An Idea Borrowed

Years ago on a radio program someone shared that they read a chapter in Proverbs every day. Since there are 31 chapters and the longest month has 31 days it allows you to read through Proverbs on a regular basis. I use it as the launch pad for my personal worship time and branch out from there. On this blog I will try to share some of the insights I have in the Word. I will try to organize them in the archive by reference.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Putting Women in Their Place

(Proverbs 31:31 KJV)  Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

We need to understand the way in which our spiritual culture has viewed the place of women.  There is a lot of false stereotyping that goes on about how women were oppressed by patriarchal civilizations and how they were second class citizens.  It is hard to take that position if you read over this chapter of primary source material from that date.  Today you can focus on this last verse with me.

A woman was to benefit from the “product” (6529) she makes.  She was not considered a slave producing for the leisure and wealth of a man.  She produced and shared in the wealth.  A wife was considered a partner in the enterprise of marriage.  The second part of this verse informs us that she deserves public recognition for her “works” (4639). 

So?  Take the words of Peter,
(1 Peter 3:7 KJV)  Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
Accept that fact of strength and weakness but notice that part about being “heirs together.”  Don’t let the world around you try to take away the rich heritage of how the Bible has taught us to treat each other.  Walk in joy and pride in the lessons God has given us. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Warning! Adjective Alert!

(Pro 30:6 KJV)  Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

You would think that honesty would be a simple thing.  What could be more simple than,
(Exo 20:16 KJV)  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
And yet we often add little adjectives or adverbs that change the entire meaning of what we are saying.  Strangely enough the little additions always seem to make us look better or advance our agenda.

This is bad enough in every day experience but this verse in Proverbs is talking about doing it to the word of God.  Too often people take concepts that God has put forth and tweak them to advance a personal agenda.  One that I heard mentioned last night in Church was the adjective “social” added to the noun “justice.”  When you hear people taking God’s nouns and adding man’s adjectives it is time to run the other way.  God’s reproof can take some strong forms and I don’t want to be close when the lightning strikes.

So?  Honesty involves truth not spin.  It is based on fact not advantage.  Toe the line.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Multiplication Tables

(Pro 29:16 KJV)  When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.

Evil “increaseth” (7235a) evil.  Count on it.  One of the life lessons that is not being taught in school today is cause and effect.  We teach the scientific method but we model behavior that says you never pay for sloth and other forms of sin.  As a teacher I watch students promoted and moved on who have no skills and have done no work.  It is the educational form of kicking the can down the road.  We reinforce what politics and the entertainment industry seem to be selling.

The Bible does not accept that.  Followers of Jesus can not accept that.  We must insist that morals do matter, that behavior influences behavior.  This is one statement of that truth.  If we continue to look the other way when children misbehave we sow the seeds for non-juvenile delinquents.  When we go see movies that undermine sexual morality we water the seeds that have already been planted by the TV screen.

So?  You may not be able to change your neighbor but you can live in righteousness.  If not, plan on being a part of the fall. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Focus of Poverty

(Pro 28:19 KJV)  He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.

In the NASB you have the word “plenty” (7646) used twice.  The KJV uses “enough” the second time.  It is interesting that the Hebrew is the same both times.  On one side you have plenty of “food” (3899).  On the other you have plenty of  “poverty” (7389).  Which plenty do you want? 

The difference seems to be focus.  I have never been a farmer.  I have never tilled the land but I have heard comments on how you are able to achieve straight rows by keeping your eye on a distant point.  I wonder if this is a word picture that was clear to the agricultural society of the day.  If you focus you plow straight.  If you are talking or daydreaming you wonder all over the field.

So?  Poverty awaits.  All it takes is for you to not focus on the goals and priorities of life.  Oppression happens.  Tragedy strikes.  Biblically the greatest causes of poverty are the failures of the person who has the most to lose. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hairballs and Wool Coats

(Pro 27:26 KJV)  The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.

Are you a pet person?  My wife and daughter are cat people.  They cannot live without hairballs and shredded carpet.  They have graduated to taking the animals with them when they fly somewhere.  At the same time they are aware that the cats are for their pleasure no matter what the animals think.  We need to be reminded of the Biblical reality.  Animals are here to serve us.

