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.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Little Becomes Much

(Proverbs 31:12 KJV)  She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Sometimes we read something that seems so obvious you wonder why it is mentioned in the Bible.  This would be one of them.  Of course a wife should do “good” (2896b) for her husband.  And it seems that husbands should do good for their wives.  And yet when we look around....

Maybe we don’t even need to look around.  Maybe it would be enough to look at our own lives and in our own hearts.  Fill in whatever relationship you want, the principle is the same.  How many little digs do we give out each day?  How many tasks are left undone.  How many times do we let our inner pain or frustration dictate how we act?  We have a million excuses and reasons.  God sees through them all.

So?  Take a long look at the little actions and lack of actions in your day.  Would you put them in the good, the bad or the neutral?  Tomorrow, or the rest of today, is a good place to start some changes. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Be an Ant

(Proverbs 30:25 KJV)  The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;

Being prepared does not depend on physical strength or big muscles.  Even ants can do it.  I will concede that they can lift many times their weight and we can’t but the point is that they plan ahead and do a little bit at a time. 

Think of all the small things you know are coming that you have prepared for or need to prepare for.  Did you remember to thaw the turkey for Thanksgiving?  Did you buy a Christmas tree before the 26th?  Did you remember to shave this morning?  There are other deadlines that could be overwhelming if we do not prepare.  We have two due dates a year for property taxes.  The water bill needs to be paid as does the rent or mortgage. 

Often they are overwhelming because we don’t prepare.  We go to Disneyland instead of paying the electricity.  We don’t buy shampoo when they have a big sale.  We pay even more for gasoline because we waited until the last fume. 

So?  The unexpected can throw us for a loss but it is the expected that keeps us down.  Be an ant.  Do a little every day.  Realize that winter is coming.  So is summer.  God provides but is not known for rewarding sloth.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


 (Proverbs 29:8 KJV)  Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.

“Scorners” (582/3944).  Not a pretty word.  In this context it is not meant to be pretty.  When you look at the context you see that these are people who “set aflame” (6315) your neighborhood.  Does that sound familiar?  This is not the person who lights the fire but the one who blows on the coals to cause it to get bigger.  This is the bellows, not the match.  That may be a quality that gets you a following in a mob but it is not the way Christians should act.  How did Jesus put it?
(Matthew 5:9 KJV)  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
So?  We have many people trying to start riots and cause dissension among the population.  Who knows their motives.  It could be anything from genuine desire to see justice done to mental illness.  I do know what our actions should be.  Be a peacemaker, not a sparkplug.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Supporting Roles

(Proverbs 28:12 KJV)  When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.

How do the “righteous” (6662) “rejoice" (triumph NASB) (5970)?  We know that it is hard to be successful being honest when the competition cheats.  Think of games you have played against people who are always cheating.  Think of elections when to vote is rigged.  Think of tests when others have a copy of the questions ahead of time. 

Of course the necessary ingredient is God’s blessing.  God could deal with the hearts of kings.  At the other end He could make a donkey talk.  The hard thing for us is that the way God usually works is through His people.  So again I ask, How do the righteous triumph?

Usually the righteous come out on top because they are backed by other upright people.  When the church is the church our power is multiplied.  When we seek His kingdom and His righteousness our strength is multiplied. 

So?  We live in a republic where we are free to vote our conscience.  We need to pay attention to that conscience, look at the issues and people and act accordingly.  And I don’t mean stay home and sit it out.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Eye Appetite

(Proverbs 27:20 KJV)  Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

If I remember correctly, we have five senses.  The loss of any would cripple us but sight might be the most limiting.  Which provides the biggest trap for the unwary?  The focus here is our sight.

Think of visual stimulation.  They say that sex sells and most of that is visual.  I have seen a book that goes into the effects that colors have on us.  When we see a new car or style of clothes we respond with “stupid” or “I want.”  The wrapping on certain foods makes me sit up and take notice. 

Then add the way in which the eyes are used to read.  You can input smut or sagacity.  You can learn how to rewire your house or build a bomb.  You can laugh or cry.

So?  We need to be careful about what we look at.  What magazines do you peruse?  What TV or movies do you watch.  Do you find yourself taking a second look at an attractive co-worker?   You may not be able to control the noises or smells around you but you can certainly decide which way your eyes look.  Avoid temptation. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Common Core

(Proverbs 26:23 KJV)  Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.

