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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Snow of Life

(Proverbs 31:21 KJV)  She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

There is a song this verse brings to mind.  It talks about the good times and the bad times that we face.  The chorus goes like this.

    Some thro' the waters, some thro' the flood,
    Some thro' the fire, but all thro' the blood.
    Some thro' great sorrow, but God gives a song
    In the night season and all the day long.

The title is “God Lead Us Along.”  It is a musical way of saying we need not be “afraid” (3372) of the “snow” (7950) of life. 

And snow will come.  Trust me.  You say you don’t need to trust me because you have experienced it. 

So?  Expected trials and tribulations.  Also expect comfort and consolation.  God will provide the winter clothing that we need. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

What Paves the Road to Hell?

(Proverbs 30:20 KJV)  Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.

Denial.  It is a constant presence in our lives.  I see it constantly in the children.  They will lie about things of no significance.  A student has gum literally hanging out of their mouth.  I tell them to spit it out and they respond with, “I don’t have any gum.”  They can get quite hostile denying what we both know to be true.

As adults we are also surrounded by denial.  We drive like a bat out of Boston and justify it by saying that everyone is doing it.  We watch what would have been banned a few years ago and see no problem.  We have enough clothes that if our washing machine broke down the repairman could be delayed for weeks and it would present no problem except for storage.  We live in blatant disobedience to the clear statements of God and we call on His love.

So?  The road to hell is not only paved with good intentions but with denial.  Be honest with yourself and with God.  You both know the truth. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

No, It Isn’t Cute

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

Beware the child that is “left to himself” (gets his way NASB) (7971).  You have all seen him in the grocery store.  He wants something, a candy bar or small toy, and embarrasses the adult with him until he gets what he wants.  This behavior did not start that day.  It is a long established pattern created by people who are supposed to be parents.  It started when they first learned to say, “No!”  Everyone laughed and thought it was so cute.  Now that cuteness is running the adults life. 

The word used here is interesting.  It basically means “to send.”  Think about all the children who are sent out into the world instead of escorted by loving and guiding adults.  They are turned loose to do their own thing and we are seeing the results.

The “shame” (954) is on the parent.  The consequences are on all of us.

So?  Invest yourself in your children.  Don’t send them, take them.  Don’t let them get their own way, show them the way.  Not only will your life be better but it may keep them from the pit of hell. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What Not to Hear

(Proverbs 28:23 KJV)  He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.

This seems counterintuitive.  It certainly goes against the current attitude of our culture where self-esteem is king and the ultimate insult is to “dis” someone.

A true friend “rebukes” (3198) when it is needed by you even though he doesn’t want to.  I don’t know if you have ever watched a TV show called “What Not to Wear.”  We don’t have cable at home but when on vacation the women of my life like to watch it.  One of the parts they really like is when the two advisors enlighten the hero of the week on the quality of their current style.  It is not a pretty moment but by the end of the program, when the new look is revealed, they are thankful for the criticism.

A false friend “flatters” (2505b) when it is needed for himself but not deserved by you.  All they want is for their own agenda to move forward. 

So?  Don’t reject compliments but don’t pay too much attention to flattery.  Try to be honest with yourself.  It is hard but it can be done. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Be a Speed Bump

(Proverbs 27:6 KJV)  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Think of what is not stated but assumed in this verse.  Switch a few words and you are reminded that if the “wounds” (6482) of a “friend” (157) are helpful, “kisses” (5390) would be even better. 

Why emphasize the negative here?  Because we learn better through struggle than ease.  This is a truth that people know instinctively but our culture is currently rejecting.  If you visit a public school you will hear them emphasizing self-esteem and the positive.  They always want to cloak everything in positive statements.  Every time I sit down in a meeting with a kid who has major problems and is nothing but a pain the administrator always starts with, “First, let’s share the positive things about little Ghengis.”  These are “deceitful” (6280) “kisses” (5390) because the child gets the idea that he doesn’t really have a problem.

So?  Speak truth.  Your culture does not want to hear it so go ahead and try to find a sugar coating but get the truth proclaimed.  Speed bumps are uncomfortable but they send a message.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Choice Thorn

(Proverbs 26:9 KJV)  As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

This brought to my mind another passage about a thorn.
(2 Corinthians 12:7 KJV)  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
Both Paul and Solomon seem to agree that a thorn is unpleasant.  One relates the thorn to a fool, the other to a saint.  We respond like one or the other. 

