Devotionals by Stuart, Jill & Pete Briscoe

O God, I beg two favors from you before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. - Proverbs 30:7-8

As late as the nineteenth century, leeches were used by physicians in the treatment of a variety of ailments. The green and brown worms were attached to the patient, and the sucker at each end of the leech’s anatomy went to work. The leech’s saliva contains an anticoagulant to stop the blood clotting, an anesthetic so the patient (victim!) feels no discomfort, and a substance which dilates the vessels to facilitate the blood flow. Leeches are highly sophisticated suckers!

Dissatisfaction is a leech. Agur, a writer of proverbs, said, “The leech has two suckers that cry out, ‘More, more!’ There are three other things—no, four!—that are never satisfied: the grave, the barren womb, the thirsty desert, the blazing fire” (Prov. 30:15-16). The person who is never satisfied, who cries out continually for “more, more” is probably anesthetized to the fact that, because he concentrates on what he doesn’t have, he is incapable of enjoying what he does have. And all the time, joy, delight, contentment, and thanksgiving flow freely away from his thoughts, leaving him depleted and spiritually anemic.

The picture of the leech is sufficient to portray the attitudes and condition of the dissatisfied man. But the further analogies of grave, barren womb, thirsty desert, and blazing fire serve to underline his serious condition. Not only does his dissatisfied soul find no satisfaction, but his dissatisfaction creates further dissatisfaction and he sinks into the grave of deadened delight while the fires of insatiable longings consume him. His life becomes barren like a desert, and the inner longings of his soul cry out unheeded, unanswered, and unmet. So what can be done about it?

Agur prayed a mature prayer, which should be echoed by every person concerning his financial status and spiritual condition: “O God, I beg two favors from you before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ and if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name” (30:7-9). The poor man, who, understandably, is not satisfied with his poverty, may be tempted to steal in order to have enough to survive. His dissatisfaction can lead him into an endless cycle of trouble. So Agur wisely prays to be delivered from poverty. But the pathologies of abundance need to be addressed as well. For abundance and affluence not only create a desire for more, but also a dangerous tendency to self-sufficiency. For the man who has everything—even if he wants more—may decide he doesn’t need God. So Agur prays to be delivered from abundance, and asks for just enough to satisfy his needs (30:8).

The leeches of dissatisfaction will drain you—but the vitamins of contentment will sustain you.

For Further Study: Proverbs 30:1-16  

Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

For more from Stuart Briscoe, please visit tellingtthetruth.org.

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About Telling the Truth

Telling the Truth exists to make available sound biblical teaching, practically applied, with a view to producing lives that glorify God and draw people to Christ. The whole of our ministry is to encourage, console, strengthen, teach, and train.

About Stuart, Jill & Pete Briscoe

Stuart Briscoe uses wit and intellect to target your heart, capture your attention and challenge you to grow! You will find his logic compelling as he brings a fresh, practical perspective to the Scriptures. Born in England, Stuart left a career in banking to enter the ministry full time. He has written more than 50 books, received three honorary doctorates and preached in more than one hundred countries. He was senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for thirty years, and currently serves as minister-at-large.

Jill Briscoe was born in England and found Christ when she was 18 years old. She never looked back. Upon graduating from Cambridge University, she began working as a teacher by day and had a vigorous street ministry to the youths of Liverpool by night.

She met Stuart at a youth conference and they married in 1958. In the 50 years since, Jill has become a highly sought-after Bible teacher and author who travels around the world ministering to under-resourced churches and speaking at international seminars and conferences. Since 2000, she and Stuart, who was formerly senior pastor of Elmbrook Church for 30 years, have had the joy of equipping and encouraging believers across the globe in their roles as ministers-at-large for Elmbrook.

Jill has authored more than 40 books including devotionals, study guides, poetry and children's books. Her vivid, relational teaching style touches the emotions and stirs the heart. She serves as Executive Editor of Just Between Us, a magazine of encouragement for ministry wives and women in leadership, and served on the board of World Relief and Christianity Today, Inc., for over 20 years.

Jill and Stuart call suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin their home. When they are not traveling, they spend time with their three children, David, Judy and Peter, and thirteen grandchildren.

Pete Briscoe, youngest son of Stuart and Jill, was also born in England but grew up under his father's ministry in Milwaukee. While getting his Masters of Divinity degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL, Pete had a professor tell him that it was "a sin to bore people with the Bible." He has taken that to heart as he has served since 1992 as senior pastor of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Dallas, TX. Pete and his wife, Libby, have three children.

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