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, December 31, 2013

Spiritual Hygiene

(Proverbs 31:30 KJV)  Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

This reinforces the idea that God looks at things differently than we do.  The idea is not rare.  It is obvious.  Then why do we forget it so often?

We have a saying, “Beauty is only skin deep.”  And yet we spend fortunes on looking good.  We spend hours working on just the right image.  I have girls who will spend most of the period with their eyes glued to their mirror and totally ignoring what we are trying to do to prepare the inner person. 

Get over it.  God looks at the heart.  God is concerned with attitudes.  God wants people who will take Him seriously and build their lives on that seriousness.

So?  After you get your hair combed and your clothes buttoned straight, spend some time examining the state of your soul, the inner you.  How about spending as much time on your spiritual hygiene as trying to look good. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Is It Jesus or Not?

(Proverbs 30:4 KJV)  Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?

When I reread this I again see a reference to Jesus as creator and maintainer.  I like that picture but a word of caution is in order about how we interpret verses like this.  In looking for verification of my opinion I read what Adam Clarke had to say over two hundred years ago.
“Many are of opinion that Agur refers here to the first and second persons of the everblessed Trinity. It may be so; but who would venture to rest the proof of that most glorious doctrine upon such a text, to say nothing of the obscure author?”
His advice is to be careful to make too much of a case that is weak but interesting.  That is good advice.

We should be reading and meditating.  If we find something that is encouraging for the day or gives us insight into an issue we face, well and good.  The Holy Spirit can lead and encourage.  While that is acceptable, be careful about making sweeping doctrinal statements based on what you want to see.  It is sometimes a subtle path to walk but it can be done. 

So?  Treat the Bible like a living book that is based on unchangeable truth not a contemporary text that has situational truths.  Let it speak to you but understand what its foundations are.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Poor Thinking Skills

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

My daily pattern is to read through a chapter of Proverbs then go to the last verse in that chapter that I reflected on and move to the next verse for thought and meditation.  As I was reading the verse that jumped out at me was,
(Proverbs 29:7 KJV)  The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.
 It is one of those divine coincidences that makes verse fourteen the next I reflect on.  Both speak of how the poor are treated.

Verse 7 talks about the “cause” (rights NASB) of the “poor.”  Verse 14 wants “truth” (571) as a measure for the “poor” (1800b).  I earlier commented on how often Proverbs mentions fools.  The poor are also very common in this book but with a whole different attitude.  Where there is little patience for fools, the poor receive great compassion and concern. 

We are coming through a holiday season.  If you are Eastern Orthodox you are still in the middle of it.  I know that I need to be constantly reminded to be concerned for the poor.

I also need to be concerned about truth. 

So?  Just as we need to be thankful all year, we need to be concerned for Biblical justice all year.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

What Wanteth Thee?

(Proverbs 28:16 KJV)  The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.

Every group or nation has a “prince” (leader NASB) (5057).  In one he will be righteous, another will be a “great” (7227) “oppressor” (4642).  We miss the traits that make the difference because we look with the eyes of the world.

We talk about people being intelligent or charismatic.  We look at how well they speak.  Those things exist.  They are real.  But they are not what makes the difference in leaders.  The difference is not in what a leader has, but in what he “wanteth” (lacks NASB) (2638).  When a president, principal, CEO, father, pastor or _____________ lacks the inner rudder that comes from the touch of God they lack the quality that can make them a good leader.  The end product is destruction.

So?  Obviously this involves any input we have on choosing a leader from who plans the party to who runs the country.  It also reminds us that we need to prepare our hearts so that we can lead when called upon.  Read, meditate, repent. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Flocks and Herds

(Proverbs 27:23 KJV)  Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.

Is “flocks” (6629) and “herds” (5739) a redundancy for effect or significant?  The two words mean different things.  The first refers to smaller animals and is almost always about sheep.  The second is more general and includes large animals.  I would summit that this is a broad statement about the large and small concerns we have in life.

Yet it involves more than small concerns.  Both classes represent creatures that are dependent.  They trust you to care for them and be concerned for their welfare.  If you don’t pay attention, they suffer.  If you are negligent it can lead to tragedy.  Most of us have flocks or herds.  Many of us have both.  This is a call to living up to our responsibilities.

So?  What are your big and little demands?  It could be children, parents, neighbors, employees or just the family pet.  We are reminded to pay attention and be responsible. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Fool Sensor

(Proverbs 26:1 KJV)  As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.

When a book of the Bible gives a lot of attention, maybe we should also.  Proverbs refers to the “fool” (3684) in 17 of 31 chapters.  The high point is this chapter which uses the word eight times.  Also there is at least one other word, (5034a), translated fool.  God has a lot to say about fools and it isn’t praise.

Sometimes the teaching is to help us not act foolish.  Here it is a warning about how we treat fools.  We are not to “honor” (3519b) them.  This is a word that is most frequently translated “glory” and refers to God.  We need to be very careful about giving value to the leadership of people who are fools. 

So?  How do we know a fool when we see one?  Read the rest of the chapter.  The first half will give you a rundown.  Evaluate opinions and leadership on what you read.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Old News

(Proverbs 25:25 KJV)  As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

Merry Christmas!

Think of “good” (2896a) “news” (8052).  Set aside your protests about the commercialization of Christmas.  Forget your protests about it being based on the pagan Saturnalia.  Forgive the person that gave you that horrid tie.   Today is ultimately the celebration of the ultimate good news.  It is the day we celebrate the incarnation.  The day chosen may be arbitrary.  The attitudes may need improvement.  That does not take away from the announcement of the heavenly host.
(Luke 2:10 KJV)  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
You must admit that is “good” (2896a) “news” (8052).  You must concede it comes from a “far” (distant NASB) (4801) “country” (land NASB) (776).

So get over your humbug and rejoice in the good news.  Before the cross you needed the incarnation.  And you got it. 

Merry Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Embrace the Knowledge

(Proverbs 24:4 KJV)  And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Christmas has become a very special time of year in our American culture.  It would be easy to get distracted by the “precious” (3368) and the “pleasant” (5273a).  We certainly dwell among “riches” (1952).  Even the most spiritual of us gets sidetracked by all of the tradition and ceremony surrounding this Christian holiday.

We can get distracted by the “knowledge” (1847) aspect also.  We can get so full of pride that we know the date is tied to a pagan holiday and that we don’t know the actual date that we forget that the second Person in the Godhead became flesh in the fullness of time. 

The important part of the saga is that God became man.  The eternal entered history.  So what if we don’t know the date.  A foundling orphan is assigned a birthday and celebrates it with the same joy as anyone else. 

So?  Don’t get distracted.  Be “filled” (4390) with the “riches” of the season.  “No more let sin and sorrow reign...”

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mark His Words

(Proverbs 23:10 KJV)  Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:

Tradition is a powerful force.  Some boundaries in our culture are based on tradition.  Just because we don’t understand them does not mean they are useless.  For us this is referring to basics, the foundation stones that we build on.  This is not talking about the shifts and trends that we see every day. 

Think about the “old” (ancient NASB) (5769) standards that are under attack.  We had social norms that defined marriage and family.  We had an understanding that there is only one way to salvation, through Jesus.  We were brought up to believe that the animals were for our use not that they were our brothers.  Children were works in progress, not sources of wisdom. 

Most of these standards can be easily documented in the Word.  If you are not aware of that you have not been serious about your homework.

So?  You can’t tell you are drifting if you don’t know the landmarks.  You won’t notice if you are not paying attention.  Do you know what God has to say about these things or do you just know what some guru has shared with you?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What Happened to Seeker Friendly?

(Proverbs 22:10 KJV)  Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.

This flies in the face of what I have heard called a “seeker friendly environment.”  We are instructed to “cast our" (drive NASB) (1644) certain types of people from the fellowship.  This word is used when people who rejected the law of God were in the midst of Gods people.  Some times they were pagans.  Sometimes they were Hebrew.  In either case they were to be removed. 

