Thursday, September 1, 2016

"Thrive" by Sheri Rose Shepherd - His Light

Note: "Chocolate For Your Soul" is now THRIVE! THRIVE continues the weekly inspirational letters, messages, and periodic video devotions by Sheri Rose Shepherd, but with all-new content drawn from Sheri Rose's new book, THRIVE: A Journaling Devotional Bible for Women. Enjoy these new devotional messages from Sheri Rose Shepherd!

This week's reading: Genesis 1:3

Beloved Daughter,

I am the Light of the World, and I want to light your world so that you can see Me in everything. You are a star that can bring My light to others. I alone can warm your soul. When your world feels cold and dark, you can count on Me to be your comfort. You will never feel lost when I am the One lighting your way. I see all that’s hidden, even the darkest spaces,so you never have to fear. I will always be there to light your way, even when you stumble. I will pick you up with My loving arms. Rest assured, My daughter, you will always be able to find your way back to My light.

Your heavenly Father


Light often seems to shine all the brighter in the midst of darkness. It is in the darkness that we can see the beauty ofthe stars. We can be the star that points others to heaven by the way we live for and follow our God.

Treasure of Truth

God shines His light in your darkness to remove the things that hinder your relationship with Him.

For more about Sheri Rose's ministry, visit

Night Light for Couples - “Ordinary” Love

“Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us.” Ephesians 5:2

We’ve been talking about romantic love and how to preserve it. There are times in every marriage, however, when husbands and wives feel apathetic and “flat” toward each other. Jim wrote me the following note during just such a time, which occurred on our eighth wedding anniversary: “I’m sure you remember the many occasions during our eight years of marriage when the tide of love and affection soared high above the crest. This kind of intense emotion often accompanies a time of particular happiness. We felt this closeness when the world’s most precious child came home from the maternity ward. But emotions are strange! We felt the same closeness when you were hospitalized last year. I felt it intensely when I knelt over your unconscious form after a grinding automobile accident.

“Both happiness and threat bring overwhelming appreciation and affection for our sweethearts. But most of life is composed of calm, everyday events. During those times, I enjoy the serene love that actually surpasses the effervescent display. I find myself in that kind of love on this anniversary. I feel the steady, quiet affection that comes from a devoted heart. I am committed to you and your happiness now more than ever.

“When events throw us together emotionally, we will enjoy the thrill and romantic excitement. But during life’s routine, my love stands undiminished. Happy anniversary to my wonderful wife.”

Just between us…
  • When has our marriage provided the most romantic excitement?
  • How can serene love enhance romance between us?
  • Do we enjoy this kind of love? Why or why not?
Dear God, thank You for the intense feelings that accompany romantic love. Help us cherish them. May our love also remain strong and enduring on ordinary days or when feelings are at ebb tide. Amen. 

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Daily Readings for September 1, 2016

Job 16:16-22, 17:1-16
My face is red with weeping, and deep darkness is on my eyelids, though there is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure. "O earth, do not cover my blood; let my outcry find no resting place. Even now, in fact, my witness is in heaven, and he that vouches for me is on high. My friends scorn me; my eye pours out tears to God, that he would maintain the right of a mortal with God, as one does for a neighbor. For when a few years have come, I shall go the way from which I shall not return. My spirit is broken, my days are extinct, the grave is ready for me. Surely there are mockers around me, and my eye dwells on their provocation. "Lay down a pledge for me with yourself; who is there that will give surety for me? Since you have closed their minds to understanding, therefore you will not let them triumph. Those who denounce friends for reward-- the eyes of their children will fail. "He has made me a byword of the peoples, and I am one before whom people spit. My eye has grown dim from grief, and all my members are like a shadow. The upright are appalled at this, and the innocent stir themselves up against the godless. Yet the righteous hold to their way, and they that have clean hands grow stronger and stronger. But you, come back now, all of you, and I shall not find a sensible person among you. My days are past, my plans are broken off, the desires of my heart. They make night into day; 'The light,' they say, 'is near to the darkness.' If I look for Sheol as my house, if I spread my couch in darkness, if I say to the Pit, 'You are my father,' and to the worm, 'My mother,' or 'My sister,' where then is my hope? Who will see my hope? Will it go down to the bars of Sheol? Shall we descend together into the dust?"

