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.

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.

Monday, October 17, 2011

No Bear Hugs

(Proverbs 17:12 KJV)  Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.

We can chose when and where we “meet” (6298) certain types of people.  Other times we have no control.  This is giving us a warning for both experiences. 

First, beware of how dangerous fools are and don’t think that the measure of a fool is their status.  We have lots of fools in charge of things.  Remember such secular observations as the Peter Principle and the Dilbert Principle.  The Peter Principle says people are promoted to their level of incompetence.  The Dilbert Principle, if my memory serves me, says that people are promoted to the level at which they can do the most harm.  Out of the mouths of babes....

We are to avoid the “fool” (3684) if we can.  This is hard to do when the fool is your boss.  In that case I think the idea might be to stop trying to teach or help the fool.  Do not get involved any more than is necessary.

So?  Be aware of the danger.  Be aware that you can’t avoid it totally.  Seek wisdom and respond with love.  The grace of God will be sufficient.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Two-Edged Humility

(Proverbs 16:19 KJV)  Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

Social snobbery is not acceptable.  We need a “humble” (8217) “spirit” (7307).  Have you noticed how some people treat a waitress like a second class citizen?  When we talk with some of the locals in Hawaii it becomes clear that many tourists look down on the people who live and work in vacationland.  You see it in the way people treat clerks and low level employees.  This is not the way of God.

We should not be afraid to associate with the “lowly” (6041) .  With whom do we hang?  Who are we most comfortable with?  How do we pick our friends and associates?  Too often social snobbery is a factor in how we pick our place of worship.  We look for people who can make us feel comfortable instead of a place to serve.

It is interesting how the Holy Spirit works through something like a simple blog.  Yesterday the verse I focused on had the idea of the “lowly” but used the word “afflicted.”  Yesterday I saw the focus as being on our own attitude, feeling sorry for ourselves.  Today what speaks to me is our attitude toward others.

I think this may be one of the reasons that the Bible is talked about as a two-edged sword.  The truths are meant to be applied in our outward lives and our inward attitudes.
(Hebrews 4:12 KJV)  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
So what about that smelly guy you stood next to in line yesterday?  You don’t need to let him marry your daughter but you do need to remember that Jesus died for him as much as He died for you.  Look around today and see who else Jesus loves.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Attitude Check

(Proverbs 15:15 KJV)  All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.

I had to laugh and say “ouch!” when I read this.  How often have I felt “afflicted” (6041)?  I could be in full time Woe-Is-Me mode.  When I was watching The Man of La Mancha I found my soul-mate in the Knight of the Woeful Countenance.  If left to myself, all my “days” (3117) would be “evil” (bad NASB) (7451a).

The context tells us that Solomon is not talking about the oppressed here.  Affliction is contrasted to the “merry” (cheerful NASB) (2896) “heart” (3820).  This says that one of the chief sources of this affliction is attitude.  Attitude is something we have control over.  Ours should reflect a genuine trust of the Lord.  The Holy Spirit loves to tap me on the shoulder and say, “Attitude check.”

Jesus spoke about how we are defiled by what comes from inside, not what comes from outside.  Affliction is like that.  It comes from the inside.

So?  Which heart will you wear today?  Will you be afflicted because you are conflicted or will you be cheerful because you trust?  It seems like a simple choice but I know how easy it is to enjoy our pity-pots.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Better Part of Valor

(Proverbs 14:16 KJV)  A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.

I am right to “feareth” (cautious NASB) (3372a) but the context here is not in taking risks.  It is in relation to moral issues.  The righteous and thoughtful “departheth” (turns away NASB) (5493) from “evil” (7451b).  This does not mean we are to be foolhardy about every day issues.  It is a reminder of how vulnerable we are on the morals field.

Think about the difference.  Let’s say you are driving to work and are trying to turn onto a busy street from a side street.  Sometimes you are tempted to just floor it and try to squeeze into that little space between those two trucks.  Caution prevails.  You wait and live to drive another day.  You have not laid the groundwork for foolishness next time.  You either acted or you did not.

