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There Is a Lion In the Way (Friday, March 14, 2014)

Proverbs 26:13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.
14 As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.
15 The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.
16 The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

Introductory Thoughts

The previous few devotions have shown that diligence and laziness are opposing traits. In this passage, the Bible explores further into the unsavory traits of a slothful man. Proverbs 26:13 refers to the slothful man mentioning a lion in the streets. Interestingly, a lazy man is not truly concerned about the lion, but looking for any type of an excuse to stay in bed rather than to perform his duties for the day. He claims that the lion will slay him should he leave the house (Proverbs 22:13). Since the slothful does not consider work an option, he retreats to his bed. There he is found like a door swinging on the hinges (Proverbs 26:14). As a door simply swings back and forth, so the slothful man’s main activity involves rolling from one side to the other with excuse piled upon excuse for his laziness.

Devotional Thoughts

 

·    (For children): God wants us to be good dependable workers. Shoving your toys, shoes, clothes, books, etc., under the bed is not straightening your room. It is being lazy (slothful). Where do these things belong in your room?
·   (For everyone): Are you constantly looking for an excuse not to do the things that you ought to do? Do you look for reasons not to go to work, school, or church? Do you look for excuses not to serve the Lord, especially when it involves work? Do you, like the slothful man, always assume the worst in a situation?
·    What is your overall work ethic? Are you sloppy and always looking for shortcuts? If so, you need to consider whether others would consider you slothful or diligent and change your ways to please the Lord.

Prayer Thoughts

·    Ask God to show you the difference between genuine grounds for not working and when you are making excuses to avoid it. The Lord in the day of judgment will accept no excuses.
·    Ask the Lord to give you a sincere desire to work hard for Him.
 
SONG: Am I a Soldier of the Cross?

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Consider the Ant (Thursday, March 13, 2014)

Proverbs 6:6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

Introductory Thoughts

God created the animals and points to them as examples for men to humbly consider. By considering these lessons, Christians can grow in their service as well as their knowledge of God’s expectations. Bible students can discover several references to animals and the specific lessons taught by them. Our passage is one such example. Proverbs admonishes the sluggard (a lazy person) to go to the ant and consider her ways (Proverbs 6:6). The ant needs no supervision, for she knows what to do and does it without instruction, supervision, or a king (Proverbs 6:7). The ant works with the future in sight so not to be lacking in times of need (Proverbs 6:8). All of this is accomplished by the ant in spite of a pure physical handicap—“the ants are a people not strong” (Proverbs 30:25).

Devotional Thoughts

   

·    (For children): Read Colossians 3:23 and witness what it means concerning doing things to always please the Lord. Practice putting your toys away without mom or dad making you do it or watching over you.
·    (For everyone): Do you require supervision? Do you find that you put forth inconsistent effort on the job, at school, or at home unless someone is watching over you? Do you change your behaviour when around saved people versus times when you think no Christians are around? Do you dramatically change your behaviour in front of the preacher to put on a good show? If so, you need diligence.
·    Is your life in a general upheaval because you always wait until the last minute to get a job done? Are you always stressed at deadlines because you have procrastinated far too long? If so, you are not working ahead and need to be more diligent.

Prayer Thoughts

   

·    Ask God to give you a work ethic more like that of the ant. Ask Him to help you do the right things with or without supervision.
·    Pray that God will help you work with the future in mind. Ask Him to remind you of the rewards that can be gained or lost based on the effort we put forth in this life.
 
SONG: Have I Done My Best for Jesus?

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The Sin of Procrastination (Tuesday, March 11, 2014)

John 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

Introductory Thoughts

The context of our passage shows the disciples gathering some food while the Lord dealt with a Samaritan woman alone. When the disciples returned, the woman left to tell others she had found the Christ. The disciples were confused when they saw the Lord talking with a Samaritan woman. They immediately seemed to focus on His physical needs and begged Him to eat. To their shock, the Lord suggested that He had meat to eat that they knew not of. What was this meat to which He referred? His meat was to do the will of His Father (i.e., mend broken lives). The Lord instantly turned the disciples’ attention toward the harvest, only the harvest involved the souls of men rather than earthly sustenance. Christ pointed out that the time to labour was not some future date, but here and now. The fields were already white to harvest. There was no time for excuse or delay. Now was the time for diligence!

