An Idea Borrowed

Years ago on a radio program someone shared that they read a chapter in Proverbs every day. Since there are 31 chapters and the longest month has 31 days it allows you to read through Proverbs on a regular basis. I use it as the launch pad for my personal worship time and branch out from there. On this blog I will try to share some of the insights I have in the Word. I will try to organize them in the archive by reference.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Girdles for Everyone

(Proverbs 31:17 KJV)  She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

The believer “girds” (2296) his loins.  This is a figure of speech which comes to us through the Bible.  In those days it meant to take your long flowing garments, which would inhibit fast movement, and fasten them in such a way that you would not trip or be encumbered. 

This speaks of the discipline of being prepared.  In this case I think we can assume it is at least a daily process, if not moment by moment.

So?  What are you doing today to prepare yourself to serve Almighty God?  What are the flowing garments that you need to get out of your way.  I am sure they are different for each person.  What might be a tool for you could well be a spoke in my wheels.  Use the day wisely.

Friday, December 30, 2011

How Good We Have It

(Proverbs 30:14 NASB)  There is a kind of man whose teeth are like swords And his jaw teeth like knives, To devour the afflicted from the earth And the needy from among men.

Much of Proverbs is made up of freestanding couplets.  This verse is in the middle of the exception.  We have a series of statements about the “kind” (1755) of people we run into.  They are all negative. 

This is one of those spots I scratch my head and try to figure out what the NASB translators were thinking.  This word means “generation.”  They translate it in some form of the word 128 times.  They only translate it “kind” four times and all in this section of Proverbs.  Go figure.

We have generations of people who seem to be void of the love of God.  History is full of examples.  In fact it is more common than the blip we know as America with out talk of equal rights and the rule of law.  A culture without the God of the Bible may be the stuff of exciting movies but it is not a place you would want to live. 

So?  Realize how bad is has been and can be again.  Recognize how good we have it.  Be faithful as salt and light so that these evil people do not set the tone during our lifetime.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bringing on the Fall

(Proverbs 29:16 KJV)  When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.

There is hope.  That is what I am seeing here today.  I am skimming the first statements.  I don’t need to be reminded of them.  I want to know the “but the righteous (6662)” part of things right now.

The evil will “fall” (4658) and I will see it.  Well, I guess it doesn’t guarantee that I personally will see it, but it does promise that someone in the family of God will see it. 

The world around us needs revival.  It has happened before.  Why can’t it happen again?  The key is that the righteous need to be the righteous.  We need to be salt.  We need to be light.  Keep in mind that God would have preserved Sodom if there had just been a few righteous.

So?  Be upright, blameless and righteous.  Live as God would have you live.  Call on Him for strength and guidance.  Let’s make the fall happen. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Choose Your Lion

(Proverbs 28:15 KJV)  As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.

What does “roaring” (5098) signify in a lion?  I am not an expert on lion lore so let me reach down into my memory and pseudo-memories and put together a construct.

The male lion generally lets the females do all the work.  He is mainly there to protect his turf and make sure that no other male lions cut into his harem.  When the pride goes out to hunt he is too lazy to skulk around on his belly trying to sneak up on dinner so he walks around roaring.  The females have spread out in the other direction so that the panicked dinner-on-the-hoof will run away from the roaring and toward the jaws of death. 

Such is a wicked ruler.  Remember that we Americans live in a republic.  We vote.  We have elections coming.  We need to call upon God to help us show wisdom and discernment in these times.  I won’t presume to try to apply this to individuals.  I think God gives us the ability to think and most of us still have the freedom to act. 

So?  In elections don’t listen to the roaring.  Look at the record.  Look for where the lions have stood on issues that are clearly outlined in scripture.  Look at the moral issues (social issues), look for a pattern of integrity, look for an understanding of honor and duty.  Don’t be a sluggard during election season.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Flattery Can Get You Somewhere

(Proverbs 27:21 KJV)  As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.

This is another place where the KJV is better than the NASB.  It makes a literal translation and lets you, and the Holy Spirit, fill in the connections.

“Praise” (4110) is one of the great refiners of our lives.  How do we respond to it?  On the surface a simple “Thank you” is socially expected, but what goes on inside?  Do we actually believe it?  Can we accept it when it is deserved?

Praise changes us.  I would assume that it separates the dross from the pure.  It produces very real danger if not dealt with properly.  It produces beautiful results if you respond with grace.  That is the point here.  Let praise make you a better person.  The purpose of the “furnace” (3564a) is to remove the impurities.

So?  Accept the praise graciously.  Then go home and be critical and discerning.  Don’t let it go to your head but be encouraged by the part of the praise that is valid.  Expect to make progress in life to be more like Jesus.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Haters Happen

(Proverbs 26:24 KJV)  He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;

You have heard it said that “all that glitters is not gold.”  Here we are reminded that all who say nice things about you don’t have your best interest at heart.  This verse is part of a longer theme running from verse 19 to 28 about people who use their mouths in negative ways.  This one focuses on inner motive, something that we cannot see.

This is what the kids call a hater.  If you are not around the right groups you may not come across the term.  A hater is one who “hates” (8130).  I guess that is obvious. 

This hater “dissembleth” (disguises NASB) (5235) his hatred.

What is frustrating is that you don’t have to do anything to be the target of this hatred.  Often you are the target out of jealousy or envy.  You may be the target because you are a child of God.  Two important points for us.  First, you will be hated.  Second, it is not your fault.

So accept it and live with it.  Remember the words of Jesus,
(2 Corinthians 2:15-16 KJV)  For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:  To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
Be a sweet savour.  Drive them crazy.  With love, of course.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Wrong Tool Is an Accident Waiting to Happen

(Proverbs 25:18 KJV)  A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.

This is a curious statement to me.  It states the obvious that has been part of basic morality since the Ten Commandments were handed down:  Thou shalt not bear “false” (8267) {end} “witness” (5707). 

So the point must be the comparisons.  Three items are listed:  a “maul” (club NASB) (4650), a sword and an arrow.  All three of these are tools that have their place.  The club and arrow can be used as weapons or tools.  The sword can be used defensively or offensively.  They are not evil in themselves but in how they are used.

We are also evil or righteous, depending on how we are used.  Our words are evil or righteous depending on how they are used.  Our actions.... 

Witnessing can also have different meanings.  One is to lie about the neighbor.  The other would be to give him a false idea about Jesus by the way we live.

So?  Practice the obvious.  Speak truth.  Practice the less obvious.  Live truth.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Good for You

(Proverbs 24:13 KJV)  My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:

Do you allow yourself to enjoy the “good” (2896a) things of life?  There is so much to enjoy.  I write from the comfort and plenty of middle class America so it should be obvious to those in similar situations.  I also believe that depression era Americans had much “honey” to enjoy.  I believe that people in developing countries have access to much that is good.  It is okay to enjoy those things. 

As I write, Christmas Day is approaching.  Do you have reservations about the pagan roots of the holiday and the materialism of the season?  Rejoice in your discernment but allow that discernment to separate the baby from the bathwater.  Dry off the baby and help it to grow.  Think of the times you have been walking in a mall and heard a Christmas Carol that has wound its way through the PC police and declares “No more let sin and sorrow grow, nor thorns infest the ground.”  Enjoy the public school “holiday program” where the choir inadvertently sings, “Son of God, Love’s pure light.” 

Sometimes it takes a bit of discernment to know what is good.  Sometimes it takes a willingness to understand that some things are not good.  Someone once said that the good is the enemy of the best.  In our case they should be the same.

So?  Merry Christmas.  Joyful Incarnation.  Awesome Advent.  Or, just blessings on another day filled with God’s goodness.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Guided Heart

(Proverbs 23:19 KJV)  Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

Emotion is not supposed to be king in the life of a believer.  Notice, we have the power to “guide" (direct NASB) (833) our “heart” (3820).  Again and again in the Bible we see the admonition to act.  Here it seems to be saying to me that my heart is to be directed, not to be doing the directing.  Emotion has a place.  Feelings are a a part of life.  Neither can we claim to control.  Neither are we totally responsible for.  Our actions are accountable.

Do I want to get up and go to work today?  To late, it is done.  Do I want to turn the other cheek and forgive seven times seventy?  No, but I don’t have any choice.  Well, I do have a choice but I don’t have a choice, if you know what I mean.

We are saved by grace.  We are cleansed by the blood.  Noted.  But also note the repeated times in the Bible where it says that our actions will be looked at by Almighty God.

