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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mornings Are for Leaders

(Proverbs 31:15 KJV)  She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

How has the Bible influenced Western culture?  There are many attitudes that we are so used to that we assume the rest of the world has them built in.  Such is not the case.  Even in our culture more and more people are ignoring the principles given by God and going to more pagan positions.  Here is a principle of leadership that we want to ignore, or perhaps we should say servant leadership.  The leader is the first one up.  The leader makes sure that the servants are taken care of.  It is not a case of being at ease and having other people do the work for you.

The Christian leader is a servant.  That goes against our inner nature.  This goes against the political structure.  This is the standard of God.  Think about the term used for the political leaders of many countries.  They are called “prime ministers.”  What that means is “first servant.” 

The secular culture may have forgotten this.  We cannot.  We are called to march to a different drummer and sing a different song.  Too often we just want to use different sticks or sing a different verse.  We are called to set the standard.  We are called to lead.  We are called to serve.

So?  Today remember the words of Paul:
(Philippians 2:3 NASB)  Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
You may need to take a strong stand and do unpopular things, but you do them because it is what God expects.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wise Like a Locust

(Proverbs 30:27 KJV)  The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;

Okay.  On this one you have me.  What does this mean?  In verse 24 it says we are going to learn about some things that are “exceeding wise.”  Now we see “locusts” (697) listed because they “go” (3318) in “bands” (ranks NASB) (2686a).  What?

I have read this many times.  It has yet to move me.  Does it stir your soul?  How would you feel if you were a farmer watching them eat your crops?  Would it impress you if you were a biologist studying their DNA?  I know my daughter never got thrilled if one got in the house.

So let that be the lesson for today.  All of the Bible will not speak to you every day.  Don’t linger and fixate on it.  Move on.  There is something out there for you.  Keep reading.

Maybe that is the wisdom of the locust.  It keeps going.  When a field is bare it moves on because it is hungry.

So?  Are you hungry?  Don’t dwell on the parts of the Bible that are sugar-free Jello to you.  Move on and find some nourishment.  Go forth in ranks.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Servant or Slave?

(Proverbs 29:19 KJV)  A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.

Slavery is one of many social institutions that were once considered normal but go against our modern thinking.  Other areas that we think different are such things as the status of women, rigid classes, and being subjects instead of citizens.  Ideas such as the principle of primogeniture  and sumptuary laws seem like foreign languages to us.  Much of the change is due to subtle but sure changes brought about by the growing influence of the Bible on the thinking of the world.

You may have notice that the KJV has “servant” rather than “slave” (5650).  Historically the words were often interchangeable.  In our modern thinking they are too distinct relationships.  That is because we have seen saturated with centuries of Biblical thinking that reflects the thinking of Paul,
(Galatians 3:28 KJV)  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
I don’t think the early church understood how revolutionary this would become.  The point I want to make today is that we are not to serve the Lord as a “slave” (5650) in the punitive sense but instead in the status of love slave or servant. 

One reason why slave cultures are overcome by free cultures is that it is to a free man’s advantage when he “understands” (995).  A slave gains nothing by the profit of his master.  A free man improves his lot when he benefits his employer.

So?  As you follow Jesus remember that you are a love slave, not an enslaved prisoner of war.  Serve with joy, with your mind turned on.  Today you may see something that would have passed you by if you were running on automatic.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Understanding Poverty

(Proverbs 28:11 KJV)  The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.

This chapter of Proverbs talks about the “poor” (1800b) six times.  Three are just general terms but the other three give us some good insights.

On the negative side we have the nasty poor.
(Proverbs 28:3 KJV)  A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
This person is poor financially but is still an oppressor.  I discussed this HERE.

Twice we have the poor lifted up as examples.  In spite of having little money they have the things that make life worth living.  They walk tall.  They walk in integrity.  God is more concerned with how we deal with our situation than in our bank balance.
(Proverbs 28:6 KJV)  Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
Then in this verse we have the poor who have “understanding” (995).  One of the great qualities of our age is that we all have access to education and opportunity.  Don’t let the bleeding hearts tell you otherwise.  We have children in the worst schools who are getting the tools they need and moving on to success.  Even the lowest student has more education than the average upper class member of Solomon’s day.

