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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Double Standard

(Proverbs 31:5 KJV)  Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.

Life is full of double standards.
(Luke 12:48 KJV)  But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
Some have the spiritual gift of leadership.  Some in positions of power have it.  They have been given ability and position.  Therefore they are even more blameworthy than regular people.  This is reminding us that leaders are more bound by “the law” (what is decreed NASB) (2710) than are the followers.  Our leaders have forgotten that.  Today’s leaders seem to think that the power is for their benefit, not for the benefit of those below them.  This has always been a fundamental difference in how leaders view their role.  Even some of those who believed in the divine right of kings viewed it as service to God and felt a responsibility to care for the people.

So?  No matter what your level of leadership you are expected to live righteously.  Parents or politicians, public or private, you cannot allow yourself to give in to temptation or decadence.  Others are watching and responding in kind.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Be a Hard Target

(Proverbs 30:14 KJV)  There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.

This chapter of Proverbs seems to fall into three themes.  Actually it is two positive themes and one of warning.  This verse falls in the warning section.  We are warned that there are types of people who are totally into themselves and are like bloodsucking leaches (next verse) on the weak.  They are of a “kind” (generation NASB) {1755}.  They seem to run in packs and feed on each other.

Do we live in such an age?  I know that the cultural gurus of our day like to portray business and the wealthy this way but I tend to look at the facts I see, not the hatred of a group that tends to reject the Lordship of Christ.  I regularly talk with a retired businessman who is spending his final years giving back to his community and who will sometimes ask me, “Do you know anyone in need?”  I look at the billions given by the rich to education and such.  I may not agree with their politics, but they are trying to use their wealth to benefit their world.

At the same time, when I listen to podcasts on security one of the themes is that the violent of society look for the weak and preoccupied to attack.  They will often bypass people who are alert.

So?  The same principle applies in daily life and spiritual walk.  Be alert.  Be one of those people who are too much trouble to mess with.  Do it by locking your car, staying out of dark alleys and feasting on the principles in your Bible. 

Monday, December 29, 2014


(Proverbs 29:24 KJV)  Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.

This is the only place that either the NASB or KJV translates this Hebrew word “partner” (2505a).  The most common in both is some form of dividing.  This makes this a greater concern.  A partnership to me has the idea of common goals and commitments.  The idea here is more getting your own share of something.  So don’t trust a “thief” (1590).  Don’t plan on taking a profit from anyone who is dishonest.

That would seem simple and straightforward.  The problem for most of us is recognizing a thief when we see one.  A pastor I knew used to joke about someone when they exaggerated a bit of information.  He would say “Never loan this guy money because he who would lie would also steal.”  The point is that a person who is lacking in integrity in one area of life will also have something to hide in another area of life.  Observe and don’t be afraid to call a spade a spade.

So?  We are supposed to be discerning without being judgmental.  Use the wisdom that comes from knowing God’s standards.  Apply it to your own life.  Apply it to your evaluation of others.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Place for the SWAT Team

(Proverbs 28:28 KJV)  When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.

How do the “wicked” (7563) “perish” (6)?  This is an important question.  We have seen the forces of destruction in our homes in child abuse and broken families.  We have feared it on our streets in the form of riots, gang activity and drunkenness.  We have seen them through history in wars, terrorism, genocide and one time atrocities.   Evil and wickedness exist. 

While I can accept a place of defending yourself, it is the role of government to deal with evil in an active way.
(Romans 13:4 KJV)  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
To me this gives the government the duty to make evil people “perish”.  The mildest part of the definition means to “go astray” but most nuances have to do with destroying.  This means taking drastic action.  The sword is not made for counseling.

So?  As Christians we can support things like the death penalty.  We can support the role of the police in suppressing riots and civil unrest.  It is their God given role.  It is not vengeance, it is punishment. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Map of a Bird Brain

(Proverbs 27:8 KJV)  As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.