Acts 13:1-12
Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the ruler, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John also to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they met a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet, named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God. But the magician Elymas (for that is the translation of his name) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, "You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now listen-- the hand of the Lord is against you, and you will be blind for a while, unable to see the sun." Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he went about groping for someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord.

John 9:1-17
As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's eyes, saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?" Some were saying, "It is he." Others were saying, "No, but it is someone like him." He kept saying, "I am the man." But they kept asking him, "Then how were your eyes opened?" He answered, "The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' Then I went and washed and received my sight." They said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I do not know." They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, "He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see." Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?" And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, "What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened." He said, "He is a prophet."

Morning Psalms

Psalm 37:1-18 Part I Noli aemulari
1   Do not fret yourself because of evildoers; do not be jealous of those who do wrong.
2   For they shall soon wither like the grass, and like the green grass fade away.
3   Put your trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and feed on its riches.
4   Take delight in the LORD, and he shall give you your heart's desire.
5   Commit your way to the LORD and put your trust in him, and he will bring it to pass.
6   He will make your righteousness as clear as the light and your just dealing as the noonday.
7   Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.
8   Do not fret yourself over the one who prospers, the one who succeeds in evil schemes.
9   Refrain from anger, leave rage alone; do not fret yourself; it leads only to evil.
10   For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait upon the LORD shall possess the land.
11   In a little while the wicked shall be no more; you shall search out their place, but they will not be there.
12   But the lowly shall possess the land; they will delight in abundance of peace.
13   The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash at them with their teeth.
14   The Lord laughs at the wicked, because he sees that their day will come.
15   The wicked draw their sword and bend their bow to strike down the poor and needy, to slaughter those who are upright in their ways.
16   Their sword shall go through their own heart, and their bow shall be broken.
17   The little that the righteous has is better than great riches of the wicked.
18   For the power of the wicked shall be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 37:19-42 Part II Novit Dominus
19   The LORD cares for the lives of the godly, and their inheritance shall last for ever.
20   They shall not be ashamed in bad times, and in days of famine they shall have enough.
21   As for the wicked, they shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD, like the glory of the meadows, shall vanish; they shall vanish like smoke.
22   The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous are generous in giving.
23   Those who are blessed by God shall possess the land, but those who are cursed by him shall be destroyed.
24   Our steps are directed by the LORD; he strengthens those in whose way he delights.
25   If they stumble, they shall not fall headlong, for the LORD holds them by the hand.
26   I have been young and now I am old, but never have I seen the righteous forsaken, or their children begging bread.
27   The righteous are always generous in their lending, and their children shall be a blessing.
28   Turn from evil, and do good, and dwell in the land for ever.
29   For the LORD loves justice; he does not forsake his faithful ones.
30   They shall be kept safe for ever, but the offspring of the wicked shall be destroyed.
31   The righteous shall possess the land and dwell in it for ever.
32   The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and their tongue speaks what is right.
33   The law of their God is in their heart, and their footsteps shall not falter.
34   The wicked spy on the righteous and seek occasion to kill them.
35   The LORD will not abandon them to their hand, nor let them be found guilty when brought to trial.
36   Wait upon the LORD and keep his way; he will raise you up to possess the land, and when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.
37   I have seen the wicked in their arrogance, flourishing like a tree in full leaf.
38   I went by, and behold, they were not there; I searched for them, but they could not be found.
39   Mark those who are honest; observe the upright; for there is a future for the peaceable.
40   Transgressors shall be destroyed, one and all; the future of the wicked is cut off.
41   But the deliverance of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
42   The LORD will help them and rescue them; he will rescue them from the wicked and deliver them, because they seek refuge in him.

The Forward Day by Day Meditation for September 1, 2016

From Forward Day By Day

Psalm 37:1, 4 (NRSV) Do not fret yourself because of evildoers; do not be jealous of those who do wrong…Take delight in the LORD, and he shall give you your heart’s desire.

I fret a lot, which puts me at odds with this morning’s psalm. Yet when it comes to fretting, instead of feeling defensive or ashamed, I take comfort in the frequency with which Jesus addresses the topic of not fretting. I take it as a sign that fretting is normal—that I am not alone in my worries.