So?  Read, study, choose, act.  If necessary, repent.  Trust me, it will be necessary.  Get back on the horse and get moving again.  Direct your heart. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Right

(Proverbs 22:21 KJV)  That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?

This is the concluding part of a question that begins in verse 20.  Why has God given us the Bible? So we can “know” (3045).  This highlights the difference between the Christian hope and the hope of the world.  We know, we don’t wish.

There is “certainty” (7189b) in what we know.  The “words” (561) that are given to us are grounded, watered and harvested in “truth” (571).  That statement in itself is enough to turn the relativistic values of post-modern thinking against us.  I guess this means to know the truth of the truth. 

Does that make you uncomfortable?  I hope is does so, just enough to knock the arrogance out but not so much that we back down.  There is a phrase that is used casually in the political and educational worlds.  It comes from the Bible and it refers to Jesus.
(John 8:32 KJV)  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Remember that after that He said,
(John 14:6 KJV)  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
So?  Remember you can’t know your Bible if you don’t read your Bible.  Get to know the truth, written and living.  Let it and Him effect your day. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Live to Scale

(Proverbs 21:22 KJV)  A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.

We live in a fallen world.  We are told that the way of righteousness is narrow and few will find it.  At the same time we are to be salt and light.  Salt and light have many applications from practicing simple honesty to presenting targeted responses to the ideas of the world.  This refers to the latter.

Being “wise” (2450) does not mean a frontal assault on the current “stronghold” (5797) that Satan has placed in front of you.  The wise looks at the situation and “scales” (5927) the obstacle based on careful examination. 

I am not a mountain climber.  Not only am I too lazy, but I don’t relish the danger.  I do know that mountain climbers have different goals for different days and different mountains.  If you goal is to get your name in the papers you take the most difficult path and hope you appear on the front page not the obituaries.  If your goal is to make sure you get to the top you look for the most sure route. 

So?  Pick your battles and your battlefields.  You don’t need to take on the front gate of the world.  You will probably never crash the gate.  Allow wisdom to dictate your approach to what you face today. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Loan Minnows

(Proverbs 20:16 KJV)  Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.

Jesus told us to loan and give.  This is generosity and sharing in action.  We see someone in need, we reach out to meet that need.  This was much more clear in those days.  They did not have food stamps, WIC or EBT.  Famine was a constant fear.  Crops failed.  The fact that it is harder to tell who is in real need does not release us from the responsibility. 

This is not the same thing as standing as “surety” (6148) for someone.  That is repeatedly condemned.  Here the warning is about a “stranger” (2114a).  When you stand surety for someone it means that they are not qualified to borrow.  In modern terms we would say that they have a poor credit rating.  They want something they cannot afford.  We are not to guarantee payment. 

Understand the difference.  One is to meet needs.  The other is to satisfy wants.

So?  Yes, you can co-sign on your child’s first small loan to get them started.  No, you cannot co-sign for the cool little hybrid he wants to drive while he is in college.  Let’s get a little discernment here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Stop Dialing 911

(Proverbs 19:19 KJV)  A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.

Are you one of those people who always needs to be rescued?  Do you always rely on others to finish what you have started?  Do you leave the water running and need others to turn it off?  Let me meddle some more.  Are you always losing your keys?  Do you always need to borrow a pen?  Are you always short at the end of the month?

This verse is addressed to the person rescuing you.  They are being told to back off and let you grow up.  Maybe it is time to take the bull by the horns and begin to help them let you mature.

I find that I need to stop blaming others for my shortcomings.  I need to accept responsibility for my actions or lack of action.  It is much easier to lay it at their feet but Jesus wants me to lay it at His feet and begin to grow in the process.

So?  Anger isn’t the only weakness of character we need to deal with.  Open your eyes.  Ask God to show you and lead you to victory.  Then you can begin to help others and they can move forward too.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tongue Power

(Proverbs 18:21 KJV)  Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

My first inclination was to respond to the first part of this verse.  Then the focus would be on how our tongue can be for good or bad.  But as I looked at the second part I was drawn to the phrase “love (157) it.” 

What is the focus of “it,” “power” (3027) or “tongue” (3956)?  It really doesn’t matter because we are being reminded to ask ourselves, “What is the focus of our love?”  I did a search for verses that have both “fruit” (6529) and “tongue.”  I was looking for the phrase “fruit of the tongue.”  It reminded me of the phrase “fruit of the Spirit.”  This is the only verse that came up.

James has a lot to say about the tongue.  He says the tongue “is a fire.”  This verse seems to be saying that the fire can bring “life” (2425b) or “death” (4194).

So?  What is your first love?  Let your mouth reflect it.  Represent Jesus in word and deed.  Bring life, not death to those you speak to. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Three Fingers Pointing Back

(Proverbs 17:15 KJV)  He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.

The obvious targets of this verse are our modern courts, politicians and media people.  Currently there is a group that is trying to get the psychologists to declare pedophilia a normal part of life.  They did it with homosexuality a few years ago.  Some warned about the slippery slope and were laughed at.  The future is now.  The media will jump on board.  The courts will find a new constitutional right.  The abomination continues.

It may also be a comment on our actions.  We are not going to molest children or torture animals, but we don’t need to do that to justify wickedness.  What we do is excuse our gossip as concern and our lies as tact.  We can condemn the righteous by not speaking up in support when a fellow worker is disciplined for wearing a cross or wishing someone “Merry Christmas.” 

So?  Let the scripture speak to our hearts and improve our behavior rather than focus on the parts of the world we cannot influence. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Heart Wisdom

(Proverbs 16:21 KJV)  The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.

What does it mean to be “wise” (2450) in “heart” (3820)?  This is an interesting phrase.  It would seem to indicate that wisdom penetrates deep.  Wisdom is not superficial. 

Wisdom goes deep into our being.  It must start here.  It is rooted in the proper relationship with God.  Refresh you memory of this well know verse:
(Proverbs 9:10 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Think of it being like an electrician.  An electrician that lives to prosper has a healthy fear of electricity.  Handled properly it can power your world.  Handled cavalierly it can kill you.  Because we live in an age that makes the Word of God readily available, we can learn the kind of fear that will give us wisdom, long life and an eternity with God.

So?  Get the fear.  Develop the wisdom.  Apply your wise heart to the bumps of today.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

No Loitering

(Proverbs 15:19 KJV)  The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.

The “slothful man” (sluggard NASB) (6102) sees everything as a barrier to progress.  Confession time:  This is me when I don’t want to do something.  Everything makes moving forward impossible.  Each blip is an insurmountable barrier.  Simple conflicts demand profound soul-searching. 

Is there such a thing as a “half-sloth”? 

Is it being a sluggard to wonder why we need to move the stove out so we can clean the floor behind it?  It is being a sluggard to wonder why we slide the air-conditioner out of its sleeve to get the dust out of the tracks it rests in?  Is it really necessary to chase the dust bunnies under my work bench in the garage?  On those issues I am not sure.

So?  Work on knowing yourself.  When faced with challenges keep moving forward.  Today you will either make progress or avoid it.  Try to make the right choices.  No one wants to be a sluggard.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Let’s Meet at the Gate

(Proverbs 14:19 KJV)  The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.

It hurts to admit it because I don’t like the CEV, but I found it has an interesting spin on this verse:
(Proverbs 14:19 CEV)  The wicked will come crawling to those who obey God.
I won’t dignify this as “translation.”  It is more interpretive commentary, but it is certainly an interesting thought. 

Think about it.  The grasshopper will try to borrow from the ant.  The spin-thrift children eventually come to borrow from the thrifty parents.  The deficit spending government dips into the equity of those who have delayed gratification. 

If you follow the ways of God you build up a wealth of righteousness.  This could be honest physical wealth but it also could be emotional reserves or spiritual stability.  Eventually those who live in self-centered rebellion will come looking for help from the “good” (2896a).

So?  Will you be ready?  Have you lived in such a way as to found at the “gates” (8179) of the “righteous” (6662)?  It must be possible or this verse belongs in the sci-fi/fantasy section.  Today is a good day to change if you would rather be in the gate than crawling.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What Is Your Desire?

(Proverbs 13:19 KJV)  The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.

Earlier in this chapter, in verse 12, we saw hope and “desire” (8378) together in the same verse.  Just like hope, “desire” is a concept that we need to expand on a little.  Just as hope is deeper than a wish, for believers “desire” goes deeper than a want.  It is not something that pops into your head when you watch a commercial or see your friend with the latest smart phone app.

