circumstances.

1. What do you find yourself living for?
2.What treasure have you been amassing for yourself? Have you cut corners or hurt others to get what you want?
3. How can you instead lay up treasure in heaven?

REMEMBER
Write out this week’s memory verse two times to help you commit it to memory. Text someone today how you are seeking to establish your heart for His glory—how you are seeking to find your treasure in heaven, not on earth.
“You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” —James 5:8

James: Patience and Prayer

TUESDAY, JANUARY 24

READ
James 4:13–17

REFLECT
Yesterday we saw that we are to defer to God’s direction and judgment. Today’s verses remind us that it is His will that should guide our decisions, desires and actions. James is referring to businesspeople in Galilee who have arrogantly decided they will determine what is best for themselves and boast in their own accomplishments. They are placing their value in their work instead of God’s will. James also emphasizes that it is not only what they do that is important to the Lord, but He also acknowledges their lack of doing what they know to be good, and He calls it sin.

1. What do we know about tomorrow?
2. How are we supposed to approach decisions?
3. How does verse 17 fit with verses 13 through 16?

RESPOND
Much of chapter 4 is warning against worldliness. The dictionary defines worldliness as being “devoted to, directed toward, or connected with the affairs, interests, or pleasures of this world.” We are reminded again in these verses that our devotion should be to God’s will and not our own profit. If we are fixated on things of this world, we will be distracted from the things of God. Read Colossians 3:1–2. When we “set our minds on the things that are above” we are able to pursue Him patiently and live a life devoted to His will. We then will be able to withstand the things we shouldn’t do and do the things He calls us to. The Bible calls for us to fast in times of spiritual need. For the next five days, fast from something (chocolate, Netflix, Twitter, a meal, etc.) and use that time to seek the Lord truly and ask Him to help you desire Him above anything the world has to offer. Pray that He shows you your need for Him above all else. Ask the Lord to give you patience as you seek His timing in your life.

1. Are you truly seeking God’s will above your own in all your decisions?
2. What do you find yourself desiring—God’s will (the things above) or the things of this world?
3. Are there any areas in your life where you are boasting in yourself instead of submitting to God’s will for your life?

REMEMBER
Write out James 5:8, which says, “You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” Spend time really trying to commit this verse to memory.

James: Patience and Prayer

MONDAY, JANUARY 23

READ
James 4:11–12

REFLECT
These verses in James 4 are a warning to us about speaking evil against one another. James is reminding us that it is not our job to determine what is right and wrong—God is both lawgiver and judge. God has shown us what is right and wrong and has given us His Word to direct us. We are not equipped to be the judge of others’ hearts. We are called to obey Him and submit to His judgment and law.

1. What does the Bible say happens to those who speak against a brother?
2. What does it mean that the Lord is the only lawgiver and judge?
3. Why aren’t we qualified to judge our neighbor?

RESPOND
Dissension (strong disagreement) manifests in the way we speak to and about one another. The result far too often is the sin of slander (a malicious, false and offensive statement or report about someone). Verses 11 through 12 show us what happens when we allow this sin free reign in our lives and our speech: we stop judging ourselves, we judge the law, and then we judge others. When we speak evil of others, it often comes from a place of jealousy, prayerlessness, bitterness, anger or insecurity. There is nothing wrong in seeking to help others to examine the sin in their own lives. However, we must first examine ourselves (Matthew 7:1–2). This is the difference between appointing yourself as judge and humbly seeking to help a brother or sister in Christ draw closer to Jesus. This is a call to evaluate one’s heart and determine not to sin in a “righteous” attempt to point out sin in the lives of others. When we focus on the truth of Jesus, we are able to take heart and stand firm. This right perspective keeps us from speaking evil against those around us. Ask God to give you boldness not to excuse away sin. Pray that God helps you to establish your heart and to be a doer who is obedient to Him.

1. In light of James 4:11–12 and Matthew 7:1–2, what is our responsibility to the law and judging our neighbor?
2. Have you found yourself in situations where you allowed “judging” to tear down someone else or to be a justification for sin?
3. How can you practically live out this truth daily without compromising?

