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, June 30, 2014

Neither Feast nor Famine

(Proverbs 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.

This is a prayer for moderation.  The word isn’t used but that is the idea.  Moderation is not so much a focus on the amounts but the attitudes.  The attitudes expressed are the lust for more and the pride of success.  We need a healthy attitude not starvation or satiation.

Life tends to be a pendulum.  You have heard the expression “feast or famine.”  What we need to understand is that we should live in the middle and the middle is a wide range.  It means being content but planning ahead.

Or it could be a prayer to recognize moderation when we see it.  That means getting our eye off of what others have and getting our ears away from what they say.  We need to concentrate on the levels that God teaches us.  That is a part of living and walking by faith. 

So?  God will provide.  God expects us to work and plan.  The two go together well because it demands responsible behavior and repulses frantic panic.  Rest easy while you work hard.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Rhetorical Answers

(Proverbs 29:19 KJV)  A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.

It is hard for us to understand the mind set of a typical slave.  Slaves were things.  They had few rights and the ones they had were often ignored.  Slaves served at the whim of their master.  They could be tortured or killed for any real or imagined failure.  In response they learned to present an inscrutable face and hope for the best. 

This is a hard verse for us to get into so lets interpret like a preacher.  If you are a slave of sin you have learned to ignore the words calling for repentance.  You “understand” (995) but you refuse to give an “answer” (response NASB) (4617).  Or perhaps you are going through one of those periods where you know what God wants from you but you are unwilling to obey.  You run the same risk in either case.

So?  Pray that the Holy Spirit will break through with more than words.  The words are important because they are what don’t change but the power of the Spirit is necessary for us to make use of them.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Shape of This Evening

(Proverbs 28:22 KJV)  He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.

Actions and priorities have consequences.  Those consequences will “come” (935) upon you.  In once sense this is an incredibly common word.  It is used over 2,500 times in the Hebrew Old Testament.  What is interesting is that the word often has the sense of entering.  In this case it is a result showing up in our financial condition but I can’t help but think that the “poverty” (want NASB) (2639) spoken of here becomes an attitude and a mindset.

We have all experienced the times when our attitude shades our opinions and influences our actions.  Some time the attitude is so strong that it drowns out any objective moral truth and we end up selling our soul to the devil.

So?  What are you chasing today?  When you got up you had a list of things in your mind that you had to get done.  You ranked them in priorities.  Some will get done.  I hope that you don’t make the wrong choices in the morning so that those choices possess you by nightfall. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Be Another

(Proverbs 27:2 KJV)  Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.

What does it take to get a “stranger” (5237) to “praise” (1984b) you?  What does it take to get you to give praise to a stranger?  There have been times when we are out and we notice how well behaved the children are in a family.  The kids are not perfect but the parents are involved in correcting and guiding them.  Often we will stop on the way out to give them a word of encouragement.  When we get a waitress who goes out of her way we let her know we appreciate her efforts.  We do it with words and a generous tip.  I often tell the ladies who work in our school office how important their work is to all of us.  Last week I bought some gift certificates from See’s Candy and put substance to my gratitude. 

So?  Be the “another” (2114a).  Why not look for someone you can lift up with a little praise today. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Some Like It Hot

(Proverbs 26:21 KJV)  As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

Notice that if the “burning coals” (embers NASB) (1513) were not already hot the “coals” (charcoal NASB) (6352) would have remained inert.  It struck me today that this is also a Proverb for those of us who are “innocent” victims of the “contentious” (4066).  It is kind of like an adaption of “It takes two to tango.”

Sure the person making your life difficult is causing problems but it is much easier to stir flames that are already present than to start something from cold kindling.  I examine how I respond.  Two people can say or do the same things.  One I accept with grace and peace.  The other gets a hot reaction.  What is the difference?  Is it the “charcoal”?  No it is the lack of love in my heart that is responding.

So?  If someone gets your goat you should be asking God to give you a spirit of love not thinking about what you should have said.  With God’s help we can bank our own flames and keep the fuel dispensed by others from causing a disaster. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June Gloom

(Proverbs 25:14 KJV)  Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.

In Southern California we have something called “June Gloom.”  It is overcast and foreboding.  You can go days without seeing the sun and yet it never rains.  It is also the time of year when you are hearing about drought and the need for moisture.  Since we live in a metropolitan area we usually ignore the warnings because water comes from the faucet, right?