The trouble with fretting is that it is often in conflict with trust, specifically the incredible trust that God will give us what we need. Looking to God for what I need turns out to be an irritating and important step toward remembering that I am not God. Remembering this important fact opens pathways of gratitude and delight.

I don’t think it is accidental that Jesus teaches his disciples to pray for daily bread—just enough for today. Neither is it an accident that Jesus next tells his disciples to ask for forgiveness. Give us…Forgive us…Forgive us our mistrust, Lord. Remind us not to fret; you give us enough for today.

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NIV Devotions for Men - Samuel: The King-Maker

1 Samuel 1:1—28:25

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Samuel glanced at the seven men standing in the shade. They were impressive specimens. Any of Jesse’s sons could have been God’s choice. He was suddenly glad he didn’t have to choose. God had just warned him about the danger of judging from appearance. He smiled sadly, remembering how impressed he had been at first by Saul’s good looks.

Samuel looked around, puzzled. He’d run out of sons, and God hadn’t chosen any of them. What was God’s plan in this situation? Turning to Jesse, he inquired, “Are these it? No more sons?”

The old man slowly counted his sons, one by one. He appeared confused for a moment, then said, “Oh, there is one other. Didn’t even think of him. My youngest, David, is out in the fields with the sheep.” The rest of the sons didn’t understand why they had been summoned, but they grumbled over having to wait for the runt to show up. His place was at the bottom of the pecking order. Shepherding was a smelly, outdoors-in-all-weather, protecting-stupid-sheep chore. Each of them had done it only until the next brother was old enough. As the youngest, it was David’s permanent role. It didn’t bother them to assign him the task; it did bother them that he enjoyed it so much.

Soon David came running in, exuding the pungent scents of field and flock. The brothers looked on with shock as Samuel removed an oil horn from his robe and poured the contents on their little brother’s head. They couldn’t imagine a higher honor—or a more obvious waste. But even they had to admit that as the oil dripped from David’s hair and chin, a certain wild delight and spirit seemed to fill him. Samuel smiled, David laughed, and a chill went up his siblings’ spines.

As Samuel walked to Ramah, he remembered another little boy, left in the charge of a priest named Eli. He considered how upbringing shapes a man and how God uses even hardships and pain to prepare his servants. He wondered about David’s future. He remembered God’s unusual call in his own life, the unexpected voice in the night that Eli had identified for him as the Lord’s. The old priest had told him to answer, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10). Samuel chuckled softly and began to pray, “Lord, I’m still trying to listen. I never thought back then that you would make me a king-maker. So what’s next?”

Back to the Future
  • In what ways do you think God speaks to you?
  • What have you learned about the dangers of judging people by outward appearances?
  • How would you describe your attitude about God giving you directions?
The Story Continues …

To learn about Samuel’s background and see how God continued to work through him, read 1 Samuel 1:1—28:25.

His Princess Every Day - Anything

Devotionals for Women - Inspirational author and speaker Sheri Rose Shepherd imagines what a letter written from God to you would look like.

My Daughter,

Don’t let past disappointments or fears keep you from asking your daddy in heaven for what you need. When your heart is committed to following me, you can ask me anything and I will do even greater than what you ask for. If what you request is to bring glory to me and not you, I will do something so huge in your life you will me amazed. I love to prove my power to you personally. I will always keep my promises and I love when you ask me to use you to further my kingdom on earth. Keep seeking me with all your heart and wait on me to answer. Believe that I will do all that you ask in my perfect time and your faith will be strong!

Your True King

The Lord answered, "I can do anything! Watch and you'll see my words come true." - Numbers 11:23 (CEV)

This devotional is written by Sheri Rose Shepherd. All content copyright Sheri Rose Shepherd 2015. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Visit for devotionals, books, videos, and more from Sheri Rose Shepherd.

Girlfriends in God - Under the Protection of The Most High

Today’s Truth

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart … If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the Lord, who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. (Psalm 91:1-4, 9-10).

Friend to Friend

Corrie Ten Boom tells the true story of young Englishman who was held prisoner in a German prion camp for a long period of time during World War II. One day he read Psalm 91 and fell to his knees in prayer.

