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SUBLIME SUSTENANCE - Sustaining a healthy life!

Guidelines to use: It is important that we feed every single day on God’s word. There is so much to learn. God is continually changing us, shaping us and making us into His Holy people. Sustaining your walk with God is vital and these notes are to help you with that. Over the next month use these to guide you into God’s presence, learn about His word and live out a healthy life that is full of Him.

This set of notes are to help you get into the book of Proverbs.

There are 31 chapters - one for every day of the month! So don’t just read them once, carry on and read one chapter every day of the year! In these notes there is a key verse everyday and some questions to think about which will help you draw what God is saying to YOU out of the scriptures. There is also some further reading and some prayer notes to get hold of.

I’ve used the N.I.V. Bible for this and the questions are based around the N.I.V but other versions are just as good ! In fact if you have more than one version of the Bible then look it up in each; it will help you understand the verse more thoroughly.


“For attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight” Proverbs 1:2 The NIV Bible

Look at Proverbs chapter 1 and think about the following questions: · From verses 1-7 make a list of all the things proverbs are for..... · In verse 7 it says that the ‘fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge’. What does the fear of the Lord mean to you?............. · Look at verses 23-33 and write down what God promises to those who respond to Him and listen to Him................

Going Deeper: Read the whole of chapter 1 again and underline the verses that particularly spoke to you today. In your prayer journal you could write down why.

Prayer: Put on some quiet music and think about verse 33. Do you feel at ease? Do you feel safe? Allow God to come and make that verse a reality in your life.


“Then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God “ Proverbs 2: 5 The NIV Bible ·

Read Proverbs 2:1- 4 carefully. God wants us to have knowledge and to be wise, not just in Godly things but in the way we live our everyday lives. Write down what God says will help us find that knowledge........ · God wants us to live a ‘victorious’ life too and to be successful in all that we do. In v ffb erse 7 what do those words ‘victory’ and ‘shield’ mean to you?..... · Verses 9-11 and 20-22 tell us how God’s wisdom helps us make decisions and know what is right and fair in life. God also protects us and keeps us on the path He has for us. Think about what it would be like to live in that way every single day. Do you believe it is possible?.......

Going Deeper: Read chapter 2 completely. Find a verse that you really want to live by and remember it. Write it down and put it somewhere you will see it often.

Prayer: Are there things causing you to stray off of God’s path for your life? Confess them and ask for God’s forgiveness. Ask Him to give you His wisdom to go the right way.


“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” Proverbs 3:3 The NIV Bible ·

Read Proverbs 3: 1-4 and put your own name where it says ‘my son’.How can you make sure that you don’t forget God’s teaching? · Verses 5 and 6 are quite familiar to most of us. Rewrite them in your own words and really think about what ‘acknowledging God in all your ways’ means..... · Discipline is something you may find really hard and it makes you react in a negative way. Verses 11 and 12 say that God only disciplines those He loves and delights in. God has your best in His heart and He instructs us to live in a certain way for our own benefit.

· Read verses 13 - 18 and write down what benefits being disciplined and having wisdom (described as she) brings........

Going Deeper: Read the whole of chapter 3 and write down the verses that spoke to you today.

Prayer: Thank God for giving you His love and being faithful to you. Be still and quiet with Him now and imagine His love and faithfulness never leaving you. Write them on your heart.


“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23 The NIV Bible

· Read Proverbs 4 verses 4 and 21 carefully. God’s desire is that we feed on His word every single day to keep ourselves strong (spiritually and physically - see verse 22) and get His word right in our hearts. Verse 4 says and then we will live! God wants us to live to our full potential NOW. Not when we feel we reach maturity in the future, but He has all this wisdom, understanding and love for us to begin to take hold of today. · Read verse 23 . What do you think a ‘wellspring’ is?........ · How can you ‘guard’ your heart?....... · The next 2 verses, 24 and 25 give you a bit of a clue to that last question. Again God is highlighting the importance of what we say and what we focus our attention on. God doesn’t want us to trip up. He wants us walking on a level ground that is firm and consistent where we won’t get distracted and walk onto evil paths.

Going Deeper: Read the whole of Proverbs 4

Prayer: As you’ve looked at guarding your heart take a look now at what flows out of your heart. You may find God needs to do some changing of attitudes or some softening there. Ask Him to reveal your heart to you and pray as He directs you.


“For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all of his paths” Proverbs 5:21 The NIV Bible

· Read verses 1 and 2 of Proverbs 5. Now try to rewrite them in your own words....... · Verses 11-14 are talking about someone who has ignored all of God’s words and instructions. They sound pretty regretful and have found themselves at the end of their life in ruin. If you are finding discipline hard at the moment, then think about these verses and verse 23 too. · Look at verses 15-21. It may not seem relevant to you at the moment but God is saying here how valuable marriage is to Him. In Bible days cisterns ffb and wells were very valuable things, not to be shared around with others. God desires for you to have one partner in life who will bring you lots of joy and you will stay with no matter what. So it’s worth praying about and waiting for God to bring you together with the right person. · Read verse 21 carefully. There is no getting away from God’s eyes, He knows you inside out. How does that make you feel?....