A “man” (376) that “wanders” (5074) brings to my mind what I do when I am killing time in a mall waiting for my wife or some other shopper.  I can do a mall in about fifteen minutes or a bit more if it is a big mall.  If I know I have time to kill I will amble along with no goal in mind and move toward anything that grabs my attention.  Sometimes it doesn’t take much.  I get nothing done and always run the risk of buying something I really don’t need.

Occasionally wandering in a mall is not the end of the world.  Living a life this way is bird-brained.  We all have responsibility to someone or something.  Think of the duty that goes both ways in life:  Parents and children, employees and employers, neighbors, citizens and government, church.  If you can’t find anything else there are many small churches out there that need you to step up to the plate. 

So?  Are you ambling through life today?  Is that simply because you are refusing to accept responsibility or listen to the calls on your life?  God is calling.  Listen, think, pray, act. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Return of the Mutt

(Proverbs 26:11 KJV)  As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

One thing I noticed when we had a dog was that her behavior changed as she grew older.  When she was a pup we used to call her to clean up what the cat had left.  She did so with gusto.  When she got older she would look at us like we were the fools. 

She was still a dog.  She still sniffed and licked things that I would not even want to touch.  She still barked at things no one else heard.  But she stopped enjoying vomit.  Why?  I don’t know, but it happened.

So?  She was still a dog.  Some people will always be fools.  Maybe they can still learn in spite of that.  Maybe we should be alert but keep trying.  Maybe.  Maybe not. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Don’t Run with the Big Dogs

(Proverbs 25:6 KJV)  Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men:

Did you ever stand on the side lines and watch the Big Man on Campus when you were young?  Perhaps you have a version of that in your life now.  I don’t know if it is a defense mechanism or if I am really over it but I avoid hanging with the cool people.  I still get a rush when there is genuine acknowledgment by the top dogs, but I don’t seek it.

That is much healthier than wanting to be accepted.  We have a greater chance of living righteous lives if we are not trying to be accepted by the openly unrighteous or the modern Pharisees.  When it is important to us to be accepted we are much more likely to compromise God’s standards and eventually drift away from the truth.  At least that is true for me.

So?  Don’t try to run with the big dogs.  Don’t want approval from the power brokers.  That kind of focus will not bring us to hear the words of Jesus, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Safety of Sufficient Salt

(Proverbs 24:15 KJV)  Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place:

This is a warning to cultures as much as individuals.  It is dangerous to mess with God’s people.  It would not be much of a stretch of the imagination to think of “dwelling” (5116a) and “resting place” (7258) as referring to the churches as well as the homes of the “righteous” (6662).

Most people would agree that the position of the United States is declining in the world.  Things are not well at home.  Is it just a coincidence that our culture is attacking the church and trying to muzzle the voice of the gospel in the public square?  Is the decline in liberty a result of the quiet suppression of God’s people?

So?  Perhaps we owe it to our society and our unbelieving friends to be more vocal in pressing our positions as Christians.  They may not see a connection but we should, between having enough salt in the culture and being devoid of Christian values.  If you won’t take a stand to benefit yourself and yours, do it for them. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Return on Investment

(Proverbs 23:23 KJV)  Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

I am beginning, again, Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations.  I hope to make it through this time.  In the first few chapters he talks about the basis of all wealth is not gold and silver but the work of people.  It is even work that produces gold.  With that thought in mind, it is our labor that produces truth. 

Just as a farmer sows and reaps, we seek the “truth” (571).  It is important to seek in the right places.  Even a school child knows not to plant seed in the middle of a concrete slab.  You won’t find truth watching the current sit-com nor reading the latest novel.  Spend some of your intellectual labor where the truth will grow.

So?  Is your Bible dusty?  Have you read Pilgrim’s Progress?  Are you reaping a harvest of righteousness? 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Solomon on Evangelism

(Proverbs 22:21 KJV)  That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?