God expects us to take the thorns of life and use them to grow.  There are tremendous lessons to be learned through struggle.  Many would agree with the idea that we tend to grow more in the hard times than we do in prosperity and ease.  It is all in how we respond.

The fool learns nothing from great wisdom or painful experience.  If we have the right foundation and the right daily bread we can avoid being a fool.  If we started out wrong, we can stop being a fool.

So?  Start paying attention.  Do an attitude check.  Make use of the thorns of life.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Baby Bear Balance

(Proverbs 25:27 KJV)  It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.

This is the second time in this chapter that “honey” (1706) is mentioned.  Both times moderation is called for.  A key word here is “much” (7235a).  Let’s face it.  We are prone to excess.  Remember the potato chip commercial which claimed, “I bet you can’t eat just one.”  That is true for the two extremes, haters and lovers. 

The two extremes are not moderation.  Abstinence is easier than moderation.  Gluttony is easier than moderation.  What is hard is being the baby bear and knowing what is just right.

So think about it.  Do you live a life of moderation or gluttony?  Think about your relationships.  Think about your spending patterns.  Think about your food choices.  Moderation is the key in all areas. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Real Question

(Proverbs 24:12 KJV)  If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?

Today I find hope in this verse.  Not for me but for those down through history that have never heard the gospel.  One of the big questions that comes up is, “How can someone be held accountable if they have never heard the gospel?”  I don’t have an answer.  We need to be careful when we try to come up with answers.  The Bible is clear.  In the words of Jesus,
(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.
There is no compromise on this.

Yet there are places like this that offer up hope.  God does not “consider” (995) just our words.  He “pondereth” (weighs NASB) (8505) our “hearts” (3820).  I can’t go beyond that without risking false hopes and even heresy, but God is aware the stakes are eternal.

But the real question is not, “What about those who have never heard?”  The real question is, “What about you, and me.  We have heard.  Have we responded?”  You see, we don’t have any excuse.

So?  Make sure that you have joined the family of God.  Then you can worry about those who have not heard.

Monday, July 23, 2012

“Show Me You Love Me”

(Proverbs 23:26 KJV)  My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

Understanding here relies on context.  Much of Proverbs is stand alone statements.  Other verses are parts of a paragraph.  This is the latter.

The young man in question has shown that he is righteous (verse 24).  (Yes, ladies this can be understood as generic and applies also to you.)  He is the product of both heredity (verses 22 and 24) and environment (verse 22).  He is to “give” (5414) [nathan] his “heart” (3820) to his parents. 

He does this by letting his “eyes” (5869) “observe” (delight NASB) (7521) in the “ways” (1870) he was taught and saw demonstrated.  I guess you could say this is “Show me you love me by following my teaching.”

This also extends to our relationship with God.  He wants us to give Him our hearts.  He wants us to live in obedience.  This should be obvious but the obvious often needs to be stated.

So?  Invest yourself in the One who died and rose again for you.  Live in loving obedience.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Landmark Decisions

(Proverbs 22:28 KJV)  Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

There is an obvious, literal, historical understanding here.  Land is the foundation of wealth and stability.  Property is an established principle in the Bible.  In ancient Israel the land was given to families and was not to be sold.  If it was, then in the Year of Jubilee it was to be redeemed to the family.

This also speaks to me in a figurative, prophetic way.  We attend churches where leaders are attempting to “remove” (move NASB) (5472) the standards of doctrine and morality.  How often do we have people join just to try to change the group?

We were given “ancient” (5769) “landmark” (boundary NASB) (1366) markers in the Word.  I guess one of the problems we face is separating the unchanging standard from the cultural guidelines.  We are always getting styles of music and dress, which are cultural, confused with definitions of marriage and justice which are Biblical.  It can be done but it requires an active mind and an honest desire to know truth.

These boundaries were “set” (6213a) by God.  We are not to move them.

So?  Make yourself an expert on what is actually in the Bible and what is just in someone’s head.  There is no/t time to start on that like now.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Zombie Churches?

(Proverbs 21:16 KJV)  The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.

Have you ever visited this church, the “congregation (assembly NASB) (6951) of the dead (7496)”?  They probably did not have that on their sign and they were all living and breathing but it was clear that the Spirit of God was not among them.  I hope you don’t attend one every week.

How can you tell?  They have wandered from the “way” (1870) of “understanding” (7919a).  Sometimes this happens from being to casual about your personal worship and study.  Sometimes it is because you are following the same gurus.  Sometimes it is deliberate rebellion.  It doesn’t matter.  In the words of Jesus,
(Revelation 2:4-5 KJV)  Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
So?  Repent.  Get back to your first love.  Try to lead a revival.  If no one else is interested it is time to find a congregation where people are not dead.  And I don’t mean Zombies.

