An Idea Borrowed

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

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Strength Sappers

(Pro 31:3 KJV)  Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.

Priorities are difficult to manage.  Here Lemuel’s mother warns him about the power of family relationships to get us out of focus.  She talks specifically about women.  As a woman she knows how often they can draw men away from the call that God has on their lives.  I am sure it works the other way.  I know that children can pull at our heart strings and distort our plans. 

So many ways to go wrong.

This does not mean that we are not to love, care and reach out.  It means that we are to keep things in context.

So?  Who is going to try to get a piece of your action today?  Wife?  Boss?  Neighbor?  The possibilities are endless.  Keep your focus on the path God has for you. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Living in the Neither

(Pro 30:8 KJV)  Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:

Most of Proverbs is written in such a way that each verse in the English Bible is a stand alone thought.  This is one of the exceptions.  You really need to read this in the context of the next verse.  For those who don’t have a Bible handy the next verse reads,
(Pro 30:9 KJV)  Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
The big question for these two verses is “How much is enough?”  If we are walking with Jesus we want “neither” (408) extreme in life.  We want enough to keep us sharp but not enough to drag us down.

This can be active choices such as how much to buy when there is a big sale.  It can be passive in the sense of not responding to the abuse of others.  The middle ground is always the hardest.  Moderation is the real challenge.

So?  Start with prayer and an attempt to understand what the Word teaches about the decision you are faced with.  Then live with what you decide.  May you live in the Neither. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Limits and Freedom

(Pro 29:18 KJV)  Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

We must understand that in this verse we have a couplet.  The first line plays off against the second.  Having "vision" (2377) is the same as keeping the law.  The NASB margin has an alternate reading of “revelation” for vision.

We tend to look at rules and laws as limiting and keeping us from the sense of freedom that we so want.   We think that happiness is a result of getting what we want.  This reminds us again that God knows what is best for us.  I can relate to this in eating.  What I want in my gut is to stuff myself.  I want to eat the entire bag of chips, the big bag.  I want satiation.  God wants me to eat moderate quantities and enjoy what I eat.  One leads to lack of self control and obesity.  The other to health and general well being.  Don’t tell me that when I have a fresh bag of chips.  I won’t listen.

So?  God gives rules and standards for a reason.  He knows what will bring us the greatest satisfaction.  He is in it for the long haul.  It is called eternity.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Golden Eagles Are Not Monopoly Money

(Pro 28:21 KJV)  To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.

What is the difference between “respect of persons” (partiality NASB) (5234/6440) and wise choices?  Why has the word “discrimination” become a bad thing?  We need to take a closer look at the Hebrew to get the point here.  This is a compound word.  The KJV comes a little closer than the NASB.  The two words are “to regard” and “face.”  It literally means “regard faces”

One application of this involves taking people at their face value.  This is dangerous in people as well as in money.  Toy money may have a face value of $1,000 but be totally worthless.  A Golden Eagle has a face value of $50 but is worth what the market will pay.  I have not checked recently but I know that in the last year it was as high as $1,800.  People may put on a good face but we need to look deeper and see what is in their heart.  That is not easy nor automatic.

So?  You must make choices.  Try to look for that which goes beyond the surface.  Know the principles God has given and apply them. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tooting Your Own Horn

(Pro 27:1 KJV)  Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

The basic meaning of “boast” (1984b) is to praise or speak well about.  It is another one of those words that is not negative in itself but either builds up or destroys depending on how it is used.  Here it is used in a negative way.  What is the problem?

The target is “tomorrow” (4279).  We are being warned not to praise tomorrow.  Obviously the problem here is that we often look at what we have done and think it is so wonderful that we can take it to the bank.  We make assumptions about the wonderful work we have done.  We make assumptions about what God is going to do.   That is why the translators chose “boast” in this spot.

So?  Prepare.  Work.  Contribute.  Do the best you can but allow God to produce the outcome.  Don’t get into the trap of tooting your own horn. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Are You Like a President?

(Pro 26:6 KJV)  He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.

At school this week we were talking about the administration of a president who did not know how to pick his friends.  He was an honorable, amiable human being but he assumed that if someone was his friend they were also honorable.  No, I am not getting into current politics.  I am talking about Ulysses S. Grant.  His time in office was wracked with scandal because he did not know a fool when he saw one.