When I was contemplating this verse today it reminded me of one of the verses I have memorized.  When I check the cross references, sure enough, the editors agreed with me.
(1 Peter 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:
One of the principles of witnessing is answering questions asked instead of questions not asked.  Do you remember the Four Spiritual Laws?  It was an evangelism tool that started off with the question, “Have you heard of the Four Spiritual Laws?”  I am sure that many were led to a saving faith in Jesus by that tool, but it never worked for me. 

So?  Live in such a way that people ask questions.  Answer common questions in such a way that make them wonder what you mean.  When people ask you about a political stand, tell them it is based on what the Bible says.  If God has prepared the person there will be an open door.  If they are not ready to listen you will just muddy the water. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Beware Killer Sox

(Proverbs 21:25 KJV)  The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.

Have you ever seen the bumper sticker that says, “I want, I want, I want...”?  Think of it as a death chant.  “Desire” (8378) is used seven times in Proverbs.  The other six times it is used positively.  The problem is not in the desire but the attitude that surrounds it.  Take, for instance, this verse.
(Proverbs 11:23 KJV)  The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.
So we have the same desire producing death and good.  The difference is in the heart of the desirer.  The killer here is laziness.  Not being willing to work is a death sentence.  In our modern culture with our safety nets it doesn’t mean that your body will die but it is even worse.  Your joy of living and potential are murdered by the simple device of expecting others to do the work.

So?  There is a reason that sloth is one of the deadly sins.  For me the danger is a drift not a tsunami.  My problem is the little decisions that move me toward being a sluggard.  So I must learn to pick up my sox or die. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Mirage of Youth

(Proverbs 20:29 KJV)  The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.

Beware of cultural norms.  We live in a society that thinks the young people are the hope of the future and the promise of the present.  That is not the Biblical view.  The Bible puts the hope of the future on the “old men” (2205).  The most common translation of this Hebrew word is “elder”.  The church has adopted this term to refer to those who have a position of spiritual authority.  While wisdom and maturity do not always come with age, they rarely come with youth.

Beware of cultural norms.  Those of us who are in the sunset years need to step up to the plate and work to train the youth of today.  They will be the elders of tomorrow.  Don’t expect the schools and colleges to give them what they need, they can’t.  They won’t.  They will poison them with the lies of a secular culture if possible.

So?  If you are under 40 look for someone with life experience and spiritual maturity and learn from them.  If you are over 40 and are not ready to lead, find someone over 60 and listen to their opinions.  If you are the elder then you need to keep in constant contact with the Lord of the Universe so that you can provide leadership.  I am not making this up.  If you think I am, go back and read the verse again. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Don’t Cow or Cower

(Proverbs 19:25 KJV)  Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.

Two types of people only learn through pain.  You have the “scorner” (scoffer NASB) (3917b).  This Hebrew word is used 19 times in Proverbs, so that attitude of scoffing is a concern.  The words used to get the meaning of this are "arrogant, to be inflated, scorn, boast."  Some people are so centered on themselves and their centrality to the universe that the only way you can get their attention is to inflict some kind of discomfort.  I think the point is that even then they will not really learn and change.  They will simply conform temporarily to avoid the pain.

You also have the “simple” (naive NASB) (6612a).  This word is used 16 times in Proverbs.  These are the people who may be just as selfish as the scorner but they live to avoid conflict.  They refuse to think on their own and are easily cowed into submission.  When they see someone else being punished they are quick to change to avoid a similar fate.

So?  Both of these are personalities that Christians are to abandon.  The beginning of this comes entirely through grace.  God extends the work of the Holy Spirit to regenerate and sanctify.  It continues as we put our willing cooperation into the mix, depending on grace as a source of power.  Do an attitude check and respond accordingly.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sticks and Stones

(Proverbs 18:8 KJV)  The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

I have a collection of what I call Pumice Proverbs.  They are little sayings I have put together from different inspirations.  I think one of the first I tweaked was,
“Sticks and stones may break my bones,
But words impair my healing.”
“Words” (1697) can be empty and ignored or they can change the world.  Think of some that stand out,
“We hold these truths to be self evident...”