Understanding doesn’t mean you went to school.  It means you took the tools offered and put them to use.  You made them your own.  When I was a kid my family was poor.  In spite of that my parents bought an encyclopedia set.  On rainy days I used to sit and go through them, looking at the pictures and reading a little bit.  Some people would use them as paper weights or coasters.

So?  You have the opportunity to understand.  You have the tools.  Don’t rely on the preacher or the producer to tell you the truth.  Use the tools that God has given you.  Even if you are poor, you can have understanding.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Cutting Edge

(Proverbs 27:17 KJV)  Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

I learned about this a few years ago when my wife was given a really good set of knives.  I always thought when you want to sharpen iron you use a stone.  That is the way my dad did it and the limit to my knife sharpening experience.  Knives were sharpened with whet stones.  So what was this long thin rod of rough steel that came with the set?

I have experimented with it and find that it gets the knives sharp enough to make me bleed profusely if I am not careful. 

This verse tells me that to stay sharp we need constant work.  If I had a really dull knife I would probably take it to a stone.  If I just want to keep a knife in shape, the steel rod will do the job.  We need to be in constant contact with each other.  We need fellowship.  We need to be the ever ready pocket knife, not wait until we need a serrated edge to get through the warm butter.

So?  Hang around with your spiritual brothers and sisters.  They can keep you sharp with gentle strokes of rebuke.  They can keep adding to your knowledge.  They can take the wind out of your sails.  All of which we need from time to time.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Joker

(Proverbs 26:19 KJV)  So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?

In case you did not read the entire chapter today, Proverbs is continuing to reflect on the sluggard mentioned in verse 16.  It seems that chapter 26 is the focal passage on the sluggard.  Although the specific term is used thirteen times in Proverbs the most extensive discussion is in this chapter.

How often have I run into this at school?  I guess it is not new.  Someone “deceives” (7411b), they look you in the eye and lie through their teeth.  They get caught and act like it was a joke.  Another variation of this is to steal something and if you get caught say, “I was just borrowing it.”  I think we have all seen this.  It is part of the sluggard mentality.

A sluggard denies reality.  A sluggard blames others.  A sluggard feels like a victim.  A sluggard feels like life owes them something.  We see them every day.  We experience there demands every day.  We all have a trace of this in hearts.  It is original sin gone native.  Have you ever tripped and turned your fierce frown on the offending part of the sidewalk?  It didn’t do anything.

So?  Grow up today.  It may not be your fault.  There are times to shrug your shoulders and get on with life.  Jesus understands and expects us to keep moving forward.  What a glorious day to refuse to be a victim.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Spiritual Rabbit Ears

(Proverbs 25:12 KJV)  As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.

The Holy Spirit motivates some faithful people to reprove, rebuke and correct.  The devil motivates others.  To whom do we listen?

Listening is as important as speaking.  Actually it is more important because people speak whether it is God directed or not.  We need to develop our listening skills.  Another qualification of reproof is a “listening” (8085) “ear” (241). 

Sometimes this involves discernment.  We need to know the character of the person offering advice.  Are they reliable? 

We need to be immersed in an awareness of what the Bible teaches.  If you don’t know what God has to say about marriage, how can you evaluate current events and social pressure?

Sometimes it involves just a bit of common sense.  But keep in mind that common sense is based on the information you have stored in your data base.  If you have not done your homework your common sense has some glaring holes in it.

So?  Do your part.  Be open to reproof but make sure that you are listening as a Bible believer, not just a follower of Dr. Phil.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thorny Issues

(Proverbs 24:31 KJV)  And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.

What are the “thistles” (7057) and “nettles” (2738) of your life?  You say you are a city boy?  Then think of dandelions or crabgrass.  Think of people who don’t know how to drive.  Think of government regulations.  If you are like me, you life is full of forces that seem to get stronger daily and push in to suck the joy out of life.

Some things we can do little about.  Others we have a big say in.  Attitude is one of the big things we can control.  I would talk about my wife snoring but you might tell her, so lets talk about the dog next door.  I can be walking along the side of my house, minding my own business and even thinking righteous thoughts.  Then I am ambushed by the neighbors dog.  Suddenly this violent yapping jerks me back into the real world.  After the initial jump, I have choices to make.