One of the reasons that the church is becoming so anemic and having so little influence in our culture is that we have refused to take stands when stands are demanded.  Of course we need to be careful about this.  It is not a call to purge everyone who disagrees with us.  It specifically refers to the “scorners” (scoffers NASB) (3917b).  These are people who make a mockery of God and the teachings of God.  They reject the divinity of Christ and substitute a “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” that never appears in the scripture.  They focus on feelings instead of truth.  They are concerned about self esteem instead of repentance. 

So?  You may not have any of these people around but when they appear they are not to be warmly received.  They are to be shown the door.  I didn’t make this up, it comes from Solomon.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Stop Signs on Go Street

(Proverbs 21:13 KJV)  Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.

The KJV uses “stoppeth” for “shuts” (331).  A stopper is something that used to be used to block a drain.  It was an object put in place to keep material from passing.  They were common before the current style of having a knob to pull up that closed a valve in the drain.  You kept the offending material from entering.  We can do that same thing when God has a message for us.  What kind of object, actions, thoughts or attitudes do we put in the way to keep the free flow of God’s compassion from flowing?

We have many methods of ignoring the Holy Spirit.  We can avoid reading passages that might convict us.  We can rationalize our behavior.  We can procrastinate.  Whatever method we use, God’s purpose is put on hold.  The object of our action suffers.  We lose.  God is not happy.

So?  Each of us knows the areas we are resistant to.  We may have them covered up so that we don’t think of them.  God deals with me by bringing this verse to my hard nose once a month.  You may need a different lesson.  Listen and obey. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Pay Now, Or Pay Later

(Proverbs 20:17 KJV)  Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

How often have you done something that you know you will regret later.  Start with breakfast this morning.  Or maybe you could even go back to turning off the alarm and going back to sleep.  Deep down inside when I do certain things, I know I will pay and regret.  But that is later.  Right now it is “sweet” (6156). 

We are between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  How many times have we eaten to painful fulness, sworn we would never do it again and done it again?  How many times have we spent more than we should or asked for things we don’t need?  This points out how limited our honesty is.

So?  This will never change unless we do.  Put down that donut.  Don’t go shopping today.  I really don’t know how it would apply to you, that is not my responsibility.  I can think of enough applications in my own day that I don’t have time to list yours. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Sedative of Sloth

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

“Slothfulness” (laziness NASB) (6103) can be hypnotic.  Part of the definition of “deep sleep” (8639) is “trance.”  There is something about doing nothing when things cry out to be done that deadens our mind.  Procrastination bleeds over to our soul, body and spirit.  It is like taking a sleeping pill or, for that matter, eating a gluttonous meal.   On Thanksgiving or Christmas this is something we can roll with but on a regular basis it saps the life out of us.

Laziness is different from rest.  Rest renews and revives.  Sloth deadens and dampens.  Forced sloth can have the same effect.  We have a few people in our church out of work.  I don’t know how they keep going.  They go out and look.  They find nothing.  The temptation is to gear down and quit.  Sloth can creep up on us.

So?  Avoid it yourself but it might be a good time with the economy being the way it is to target some others in prayer and active encouragement.  Find a way to help a discouraged brother fight the temptation of slothful discouragement. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Belly Aches

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

In trying to understand this verse my mind went to the words of Jesus,
(Matthew 15:11 KJV)  Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
It might help if you looked at the entire passage of Matthew 15:11-20. 

The idea is that the source of who we are and what we produce is at our core, not in our environment.  In our terms it would be the heart, to the Hebrews it was the belly that was the center of being.  So what is going on here is an observation that ultimately we produce the kind of fruit in our lives that we really want.  We may complain about how our kids turn out but think of all those times when they were small that you thought it was cute for them to be rebellious or disruptive.

So?  Where is your belly?  In our terms, where is your heart?  You will reap from what you have decided to sow.  Count on it.  Maybe you want to plant a different crop? 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Watch the High Fives

(Proverbs 17:18 KJV)  A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.

Here we are told it is stupid to give “surety” (6161).  This is not the common word but it is a common idea.  Why use a different word to express an often repeated idea?  I have to guess.  The KJV translation gives us a clue in inferring that it is a pledge given by quick shake of the hands.  The KJV is even more appropriate today with the “high five” and the “fist bump” replacing the shaking of hands.

This reference is a warning about the quick support we give a “friend” (neighbor NASB) (7453).  We are quick to agree because we know the person.  Because of that we don’t think about the consequences.  Proverbs frequently warns about going into debt.  This is a way that it can sneak up on you because of the irresponsible behavior of others.  You end up suffering for their failures.

So?  Your word should be your bond.  Be careful where you give it. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

“Beat the Traffic”

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

What “highway” (4546) are you on?  The definition of this word includes the concept of a public road.  This points out that there are many ways to get places and they are available to everyone.  I have been getting used to the smart phone my kids bought me.  It is slowly creeping into my life.  I have begun using an app called “Beat the Traffic.”  I can call it up and it will give me a map showing where the accidents are and how heavy the traffic is on the highways of the area.  If I want to play with it I think it will even tell me about major surface streets.  That is still in my future.

This roadmap lets me pick the route I will follow for the day.  As in all of life, there are often many alternative routes I can follow.  I must make a choice.  I must make a choice on the way to work.  I must make a choice on the way to live.

So?  Load God’s app and check what is available today.  I am sure He has some recommendations. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hell and Destruction

(Proverbs 15:11 KJV)  Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?

This verse is approached in three ways.  There are two schools of translation and the paraphrasers.  One school, like the NASB takes the words and transliterates them from the Hebrew.  Thus “Sheol” (7585) and “Abaddon” (11) are how the Hebrew words sound.  The other school, like the KJV, translate them as “hell” (7585) and “destruction” (11).  The paraphrasers do whatever they feel like, as usual. 

The clear implication is that these are real, not just figments of the imagination.  I know we don’t like to think about it.  We have questions about a loving God and eternal damnation.  Go ahead and ask.  I have trouble with the concept of Hell but I must accept it because it is so clearly taught.  What helps me understand is to remember that God is not only a loving God, but is also a holy God.  Both elements are necessary when you worship and obey Him.

So?  If you are listening and responding then Hell is not your personal concern.  You don’t need to worry about it.  Your concern is about those you love who are not believers.  That is enough to worry about for one day. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Seeking Wisdom? Not!

(Proverbs 14:6 KJV)  A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.

I did a word search of “seek” (1245) which is in the Hebrew and “find” which is not.  I came up with twenty places in which both words appeared in the same verse in both the NASB and the KJV.  I began to look and read.  I noticed a few things.

We are urged to seek.  We find when God allows it.  Sometimes we find.  Sometimes we don’t.

One thing is almost certain, if we don’t seek we will not find.  Take the words of Jesus and apply that idea.
(Matthew 7:7 KJV)  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Implied in that is that God wants us to approach Him.  We do that in prayer.  We do that in reading our Bibles.  We do it in worship.  We should be doing it in all areas of our life.

So?  God stands ready to listen and respond.  He is willing to lead and advise.  Are you really seeking or are you looking for a reason to scorn?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Carrying the Torch

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

The Hebrew word “messenger” (4397) is often translated that way but the most frequent translation in both the NASB and KJV is “angel.”  Again we see that the meat is in the modifier.  What kind of angel are we talking about?  “Wicked” (7563).  It isn’t even a matter of the message.  It is about the character of the person carrying it.

In Proverbs context is not as important as other books but we can look at the context to get insights into what it means to be a “wicked angel.”  We can do it by contrasts.  Look at all the words that are used to describe the person who is not a wicked angel:  Turning aside,  prudence and disciplined come to our eyes.

So?  The adjective is decided by the choices we make.  We can carry a torch but are we an arsonist or the man who lights the cooking fire?  Pay attention to the little choices you make today. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Way of a Fool

(Proverbs 12:15 KJV)  The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

How can we recognize the “way” (1870) of a “fool” (191)?

It seems easy when we are watching the antics of others.  Often we find ourselves shaking our heads and wondering how they can be so _________.  Fill in the blank with your favorite negative adjective.

It is harder when we are looking at ourselves.  One big reason is that we don’t look at ourselves critically often enough.  We just assume we are “right” (3477).  We may be.  If we are grounded in the word and making prayerful decisions, we could be right where God wants us, smack dab in the middle of the Highway of Holiness.  It is possible.

But is it true?