“We have peace in our time.”

“Mr. Gorbechof, tear down this wall.”

“I am the Way, the Truth and the life...”

“Did you hear what Al did last night?”
You and I may never say anything that will go down as history changing.  We may have few that pay attention to us.  One thing I have noticed in school, however, is that students who never seem to listen to what I want to teach them will hear every mistake I make.  Kids who seem in a daze will wake up enough to tell me I have a stain on my shirt.

So?  We need to watch our mouths.  This is a guard detail that no one else can do and will never end.  Pray for strength and awareness.  God is listening.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Entrance Exam

(Proverbs 17:3 KJV)  The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.

What is God’s primary target when He sanctifies?  We, as finite humans, are pretty much limited to what we can see and physically measure.  We are forced to judge the inner man by what we see in the outer man.  God comes at it from the opposite point of view.  He can see both the inner man and the outer man but His primary measuring stick is the “heart” (3820). 

Behavior is always important.  Righteous living is expected.  Uprightness is required.  But the point of reference is the heart.  When Peter is trying to explain why he knew that Gentiles could be saved he did not point to them keeping he law.  He referred back to what happened to the disciples at Pentecost and the purifying of the heart.
(Acts 15:8-9 KJV)  And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
So?  Keep working on the outward man.  Always remember that it is not an option.  Also know that if you have not allowed God to purify the inner man you face a hopeless task.  Pray and believe in what the Holy Spirit is waiting to do in your heart. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dirty Ears

(Proverbs 16:28 KJV)  A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

Slander requires soil to take root.  A seed is not enough.  I never repeat the trash I see in the headlines at the checkout line.  It isn’t always that obvious.  Recently I had a student share a little bit of information about the principal.  It was believable, not necessarily evil and something he would not know.  I laughed and told him to stop trying to start rumors.  I think it stopped there.  I have not repeated it, even in this medium.  It did not take root.

How many times have I been credulous?  How many times have I been fertile soil to the gossip?  It is so easy to do.  It is so much fun to pass things along. 

So?  I need to be alert in my listening as well as my speaking.  I have friends.  I have acquaintances.  I have colleagues.  If I am walking with Jesus I cannot be the kind of soil that accepts the seeds of gossip.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Do Your Own Implants

(Proverbs 15:24 KJV)  The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.

As I was doing a routine check of word meanings I noticed that the Hebrew word used for “way” (path NASB) (734) is not the common word for road or way.  That made me look a little closer and I saw that the definition implied a route well traveled, not just marked out. 

We may not control all of the paths we walk during a day.  We have demands and as the centurion told Jesus, we are “under authority.”  When your employer demands that you be at work by 8:00 A.M. you usually do not have the option of coming in at 8:30.  You can however decide that you are going to be their by 7:45.  Thus you develop a well traveled path of being punctual.  You build behavior that implants a healthy habit.  This is the process of wisdom.  This puts us on the high road.

So?  Control what you can.  Sometimes that means being earlier than required or staying later than demanded.  The difference between holiness and legalism is in the attitude.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Avoid Folly

(Proverbs 14:18 KJV)  The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.

When we “inherit” (5157) something we think of it as coming to us through the efforts of someone else.  We don’t think of having earned it.  That is not the idea here.  I find two words translated “inherit”.  Both have the idea of gaining a possession but infer different means.  The other word seems to be active.  You grab what you want.  The word used here seems to be more passive.  It is a promise that something will come your way.

The inheritance here is not grabbed but it is earned.  It is given as a response.  We know that we were all born in sin and lived in sin and deserve death.  As Christians, we believe that God provided a way for salvation by faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.  If we believe and walk in faith we get the promise, not what we deserve.  The idea here is that if we put our mind to sleep then we will be rewarded.  The reward will not be pleasant.