Am I going to light a candle or curse the doggness?  Am I going to throw dispersions on my neighbor?  Am I going to move out of the neighborhood?  Or am I going to laugh, complement the dog on getting me again and go on my way?  Which response allows the nettles to begin to dig into my soul?

So?  Watch out for the dog.  Even more watch out for your attitude.  Get the weeds while they are small and they don’t live to be big.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Unbeat Generation

(Proverbs 23:14 KJV)  Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Is corporal punishment wrong?  Our modern American society is well on the way to saying “yes.”  The Bible says “no.” 

When you “beat” (5221) you inflict discomfort.  It is not supposed to be a pleasant experience.  That is the point.  It is not necessarily mean spirited, evil or destructive.  It can be all of those but most of the children I have seen that are mean spirited, evil and destructive are the ones who have not been beaten.  I often have kids tell me that their parents have never spanked them.  All I can say to them is “I can tell.” 

What is our goal?  Not self esteem but to “deliver” (5337) a “soul” (5315).  I see this point missed so often in our politically correct church world.  Our goal is not to make people feel good, but to save them from Hell.  I don’t know how many times I have been told that you can’t make people obey the speed limit by writing tickets.  If that is the case, why does traffic slow down every time a police car is spotted? 

So?  Does this advocate child abuse?  Obviously not.  It advocates discipline.  There is a difference and we know that is true.  Remember the option is hell, not a damaged ego.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Everyone Bow Your Ears

(Proverbs 22:17 KJV)  Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.

It is impossible to “incline” (5186) your ears without moving every other sense organ.  When you move your ears you move your eyes, nose, taste buds and the brain that processes their input.  God is saying "I want you to focus on what I have to say."

In looking at how this word was used I think it means to concentrate or listen, not so much to bow down in respect.  The reason I say that is that there are places where God is asked to incline his ear to a human speaker.  It also has the idea of spreading out and staking down a tent.  It means to settle down and pay attention. 

How many times have you been “listening” and suddenly realize that you don’t know what the person was saying because your mind was wandering?  I know it happens to me and although she might disagree it is probably more of a problem when I miss what God says than when I miss what my wife said.

So?  Are you listening?  Or as I might say to the kids at school, “Earth to John.  Are you there?”  Maybe every time you come to a red light today you could pause a moment to listen.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Love of Your Life

(Proverbs 21:17 KJV)  He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.

The direction of a man’s life is determined by what he “loves” (157).  This is the generic, everyday sense of the word.  It is used from the ridiculous to the sublime.  Thus it would be appropriate to use it to say, “I love ice cream” as well as to say “I love God.”  Indeed, it is the word that God used in what Jesus quoted for the greatest commandment:
(Deuteronomy 6:5 KJV)  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
What are the loves of your life?  What would you miss if it disappeared today?  Would your life change if all the coffee in the world were bought up by a foreign syndicate?  Would you still eat if salt disappeared?  Would you still read the Bible if the only translation left was ______?

What loves are the basis for your decisions?

So?  Go ahead and love your sushi and chocolate chip cookies.  Just make sure that the real love of your life is Jesus.  Don’t let anything replace Him.  Let your choices reflect that today.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wait for the Light to Blink

(Proverbs 20:12 KJV)  The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

If it doesn’t hear, is it really an ear?  If it doesn’t see, is it really an eye?  When is a garage door opener just a key fob?

Recently we bought a new remote control for a garage door.  I could have sat in the driveway all day pressing the button and nothing would have happened that was not related to blood pressure.  It was just a fancy ornament until I programed it.  That meant reading the directions so I knew what to do with it.  That meant getting up close to the home base, pressing buttons, holding buttons, waiting for lights to work.  Only then did it really become a useful remote control. 

If you want it to work right, read the directions and get close to the source of power. I recently made a comment to a young clerk about "reading the directions."  She said, "That's what they are there for."

Do you want to see the world as it is.  To you want to hear the truth.  Read the directions and get close to the source of power.