So?  Take a few moments to examine your decisions and reasons for making them.  Be hard on yourself and honest.  It may be painful but it will be really “right” (3477) not just fantasy. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Righteousness Delivers

(Proverbs 11:6 KJV)  The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.

People like to quote Paul about “righteousness” (6666).
(Romans 3:10 KJV)  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
They usually do so to make a theological point rather than a consistent Biblical point.  The consistent Biblical point is that people are sinful creatures and left to their own devices are selfish and lost.  The Biblical point is that we cannot save ourselves by following rules.  The Biblical point is not that we cannot live righteous lives. 

If that were the point of Romans 3:10 then we would have to follow the example of Thomas Jefferson and the modern gay movement and take scissors to the Bible.  We would need to remove everything we did not like.  It would leave gapping holes in Proverbs.

So?  Live a righteous life.  Be upright.  Don’t try to slide by and say it can’t be done.  You may fool your local theologian but you won’t fool God and you can’t fool yourself. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bear Love

(Proverbs 10:12 KJV)  Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Popular theology has a lot of popular mythology in it.  One of the concepts that rears up even among believers is the idea that God the Father, found in the Old Testament, is a God of wrath and that Jesus is a God of love.  That simply demonstrates a lack of understanding.  Here is another indication that the teachings you find in the NT are grounded in the OT.  Here is an early source of what is thought of as a NT concept.  “Love” (160) “covers” (3680) “sins” (transgressions NASB) (6588).  I see again how much of the NT God of Love is revealed in the OT under the God of Wrath.

We see this thought in the love Chapter.
(1 Corinthians 13:7 KJV)  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Here the word “beareth” has a basic meaning of covering.  Some other time I may look at other places the thought is used.

So?  Just think of how quickly the world would be destroyed if God were as quick to judge as some people think.  I am sure that I would not even survive the drive to work in the morning.  Let our actions to those who wrong us mirror God’s patient love toward us. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dead Ends

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

When I was a kid the signs said, “Dead End.”  We knew what it meant.  Somewhere along the line the signs have become “new and improved.”  Now we have, “No outlet.”  We see, “Not a through street.”  I am sure that if you keep your eyes open you will find other ways of expressing it.

And yet we still turn into them and are surprised when we come to a “dead” (7496) end.  The signs are clear.  We know what they mean.  We ignore them.

People around you are dead ends.  They have made choices that will terminate in tragedy and be escorted by hopelessness.  They are good at covering it up but that does not change the condition.

So?  Are you on the through street?  Do you sometimes look at others who seem to have it all together and wanted to go their way?  Remember it is a dead end.  I don’t think you really want to go there.  Make the right choices today.  Keep your eyes on the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

More Than a Brand

(Proverbs 8:34 KJV)  Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

There is a word here that we are very good at ignoring in our walk with Jesus.  That neglect leads to great pain, frustration and possibly failure.  The word is not theological or subtle.  It does not take a college degree or a high intelligence to understand. 

We are to be “daily” (3117). 

This is the simple Hebrew word yom that simply means “day.”  It gives us some things to do every day.  We are to listen or hear.  We are to watch.  We are to wait.  Notice the lack of big words.  We can do this.

So?  Do they still make One-a-Day Brand Multiple Vitamins?  God had the idea first.  It is more than a brand, it is a way of life.  It is a way to life.  It is the way to live. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Wave Offerings

(Proverbs 7:17 KJV)  I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.

This verse is about making sin and rebellion acceptable.  There is a bit of hypocrisy that is hidden in the Hebrew.  It may have been obvious to people of that day.  The word for “sprinkled” (5130) is the word for the waving motion used by the priest in certain types of sacrifices in the temple.  You may have heard the term “wave offering.”  This is the “wave” in “wave offering.” 

The couple referred to in this passage are acting like they have sanctified their sin by going through some ritual.  Often we see people doing this.  We make all kinds of excuses for our sin.  At one point we fool ourselves by saying things like, “God will understand.”  At another we tell ourselves, “God would never expect that of me.”  Sometimes we go social and say things like, “It’s for the children.”  How many crimes have been committed “for the children.”  How many sins have been committed by people who think God is blind or stupid?

So?  Many of your actions are in your control.  You choose to sin or not.  Be reminded what the words of the Christmas Carol say, “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.”  You may have slept through the sermon but remember that God wrote the book. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Gravity Still Works

(Proverbs 6:28 KJV)  Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?

The obvious answer to this question is “No.”  So why do people keep trying?  Why do people dump a spouse to link up with someone else and think it will work out any different?  People have been this way all through history but I think it is getting worse.  My reason for believing that is not just observation of behavior and decadence.  I see it going on in our culture at large.

My work world is the public school.  It seems that educators have forgotten everything they learned about life.  The big lesson that is ignored is found under the title of “Cause and Effect.”  Newton talked about opposite and equal reactions.  In education we keep thinking we can keep trying all the new ideas that are thrown out and ignore the wisdom of the ages.  It hasn’t worked in the last 30 years.  It won’t work in the future.  The government declared war on poverty, pumped billions in, found the problem worse and said we need to spend more. 

One of the lessons that believers should accept and embrace is that “what you sow you will reap.”  Read the Owners Manual, in any translation.  Learn the expectations and guidelines.  Accept that some things are rules that will not be denied.

So?  Behavior has consequences.  Is there anything you were going to try to get away with today?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Insight by Mistranslation

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

The old Good News Bible has an interesting paraphrase of this verse.
(Proverbs 5:16 GNB)  Children that you have by other women will do you no good.
This is perfect example of the problem with a paraphrase and the blessings of a paraphrase. 

The problem is that the text does not say this in any way shape or form.  The Hebrew speaks of “fountains” (springs NASB) (4599) and “rivers” (streams NASB) (6388) of “water” (5140) not of children.  The good side is that this is a good insight based on the context of sexual promiscuity.  When I read this I said, “Yes.  That is what Solomon is hinting at.”  And I groaned because this is commentary not translation.

It applies today to our culture.  With the soaring numbers of children born out of wedlock and single mothers we should stop and think.

So?  I would hope you are not jumping from sexual partner to sexual partner.  If you are you need to realize that you may be leaving some little drops that can become disastrous floods in the future.  Morality has a reason.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wise Plagiarism

(Proverbs 4:4 KJV)  He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

The “he” being quoted here is David.  Solomon is passing on wisdom that he gained from his father.  We talk about the wisdom of Solomon.  We know that God granted him wisdom. 
(1 Kings 4:29 KJV)  And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.
We acknowledge that God is the source of all blessings.  We know that the Holy Spirit works in us.  What we sometimes overlook is the influence that we have on other people.

God uses us.  He used David.  He used Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother.  It could be that the wisdom of Solomon is all plagiarism.

So?  Pass on the wisdom that your parents gave you.  Don’t apologize.  They didn’t have any?  Then it is your job to gain wisdom and pass it on.  Start now. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

All Aboard

(Proverbs 3:6 KJV)  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Sometimes the simple, common words are of great importance.  Take for instance the word “all” (3605).  It is so easy to overlook that or breeze by without application.  Like everything in inspired scripture, it means what it says.  It means no exclusions.  It means no days off.  It means no private little parties that God is not invited to.

This might be the difference between the actors and the livers.  To some, being a Christian is a role.  It is something that they get into but it isn’t the real focus.  To the righteous, it is a way of living that dominates and directs.  Following Jesus is not mask, it is a face.  It isn’t a character assumed but character attained.  It touches everything.

Or it should.

So?  Have you ever hear the phrase, “All or nothing”?  Of course you have.  That is what Jesus demands.  Are you willing to give it? 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Delivery Route

(Proverbs 2:16 KJV)  To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;

There is a progression of action and actors in this chapter.  It starts off with the believer and the choices and actions available to us.  Then in verse 6 it reveals the things that God will do in response to that obedience.  Wisdom enters the equation in verse 10 and in verse 12 we have the first promise that it will “deliver” (5337) us.  Now we repeat the promise.

This deliverance is not a promise made in the vacuum of life.  It is an expectation that we can have because we have done our part and God has done His part.  Deliverance is the end of the chain.  It is not a sudden awareness that you are in trouble and a quick prayer for rescue.  It is an expectation based on experience and covenants.