“Father in heaven,” he prayed. “I see all these men dying around me, one after the other. Will I also have to die here? I am still young and I very much want to work in Your kingdom here on earth."

God spoke to his heart, “Rely on what you have just read and go home.”

Trusting God, the young Englishman got up and walked into the corridor toward the gate.

A guard called out, “Prisoner, where are you going?”

“I am under the protection of The Most High,’” he replied. The guard came to attention and let him pass, because Adolf Hitler was known as The Most High.

The man came to the gate where a group of guards stood. They commanded him to stop and asked where he was going.

“I am under the protection of The Most High,” the Englishman replied.

All the guards stood at attention as the prisoner walked out the gate. The English officer made his way through the German countryside and eventually reached England where he told how he had made his escape. He was the only one to come out of that prison alive.

As fully devoted followers of Christ, you and I are under the protection of The Most High. We serve the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, the One who spoke the world into existence. The One who raised Lazarus from the grave and turned the water into wine has redeemed us.

And yet many of us live in defeat. Fear and doubt fill our hearts and minds to the point that we wonder if God really is who He says He is and will do what He promises to do in His Word. We question His ways. We question Him.

Why? We have not made The Most High our dwelling.

The word “dwell” used in this verse actually means, “to take up permanent residence in.” God is reminding us to stay in His presence. If we do that, we will rest in the “shadow of the Almighty.”

I live in Kansas City. To say that our summer has been brutal is putting it mildly. As the temperature gauge registered day after day of scorching temperatures, I have been reminded of a profound truth.

Shadows provide relief from the direct heat of the sun. I know. It sounds so simple, but stay with me. There is great protection in shadows. I can tell you that when I have been outside this summer, I have looked for the shadows and run to them because they offer sweet relief from the direct heat of the sun.

When life heats up, we need to rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

When the crisis hits and knocks the breath right out of us, we can run to Him. There we can rest in His shadow - the place where peace and confidence rise up strong within us and shelter us from the fierceness of life.

And right in the middle of our mess, He reminds us that because He is in control, our mess is the perfect setting for a miracle.

I cannot do life on my own. I know that. But life is so daily. And when I get wrapped up in just doing the next thing to get through the day, I forget that His presence is my beginning and my end.

In my human logic, I shove aside the reality that I need Him and that my frantic attempts to resolve the impossible situations in my life are really nothing more than my desperate pleas for the comfort of His presence.

All I have to do is remember and cling to the truth that I am under the protection of The Most High.

Let’s Pray

Father, I want to live in the shadow of Your wing. When life is hard, and I don’t know what to do, help me remember that You are with me and that I am never alone. I cannot live without You. I cannot face tomorrow without the promise of Your presence. Today I choose to walk and live under the protection of You, The Most High.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

God is always at work on behalf of those who love Him. Read Psalm 91:14-16. Create a list of the promises God makes to those who choose to walk in His presence.

Psalm 91:14-16 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation."

More from the Girlfriends

If you need help learning how to trust God, get Mary’s new book, 10-Day Trust Adventure, now available in soft cover. Perfect for personal or small group study, this book addresses the decisions you make in every area of life and teaches you how to make those decisions as you step out in faith and trust God.
Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

Seeking God? Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 1311
Huntersville, NC 28070

Un Dia a la Vez - Un nuevo día

¡Despierten, arpa y lira! ¡Haré despertar al nuevo día! [...] Te alabaré, Señor [...] Pues tu amor es tan grande que rebasa los cielos. Salmo 108:2-4

Cada día trae su propio afán. Entonces, ¿por qué nos vamos a afanar por el día de mañana? Hasta la Biblia nos recomienda que dejemos el estrés y vivamos cada día como si fuera el último.

Eso no significa que no te proyectes al futuro y que no planifiques. Estas cosas son buenas. Lo que no es bueno es que te dejes robar la bendición al preocuparte antes de tiempo.

Aprender a descansar en el Señor nos trae muchas ventajas, pues vives en paz y afrontas tus problemas confiando en que tendrán solución. Aun estando en aprietos financieros, conoces quién es Dios que no te desampara ni de día ni de noche. Cuando descansas en Dios, es porque has entendido en realidad que tu Padre que está en los cielos cuidará de tus hijos aun cuando partas de este mundo.