This does not mean that Christmas is the best day because you get everything on your list.  It means that Christmas is a great day because you celebrate the coming of Jesus to the world and by extension you know the joy of Him coming to your heart.  The desire of a child is to get.  The desire of maturity is to give.  The childish lust.  The mature love.

So what is your desire?  Are you satisfied with a daily sugar fix or are you after the meat of the Word?  One is fast food, one requires us to gather the ingredients, measure and above all follow directions.  To follow the directions you need to read them.  May you have a sweet day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Really? Yes, Really

(Proverbs 12:21 KJV)  There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.

To be honest, verses like this trouble me.  Literally, they seem false.  The Bible is true.  We must struggle with them and come up with answers.

We need to start with the fact that the people of past ages were not stupid or blind.  They can see the same things I can see, yet they accepted this.  The author was not blind or stupid, yet he wrote it.  God inspired it.  There must be an understanding.  Perhaps the resolution is found in the juxtaposition of “evil" (harm NASB) (205) and “mischief" (trouble NASB) (7451b).

At a current reading a verse came to mind:
(Romans 8:28 KJV)  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
And think about what Joseph had to say to his brothers,
(Genesis 50:20 KJV)  But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
I must admit that things happen that look evil to me.  Yet we have these promises.  We can believe that no matter what happens, God can and will sanctify it.  But notice that even here the promise is to those who are serving Him.  You can’t go out and live a self-centered life and then wonder why evil things happen to you.

So?  I guess it is back to basics:  Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mercy Is a Two Edged Sword

(Proverbs 11:17 KJV)  The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.

Mercy is a different type of two edged sword.  We tend to think of it as something that benefits the receiver.  I am merciful. You receive mercy.  True and obvious.

What is not usually understood is the benefit to the giver.  This is a principle that the Bible keeps repeating in different words.  Jesus said,
(Matthew 5:7 KJV)  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Coming at it from another direction, Jesus also said
(Matthew 6:12 KJV)  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
One is offered as positive, one negative, but the effect is the same.  Treating people with love and grace pays off for everyone.

So?  Do what is right.  If you can’t do it because it is right, do it because everyone will benefit.  It is a promise. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Reality of Righteousness

(Proverbs 10:21 KJV)  The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.

Once again we see the assumption that righteous people exist.  So many deny this.  They like to misquote Isaiah.  They say, “My righteousness is as filthy rags.”  When they misquote it they are saying that they have no claim to righteousness, that such a claim is deceitful such as calling rags beautiful clothes.  That is not what the verse says.
(Isaiah 64:6 KJV)  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Notice the plural.  It does mean that if we call our actions “righteousness” and use them as a reason why we should be saved, they are like filthy rags.  It does not say that the grace of God, the cleansing of the Blood and the power of the Holy Spirit cannot make us righteous.

Repeated references like this verse in Proverbs remind us that God can move in our lives to clean us up and make us saints.

So?  Don’t settle for “the devil made me do it.”  Accept the fact that “the Holy Spirit enables me to be it.”  Ask for forgiveness.  Ask for cleansing.  Ask for empowerment.  They are all offered.

Friday, December 9, 2011

No Rain Checks

(Proverbs 9:3 KJV)  She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,

Wisdom has not only prepared a place to be but is planning a feast to go along with it.  She has “sent” (7971) the invitations.

I see a parallel here to a parable Jesus told.  One telling begins this way,
(Luke 14:16-17 KJV)  Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:  And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
In each telling there are many people who are invited who simply send their regrets.  They are too busy to come. 

Wisdom runs into the same response.  She has prepared a spiritual and intellectual feast.  All the courses are laid out ready to be consumed and she bids us come.  She sends special invitations to partake.  The invitations are personally carried.

So, did you get one?  How have you responded?  In the parables the host did not give rain-checks.  Those who made excuses were rejected.  Make sure that you are giving God a daily “yes.”

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Got Wisdom?

(Proverbs 8:7 KJV)  For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

Wisdom is founded on “truth” (571).  We sometimes forget that.  We tend to think in terms of intelligence, cleverness, adroit arguments and such.  This tends to get us to accept some of the worst deals possible.  We elect charlatans.  We marry facades.  We embrace “wickedness” (7562).  Sometimes we are simply wrong.  Too often we don’t take the trouble to do our homework. 

God will “speak" (utter NASB) (1897) what we need to hear.  He uttered it long ago and it applies today.  He still speaks through His written word and the indwelling Holy Spirit.  If we don’t open the Book it doesn’t help us.  I use a cell phone that requires me to buy time every couple of months.  I go to the store, buy a card and take it home.  It is a waste of money if I do not activate it.  To activate it I must follow the directions printed on it.  Access to the world is available but I must activate it.

So?  God has provided all that we need.  We ignore it at our peril.  Got Wisdom?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bed Spreads Are a Coverup

(Proverbs 7:16 KJV)  I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.

American have been seduced with material wealth.  We are impressed with the “coverings” (4765).  Another way is to say we are more impressed with smoke than with substance.  In the last election we were offered “hope and change.”  Someone did some research and pointed out that there was nothing new about this.  Almost every election has politicians offering the words “hope” and “change.”  The problem is that the object of hope is never explained and the changes are never detailed. 

The world makes the same offers but keep in mind they are only tools of seduction.  We need to learn to look underneath, to look for the truth or lie that is underneath.  Remember that the fashions that look so good on the slender, starved, air-brushed model in the advertisement will not look the same over your love handles.

So?  One size fits all doesn’t work in clothes.  One truth fits all does work for eternity.  Keep your eyes open, your mind in gear and your soul in touch with Jesus.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

They Are Out to Get You

(Proverbs 6:26 KJV)  For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.

What is the cost of sin?  We know that sin can send us to Hell.  We must repent and be forgiven.  That is not something we get much argument on.  After we come to faith there are times when we need to apply I John 1:9:
(1 John 1:9 KJV)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We understand that.

This is talking more about those temptations in life that we can avoid but choose not to.  Here it specifically is talking about sexual sin.  The first reference to “whorish woman" (harlot NASB) (2181) is pretty clear.  The “adulteress” (802/376) literally means “man’s wife” and is assumed to mean the wife of another man.  Both represent clear choices to known wrong.

Beware.  The sinner you meet “will hunt" (hunts NASB) (6679) for your life.  They rejoice in the opportunity to drag you down.

So?  Be on the alert.  Be careful not to take that first step, the casual flirting, the small compromise, the “oh, well” moment.  Ask God to make you aware and give you strength.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Marriage Is for Life

(Proverbs 5:18 KJV)  Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

When I am standing in the line at the grocery store I usually am forced to look at the covers of national sludge magazines.  One of the constant themes is celebrities finding true love and getting married.  Another constant theme is divorce.  It used to be that the only grounds for divorce was adultery.  Now it is anything that ruffles your feathers.  This is not God’s plan.

We are not to look for a better match.  We are not to try to find someone who understands us better.  We are to “rejoice” (8055) in the wife of our “youth” (5271).  No trophy wives (or husbands) allowed here.

This is directed toward men because in that culture men were the ones with the power.  Today this would be directed at both parties.

So?  Simple statement.  Marriage is for life.  Clear expectation.  Find a way to rejoice.  Difficult obedience at times.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Seeing in the Dark

(Proverbs 4:26 KJV)  Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

My son has a walkway that is very hard to see on dark nights.  It is very easy to stray off into uneven ground and getting off the path could cause stumbling and nose dives.  He has to “ponder” (watch NASB) (6424) the “path” (4570).

He discovered something that helped, other than installing a light, which would be the obvious solution.  I don’t know how he figured it out.  I don’t know if it was accidental or thought out, but it works.  He laid a board of white pine along the edge of the path.  Even on the darkest nights it seems to shine and keep him on track.

Do you tend to get off track and stumble in the tall grass of life?  There are solutions.  The obvious one is installing a light.  That brings to mind familiar words:
(Psalms 119:105 KJV)  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Another might be putting things in your life that shine with righteousness even in the darkness.  This could be habits and schedules that reinforce the paths of righteousness.  Look back a few verses.
(Proverbs 4:18 KJV)  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
So?  Plan to succeed.  Develop patterns that keep you from stumbling.  Get into the word and into developing an upright lifestyle.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Happy Tree

(Proverbs 3:18 KJV)  She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.