Devotional Thoughts

  

·    (For children): Do you put off learning your Bible memorization until the day before you are supposed to say it? What usually happens when you do this? Wouldn’t it be better to practice a little every day and be diligent in your efforts?
·   (For everyone): Do you constantly find yourself making excuses for why something cannot be done today? Do you find that you put things off so long that things pile up and you run out of time? The Lord is calling you to diligence!
·    Like a wheat or corn harvest, the work of God has a time and a season associated with it. We only have so much time on this earth before our time is finished. What are you doing to serve the Lord today?

Prayer Thoughts

  

·    Ask God to help you appropriately prioritize the things in your life.
·    Ask God to give you a sense of urgency concerning your service to Him.
 
SONG: Little Is Much When God Is in It

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The Benefits of Diligence (Monday, March 10, 2014)

Proverbs 12:24 The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.
Proverbs 12:27 The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.

Introductory Thoughts

Doing the right thing is always the right thing to do and yields great benefits. For instance, consider what the Bible has to say about diligence. God’s word promises that diligence brings an increase of substance (Proverbs 10:4; Proverbs 13:4; Proverbs 21:5) and promotion (Proverbs 12:24; Proverbs 22:29). In other words, as the saying goes, hard work pays off. It is not difficult to prove that these benefits manifest themselves in the lives of God’s people who are diligent. Joseph and Daniel are two great examples of those who were diligent and their diligence brought them obvious promotion. Abraham and Job are great examples of diligent men who experienced a great increase of substance. A word of caution might be appropriate here. Men are not to be diligent merely for the sake of reaping its inherent benefits, but should be diligent for the sake of the One who called them to be diligent.

Devotional Thoughts

·    (For children):  Do you like to hear mom, dad, the preacher, or your Sunday school teacher say, “Good job”? It makes you feel good about what you’ve done. Simply do your best in everything you do. Others will notice and the Lord will too (Proverbs 15:3).
·    (For everyone): Do you find favour with people for whom you work? Do you find that you are consistently praised for your efforts in the home or at work? If not, you may be suffering from a lack of diligence in your tasks.
·    Do you always try to give your best on the job? Do you always strive to give your best at home? What about school? The Bible tells us, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Prayer Thoughts

·    Ask God to reveal how diligent you are in every area of your life.
·    Ask God to bring to light the dreadful results of a life lacking diligence.
 
SONG: It Pays to Serve Jesus

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Church Day (Sunday, March 9, 2014)

Week Overview

Sunday, Day 71—Church Day (no devotional)
Monday, Day 72—The Benefits of Diligence
Tuesday, Day 73—The Sin of Procrastination
Wednesday, Day 74—Church Night (no devotional)
Thursday, Day 75—Consider the Ant
Friday, Day 76—There Is a Lion in the Way
Saturday, Day 77—I Have Finished My Course   

Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

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Diligently Seek Him (Saturday, March 8, 2014)

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Introductory Thoughts

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews has been appropriately labeled as the “Hall of Faith.” It speaks of the great feats of faith of some Old Testament Bible characters like Noah, Abraham, Joseph and Moses. In the midst of this faith chronicle, the Lord reveals a great truth concerning faith itself. Without faith, no one can please God. In addition to this, the Lord indicates that an important aspect of faith is to “diligently seek him.” God promises to reward all those who continually and carefully seek for Him. He is not pleased when Christians fail to pray or read His word regularly. Instead, He wants men to seek Him with diligence!