Comencemos entonces a darle gracias a Dios por el día de hoy. Además, vivamos a plenitud y saquemos el mejor provecho del mismo aunque venga con cosas que no esperábamos.

Ora cada mañana y encomiéndale tu camino al Señor. Preocúpate por los negocios de Dios y Él se preocupará por los tuyos.

Gracias, Señor, por este nuevo amanecer. Lo entrego en tus manos. En el nombre de Jesús, amén.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - RECONCILIATION IN THE MIDST OF PAIN

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

The first of September is a memorial day for the people of Beslan in North Ossetia as they remember the awful events of September first 2004. More than one thousand children and adults were taken hostage in School Number One and two days later more than three hundred and thirty of them were killed in the violence.

Memorial services are held and memories of the nightmare overwhelm everyone in town. Beslan’s cemetery is unique; it has the youngest average age in the world (7-12 years old). The sight of so many graves of children deeply affects any visitor. One said, “People who do not live in Beslan have often forgotten the tragedy already, but as soon as you enter the city, you cannot escape the atmosphere of grief and deep mourning that is still enveloping the city.”

When the tragedy occurred at School Number One, almost every family in Beslan was affected. A peculiarity in Ossetia is that nearly everybody is related to one another, so the catastrophe has affected many people in a personal way. Even those who were watching television during the event suffered diseases, heart attacks and strokes.

Pastor Taimuraz Totiev and his wife Ria had their five children at school; only the eldest daughter, Madina, survived the attack. Their four other children, Larissa, Luba, Albina and Boris, were buried on September 7, 2004.

The pastor’s brother, Sergey Totiev, also had children at the school. Sergey and his wife Bela buried two of their children on the same day: Dzerassa (15) and Anna (9). Their son Azamat lost his sight in one of his eyes and is having surgery to save his other eye.

Both men are pastors of the Beslan Baptist Church. At the children’s funeral Sergey spoke of forgiveness and advised people not to seek revenge, but to serve as peacemakers. His exact words were: “Yes, we have an irreplaceable loss, but we cannot take revenge. As Christians, the Bible teaches us that we must forgive. Vengeance is in God’s hands.” According to a Christian worker in the area, a demonic plan was broken when those words were spoken!

Since that time they have been doing everything they can think of to minister to families of the victims. Other churches and ministries have also taken up the enormous task of counseling and helping the survivors and the bereaved. Others decided to reach out to Chechen people (nationality of the neighboring terrorists) and are finding ways to minister God’s love to them.

RESPONSE: Today I commit to being a messenger of God’s reconciliation through Christ—even to those who may cause harm to me or my family.

PRAYER: Pray for the church to be an instrument of reconciliation and restoration in this volatile area of Central Asia.

Daily Devotional by John Piper - He Does All That He Pleases

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Psalm 115:3)
This verse teaches that whenever God acts, he acts in a way that pleases him.

God is never constrained to do a thing that he despises. He is never backed into a corner where his only recourse is to do something he hates to do.

He does whatever he pleases. And therefore, in some sense, he has pleasure in all that he does.

This should lead us to bow before God and praise his sovereign freedom — that in some sense at least he always acts in freedom, according to his own “good pleasure,” following the dictates of his own delights.

God never becomes the victim of circumstance. He is never forced into a situation where he must do something in which he cannot rejoice. He is not mocked. He is not trapped or cornered or coerced.

Even at the one point in history where he did what in one sense was the hardest thing for God to do, “not spare his own Son” (Romans 8:32), God was free and doing what pleased him. Paul says that the self-sacrifice of Jesus in death was “a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2). The greatest sin and the greatest death and the hardest act of God was pleasing to the Father.

And on his way to Calvary, Jesus himself had legions at his disposal. “No one takes my life from me; I lay it down of my own accord” — of his own good pleasure, for the joy that is set before him. At the one point in the history of the universe where Jesus looked trapped, he was totally in charge doing precisely what he pleased — dying to justify the ungodly like you and me.

So let us stand in awe and wonder. And let us tremble that not only our praises of God’s sovereignty but also our salvation through the death of Christ for us, hang on this: “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever he pleases.”

Verse of the Day - September 01, 2016

Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Read all of Proverbs 22