We can be in the midst of a drought and be bothered by the gloom.  We should be desiring rain instead of sun.  We should be looking for what we need instead of what we want.  We live in a culture that promises much and delivers little.  Too often we fall for the person who promises but does not deliver.

So?  Beware of the false gold of society.  Beware of the generic when you need the brand name.  Seek your meaning in the things of God not the promises of man.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What Goes Down Must Come Up

(Proverbs 24:16 KJV)  For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

When I started teaching at my current job I think that no one would have given you odds for me surviving the first day let alone 27 years.  The school had six teachers quit after two weeks.  After six weeks of substitutes they were still not advertising openings.  I walked into chaos and anarchy with no experience except a few weeks as a substitute on various districts.  It was a very difficult year.  What kept me going?

As a “just” (righteous NASB) (6662) man I had a God given sense of responsibility.  In the morning as I stumbled out of the bedroom on my way to the coffee pot, I passed the rooms in which my children were sleeping.  I looked at them as a blessing God had given me.  I needed to provide.

As I “righteous man” I also had my “falls” (5307).  Every day was a struggle but I was able to look to the Lord as a source of strength, a source of hope and a source of guidance.  Each “falls” was matched by a “rises” (6965).

The children are older and on their own.  I don’t pass their bedrooms any more.  The Source is still there, even stronger.  I get burned out and discouraged but God keeps reaching out and renewing my soul.  I am way past seven times and still counting.

So?  The righteous have a reason to go forward.  Trust and obey.  Eternity will be glorious. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Proud Papa

(Proverbs 23:16 KJV)  Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.

This is a father speaking.  In the previous verse you see that Solomon is talking to his son.  He is sharing the joy his son brings him.  Two things hit me this morning. 

First, It is a real joy when you hear your children repeating things you have taught them.  I even enjoy it when they give me some gentle correction using words that I gave them.  At that point you know that you can “rejoice” (5937).  If your children are young you need to ask yourself what kind of vocabulary and behavior you are modeling to them.

Second, let your children know when you are proud of them.  That is what Solomon is doing.  That is wisdom.

So?  Your life is having an effect on others even if you don’t have children.  Let it be the kind of example that causes God to rejoice. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Prepping the Clay

(Proverbs 22:15 KJV)  Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

The sin that is in every human heart can only be dealt with by God through grace and the work of the Holy Spirit.  We can however learn to discipline the actions that come out of that heart.  We can learn behaviors.  We can change habits.  It can be done.  The task is supposed to begin in the family with the leadership of the parents. 

We don’t like this truth because it demands hard choices.  One task of adults is to “remove” (7368) this flaw from children.  This verse tells us there are things we can do to improve the situation.  I think that it is important because as we teach children boundaries and standards of right or wrong we are one of the tools that God uses to prepare children to respond to Him.

So?  Rules are necessary.  They teach moral values.  They teach civil relationships.  They give a structure that God wants there to prepare the way for His Spirit.  It is your job as a parent and adult to mold the clay of childhood so it can be fired in the kiln of grace. 

Prepping the Clay

(Proverbs 22:15 KJV)  Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

The sin that is in every human heart can only be dealt with by God through grace and the work of the Holy Spirit.  We can however learn to discipline the actions that come out of that heart.  We can learn behaviors.  We can change habits.  It can be done.  The task is supposed to begin in the family with the leadership of the parents. 

We don’t like this truth because it demands hard choices.  One task of adults is to “remove” (7368) this flaw from children.  This verse tells us there are things we can do to improve the situation.  I think that it is important because as we teach children boundaries and standards of right or wrong we are one of the tools that God uses to prepare children to respond to Him.

So?  Rules are necessary.  They teach moral values.  They teach civil relationships.  They give a structure that God wants there to prepare the way for His Spirit.  It is your job as a parent and adult to mold the clay of childhood so it can be fired in the kiln of grace. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Con Man

(Proverbs 21:19 KJV)  It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

How can a verse like this effect today?  It isn’t realistic to leave a spouse and move to the desert.  I don’t think nagging is grounds for divorce, at least not according to Jesus.  We can pray for our wives and for each other.  Good, but what about today.