REMEMBER
“You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” —James 5:8

James: Display Wisdom and Humility

SATURDAY, JANUARY 21

READ
James 4:4–6

REFLECT
Romans 12:2 starts by saying, “Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world....” This is a warning! By conforming to the patterns of the world, living in sin and choosing worldly pleasures over the joy of Christ, that person has become an enemy of God. God, who seeks to bring His people closer to holiness, hates sin. That is why James says here if anyone is a friend of the world, he or she is an enemy of God. Since God is holy, blameless and pure, He cannot be in the presence of sin. When one becomes a friend of the world, and thereby embraces sin, one is essentially denying the mission of God—to bring people to freedom from sin.

1. How can God be jealous for us?
2. Why can you not be a friend of God and a friend of the world simultaneously?
3. What does being “in the world, not of the world” mean?

RESPOND
Being a friend of God is being someone who is passionate about pursuing holiness and righteousness. As discussed previously, by being a friend of the world—pursuing earthly wisdom—it is impossible to reach fulfillment. On the other hand, being a friend of God and being in His presence—pursuing divine wisdom—makes it possible for your heart to align with His desires and for you to gain wisdom. All you need to do is ask! One of the most difficult aspects of being a friend of God is fighting the constant bombardment of temptation the world has to offer. The world will give you every opportunity to mess up; so do not boast in your personal holiness or your strength in fighting temptation. That is when you will fall! Instead, delight yourself in humility, meekness and a willingness to learn. In that frame of mind, God will use you and grow you to fulfill His kingdom.

1. What does being a friend of God look like in your day-to-day life?
2.In your personal walk with Jesus, are you submitting to His will in your life? If not, what is holding
you back?
3. What temptations in your life are preventing you from being a friend of God? How can you protect yourself from them?

REMEMBER
Write out the verse five times on a piece of paper. See if you can remember the verse at each mealtime. “And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” —James 3:18

James: Display Wisdom and Humility

FRIDAY, JANUARY 20

READ
James 4:1–3

REFLECT
Ask and you shall receive. That seems to be a cliché embedded in church language—but is that a correct sentiment? The Scripture here says no! One of the most important aspects of prayer is being in the right mindset. Prayer is not some magical wish list where God grants every request. Rather, prayer is a time where His people can commune with the Creator of the universe. If your heart is not right, and you are praying out of selfish ambition, then don’t be surprised if God doesn’t answer your prayer. Yet, if you submit yourself to the Lord, surrender your life to Him, then you may start to see your prayers answered. Why? Because the desires of your heart are aligning with the desires of God! Psalm 37:4 even says that if you “delight in the Lord ... He will give you the desires of your heart.” In doing so, the requests you present to God will match up with His desires.

1. Is God required to fulfill all of your prayer requests (verse 3)?
2. What is the overall warning of this passage?
3. When you think of the word submit, how does it relate to this passage?

RESPOND
People struggle with the art of submitting. It can be referred to as an art mainly because it is impossible to master. Just as with any art, it takes practice, repetition, and consistency. In this passage, James is referring to the people who lack in this area. They are not submitting to the will of God. They refuse to make Him Lord of everything in their lives, and it shows. They are not receiving what they asked for, and they are quarreling among each other. All this boils down to an issue of submission. A big part of humility is submission. To submit to authority is to show you can humble yourself enough to learn. God is the ultimate authority, and submitting to Him will make your prayer life much more fulfilling and fruitful.

1. How can you submit to God in your everyday life?
2. Is God the ultimate authority when it comes to the desires of your heart? 3. In what ways can you align your heart with God’s?

REMEMBER
You should be getting close to memorizing this week’s verse. Can you say it with your eyes closed? “And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” —James 3:18

James: Display Wisdom and Humility

THURSDAY, JANUARY 19

READ
James 3:17–18

REFLECT
To sum up the chapter, James is very deliberate in how he describes divine wisdom. Throughout the book of James, he has advocated for high morality among all those who follow Jesus. He does not stop there. By describing wisdom first as being pure, he emphasizes that wisdom from the Lord is holy, lacking in anything evil. By emphasizing its purity, he shows that this wisdom will motivate those who receive it to do what is morally right. In the latter part of describing wisdom, he alludes back to the connectedness of humility and wisdom.
Earlier, James discussed how seeking earthly wisdom led to disorder and evil practice. He wraps it up at the end of the chapter by discussing peacemakers. To achieve righteousness, there must be the right environment. If we desire righteousness, but seek earthly wisdom, then our efforts are futile. But now it is evident why James was so against disorder in verse 16. It’s only in peacemaking where believers can reap the harvest of righteousness.