That is the kind of discernment that is being demanded here.  Obviously you can’t change what you are not aware of but the point is how often you are unaware because you want to be.  It is often easier to coast and be silent than make an issue of things.

So?  Be really careful where you put your trust.  Read the fine print.  Listen to the words chosen and be aware of innuendo.  You might not lose your hands and feet but you might lose your shirt or your reputation. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Maintain Your Walls

(Pro 25:28 KJV)  He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Historically “walls” (2346) have been a source of protection and liberty.  In a culture that had a tyrannical conqueror in charge the walls of cities would either be “broken” (6555) down or not allowed at all.  This would allow the ruler easy access to his subjects and keep the subjects on a short leash out of fear.

It would also leave them open to attacks by criminals and foreign invaders.

Walls need to be maintained.  If not constantly worked on they would develop cracks and begin to crumble. 

Walls needed to be guarded.  The best walls could be climbed by people with evil intent.

So?  How are the walls of your life?  Are you maintaining them?  Are you on guard?  Sometimes it only takes one moment of slackness to bring disaster. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Eternity Games

(Pro 24:10 KJV)  If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.

We all experience times of “distress” (6869a).  This word works back to a root that means squeezed or confined.  It would imply any kind of situation that seems to make life close in on you and limit your freedom of action.  I am sure you can think of something along those lines.

Accept that difficult times will happen.  Not only does the Bible not guarantee smooth sailing it often presents the inevitability of persecution if we are true to righteousness.  Don’t assume that God is punishing you.  It may be that He is recognizing that your are living in obedience.  The evil people around you also recognize it and respond accordingly.

We need to prepare for those times.  This is where discipline comes in.  Armchair quarterbacks are not athletes.  They cannot expect to have the stamina, strength or endurance that is necessary when the championship is on the line.  That is for those who have not been “slack” (7503). 

So?  Daily worship, prayer, reading and obedience should be in your training schedule if you want to compete in the Eternity Games.  Start now. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Antithesis of Jealousy

(Pro 23:15 KJV)  My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.

This is the antithesis of jealousy.  The specific context is wisdom but the principle applies across the board.  So often when we see someone else doing well or having a great moment we get petty and wonder why they were promoted and we were not.  I guess you could call it a common response.  Think of a child who sees another child receive a piece of candy or a cookie and the first response is “me too.”  Think of a parade where one of the participants moves along throwing some kind of swag to the crowd.  Hands go up and people start pushing.

We are to be different.  We are to “rejoice” (be glad NASB) (8055) for anyone who is getting a blessing.  If your friend loses weight, rejoice.  Don’t buy him a cookie or eat a pizza in front of him, rejoice.  And make it genuine.

So?  Drive them crazy.  Leave the jealousy for the pagans and pseudo-Christians.  Let love rule in your life and heart.  Of course, that is not possible if you don’t have the love of God in your heart.  If that is the problem, remember it is always available.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Word of Mouth

(Pro 22:14 KJV)  The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.

There is no end to the trouble our “mouth” (6310) can get us into, or, as it is presented here, the mouth of someone else.  The immediate context is someone tempting us into sexual sin.  The problem is bigger than that.  It is true that Proverbs talks about the importance of counsel and advice but there is always the qualification that the advice is to come from people of wisdom.  We are to strain carefully anything that comes from a popular guru.

I have many people who want to tell me how it is and how I should see it.  I take the same risk when I write on the internet.  Some I accept, some I reject.  I hope that my basis of judgement is always based on the standards I have absorbed from the word of God and not just my feelings.

So?  What will be your basis of decisions today?  Keep in mind that another way of saying “word of mouth” is “gossip.”  If you don’t know what the word says, you won’t know if the guru is right.  If you know what the word says you probably don’t need to know what the guru said. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Righteousness and Politics

(Pro 21:18 KJV)  The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.

This is a difficult verse.  It is easy to turn to a totally wrong understanding, such as killing wicked people can pay for the sins of the spiritual people.  If taken out of the moderating influence of the rest of scripture this could lead to danger and violence.  It must mean something else.