Moral decisions are different.  There are many small steps we can take before we cross the line.  Each step is dangerous, takes us a step closer to death and makes the next step easier.  Sane people don’t get up in the morning and say, “I think I will commit adultery today.”  No, it starts by clicking a link on your internet connection that takes you to something which is suggestive.  Next time it is easier to make the next click.
(James 1:14-16 KJV)  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
So?  Be wise today.  Be cautious.  Or as is sometimes said, “Don’t even go there!” 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Great Is His Faithfulness

(Proverbs 13:17 KJV)  A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.

The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge, part of my free software from e-sword, tells me that “faithful” (529) “ambassador” (envoy NASB) (6735a) is literally “ambassador of faithfulness” in the Hebrew.  I like that.  It adds a dimension beyond ourselves.

My initial understanding was that we are to be faithful.  That is still true.  By being obedient and consistent we can be agents of God’s grace.  The burden is that we can begin to feel that the results depend on our faithfulness.  A little of that can be healthy and spur us to improve.

Learn to believe and emphasize the Biblical Hebrew.  We are ambassadors of God’s faithfulness.  That is the deeper meaning.  To me it is the more comfortable part of the truth.  God will be faithful.  He will work around me if He needs to.  He does not make me an envoy because He is looking at the last ditch effort to see His will fulfilled.  He lets me be an envoy so that I can realize the joy of being part of His plan to redeem.

So?  Rejoice.  The eternal fate of the person you care about does not rest on your weak shoulders.  It is in God’s faithful hands.  If you feel like you have not succeeded, improve if you can but don’t be overwhelmed.  It is grace and the power of the Holy Spirit that brings the truth to hearts.  We are but messengers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What Kind of Lip Do You Give?

(Proverbs 12:19 KJV)  The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

Again we read the demand for truth.  Are you seeing this?  It is almost like Solomon is working through the New York Times and getting angry at the distortions and deliberate deception.  Or we could take a more Biblical approach and just admit that the nature of human beings has not changed.

Why do you keep telling a child “No”?  Because children keep pressing the envelope.  They don’t want to accept that there are limitations on their self-centeredness.  Many of the children that are growing to run our country have never had anyone tell them “No.”  That is why they think that what they want to be true, is.

We do not have that option.  Truth may be hard to understand at times.  Truth may be uncomfortable.  Truth may be unpleasant.  With all that in mind, truth exists and is not negotiable. 

So?  Embrace truth.  That starts with Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  It extends into every conversation and action we take.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Surely Not Surety

(Proverbs 11:15 KJV)  He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.

As I was looking at this verse today it occurred to me that we can provide “surety” (6148) in more ways than financial.  There are many ways that we are asked to lend our support to people and causes.  We write recommendations for people.  We endorse ideas.  We let people use our name to add validity to a project.  These are all ways of giving surety.  Beware of how you spend the coin of your reputation.

The focus here is the “stranger” (2114a).  It looks like that is a common group associated with warnings about this.  This verse does not apply to your children or people who are good friends, although we probably should use some caution there.

So?  Today be careful whom you agree with.  They may quote you and add you to the public list of people who are seen to be on their side.  You may end up paying their social debts.  Even worse, your personal reputation account may be overdrawn.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Loose Lips Sink Souls

(Proverbs 10:19 KJV)  In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

We have seen this with politicians.  Some are famous for putting their foot in their mouth and making statements that are just plain stupid.  We have seen this in ourselves.  I guess I should speak for myself.  I am a teacher.  Part of my job is talking.  I enjoy the give and take of a lively discussion, even with seventh graders.  In the course of such quick back and forth it is inevitable that something will be said without thinking.  It happens.

Politicians deal with this by only speaking from prepared scripts.  Some of us don’t have that option so we need to practice restraint.  This principle is expressed many different ways throughout Proverbs.  A short summary is “keep your mouth shut.”  Idle chatter and excessive talk are dangerous.  Here it says that we will sin if we talk too much.  Busy mouths make “sin” (transgression NASB) (6588) “unavoidable NASB” (wanteth not KJV) (2308/3808).

This will be harder for some than others but all of us need to beware.  There was a war time poster that said, “Loose lips sink ships.”  We might say the same thing for souls.