Today we need to look at ourselves.  Have you been guilty of being “contentious” (4066)?  Was it yesterday?  How about this morning?  What does the afternoon look like?  Do I need to come over there and ask your children?  When we get too consumed with our own feelings and importance we become very hard to live with.  I don’t, but you do.  Right.

So?  What taste do you leave in someone’s mouth when you walk away?  Would they come back for a second helping?  Don’t be the nag in the relationship.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Little White Abominations

(Proverbs 20:23 KJV)  Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.

Christian culture is different than any other.  We have this idea of absolute truth and objective right and wrong.  That is one reason why God is concerned about simple things like honest scales when it comes to business.  This is not negotiable.  It is not an option.  Honesty and integrity are at the core of righteous people who serve a holy God.

There is honest and there is “false” (4820).  Another translation is “deceit”.  Perhaps that will give you a better understanding.  “False” might not be strong enough for you.  Deceit goes better with “abomination” (8441).  False sounds more like “little white lies.”

So.  Take the high road.  God knows the truth and He is the ultimate judge.  This applies to every bit of negotiation you are involved in today. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Last Plan Standing

(Proverbs 19:21 KJV)  There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

I have heard that rocks can actually grow in your garden.  There is something about the ground heating and cooling that causes expansion and contraction.  Through a long process the smaller particles can settle under the bigger stones and actually work them toward the surface.  They rise to prominence, or in the word used here they “stand” (6965).  The word means to arise or stand up.

We can make all kinds of plans and work all kind of schemes.  They will eventually fail if they are laid out in conflict with the standards of God.  On the other hand, obedience will cause long term victory.

So?  Do you want a short term feel good or a long term success?  God will not be mocked.  Why not work on doing it His way?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spiritual Selfies

(Proverbs 18:2 KJV)  A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.

I wonder if there is a Hebrew word for “narcissism”?  I did a quick word search in the KJV and NASB with no hits.  The concept is certainly examined here. 

We also see how some ideas are never new.  Today we talk about “self-esteem” and “self-actualization” and a whole host of other “self” words.  We are totally infatuated with feelings as long as they are our feelings.  This seems to be the formula for fools.

So?  Be the one eyed man in a world of the blind.  Jesus directs us to get concerned for others rather than ourselves.  He modeled it.  He expects it.  Step up to the plate. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Wisdom on Call

(Proverbs 17:24 KJV)  Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.

We already know more to do than we are doing.  The answers are “before us” (in our presence NASB) (6440), but we keep reading how-to books and looking for gurus to give us the answers.  “Wisdom” (2451) recognizes them when they bite us on the nose.

This refers to those who have achieved “understanding” (995).  This means those who have studied the word enough to know the basics of God’s expectations.  That also assumes that the information we need is right in front of us, and it is.

So?  You achieve knowledge by seeking knowledge and spending time with knowledge.  Some get it the first time.  The rest of us need time to absorb.  God will honor both types.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Folly Is Not Jolly

(Proverbs 16:22 KJV)  Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.

What would be some examples of the “instruction” (discipline NASB) (4148) of “fools” (191)?  Pardon my prejudices but any college major that has the word “studies” in it would fit the description.  Take a noun such as “women” put “studies” after it and you are supposed to have a discipline that deserves serious consideration.  In one way I am glad to see these because they remove education majors from the bottom of the barrel academically. 

You could go further and include the soft sciences such as social science which used to be called history.  There are certain things that may be interesting to study but it is a farce to call them sciences. 

But what is being emphasized here is any teaching or focus that rejects the truth revealed by God in his written Word.  If you understand that sin is real and in the heart of every infant you can develop a way of looking at society that has solutions.  If you insist that babies are pure and innocent and only corrupted by the world around them then you are on a fools mission.

So?  Don’t accept any theory or plan until you compare it to what the Bible actually teaches.  This includes the latest sermon you heard preached as much as the latest State of the Union address. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Out of the Way?

When I checked in today I found that this post, which should have come out yesterday, was still marked "scheduled."  I can't see why it was not posted.  Here is it for those interested.

(Proverbs 15:19 KJV)  The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.

The KJV uses the English word “way” two times in this verse but they are different.  The first the NASB translates “way” (1870), the second “path” (734).  I don’t have the tools to get an expert’s opinion of the differences but I see a hint in the definitions I have.  The first word seems to have the implication that it is wider or bigger than the second.  Thus the road in the thorns is a bigger way than the path on the highway.