So how is your personal worship time going?  You can’t know the truth unless you come in contact with the truth.  God is waiting for you to keep your appointment.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Leaky Faucets

(Proverbs 19:13 KJV)  A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.

Years ago I was in charge of a Bible study for junior highers.  The Living Bible was still new at the time.  That will give you some idea of how long ago it was.  I found it a useful tool in working with the young.  Sometimes the Living Bible says it all.  It paraphrases this verse, “A nagging wife is like a dripping faucet.”  And have you noticed that the nagging faucet or leaking toilet are the most irritating in the middle of the night when you are trying to rest.

There really isn’t much you can do about a nagging wife or husband if the problem is that they are simply sharing “contentions” (4066). 

But lets be honest.  What do you do about a leaky faucet?  Do you just ignore it or fix it?  Sometimes the fix is as easy as turning it all the way off.  Sometimes a new washer will do the job.  Usually it is something that a little effort can take care of.

So?  Are you checking to see if the drip can be fixed?  Your responsibility is your responsibility.  You have all heard about lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness.  Maybe a parallel can be found regarding drips and washers.  Do you need to be a spiritual handy man today?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pushing Your Luck

(Proverbs 18:19 KJV)  A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

Some people are easily “offended” (6586), but that doesn’t seem to be the point of this phrase.  This reads to me like someone who has had their feelings hurt.  It is much more serious than that.  This word is usually translated “transgression.”  It is a warning about sinning against your brother.

How often do we take it for granted that we will be forgiven.  I know some people assume God will forgive them.  Some also treat others like servants or peasants because they know Jesus demands that they forgive.  They will but that is to their credit not to your glory.

Do you take advantage of kind people.  Do you offend and not worry about it?  Remember that while they will forgive you because God is their father, God may not for the same reason.

So?  Don’t deliberately take advantage of Godly patience.  God knows when we are playing games and remember that He is the one who wrote the rules.  Be a blessing today, not a trial.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Love in the Wrong Places

(Proverbs 17:9 KJV)  He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

I find this verse a bit confusing.  Is it good or bad to cover a “transgression” ?  Is this a comment about our motivation or our actions?  The key is understanding what “covers” (3680) means.  My problem is that I tend to think of this in terms of forgiveness and patience.  After all, love is patient.  Love does not consider a wrong suffered.  The problem is that the word is never translated “forgive.”  Neither the KJV or the NASB clarify this.  Recent revisions of the NASB change the word but it doesn’t help.

Do we cover our sins in order to look good to other people?  Are we “looking for love in the wrong places”?  Are we looking for love in the wrong way.  Are we considering the wrong actions as being wrong?  Some crowds consider being honest a flaw.  Some think kindness and patience are misplaced.  Do we try to cover our sin by denying we have sinned?

It is hard to repent if you don’t admit you were wrong.

So?  For today look at your motives in how you relate to other people and how honest you are with God.  Make your quest for love an honest quest not a masquerade party.  Confess, repent, change, rejoice.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

No Cash Allowed

(Proverbs 16:17 KJV)  The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.

In California we are seeing an increase in toll roads.  That is bad enough, but they are elitist toll roads.  You cannot use cash.  You need a tag on your windshield that is read by a camera tied to a computer that deducts the fee from your account.  There are times when traffic is ugly that I wish I had access to such a system.  As believers we have a tag on our soul that allows us access to the Highway of Holiness.
(Isaiah 35:8 NASB)  A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it.
We can choose to “depart” (5493) from “evil” (7451a) and get onto God’s highway.

So?  How do you intend to live your day?  In life you can choose to be on the Highway of Holiness even when you are riding the bus.  Make it a point to avoid evil today.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Good Breakfast

(Proverbs 15:13 KJV)  A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

The Declaration of Independence tells us that one of our God given rights is the pursuit of happiness.  It does not guarantee that happiness, just that we can pursue it.  As believers we point out the difference between happiness and joy.  Here we see that the source of a “cheerful” (3190)  “countenance” (face NASB) (6440) is found in a “merry” (joyful NASB) (8056) “heart” (3820). 