So?  How has your preparation been so far?  God can always be relied on to do His part.  Spend some time today responding and thinking about what it means to be the target of deliverance. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

They Say

(Proverbs 1:16 KJV)  For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.

Who are the “their” of this verse?  Verse 15 talks about “them.”  In verse 13 they are “we.”  In verse 11 it is “they.”  Only in verse 10 do we get the revelation that these are the sinners around us. 

We need to always be careful when “they” say anything.  You have had the experience where someone will say that “they say that....”  Sometimes the variation is “everyone knows that....”  It may even be true that “everyone knows.”  They are still wrong.

We do not base our lives on hearsay or common culture.  Well, we shouldn’t.  Too often we do.  As followers of the One who said He was the “Way, truth and the life” we should be a little more careful what we accept as true. 

So?  You should be out of step with the world around you.  Often you should be out of step with people in the church.  Too often their values and priorities are based on sin and rejection of the holy.  We are called to be different.  Think about that as we move into a time where even the pagans celebrate Christmas.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Filling the Empty Suit

(Proverbs 30:3 KJV)  I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.

Is it possible to have “knowledge” (1847) without “wisdom” (2451)?  Or is this just repetition of emphasize?  I would say both.  In our modern age we are so consumed with formal education that we have forgotten that having a diploma doesn’t mean you know anything important.  We are consumed with paper certification.  We seek test scores and endorsements.  Years ago, in the 1970's, when the aerospace industry was having a fall-out I knew men who had all the wisdom and experience needed to do the job but they were being replaced by people with the right paperwork.  The same seems to be happening today.

Don’t ignore knowledge but keep it balanced with wisdom.  Sometimes this is knowing how to apply what you know.  Sometimes it means knowing the right priorities to reach enduring goals.  All should be grounded in the eternal words of God.

So?  Keep growing.  Allow the Holy Spirit to put the package together so that you can be a positive force in the lives around you.  Don’t be an empty suit with a bunch of wall plaques.  Be a soul filled with eternal truth. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

An Eye Full for Today

(Proverbs 29:13 KJV)  The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes.

Today I am reading a lot into this verse because I find myself needing a word of hope and encouragement.  Now.  So I look to what comes up in Proverbs, trusting the Holy Spirit.  It is a discouraging time.  On economic issues the health care train crash looms big.  I read what is happening to other people in the cost of insurance.  It hasn’t hit me yet but I am already hearing estimates for our next contract which range as high as $1,000 a month increase.  Discouraging. 

The moral atmosphere is being polluted.  I was forced to present a lesson on bullying this week.  It was sponsored by a group called the Gay Straight Alliance and had a website to start your own GSA club.  California’s governor has just signed a bill giving children the right to choose their sexual orientation and expect the world to bow to it. 

Today I am reminded that God is still involved from rich to poor.  I am reminded that He continues to speak to both ends of all spectrums be they spectrums of wealth or morality.  The promise is that He is involved in all of the routine conflicts and challenges that I will face today.

So?  I embrace the good news.  I am reminded to keep a divine perspective.  I am called to serve, not command.  If I need it again tomorrow, it will show up again.  Trust and obey.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Wicked Ruler

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

How can you read this verse and not think politics?  I know that many people don’t want to go there.  I know so many who don’t want to talk politics.  Fine.  But you must still think and act politics, even if you won’t talk about them.

Here Solomon talks about a “wicked” (7563) “ruler” (4910).  That assumes that there are unwicked rulers, righteous rulers.  For the moment try to get past your political posturing and look at the moral choices that a leader makes.  There are certain criteria that are so clear we have nothing to debate.  Is the leader faithful to the spouse?  Do they speak with genuine honesty?  For us believers we also need to ask if they genuinely believe in the God revealed in the Bible. 

Some will say we cannot make those judgements.  We are not consigning them to hell, we are trying to decide how to cast our votes.  Yes, we can make those judgments.  We must make those judgements.

So?  At one end you have the local school board.  At the other you have the president of the United States.  Consider carefully the kind of leader you want.  We live in a blessed time of freedom but with freedom comes responsibility. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bray It Again, Sam

(Proverbs 27:22 KJV)  Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.

The KJV is confusing to our modern times and it is a confusion that clarifies this verse.  The KJV says “bray” (3806) where the NASB says “pound.”  The old English is much more demanding.  This is the process of taking whole wheat grains and methodically reducing them into flour.  I don’t know if you have ever tried it.  I used a mortar and pestle to grind coffee once and came to the conclusion that civilization was nice and old fashioned is laborious.  It gives new meaning to “it’s a grind.”

This is saying that if someone is a fool, even the most careful grinding and effort will not produce flour.  It could be that one way to tell if someone is a fool or just uninformed is by the way in which they respond to your correction.

So?  Give time to people but be aware that you may need to move on after a time.  There are people out there who can benefit from our input and counsel.  To paraphrase the words of Jesus, “don’t throw your mortar and pestle in front of fools.”

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Lie of Silence

(Proverbs 26:28 KJV)  A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

Does “lying” (8267) require the use of the “tongue” (3956)?  I don’t think so.  We often lie by saying nothing when something is required for righteousness to prevail.

Our pastor has been reflecting on the state of the country.  If I am to believe what I hear there are open homosexual relationships being portrayed on prime time television.  Out of marriage births outnumber the legitimate in several demographics and are pushing upward in all groups.  When you consider the health care turmoil and cut out the politics it comes down to people wanting to receive or give what is not paid for by the recipient. 

At the core of the downward path in our culture is the silence of the churches.  We have a vast majority of pulpits that never declare the moral word of the Lord.  They remain silent and allow the country to proceed to “ruin” (4072).

So?  Have you had a part in the coverup?  Have you kept your tongue silent when the conversation demands a word?  I know I am guilty.  Either we do not know the truth or we are lying by silence.  God help us.  God forgive us. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Corner Lemonade Stand

(Proverbs 25:24 KJV)  It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.

When life gives you lemons don’t make lemonade, find a “corner” (6438).  There is a time to retreat, a time to not take on an issue.  You will have to be the judge of when that applies.  This is just giving you permission.

We are surrounded by people who seem to thrive on confrontation.  They get energy from making others miserable.  I am not asking for anyone to understand why just understand that they are that way.  It is not necessarily something you did.  It is who they are.

So?  Make sure you are not one of those people and then find your corner.  Renew and refresh yourself while you are there.  It will edify you and drive them crazy.  That is called a twofer. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Baby Step for Wisdom

(Proverbs 24:3 KJV)  Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:

People want to be successful.  We want to feel like there is purpose and direction in our lives.  It may be expressed differently and have different priorities but I don’t think anyone wants to be a failure.  How do we achieve that goal?

You need to start with the right foundation.  If your base isn’t strong and stable then what you build will crumble and deteriorate.  “Wisdom” (2451) is a foundational rock, not a decorative device.  We get this wrong.  We tend to think that wisdom is something that suddenly appears when we are a certain age or have had a certain amount of experience.  Wrong.  It comes one stone at a time.  It is a conscious choice.  It must be sought.

So?  I spoke before about your WQ, Wisdom Quotient.  How is it doing?  Maybe it is time to start working on it.  You will live in some kind of house.  Make it a strong one.  Every day you put it off is a day longer to reach the goal. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fool Talk

(Proverbs 23:9 KJV)  Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

This would seem to mean that I am not to talk in any public gathering because, by definition, most of the people are going to be fools.

After reading through Proverbs several times, it becomes clear that a “fool” (3684) is someone who lacks wisdom and a fear of God.  This means they cannot understand.  It is useless to speak in front of them.  These are the people I work with.  Sometimes I think they are family members.

But to whom do I talk the most often and consistently?  Myself.  So lets take this a step further.  Talking to myself can be nothing more than a conversation with a fool.  How do I avoid such conversations?  We use the same standards that Solomon has for recognizing a fool.  Before I begin a conversation with myself I must remember the source of wisdom and renew my fear of God. 

Sometimes I get very involved in my little self-speeches before the Holy Spirit taps me on the shoulder and wakes me up.