One possible understanding is that God bestows His blessing on cultures and nations that have enough spiritual salt and light.  Again this is dangerous because we, as Americans, like to say we are special in God’s eyes.  This understanding can be a source of arrogance and sinful pride.

At the same time, if you were to do a historical map of areas that have contained a large minority of people who worship and obey the God of the Bible, I think you would see a pattern of stability, peace and prosperity in comparison to the rest of the world.  The United States at one time had such a minority.  I am not sure we do any more.  I am guessing that if financial collapse and chaos is in our future it will be because the salt has been removed or rendered tasteless.

So?  If you care about your children or the future of this nation let me recommend that you seek to be salt.  Every grain makes a difference. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

No Pay Back Time

(Pro 20:22 KJV)  Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.

We really don’t like this instruction.  It’s importance is in the repetition.  Solomon is restating the words of God to Moses. 
(Deu 32:35 KJV)  To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
The thought is repeated by Paul in Romans and by the writer to the Hebrews.

We are not to take vengeance.  Jesus puts it in a positive way when He tells us to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile and so forth in the Sermon on the Mount of Matthew 5.

So?  Don’t even think about it.  Forgiveness is key to our salvation both getting and giving. 
(Mat 6:15 KJV)  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Tomorrow Will Come

(Pro 19:20 KJV)  Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

I don’t know about you but I want a pill that will take care of it now, not a principle that will craft tomorrow.  When I make chili I open a can of beans rather than soak them over night.  I have never made tomato sauce from scratch.  So many things cause me to say, “Why bother?”

Wisdom does not develop over night.  Notice the emphasis here on the “later end” (rest of your days NASB) (319).  A growing wisdom does not make the past right.  It does not undo our mistakes.  It does not forgive our sins.  God’s grace takes care of those things.  What wisdom does is develop our future.  As the NASB says it brings wisdom in the “rest of your days.” 

So?  Don’t give up because you have not arrived.  When the kids at school point out that I am old I tell them it is a reward that comes with time.  Many people never achieve it.  God has plans.  Make sure you are developing the character for them. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Can’t Hide, Must Seek

(Pro 18:1 KJV)  Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.

I noted earlier the different translations of this verse.  Compare a few translations and see if you see it.  I am wondering if the difference is based on where you put the word “seeks” (1245).  The word itself is value neutral like much in life.  The issue is in the modifiers and the modified.  The same is true in our daily lives. 

What are you going after in life?  We always have some areas that are locked in and almost impossible to change.  If you are 55 and have children and a mortgage, you can’t just decide to embark on a career as a musician.  I guess you could but the most likely result is disaster.  If you are married, dating people at work is not an option for Christians, unless you work with your wife. 

What do you truly seek?  It is an important question that you answer with your actions even if you are not asking it with your mouth.

So?  Where is your compass pointing today?  It is easy to ignore it and go with the flow.  Keep in mind that going with the flow eventually leads down hill.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Bribe from the Bosom

(Pro 17:23 KJV)  A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.

One of the repeated themes in Proverbs is “judgement” (justice NASB) (4941).  Here Solomon brings up the way in which a “gift” (bribe NASB) (7810) can pervert the administration of justice.  Here though I think he is referring to something more subtle than money or favors.  That is dealt with other places.  Here he uses an interesting phrase “bribe from the bosom.”  I see this as applying specifically to our time and culture.

We often do things because we “feel” them.  How many times have you talked to someone who does something that is wrong because they “felt” that it was right?  Our social mores now put current feelings above time honed truth.  The children in our schools are taught that it is more important to feel good about yourself, self-esteem, than to excel.  Unfortunately the same theme is being preached in our churches under a warped understanding of “love.” 

So?  God has given us unchanging standards that we are to use as measuring sticks on right and wrong.  No amount of “bosom” agitation can negate eternal truth.  So stop getting in touch with your feelings and get informed by the eternal word.  Justice is based on truth not trends.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Dumbing Down Wisdom

(Pro 16:21 KJV)  The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.

Does anyone want to be considered “prudent” (discerning NASB) (995) today?  This is a word that has an interesting progression.  As you can see the KJV has “prudent” and the NASB of 1977 has “discerning.”  That is still too demanding for modern readers.  The newest revision of the NASB has “understanding.”  Notice how the dumbing down process continues. 