The “tree” (6086) of “life” (2425b) is a pan-Biblical concept.  It starts in the Garden.  Two trees are named, Life and Knowledge.  Adam sinned by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  The tree of life was not banned.  He could have eaten of it at any time until he sinned, but he did not.  After he sinned he and Eve were removed from the garden lest they eat of the tree of life.  They were no more qualified to eat it and live forever.

We are again offered the tree of life.  Here it is in the context of Wisdom.  It is a beautiful promise. 

Later we have the promise renewed.
(Revelation 2:7 KJV)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
So?  You can only come to know the wisdom of God through knowing Jesus.  Even then you must “retaineth” (hold fast NASB) (2388/8551) according to this verse or “overcome” as it says in Revelation.  That is the daily walk.  Today, think about how you could better walk the walk.

Friday, December 2, 2011

One Way Road Ahead

(Proverbs 2:19 KJV)  None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.

Here is that scary idea again.  It pops up often enough to be of concern.  It is not just one verse taken out of context.  If you walk away from the way of God you cannot “return” (7725).  We see this thought reflected in Hebrews:
HEB 6:6 and {then} have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame.
Jesus also spoke to this.
(Mark 3:28-29 KJV)  Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:  But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
This does not mean that every failure destines us to the pit of hell.  Remember what John said to believers,
(1 John 1:9 KJV)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
However you want to understand the meaning of these verses, it is clear that we are expected to walk in obedience and repentance.  Don’t get casual about your walk.

So?  Think seriously today about your walk.  Jesus did not go to the cross to see how many He could send to Hell, but to save as many as would believe.  Trust and obey.  Every day.  Hey, that rhymes.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Choice Is Not an Option

(Proverbs 1:15 KJV)  My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:

As a father, reading this passage goes right to the heart.  Parents spend years teaching, correcting, and modeling.  At some age the child leaves the nest but not the heart of his mother and father.  At this point we begin to hope that the statement is true:
"You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy."
Or to quote another place in Proverbs,
(Proverbs 22:6 KJV)  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Our children face choices.  Here again we see a statement that reminds us those choices are real. 

So?  If you have children, continue to pray for them and live before them.  If you don’t have children, there are people who watch your life.  God is merciful.  We are saved by grace.  We are still expected to exercise our ability to make choices.  Think and act.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lofty Eyes

(Proverbs 30:13 KJV)  There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.

Do you have “lofty” (7311) “eyes” (5869)?  Which direction do they look?  It makes a difference.

One type of lofty eyes looks down, usually on other people.  That is why the NASB throws in the word “arrogance” and puts it in italics to show it is not in the Hebrew.  They want you to know that this refers to the type of person looking down their nose (or down their knows) at the inferior masses around them.  Christians are often accused of this kind of attitude.  The inference here is that such an attitude is sinful.

You can use this picture to remind you that your eyes should be lofty because they are looking up.  Some words should be familiar to you,
(Psalms 121:1 KJV)  I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
We should be always keeping the eyes of our soul focused on God Himself.

So?  Which “generation” (kind NASB) (1755) are you?  People fit into categories.  People look in directions.  Today it might be an interesting exercise to see how others see you.  Then ask yourself if their image is accurate or distorted.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Catch the Drift

(Proverbs 29:15 KJV)  The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

Now we have more instructions on rearing children, instructions that are rejected by our culture.  The “rod” (7626) is considered criminal by some people today.  That does not seem to be the way God views it.

The word “rod” (7626) is also translated “tribe” and “half-tribe”.  It has the idea of a branch that is heavy and useful for many things from clubs to spears.  It was also once attached to the trunk and thus to the root, giving it a badge of authority.  In a sense this means to use the divine leadership given to you as a parent, pastor or teacher to guide and develop the young.

And “reproof” (8433b) is viewed as damaging to self-esteem by the secular world.  The problem is not that the world feels that way.  The problem is that the church has adopted the worlds view.  We see this not only in children, but in the discipline of adults.

So?  Beware conforming to the world’s standards and expectations.  It is often a slow drift and we need to do regular checks.  Are we making our decisions based on the words of Moses, Jesus and Paul or are we listening to Dewey, Freud and Darwin.  Keep your boloney detector on. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Fear

(Proverbs 28:14 KJV)  Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

Do you want to be “happy” (blessed NASB) (835)?  Then “fear” (6342).  An understanding of the Biblical fear is vital.  It is not crippling fear, it is guiding fear.  It is not inhibiting fear but mobilizing fear.  It is fear based in knowledge not superstition.  Real fear differs from worldly fear in the same way that our hope differs from the common idea of hope.

Fear is awareness.

Fear is assurance.

Pascal wrote:  “Fear not, provided you fear; but if you fear not, then fear.”

In a very real sense you can conquer fear.  It does not seem to be a good idea.  A fool “hardens” (7185) his heart against the fear of the Lord.

So?  Fear in a healthy, well balanced, God centered way.  It keeps you away from cliffs and gives you assurance. 

Pensees, Project Gutenberg, Kindle Highlight Loc. 4248

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hell No? or Hell Yes!

(Proverbs 27:20 KJV)  Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

Different translations use different words to get across the ideas here.  The NASB uses the Hebrew terms of “Sheol” (7585) and “Abaddon” (11).  The KJV uses “hell” and “destruction.”  Other translations have “underworld” and “death” for the first and “grave” for the second.  This verse seems to personify these two places.  Proverbs does the same to wisdom.

Two points occur to me.  First, these are real places and real concerns.  Don’t fall into the trap of believing that heaven is real and hell is not.  That simplifies things too much.  Eternal existence is real.  It is described in terms of eternal life and eternal death.  One is in the presence of God, one is separate from God. 

Second, eternal death, by whatever name will never be “satisfied” (7646) and that means you will never be satisfied.  You will be in an eternal condition of wanting something you can’t have.

So?  Make sure you are on the right team.  Check your logo.  It needs to be a cross not a career.  Just a friendly reminder from a person who doesn’t know you.  You know.  God knows. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011


(Proverbs 26:23 KJV)  Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.

Dirt and the leftover “dross” (5509) from smelted silver is a pretty low piece of work.  We have little trouble seeing this is the world around us.  Look at the people who draw the praises of the masses.  Rotten to the core and painted with the tainted.

But how often does this describe how we try to live our lives?  We don’t have much trouble with the “potsherd” (earthen vessel NASB) (2789).  The picture is given to us in the NT.
(2 Corinthians 4:7 KJV)  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
All branches of Christianity agree that we are sinners and far from the ideal. 

But what do we use to decorate the outside of our lives.  Some people think they can take the colors of the world and the colors of God and mix them together.  Did you ever try that in art class or as a child with water colors?  When you get the two it comes out a brownish gray that totally confuses my level of color blindness.  Our lives become colored with trash pigment.  In a word, dross.

So?  Make up your mind.  Are you going to immerse yourself in the literature and music of God or of the world?  Dross or gold?  Today might be a good time to start that redecorating project. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Oh, No, Not Again

(Proverbs 25:17 KJV)  Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.

Let me assure you that I can’t be talking about you today.  I don’t know you.  At least, I don’t think I know you other than through the comment section.  Having said that, this verse may speak about your pattern.  Do you make a pest of yourself?

I heard someone mention the three day rule:  When you visit, never stay more than three days.  This would go along with that idea.  We need to be sensitive of others.  Look at your pattern.  Do you find yourself always stopping by someone’s house, office, cubicle or place of business?  Is it possible you are wearing out your welcome?  It is possible they are too polite to tell you? 

My problem tends to be at the other extreme.  I am quite content to go home, close the door, turn on the answering machine, get a good book and ignore the world.  But that is an issue for another day.

So?  Check your patterns.  Be sensitive to the needs of others.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Knew That

(Proverbs 24:12 KJV)  If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth 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?

I run into two opposite and equal responses from people when they are presented with information.  One response is, “I knew that.”  Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t, but they recognize that they should have.  The other response is “No one ever told me that.”  Maybe.  But usually each response is to cover up the lack of listening.  The first can be humorous.  The danger of the second is hypocrisy.

While I believe God has a sense of humor, He sees through hypocrisy instantly.  Here hypocrisy is a synonym for a lie.  How often do we claim that we did not “know” (3045) something?  How often are we without excuse?  You can fool your friends.  You might be able to talk yourself into believing it.  God will not be mocked.