Devotional Thoughts

· (For children): One verse of the song Fishers of Men says, “Read your Bible, pray every day, and you’ll grow, grow, grow.” By reading God’s word and praying on a regular basis, you will grow closer to God and learn that He is your best Friend caring for you like no one else.
· (For everyone): Do you believe that God rewards those who diligently seek Him? How diligent is your prayer life? Do you give up praying when you do not receive the answers you desire? How is your Bible reading? Do you tire after a few days of reading? Is this diligently seeking Him?
· What hinders us from diligently seeking the Lord? What benefits do we lose from not seeking Him in the manner He desires?

Prayer Thoughts

· Ask God to help you be more diligent in your relationship with Him.
· Ask God to strengthen your faith. Pray that He will give you the desire to seek Him with great diligence.
 
SONG: Sweet Hour of Prayer

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Diligently Heed His Word (Friday, March 7, 2014)

Deuteronomy 11:13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.
15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.
16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;
17 And then the LORD’S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.
18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:
21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.
22 For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;
23 Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.

Introductory Thoughts

The Lord desired a special relationship with the nation of Israel choosing to bless them both spiritually and physically above all other nations. One such blessing involved bringing them safely into the land of Canaan. However, many of these blessings were dependent upon Israel maintaining the right type of relationship with the Lord. He, therefore, issued several commandments for the Israelites to carefully keep (i.e., Deuteronomy chapter 11). The Lord desired for Israel to “hearken diligently” (Deuteronomy 11:13) and “diligently keep” (Deuteronomy 11:22) these commandments. He wanted His people to carefully listen when He spoke, giving God their full attention (listening to every word). He also wanted them to attentively obey what they heard. He always desired for His people to listen to and obey Him. God speaks today through the Bible. He still wants men to diligently hear and obey.

Devotional Thoughts

  

· (For children): James 1:22 says, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only.” When God tells us to do something, what should we do? When we hear what mom or dad tell us to do, what should we do? 
· (For everyone): Have you ever been speaking to someone and noticed that they are not listening to you? How does that make you feel? Do you desire to continue speaking to them or just stop? How important is it to God that we listen to Him? Are you diligently hearkening unto His words?
· Are you putting forth the right effort to hear the words of God? Are you putting forth the right amount of effort to obey what you hear?

Prayer Thoughts

   

· Ask God to strengthen your desire to hear and to obey His words.
· Ask God to give you a love for His word as found in Psalm 119.
 
SONG: Holy Bible, Book Divine

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Take Heed Unto Thyself (Thursday, March 6, 2014)

1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Introductory Thoughts

A godly mother and grandmother helped raise Timothy by teaching him the truths of God’s word (2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:15). Paul wrote to Timothy specifically warning him in 1 Timothy chapter 4 concerning the dangers of the last days (i.e., the doctrines of devils, fables, and unedifying quarrels). In the midst of these warnings, Paul reminded Timothy to take heed unto himself. Timothy needed to guard against troubles from without while diligently taking care of his own walk with Christ. The Old Testament further reinforces these truths. The children of Israel were told to keep their souls diligently (Deuteronomy 4:9) and Solomon instructed his son to keep his heart “with all diligence” (Proverbs 4:23). Every Christian should carefully and zealously guard his walk with the Lord.

Devotional Thoughts

· (For children): Psalm 119:11 reveals how to keep from doing wrong. Do you desire to learn and memorize scripture so that you can live right and escape sin?
· (For everyone): Are you keeping your heart right? Are you daily seeking to fill your mind and heart with the words of God? Do you consistently pray for strength to resist Satan and his attacks?
· Do you find that you worry about the spirituality of others? Do you find that you often compare yourself with others? Are these thoughts beneficial or detrimental to your walk with Christ?

Prayer Thoughts

 

· Ask God to show you the condition of your heart. Ask Him to reveal the level of diligence with which you are keeping your heart.
· Pray that the Lord will give you the wisdom to know when worldly attacks are waged against your heart.
 
SONG: More Love to Thee

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