Friday, July 20, 2012

80 Proof Deception

(Proverbs 20:1 KJV)  Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

As I was reading this I found myself comparing the words used about the effects of too much alcohol.  I would probably go further and say, any alcohol.  The KJV says we are “deceived” (7686).  The NASB says “intoxicated.”  The ASV uses “ereth.”  The CEV uses “makes a fool.”  The Douay says “delighted.”  I hate to say it but the NASB seems to have the weakest translation here.  The idea is to go astray and miss the mark.  Some would say this is one of the definitions of sin.

Be careful.  It may be simplistic but it seems true:  If I don’t take the first drink I will never take one too many.  Of course we must admit that just because you don’t drink doesn’t mean you are wise but booze seems to rule it out altogether.

So?  Be careful.  Be moderate.  I would say be a teetotaler, but that is my interpretation.  Whatever your choice make sure it is not in conformity to the world.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Glory? Glory!

(Proverbs 19:11 KJV)  The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.

Although Proverbs is talking about “glory” (8597), it fits the definitions and explanations of love.  Earlier in Proverbs we saw that love covers “transgression” (6588) (Proverbs 10:12, 17:9).  Now we see it is necessary to “‘pass over” (overlook NASB) (5674a) them.  This could bring in an element of exercising the will. 

We have choices to make in how we respond to others.  This gets hard for me.  I don’t know about you but I get weary and frustrated by turning the other cheek.  It isn’t so hard with people I only see once but becomes a real trial with people I am close to.  When I read this a verse popped into mind.
(1 Peter 3:9 KJV)  Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
Not bad but I am more used to it in the NASB.
(1 Peter 3:9 NAS77)  not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
You see, turning the other cheek is not really so much a physical thing as an emotional and attitude thing.  When someone cuts me down, I want to cut back.  But the Holy Spirit keeps putting me in check.

So?  I have daily decisions to make.  So do you.  What is your glory?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Spiritual Gifts Show

(Proverbs 18:16 KJV)  A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.

“Gift” (4976) could refer to a bribe or to a spiritual gift.  Usually it means to physically give something and is sometimes translated “bribe.”  I think in this context it means more of a spiritual gift.  I say that because the term used for “great men” (1419) seems more a term of respect and honor than just power.

Every believer has at least one gift of the Spirit.  What this is saying is that this special attribute “makes room” (7337) for you.  We are to apply our spiritual gift in the building up of the body of Christ.  It will have a correlation in the outside world that will be spill over.  Don’t be surprised if the person with gifts of leadership ends up being the spokesman or the organizer.  Don’t be surprised if the person with the gift of teacher ends up making a presentation at work.  Spiritual gifts have wide application.

So?  What is your spiritual gift?  If you have no idea you might examine the things you are asked to do and investigate how that would apply in spiritual terms. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Grief Counseling

(Proverbs 17:25 KJV)  A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.

Proverbs has a lot to say about the “foolish” (3684).  This is the standard word for “fool” in Proverbs. 

It is bad enough when we see it in the world around us, even worse when we see it in our family.  The ultimate despair is when we see it in our children.  When they are born we have such joy and hopes.  Be warned.  There are no guarantees.  Honorable and wise children don’t just happen.  Even when you do everything right they sometimes go bad.  Children can provide “grief” (3708a)  as well as joy. 

The decisions they make are on their heads.  The training and example you give are on yours. 

So?  Give it your best when they are young.  There will come a day when your influence wains.  Continue to pray and demonstrate righteousness when you can’t speak.  If you have no children, pray for the offspring of others. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Value Subtracted Tax

(Proverbs 16:27 KJV)  An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.

Some people are simply “worthless” (NASB, ungodly KJV) (1100).  This seems to be a compound word putting together “destruction” and “worthy”.  I think it is broader than the KJV translation.  While an ungodly person is certainly worthless, they are not synonyms.  Worthless is broader than ungodly.

The point we find hard to admit is that some people are worthless.  Our culture does not want to admit this.  Our churches don’t want to admit it.  Our pulpits don’t want to admit it.  The Bible calls them “worthless.”  Over the next few verses it uses other words to describe them and various behaviors to identify them.

In each case the worthless/ungodly are identified by choices they make and actions they take.