This verse gives us two examples.  Animals provide clothing and are used as investment for profit.  Granted, this is not advocating fur coats and leather dresses.  Lambs, when they grow up, give wool.  I think that is what is meant here.  But don’t forget that when the prodigal son returned the father ordered the fatted calf prepared for dinner (Luke 15:23).  I don’t think that meant it had a place at the table.

So?  Enjoy your animals.  Worship your God.  Serve your family, church and community.  Don’t get it all confused. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Three Clues

(Pro 26:4 KJV)  Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

What is a “fool’s” (3684) “folly” (200)?  I did a search of these two words together and only found them matched in Proverbs, six times.  That is enough to give us some indications. 
A fool’s folly is grounded in ignorance.  This implies that knowledge is available but the fool refuses to seek it out or pay attention.

A fool repeats his foolish actions.  There was a quote thrown around in the last general election about people who repeat the same actions and expect different results.  Those are fools.

Fools also tend to react entirely on emotion.  If you push their button they go ballistic.

So?  Being a fool is something we can create or avoid.  Seek knowledge.  Learn from your mistakes.  Beware of emotion.  Three steps that will lead away from being a fool. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Avoiding a Fall

(Pro 25:26 KJV)  A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.

How do we avoid being the one who is “falling down” (gives way NASB) (4131)?  The Hebrew word has the idea of tottering or shaking, not of being smashed by great force.  That should give us an indication of how we can achieve stability.

Have you ever camped out, not anchored your tent securely and had a strong wind come up at night?  It is disaster waiting to happen.  If you have chosen your location carefully, driven your stakes in solid ground and made sure the cables were secure, you are in good shape.  If you just got by, good luck.

As a child I remember singing a chorus, “I shall not be moved.”  It repeats this phrase and then makes a reference to Psalm 1 and a tree firmly planted by the river. 

So?  To be solid you need good roots.  To keep from tottering you need to have a solid, wide base.  To resist the storms you need well tied guy wires.  Have I ever said anything about studying the word?  I thought so. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Evil Is

(Pro 24:8 KJV)  He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.

I wonder.  How many times in Proverbs does God point out to us that some people “do evil” (7489a) on purpose?  I don’t wonder enough to spend the time going through and counting but I will tell you it is repeated.  Again we see that “evil” (7489a) is often the result of  devising, not accident.

In our age of being nice we have a hard time with this.  Our culture teaches that man is good in his natural state.  The world teaches that corruption comes from society.  I am not sure where they think society comes from but they deny that evil lurks in the hearts of men.  Your college professor taught you the opposite of what the Bible teaches if that was his viewpoint.

So?  We are surrounded by people controlled by their sin.  I would hope that the Holy Spirit has worked in your life so that you are not one of them.  If not I hope you are seeking that transformation.  Don’t be a “mischievous person” (schemer NASB) (1167/4209). 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

An Example of Brainwashing

(Pro 23:13 KJV)  Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

You are not supposed to “beat” (5221) a child in our modern thinking.  You need to accept something.  “Modern” thinking is the exact opposite of the Word.  This is just another example of the problem.  In modern school the problem is self-esteem.  The level is too low and must be raised.  In the Bible the problem is sin.  The level is too high and it must be lowered.  In the modern school this is done by skilled counselors and by freeing the beautiful inner being from the shackles of the social pressures.  In the Bible it is done by the blood of the Perfect Lamb of God to destroy the wicked inner being of a rebellious, self centered sinner.  In the world it is being freed to be yourself.  In the Bible it is being set free from yourself.

I could go on.

So?  There are times when the Bible will make you uncomfortable because you have been trained by people who have adopted the ways of the world and the devil.  It takes a conscious deliberate effort to turn you mind into the paths of God.  That and the help of the Holy Spirit. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Character or Cash

(Pro 22:1 KJV)  A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.

One of the great truths that resounds through the entire Bible and real Christianity is that character is more important than cash.  What do people think when they hear your name?  How do they respond to the name of your church?  Do they think of strange but upright or do they think of greed that reflects the culture of the day?

Don’t allow yourself to get too upset at what the world thinks of you.  Remember that they are a bit prejudiced.  In their hearts they hate the people of God.  All you need to do is look at the caricature of Christians on TV and in movies.  Do the words “narrow-minded,” “bigoted,” “intolerant” ring any bells?  For the most part you can ignore them.

It is nice to have a good reputation but make sure that the “name” (8034) that is upright is the one that God would put on you.