So?  Self-examination is an important key in life.  Next time you talk to yourself make sure that you are not talking to a fool. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Arrogant Generosity

(Proverbs 22:9 KJV)  He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

This is a command with a consequence.  The result is being “blessed” (1288).  This word has an interesting nuance as you look at the definition.  One aspect of it is to kneel.  It is not translated that way frequently, I could only find two place, but it made me wonder.  Look at it here.
(Psalms 95:6 KJV)  O come, let us worship and bow down: let us “kneel” (1288) before the LORD our maker.
This makes my mind go to attitude.  We are to share with those in need but we need to check our motivation and sense of self-righteousness when we do it.  It is easy to look down on people when we expend what should be the hand of compassion.  It is easy to become satisfied with how well we are doing.  Becoming puffed up is hard to resist. 

So?  Be generous but do it from your knees.  You are blessed because God has blessed you, not because you are such a fine person.  You are blessed so that you can bless others.  It is an act of worship and submission. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Seeing What Is

(Proverbs 21:12 KJV)  The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.

What does it mean to “consider” (7919a)?  It is interesting that in neither the KJV or NASB is there a common translation of this word.  It means to be prudent which means to carefully consider.  It means acting with discernment.  That seems clear.  Yet each time it is translated it seems to have a different nuance.  Maybe it has to do with the diverse face of evil.  The “wicked” (7563) have many faces.  They work overtime at covering themselves up, in wearing masks.

We as the “righteous” (6662) cannot go on intellectual vacation.  We seem to have that as a common character trait.  Because we are to be kind and patient we tend to think it means naive and compliant.  No.  We are to be alert but calm.  We are to be strong but polite.  Think of a verse that has to do with sharing our faith.
(1 Peter 3:15 NAS77)  but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;
So?  Listen, watch, pay attention and then respond with clarity and graciousness.  We can do it.  We must do it. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Where Do Eggs Come From?

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

Why would “knowledge” (1847) be more important than your bank balance?  Short term this might be deniable but the long term should be clear.

When you go to the store the clerk does not ask you to explain where eggs come from in order to buy a dozen.  He doesn’t care what you know, just how much money you have.  It is different when you are deciding what to buy.  It always amuses me when I see a sale and they advertise that if you buy one the second one is free.  If I were ignorant I would stock up.  Not being ignorant I know that the price they are asking for the first is inflated so much that it would be cheaper to go down the street and buy at their regular price.

So?  This is what we mean when we talk about knowing character and not being impressed by the outward show.  It is the difference between an antique oak desk and a modern press board creation.  What kind of person are you building? 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More Than Tradition

(Proverbs 19:14 KJV)  House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.

Family can only do so much.  Of course that is quite a “so much.”  Here it talks about financial security.  It is a family thing.  Parents train children.  They model for children in finance.  When the time comes and the if the parents are able they might help with actual dollars.  Other places it talks about teaching values and priorities.  Family has a big job.

But finding the right “wife” (802), or husband for that matter, is a spiritual mystery.  It may be the family is involved.  Remember this is written in a culture where arranged marriages were common.  But finding the right spouse, the “prudent” one, is a matter of trust in God. 

This is another reason why divorce is not an option for believers.  If we have trusted God for our salvation and sought his leadership in marriage don’t let times of doubt break down what God has established.  Remember your wedding day, or one you have attended.  I hope it contained,
(Mark 10:9 KJV)  What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
You thought that was just traditional, didn’t you?  It comes from the lips of Jesus.

So.  Pray and trust that God is blessing your marriage, now or to come.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hard Truth

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

You may not have noticed but a large part of this verse is not in the original Hebrew.  If you don’t see any indication of that in the translation you are using you might consider getting one that is more concerned with accuracy.  The phrase “is harder to be won” is shown in italics in both the NASB and the KJV along with some other translations.  If you read the introduction to your translation you would know that the translators use that devise to show you when they have added things for clarity. 

Does your Bible translation give you clarity or convenience?  Does it give you accuracy or accommodation?  Just because something is easy to read doesn’t mean you should be reading it.  If you are reading a translation that uses a third grade vocabulary, maybe you should move on to something a little more focused on revelation, unless, of course, you are in third grade.

Picture the Declaration of Independence being revised so that it says just “rights” as opposed to “inalienable rights.”  You might have to look up the word but you miss the point if you miss the word.

So?  The Holy Spirit expects something to work with.  Do your part.  He is probably waiting for you to grow up so he can share something with you. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

All Time Lovers

(Proverbs 17:17 KJV)  A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

When Christians talk or read about love our minds should eventually touch on I Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter.  It is the standard by which love is measured and understood.  Look at verse 8
(1 Corinthians 13:8 KJV)  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
“Charity” is the Greek word agape.  It is the key word for Christian love.  Do you see this New Testament verse reflecting the Old Testament statement?  Love from God, agape love, endures for “all” (3605) “times” (6256).  It never fails.

So?  Are you tempted to give up on a particular person or life in general?  I know I am.  Today.  Right now.  I need to be reminded that the love God has put in my heart does not give up, cannot give up.  God willing I will live that.  He is.  I will. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Investment Advice

(Proverbs 16:16 KJV)  How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!

What a wonderful option.  What a glorious promise.  We should be able to understand this.  We can chose to seek that which will always be useful or we can go after the shiny.  I am too young to remember when President Roosevelt essentially made it illegal to have gold and stopped people using it for buying and selling.  In a stroke of the pen he seemed to remove the usefulness of gold.  It still had value but could not be used. 

There are currently attempts to declare wisdom illegal also.  The government is going after our thoughts and beliefs.  It is illegal to speak publicly against homosexuality in many locations.  You can get a more serious sentence if you were thinking wrong when you committed a crime.  They are called hate crimes and why the penalty is increased because of your supposed mental opinions is beyond me. 

How do you deal with all this?  Not with gold.  You need wisdom.  You need values and priorities based in the standards of God to get through the rough times however they are expressed in your life. 

So don’t just go to work today.  Don’t just pay your bills and balance your budget.  Spend some time investing in the wisdom market.  See how your investment can grow.  It is necessary for an eternal retirement. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Correction Response

(Proverbs 15:10 KJV)  Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.

“Correction” (Discipline NASB) (4148) is a given.  We don’t like to admit it but it is needed.  This is not the discipline that comes from within.  This is the correction that comes from without.  It is not pleasant to be called to account but it is necessary.

That part is not the big issue, though.  The real issue is how you react to being confronted.  The clear problem here is the person who reacts with hatred.  This can come across as anger or coldness.  It means that you reject the best intentions of others to help you move forward in life.  Notice the two words used for the person who will not be corrected.  “Forsakes” (5800a) and “die” (4191).  Neither is a pleasant prospect.

So?  Be open to those who confront you.  They may be totally wrong.  You may be totally right.  You won’t know until you listen, think and pray on the issue.  Happy growing.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Trademark of Truth

(Proverbs 14:5 KJV)  A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.

Honesty is one of the trademarks of the follower of Jesus Christ.  If you are a habitual liar and call yourself a Christian we have a definite oxymoron on our hands.  My computer dictionary tells me that the term comes from a Greek word that means “pointedly foolish.”  Certain behaviors are not acceptable for children of God.

We could make a list but the point of this verse is to not “lie” (3576).  That is probably enough to focus on for one day.  Perhaps we can add that lies come under many names:  exaggeration, spin, silence, misdirection.  The list could go on.

So?  Watch your mouth.  Watch your heart.  The two are connected.  What comes out of one starts in the other.  Make sure that the launching pad is right with God. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Yes, Actually, I Am a Prude

(Proverbs 13:16 KJV)  Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.

Are you a prude?  You should be.

This is another area where our culture of coolness has diverted from the balanced life of God.  “Prudent” (6175) is a good trait according to the Bible and your dictionary.  My Bible software calls it “sensible.”  My computer dictionary brings out caring and thinking about the future.  Our culture says you are strange and have a lot of hang ups.

This one word should wake us up and get us examining the kind of life we want to live.

So?  Again I say, “Are you a prude?  You should be.”  The world may laugh at you for being thoughtful and considering how your actions will effect the future.  God smiles and nods His head.  I know where I want my approval to come from.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Can’t Get No Satisfaction?