So?  Take a look at yourself.  You can’t change the other guy, but you have the deciding vote in your own life.  Repentance, forgiveness and obedience can move anyone from the liability column to the asset column. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Attitude Neutralizes Actions

(Proverbs 15:25 KJV)  The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow.

Attitude makes a lot of difference.  It can be the difference between a comment being a joke or an insult.  It can be the difference between rebuke and rejection. 

How does God see your attitude today?  He  will respond to your attitude as much as He will to your actions.  The Bible is full of examples of this.  For instance, most people are familiar with one of the great promises of God:
(Micah 6:8 KJV)  He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
This is God with an eye on why we do what we do.  Most don’t go back and read the verse before it:
(Micah 6:7 KJV)  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
This is a rhetorical question.  In case you don’t get it, the answer is, “No, God will not be pleased with empty actions.”

So do an attitude check today.  Make sure that you are not just going through the motions on the outside while your heart seethes with rebellion.  God knows and responds. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Got Phobias?

(Proverbs 14:26 KJV)  In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.

Here again we see mention of the fear of the Lord.  “Fear” (3374) is presented as a benefit, a producer of “strong” (5797) “confidence” (4009).

Has it broken through to you yet?  The standards and patterns of the Bible are different from your culture.  We have abandoned simple things like a healthy and balanced understanding of fear because our educational system, led by psychologists and sociologists, has told us that fear is a bad thing.  Teachers and administrators lead the way and are followed by parents.  No one wants to be the adult laying down the law.  Everyone wants to be buddies with the children.  On the surface the kids like it but underneath is leads to real insecurity.

We act like phobias have no validity.  There are things to fear and it is healthy to relate to those things with a respect for their power.

So?  Fear God.  Love God.  You can’t really love Him without fearing Him.  If you fear Him and love Him the fear becomes an empowering source of security.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Appetite Suppressors

(Proverbs 13:25 KJV)  The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want.

As one who has been working on losing weight, I know I have problems with my “appetite” (NASB) (soul KJV) (5315).  I do not eat too much because I am hungry but because I “want” (2637).  This verse is reminding us that the big temptations in life are not from physical needs but from something wrong in our appetites.

This word is much deeper than you would expect.  The KJV gets it right.  It is the Hebrew word that refers to the soul, the motivating force, the passions.  In the NASB it is translated “soul” 278 times, the KJV, 416.  Another translation very common is “life” (146/100). 

I feel a Pathetic Pumice Paraphrase coming on.
(Proverbs 13:25, PPP) The righteous puts needs before wants and is satisfied.  The wicked never understands that priority. 
Why is this important to understand?  Because God made us and knows what we need to be satisfied for now and eternity.  Our focus is life is usually immediate gratification.

So?  Allow the Holy Spirit to show you what your needs are whether it be lunch or vacation. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What’s Behind Door Three?

(Proverbs 12:28 KJV)  In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.

Every day is full of choices.  Blue or red?  Oatmeal or toast?  Freeway or streets?  Lips of truth or a lying tongue (verse 19)?  Prudence or foolishness (verse 23)?  Diligent or slothful (verse 24)?  “Life” (2425b) or “death” (4194)?

Wait a moment.  What is this life or death business?  Surely that is a misprint.  Not if you follow through the different comments leading up to this point.  Some of your choices are just personal preference.  They are not eternal.  Others show whether you have decided to follow the “way” (734) of “righteousness” (6666).

This is a prophecy of eternal “life” (2425b).

So?  Make conscious choices today.  Some really make a difference. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Trust and Give

(Proverbs 11:28 KJV)  He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.

What is the obvious conclusion to this verse?  A “righteous” (6662) man “trusts” (982) not in “riches” (6239).

What is the obvious focus of our trust?  The Lord Himself. 

It is so easy for us to talk Jesus and live economy.  Right now, as I write, it is easy for me to talk.  I still have a job and health insurance.  I understand that.  It still doesn’t change anything.  In practice, I probably actually worry more than the person who is out of work and has been forced to trust.

It would be glorious if we didn’t learn best through adversity, but such is the reality of life.

So?  If you are not feeling the pain or only a little pinch, rejoice and refocus your trust.  Maybe you can find a way to help someone who has been laid off or cut back significantly.  Maybe you can prepare a meal for a family that has a cupboard getting bare or buy a tank of gas for a friend out looking for work.  Trust and give. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chicken Little One

(Proverbs 10:25 KJV)  As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.