That seems strange until you remember what Jesus had to say about wide and narrow.
(Matthew 7:13 KJV)  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
We see another consistency between the Old Testament and the New.

So?  Being lazy is easy.  You will have a lot of company.  You will have more free time.  You might go to hell. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

It Isn’t Right

(Proverbs 14:12 KJV)  There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

If you leave out the words that are not in the Hebrew the first phrase becomes “There is a way right to a man,”  It doesn’t just “seem” that way, it is that way.  We have natural, inner directions that lead only to destruction and “death” (4194).  This is expressed in a multitude of ways in the Bible.  One of them is,
(1 Corinthians 2:14 KJV)  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
There are spiritual truths that we reject because our natural being is trapped in physical limitations, time and sin. 

Jesus can change that.  When we are cleansed by the blood of Christ and led by the Holy Spirit we no longer are limited by sin.  When we read the written word we have clues that take us beyond time.  Eventually the limitations of our current bodies will be done away.

So?  If it doesn’t make sense, you could be right.  Our destiny is not limited to what is around us or what we can understand on our own.  Take the big step and begin to seek the things that are right with the Lord.  It will make your day and your eternity.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Poor Resources

(Proverbs 13:23 KJV)  Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.

One of the definitions of “tillage” (fallow ground NASB) (5215b) is simply untilled.  That means areas that have not been prepared for planting.

Solomon is not writing a manual on farming techniques.  He is looking at spiritual and life issues.  The people involved here are the poor.  We are looking at a comment about the poor.  They are lacking in what life has to offer and yet we are told there is “abundant” (7230) potential.  This is a Biblical view of the nature of man.  We are created in God’s image.  Each of us has a world of potential.  Often it is not used.

The apostle Paul talked about spiritual gifts.  He seems to say that each of us has a spiritual gift.  How often are those spiritual gifts not used.  How much does society suffer from that?  How weak is the church because of that?  How pointless does your life seem because of that?

So?  God has given you hidden resources.  Find out your spiritual gift and put it to work.  Maybe you will find that you are not spiritually poor any more and you will become an asset to those around you. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

No Foul, No Harm

(Pro 12:21 KJV)  There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.

To understand this verse we need to take a look at the word “evil" (harm NASB) (205).  The most common translation of this in both the NASB and KJV is “iniquity.”  That should give a better insight into what is going on.  This might well be a promise that those who are walking in righteousness do not need to fear the destructive power of sin.  Think of this promise:
(1 John 4:4 KJV)  Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
When we walk upright lives the power of God shields us from overwhelming evil, empowers us to resist and overcome and helps us shed sin like water off a duck.  Does it mean that we will never have a flat tire?  No.  It means that God will pick the timing and give us the equipment to change it.  My favorite equipment is the AAA guy.

So?  We do not need to live in fear but notice the qualifier:  Being righteous.  That is the work of the Holy Spirit and God’s grace with a willing heart.  It kind of reverses the sports mantra to “No foul, no harm.”

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dwelling on the Defects

(Pro 11:12 KJV)  He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.

It is so easy to despise others.  This does not mean that we cannot have an honest opinion of people we know.  It means that the opinion is based on discerning knowledge, not a bad attitude.  Adam Clarke, an 18th century Bible scholar, had this comment.
“A foolish man is generally abundant in his censures; he dwells on the defects of his neighbor, and is sure to bring them into the most prominent view.
I like that expression “dwelling on the defects” of others.  Looking for the things that are wrong can become a lifetime quest.  The word “despises” (936) carries the idea of looking down our nose at someone.

So?  Honesty is the best policy.  Someone said that.  Honesty starts with ourselves.  See sin for what it is.  See evil as evil.  Don’t make it a pattern of lifting up yourself by pushing someone else down. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Shine on Their Fungus

(Pro 10:18 KJV)  He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.

As I read through the chapter today I am struck by the many ways in which we are warned of the danger of an unrighteous mouth.  In this verse the focus is on “lying” (8267) “lips” (8193).  You would think that is obvious but it is amazing how many people filter the teaching of the Bible to fit the short term goals of their day.  It is a human tendency that we all exercise at times.  It can be harmless.  It might just be that we tell ourselves we don’t really need a haircut.  It could be serious and involve “slander” (1681).