So?  You know in your heart if you are after righteousness or riches.  When someone gets a bad impression take a moment to consider.  Do it seriously.  If they have a valid complaint it is time for repentance, reform and restitution.  If not, get on with life knowing that you are being persecuted for His sake.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Getting Out of the Way

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

The wandering spoken of here has an accountability to it.  At its root it means to err.  It is sometimes translated “stagger” and is associated with being drunk.  Sometime it refers to going morally astray.  We all err.  We all have sinned.  The goal is to live upright lives, above reproach.  That means that we are not satisfied with a staggering approach to life.  We are not going to settle for wandering around. 

God has given us a “way” (1870) of “understanding” (7919a).  If you have been paying attention at all you know the right path is not found in the newspaper, your favorite blog, Facebook, Twitter or any of the other sources of information that the masses frequent.  The treasure map is found in the Bible. 

So?  Had a bad day?  Wanting to avoid a bad day?  Start it at the source of understanding.  Don’t take my word for it, take His Word for it. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The No-Account Curse

(Pro 20:20 KJV)  Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.

How do you “curse” (7043) someone?  My first thought was actual, active cursing, you know, the four letter word kind.  It turns out that this Hebrew word has a different spin.  The first part of the definition that shows up is “to be slight, be swift, be trifling, be of little account, be light.”  When you curse someone this way you let them know that they are of no significance. 

The focus here is on our parents.  Have you been a source of pride or an embarrassment?  Have you refused to follow their lead?  There is a verse that parents like to quote.
(Col 3:20 KJV)  Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
At another place Paul adds a qualification.
(Eph 6:1 KJV)  Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
If you have been blessed with godly parents then make sure you are not a curse to them.  If your parents have left a lot to be desired then more responsibility falls on you to discern what they have passed on that is godly and at least honor that.

So?  It is never too late to be a blessing to your parents, even if it is just to their memory.  It is also a good day to be the kind of parent that builds godly children.  It is a long, daily task.  Get started.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hope or Less

(Pro 19:18 KJV)  Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

As I write I am seething over a recent set of deaths in my area.  I don’t know the details but it involved two young people, a Facebook page and a lack of “discipline” (3256).  The kids I teach tell me that one of the dead was the brother of a girl I had in class last year.  Put that together with a parent meeting I recently sat in that is typical of public schools today and you have a recipe for disaster.

We have schools full of children that are running out of time because the schools are reinforcing the lack of discipline in the home.  This verse talks about a lack of “hope” (8615b).  Not teaching children self control means they don’t learn about cause and effect.  This means that their future is already a closed book. 

So?  Teach your children.  Encourage others to teach their children.  Try to get schools in your area to enforce behavior.  It is literally a life or death issue. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

If You Don’t Look You Won’t See

(Pro 18:23 KJV)  The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.

This verse stands alone.  There is nothing to add from the context.  It is an observation of human interaction.  Those who do not have often ask those who do.  Those who have are often short and unkind.

This is not the way it should be.  It seems to me that the ones who are in real need are the last to ask for help.  They continue to struggle and do what they can.  Those who have often give to those who ask and then get angry when their gift is misused.  The answer to this problem is mostly on the shoulders of those who have and keep in mind that almost all Americans fall into the “rich” (6223) category. 

Those who have should be looking for those in need.  This is part of being in the body of Christ.  We are to look out for each other.  Although I haven’t found the source of the quote in my reading of Wesley, he is said to have commented, “Make all you can.  Save all you can.  Give all you can.”

Better yet I again remind you of the words of Paul,
(Eph 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.
So?  Look for opportunities to share.  If you are like me you only have so much.  Try to put it where it is most needed. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Plural Fools

(Pro 17:21 KJV)  He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.

This verse has two different Hebrew words translated “fool.”  The first “fool” (3684) is very common in Proverbs.  A quick count comes up with forty-nine times.  This word is a noun and includes the idea of stupidity or dullness. 

The second word for “fool” (5036) is used only three times in Proverbs, twice in this chapter.  I noted elsewhere that the root of this word is skin bottle.  This is the type of container that Jesus refers to when He talks about old and new wine skins (Mark 2:22).  It implies the loss of flexibility and ability to adapt that is found in old material.  The word is an adjective.  As an adjective it modifies all it touches.

Does Solomon use two different words as a literary device for variety or is he making a point?  The answer is, “Yes.” 