Every experience in life has the potential to be a “whirlwind” (5492a).  When I think of a whirlwind I think of a little swirling of dust that might throw around a bit of trash.  The little dust devil that I think of has a lot of big brothers.  This could be the tornado that we have seen rip through towns destroying and killing indiscriminately.  It could be the Hurricane that comes ashore on the gulf, devastating entire regions.

This verse would assume that there are things you can do to prepare for the Katrina’s of life.  Without casting stones or naming names, there were simple things that could have kept you safe in New Orleans.  First, don’t build your house below sea level.  That has a lot of applications in our everyday life.  Sometimes you can’t control where you live but often you can.  We need to take a serious look at where we set up shop for the various parts of our lives.  The wicked are comfortable with situations that the righteous will reject.

So?  Examine the areas that you can control your choices.  Are you in a haven or Tornado Alley?  Can you change it?  Why haven’t you?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Agape Fear

(Proverbs 9:10 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

“Fear” (3374) as it is used here has something in common with agape love in the New Testament.  We make the common mistake of understanding it as our common culture understandings it instead of in the Biblical sense.  Common culture waters down and perverts the concepts of God.  Fear, like love, is more than an emotional response.  It is an intellectual response.  It is a choice, not just a reaction.

Yes, there is a time for the emotional.  What would marriage be without the romantic, emotional response of popular “love.”  And how futile marriage would be if that were the total of love.  I Corinthians 13 love is not an emotional response, it is a conscious decision to live in a covenant relationship based on patience, kindness and so forth. 

Walking with the Living God also has the emotional sense of fear when we drift into sin.  There is a reason to tremble in our boots.  It also would be futile if that were all fear meant.  The Proverbs 9:10 meaning of fear is a conscious decision to live in a covenant based on awe, humility and obedience.  Like agape love, it transforms a relationship.

So?  Learn to live in a healthy fear.  Give God His due.  The reason He inspires fear is tied to the reason He can be trusted.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Invest Wisely

(Proverbs 8:18 KJV)  Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.

This verse is in the middle of a discussion of wisdom.  Wisdom is the “me” here.  Some people make a big deal about the promises regarding “riches” (6239).  This passage gives a good context for an understanding of true “wealth” (1952).

A key word is the adjective “durable" (enduring NASB) (6276).  This is the only place that the Hebrew word is used in the Old Testament but the idea is expressed other places.  Think of the verses that talk about wealth rotting away. 
Matthew 6:20 "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
James 5:3 Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!

The point is that true riches are more than money.  Life wealth is found in such things as character, influence and how your children develop.  Ultimately it is reflected in how we spend eternity.

So?  Go to work.  Shop wisely.  Be good stewards of the finances entrusted to you.  While you are doing that, don’t lose sight of the true wealth of righteous living and eternal life.  Focus on what won’t rust or corrode. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tabula Rasa

(Proverbs 7:3 KJV)  Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.

This verse makes me think of the concept of the “tabula rasa.”  The theory is that we are born as blank slates.  According to this when an infant is conceived he is an erased “table” (tablet NASB) (3871) .  Nothing has been written and everything is a result of the experiences writing upon that slate.  Thus two children that were identical at conception would be different if one mother lived in a quiet peaceful environment and the other was in constant stress and turmoil.  Everything that happened would determine the type of person that would develop. 

If you don’t recognize it, this is the model of psychology that is preferred by those who deny the existence of God, the behaviorists.  Man is good and totally a product of his environment.  There is no sin, just social problems.  The Bible teaches a different concept.
(Psalms 51:5 KJV)  Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
We were conceived with a flawed nature.  It is natural for us to rebel against God.  Only His grace can change that.  Only the blood can erase the tablet and write a holy history for our remaining days.

So?  Allow God to write on your heart.  For some that means the erasing of forgiveness and being born again.  For others that is the daily experience of going to Him and letting Him renew the day.  Here’s to happy hearts.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Closet Jealousy

(Proverbs 6:34 KJV)  For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.

I thought I had no problem with “jealousy” (7068).  As I have been working through I Corinthians 13 I skipped over the part that says love is not jealous.  But then I began to realize that my jealousy was of a different type.  I was becoming jealous of my wife’s freedom.  Don’t get me wrong, she is very busy and has many responsibilities.  But she has what I call an executive lifestyle.  She is able to schedule what she does.  She has much more control over what she does each day than I do.  I punch a clock.  I have to show up every day.  I realized that I was getting jealous, not of another man but of greater freedom.

So?  Jealousy can take many forms.  I was putting it in a little box built by culture.  God and His expectations are all inclusive and cannot be kept in a box.  Keep alert for areas that God wants to see you grow. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Ravishing Ugly

(Proverbs 5:20 KJV)  And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?