The issue here is not the common nature of the “potsherd” (earthen vessel NASB) (2789).  The problem is found in the cheap gilt covering.  In American history we find reference to this in the “Gilded Age”.  It was a time in our history in the late 1800's where a thin layer of wellness was laid on a core of rot.  It is the phony nature of the covering that is the problem.

We have many different types of “dross” (5509) in our lives.  In refining metal this is the inferior metals that rise to the top when heated to melting point.  In soup this would be the fat that is skimmed off.  In life it is the habits that become apparent as the Holy Spirit works on us.  They are all to be discarded.  In some products and people they are instead worn as a badge of honor.

So?  Are you being refined?  Too often we see residual sin in our lives and instead of rejecting it we shelter it.  Instead of rising upward we are drawn downward.  Unlike the cheap trinket in the discount store, we have a choice. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Range of a Lie

(Proverbs 25:18 KJV)  A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.

Liars have a special place in the wrath of God, or I guess you might say a special place in Hell.  We talk about “white” lies and such.  I don’t think God sees it that way.  Here we have a graphic way of showing the width of the category.  You have three weapons mentioned.  They are used at three distances and three methods.  All are considered lies.  All kill.  The difference being emphasized is that the lie kills the one sending it, not the one receiving.  Beware.

One reason lies might be so offensive to God is the way Jesus identified Himself,
(John 14:6 KJV)  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Since Jesus is truth, He has a special animosity toward deceit.

So?  Whatever synonym you choose to use, be honest.  It has eternal consequences. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Think Priorities

(Proverbs 24:27 KJV)  Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.

Who would expect this kind of advice from the Bible?  Since few of us are pioneers or even farmers this boils down to a statement about priorities.  Priorities are important.  Priorities are different for different people.  Priorities change.  Sometimes.

They are often important.  It is usually considered proper to put your sox on before you put on your shoes.  It does not really matter if you put on right or left first.  When I was in a war zone we debated whether it was safer to finish one boot first or do both sox before we put on the boots.  I don’t remember coming to consensus. 

Priorities can be different for different people.  A mother of young children might treasure early morning for a time of worship while a retired person might need it for limbering exercise.  Both activities might be needed but other responsibilities would effect the timing.

Priorities can change.  My weekend mornings are different than my work day mornings.  During times of inflation I act different than when things are stable.  Many factors come to play.

There is really only one priority that we must always keep in mind.
(Matthew 6:33 KJV)  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
So?  I hope you saw that coming.  It is so easy to get complacent and compartmentalize our lives.  That does not please God. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Seeker Friendly

(Proverbs 23:35 KJV)  They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

Certain bits of “wisdom” point out simple truths.  “If it tastes good, it is fattening.”  “If it is fun, it is sin.”  “If it is easy, it isn’t worth doing.”  Have you found these to be true in your life?  When I was researching the purchase of my first computer I came across a statement that has stuck with me:  “The easier software is to learn, the less flexibility you will have.” 

What does that have to do with life today?  The same sense that I get from this verse.  It is very easy for us to travel down hill.  It is fun to careen down a snowy mountain.  It is drudgery to climb back up.  In this verse it is talking about getting drunk.  I hear people complaining about the hangovers and the embarrassment.  The next chance they get, they do the same thing. 

So?  Be on the lookout for actions that are easily repeated and you know are not right.  Don’t drift into unrighteousness.  I think that is more common than jumping in.  God is waiting to help us make the right turns and decisions. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Base of Honor.

(Proverbs 22:4 KJV)  By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.

Proverbs uses “humility” (6038) three times.  The word “humble” appears four times in the NASB but uses three different words from the Hebrew.  In each case “humility” (6038) is linked in some way with “honor” (3519b). (See also 15:33 and 18:12). 

Honor is a concept which has largely disappeared from our western culture.  The only place we hear the word is in actions such as Muslim “honor killings” which make it moral to kill a woman who has not lived up to your standards.  Here it has the idea of splendor and glory that lift your reputation and develop respect and dignity.  Honor itself is separate from financial reward.