“Joyful” the adjective comes from “rejoice” the verb.  That makes sense.  Rejoicing is both an attitude and a decision.  We can have an attitude of rejoicing if we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts and minds.  He can give us a different view of our day.  You know that old cliche about not having problems but having opportunities.  The Holy Spirit can turn that from a cliche to a reality.  Check with Him on that.  Today.

Then make the choice.  Again and again make the choice.  In baseball the batter needs to decide on each pitch if he is going to swing or not. His attitude is “home run.”  The reality may be a base on balls.  Each problems, or opportunity, approaches and we make a decision.

So?  Start your day right.  If breakfast is the most important part of the day for your body, why can’t we understand that the principle applies to our spirits also.  Enjoy the morning.  Live the day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Waiting Period

(Proverbs 14:7 KJV)  Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.

California law gives you three days to withdraw from a sales contract.  Sometimes you need that time.  I am pretty skeptical of people trying to sell me things but there are times when I get pulled in, or almost.  The same trap is waiting when someone is trying to convince me about an idea or an action.  So many things sound good at the time and look really stupid later.

How many times have you said, “This is what I should have said.”  That is because we can’t do our best thinking when under pressure.  Decisions made on the fly don’t stick.  That is why God is so patient with us.  That is why we are not afraid of truth.  That is why the Holy Spirit is willing to open the discussion when we are ready.  He wants lasting, meaningful commitments, not morning dew faith.

I have a standing rule for purchases.  Unless I was planning on buying before I arrived, I never buy anything if they say, “I can only give you this price if you buy now.”  Usually they are being honest, they will offer a lower price and it will not be the same.

So?  Take the time to withdraw from the fray.  Consult the owner’s manual.  You have time to make a reasoned decision.  If you don’t have the time it probably isn’t that important.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Justice 101

(Proverbs 13:23 KJV)  Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.

There are two words here which grab our attention because we hear them used so much today.  We have the “poor” (7326) and we have “want of judgment” (injustice NASB) (3808/4941).  It is good to be reminded of the big picture here.  Put away any hidden meanings.  Don’t look for some of the deeper applications.  Sometimes the basic, bold, simple statement needs to jump out and bite us.

The poor of the world have a hard time getting a fair shake.  I personally think it is less of a problem in America but it is still a problem.  Money talks.  I was traveling with my son one time and we were going to the airport to catch our flight.  By some mistake the shuttle could not make it so we ended up in a limousine.  The driver was not happy, we thought it was kind of cool.  As we pulled up to the airport we saw one of the Disneyland lines in front of the counter.  As we regally stepped out of our carriage the red caps came rushing forward.  I would have waved them away.  I am a commoner at heart, but my son decided to play the role.  He took out a $20 and held it in his hand asking if we needed to stand in line.  It appears not.  All of our luggage was loaded on a trolley, my guitar was labeled as golf clubs and we were done.  It appears there are no lines for the rich.  Money talks.

So?  We can’t change life but we can do our best to treat people fairly.  We can decide not to be impressed by money and status.  We can refuse to be part of applied injustice in our actions today.  Greet the custodian like an equal.  That could cause a different kind of problem because he way think he is better they you.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Proverbs Teaches the Scientific Method

(Proverbs 12:1 KJV)  Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.

I began reading in the Douay-Rheims version today.  That was not my intention.  My software was set on it from the day before when I was talking with a Roman Catholic and encouraging him to read his Bible.  The first verse jumped out at me and got me to thinking.  Here it is:
(Proverbs 12:1 DRB)  He that loveth correction, loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof, is foolish.
I have read this bit of truth in many places in Proverbs.  It is nothing new.  But today the choice of words spoke to me of the scientific method.  That’s right.  The scientific method is rooted in the Old Testament.

The scientific method is one of the great concepts that Western civilization has produced.  It is a powerful tool in the search for truth whether it be in science, history, math or any other discipline.  At the core of it is the understanding that future knowledge may show that we have missed the mark.  It is an openness to the possibility that we are wrong. 

Current science seems to have left the road to truth in two ways.  One branch is no longer teachable.  They assume that they have the truth.  Don’t confuse me with the facts.  We have seen this in the open manipulation of data by East Anglia University to try and make it look like global warming is going to end life as we know it.  I see it in education.  Remember when they threw out phonetics?  The change was a disaster but some educators still cling to it. 