(Proverbs 12:14 KJV)  A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man's hands shall be rendered unto him.

What does it mean to be “satisfied” (7646)?  This is one of those words that depends on its context for meaning.  It can mean being sated with all the loss of feeling and mental acuity that comes with overindulgence.  This is the feeling you get at nap time after Thanksgiving dinner.  It can also mean a tremendous sense of satisfaction at a job well done.  Picture watching your children moving on and making a difference in the world.

The promise here is that we can find satisfaction.  Both “mouth” (words NASB) (6310) and “recompence” (deeds NASB) (1576) are covered.  The two words appear together other places, such as,
(Colossians 3:17 KJV)  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
So?  Invest your time in something lasting.  That starts with the right materials and plans.  Both are available in the Book.  Let the Holy Spirit be your general contractor. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Heritage of Righteousness

(Proverbs 11:5 KJV)  The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.

It is possible to be “perfect' (blameless NASB) (8549).  How do I know?  Because the Bible says so, here and many other places.  Righteousness is within reach.  How do I know?  Because the Bible says so, here, in the next verse and many other places.  What is this “righteousness” (6666) that the Calvinists say can’t exist?  They like to quote a verse from Isaiah in the KJV.
(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.
In our natural, pre-conversion state this is a universal.  After we are regenerated, justified, and adopted I am not so sure that we can make such a statement and be consistent with scripture.  Do you disagree?  Go back and read the verse again.  Argue with the Bible, not me.

Righteousness has a function.  It makes life different both inside and outside.

So?  My main concern is not people who stress the pervasiveness of sin and evil but people who make that an excuse for giving in to sin in their daily walk.  Find the balance.  Admit your sin.  Confess it.  Move on.  God needs saints acting like saints.  Embrace the heritage. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Under Cover Agents

(Proverbs 10:11 KJV)  The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

The “righteous” (6662) are different from the “wicked” (7563).  One is open and giving.  The other “conceals” (3680). 

The righteous can be open because their motives are based on the love of God.  We are called to do what is good for others and the good of society.  That is why Christian believers have been behind what we consider the blessings of civilization:  Hospitals, schools, orphanages, respect of women, etc. 

The wicked must hide their true goals, standards and motives.  They may enjoy a public display of promiscuous sex or push perversion but they do it under the guise of “art” or “freedom of expression” or “pushing the boundaries.”  They don’t want you to understand they are out to destroy the good and clean.

So?  First, decide which side you are on.  Second, act like it.  Open sesame. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Open Honesty

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

If you are going to sin try to do it in public.  There is something about being in the public eye that can force honesty and objectivity.  Not always.  Politicians and public speakers learn to fake it and deceive both the audience and themselves.  Most of us are a bit self conscious. 

Did you sing in the shower this morning?  Sounded pretty good, didn’t you?  How about doing that in front of the line at McDonald’s as you get your breakfast sandwich?  Maybe you are ready to sing a solo at church this Sunday. 

Have you ever had a great idea, shared it with someone and received looks of sympathy?  Or take it another step back.  Have you ever had a great idea, written it down and looked at it later only to ask yourself, “What was I talking about?”

So?  Don’t get too impressed with what happens in “secret” (5643a).  Make sure that your ideas and behavior will stand the test of the spotlight. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

For Want of an Ear a Soul Was Lost

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

It is not enough to go to school.  It is not enough to have the books.  It is not enough to have a teacher.  We must “heed” (8085). 

I was listening to a radio interview.  The subject was the low level of achievement that American students display in comparison to the world.  There are a lot of reasons for the results.  Some reasons merit concern.  Some of the differences are smokescreens and unimportant.  We blame everything from the fluoride in the water to religious faith.  The one thing we don’t blame is the key factor in all of this.  We never hear about how the students are to blame for not paying attention. 

So?  When  you stand before the judgment seat of God you will not have your high school counselor there to make excuses for you.  He will probably be on trial also.  You will be asked the same thing then as now, do you heed instruction?  Anyone can make excuses but only you can listen. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Brand Name Blues

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

Sometimes a figurative reading gives an insight.  This verse could refer to the trappings of elite attitudes.  Notice that the point made here is not quality but brand.  It may be that the people of the day associated Egypt with a certain weave or quality but we would not understand that.  What we do understand is that we are supposed to be impressed by imported fabric.

Today “imported” can mean quality or trash depending on the source, manufacturer and item.  The point I want to bring out is that we too often assume that the worth of something, or someone, is in how society labels it.  There is real danger in this.  We need to get in the habit of comparing ideas, attitudes and habits with the unchanging truth of God and do so as a regular routine. 

We can’t continue to trust without examination.  I just had a conversation about how Penny’s T-shirts were the standard of excellence when I was in high school.  Somewhere along the line I bought a package and it was clear to me that these were not the shirts of my youth.  Same store, same size but a different product and I assure you it was not an improvement.

So?  We get into patterns of behavior in what we read, watch and visit.  What they teach and reinforce might have changed.  Don’t let your mind or soul go on vacation for too long.  You might open a package and find out that your new garment is not designed for glory. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Heart Burn

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

You often have a say in the difficulties that confront you.  Sure, there are surprises and hit and runs.  There are economic and political forces that are out of your control.  We know that.  It doesn’t take away from the truth that we often create our own misery.

This is not the “take” (2846) of receiving.  The sense of the Hebrew is to “snatch up.”  It means to grab hold of not just get hit by.  This is grabbing for all the gusto.  This is saying, “I can get away with it.”  This is possibly the person who figures they can enjoy life now and have plenty of time to get right with God later. 

It didn’t work last time.  Why should it work today?

So?  Stop making excuses for playing with fire.  Stop turning on the hot water and expecting cold.  Stop thinking you are so smart you can be the one who gets away with it.  Make some cool decisions today. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sex and the Cistern

(Proverbs 5:15 KJV)  Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.

This is a beautiful expression of the sexual relationship in marriage.  This chapter in Proverbs would be banned by the same people that have trouble with the Song of Solomon.  This is a call to fidelity and faithfulness.  It is poetic but it calls out to us, in its context, to enjoy and be fulfilled by the sexual contact that God built into us as human beings. 

God demonstrated great variety in His applications of the sexual relationship.  It goes from the amoeba that just splits to reproduce to the human standard of totally knowing another distinct person.  In between you have casual contact, king of the heard, mate for the season, mate for life and others arrangements that don’t come to mind.  Out of this variety He has chosen that which fits creatures given the image of God.

So?  You may not have the perfect marriage but God really wants you to be fulfilled in it.  Don’t stray or start looking at the grass on the other side of the fence. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Be a Street Light

(Proverbs 4:18 KJV)  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

What kind of person would you consider yourself?  What kind of influence do you have?  This verse tells us that it makes a difference.  If you are “just” (righteous NASB) (6662) it shows.  You know this because you see it in others.

If you had an emergency and had to leave your children with someone for a time you would reject some prospects and feel comfortable with others.  If you were going to be out of town you would feel comfortable leaving a key with some people, not with others.  You would loan your car to some people without a worry.  You see what kind of “path” (734) they walk.

So?  What kind of trail to you leave behind you?  I guess it depends on what road map you are following. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lean Times

(Proverbs 3:5 KJV)  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

We must beware of the danger brought when we "lean" (8172) on our own "understanding" (998).  This is the only place in Proverbs that "lean" (8172) is used.  It means "to lean, support oneself."  If “crutch” were a verb it could be used here. 

The problem is not the idea of a crutch.  A crutch is simply an admission of weakness.  If you are unable to function without the crutch then it is also an admission of wisdom.  My classes are full of young people who refuse to wear their glasses.  Without them they can’t see.  I even have students sitting on the front row who claim they cannot see. 

The problem is when we build our own prosthetics.  Our wisdom and understanding make a poor crutch.  God’s make the perfect support. 

So?  You will lean.  That is because you are flawed.  Okay, we are flawed.  I, for one, plan on getting the best crutch on the market and lean heavy.  The best crutch is Jesus.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

There Was a Little Man Who Had a Crooked House.