So?  The fool often doesn’t realize it.  The only way to avoid being a fool is to saturate yourself with wisdom.  The only source of real wisdom is in the Word.  Start building an antidote today.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Patterns of Pride

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

God seems to have a special hostility toward the “proud” (1343).  Pride starts with a focus on the self.  The attitudes fed by our sinful nature make us chant “me,me,me.”  We become myopic.  It is like focusing on your thumb two inches from your eye.  Most of the world is blocked out and what is visible seems smaller than your thumb.

Then pride looks down on those around it.  The Christian life is a pattern of putting others first, self sacrifice and golden rules.  All that is set aside from over inflated self esteem.

Ultimately it causes us to look down on God.  Remember the argument used by Satan in the Garden
(Gen 3:5 KJV)  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Ultimately sin is rebellion against God as God.  It is putting our plans and desire above His.

So?  Who has planned your day?  Yes, I know you have to go to work but you can choose how you do your work.  In the long term you can choose what work you do.  Your way or His?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Peace of Fear

(Pro 15:16 KJV)  Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.

This concept is not intuitive to the average person on the street.  Of course that average person has little knowledge of the Bible and no knowledge of God.  To most people “fear” (3374) is a cause for “trouble” (turmoil NASB) (4103), not a source of relief.  To those who live in constant touch with the living God this is obvious.

How can peace come from fear?  An insight is that one of the translations of “trouble” is “confusion.”  Another is “panic.”  When you know the living God you understand that there is no reason for panic and you have a focus that organizes confusion.  How did David say it?
(Psa 23:4 KJV)  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Are we surrounded by chaos and death?  Yes, but His rod and staff, a source of fear to evil, are a comfort to me.

So?  Fear the one with the big stick not the one with the gilded tooth pick.  He is on your side.  Actually you are on His side.  Peace, brother.

Friday, March 14, 2014


(Pro 14:9 KJV)  Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.

As I look at the definition of “mock” (3917b) one of the nuances given is to be inflated.  Our pagan, new age culture has inflated themselves to the point where they think they are too mature for childish ideas like “sin” (817).  Too often this view of sin has invaded the church.  Just as some used to focus on how we could never be righteous, now they laugh at the idea of sin.  The problem for them is social.  It can be solved by government and education.

Wrong.  We are to become “righteous” (upright NASB) (3477).  Righteousness, or uprightness, can only be achieved through the grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit and an obedient heart.  It can be achieved.

So?  Always examine your assumptions in the light of God’s revelation.  The world around you perverts what God has to say.  Sometimes it is subtle.  Sometimes it is overt.  Always it is wrong.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


(Pro 13:20 KJV)  He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Hanging with the wrong people can be destructive.  It isn’t just a bad influence.  Here the NASB and the KJV translate from different Hebrew words.  In the NASB it says we will “suffer harm” (7489a).  The KJV says “destroyed” (7321) from a word that means battle cry but in this tense means to destroy.  Take your pick.  I don’t have the tools with me to find out why they are different but either one is bad news.

So?  Often you have no choice.  Many times you do.  Make the choice that leads to life and hope.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Wise Tongue

(Pro 12:18 KJV)  There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

What is a “wise” (2450) “tongue” (3956)?  I have visions of a speaking ability that is the result of a lot of practice and hard work.  I see a presentation full of great truths gleaned from the data bases (libraries) of the world.  It seems to be something that is a great dream, but how can I reach it?

Consider the context of this verse.  In the preceding verse it talks about truth and deceit.  In the following verse it talks about truthful and lying.  Could it be that the basic ingredients of a wise tongue are within reach of all of us?  At least the first element is there and it is something that is within reach of all of us:  Honesty.  Speak the truth.  You may not be able to give a detailed explanation of the Greek Aorist tense and how it relates to the substitutionary atonement.  You can speak truth. 

So?  Take what you can get.  Embrace honesty.  The rest will come in its time. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Not Free Delivery

(Pro 11:9 KJV)  An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.

How do I know that the Rolex watch being sold on the sidewalk for a few dollars isn’t the real thing?  Why do I look twice when I am in a dollar store and I see a product at a fraction of the price I am used to paying?  Why do I not believe a student when they tell me they do all their work?  Experience has taught me.  I learn from my experience.  I am continually processing that “knowledge” (1847).  I can be “delivered” (2502a) from foolish purchases, vain trusting and destructive commitments because of the foundational thinking I have accumulated.

This is a process of gathering.  We listen.  We read.  We observe.