This word demands a depth of understanding that is embedded in the rock of moral righteousness.  It is not just “do you understand” but “do you get it.”  It means that you look beyond the superficial and put things in the context of eternity.  It is possible to become a child of God based on John 3:16 but if that is all you know thirty years later, you have a problem.

So?  Take where you are and build on it.  As they say, Rome was not built in a day.  Neither were the mature, wise saints of God.  Get started on the journey if you have pulled off for a nap.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Godly Appeasement

(Pro 15:18 KJV)  A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.

We are to be peace makers. Our faith applied “appeaseth” (pacifies NASB77) (8252) “strife” (contention NASB77) (7379).  Remember the words of Jesus,
(Mat 5:9 KJV)  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Is this natural or the result of discipline?  Were you born a peacemaker?  Did God’s grace descend on you and transform you in an instant?  Is it something you must work at? 

In the long run it doesn’t matter.  It is the expected standard.  We are expected to be the people who bring rational calm, forgiveness and the other cheek to the strife of our space. 

So?  If you were rewarded with a soothing personality employ it.  If you have to work at it, work.  Make a difference in the world around you. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Isolated in a Group

(Pro 14:11 KJV)  The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.

This verse helps us understand the difference between absolute expectations and general principles.  Many of the principles given in the word are applied over time and develop slowly.  Each of us is responsible for our own salvation.  We will not stand before God as part of a committee or members of a denomination.  We are accountable as individuals.

At the same time we are part of larger groups and not only do we influence them but they influence us.  We are part of a “house” (1004).  Think of that as your family.  It could also be your church.  It could be your country.  The principle applies over time.  You as an individual might be saved and your entire family lost.  You might be the faithful remnant in a decadent nation.  God will not be mocked.

So?  You can’t be responsible for how others act.  All you can really do is be salt and light.  Don’t be surprised when the ax falls on a family or a nation.  Pray for your family.  Pray for your country.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Return on Investment

(Pro 13:22 KJV)  A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

There is a story of an old man being questioned why he is planting fruit trees that he will never eat from and shade trees he will never sit under.  His answer has to do with creating a world for his grandchildren.  That is the theme here.  The obvious wealth has to do with physical assets but Proverbs does not define wealth from that narrow perspective.  The theme comes up several times, such as,
(Pro 16:16 KJV)  How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
If you have any sense of history the question of passing on your spiritual heritage won’t be seen until your grandchildren grow up.  Did you do a good enough job to have your children pass it on?

So?  Check you spiritual investments.  Check your Biblical bank balance.  Check the steps you are talking today.  Plan for a multiple generation return on your investment.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Yes, It Was on Purpose

(Pro 12:20 KJV)  Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.

In my history class we were reviewing the Homestead Act of 1862.  It had the purpose, and the effect, of making homes and futures available for millions of poor people.  The dispossessed who came here looking for hope found it.  Does that mean that everything that happened was a “joy” (8057)?  No.  You had land speculators.  People made poor choices of location.  In fact between the natural proclivity of humans to make mistakes and the reality of sin there were lots of problems. 

That is the way it is in life.  It doesn’t matter how much good you try to do there will always be people who “imagine" (devise NASB) (2790a) “evil” (7451b).  They see a good thing and look for ways to turn it to their own benefit.  Often that is to your detriment. 

So?  Be aware of the heart (3820) facing you.  Examine your own and make sure that your motives are of “peace” (7965). 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Home Spun Revival

(Pro 11:11 KJV)  By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

I noticed as I read that Proverbs often speaks in the context of the “city” (7176).  In the press of civilization social and political units have moved from family up to nations.  Some want to go to one world government.  In the middle are the cities.  In Proverbs I could only find one reference to a nation.
(Pro 14:34 KJV)  Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
What should our concern be, our city or our nation?  What about the entire world?  I would suggest that maybe we should be more concerned about what is close without giving up our general concern for what is far away.  Remember the charge that Jesus gave,
(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.
So?  Get involved in your immediate neighborhood.  It is where you will have the most influence.  See if you can make your city “exalted” (7311).  Who knows, it might start a revival that would change the world. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Live and Learn

(Pro 10:17 KJV)  He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.