So?  Be honest.  God does not need a search warrant to know what is in your records.  He does not give jury trials.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that He responds to repentance and has already paid for your Advocate and done the time for you.  Take advantage if you have not already done so.  If you have, rejoice.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An End That Is a Future

(Proverbs 23:18 KJV)  For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

There are times when we feel like all is lost.  It can be as final as a death in the family.  It can be as key as an election defeat.  It can be as childish as having liver for dinner.  Despair sits on the sidelines begging to enter the game.  We have a choice and we face it regularly.  We can have an assurance.  God promises a “surely” (3588/518) in our lives and it involves the certainty of an “end” (future NASB) (319).  This can be as simple as a reminder that “this too shall pass” or it can be as exciting as the promise of the resurrection and eternal life. 

We have the choice.  We can accept or reject.  I face that today.  Maybe you do.  I have a situation that keeps popping into my mind and tries to steal my joy.  I can either focus on it or focus on the promises of God. 

So?  I know which I am going with, how about you.  Grab the promise and get on with life.  It comes with a side order of joy. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Written to Be Used

(Proverbs 22:20 KJV)  Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,

Have you ever been accused of being arrogant because you claim to know truth?  Maybe you have never made that claim.  You should if you are a follower of Jesus Christ.  We do not operate on our own steam.  We have “counsels” (4156) and “knowledge” (1847) based not only on the shoulders of the giants of the faith but on the word of God itself.

Solomon has “written” (3789) things down for us.  So did Paul, John, Isaiah, etc.  We have the benefit, but only if we use it. 

Are you using what God has made available to you?  Why not?

So?  The truth given to us is not a nest egg or a savings account for a rainy day.  It is to be accessed and applied every day.  Don’t waste the resource. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rewards Club

(Proverbs 21:21 KJV)  He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.

This brings to my mind the words of Jesus,
(Matthew 6:33 KJV)  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
There are two similar translations of the key verb.  The NASB uses “pursues” (7291) and the KJV, “followeth.”  The NASB only translates it as “follow” five times and the KJV uses “pursues” eighty times to nineteen.  Both have the idea of following but one implies more active attention than the other. 

Either way, it is clear our steps are to be on the path of righteousness.  That assumes we want to achieve the goals expressed here:  “Life” (2425b), “righteousness” (6666), and “honor” (3519b).

So?  What are your goals.  If you are a believer, consider that a rhetorical question.  If you are not a believer would you like to see these things in your life?  Pursue Jesus.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Walk the Talk

(Proverbs 20:15 KJV)  There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

This is a simple reminder, an insight into the total Biblical picture of prosperity.  “Knowledge” (1847) is listed as being more “precious” (3366) than gold and jewels.  Gold and jewels are nice, but are incomplete without knowledge.

We understand that both are valuable.  What is being declared here is a ranking.  We find them discussed separately and in combination.  We often see the ranking here but I have never seen one that puts physical wealth above wisdom.

We are also being reminded because we forget this so frequently.  Maybe you are not like me.  I tend to know what is important and ignore it.  You know, talk but not walk.  Then again maybe you are like me.

So?  God knows us and the Holy Spirit reminds us.  Examine your priorities and plan your day based on them.  If it is too late to change today’s plan, how about tomorrow? 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

On the Road, Once More

Just a note.  I will be traveling the next week.  I will schedule posts and if I press all the right buttons and the technology works Perpetual Proverbs will continue with no interruptions.  Comments?  When I have access.

Grace and Peace through this Thanksgiving Season.

Eternal IRA

(Proverbs 19:17 KJV)  He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

Jesus touches on our attitude toward those who want our money:
Matthew 5:42 "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
This would seem to give an insight into what He meant.  We do not lend to those in need, we  “have pity” (is gracious NASB) (2603a).  I have a guy who owes me ten cents from when I was in Junior High School.  I bring it up when the kids at school are trying to bum money off of me.  I tell them that when he pays me back I will see about loaning money to them.  At the other end I have a friend that technically owes me $500 dollars.  I never bring it up.  I don’t expect it.  He was in need and it was “loaned” with the understanding on my part that it would not be returned.

We are to share of the blessing God has given us.  If you want to think of it as a loan, then consider the rest of the verse.  He who lends to the “poor” (1800b) really “lends” (3867b) to the Lord.  The absurdity of the idea should be apparent.  How can you lend to one to whom you owe so much?  Remember what Paul wrote in Philemon:
Philemon1:17-18 If then you regard me a partner, accept him as {you would} me.  But if he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account;
So?  I could make a case for being responsible but that is not the point here.  We need to be willing to share and not act like we are the local bank.  There are those in need around us.  You might try passing a gift through a middleman so that they don’t know who gave and you get no credit.  You can simply enjoy their joy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Fruit of the Mouth

(Proverbs 18:20 KJV)  A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.

At first all I could say after reading this verse was, “Whaaat?”  Actually I responded that way after reading over it several times.  Today I focused a little and it began to remind me of other teachings and connections.

Our lives produce “fruit” (6529).  We have the words of Jesus,
(Matthew 7:16 NASB)  "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
We have Paul talking about the fruit of the Spirit.  We are familiar with the concept of our lives bearing results based on what we are inside.

The first thing this reminds me of is that my “mouth” (6310) lays the groundwork for my behavior and how people receive me.  It is important what I say and how I say it.  Yesterday I had the chance to witness a little.  I found myself wondering if my mouth had prepared the way.  Had I been a gossip?  Had I been unkind?  Did the person I was talking to say to himself, “That is interesting” or did he think, “What a hypocrite”?

So?  What is the fruit of your mouth in everyday living?  It certainly gives me something to think about as a new day begins.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Not a Fun House

(Proverbs 17:13 KJV)  Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.

We don’t always get what we deserve. 

Sometimes that is good.  Salvation is not something we deserve.  We were sinners.  In spite of that Jesus went to the cross.
(Romans 5:8 KJV)  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
This is Theology 101.  It is a point agreed to by all Christians.

Sometimes it is not so good.  That is what this verse is reminding us about.  Sometimes you will do “good” (2899b) for someone.  Are they grateful?  No.  They return the favor by doing “evil” (7563a) to you.  Expect it.  It is going to happen. 

Often we run into people who think that because we are taught to turn the other cheek, they can treat us like trash and there is no down side.  God will not be mocked.  He will not let this kind of behavior go unpunished.  Because of their attitude and actions, evil permeates their house.

They may think, “Bring it on!”  They may think that evil is demonstrated by a party atmosphere and the freedom to do all the wild and crazy things those Christians can’t do.  They miss the true extent of evil.  Evil removes the joy.  Evil removes the elements that make life worth living.  When evil descends on a house it becomes a house of gloom and despair.  They may not admit it to you, but they pay big time.

So?  There is little you can do for them but you can make sure that your life does not follow that path.  Go forth and do good.  Let the evil depart. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Get a Handle

(Proverbs 16:20 KJV)  He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.

Again we find references that seem to be more NT oriented.  The believer “handleth” (gives attention NASB) (7919a) a “matter” (the word NASB) (1697), even in the OT.  The Jews had to be a literate people.  You can’t give attention to the word if you can’t read.  The ancient Jews were expected to read and know the word of God, just like modern Christians.  This was directed to the people, not to a group like the Pharisees. 

To “handleth” (gives attention NASB)  (7919a) means to carefully and thoughtfully deal with.  The KJV uses “matter” for “word” (1697) but the overwhelming usage of the word, even in the KJV, is “word.”  Specifically it is translated “word” or “words” 808 times, as opposed to “matter” and “matters” 63 times.

Tie that together with the creation account and how “and God said...” becomes “and there was....”  It is important to pay attention to what God has to say about an issue.

So?  Have you checked in with God today.  You probably checked the weather and maybe a traffic report.  You may have answered e-mail and texted a few times.  Did you give any attention to the word?  Priorities.  Priorities.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The DNA Made Me Do It

(Proverbs 15:18 KJV)  A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.

As I read this chapter this month, I see a side of this I had not noticed before.  We often run into people who claim they are “wrathful” (hot-tempered NASB) (2534).  The implication is that they cannot control themselves.  This seems to see it differently.  This seems to say that this guy “stirs up” (1624) “strife” (4066) rather than being stirred up by it.