The second branch is found in post-modernism and the emergent church movement.  Many think these people deny that truth exists.  This is not quite right.  They believe that there are in infinite number of truths and that theirs is as good as yours.  Their thinking says there are many paths to many gods.

So?  Be teachable.  Be open to correction.  But also understand that you are not trying to find your truth.  You are seeking to know the One who is the Truth, the Life and the Way.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Flavor of Favor

(Proverbs 11:27 KJV)  He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.

The godly “diligently seeks” (7836) to be pleasing to God.  The Bible constantly refers to the righteous.  Look at the references and descriptors in the first eleven verses of this chapter alone:

    The integrity of the upright, verse 3
    Righteousness delivereth from death, verse 4
    The righteousness of the perfect, verse 5
    The righteousness of the upright, verse 6
    The righteous is delivered, verse 8
    It goeth well with the righteous, verse 10
    The blessing of the upright, verse 11

There are people who seek to be pleasing go God.  Without the shedding of the blood of the Perfect Lamb of God this effort is vain.  That is the bad news.  The good news is that the Blood was shed.  That means that the desire to please God has rewards for those who have been washed in the Blood.

So?  Don’t get discouraged by those who tell you it is impossible to be righteous.  Listen to what Solomon has to say and build your life accordingly.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Way to Go

(Proverbs 10:17 KJV)  He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.

I think most of us would assume that people want to be on a “path” (734) leading to “life” (2425b).  We often make the mistake of what psychology calls “projection.”  This is a behavior which takes our assumptions and priorities and lays them on another person.  We assume that they are the same as we are.  We assume that people will tell the truth because that is the right thing to do.  We assume people will not take our lunch out of the refrigerator in the lounge because we would not do such a dastardly thing.  We assume that no one will take the last piece of pizza while we are in the bathroom.  Maybe I am going too far on that one.

We need to understand that we walk on the road less traveled.  Even in the church we find that there are many people who look at following Jesus as a recreational activity, insurance or a band-aide to fix a temporary discomfort.  If you have never seen that, get ready for a big disappointment.  Jesus pointed out that the road to life, or as Proverbs calls it here, the “path of life,” is narrow.  It will be the minority position.

So?  Focus on what the Bible is telling you, not what everyone else is doing.  Be one who “heeds” (8104) the call of the Holy Spirit, not the siren of the crowd.  Today, take the path of life.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Regular Service Will Resume...

I am back from my wandering.  I will try to be more regular in my responses.

Grace and Peace.

“Christian” Was a Dirty Word

(Proverbs 9:16 KJV)  Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,

Have you noticed how often we seem to be embarrassed by the names we are called by the world?  It started in the Bible.
(Acts 11:26 KJV)  And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
As I understand it the term “Christian” was meant as an insult.  Way to go, World.  It has been a useful label.

Think of some of the other things that are thrown at devout followers of Jesus.  Have you ever been called a prude?  No?  I feel sorry for you.  Being prudent is one of the great Christian qualities.  Close to that is puritanical.  The world means you have hang-ups about sex and don’t really know how to party.  That is a bad thing?  We have been called intolerant when we don’t endorse homosexuality.  We have been called over-protective of our children when we don’t let them roam the mall with their friends.  The word “discrimination” has become evil when all it means is making wise choices.

So?  When the world calls you names, thank them if they are really good traits being polluted by followers of Satan.  Remember, even red-necks got that way from working hard on hot days.  Not so bad when you think about it.

Monday, August 8, 2011


(Proverbs 8:33 KJV)  Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.

I tend to think that the “wise” (2449) should be the ones teaching and in charge.  Wisdom should be a requirement of leadership.  This verse tells me to look at it a little different.  Leadership requires being teachable. 

What does it mean to be teachable?  It is more than just gathering information and being able to pass a test.  Most of us know a lot more about following Jesus than we are putting into action.  We don’t need another class.  We need some OJT. 

