Well meant are the wounds a friend inflicts, but profuse are the kisses of an enemy. Proverbs 27:6
The proverbs continue to highlight the importance of our relationships with those we can trust; with those who have our best interests at heart. True friends discipline us with their observations. True friends call for the best from us and will hold us to a high standard. Others might give excessive praise or adulation, but the proverbs remind us to consider the source!
Prayer - God thank you for providing me with true friends. Today, may I listen to them and allow their discipline to touch my life. Amen.
Written by Stacy Ikard, Senior Associate Pastor at WHPC
Like a bird that strays from its nest is one who strays from home. Proverbs 27:8
“Leaving the nest” is a rite of passage that carries weight. I think about students who are going off to college in the next few weeks and about parents who will watch them go. It’s exciting and good when young people step into a new phase of life. It’s also scary—for those who take their leave and those who stay behind.
Perhaps this proverb is a kind of warning for all those who travel the road of life. We may leave home, but we should not forget it. Most of all, we should remember that God is our true home. Like Jesus, we have come from God and will return to God in the end (John 13:3).
Recently, a WHPC confirmand shared with me that his favorite hymn was “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” I told him it was one of my favorites, too. For me, it’s the final stanza: “Oh, to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be / Let that goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to thee / Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love / Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”
Prayer - Faithful God, wherever we wander, may your grace and goodness be the ground on which we stand. Loving Christ, stay close to us as our companion. Living Spirit, guide us into the will and love of God. Amen.
Written by Claire Berry, Associate Pastor at WHPC
Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the face of another. Proverbs 27:17
When I think of an iron sharpening an iron, I picture friction and resistance. It does not seem pleasant or easy to compare how people should care for one another. The Hebrew word used here for face can both mean a literal face on a body or the countenance or character of a person. How do the people in our lives sharpen our character? Take a moment and reflect on something that a friend or family member has said to you in the past week that has caused friction or resistance. Consider how God might use this to sharpen your character.
Prayer - Loving God, I know you call me your beloved child. Help me to desire to be changed and sharpened through the relationships in my life. May I receive sharpening as an opportunity to become more like you and your son, in whose name I pray. Amen.
Written by Emily Wright, Senior Pastor at WHPC
Just as water reflects the face, so one human heart reflects another. Proverbs 27:19
This particular proverb can be difficult for those of us who live in a highly individualistic society; we like to think that our own hearts are independent from anyone else’s. But deep down, we know that we are interconnected and that what is in one person’s heart will affect what is in the hearts of those around them. This is why parents hurt when they see their children hurt; this is why a partner is elated when their significant other receives recognition at work. This is why many people donate their time, talents, or money to help lift the hearts of strangers. Our hearts are mirrors; what do we want them to reflect?
Prayer - God of all, you connect us in ways we can’t always see. Help us be more attuned to our hearts and to the hearts of others, and help us to work toward a world in which all hearts reflect your love. Amen.
Written by Caitlin Parsons, Seminary Intern at WHPC
The purity of silver and gold is tested by putting them in the fire; the purity of human hearts is tested by giving them a little fame. Proverbs 27:21 (The Message)
In the ancient days, gold and silver were refined by first crushing the large rocks of ore into small pieces, about the size of lentils. This breaking up revealed the hidden treasures of precious metals. The refiner then placed the bits of metal into a crucible and placed it over the fire. This began to burn away other lesser metals and debris that might ruin the gold or silver. As the heat increased and the metals melted, the impurities (dross) would rise to the surface so the refiner could skim them off. The refiner would continue to heat the crucible to hotter and hotter temperatures, as some of the impurities would only burn off at the higher temperatures. This process could continue at least seven times. As the impurities were removed, the refiner would watch closely to make sure the silver or gold didn’t burn away. The purest and most valuable gold and silver were refined to the hottest temperatures to remove all the impurities. Once the impurities were removed, the refiner would continue heating, watching for the molten metal to become shiny and reflective, until he could see his own reflection.
When people praise us for our accomplishments, or we have achieved great success, the test is: will we become prideful, or will we accept the praise with humility? I believe this scripture is speaking of allowing God to refine our hearts by purifying it as a refiner’s fire purifies gold and silver.
Prayer - Holy God, purify our hearts, setting us apart to be your holy people, ready to do your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Written by Teresa Ward, Director of Engagement at WHPC