Honesty is one of the hallmarks of a Christian and of a Christian culture.  Many, possibly most, politicians have given up and retreated into “spin.”  The news media has so given up on honesty that they have convinced themselves that they are unbiased, even as they lie through their teeth.  Pastors act like the Bible is out of date and modern thinking gives us more insight.

Lying lips are everywhere.

So?  Be salt and light.  Speak the truth.  Rain on their parade.  Shine on their fungus.  However you want to say it.

Monday, June 9, 2014

No Duel Citizenship in Eternity

(Pro 9:6 KJV)  Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

It doesn’t use the English word, but what this is talking about is repentance.  I checked the translations on my software and that word never shows up.  The teaching of the Bible is clear though.  You must repent to know salvation.  One reference is,
(Act 3:19 KJV)  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
The concept of repentance is changing direction.  It involves turning away from your life of sin and turning toward a life in Jesus.  That means that you must “forsake” (5800a) what has been so important to you before.

It is like putting on clean clothes.  If you don’t take off the dirty clothes then the stink and filth of the previous activity follows you all day.

So?  Make the real step.  If you are still trying to walk in both worlds it is time to decide which one you want for eternity.  You cannot have both.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hell to Pay

(Pro 8:32 KJV)  Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.

What a simple statement.  Obedience makes you “blessed” (835).  It would be logical to accept that the inverse also applies.  If you do not “keep” (8104) God’s commandments there will be “Hell to pay.” 

Christians are saved and live under grace and by faith.  That is a given.  At the same time obedience is not an option.  However you work it out, in whatever way you want to understand it, we are expected to live righteous lives.  We are earning nothing.  You don’t make yourself healthy by washing your hands, you avoid disease. 

So?  Don’t fall into theological traps or rationalizations.  Live an upright life.  It makes a difference. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Stock in Fetters

(Pro 7:22 KJV)  He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;

Do you require “stocks” (fetters NASB) to bring “correction” (discipline NASB) (4148)?  “Correction” is usually used in a positive way.  It has the idea of the kind of discipline that teaches us the things we need to know.  In this case it has gone to the extreme meaning of the word.

You may not be familiar with “fetters.”  It means something around your ankle.  If you have seen cartoon pictures with a prisoner in a dungeon, spread-eagled on the wall, the iron rings around the wrists and ankles would be described by this word.  There are chains that can ruin our lives.  An obvious one would be drugs.  A less obvious one might be food.  The chain that is being referred to here is behavior that violates the clear standards of God.  In a simple word, sin.

The specific here is adultery.  For you it might be the TV or your smart phone.  I have my own list of choices I can make that will tie me down and keep me from the life God has for me.

So?  In our church we have an old gospel song that has the words,

“Once I was bound by sin’s galling fetters.
Chained like a slave I struggled in vain.
Then I received a glorious freedom
When Jesus broke my fetters in twain.”

Old words.  Maybe they need a new application. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

It Is Not Romantic

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

Isn’t “jealousy” (7068) associated with the color green?  Maybe I am thinking of envy.  Maybe it is purple.  I don’t think it is a Biblical association.  What is Biblical is the danger associated with this emotion.  At the root it means zeal but the only place it is used that might be positive is in relation to a zeal for the house of the Lord.  Even there it consumes.

The inference is that our passion for something can take control of us and cause us to lose control.  It is “the rage” (enrages NASB) (2534).  It makes us hot.  There are certain things that turn off our mental control and rational response.  Jealousy is one of them.

So?  Are you a jealous person?  It isn’t cute.  It isn’t romantic.  It is sin.  It is time to face the music and call a tantrum a tantrum. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Chest Out, Stomach In

(Pro 5:1 KJV)  My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:

“Attention!”  O, how I came to hate that word when I was in the army.  This doesn’t grab you in the KJV which says “attend” (7181). 

In the military when an officer who outranks everyone else walks into the room , the first person to see him is supposed to yell, “Attention!”  You are trained like Pavlov’s dogs to stop whatever you are doing and jump to your feet.  All activity must stop.  Someone above you is here.

As American civilians we tend to ignore this kind of thing.  Formal recognition of class and rank are not a part of our thinking.  We have our informal pecking order and are slaves to it but usually we are too casual for military protocol.  Unfortunately we tend to be the same way about the wisdom that God wants to share with us.  We sleep through sermons.  Skim when we read the Bible and go for coffee at key moments.