This verse would imply that even people with a temper have a choice.  Perhaps an uncontrolled temper is more conditioning than nature.  I am not trying to make a hard and fast rule but I have always wondered why two people can respond totally differently to the same situation.  It would also explain why some people when they come to know Jesus are able to dump their temper.

So?  Do you have a temper?  Is it lack of discipline or DNA?  Ask Jesus, but you need to ask with honesty.  Don’t get mad if the answer is not what you want to hear.

Monday, November 14, 2011

With Heart, and MIND, and Soul

(Proverbs 14:18 KJV)  The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.

The only difference between the KJV and NASB is the English word used for “simple” (KJV) or “naive” (NASB) (6612a).  Although modern English gives them a slightly different meaning there is considerable overlap.  This talks about a person who does not look beyond the surface of events or thoughts.  I guess the difference might be in ability.  It is the same difference between stupid and ignorant.  One is an innate quality, the other a character trait.  One cannot be overcome, the other is a result of sloth. 

Christians believe that God will make allowance for those who are mentally deficient so I think this refers to sloth.  We are looking at a quality of the sluggard. 

Naive is not cute.  Naive is not innocent.  Naive is not winsome.  Naive is lazy.

So?  God gave you a mind as much as a soul.  Use the first or you might find the latter in peril.  If you are naive, give thinking a try today.  If you are not naive, praise God.  If you don’t know the difference, ask a friend.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Natural Disaster

(Proverbs 13:18 KJV)  Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.

What a simple statement.  What a simple analysis.  What a simple solution.  How totally rejected by our political and intellectual leaders today.  The real tragedy is that it is also rejected by the leaders of the church.  It becomes a personal tragedy if I reject it.

Notice it does not try to say that the only cause of poverty and shame is lack of “instruction” (discipline NASB) (4148).  It is one cause.  From reading Proverbs and observing the habits being taught to our children, I would say that it is a major cause.  It is a cause that is beginning to replace the historical realities of oppression and disaster.  Lack of “instruction” (discipline NASB) is becoming a natural disaster and a national disaster.  These are the natural results of a culture that “refuseth” (neglects NASB) (6544a) “instruction” (discipline NASB).

You don’t need to quote me, quote God.

So?  We stock up food and water for emergencies.  When we do, the emergencies are downgraded to inconveniences.  Are you stocking up for spiritual emergencies?  How is your discipline?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Heart Monitors

(Proverbs 12:20 KJV)  Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.

We have a saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  Perhaps we could have another one, “Deceit is in the heart of the evil.”

There are times when circumstances seem to trap us.  We respond under pressure or without thinking and we know we have blown it.  We all know what that is like.

But what about those times when actions are simply a reflection of what is inside.  What is the basic condition of your “heart” (3820)?  Some have hearts of “deceit” (4820).  This is not talking about the generic condition of all humanity.  If it were there would be no second part of this verse.  Some people have set their hearts on evil.  It is a choice they have made either by seeking it out or by rejecting the grace that God has offered.

So?  You can’t do much about others but you can check your own heart.  Is it set on evil or peace?  Rejoice or repent today.  The long term results are dramatically different.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Honor of Grace

(Proverbs 11:16 KJV)  A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.

The translations I have agree on the first part of this verse but have variety on the second part.  That is because “gracious” (2580) is one of the important words of the OT.  This is the favor that Noah found.  Theologically it means that undeserved movement of God that takes place not only in our salvation but in the daily maintenance that the Holy Spirit does.

In relationships it is a human trait that we can all learn.  It involves things like courtesy, kindness, patience, tact and so forth.  Here the emphasis is on women.  Other places it is applied across the board.  You can’t ignore the recommendation of this charming way of relating just because you are not a woman in the same way that the second part doesn’t mean that only men can attain riches.

So?  Live a life that produces “honor” (3519b).  We are called to make a difference and you will touch areas of the world the rest of us won’t have time to reach today.  Be salt and light.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Just Righteous

(Proverbs 10:20 KJV)  The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.

Believers should get the “Silver” (3701) “Tongue” (3956) Award.  People should love to hear what we have to say because we speak truth.

At least that should be our standard.  We are supposed to be “just” (righteous NASB) (6662).  Think of the synonyms that are substituted for being just at different places in scripture.  What words come to mind?  Straight.  Upright.  Honest.  Clean.  Righteous.  Pure.  Holy.

We should be the kind of people who speak with silver dollars instead of monopoly money.  When we say something, hearers should be able to take it to the bank.

So?  Are you a reliable source?  That doesn’t mean you never make mistakes.  It means that your are the kind of person who’s words can be trusted.  It is a matter of choice.  Make it today.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Death Happens

(Proverbs 9:18 KJV)  But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

The Bible is a serious book.  Proverbs is a serious part of that serious book.  It is not just a lot of cute and clever sayings to entertain.  It is not a matter of “Six Easy Steps” or “Five Ways to....”  It is a guide book to life and death.

This chapter in Proverbs deals with wisdom and the foolish.  Both say the same things but mean the opposite.  Compare verses 4 and 16.  The same words but different destinations.  Jesus said that He came to bring life.  Following the foolish leads to death.  Don’t be “guests” (7121) of fools.

So?  Life is serious.  Death is final.  Make sure that you are listening to the right voice so that you can turn the right direction.  What is that tune you were just humming?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

For Crying Out Loud

(Proverbs 8:1 KJV)  Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  For pagans this leads to an endless round of circular reasoning.  Believers know that the proper answer is neither, God created both a chicken and a rooster because if He didn’t we would not have any eggs that could become chickens.  See how easy that was?

With “wisdom” (2451) and “understanding” (8394) it isn’t that easy.  Then again, maybe it is.  They seem to be designed to go around in circles.  When one increases, the other follows.  Both are rooted in the reality of an almighty God.

Wisdom begins in a proper fear of the Lord.  Without wisdom, knowledge is of limited use.  With wisdom knowledge is assembled and becomes understanding.  Wisdom adds the perspective that leads to understanding.  That perspective is the eternal, holy nature of God.  Without it you are like a man with a cow that has never had a calf.  Such a cow is good only for one time use as hamburger.  Properly prepared the cow can give years of milk and cheese.

So?  Are you after the kind of answers a Google search can give or do you want to really understand the nature of the universe.  For one, press “enter;” for the other, seek wisdom. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

With All Due Diligence

(Proverbs 7:15 KJV)  Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.

Christians are big fools for people who claim to “diligently seek” (seek earnestly NASB) (7836).  We look for this in our political leaders.  I don’t know how many times I have heard this explaining why a vote was cast.  In our private lives it involves making donations or loaning things.  Sincerity is a requirement in life, but it is not the final word. 

In this case we have a woman who has gone to worship and preformed the rituals.  She also did that sincerely.  She then went out with adultery on her mind.  Her sincerity was not grounded in righteousness and truth.  As you read on you will find out that her misguided sincerity ends up in what verse 27 calls “the way to hell.”

So?  Focus your sincerity on righteousness, not ritual.  Let your sincerity be a source of obedience.  Know the truth and don’t play games with yourself or God.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fire Still Burns

(Proverbs 6:27 KJV)  Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?

A variation of this is a common proverb I heard as a child, “He who plays with fire will often get burnt.”  I tried a Google search to find out who said it first.  It was interesting.  I flipped through page after page of references to the phrase and could find nothing showing its source.  It may be buried in there somewhere but I have a life.  Someone wrote a book recently that used it in the title.  Newspapers accuse everybody of doing it.  It is quite popular.

This tells me that people are quite aware of this truth.  The oldest reference I find is right here in Proverbs.  This is evidence to me that the Holy Spirit is still working in the hearts of men and women.  There is something in us that knows that certain types of behavior have a built in danger.

What they don’t want to admit is that there is hope for a solution to the problem.

So?  We have the answer.  People know the question.  They just don’t want to admit it.  Pray that God would bring honesty to the hearts of people you care about. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Exclusive Listing

(Proverbs 5:17 KJV)  Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.

Some things in life are not for sharing.  We get a steady diet of community.  “We are one in the bond of love” used to be a big chorus.  It has been replaced by other catch-phrases such as “sharing is caring.” 

But some parts of our lives are not for sharing.  The context here regards sex and the marriage bed.  We are to be chase, monogamous and faithful.  “Strangers” (2114a) are people who are not in covenant with you.  This can be anyone who is not walking with Jesus.  On the personal level it refers to the unique relationship between husband and wife.

There is a reason why the church is called the Bride of Christ.  It reflects on the covenant that is established and the faithfulness that is expected.