It would seem that there is a parallel between “instruction” (4148) and “reproof” (8433b).  At least there is a connection.  This reinforces that often we learn by doing.  Think of life as an apprenticeship.  We learn by doing and that requires correction on the way. 

Who does that correcting?  We always want it to be the astute, respected icon of wisdom.  In reality it might be the family dog looking at you when you forget to feed it.  Usually it is somewhere in between.  It can also be a question of “what” does the correcting.  I have had times when I have been disciplined simply by something I read. 

I read.  The Holy Spirit talked.  I listened.  The listening is the hard part.

So?  Live and learn.  Make progress.  It won’t happen unless you cultivate a teachable spirit and expect the Spirit to teach. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Openness Avoids Sin

(Pro 9:5 KJV)  Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.

As I have pointed out before verses 4 and 16 are exactly the same.  The sources are different.  One is wisdom and one is the “foolish woman” (woman of folly NASB).  If the invitation is the same, how do we tell which is the right course.  This verse gives us an indication when you compare it to verse 17.
(Pro 9:17 KJV)  Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
For today look at the different offerings in light of the adjectives.  That which comes from the foolish woman is to be hidden.  Notice it is stolen and secret.  The offering of wisdom is given in the spirit of sharing what is hers. 

So?  One way you can know the right choice is by asking yourself, “What if _________ knew I was doing this?”  If it requires you to hide then the chances are you are wrong.  That means it is sin and destructive to your eternity.  Always engage your mind. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

And a Good Morning to You

(Pro 8:31 KJV)  Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.

This morning as I write I am aware that it is a glorious morning outside.  When the girl behind the counter asked me how I was I commented on this being the kind of day when I wish I was retired and walking in the park.  It will be a blazer later, but for now it is cause for “rejoicing” (7832).

This passage is harkening back to creation and how glorious it was to be on a brand new world created by God.  And it was in a glorious universe that was custom designed to go along with it.  If I can get excited about a morning how would I respond to a cosmic view of creation?

Part of the point here is the glorious complexity that God has assembled for us.  Yes, it has been corrupted by sin.  Death is rampant.  Suffering abounds.  But so does goodness and blessing.  We also have the added advantage of having read the book and know how it ends.  I can’t wait for the New Jerusalem to descend from the heavens.  I want to see the look on the lambs face when the lion doesn’t eat it.  I want to race a comet and stand on the surface of the sun. 

So?  Join me.  It all depends on your relationship with the Lamb Who was slain and Who takes away the sins of the world. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Much Choice

(Pro 7:21 KJV)  With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.

How long does it take to reach “much” (many NASB) (7230)?  We all have situations where we are hit unexpectedly and do the wrong thing.  When a kid at school walks up to you and jabs his finger at your eye and then laughs, “Made you flinch!”  Yes, you did.  So what.  We have reactions.  God is very understanding of those situations.  The problem is in the continued temptations.

Anyone can be worn down in time.  Admit it.  Allow for it.  When a situation comes up that you would initially reject but in time might succumb, run.  Say, “No.”  Change direction.  Here the situation is sexual but the principle is not limited to that.  It could be something as common and ignored as gluttony.  It could be something as insidious as gossip. 

So?  The message is to make a decision to get away from the temptation.  You don’t need to stumble.  Sometimes it is our own fault.  Don’t fall for it.  The devil didn’t make you do it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Greater Sin

(Pro 6:33 KJV)  A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.

We tend to think of all sin as being equal and in once sense that is true.  We are told that breaking any part of the law has serious consequences.
(Matthew 5:19 KJV)  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
At the same time some sins are more offensive to God than others.  Adultery, dealt with here, is not like other sins.  It is a “reproach” (2781) that will not be “wiped away” (blotted out NASB) (4229a).  Sexual sin is right up with idolatry to generate God’s wrath.  That is because both are aimed at intimate covenants. 

So?  Reject the conditioning of our popular culture.  Reject any sexual involvement outside of marriage.  You might find that easier if you change what you watch and read. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Open Note Quiz

(Pro 5:23 KJV)  He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.