So?  Wake your mind up.  Engage the word.  Walk with Jesus.  Avoid “folly” (200).  I am finding that the daily discipline of wrestling with Proverbs makes my day better. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Exclude or Contain?

(Proverbs 13:3 KJV)  He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

Is a gate to exclude or contain?  Don’t we usually think the security guy at the door is to keep out the unwanted?  Here he is facing in.  Solomon is laying the groundwork for the teaching of Jesus.
(Matthew 15:17-19 NAS77)  "Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated?  "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.  "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
When a company or a nation loses vital secrets the culprit is usually an insider.  It doesn’t matter what kind of security software you have on your computer if there is a backdoor in the program.  History is rife with examples of stout-hearted defenders betrayed by someone they trusted.

So what is the best way to guard your mouth?  We want to blame extreme circumstances or provocations.  That isn’t the real problem.  Make sure your heart is right with God.  Have Him do an upgrade on your attitudes and deal with the sin that resides.  Notice that it is a matter of “life” (5315) and death. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Saving Cooking Time

(Proverbs 12:27 KJV)  The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.

Adam Clarke in his 18th century commentary suggests that the lazy man never goes hunting and thus has nothing to “roast” (2760).  That would go along with other passages that give sloth as one of the causes of poverty.  Before you get judgmental consider the order.  It is not saying that the hungry are lazy but that the lazy will go hungry.  Thus it is not saying that the poor are lazy but the lazy will be poor.

I am looking at it today in a relative more than an absolute sense.  I am not saying, “Aha!  You are poor so you are lazy.”  I am asking myself what blessings and life riches I have missed because I was too slothful to discipline myself.  What books have I not read?  What worship have I missed?  What friends have I lost? 

So?  I am striving to be more diligent in how I spend my time.  A nap would be nice and at times might be necessary but do I really need to read that novel?  I will check my balance and leave you to check yours. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Net Worth

(Proverbs 11:16 KJV)  A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.

This chapter in Proverbs sets up a long series of contrasts between those who follow God’s way and those who reject it.  The second half of this verse stood out to me in the NASB because it didn’t seem to be balanced.  You have, in the 1977 NASB a “gracious” (2580) “woman” (802) set with a “violent man” (6184).  The KJV has “strong men” and even the Updated NASB has changed it to “ruthless men.”  Is this a description of only being strong or is there a negative here?

The Hebrew definition has a long string of choices:  “awe-inspiring, terror-striking, awesome, terrifying, ruthless, mighty.”  You can see that it covers a wide range but since the pattern in this chapter is good/bad I am assuming it is not a good bit of character.

And they get rich.  Since there are other places where the righteous receive wealth this reminds me that riches are not necessarily a sign of God’s blessing.

So?  Don’t focus on your net worth in trying to decide if you are blessed.  It is a package deal with a lot of emphasis on the immaterial.  The emphasis is always more on what we are than what we have. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Weather Report

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

One of the first assumptions of this verse is that the “whirlwind” (5492a) will pass.  The KJV says “when” the NASB says “as”.  Both are reminding us that disaster is not forever.  We are in a time of increased persecution of Christians.  Our pastor shared that most of the persecution in the world today is directed toward Christians.  Even in our country we have people in power who are doing what they can to silence the voice of the Gospel.  They don’t care what the church says as long as it stays away from real truth.

The whirlwind is building.  In Houston the mayor subpoenaed the sermons and e-mails of pastors who dared to speak the truth.  In California we now have transgender bathrooms.  The entire nation is involved in a bullying curriculum that is designed to stop critical thinking by Christians.  For years we have been celebrating Spring and Winter instead of Easter and Christmas.  For years dates have been going from BC to BCE. 