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

How much control do we have over our “ways” (paths NASB) (734)?  Some factors we have no control over.  We cannot pick our parents.  We cannot control the weather.  We cannot banish construction crews from the roads we travel. 


We can learn from our parents and their mistakes.  We can then decide how we are going to direct our paths.  We can take an umbrella or drive slower when it is raining.  We can take different roads from the workers who block our default path. 

We may not be able to control segments of the road of life but we can make decisions to challenge the kinks that are within our reach.

So?  Where do you want to be in 24 hours?  How do you want to feel about the kind of person you were in getting there?  Consider carefully, plan and choose. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Choice Cuts

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

You have choices to make today.  Some have no consequences.  What kind of bread do I want for breakfast?  Do I want light roast, dark roast or the flavored coffee offered?  Others are super obvious.  Do I turn right to get to work?  Others are a bit more difficult because we are surrounded by others and influenced by them.  Should I answer my cell phone on the freeway?  Should I race to cut off that other car?  Should I wear this piece of clothing that makes me look sexy? 

Now I am meddling.  Take our clothing as an example of choice.  What are the standards by which we make our purchases?  What are the desired effects we want to create today?  Do I want a power tie?  Do I want to show cleavage?  Am I confused over which question applies to me?

So?  You need to know if you are serving a holy God or a hedonistic culture.  You need to know if your desire is to “walk in the way” of the saint or the secularist.  Choices, choices. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Guard Duty

(Proverbs 31:27 KJV)  She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

As you read over this chapter it becomes clear that wives and mothers are not just confined to the home and doing menial tasks.  We see businesses being started and run.  We see executive decisions being made and advice being given.  That being obvious it also points out one of the important responsibilities of the wife.  She “looks well” (6822) to her responsibilities in the “household” (1004).

“Looks well” (6822) is the word that is commonly translated “watchman.”  In English this seems like a casual oversight to keep things running smoothly.  In Hebrew it has the idea of a guard against enemies and destructive forces.  I think this is a key role in maintaining the family and the home.  I would assume that the husband also shares in this but here it lays it at the feet of the matriarch. 

So?  Ladies, accept the charge.  Gentlemen, respect and support the role.  It is vital to the well-being of you, your children and your future. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Stupid Can Be Good Enough

(Proverbs 30:2 KJV)  Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.

Being “brutish” (stupid NASB) (1198) is different than not having “understanding” (998).  For the moment lets assume that ignorance is the same as stupidity.  It isn’t, but often looks the same and can produce the same results.  Think of how we are told to be like children.   Here is one reference.
(Matthew 18:3 KJV)  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
When it comes to knowledge and experience a child is lacking.  They are ignorant.  It can even seem to be stupidity.  They are naive and often trusting when they should not be.

But a child can understand.  They can know when they have been had even if they don’t know how.

This is part of the reason we talk about the heart as well as the mind.  Our popular terminology is that Jesus comes into our hearts.  We also talk about transformed minds, but it starts in the heart.

So?  You can have enough understanding to be pleasing in God’s eye at any level of knowledge.  You don’t need to have hundreds of verses memorized and a college degree in theology to live an obedient life.  Go with what you have. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wisdom Prep

(Proverbs 29:11 KJV)  A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.

This might be another “chicken or the egg” situation.  Which comes first, the wisdom or the hold?  Here it says the “wise man” (2450) “keepeth” (holds NASB) (7623a) his temper “til afterwards” (back NASB) (268).  It is possible that the way to deal with your anger is to seek wisdom first, not self control.

Sometimes getting angry is the result of lack of understanding.  Sometimes it is because we are taking a short term view.  Sometimes it is because we don’t remember what happened before or we are not paying attention to the stress someone else is going through.  A little wisdom can go a long way in helping us to help instead of lash out.

So?  Proverbs repeatedly tells us to get or acquire wisdom.  It is something we can target.  Of course that requires plugging our souls in, patching our mind and feeding them.  Go for it. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Petroleum Heart Jelly?

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

Think of “fear” (6342) as a softening oil or lotion.  Here it has the healthy benefit of keeping our hearts sensitive and pliable.  Stop in the section of the drug store or market that has skin care products.  You will find shelf after shelf of products making claims to keep your skin young and pliable.  As I get older my feet are becoming an issue.  I am looking at expensive creams and such.  Do you know what my podiatrist recommends?  Petroleum Jelly.  Yes, that stuff.  It doesn’t make sense that the product of crude oil can keep my feet in shape.

It might not make sense to you that a little fear can keep you heart in shape.  Take it from the expert.  Fear God and keep a healthy heart.

So?  Don’t worry about lightening bolts.  Worry about eternity in hell.  Both can be avoided by a little bit of healthy perspective, sometimes called fear. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Flunking the Test

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

The NASB adds a word here.  Compare the following,
(Proverbs 27:21 NAS77)  The crucible is for silver and the furnace for gold, And a man is tested by the praise accorded him.
“Tested” is not in the Hebrew so we have a simple parallel statement here.  The KJV is much better because it follows the Hebrew with no additions.  As a “fining pot” (crucible NASB) (4715) is to silver, as a “furnace” (3564a) is to gold, so “praise” (4110) is to a man.  This seems to be a common construction in Hebrew, leaving us to fill in the similarities.

I see these little additions sneaking in all through modern translations.  The purpose is to clarify and that is a noble goal but it still tends to adulterate the word of God. 

Take another place that comes to mind and here the KJV is just as guilty as the NASB.
(Ephesians 5:22 KJV)  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
In the Greek the word “submit” is not present.  It is inferred from the previous verse.  Adding a word to clarify actually waters the truth down.  What it should say is, “Wive, be to your husbands as you are to the Lord.”  This is more powerful because it does not limit the relationship to submission.  It includes all of the nuances of love and commitment.

So?  Look for the translation and understanding that takes the harder road.  It may demand more, but it is the path of righteousness. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Applying the Scientific Method

(Proverbs 26:27 KJV)  Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

I teach history.  In spite of that I tell people that one of the most important concepts for people to learn is the scientific method.  Why?  Because you can apply it to every academic discipline and to all aspects of life.  It is a great tool for thinking and making decisions.

To laymen and dishonest scientists the scientific method is sometimes portrayed as a one time thing.  You have an idea.  You state your hypothesis.  You test it and get results.  Task done, right?  The debate over global warming is over, right?  Wrong.  This is an unending cycle because you take what you learned in that one test and apply it to still unanswered questions.  You require someone else to run the same test and see if they get the same results. 

You make future decisions based on past results, not on the dreams that motivated the experiment. 

So?  Have you fallen into your own pit or been hit by your own loose cannonball?  Benefit from the experience and try something different.  That seems obvious but it must not be because most of us keep doing the same things and wondering, “What happened?” 

Friday, October 25, 2013

To or From?

(Proverbs 25:23 KJV)  The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.

This first phrase about the “north” (6828) “wind” (7307) has a lot of variation in translation.  The KJV makes the wind blow the “rain” (1653) away.  The NASB has it coming in.  Which is it?

It really doesn’t matter because it varies based on where you live.  At least I imagine that to be true.  The north wind produces one result in Israel.  In another part of the world it might produce different results.  The point being made here is that there are certain actions which you know will bring certain results.  Location makes a difference and you know that.  If you drive 65 mph through a quiet neighborhood you can expect red lights in your mirror.  If you do it on the interstate you will only get bored looks.  You know the difference.

So?  Apply what you know.  Your life have certain “north winds” that produce certain results.  You know it.  Act accordingly.  Generally speaking a police officers doesn’t care if you knew what the speed limit was or not.  You still get the ticket. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Course of Study

(Proverbs 24:2 KJV)  For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.

For the evil in our society it us normal to “studieth” (devise NASB) (1897) “destruction” (violence NASB) (7701).  I like the KJV here.  This is their focus.  This is an area that they have endless creativity.  This is their downfall.

There are a couple of places where the verb appears that are commonly memorized verses in scripture.
(Joshua 1:8 KJV)  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

(Psalms 1:2 KJV)  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
The word is translated “meditate” in both cases.  It means to take your mental faculties and apply them with discipline.

So?  The evil have a focus.  What is yours?  Are you making yourself available and living your life in such a way that God can use you?  A good question for the day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Urge to Purge

(Proverbs 23:8 KJV)  The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.