So?  There are rewards in this life and the next.  They require us to have the correct attitude toward ourselves, humility, and the correct attitude toward God, fear. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Term Insurance

(Proverbs 21:6 KJV)  The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.

It seems to me that lies produce results, at least for the short term.  As Christians we are people of the long term.  If we are living right our eyes are on the goal established by God at the foundation of the earth, a goal that stretches not only to eternity ahead but eternity behind.  It is based in reality.  Everything else is this “vapor” (1892) mentioned here.  To place our confidence in anything else is to trust in the color vision of a dog or the beauty of annuals.  One doesn’t exist and the other is short lived.

Many are actually familiar with this word as you can see if you are reading the KJV.  It is a frequent word in Ecclesiastes and this verse is probably one of the best known,
(Ecclesiastes 12:8 KJV)  Vanity (1892) of vanities (1892), saith the preacher; all is vanity (1892).
Solomon is speaking of the futility of life.  It is short.  It is bitter.  It is futile.  Of course Solomon comes out of that by the end but if you don’t have the touch of the living God on you life, there is no coming out.

So?  I don’t want a life of chimaeras and dead ends.  One cause of that is living in lies.  Again, go for the long term, not the temporary. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Standards of Success

(Proverbs 20:11 KJV)  Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

This “child” (lad NASB) (5288) represents more people than it looks like.  The word is frequently translated “servant” or “young”.  I think there is the sense of being a trainee as opposed to someone with a lot of experience.  The latter part of the verse seems to point out moral conduct as being important to our promotion and advancement.

Does our society look up to the moral person anymore?  I doubt it.  People tend to look on them as quaint anachronisms.  They are to be tolerated as long as they don’t make too much noise.  We praise the devious liars whether it is the main character in “I Love Lucy” or the main character in the United States Government.  Unfortunately we also see the same tendency in the ranks of the church.  We should know better but too many people who sit in the pew have not bothered to spend any time in the instruction booklet.  If they had they might consider it as a quaint anachronism.

So?  Don’t forget that God has standards.  When we stand before the Judgement Seat of God it will not be the ladies from the View looking down on us. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Brute or Blessed

(Proverbs 19:8 KJV)  He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.

“Wisdom” (3820) [leb] is not the regular word.  It is the word that means the inner center of our being.  If you have the NASB it gives you a marginal reading that clarifies that.  Now look at the goal.  The point this is aiming at is the “soul” (5315) [nephesh].  Hugh Ross lifts this word out and feels that this word is used of all animals that have an awareness of self.  It is a quality of depth and personhood.

In order to be everything that God wants us to be it is necessary to make sure that our core of being is right.  In other words, to rise above the level of brute you must have your heart regenerated.  This is just another way of saying, “Ye must be born again.”  Here the emphasis is on being more than just an animal going through life.

So?  We are animals in the sense that we are not vegetables.  We are more than animals in the sense that we were made in the image of God.  Because of sin, we must be restored by the blood of Christ.  The alternative conditions of our existence remind us of how important this difference can be. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Belly Full

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

I think there are a few assumptions here.  My first assumption is that the person being referred to here has already made the commitments and repentance that lead to the washing of the blood and the fullness of the Spirit.  This is a person who is not only talking the walk, but walking it also.  What he says and how he says it are in accordance with the word.  He is walking upright and talking straight.  Proverbs would call that righteousness.

The second assumption is that “stomach” (990) is not talking about an organ in the body but the figurative center of our being.  Poets would talk about their heart.  Scientists might translate it as mind.  It is the part of our being that takes it all in and either says, “All is in order” or “There is a dissonance here.”

So?  Have you laid the groundwork for ultimate satisfaction or are you still going through the motions?  It is a serious question with eternal consequences.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Time to Meddle

(Proverbs 17:14 KJV)  The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.

The point is to head off trouble before it “breaks out” (NASB) (1566).  The KJV has a charming phrase “be meddled with”.  The first part of this verse seems to assume that problems will arise.  I am not sure there is any surefire way to avoid it at times.  We can minimize and pour oil on the waters but some people are loaded for bear and will not be denied.

Which brings us to the reminder to pay attention and contain the damage.  Think of it as damage control.  I think the point here is timing.  If we see a problem emerging it will not make it go away just to ignore it.  Sometimes proactive attention can keep it from becoming a big issue.  Sometimes it only gives us room to wiggle.  The sooner the better.