1. What is the significance of the last verse in the chapter (verse 18)?
2. How are humility and wisdom necessary in peacemaking?
3. Why does peacemaking “reap a harvest of righteousness”?

RESPOND
How many times have you wished you knew precisely the correct course of action to take? How many times have you wondered, “God, what exactly do you want me to do here?” It’s a common question to have! As believers, it is the desire of our hearts to glorify God, and we don’t want to make the wrong decision. If you ever find yourself in this position, seek wisdom from the Lord. He gives it generously, and with it you will be able to make the wisest decision. If your heart is pure and your motivations are glorifying to God and you desire ultimately to make His name greater, then He will use you in whatever decision you make.

1. Before making a big decision in your life, how can you prepare yourself to make a wise one?
2. In what aspects of your life could you be wiser in your decision-making?
3. Is there someone in your life who hasn’t been making wise choices? What can you do to support and reach out to that person?

REMEMBER
Make a list of three areas in which you feel you can grow in wisdom. Ask God to help you grow in those areas!
“And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” —James 3:18

James: Display Wisdom and Humility

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18

READ
James 3:13–16

REFLECT
There are two kinds of wisdom: divine wisdom and earthly wisdom. The first, divine wisdom, is something that comes from the Lord, and comes generously to those who ask for it. God is faithful to His beloved and will supply all the wisdom they need—when asked (James 1:5). When living with divine wisdom, the fruits are evident. When those who follow God receive His wisdom, then their actions and behavior will exhibit humility. The other kind of wisdom, earthly wisdom, is something that is based on what is valued in today’s society. To the world, being extremely wealthy, owning tons of property and becoming famous are all things valued in the United States. If your decisions in life are based solely on reaching these things, the Bible is clear: This “envy and selfish ambition” produces only dissatisfaction and emptiness.

1. How can people determine who is wise (verse 13)?
2. If you have envy and selfish ambition, what will you find (verse 16)?
3. How does James differentiate the two kinds of wisdom?

RESPOND
To grow in wisdom is truly a gift from God. Becoming wise, making wise decisions, and ultimately living a life full of wisdom is something that can only be obtained through dependence on Christ. As seen in verse 13, a wise person will be able to show she is wise through her deeds. In other words, as we ask God to give us wisdom, our actions will reflect that blessing. No matter how old you are, you can always grow in wisdom. One of the key parts of this passage is the connection between wisdom and humility. They are not exclusive to one another. Rather, they go hand in hand. Proverbs 11:2 even says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” When living a life of humility, people then become teachable. When people become teachable, then God can mold them and give them the wisdom they asked for! Remember, Matthew 5:5 says, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

1. What is the wisest thing you can do this week in your personal life?
2. Who is the wisest person you know, and how can you learn from that person this week?

REMEMBER
The point of memorization is for Scripture to take root in your heart. How is this week’s memory verse affecting your heart?
“And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” —James 3:18

James: Display Wisdom and Humility

TUESDAY, JANUARY 17

READ
James 3:5–12

REFLECT
To be humble is to realize our faults and understand our need for forgiveness in those faults. Here James talks about how “no human being can tame the tongue.” Nothing can be done to provide perfection in this area, no way to completely control it. Yet, James still calls the followers of Christ
to action here. This book, written to believers, implores us to show how Jesus has changed our lives. Furthermore, it discusses how we should be changed and be noticeably different from the world around us. By realizing our dependence on Jesus, then and only then, can we truly become humbled in our speech. At that point, our speech should change and be something that is glorifying to God.

1. Why does James emphasize speech in the first 12 verses of this chapter?
2. What is the point of the questions asked in verses 11 and 12?
3. The tongue is something “no human being can tame,” yet James still says we should control it in verse 10. How is this possible?