Why do men cheat on their wives?  Why do women look for love in the wrong places?  I am sure that there are many excuses but there are few reasons.  We hear, “She is cold.”  We cry, “He doesn’t understand me.”  We have a million “reasons.”  In reality they are excuses to justify doing what we think will be exciting.

This is really a rhetorical question.  You remember what a rhetorical question is, don’t you?  It is a question that has an obvious answer and does not expect a response.

The question is, “Why be stupid?”  It could be expanded to “Why throw away everything you have ever worked for and invested in for a few moments of fun?”

If you are a follower of Jesus the answer is obvious.  Who would chase their latest flame knowing it could put them in eternal flames?

So?  Be faithful.  Be chaste.  Be pure.  It is a minimum expectation, not a goal.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Check for Construction Zones

(Proverbs 4:14-5 KJV)  Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.  Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

Today I am listing two verses because to understand this verse you need to read the context.  What are we looking out for here?  In verse 14 it warns us about the “path of the wicked.”  It is a way of living that is waiting to lead us to both a living and an eternal Hell.  It's existence is the bad news.

The good news is that it is an option, not a necessity.  It is possible to “avoid” (6544a) evil.  We are not “helpless pawns in the hands of fate.” 

Think of how you are planning your driving for the day on vacation.  You have certain requirements for the day but beyond that you can decide how to get there.  You go on line and check the traffic conditions for immediate access and you also can check for construction and detours on the way.

In terms of life this is following the path God has laid out for us.
(Isaiah 35:8 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.
The NASB calls this the “Highway of Holiness.”  I like that.

So?  Look ahead.  What possible bottlenecks will you be facing in your walk today?  Some you can avoid, some you can’t.  Don’t wander off into areas you can and should avoid.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Are You Sure?

(Proverbs 3:26 KJV)  For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.

Our “confidence” (3689) is in the Lord, or at least it should be.

What does that mean?  To start with it means we do not trust in our own ability or planning.  Yes, we plan.  Yes, we develop skills.  Yes, we study.  But these are to be supplements, not the main support.  The reason we are able to face life with joy and a spring in our step is because we have met the Savior and He is in us.

Sometimes we don’t act like we have that security because we have not spent any time with Him.  That is why I get up earlier than is necessary to just get to work.  I budget in extra time in the morning.  By the time I walk out of the parking lot and into the work world my head is higher, my hope is clearer and my assurance is stronger.

The morning may not work for you.  I used to say the same thing.  Is the afternoon working for you?  Be honest now.  Maybe you need to reset your alarm clock.  Of course that means going to bed early.  Keep in mind I am past the stage of young children and since I am getting older it is easier to get up in the morning.  But think about it.

So?  If you have never tried it for a time, give it a shot.  What do you have to lose but a little sleep?  And your depression.  And your desperation.  And your frustration.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Focus, Focus

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

The evil men of verse 12 are “froward” (devious NASB) (3868).  What this means is that they are always taking side trips.  As I write I am on vacation.  Tomorrow we will need to make tracks.  We must get from where we are staying back to our base, about 500 miles away.  We have one day to make it.  We took three days coming.  We have one day back. 

On the way down we were free to be “devious.”  We were free to turn aside, and we did.  It was part of the plan but the plan is different this time.  We must adhere to the straight and narrow.

What is your schedule?  Are you focused on the “paths” (734) God has for you or are you always getting sidetracked.  There is a time for side trips and a time to be goal oriented.

So?  Make sure the focus is correct.  No one can do it for you.  We all have different places in the mind of God.  Make sure that you are not getting distracted from what God has in mind.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Naughty Problem

(Proverbs 1:25 KJV)  But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:

Once again the KJV gets my mental juices flowing.  It says we have “set at naught” (6544a) the “counsel” (6098) of God.  The NASB simply says “neglected.”  Both mean the same but the KJV cuts to the heart of the matter. 

We are used to the concept of resetting a game or a calculator.  Sometimes it is the thing to do.  Sometimes it wipes out all that we have done previously.  Have you had the experience on your computer?  Have you ever deleted a file or an entire folder and suddenly had that sick realization that you did not back it up? 

How often have we deleted all of the wisdom and knowledge that God has given to us?  And we pay the price.

So?  Listen, learn, remember.  It makes a difference.  Don’t zero out the wisdom that God has given you again and again.  That may be the reason that Proverbs repeats things so much.