So?  God is telling us to address evil or just error as quickly as possible.  Of course there are other places that give advice on how to do that but here it is saying not to wait. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Peace unto Me

(Proverbs 16:7 KJV)  When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

This is a verse I need to read today.  I am facing hostility at work.  I have one of those meetings that can go well or be ugly.  This tells me that if I have attitudes and actions which “please” (pleasing NASB) (7521) Him, He will extend “peace” (7999b) to those involved. 

One of my questions is, does “he” refer to God or to the believer?  Is this saying that God is the one who steps in and makes “peace” (7999b) or is it simply a result of our behavior being Godly and righteous?  The translations that follow the convention of capitalizing pronouns referring to deity capitalize “He” meaning that they think if refers to God. 

So?  I am going to go with that today.  I am already assuming that He will give me an inner peace.  I will commit to leaving the other parties in His hands.  If I never post again it will because I did not survive the encounter. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Patient Alert

(Proverbs 15:3 KJV)  The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

There is an interesting pattern going on here.  Every verse from one to nine starts off with a statement of behavior, uses the conjunction “but” and has a concluding resolution.  In this verse the conjunction would be “and”.  There are a wealth of actions we can take.  There are many attitudes we can display.  God is aware of them all, “evil” (7451a) and “good” (2896a).

All it says here is that God is “beholding" (watching NASB) (6822).  This is the warning phase.  It is the promise that God is on the job.  It is a reminder that you can’t fool Him.  It doesn’t say so here but it should also remind us that God is hoping for repentance and atonement.  Later verses will deal with the consequences of ignoring this reality.

So?  We have time.  God has also given us that.  In addition to being holy and jealous, God is loving and patient.  I rejoice in the waiting He has done in my life.  I thank Him for all the times He has not lashed out at me. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Peace, Brother

(Proverbs 14:30 KJV)  A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.

As I read this and write about it I am going through a series of stressful situations.  I am sure you have all been there.  In the midst of the agitation I read this verse talking about a “sound” (tranquil NASB) (4832) “heart” (3820).  To be honest I was finding it hard to locate that attitude.  It seemed like every time I took a deep breath and began to think about the promises of God, WHAM!  There seemed to be no end to the pain. 

Yes, I lived through it.  Life is like that.  In the process of listening I focused on listening.  Sure I got off on the futility of defending myself but realized that no one was listening and I was learning nothing.  I focused on listening, not only to the comments but to the inner voice of the Holy Spirit. 

Guess what.  God met me.  He healed me.  He gave me perspective and helped me to sort through the comments to find the gold.  I trust He will continue to help me listen and grow.

So?  Listen to people but most of all to God.  He will give a tranquil heart. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Simple Choices

(Proverbs 13:15 KJV)  Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.

How do we contrast the different ideas in this verse?  We have “good” (2896a) “understanding” (7922) contrasted with the “way” (1870) of the “transgressors” (treacherous NASB) (898).  It can, and does, apply to today as well as eternity.

The implication is that the person of understanding is also the person of obedience.  They read or hear and then obey.  When they learn that God says, “Don’t steal”, they don’t steal.  When He says, “Honor the Sabbath”, they honor the Sabbath.  As a result of that obedience there are a lot of painful consequences in this life that they do not face.  The person who is chaste does not need to worry about the palate of sexually transmitted disease.  The business owner who deals honestly will have repeat customers. 

At the end of life there is eternity.  This verse is an example of understatement.  What waits for the “transgressors” (treacherous NASB) (898) is Hell, eternal damnation.  That is definitely “hard” (386).  This is a poor translation.  The meaning of the word is “ever flowing”.  It is hard in the sense that it cannot be changed.  Scary.

So?  We have a choice.  We can understand or we can be rebels.  Seems like a simple choice.   It is certainly easier than the kind of dipping sauce I want on my wings.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Get Out of Jail Card

(Proverbs 12:13 KJV)  The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.

There are many levels of “trouble” (6869a) we will never know because we are righteous.  I think all of us have had times when our lips transgressed.  It might have been deliberate, thus a sin.  It might have been accidental or confused.  We have all been there.  This verse offers us the hope of grace.