Why is OJT so important?  Because it requires us to actually connect what we hear with what we do.  I think this is a verse that is better understood when we consult different translations.  The KJV says to “hear” (8085)  The NASB says to “heed.”  The CEV says “listen carefully” and the Bible in Basic English (BBE) says “take.”  OJT means you have to process for use.

So?  Be wise without being a wise guy.  Listen to apply, not to pass the test.  It should make the job of disciple closer to your job description today.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The GPS Translation

(Proverbs 7:12 KJV)  Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)

A note of hope can be found in the fact that Satan “lieth in wait” (lurks NASB) (693) here instead of striding boldly.  There are references to him being bold.  Remember the book of Job. 
(Job 1:7 KJV)  And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
And remember the image of the lion.
(1 Peter 5:8 KJV)  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
This is not the picture of a sneaky adulteress creeping up on us when we are not looking.

Where is the hope you say?  Isaiah talks about lions in relation to the Highway of Holiness.
(Isaiah 35:8-9 KJV)  And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.  No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
There are lions.  There is a devil.  There are temptations and seducers.  But there is also a way of holiness.  We have a roadmap that takes us past the danger.  Think of it as one of those fancy GPS gadgets that tell you where the congestion is and what is the best route to travel.  My experience with GPS is that they are not as smart as they think they are.  God’s word, on the other hand, never is wrong.

So?  Start the day with hope.  You don’t know if Satan will sneak, stride or roar today.  God does.  Think of the Bible as the GPS translation:  God’s Personal Safeguard.  Let it help you avoid the congestion of today’s drive.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Staples of Life

(Proverbs 6:23 KJV)  For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

Here, in a nutshell, is a summary of the daily routine of a disciple of Jesus.  We start with the “commandment” (4687) [mitsvah], the law, the written Word.  Every day we should start by looking at what God has written.

Then comes the time of the “law” (teaching NASB) (8451) [torah].  Don’t ever just read.  Think.  Meditate.  Remind yourself of how Christian meditation is different from that of the eastern religions such as yoga.  Eastern meditation seeks to empty the mind.  Christian meditation seeks to fill the mind and heart with the truth. 

Don’t forget the “reproofs” (8433b).  If you never find any rough edges you aren’t looking hard enough.  Have you noticed how rocks keep showing up in your garden or your field?  When I prepare a bulletin board at school to put up new paper I go over it carefully and remove all the old staples.  It does not matter how many times I go over it.  When I put up the paper I find staples that I missed.  Get used to it.  Take the staples out of your life as they are shown to you.

So?  Following Jesus is a daily living with a living savior.  Take advantage of that.  Enjoy the process.  Glory in every little staple that you are able to remove.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Inclined Ears

(Proverbs 5:13 KJV)  And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!

After one day of school, I can usually tell you who is “inclined” (5186) to learn anything and get a decent grade.  There are certain indicators.  Some of you may have heard about the seating “T”.  The people who sit across the front and up the middle tend to get the best grades.  Their choices tell you where they will focus their attention.  If you went to a public school classroom you would also notice that some of the students never seem to bring anything with them; no pen or pencil, no books, no paper. 

Listening often begins long before we get in range of a voice.  We make choices and begin actions that determine how the day will go.  As I drive up the street to school I see one student striding boldly along, chewing his gum and carrying his skateboard.  He is carrying nothing else.  Will he be listening when he gets to class?

Do you go through life making sure you have your skateboard or do you make sure you have your books. 

So examine your inclination as you prepare to face the world.  There used to be a commercial that announced, “As John Q. Arbuckle used to say, ‘You get what you pay for.’”  We know that Jesus paid on the cross.  Are you inclined to live so the Blood is applied to your life today?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fresh Focus

(Proverbs 4:22 KJV)  For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

I looked at twelve different translations on this verse.  Eleven of them used some form of the two words “life” (2425b) and “health” (4832).  The context is paying attention to the words of Proverbs.  The understanding is that by listening and following, things will be different.  The difference will be better.

What are you going to pay attention to today?  Are you focused?  When was the last time you drove past a turnoff or a stop sign because your focus was on something besides your driving?  Some times the results are funny.  At least the kids get a laugh if they are in the car.  Sometimes the results are embarrassing.  Sometimes the results are deadly.