This is a process of filtering and integrating.  Here is where the “just” (righteous NASB) (6662) part comes in.  When we allow God to transform our hearts He also does something to our minds.  We grow in wisdom and understanding because we are no longer blinded by sin.

So?  Don’t forget your spiritual glasses as you start your day.  Unless you delight in the idea of destruction and failure you need to adopt a God’s eye view of priorities and choices.  Righteousness makes a difference in our choices and the results. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Perpetual Poverty

(Pro 10:15 KJV)  The rich man's wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.

How do we deal with “poverty” (7389)?  This Hebrew word is used only in Proverbs.  In the NASB the English word only appears in Proverbs.  The KJV only has one exception in English.  The eleven times it is used in Proverbs give us some indications of the causes.  To find a solution we need to look at the cause.

The reasons for poverty in Proverbs are poor choices, not oppression.  As I go through the places it is mentioned I see everything from drinking to haste with a lot in between.  Does oppression happen?  Of course.  Is it given as the major source of poverty?  No.  What this means is that the best way to help people locked in poverty is to teach them to make the right decisions.  You cannot make the right decisions if you don’t have a foundation in truth.

So?  Contribute.  Give.  Help.  Also realize that those are not going to solve the long term problem.  For that we need to speak the truth in love.  We need to model righteous living.  Don’t be satisfied with short term, feel good solutions.  Aspirin may take away the pain but it doesn’t kill the virus.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dare to Be a Damsel

(Pro 9:3 KJV)  She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,

Who are these “maidens” (5291)?  What is the symbolism here?  Just as Wisdom is personified, so also are the servants of wisdom.  With apologies to the macho dudes out there, these damsels are those of us who live as witnesses to the Living God. 

When personified, wisdom could only be at one place.  She had to send out people with the invitations.  When incarnated, Jesus could only be one place.  He told his “maidens” that they would be His voice and messengers.
(Act 1:8 KJV)  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Jesus calls.  The Holy Spirit works.  Often that call and work are done through us who have committed ourselves to be His servants.

So?  At some point we will move out into the waiting world.  We are sent with an invitation.  It will express itself many ways but it will be expressed through those who are witnesses.  Have a powerful day. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Word for the Day: Immutable

(Pro 8:29 KJV)  When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:

God has given His “command” (6310) to the ocean.  We are looking at one of the reasons that modern science developed in Christian Europe and not in the pagan world.  In the pagan world the tides would be explained as some kind of childish conflict between man-like gods.  It would not be of any value to study the tides because the gods might have a different temper tantrum next week.  Christians look at the ocean as bound by the one true God, the Creator.  That creator is immutable.  That means unchanging.  Since you can take that to the bank the scientific method made sense.  Eventually scientists caught on.

So?  We still have a lot to learn.  The part that modern scientists are refusing to learn is the moral law that goes along with the physical laws.  Both come from an unchanging God.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Overlooked Aspect of Legalism

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

Today as I read I was touched by a whiff of legalism.  Legalism takes different forms.  All of them are dangerous.  We often hear about the person who thinks his own efforts at following the law will bring redemption.  This verse brings out another type of legalism, using the rules to excuse sin.

This type of legalism follows the false idea that if we simply avoid making certain mistakes then everything else is allowed.  In this case she did not forget to complete certain rituals.  She seemed to think that as long as she made certain “offerings” (2077/8002) that she had fulfilled what God expected.  Now she was free to rush off to her adultery. 

So?  God demands all of us.  Yes, there are rituals.  Yes, there are standards.  But remember that the purpose of the law was to make us aware of how far short we come.  Do all that stuff but realize that it does not excuse debauchery in other areas of life. 
(Lev 20:7 KJV)  Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What Price Honesty?

(Pro 6:31 KJV)  But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.

Christians are to live by a higher, more demanding standard.  In the context of this verse allowance has been made for the desperate person who steals to stave off starvation.  It does not stop there.  The poor has a responsibility to pay back.  Restitution is required.

Notice that last part of this verse.  In order to make things right you are to get rid of even your “substance” (1952).  The meaning of this word is wealth.  Wait a minute.  You are so poor that you have to steal to survive but you have wealth?  The point here is that we all seem to think that certain things are necessary when they are really luxuries.  How often have you seen people who are getting government checks because they are poor and they have a smart phone?  How many have I-pods?  How many have HD TV?  I think you know the answer.