Going Deeper: Read Proverbs 5 completely.

Prayer: Dwell on the thought that God knows, understands and cares about all you are feeling today. Talk to Him about it.


“When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep they will watch over you.” Proverbs 6:22 The NIV Bible

· Read Proverbs 6:9- 11. God has been calling his people to WAKE UP . Here’s the proof that God didn’t call us to be passive people. We’re to be alert, ready and willing to obey Him. Interesting how poverty and scarcity (which means not having enough) are linked to too much sleep! · Look at verses 16-19. What are the 7 things God hates?.... Notice how they are all things that involve putting other people down. · What is it that guides, watches and speaks to us in verse 22?.... · It is God’s commands, His word that helps and protects us and is a lamp leading us through life. Don’t you think then that the Bible is worth reading!

Going Deeper: Read Proverbs 6 and underline verses that you feel are relevant to you.

Prayer: Are there verses in Proverbs that have spoken to you about a particular situation you are facing at the moment? If so then use those verses to pray into that problem. Ask God for His wisdom in praying.


“Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths.” Proverbs 7: 25 The NIV Bible

· Read Proverbs 7. · The Bible doesn’t hold back when describing and dealing with issues like adultery. It was a problem thousands of years ago and it’s still the same today. It is a temptation and a trap that people believe will give them pleasure and fulfillment in their lives.Look at verses 22-27 What is the end result?.. · God has provided ways for us to resist all sin, not just adultery. Verses 1-5 tell us what they are. God repeats Himself doesn’t He? These words are at the beginning of most of the Proverbs we’ve read so far. They must be important! · In verse 2 what does ‘the apple of your eye’ mean to you?

Going Deeper: Read Matthew 5:27-30 where Jesus says how lust is as bad as adultery. Look up the word lust if you’re unsure of it’s full meaning.

Prayer: Think about people you know whose lives have been torn apart by affairs and wrong relationships. You may need prayer yourself as you realize how much hurt in you is caused by marriage breakdown. Cry out to God for a conviction of sin to be in people caught in this area.


“To you, O men, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind “ Proverbs 8:4 The NIV Bible

· Everything that God speaks is wisdom and His voice is crying out to be heard. Study verses 1- 9. · Rewrite verse 11 in your own words....... · Look at Proverbs 3:19 and it will help to make sense of chapter 8: 22-30. Read the cp. 8 passage carefully and realize that it was with wisdom that God created the earth. What a powerful thing wisdom is then! · Read verses 32- 35. What does God call us to do?.....

Going Deeper: Read 1 Corinthians 2:6-16.

Prayer: Pray that God’s voice would be heard more clearly in your city. You are God’s voice, are you making yourself heard?


“Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding” Proverbs 9:6 The NIV Bible

· Read Proverbs 9;1-6 and imagine the scene i ffb t sets. Wisdom is a lady who has built a lavish house, cooked a tasty dinner and then she invites those who need guidance, who need help, who are lost on their way through life, to come and eat with her and hear all she has to say. If you knew of someone who had all of the answers to all of your problems and they invited you to their house for dinner, wouldn’t you be there right on time?! Well God has and He does!! All of God’s wisdom and answers to life’s challenges are wrapped up in the pages of His Book. Most of us though need help to unravel the words and make sense of them for ourselves. The Holy Spirit is pretty good at that, He can help you to understand what the Bible means. It’s called ‘revelation’ and it happens when The Holy Spirit shows you what God wants you to know through the Bible. When you get revelation it is brilliant. The Bible comes alive and you want to share it with everyone. You want to read it more and more and you wonder why you didn’t understand before! God gives us revelation at different times, it doesn’t all come at once. So before you read any further today STOP, ask the Holy Spirit to come and help you to KNOW God talking to you through the Bible. That is the golden rule: Always pray before you read.

Going Deeper: Read the rest of Proverbs 9, asking God to make the words relevant to you.

Prayer: Open your heart, eyes and ears to receive from God as you pray about what you have read today.


“Blessings crown the head of the righteous” Proverbs 10: 6 The NIV Bible ·

The way that these Proverbs are written in chapter 10 onwards, is using a lot of comparisons. You will read a sentence about a good man and then it is followed by the opposite. Read through Proverbs 10 and note down all of the kinds of people who will be blessed, according to these verses........ · There is a lot of talk about blessings in these verses. What do you feel ‘blessing’ is?........ · Look at verse 6 now and describe someone who is ‘righteous’........ · Righteousness actually means to be in a right relationship with God, but we often link it with selfish, big headed types. Think about your relationship with God now as you read again verses 24 and 32.

Going Deeper: Read 1 Timothy 11-21 where Paul tells Timothy to ‘go after righteousness’.

Prayer: Do you feel in a right place with God today? Give Him thanks for all the blessings He has given you and that He wants to continue to give you.