Those are bad habits.

So?  Pay attention.  Any time the Holy Spirit speaks to you, stop what you are doing and focus on the lesson at hand.  This could be the still small voice or a fire and brimstone sermon.  You won’t get the message if you don’t read your mail.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Volitional Wisdom

(Pro 4:23 KJV)  Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

This chapter repeatedly emphasizes the volitional aspect of wisdom.  It doesn’t just happen.  Yes, it comes from God but there must be buy in on our part.  Here we are told to “keep” (watch NASB) (5341), to be alert. 

This Hebrew word is translated multiple ways in both the NASB and KJV.  We have keep, guard, observe, preserve and tend.  We recognize something of value and we make sure that we pay attention. 

Why does the Bible repeat this so often?  The majority of uses are in the Wisdom literature.  I would guess it is frequent because we tend to get lazy and complacent.

So?  Stay alert.  Apply yourself.  Strength flees when it is not exercised.  This is just as true in the mind and spirit as it is in the body.  Some people walk.  Some people jog.  Some hit the gym.  You cannot send a surrogate. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Avoid the Minefield

(Pro 3:12 KJV)  For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

As I write my wife is in the hospital recovering from serious surgery.  I could give you a litany of all the physical problems she has had.  One of the questions that keeps coming up is “Why?”  We all ask it.  I know when I go through hard times I ask myself, “Is there a lesson I am not learning?”  We all want to know if God is trying to get our attention.

That is a road of thought that is loaded with minefields of unnecessary guilt and fingerpointing.  I don’t think we can use this verse to judge people going through hard times.  In fact, I know we shouldn’t.  That is not the point of this verse.

The point is that times of correction, when that is what they are, show love not hate.  They show Gods desire for repentance not a need to express His wrath.  Notice that the other side of the reproof is delight.  God does not punish the upright.  He tries to lead them in the paths of righteousness. 
(Psa 23:3 KJV)  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Sometime our lack of focus demands a sharper tone but the goal is always spiritual progress.

So?  Listen and learn if the day is a struggle.  God is the originator of the concept of tough love.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Rooting for the Wicked

(Pro 2:22 KJV)  But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.

I read through a chapter of Proverbs each morning.  Chapter 2 is for the second day of the month.  After doing this for a few years certain verses always jump out at you so when I study, meditate and write I have to be careful of not visiting the same favorites each month.  Sometimes the verse that stands out as I read is the one that in next in my rotation.  That is today. 

As I looked at this verse and the previous verse I saw it in the context of the end times, not just tomorrow.  I don’t always see the “transgressors” (treacherous NASB) (898) being “rooted out” (uprooted NASB) (5255) in my daily experience.  They will definitely be uprooted in the end.  We often think of eternity as a heaven in which we float around on clouds and such.  If you read prophecy it actually talks about the new Earth and the new Jerusalem.  The physical, remade earth will play a central role in eternity.  I don’t understand how it will work but it is clear that the unrighteous will not be enjoying the sunrise and cool breezes.  They will not be able to laugh at the lion and lamb playing tag.  They will be in the lake of fire.  I would call that big time uprooting.

So?  Eternity is coming.  I have read the book.  I know who wins.  I hope you have also done your homework.  Don’t be agitated at the narcissism and selfishness around you.  Be salt and light.  Let God be the chef. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pit Not Poker

(Pro 1:21 KJV)  She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,

Wisdom is needed in the “concourse” (noisy NASB) (1993).  I think most translations miss this.  We try to pretty it up and put it in a certain location.  This is the word for being a rowdy drunk.  It is the word for an air-head, gossipy, undisciplined thirteen year old girl.  It has the idea of deliberate chaos.  This is a wild game of pit not a tense poker hand.

We tend to think that spiritual things happen in the quiet of the study or in one-on-one moments, and they do.  The point here is that wisdom is appropriate for the swap meet and the auction house also.  Will people listen?  Probably not.  There is no indication they listen here either.

So?  We want results but they are not our responsibility.  Remember,
(1Co 3:6 KJV)  I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
That does not remove the responsibility from us to plant and water.  We are to do our best.  Wisdom will take root and grow.  Or not.  We need to do our part.  Today.  Maybe in the next five minutes.