RESPOND
How many times have you caught yourself talking about one of your classmates? Maybe that person is different than everyone else, or he or she dresses uniquely—and you talk about it with your friends. It’s easy in our day-to-day lives to find ourselves gossiping when we know we shouldn’t. Although it may seem harmless, it can “corrupt the whole body” (verse 6), creating an atmosphere of exclusion among your friends. When looking at the life of Jesus, we see it was a life of loving all types of people. It didn’t matter whether they were short and hated by others such as Zacchaeus was, or whether they were cast aside and shunned as the Woman at the Well was. Jesus ignored the labels that others gave them and He loved them. Many times when people worship on Sunday, they feel so close to God; but when they get to school on Monday and speak badly about others, their actions couldn’t be further from God. James says a mouth that praises and curses “should not be so.” So how can you love and encourage as Jesus did?

1. Have you ever said something behind someone’s back that you regretted saying?
2. What can you do to avoid gossip at your school this week?
3. Is there someone at your school who needs encouragement today?

REMEMBER
Hopefully you have begun memorizing this week’s memory verse, which is James 3:18, “And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

James: Display Wisdom and Humility

MONDAY, JANUARY 16

READ
James 3:1–5

REFLECT
Continuing in the James series, this week will focus primarily on the key character traits of wisdom and humility. These character traits are foundational to the Christian faith, and James provides a blueprint to become better stewards in those areas. Interestingly enough, the chapter starts with an emphasis on speech. By comparing speech to the bit in a horse’s mouth, and even the rudder of a ship, James demonstrates that a word out of one’s mouth is direction-altering. It can encourage; it can hurt, and it can even express love. Words are dynamic, and James cautions against the danger surrounding words. They are so impactful that, to start the chapter, he warns those desiring to be teachers that they will be judged more strictly. The theme of the beginning of this chapter shows that what we say matters and that words are more powerful than we often realize.

1. How are words related to wisdom and humility?
2. Why would someone who teaches people the Bible be judged more strictly?
3. What are some biblical examples of people using their words to change the direction of people’s lives?

RESPOND
A quick look throughout history shows that the influence of one speech can be enormous. A speech can start an uprising, inspire a generation, call people to action and give hope to many. In 1775, when the United States of America was merely a group of colonies, a man who believed in the hope of America gave a speech that became a rallying cry for this country. Patrick Henry uttered the famous phrase “Give me liberty, or give me death.” To many, this phrase embodied what they felt in their hearts, and thus became a rallying cry for the Americans during the Revolutionary War. As you examine your own heart, can you start to see the impact of what you say and how it affects those around you? Words can build up or tear down. By choosing your words carefully, and being cautious before you speak, you can start to develop wisdom in a God-honoring way.

1. Do you find yourself struggling to control your speech?
2. How do the people you surround yourself with affect what you say? 3. What can you do to encourage someone this week?

REMEMBER
This week’s memory verse is James 3:18: “And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” As you begin to memorize this verse, set a reminder on your phone, or set an alarm to wake up each morning and practice memorizing this verse. Repetition is the key to memorization!

James: Don't Just Hear, Do

SATURDAY, JANUARY 14

READ
James 2:14–17, Mark 12:29–31

REFLECT
James shows us here that even if we have the best intentions, but we do not act in accordance with the Bible, we are considered dead in our faith. This is the main goal of James: that you would act out your faith, and in doing so, follow Christ. You cannot be what you claim to be unless you act like it. You do not see an Olympic athlete claim to participate in the games, but not practice or prepare for them. It is only after all of the work and practice that we see them participate in the games. It is only after seeing them do this that we call them Olympians. It is only after bearing the Fruit of the Spirit and making disciples that we can be called followers of Christ in obedience to what He has commanded us.

1. What does it mean to be like Christ in acting out our faith?
2. How can you meet the spiritual and physical needs of people surrounding you?
3. Who are three people that you know who could use both prayer and physical help?
4. How does this manner of acting out our faith accomplish the second greatest commandment?

RESPOND
If you are not physically meeting the needs of people, then you are not acting like Christ. Look in
the gospels where Christ did miracles, taught, and had dinners. Wherever you find Christ, you find someone’s needs being met. Even with His own disciples, Jesus assumed the role of servant and washed their feet. How much better of a world would we have if we took care of each other’s physical and spiritual needs? This goes back to the statement that sin is breaking down community, but Christ is building up community. If you are meeting the needs of a person physically, then you are serving that person just as Christ sought to serve others. How much better would your ministry be if you stopped simply trying to convert people, but rather showed them true Christianity by helping and serving others?

