I was talking to one of my cousins that I grew up with the other day. He's a few years older than I am, and he has always been a big brother influence in my life. He currently lives in Dallas, TX and he serves as a youth minister for his church. I asked him at what point did he hear the call of God to become a minister.
"Man..it first started with a thirst. I picked up my Bible and I immersed myself in the Word. I studied and I prayed..and the Lord kept working with me. I taught my youth class at church and I studied under my pastor. Then one day I took a Bible challenge that was in the Daily Word. The challenge was to read one chapter from Proverbs everyday for a month (31 chapters in Proverbs). Proverbs is often referred to as the Proverbial Mirror. It will make a man examine himself and the life that he's living. After that 31st chapter, my eyes were opened to a reality of things that I had done wrong..as a father, as a husband and I just had to open my mouth, just because God has been so good to me."
Being the competitive person that I am, and armed with the faith that I can approach the throne BOLDLY (see the Sunday School Lessons!), this sounded like something that I needed to do. God has a calling for ALL of us. Some preach, some write, some teach, some sing, some usher..all who truly believe serve. It's the call to the cross ya'll. So for all who can feel this bidding, this call, this desire for more, this thirst for better understanding, wisdom and knowledge of God, then I hope you join along with me in July and take the Proverbial Challenge yourself.
Each day, read one chapter of Proverbs. Each day, I will keep note of the key verses that strengthen ME and my understanding.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
1:20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttererth her voice in the streets: 21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words saying, 22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning and fools hate knowledge?
27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me; 29 For that they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord; 30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
2:10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; 11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee. 12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh perverse things; 13 Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness.
16 To deliver thee from the immoral woman, even from the seductress which flattereth with her words. 17 Which forsaketh the guide of her youth and forgetteth the convenant of her God. 18 For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. 19 None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.
21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and hte perfect shall remain in it. 22 But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgessors shall be rooted out of it.
3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
4:1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father. and give attention to know understanding;
14 Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on. For they do not sleep unless they have done evil.
18 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day 19 The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble.
26 Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. 27 Do not turn to the right or to the left, remove your feet from evil.
3 For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; 4 But in the end, she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of hell. 6 Lest you ponder her path of life, her ways are unstable, you don not know them.
8 Remove your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house. 9 Lest you give your honor to others and your years to the cruel one.
21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, And he ponders all his paths. 22 His own iniquities entrap the wicked man. And he is caught in the cords of his sin. 23 He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.
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.
7:4 Say to wisdom, "You are my sister." and call understanding your nearest kin, 5 That they may keep you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words.
24 Now therefore listen to me my children, pay attention to the words of my mouth; 25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, don not stray uinto her paths; 26 For she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men. 27 Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death.
8:5 Oh ye simple, understand prudence: and ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. 6 Hear, for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. 7 For my mouth shall speak truth and wickedeness is an abomination to my lips.
13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the perverse mouth, do I hate. 14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength.
34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the Lord. 36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul; all they that hate me love death.
6 Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding. 7 He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. 8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you, Rebuke a wise man and he will love you. 9 Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man and he will increase in learning.
13 A foolish woman is clamorous; she is simple and knows nothing.
16 "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here"; and as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, 17 "Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant" 18 But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell.
10:4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand, but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. 5 he that gathereth in the summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.
12 Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. 13 In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
27 The fear of the Lord prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
11:1 A deceptive balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is His delight. 2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the humble is wisdom.
29 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be a servant to the wise of heart. 30 The fruit of righteous is a tree of life; and he that takes souls is wise. 31 Behold, the righteous shall be rewarded in the eart; much more the wicked and the sinner.
12:1 Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish. 2 A good man obtaineth favour of the Lord, but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.
8 A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.
14 A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a mans' hands shall be rendered unto him. 15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
28 In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
13:1 A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.
4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.
18 Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honored.
22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children; and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
24 He that spareth the rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
14:1 Every wise woman buildeth her house, but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
6 A scorner seeketh wisdom and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth. 7 Go from the presence of a foolsih man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
17 He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.
26 In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. 27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
5 A fool despiseth his father's instruction; but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
14 The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge; but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.
32 He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul; but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. 33 The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.
16:3 Committ thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.
16 How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
17:3 The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the Lord trieth the hearts.
6 Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.
25 A foolish son is grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.
27 He that hath knowledge spareth his words; and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirt. 28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace is counted wise; and he that shutteth his lips is estemed a man of understanding.
18:1 A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgement. 2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may express itself.
6 A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for blows. 7 A fool's mouth is his destruction and his lips are the snare of his soul.
16 A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.
19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.
24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly, and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
4 Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbor.
15 Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.
18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
23 The fear of the Lord tendeth to life; and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.
20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest and have nothing.
7 The just man walketh in his integrity, his children are blessed after him.
11 Even a child is known by his doings; wheter his work be pure and whether it be right.
13 Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.
22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord and he shall save thee.
27 The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
21:2 Every way of man is right in his own eyes; but the Lord weighs the hearts.
6 The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.
9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a contentious woman in a wide house.
21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteiousness and honour.
23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
30 There is not wisdom or understanding nor counsel against the Lord.
22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold. 2 The rich and poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all.
6 Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
9 Speak not in the ears of a fool; for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
12 Apply thine heart unto instruction and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
13 Withhold not coreection from the child; for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
17 Let not thine heart envy sinners; but be thou in fear of the Lord all day long.
24 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice; and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.
30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. 31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goest smoothly. 32 At the last it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder. 33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
1 Be not thou envious of evil men, neither desire to be with them. 2 For their heart devises violence adn their lips talk of trouble.
12 If thou sayest Beold, we knew it not; doth not he that weighs the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
17 Rejoice not when thine enemy faileth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth;
27 Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.
30 I went by the field of the slothful and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; 31 And lo it was all grown over with thorns and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. 32 Then I saw and considered it well: I looked upon it and receieved instruction. 33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest. 34 So shall thy poverty come as a prowler, and thy want as a man with a shield.
5 Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.
12 As an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.
19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint.
21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thristy, give him water to drink.
25 As cold waters to a thristy soul, so is good news from a far country.
28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is borken down and without walls.
1 As snow in the summer and rain in harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool.
12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes>? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
17 He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own Is like one who takes a dog by the ears.
28 A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, And a flattering mouth works ruin.
1 Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
5 Open rebuke is better than concealed love
10 Thine own friend and thy father's friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity; for better is a neighbor that is near than a brother far off.
24 For riches are not forever; and doth the crown endure to every generation?
1 The wicked flee when no man pursueth; but the righteous are bold as a lion.
5 Evil men understand not judgement; but they that seek the Lord understand all things.
9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife; but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat.
2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice, but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
11 A fool uttereth his mind, but a wise man keepeth it in til afterwards.
15 The rod and reproof give wisdom; but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
23 A man's pride shall bring him low; but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.
26 Many seek the ruler's favor but every man's judgement cometh from the Lord.
2 Surely I am more stupid than any man and have not the understanding fo a man. 3 I have neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the Holy One. 4 Who hath ascended up into heaven or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell? 5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
8 Remove far from me falsehood and lies; give me neither poverty or riches; feed me with food you prescribe for me. 9 Lest I be full and deny thee and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal and take the name of God in vain.
11 There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. 12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
14 There is a generation whose teeth are as swords and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth and the needy from among men.
3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. 4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes having strong drink; 5 Lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the judgement of any of the afflicted.
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night and giveth meat to her household and a portion to her maidens.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She looked well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness.30 Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.