“One man gives freely, yet gains even more” Proverbs 11: 24 The NIV Bible

· Read verses 10,11 and 14 of Proverbs 11. Do you see what God is saying here about how you can make a difference in your city and your nation? Because of your righteousness, the city in which you live will be thought highly of. All through history God has wanted this. He has wanted a group of people who will be disciplined and live by His ways so that he can show other people, other cities and other nations what a blessing it is to be in God’s family and have Him as King. · One way that God wants us to live as a righteous family is to give freely to each other. Look at verses 24- 28 which talk about giving. What can you give, is it just money?.......... · Read verses 21 and 31. It may seem like lots of ungodly people make it through life quite nicely and have no need for God. These verses tell us that eventually there will be punishment for those who don’t give their lives to Him.

Going Deeper: Read Proverbs 11 through completely. Underline the verses that have helped you.

Prayer: Ask God to reveal to you ways that you can be more giving and if there are specific people that you can help. Trust Him as you give. Believe verse 17 that your kindness will be a blessing to you.


“ An anxious heart weighs a man d ffb own, but a kind word cheers him up” Proverbs 12: 25 The NIV Bible

· Read Proverbs 12 verses 6,14,18,19,22 and 25. What part of the body are they talking about?.... · Think about how you feel when you are worried, tense and not enjoying life. You feel heavy, tired and miserable. Your heart is ‘weighed down’. It is occupied by all the cares and concerns of your day. Now think how it feels when someone says kind and encouraging things to you, when they pick you out to pay you a compliment. It feels good doesn’t it? and you forget about your worries. Kind words cheer you up. God is saying here that He wants us to be the ones doing the cheering, speaking encouragement to people and helping them through the day. So when you are talking to people, stop and think of good things to say about them - be an encourager! · Look at verse 24. What does diligent mean? Find out if you don’t know and then read the verse again..........

Going Deeper: Read the whole of Proverbs 12

Prayer: Ask God to give you opportunities to encourage and to build others up. If you find it hard to be positive then ask God to help you see the good in the people you are with.


“ The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied” Proverbs 13: 4 The NIV Bible

· Yesterday we ended with a verse about diligence. To be diligent means to carry out a task with care and perseverance. Those who are wise persevere, they don’t give up at the first sign of a hitch or failure. They stick with what is right and never give up. Diligence is mentioned many times in Proverbs because a Godly lifestyle takes perseverance. No one said it would be easy, the difference is the benefits are wonderful and last forever. As you work diligently at your relationship with God, Proverbs 13:4 says your desires will be fully satisfied and God will bless you with all that you dream. He won’t do it all at once though, He knows that would be too big for you to handle. He blesses a little at a time. God’s in no rush to see your plans fulfilled. His plan is to change you, mature you and help you become the person who can carry out the dreams and vision within you. So God is asking you to work hard and be disciplined in your life for a reason - so that He can bless you and give you the desires of your heart. · Read verse 13 and 18 and list a few more benefits of diligence.....

Going Deeper: Read the whole of Proverbs 13

Prayer: Agree with God to spend time with Him every day. Ask Him to show you areas in your life where you have not done your best. Maybe you have only given God the left over time in your day. Talk to Him about how you can be more diligent in your time with Him.


“ Whoever is kind to the needy honours God” Proverbs 14:31 The NIV Bible

· Read Proverbs 14 verses 21 and 31. Think about what being kind means. It means much more that just being a nice person. When someone is in need we should be generous with all that we have. One way that we can be free to do that is by understanding that everything we have is not ours but it belongs to God. We are only looking after the possessions that He has given us. · Look at verse 30 and rewrite it in your own words.......... · God cares about our physical health and He says that envy and jealousy are bad for us and cause decay right at the centre of our all that holds us together physically; our bones. God gives us His peace and that’s how He wants us to live. So don’t be caught up with what other people have. Don’t be jealous of their lives otherwise it will eat away at yours. God made you with a plan and purpose and no one else can take your place, you are precious to Him and you have no reason to envy what is going on with someone else. · Think about all God has done for you and continue to be b9b kind and generous. Verse 22 says if you plan to do what is good you will find love and faithfulness. Do you remember what Proverbs 3 said about that?

Going Deeper: Read Matthew 25:14-30 about what happens when we are wise and generous with what we have.

Prayer: Give over to God everything that you have as you seek His face and worship Him.


“The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” Proverbs 15: 3 The NIV Bible

· Proverbs cover many different issues in life and they give sound advice which is relevant to every man from every country and it never goes out of date. There are lots of things in Proverbs 15 that we have already looked at in chapters 1-14. So why do you think this book of the Bible is so repetitive? Shouldn’t God have only needed to say stuff once? · God knows what short memories we have and that what we learn one day, we may forget the next. That is why Proverbs is written in small memorable chunks that we can get hold of, learn and live by. · Proverbs help us when we are tempted to sin. As you study the verses and remember them, you are building up a library of answers in your head. When the devil comes along with a tempting thought you can answer him back with a Proverb. For example, someone annoys you and you feel like giving them a piece of your mind, if you had Proverbs 15:1 at the ready, it would calm you down and stop you getting into big trouble! · As you read through Proverbs 15, try and put each verse into your own words and think of when you could use it to correct you in the way you are thinking or about to act.

Going Deeper: Read 2 Timothy 3:10-16, especially 14,15 and 16

Prayer: Pray as you read the Bible today and ask God to help you learn those verses He knows you will need to help you in the days ahead.
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