So?  If you are a follower of Jesus and seeking to live in righteousness you need to stop living off of others.  Earn your way.  Learn the difference between what you need, what you want and what you think you deserve.  Painful?  Yes.  Vital?  Even more so. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

An Encouraging Warning

(Pro 5:21 KJV)  For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.

This verse is meant as a warning.  God sees everything you do.  One time I took a phone away from a student and as I was standing with it in my hand I received about five text messages from other students in the class.  God has more eyes than the smart phone industry.  When we mess up, He knows because He sees.

This verse is also a word of encouragement.  God is not looking for ways to slap us down but is looking for ways to enable us to walk in righteousness.  When He sees what we see He is able to send the means of liberation because He also see what we do not see.  Consider the promise,
(1Co 10:13 KJV)  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
So?  Rejoice that a God of love wants you to walk on the Highway of Holiness and will reach out to make that possible. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Intend to Attend

(Pro 4:20 KJV)  My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.

What does it mean to “attend” (give attention NASB) (7181) to God’s “words” (561)?  The root meaning of the word is to incline.  We have all done this.  We think we hear something.  We cock our head and turn our ear in the suspected direction.  We focus.  We have an innate understanding that our ears will pick a sound up best if they are tilted a certain way.

We should be doing the same thing to God’s wisdom.  It may start with an awareness that there is something to hear.  Too often we blow it off and get on with life.  When my wife hears a noise in the middle of the night I tell her to go back to sleep.  She insists that I listen.  Sometimes I am forced to get up and go through the house.  So far I have found nothing.  That may change.  I know that if there is something there I want to know about it.

So?  Is the Holy Spirit tickling your fancy?  Are you rolling over and going back to sleep or are you cocking your head to listen?  You won’t hear the music by turning the volume down.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Honor of Stewards

(Pro 3:9 KJV)  Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

Perhaps this is a good place to bring up the idea of stewardship.  One of the hidden truths of Christianity is that people who are faithful to God’s way of doing things tend to become more prosperous.  The theological background is that God promises to bless those who are faithful.  The dynamic that should be obvious to anyone with open eyes is that Biblical principles work.  Avoiding excess in food and drink not only saves money but keeps the mind clear so we make fewer stupid decisions.  Honesty develops trust.  Fidelity builds healthy families. 

Stewardship often gets bad press because people make it synonymous with tithing.  In my opinion, tithing is part of stewardship but not the whole story.  We are to be stewards, or managers, for the assets and blessing that God gives us.  We are to “honor” (3513) Him in that way.

So?  The trilogy of time, talent and treasure are still key.  God has loaned them to you.  Are you using them His way or yours? 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Apostasy and Hope

(Pro 2:19 KJV)  None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.

Apostasy.  It is a terrible thought.  The apostate is one who has turned away from a faith that was once embraced.  That is what this verse is talking about.  The scary part is the lack of “return” (7725).  This person is lost.

The hopeful part is that we are not looking at an isolated verse describing a one moment decision.  If you read back through this passage you find that this person has made a series of choices.  Each choice drove him further from wisdom. 

The warning is that you can come to a point where you cannot “take hold of" (reach NASB) (5381) the “paths” (734) of “life” (2425b).  Your choices and directions lead you in ways that do not connect with hope.

So?  If that concerns you it means one of two things.  First, you may be walking in faith and aware of the dangers.  Second, you are out of the faith and aware of the dangers.  One has assurance.  One still has a chance.  Where are you on the path today? 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Greed Not

(Pro 1:19 KJV)  So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.

A popular theme of liberal politicians looking for an excuse to play Robin Hood is the greed of the rich.  Greed is an issue that is condemned by the Bible but politicians often cloud the difference between the rewards of hard work and greed.  This verse gives us some insights.  If you compare the KJV and the NASB you see a different choice of expression.  In that lies the key.  The KJV chooses “greedy (1214) of gain (1215)”  while the NASB uses “gains by violence” (1214).  The number 1215 is the noun form of 1214 so the concept is not different.

Here greed is being defined as gaining by violence.  In other words you don’t work hard and take your chances in a complex world.  Instead you use coercion, force and deception to get your ends.  It makes a difference how you get your wealth.  It also makes a difference how you use your wealth but that is a topic for another verse.

So?  Examine you methods and attitudes as you earn a living and plan for the future.  Don’t automatically label people as greedy because they are successful.