So?  Retrain your tongue.  Look back at yesterday.  Focus on the things you said.  How much was unnecessary?  See if you can tone it down some today.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Greener Grass, Anyone?

(Proverbs 9:17 KJV)  Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

You may be more familiar with the modern version of this:
“The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.”
There is something alluring about the illicit. 

This begins at a young age.  One of the first words learned, sometimes before “Mama” or “Dada” is the declaration, “Mine!”  If you have never seen or heard it you lead an incredibly sheltered life. 

Again we see this as part of the Ten Commandments.
(Exodus 20:17 KJV)  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
It is also one of the seven deadly (mortal) sins.

Are you convinced yet.  It is bad to want what is not yours.  It is part of original sin.  If not dealt with it will lead to eternal destruction. 

So?  You are tired of hearing it, but repent.  Sincerely cry out to God with a desire to change.  Ask Him to change your heart.  Allow the Holy Spirit to do His work.  Let me be the first to wish you a Happy Growth Day. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Life Assurance

(Proverbs 8:35 KJV)  For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.

How important is Wisdom?  Is it something that everyone should have or is it just for the few?  Actually this is one of the big questions of modern culture.  We have elites who think they have the right to think for everyone else and tell them how to live their lives.  They used to be called the aristocracy or nobility.  Now we call them by different names. 

Proverbs is reminding us that each of us is to seek wisdom.  Tie this in with the promise of Jesus,
(Luke 11:9 KJV)  And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
The person who seeks, “finds” (4672). 

And what do we find when we seek?  Here it mentions “life” (2425b) and “favor” (7522).  Not bad for something that is offered to everyone.

So?  Think for yourself today.  Apply your mind in seeking the wisdom that God has to offer.  He will meet you more than half way. 

Friday, October 7, 2011


(Proverbs 7:14 KJV)  I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.

Years ago we had a song evangelist visit our church and one of the songs presented was called “Excuses.”  That is what Solomon demonstrates to us today.  We are in the midst of a passage dealing with adultery, seduction and unfaithfulness.  The instigator of all the sin is telling us how she had been to church, had made a big donation to the annual financial campaign and had gave a testimony.  Somehow this is a reason why we are supposed to assume it is okay to sin.

This might be a hybrid of legalism and grace.  Maybe we could call it legracism.  This is where we figure we do some good things and perform some rituals and then expect that little bit of compliance will make grace kick in.  Don’t count on it.  Sin is sin.  Sin is not acceptable.  Most of us don’t get involved in the great sins such as adultery but we make excuses for our “little” sins such as sloth.

So?  Be honest with yourself so you can be honest with God.  Watch for excuses.  We all make them but they should be the launching pad for repentance not for greater sin.  Think, repent, grow.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Beauty and the Beast

(Proverbs 6:25 KJV)  Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.

Strange as it may seem “lust” (desire NASB) (2530) is not necessarily a bad thing.  This is another one of those context words.  Its moral content depends on how and when it is lived out in our daily lives.  It is translated different ways:  lust, desire, covet, attracted.  It is the word used in the Ten Commandments.
(Exodus 20:17 KJV)  Thou shalt not covet (2530) thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
It is a word used to describe our love of the law.
(Psalms 19:10 KJV)  More to be desired (2530) are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
It speaks of our focus.  The focus of our lives is not to be distracted by “beauty” (3308).  Here it talks about lusting after the beauty of others.  It would also apply to lusting after our own beauty.

God wants to be the desire of our heart.  He wants nothing to get in His way.

So?  Is there anything that is going to make you go out of your way today?  Is there someone you want a glimpse of bad enough to take the long way to your destination?  God wants us to focus that energy on Him, not on the babe or dude in the cubicle down the hall.  Your choice, but remember that she doesn’t control eternity.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Live Out of the Gutter

(Proverbs 5:16 KJV)  Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.

The Bible has many ways of approaching sexual involvement.  At one end we have that very clear teaching of the Ten Commandments.
(Exodus 20:14 KJV)  Thou shalt not commit adultery.
That may be all you need to know about where God is coming from.

In Proverbs we get a little more poetical and figurative.  This is one of those places where the KJV misses the translation, not because of the words but because of the punctuation.  This should really be phrased as a question, not a statement, because the answer is “no.”

Don’t make a public display of sex.  Think of the streets that Solomon was talking about.  Plumbing as we know it was very rare and reserved for the rich.  In most cities, towns and villages the middle of the street was the public sewer.  Garbage, trash and human waste waited in the middle of the street for the next rain.  It is not a pretty sight.  Keep your love life out of the gutter.  Live by God’s standards.

So?  I would hope this is not an issue for you but maybe you know someone else who calls themselves by the name of Jesus and is involved in adultery or fornication.  We need to accept that God does not accept that.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Truth for Today

(Proverbs 4:24 KJV)  Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

Again we see the Biblical emphasis on honesty.  It is impossible to overstress how God hates liars and lying.  One of the words used to describe Jesus was “truth.”  God’s written word is described as true.  At the heart of the Christian way of thinking is the belief that there is truth and it can be known.  There is no room for the relativism that is creeping into the church through new age, post modern and emergent thinking.  They all say that truth is different for everyone.  They are not just saying that we all face different situations, they are saying that the actual foundations are not solid.

This is to be a conscious effort as we “put away” (5493) the ingredients of evil.  Honesty is a choice.  The choice we make has eternal consequences.  It is not spin, tact or hyperbole if the person listening thinks it is an honest and accurate statement.  It is a lie.

So?  As Joshua said, “Choose this day whom you will serve.”  Your mouth and your actions will be given repeated chances today to choose.  Make the best of it. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kettle Wisdom Not Kettle Corn

(Proverbs 3:16 KJV)  Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.

Many times the rewards of wisdom are intangible.  “Riches” (6239) and “honor” (3519b) can of course be very physical and measurable but they also go beyond a bank balance or being listed in “Who’s Who.” 

Take Ma and Pa Kettle.  These old movies may not be a part of your cultural baggage but they were the kind of movies my parents let me go see.  It is amazing how often these dirt poor, hillbilly types demonstrate a grasp of life that is missed by their betters.  My wife was watching one of their offerings the other day and I was walking through the room.  I paused long enough to see Ma do something to cause Pa to lose a race he really wanted to win.  When I passed through again the story was playing itself out and it became clear that for some reason if Pa had won the race many people in their town would have gone through extreme suffering.  Leave the probability aside and look at the lesson:  Sometimes we give up what is ours by right in order to help others. 

This is riches.  This is honor.  This is wisdom.  This is love.

So?  How do you measure your wealth?  Do others need to see it for it to be real?  Apply the wisdom of God and know real riches and honor.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Reboot your Providential Guidance System

(Proverbs 2:17 KJV)  Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.

I am sure that you have always noticed this, but I recognized it for the first time this morning.  Again I ask, why did you never point it out to me.  I thought we were friends.  I speak, of course, about the pronoun “her.”  Every time I have read this before I have assumed it was the man who was abandoning the woman he married when she was young and is now going for a trophy wife.  One simple pronoun tells me I have not been paying attention.

This is a case of women walking away.  We have a rash of that today.  One of the products of equality is that not only men are being absentee parents now.

The KJV has a better word here for my point today.  Instead of the “companion” (441) of the NASB it has “guide.”  Both words appear in the other translations I consulted.  Adam Clarke’s commentary gave in interesting insight based on that word.  He says this could refer to the young woman who deserts the teaching and guidance of her father and goes out into the world to taste of its promises.  Unfortunately the promises turn out to be lies.

We could paraphrase Jesus and have a parable of the Prodigal Daughter based on this.  How often do our children go off to college and leave behind all they have been taught?  Perhaps you are one of those who left the God of your parents and have not come back yet.  It is never too late to repair the damage.

So?  If this does not apply to you, it probably does to someone you know.  Pray for them.  Be a witness.  If you are one of the wayward ones, maybe it is time to look at your life and ask yourself if all of those promises of self-esteem and self-actualization are really working out.  It could be time to look, reflect, repent and obey.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The End of the CEV

This past month I have been reading Proverbs from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).  I am glad the month is over.  Sometimes a paraphrase gives a very shallow and limited understanding.  That was the case here.  Rarely did I feel like I was reading something that was meant for the ages. 

I think this is a reworking of the Good News for Modern Man that came out 40 years ago.  I did not see any reference in this edition to that and I can’t find my old copy, but they seem the same type of approach.  The old attempt made a point of using a very limited vocabulary.  The stated idea was for young readers, if my memory is correct.  In reality it was for a generation that is coming out of our schools functionally illiterate and ignorant of any words that are not made up by their favorite rap recorder.

The CEV states that it is designed to be read aloud because the Bible was originally written to be read aloud to people who could not read.  The editors try to link their effort to the KJV and Martin Luther.  It falls far short.

From their point of view this “translation” is simply an attempt to get the truth across.  They work at making the poetry sections have measured line breaks and actually read like poetry.  I like that.  They also do some borderline maneuvers. 
“Whenever the contents of two or more verses have been joined together and rearranged in poetic sections of the Contemporary English Version, this is signaled by an asterisk (*)...” p. 3
At what point does “rearranged” cross the line?

Then they fall off the cliff of political correctness. 

“In everyday speech, ‘gender generic’ or ‘inclusive’ language is used, because it sounds most natural to people today.  This means that where the biblical languages require masculine nouns or pronouns when both men and women are intended, this intention must be reflected in translation, though the English form may be very different from that of the original.” p. 3, Emphasis in original
Following this type of reasoning we would also include frequent F-bombs and sexual innuendo because that is “natural to people today.”  It is sad when translators openly admit that they are making the translation “different” from the original.  At what point do we stop making this kind of changes and how do I know when it is done and when not?

I have three pages of notes nit-picking as I read.  I will mention just a few in this post.  I may get around to entering all of them in a separate post so you don’t need to read my frustration.

As mentioned in the “gender generic” comments there is a total disconnect from accurate translation of reference to the masculine.  Most of the time when you read “children” it should have been “son.”  This is done even when it is clear that Solomon is addressing his son.  “Father” is changed to parents. 

Compare this typical offering.

(Proverbs 13:12 CEV)  Not getting what you want can make you feel sick, but a wish that comes true is a life-giving tree.

(Proverbs 13:12 NAS77)  Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

(Proverbs 13:12 KJV)  Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
First of all, “not getting what you want” only touches on the tip of the depth of meaning that is contained in the idea of “hope deferred.”  Hope is one of the major words of the Bible and any understanding of that is removed.  Also we see the reference to the “tree of life” removed and turned into life being a magic pill that gives us what we want.  The tree of life involves eternity, not shiny trinkets.

There are times when they CEV gives the exact opposite of the actual text.  What does this verse say to you?
(Proverbs 6:30 CEV)  We don't put up with thieves, not even with one who steals for something to eat.
Now look at how these two translations put it:
(Proverbs 6:30 KJV)  Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;

(Proverbs 6:30 NASB)  Men do not despise a thief if he steals To satisfy himself when he is hungry;
This is an obvious and clear difference.  I am supposed to trust this offering?  I think not, but you are entitled to your own opinion.

The Learning Bible, Contemporary English Version.  New York:  American Bible Society, 2000.

Sinners to the Right of Me, Sinners to the Left of Me, Into the Valley of Death...

(Proverbs 1:10 KJV)  My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.

We need to be aware of the choices we make.  We are surrounded by people.  It would seem obvious from this that some are “sinners” (2400) and some are not.  The word has a meaning that is reflected in our heart and our actions.  Some tend to fixate on the fact that we are sinners saved by grace.  It is a fact.  It is reality.  The outcome of the grace of God is not to keep us focused on what we were.  The goal it to become something different because we have been touched by grace.  We should put more emphasis on becoming saints rather than being sinners.  The becoming does not ignore the sin but moves us beyond it.

This is why Paul cried out,
(Romans 6:1-2 KJV)  What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
So?  Sin exists.  Sinners exists.  Grace works through the power of the Holy Spirit to help us walk in holiness not to excuse us wallowing in sin.  Confess, repent, trust, change.