So?  As the saying goes, “This too shall pass.”  When?  I don’t know.  If the church wakes up it may be nipped in the bud.  If we continue to slumber it could be generational.  I hope you are awake.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Which Came First, the Wisdom or the Age?

(Proverbs 9:11 KJV)  For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.

I wonder if the converse of this verse it true.  It certainly should be.  In an ideal world, long life would produce wisdom.  Why doesn’t it?

It could be that fools refuse to learn, no matter how long they live.  As I stand in front of a group of eighth graders, I see so much potential and so much waste.  You really can’t tell which ones will end up dead in a gutter, drunk on a sidewalk, successful in a career or great parents.  You can’t, although there are some clear indicators.  They still have a lot of decisions before them. 

Will wisdom come and longer, richer lives?  Will they refuse to learn and lay a foundation of foolishness and misery?  I can only hope.

So?  You can’t help these kids but you can provide for your future.  Seek wisdom.  Take advantage of the fact that you have another day to live and learn.  Rejoice in the opportunity. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Adjust the Volume

(Proverbs 8:1 KJV)  Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?

One of the questions that comes to me again is, “Who is Wisdom?”  Or maybe the right question would be “What is Wisdom.”  As you read through Proverbs Wisdom is frequently personified. At times Wisdom seems to be the Father, at times the Son.  Here it sounds like the Holy Spirit will “cry” (call NASB) (7121) to us. 

This is the beginning of a passage the drives home how God is speaking to mankind.  I believe that the Holy Spirit is speaking in the hearts of everyone.  Based on their knowledge and background that voice is going to take different forms and be heard with different clarity, but it is speaking.  Does it say to someone surrounded by paganism, “Jesus died for you” ?  No, but it might say, “This isn’t right.  Ask the guy working next to you his opinion.”  It is a willingness to respond to the voice of Wisdom that determines the next step.

So?  Where are you today in your listening skills.  The Holy Spirit is trying to speak to you at whatever level you are able to listen.  Turn up the volume.  Move toward God’s next step for you.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pick Your Antidote

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

Do you have little rituals that help you remember things?  How do you keep from forgetting your keys?  How do you remember where you put your glasses?  How do you keep from forgetting your wife’s birthday?  Today I went off and left my smart phone at work.  It wasn’t the first time.

The Jews were told to tie things to their hands.  It is one of the traditions that has helped preserve the Jewish religion and culture longer than any other that I am aware of.  It must have some advantages.  If it worked for the Jews over centuries, maybe it would work for us over the course of a day.

So?  Find some simple little ways to remind yourself of God’s love and grace.  It could be a simple saying stuck on the refrigerator.  It could be programing your smart phone to remind you to be smart.  Low tech.  High tech.  Pick your antidote. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Can and Should

(Proverbs 6:4 KJV)  Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.  Just because it is possible doesn’t mean it is profitable.  Just because you have it doesn’t mean you should use it.  There is nothing wrong with “sleep” (8142) or “eyes” (5869) but they are temporarily constrained.

Here it is a matter of priorities.  If you have caused a problem it should be resolved before you get on to the many other things you want to do.  It doesn’t mean that the other things are wrong but putting them first could be a sin.

So?  Plan your day with God’s kingdom in mind.  How do you fit in today?  Are there any bumps that you have put in the road that need to be removed?  Get to it. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

A New Middle Name

(Proverbs 5:7 KJV)  Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.

“Now” (6258) is a word we don’t want to hear.  Maybe I can only speak for myself.  I think my middle name is Procrastinate.  There are very few things that I can’t put off until tomorrow.  Why?

I don’t know about you but I don’t think it is laziness.  I can, and will, get out and work hard.  I get to work early and meet all my deadlines.  I think it is a matter of priorities.  We all tend to find time to do the things we really want to do.  We all find excuses to avoid what we hate.  When a kid at school asks if I want to come to a party I often will say, “I am busy that day.”  They get a puzzled look because they had not told me the day. 