This is not a verse you memorize and quote in church.  It seems a bit crude but it reminds me of the miraculous way in which God has designed our bodies.  Our physical bodies have a way of recognizing what does not belong and getting rid of it.  If you have ever had a touch of food poisoning you know what I mean.  Once I throw up, I rapidly move to feeling fine.

Spiritually we need to allow it to work the same way.  When the Holy Spirit is working in your life you see it happening.  Have you ever been watching something and it becomes offensive?  That isn’t just bad taste or sloppy acting.  It could very well be the Holy Spirit telling you that what you are seeing is poison to your spirit.  Continue to watch and the poison has a chance to work.

The same can apply to what you read, the people you hang with or places you go.

So?  Develop your spiritual sensitivity.  Listen to that sense of inner rightness that comes from knowing God’s standards and expectations.  When something makes you spiritually queasy, it is time to get rid of it and move on.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lending Trouble

(Proverbs 22:7 KJV)  The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Flip the obvious over here.  If we are warned against borrowing we are also warned against lending.  We are not to enslave others.  God’s economics are not natural to us.

Does this mean that people will never have needs?  No, but we should be very cautious in loaning money.  Usually, if there is a short term crisis, we should be giving or sharing, not loaning.  If God has blessed us there is a reason.
(Ephesians 4:28 KJV)  Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
The key is meeting needs not desires.

So?  If you see a need, meet it if you can.  It could be that the real need is for someone to say “no” to waste or sloth. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Learning Styles

(Proverbs 21:11 KJV)  When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.

One of the silly statements in education is “Every child can learn every day.”  The goal is not silly.  The silliness is in thinking it is profound in itself.  For many children it is learning the same thing over and over again with no progress.  For some it is learning things that have no use.  This verse in proverbs talks about learning and give us three styles of learning:  Pain, fear and listening.

A “scorner" (scoffer NASB) (3917b) only learns through pain.  The “simple" (naive NASB) (6612a) only learn through fear, by observing the pain of others.  Then we have the “wise” (2449).  We all consider ourselves in this group because we don’t think of ourselves in the other two.  We know we are in this group if we are listening.  The listener “receives” (3947) what God has to offer.

So?  Take your pick.  Pain, fear or listening.  God is striving to communicate.  He is trying to reach each of us.  Pick your style. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013


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

Other places in Proverbs it reminds us that “naught” (bad NASB) (7451a) exists.  The Hebrew word literally means bad or evil.  That is not the point here.  What I am taking to the bank today is a reminder that I should not automatically take someone else’s evaluation of people or events.  As an example there are some people who will make a blanket statement that war is bad.  Always.  They will claim there is no reason to go to war.  If they are talking about World War I or the Spanish American War, they have some basis for their statement.  If they are talking about World War II or the American Civil War then they don’t have a clue to reality. 

The same is true of people.  Don’t judge people based solely on the opinion of someone else unless you have reason to believe in the wisdom, discernment and honesty of the evaluator.  Even then be careful.  Remember that we, as salt of the earth, are considered unhealthy to the anti-God crowd.  Remember how the progressive media equates fundamentalist Christian with fundamentalist Muslim. 

So?  Do your own thinking and research.  Evaluate everything on the Word of God.  There are no exceptions. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Calamity Jack

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

A “foolish” (3684) “son” (1121) is equated with a nagging “wife” (802).  That I can understand.  Both make life miserable.  It also seems to indicate that the offspring is a greater tragedy than the spouse.  Notice that the son is destructive while the wife is just extremely irritating.  I would think it would be the other way around, after all the son will eventually move out the wife is until “death do us part.”

Is it possible that fathers are destroyed by the foolishness of their children because they had a hand in training them?  You wife has a developed personality when you were married.  I guess you could make it worse but ultimately being a nag is her issue before God, not yours.  When you see that your son or daughter have no common sense or intellectual foundation you don’t really have any one else to blame.

So?  If it is not too late, get into the parent role immediately.  That starts with setting the example.  If your children are grown, it may be too late, it may not.  Do the best you can.  Repent and confess as needed.  God will forgive.  Hope that your children will. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Lot of Choice

(Proverbs 18:18 KJV)  The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.

Ultimately this verse is not about gambling.  It is about the sovereignty of God.  It is a reminder that “luck” is a pagan concept.  Luck says that God is not involved.  Grace and blessings say that God is involved.

I face circumstances in my life that I cannot change.  We all do.  Often we tend to beat ourselves up over them or ignore them.  It could be something as moral free as being left handed in a world of right handed scissors.  It could be as tragic as being born without a key body part.  It could be somewhere in between.  God knows all that.  There comes a time when we need the wisdom to accept what we can’t change, quit complaining, stop making excuses and work with what we have.  In the words of this verse, “cease” (put an end NASB) (7673a) the “contentions” (strife NASB) (4066). 

David put it this way, here in two translations.
(Psalms 46:10 KJV)  Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

(Psalms 46:10 NAS77)  "Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
So?  Work hard.  Play hard.  Do it without stress.  Enjoy the serendipitous life.  It is a lot to ask, I know. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Price of Foolishness

(Proverbs 17:16 KJV)  Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?

This is one of the big questions.  Why do fools have so much power and wealth?  Think of the celebrities you know about.  How many of them could pass a basic test on general knowledge?  How many might pass but seem to lack any common sense or decency?  Do the names Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton ring any bells?  All I really know about them is what I read in the headlines.  I never read the articles.  Life is too short.  What is there about a “fool” (3684)?

One of the patterns I have read about and observed is that wealth has a pattern.  One generation works hard at the right time and becomes wealthy.  They often live frugally and build successful businesses.  They leave their children the money but don’t train them to deal with it and they squander it. 

One of my observations is that God did not make me rich because He knew I could not handle it.

So?  Try not to be too envious of those who are wealthy.  Look at how their children turn out.  Look how often they end up in some kind of rehab.  Living in daily contact with the living God brings a different type of riches, but riches they are. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Every Cloud Has a Favor Lining

(Proverbs 16:15 KJV)  In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.

Don’t we usually think of a “cloud” (5645) as a problem instead of a “favor” (7522)?  That is not the case here.  Clouds can represent the promise of rain and rain is what brings life to the seeds of spring. 

Think of clouds here as the promise of relief.  Elijah sent his servant out.  He came back six times with nothing to report but frustration.  Then...
(1 Kings 18:44 KJV)  And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.
Part of the encouragement here is the reminder that God is in control and the understanding that He can work things out in ways beyond our imagination. 

So?  Got clouds?  Roll up the windows.  Take an umbrella.  Look for the silver favor that might line it. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Do What You Know

(Proverbs 15:9 KJV)  The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.

We do not need to know every subtle bend in the road to avoid evil.  We have clear commands given in the word.  If we follow those obvious commands the subtle variations and blind spots will be covered.  Remember when Jesus was talking to the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25.  Both of them asked the same question.
(Matthew 25:44 KJV)  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Both were prepared to take care of Jesus because that was the obvious move to make.  Only the righteous sheep obeyed when they didn’t think Jesus was watching.

So?  To get a driver’s license you need a basic knowledge of the law.  You don’t need to know the law code numbers or exact wording.  To live for Jesus you also need to know the basics.  The manual has been provided. 

Monday, October 14, 2013


(Proverbs 14:4 KJV)  Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.

How are Christians supposed to treat their animals?  If you think the Bible is silent, you have not been paying attention.  As in most issues we are to be somewhere between the fanatics of PETA and the sadism of a Michael Vick.  Animals are not our brothers.  They are part of our stewardship.

You can start in creation when Adam was charged with overseeing what God had made.  There is at least one other place the issue comes up in Proverbs.  Check Proverbs 12:10.  As in issues like education, health care, and concern for the poor the contributions of Christians are often ignored and suppressed by modern culture.  For instance, William Wilberforce who led the fight against slavery in the British Empire was also involved in the beginning of the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

So?  We are complete as children of God.  The love and compassion that regeneration gives us are exhibited toward all of creation.  Don’t think of animals as your children or brothers but they are a part of your responsibility.  And it is okay to love them.