So?  Save your best for the covenant.  That may be your spouse in sexual matters.  It should be God in all other areas.  He demands an exclusive.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Right On!

(Proverbs 4:25 KJV)  Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.

Who would have guessed that the expression “right on” came from the KJV.  The word means "in front of you," thus we have “directly ahead” (5227) in the NASB.

We are so easily distracted.  There is so much that can pull our “eyes” (5869) off Jesus.  It can be something as simple as a headache.  It really doesn’t take much.  It is almost like we are looking for a reason to get off track.  Why?

Because the life of holiness is demanding.  It demands the maturity of the long range view.  We are much more inclined to immediate gratification.  How many times have we had that extra helping of our favorite food because “life is too short.”  How many times have we gotten angry because someone gets in front of us in line. 

If you want to go straight, fix your eyes on something in the distance and walk toward it.  For us that should be Jesus.

So?  How did you start your day?  Did you get into the word and get your mind focused on the things of God or did you say, “Later.”  Maybe its just me but I find it to hard to bake the cookies if I don’t read the recipe.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ways of Pleasantness

(Proverbs 3:17 KJV)  Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

I like the old KJV expression of “ways (1870) of pleasantness (5278).”  It is purely personal and esthetic, not moral and scholarly.  It means the same as “pleasant ways” but works its way into my being better.

Such is wisdom.  That is what we are talking about here.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t tend to think of wisdom in terms of pleasant and peaceful.  I tend to think in terms of answers and insight.  Our culture does not value wisdom based on eternal truth.  It belittles wisdom based on simple teachings and moral standards.  “Intellectuals” today prefer the vague, impermeable sayings of the mysterious East such as, “What is the sound of one hand clapping” to simple ideas like “thou shalt not commit adultery.”  This conflict may make outward peace difficult.

But we can know the inner peace of being in harmony with an eternal God.  Such is wisdom.

So?  Don’t worry if the world doesn’t understand you.  It doesn’t understand truth either.  Seek wisdom and rejoice in finding it. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Choice Paths

(Proverbs 2:18 KJV)  For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.

This is a chapter of comparison and contrast.  We have wisdom and its results and then we have what verse 16 calls “strange woman” and “stranger.”  Both are referred to as “her.”  Solomon makes it clear that we have a choice. 

The disobedient “inclineth” (sinks down NASB) (7743).  I have a picture of a delivery ramp to the basement of a large building.  I see a large truck backing down and eventually being swallowed. 

We need to realize that some choices lead to “death” (4194), both physical and spiritual.  We are faced with many branches in our day and in our lives.  Some are of no eternal consequences.  Others may send us to Hell.

So?  Consider carefully your choices today.  God is patient.  God forgives.  God does not play games.  Think, repent, change, live.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Beware the Tie that Binds

(Proverbs 1:14 KJV)  Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:

This seems like a statement about Communism.  Some readers may not be old enough to remember Communism.  Those of us who do, realize it is still alive and well on college campuses and in the Federal Government.  It is a belief that all the wealth should be pooled and the government elites allowed to distribute it “fairly.”  In case you were not awake for the reading of the context, this is not a good idea. 

The “lot” (1486) has the idea of gambling.  This is an invitation to give up control of our lives and our ability to make choices.  We turn it over to someone else.  This implies that such a move is a gamble.  We need to be very careful of whom we join and whom we trust.

Many are familiar with another expression of this,
(2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV)  Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
In Corinthians it is specifically talking about marriage but the principle goes to every area of life.

So?  What commitments entangle you?  Many of them are done-deals and the ink is dry.  Honor your commitments.  Examine your day and your plans for the future.  Are there “common purses” that you should be avoiding?  Are there old commitments that you will be able to dissolve.  This is serious business.  Be alert.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Working Women

(Proverbs 31:16 KJV)  She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

One of the ideas I have always endorsed and promoted is the wife in the home.  I am mainly against women with children going out and being wage earners.  Making your children a primary focus is still valid, but this verse gives a different spin on the acceptable activities of a wife.  This excellent wife has “fruit of her hands” (earnings NASB) (6529/3709).  This could be from many different actions listed in this passage.  Look it over and see all the ways she generates income.  She does not use those earnings as her “mad money” to gratify her desires, she uses them to increase family wealth.

Women in Israel had much more freedom that women in surrounding cultures.  Respectable women in those days lived much like the women of fundamentalist Muslims today.  They wore veils and did not go anywhere unescorted.  Pagans visiting Israel were shocked at how brazen the women were by their standards.

So?  Be grateful for the equality that comes from our Biblical heritage.  This idea that all are equal before the law did not come from some Eastern religion or great philosopher.  It is rooted in the idea that the ground is level at the foot of the cross.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Graced Will

(Proverbs 30:12 KJV)  There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.

This verse is one of those that make me shudder.  It does not remind me of the sin in the world.  That is obvious to even my limited vision.  It reminds me to look at my attitudes.  It is so easy to think of myself as “pure” (2889) and confine my understanding to my vision of myself.  This is why the Reformed point of view has value; it reminds us of our need for the grace of God.

I believe that God gives us free will but not in the caricature that is often thrown at free will.  Notice the “gives” of that sentence.  Think of it as “graced” will.  In a sense it is not true free will because it is also a gift of God.  Someone called it “freed” will.  I read this term at An Introspective of an Arminian Christian under a title of “Lest You Think Calvinists Wise.”  He was quoting an other article.

And this is only possible because we can be cleansed.  I hope you believe that.  If you don’t believe me, how about the Bible?
(1 John 1:9 KJV)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
My shuddering can turn to shouting.  Jesus saves. 

So?  Don’t get resigned to sin in your life.  Confess.  Be forgiven.  Be cleansed.  Remember, you did not hear it here first. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Poor Judgement

(Proverbs 29:14 KJV)  The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.

There are principles here that apply to us who are not kings and don’t have thrones.  We do have positions of authority and places of influence.

A leader “judgeth” (judges NASB) (8199), brings justice.  It is part of his role. 

Dealing with the “poor” (1800b) is always to be a two edged sword.  We are not to give them an unfair advantage, but we are to be fair and just.  Then, the tendency was to mistreat and ignore the poor.  Today we go to the other extreme.  In both cases there is often a manipulation of the poor to get them to adopt mob mentality and produce results that are wrong.  I also think that this refers to those who are poor emotionally and intellectually, not just financially. 

Keep in mind that the poor are sinners as much as the rich, they just can’t afford as many options.

So?  Treat all people with dignity and courtesy.  Don’t assume anything based on their apparent wealth.  Let God’s standards be your measure today, not the bank’s or social worker’s.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Plenty and Good

(Proverbs 28:19 KJV)  He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.

What kind of “plenty” (7646) do you want in in your life?  On the one hand you have plenty of “bread” (food NASB) (3899).  On the other you have plenty of “poverty” (7389).  What separates the two?  Work.  Or sloth.  Depends how you look at it.

The successful “tilleth” (tills NASB) (5647).  This is an interesting translation.  The word means to serve.  The point is that the farmer serves the land in order for the land to produce life sustaining food.  The sluggard is not serving, he is chasing his own desires.  His life will be marked by poverty.  There is a simple lesson of life here as well as a figurative principle of Life. 

We are called to be servants, not the served. 

So?  The obvious is, work hard.  The implied is to serve the Lord and others.  No ego trips allowed.  Self-actualization is not a goal.  God provides the results.  Today choose which kind of plenty you want.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


(Proverbs 27:19 KJV)  As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.

Is this another way of saying, “Beauty is only skin deep”?  If so, it also adds the second part, “but ugly goes all the way through.”

There is a very real difference between a face and a heart.  We can change the face with cosmetics.  We can only change the heart with long term discipline or surgery.  The word sanctification comes to mind.  Most Christians agree with the process of sanctification.  It is the gradual growth to maturity that is expected of us.  So discipline can do something to change what is reflected.

The Bible also reminds us that there is nothing we can do in our own power.  Thus, even the growth of discipline is a result of the grace of God, active through the Holy Spirit.  The Bible also tells us that this grace and Holy Spirit can actually change the heart that the discipline is working on.  Witness this verse that reflects on what was experienced in the upper room at Pentecost,
(Acts 15:8-9 KJV)  And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
We see this change expressed two ways in scripture.  Either way, change is demanded.

So?  What kind of heart did yesterday reflect?  What kind of heart do you want to reveal today?  Call on God.  Ask for the grace you need and the Holy Spirit that is offered.  Make it a day where beauty goes all the way through instead of ugly.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Choose Not Strife

(Proverbs 26:21 KJV)  As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

What type of influence are you?  In these verses we see the effect we have on others.  Some people stir up “strife” (7379).  Some people are a calming influence.  There may be times where we are caught off guard.  In those cases there is little we can do but confess, repent, apologize and get on with life.  Wait, there is one more thing:  learn from the experience so it has less chance of recurrence.

We sometimes forget that little fact.  One of the reasons God allows us to go through trials is to season us.  We learn from experience.  For some it takes more experience than others.  The obvious point being made here is that stirring up conflict is not the way God wants us to be.

So?  Examine the dust you stir up.  If it is the dust of peace, well and good.  If it is the dust of strife, you are outside the will of God.  It is time to read I Corinthians 13 and apply active love.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gentle Persuasion

(Proverbs 25:15 KJV)  By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.

One of our best tools is “long forbearing” (forbearance NASB) (753/639).  It is also often overlooked.  As the KJV shows, this is a compound word an it means having a long face.  The problem with that understanding can come in the second part of the word.  That part of the compound is a word that is used for “anger” ten times as often as for “face”.  But think about it.  Forbearance is “long anger.”  It is anger that has a long fuse.  It is the “bears all things” of love. 

People can be “persuaded” (6601b) by passive actions and attitudes.  This is not because they are passive but because they reflect an active repression of personal revenge or animosity.  People who follow the living God are expected to be patient like He is patient.  Keep in mind that if God did not practice forbearance we would have been lightening bolted long ago.

So?  Put aside your lightening bolts.  Bite your tongue.  Put love into action.  Win your arguments because you are right and the Holy Spirit is your advocate.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Spiritual EMT

(Proverbs 24:11 KJV)  If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;

Am I my brother’s keeper?  This says, “Yes.”  We are to “deliver” (5337) those who are being “drawn” (taken NASB) (3947).  This would speak to the believer in the time of the Holocaust.  Those who hid Jews from the Nazis were fulfilling this command.  It may come as a command to us in the future when believers are being hounded by the government or mobs.  It may be that we will never need to act in this extreme situation.

But we have situations that seem less extreme, but really are more dangerous.  If a believer is being targeted by an oppressive government or group, all they can lose is their life.  Eternity is still secure.  You do believe that, don’t you?  But what if a person is “ready for” (staggering to NASB) (4131) hell on their own steam?  Do you see the death there?  And remember that it is final, eternal death.  Watch for an opportunity to share life.

So have you said a good word for or about the Lord lately?  Don’t force it.  Look for natural chances to praise the God of eternity.  Let the Holy Spirit do the hard work of convicting and convincing.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Can “Kidney” Be a Verb?

(Proverbs 23:16 KJV)  Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.

Is the conscience given or learned?  This verse reminds us that we have one but does not clarify how we got it.  We can say that there are “reins" (inmost being NASB) (3629) that know the difference between “right” (4339) and wrong.

When I switched over from the NASB to KJV I was startled at the translation of “reins.”  When I compared several translations I found a feast of words.  The word literally means “kidneys” and in modern thinking we might put “heart” or “mind.”  The idea of reigns refers to that part of us which controls us.

The point for me today is that I know right from wrong.  God has made the knowledge available and through His grace and the Holy Spirit He has made it possible to obey.

So?  Today is about obedience.  Most people would be so much better if they would just do what they know to do.  We can be in that small group that does not need to regret our choices every day.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spiritual Special Education

(Proverbs 22:19 KJV)  That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.

Is this a bit of humor?  Is God making fun of us?  Notice that He has “made known to” (taught NASB) (3045) “even” (637) you.  A literal rendering would be “God has acknowledged you” or “God has known you,” but all of the translations on my software have the English phrase, “even you.”

I need to be reminded of this at times.  Jesus died for me.  I know that.  That makes me feel like I have some worth.  But we need to be reminded that we tend to be somewhat knuckle headed much of the time.  One pastor used to always say that Jesus loved us so much that He would have gone to the cross even if we were the only one that needed to be saved.  That is wonderful and great for the self-esteem crowd, but only feeds the narcissism of most people.

I need to be reminded that I am not the sharpest tack in the box and God is not lucky to have me on His team.  In spite of that, He keeps working with “even me.”

So?  Rejoice.  You may be in the Spiritual Special Education department but you have a Teacher that specialized in hopeless cases.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wise Wealth

(Proverbs 21:20 KJV)  There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.

This is a statement about stewardship and thrift.  You need to compare it to verse 17. 
(Proverbs 21:17 KJV)  He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.
People who follow God’s pattern for production and consumption have a surplus.

Notice what kind of house has the “desired” (precious NASB) (2530) “treasure” (214).  You would expect it to be the house of the rich but it is really the house of the “wise” (2450).  You can take this figuratively or literally.  Either way it is powerful.  Wisdom demonstrates disciplined consumption.  Foolishness wastes.

The “foolish” (3684) “spendeth” (swallows NASB) (1104) the bounty that God provides when he should be conserving.  It is not how much you make, it’s how much you keep.  This could be a statement about our consumer oriented society.

So?  Are you a spender or a saver?  Do you fix enough for dinner to satisfy or do you throw a lot away?  Is your garage full of bounty that you have forgotten about?  Use your wealth with wisdom.  Start today, not tomorrow.  Now, not later. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Swap Meet Spirituality

(Proverbs 20:14 KJV)  It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.

Flea markets have been around a long time.  Swap meets are the stuff of history.  Do you see it here?  Actually this type of business transaction is common in much of the world.  We are used to going to a store and paying whatever is asked but in many places the first price the seller gives is just a dream and the first amount the buyer offers is just a shot in the dark.  And of course in the negotiations the buyer points out all the flaws and the sellers extolls the virtues.  Some people love the process.  I hate it.

But it points out that hard bargaining is not lying.  There is no condemnation here.  It is part of culture.  Keep in mind that other places, like verse 23 in this chapter, actual deception is condemned. 
(Proverbs 20:23 KJV)  Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.
What this means is that if you are selling a car you don’t need to point out every dent but you are not supposed to put sawdust in the transmission to cover up a major problem. 

So?  Honesty is God’s way.  Integrity is required.  Bargaining is recreational.  Getting a better price is good stewardship.  Find the balance.  The Holy Spirit can show it to you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Is a Sloth Lazy or Just Slow?

(Proverbs 19:15 KJV)  Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.

I don’t know if I like the “slothfulness” (6103) of the KJV or the “laziness” of the NASB.  One of the advantages of using the words from the KJV is that many modern people don’t understand them.  They have lazy vocabularies.

“Laziness” (6103) “casts” (5307) a wide net.  It must apply to many areas of our lives.  When it encompasses our spiritual and moral lives it puts us into a “deep sleep” (8639).  Some are content to stay that way.  The reasoning goes, “what I don’t know I can’t be responsible for.”  I have been there.  I figure if I don’t know the rules I won’t be accountable.

Doesn’t work.

We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God.  Does that sound familiar?  You might want to check out Romans 3:23.  When you are short of the glory, you still don’t measure up.  Which brings us to a verse you may not be as familiar with as Romans 3:23.
(Romans 10:14 KJV)  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Have you heard?  Then it doesn’t matter asking deep questions about the people who have never heard the gospel.  You have.  I have.  Claiming sloth won’t help.

So?  You may have covered this base.  Praise God.  If not, it is time to listen and act.  Have a glorious, redeemed day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Friend or Foe?

(Proverbs 18:24 KJV)  A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Can a man have too many “friends” (7453)?  In English the word seems to be used twice.  We need to look a little deeper on this.  The entity that can destroy you is most commonly translated “neighbor.”  This is the word used in the verse quoted by Jesus.
(Leviticus 19:18 KJV)  Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
I think this is referring to the person who is friends with the world.  Everyone is your buddy.  In a sense it shows a lack of discernment.

There is a very real sense in which we are not to get involved with everyone we meet.  Remember the words of Paul,
(2 Corinthians 6:17 KJV)  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
Paul was very good at relating to non-believers but he reserved his in depth relationships for brothers and sisters in Christ.  We could learn from his example.

So?  Can we hide in a closet?  No, but we can pick whom we will focus our energy on and whom we will trust.  Neighbors are not necessarily friends.