The Hebrew word is used over 400 times in the Old Testament but only three times in Proverbs.  It is interesting that each time it is used, it is linked to listening.

So?  God has a word for you now.  It might still be useful tomorrow but it won’t be fresh.  Think of it as a fresh loaf of bread from the bakery.  Each day it loses some of its savor.  Eventually it will grow mold.  Turn on the ears of your heart and listen.  Now.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Supplemental Vitamins

(Proverbs 4:2 KJV)  For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.

We have had a hard time finding churches that are still teaching Biblical truth.  Most churches seem to be more concerned about being “user friendly” and tolerant than they are in saying “Thus saith the Lord.”  The problem is not in their official documents.  When I look at the Articles of Faith in my denomination I am reminded of why I became a part of it.  I don’t claim any special dispensation, but what those paragraphs say gives “good” (sound NASB) (2896a) “doctrine” (teaching NASB) (3948).  The problem is that the preachers and leader seem to have decided to “forsake” (abandon NASB) (5800a) the meaning of those words in order to avoid offending anyone.

I can still read and study on my own.  I still know the truth because I don’t depend on someone else for my daily bread.  God is capable of meeting us where we are.

So?  Make sure that what you are hearing is the full message of God.  If not, and there seems to be no place else to go, then take supplements just like you would if you were not getting the right food at the dinner table.  We are blessed with multiple translations and access to the wisdom of the saints through the years. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Making Air Travel Pleasant

(Proverbs 3:17 KJV)  Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

This is talking about the effects of wisdom.  It makes life “pleasant” (5278).  One of the words used to define this is “delightful” but it is never translated that way in the NASB or KJV.  Wisdom has a way of putting the shine on life.  It moves our “ways” (1870) from endurance to enjoyment.  It gives us a perspective that changes everything.

For instance, I am getting to where I hate flying.  It is not fear.  It is the frustration and discomfort of security measures and smaller seats.  But there is something that can change the trip from a time of misery to a time of anticipation.  It is the knowledge that my children will be waiting at the airport when I arrive.  Suddenly the trip is moving me toward joy instead of just through the air.

So?  Remember that wisdom starts in a fear of the Lord and a knowledge of His word.  Do your homework.  Get in touch.  Bring a bit of joy to your journey. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

God Gives. Will We Take?

(Proverbs 2:6 KJV)  For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

What the world needs now is not love but “wisdom” (2451).  The reason we don’t have either is because the traditional sources of wisdom, elders and educators, are turning away from the only real source of wisdom.  Instead of reading and meditating on what God has said through the prophets and apostles they listen to the latest study in sociology or the opinions of a popular talk show host.  Such gurus don’t know wisdom when they see it.

Or maybe they recognize it for what it is and want nothing to do with it.  A couple of bits of wisdom that come through are upright living and a specific definition of moral behavior.  That puts limits on being able to do whatever you want.

So?  Wisdom is not popular because it often calls for restraint and self control.  It is not popular because it is not pop.  What are you seeking?  Are you looking in the right places? 

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Negative Promise

(Proverbs 1:27 KJV)  When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.

Solomon offers us an assurance but it is an assurance we don’t want.  We are assured that  “fear” (dread NASB) (6343) will come.  Your worst nightmares will become reality.  It may even be worse than you imagined.  You know the sinking feeling you get when you close the car door and immediately realize you just locked your keys inside?  That is mild compared to this.

We all have something we dread but the ultimate is when we realize that the game of waiting we have been playing with God is coming to an end.  The batteries have finally run down.  The gas has run out.  The excuses don’t work.  The disease can’t be cured.

And God turns His back.

“Can’t happen,” you say?  Then read the next verse. 

God is patient.  He loves you.  He sent His son to die for you.  He also knows your heart and He does not play games.

So?  Have you already stopped playing games?  Good.  Rejoice.  If not, it might be time to take God seriously.  He waits but not forever.