So?  Use this reminder to refocus your attention.  Yes, you must go to work today.  No, you cannot stay at home and meditate, or take a nap.  But go with a fresh focus.  Let the Word bring new life and health to your day.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On The Road, Still Again

I have been on the road for the past month.  I am now going on the road from being on the road.  I tell you this because I don't know what will be available internet-wise for the next five or six days.  I have scheduled posts to appear, we will see how blogger works.  If I cannot connect I will not be able to respond to comments.  So feel free to comment but understand that I may not be able to respond for a few days.

Grace and peace.

Factory and Farm

(Proverbs 3:14 KJV)  For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.

The Bible speaks to people living in a real world.  We see that in the choice of words used in this verse.  We all understand the value of gold and silver.  What we may not understand in our modern age of technology and service industries are the words used for increase. 

The first word is “merchandise" (profit NASB) (5504).  In Solomon’s day this brought to mind the caravans of the desert or the small sailing ships of the day.  Money was in use but much of the trade was still done in a form of barter.  You would take something and trade it for an object of greater value.  Some things that are necessary were not traded because they were too heavy or bulky.  An industry selling bottled water would have brought puzzled looks to the brows of people who hauled things on the backs of camels. 

The second word is “gain” (8393).  This is the word of the farmer.  It is not an increase that comes from trade but from growth.  The word is used in verse 9 as “produce” (NASB) or “increase” (KJV).
(Proverbs 3:9 KJV)  Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
Wisdom and understanding are more valuable than anything we can get from business or farming. 

So?  Don’t quit your job or stop weeding your garden.  That is not the point.  The point is to keep things in perspective.  Does your job keep you from time with the Lord?  Find a way. or maybe it is time to change your job.  Does your garden take all your spare time?  Move to an apartment.  Priorities, people.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

There Was a Crooked Man...

(Proverbs 2:15 KJV)  Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:

This verse refers back to verse 11 where the thought starts. 
(Proverbs 2:11 KJV)  Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
It begins a list.  The list is about evil people and how discretion and understanding can protect us from them and their methods.  It teaches us how to recognize evil.

The evil walk on different “ways” (paths NASB) (734).  They may have similar goals to the righteous.  They may want to provide for their families, elect the right leaders, save the rain forests, whatever.  They are, however, willing to get there by methods that are not acceptable to believers. 

Their paths are “crooked” (6141).  This is a contrast to the “upright” of  verse 7.  Sometimes the only way that you can tell if something is crooked is by putting it close to something that is straight.  I built a small door to cover a hole in the wall at my daughter’s house.  It needed to be a door because we needed access to the breaker box behind it.  I have never built a door before, but in all humility, it came out pretty good.  After mounting it we noticed that the top and bottom were not the same distance from the wall.  I jokingly said that it was probably the wall that was crooked, it could not be my door.  One was crooked.  I guess it could have been both.  The only way to find out was to get a straight edge and compare.

I did not get a straight edge because I wanted to live in the illusion that I made a great door.  In this case it doesn’t make any difference, but in life it might.

So?  Look at how you are going to do things.  Hold your plan up to the standards of God.  It makes a difference.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Privily Counsel

(Proverbs 1:18 KJV)  And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.

This last phrase caught my attention as I was reading through this month.  It makes a great word picture.  The evil “lurk privily” (ambush NASB) (6845) for their own “lives” (5315).  It is interesting to me that “ambush” (6845) means to treasure or hide.  “Lives” (5315) is the word for “soul”.  You get a picture of someone who is so concerned about putting themselves first that they destroy their inner being.

How does this apply to the righteous and upright?  I have to believe that there is a caution for all of us in this verse.  I don’t have a glimmer that any believer is going to get into murder or hijacking trucks.  But we can become so protective of our valuables and time that we refuse to be open to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  It is legitimate to lock our doors to protect ourselves from thieves.  It is helpful to have a schedule and demand that others respect it.  It is also possible to get so into our agenda that we don’t allow agape to function.

So?  Stop and take a look at your priorities.  Are you clinging too tightly to your leisure?  Are you worrying to the point of distraction about keeping your jewelry safe?  Are you starting down the slippery slope of navel gazing?