“I didn’t know!”  We have all heard it.  We have all used it.  Sometimes it is even true.  One big question is, “Why?”  Why are some “without” (lack NASB) (369) the necessary “instruction” (4148)?  I give open note quizzes.  The students can use anything they have written down themselves.  I always have students who miss all the questions.  There are a number of reasons.

Some didn’t bring their notes.  Some didn’t take any notes.  Some don’t even bother to read the questions.  Never is the problem that they did not have an opportunity to know. 

The failure described here is in that category.  We all make choices.  Wrong choices here lead to death.

So?  Are you paying attention?  This is more serious than a weekly quiz.  This has to do with eternity.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Staying in Tune

(Pro 4:22 KJV)  For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

Wisdom is found in the word (verse 20).  The benefits of wisdom are not just spiritual.  Wisdom also effects our physical “health” (4832).  The “all” (whole NASB) (3605) seems to go beyond just the physical “flesh” (body NASB) (1320).  How does this work?

Wisdom can effect how we respond to crisis.  Wisdom can shield us from the panic that comes when things suddenly go wrong.  If you have a flashlight close at hand you worry less when the electricity fails.  If you are early, delays are a minor inconvenience not a tragedy.  Wisdom gives a tendency to plan and to get the big picture.

Wisdom can effect how we respond to boredom.  Often the protection is in the form of extending our frame of reference so that boredom is a rare event.  Wisdom gives us a view of all eternity and endless variety.  It is hard to be bored surrounded by surprise and serendipity.  Wisdom helps us see it.

So?  Our physical health responds to stress and lack of activity.  By being immersed in the wisdom of God our bodies have a head start on health.  That virus that is out to get you has a much harder time causing problems when you are tuned up.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Choose or Lose

(Pro 3:11 KJV)  My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:

God is sovereign.  All Christians agree on that.  The largest branches of Protestant Christianity take that to mean that God has pre-picked who will be saved and who will be condemned.  Some go so far as to reject free will altogether.  This is one of those passages that make it hard for me to accept that thinking.  Everywhere I turn in scripture I find references to free will.  Here it is again.  If God is sovereign the way the Reformed theologians teach, how can a person “despise” (reject NASB) (3988a) anything He offers, even His “chastening” (discipline NASB) (4148)?  If it is preordained that you reject it, why tell you not to?

I hope it is just a semantic difference.  I would not declare heretic over the issue, although I am not sure they return the favor.  I do not want to make choices that would in any way say “no” to God.

So?  Listen, think, act.  Do it because it is preordained or do it because you choose, but do it.  Eternity hangs in the balance. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

No A/C or Stereo Needed

(Pro 2:21 KJV)  For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.

What kind of a person does God expect me to be?  We have two minimum requirements here.  I think it is important for us to understand that these are not optional equipment, they are part of the basic package.  Living an “upright” (3477) life is not something you can choose to do or not.  It is necessary for eternal life.

Years ago I bought my grandmother’s 54 Chevy.  She was the original of the “get it cheapest” school.  This model was stripped.  It didn’t even have a heater or a radio, let alone a/c or stereo.  But it did have breaks.  It had a steering wheel.  It had windshield wipers.  You see, you could not drive a car without those basics.

The same with our spiritual lives.  It doesn’t matter if you can sing a solo or speak well.  It does matter if you are righteous.

So?  Focus on the basics in your walk with Jesus.  You can add the accessories later. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Spit Out the Gag

(Pro 1:20 KJV)  Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:

This verse was written for today in 21st century America.  I am not sure if you are paying attention.  Christians are being told to sit down, shut up and go to the back of the bus.  It has moved to such a point that evidently an Air Force spokesmen said that cadets could not express their faith in print or speech.  Military chaplains have been told not to talk about Jesus.  Soldiers have been threatened with court-martial if they witness.

That is our culture.  Solomon calls us into the “without” (street NASB) (2351) and into the “streets” (square NASB) (7339).  This is talking about Wisdom personified but the application extends to our daily lives.  I am off to the classroom.  Pray that I will be honest and open about what motivates me.

So?  Are we going to continue to retreat?  Are we going to hunker down?  Or are we going to go on and express what Peter spoke about?
(1Pe 3:15 KJV)  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: