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.