1. How can you be involved in your church’s outreach programs?
2. Why is it so important to meet the physical needs of people as we also provide them with the
Gospel?
3. What has God given you so that you can give to others?

REMEMBER
Memorize the greatest commandments in Mark 12:29–31. Don’t forget to do this at your table groups tomorrow: Discuss how you showed love both to God and others this week.

James: Don't Just Hear, Do

FRIDAY, JANUARY 13

READ
James 2:8–13, Mark 12:29–31

REFLECT
The second portion of the law is the part about showing love to others. James seeks to remind us that even if we keep everything in the law except for one small portion, we are still considered sinners. Our sin is not against the law, but against the One who spoke the law into existence. This is why James says that if we sin against one part of the law, we are as responsible as if we sinned against the whole law. This follows the sin of partiality and connects partiality with people to the partiality with sin. In the Bible, sin is sin, no matter what flavor it comes in. We are called away from sin totally. Christ does not say that we must be sinless before we come to the Cross, but He does make a point that everyone who comes to the Cross is told to sin no more. We are not told to sin no more unless it can be hidden. It is to sin no more. This sin that Jesus tells us to avoid is not listed anywhere so that we can check off a list. This sin that Jesus tells us to not do anymore is all of sin.

1. How do you show partiality to the law?
2.Which laws do you tend not to pay attention to as much?
3.What are some ways that you can practice treating all sin and all people the same?

RESPOND
The reason we see James follow up the sin of partiality toward people with the sin of partiality toward the law is because when we seek to pick and choose which part of the law that we want to follow, we are essentially telling God we know better than He. This is the basis of the sin of partiality. God has set the standard and chosen His people, and we are coming in and basically telling God to step aside since we know better. When we place ourselves in the seat of God, we are sinning. This is the reason behind the original sin of Adam and Eve eating of the fruit in the Garden of Eden. They believed the law was not really as important as it was supposed to be. This is the same with us when we choose to follow some laws, but not others.

1. Why are laws in place?
2.What happens when we choose laws for ourselves?
3. How do we as Christians differ from other people when we follow all of the law?

REMEMBER
Memorize the greatest commandments in Mark 12:29–31. At your Table Groups on Sunday, discuss how you showed love both to God and others this week.

James: Don't Just Hear, Do

THURSDAY, JANUARY 12

READ
James 2:1–7, Mark 12:29–31

REFLECT
James brings to light the sin of partiality. James says that we are not to give special privilege to anyone. He then reminds us that the ones we most often show favor to are the same ones who will work against us whenever it is pleases them, while they simultaneously slander the name of the God we serve. We must not be tempted to show favor to someone simply because of his or her wealth or social status, for this will allow evil thoughts into our minds. James points to our ultimate judge, Jesus Christ, and gives us the freedom not to judge but rather welcome all into the kingdom of God should they choose to take the free gift of God that is offered to every single human on the earth. Our message of hope is the same to everyone regardless of circumstances or wealth. The Gospel shows no partiality and neither should we.

1. What does James tell us about showing favor to other people?
2. How do you show favor in your day-to-day interactions with people?
3. How does the way that we judge people differ from the way that God judges people?
4. What steps can you take not to judge people, and to show love without restraint?

RESPOND
We are not God, and God is the ultimate judge, shouldn’t we let Him decide who is honored and who is not? There is so much going on in a person’s life that we do not see. There is even more going on in his or her heart, so why should we feel the need to judge, based on the small portion we see, who should receive the positions of honor in our lives? If we are focused on loving others, then we will follow that command. If we are not focused on loving God and loving others, then we will only love some of the people that God has called us to love.

1. How much do you see of people’s entire lives?
2. How much do people see of your entire life?
3. How much does God see of each person’s life, and does it make sense that God should be the one to pass judgment?

REMEMBER
Memorize the greatest commandments in Mark 12:29–31. Write this verse down and leave it somewhere you will see it multiple times today.