In this situation, grace starts with forgiveness when we acknowledge our sin and repent.  It continues beyond that as God works in our lives.  A verse of assurance comes to mind.
(Romans 8:28 KJV)  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Our assurance is not about the difficulty we face today.  The promise is about the final outcome.  It does not say we will never experience problems but that we will “come out” (escape NASB) (3318).

So?  Do you face I crisis today?  I do.  It may be difficult but I have the assurance that the final resolution is in God’s hands.  Trust and obey. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Inherit the Wind

(Proverbs 11:29 KJV)  He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.

What does it mean to “inherit” (5157) the “wind” (7307) [ruach]?  Inherit is pretty straightforward.  The Hebrew for “wind” is more significant.  Its most frequent translation is “spirit”.  The first place we see this is,
(Genesis 1:2 KJV)  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit (7307) of God moved upon the face of the waters.
The second most frequent is “wind”.  This is true in both the KJV and NASB.  Until I retire I will be limited in study time but a quick look at this word seemed to show that when it was translated “wind” it referred to the miraculous movement of God. 
(Genesis 8:1 KJV)  And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind (7307) to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged;
It would seem to be implying that if you mess with your family God will target you for some special attention.  That does not sound good.

So?  You have a family.  Thanksgiving is just past and Christmas is coming.  This is the time that families get together.  Are you one that causes a sigh of relief when you get sick and can’t come or do they send you an airline ticket to make sure you get there?  Charity starts at home. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Harvest Alert

(Proverbs 10:5 KJV)  He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.

The first part of this verse is not talking about the “harvest” (7105a) although gathering is certainly part of it.  You don’t “gather” (103) in summer.  That is an activity of the fall season, after summer is over.  We tend to think of the gathering of harvest as related to grain crops.  Maybe God is trying to tell us to think outside the box.  Maybe we are to look for opportunities out of season.

This would apply to tomatoes better than wheat.  Tomatoes ripen at different speeds.  Sure there is a time when the vines are heavy but there are always a few that are ready early and there is often one that turns red just before the first frost.  This is not a recommendation to not harvest, this is a reminder to keep on the alert at all times.

So?  It could apply to witnessing.  It could apply to being a parent.  It could apply to reading a book or taking a class.  Where could you be more alert today?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Discernment of Diet

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

Proverbs calls us to be upright, to walk in righteousness.  It contains the call of holy living just like the New Testament does.  One of the difficulties of holiness is that it requires a discerning and engaged mind.  Jesus was not just concerned with our souls.  Perhaps that is why when He quoted the law He felt free to add the need for our minds.
(Matthew 22:37 KJV)  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
What that has in common with this verse is that while certain things such as adultery and lying are always wrong, there are many acts which will be sinful or righteous depending on the context and company.  Christmas is also the season of Jewish Hanukkah.  You are not being a hypocrite if you do not serve ham when you have a Jewish friend over for dinner.  It is called being considerate and discerning.  It might be a sin to serve it at that time.

So?  There is a time to eat and a time to drink.  There is a time to abstain from both or either.  Live upright.  That puts your mind at the top in control of the feet at the bottom. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Hate of the Christian

(Proverbs 8:13 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

A primary goal of a Christian is to be like Jesus.  Think of the words of the hymn,
I have one deep, supreme desire,
That I may be like Jesus.
To this I fervently aspire,
That I may be like Jesus.
When we are meditating on this and praying for it we tend to think of being loving and good.  This verse brings us into a part of the picture we might have missed.  If we fear the Lord, we will “hate” (8130) “evil” (7451b). 

How are we to hate?  Other places the word is translated “foe” and “enemy”.  This is not calling for us to commit acts of violence on the proud, arrogant and perverted.  It means we are to work against the laws they try to pass.  It means we are to oppose their election.  It means we are not to join their clubs or buy their books.  I make it a habit to not shop at Target since they banned the Salvation Army from collecting for the poor at Christmas time.  Is Target evil in the common sense?  No, but they have made decisions against the people of God and don’t deserve my support.

So?  The battle against evil is not usually fought with guns and fists.  It is usually a daily battle in making decisions involving purchases or support.  What causes are stronger today because I supported them yesterday? 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Deck More Than the Halls

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

This is the only place in the Bible that the Hebrew word translated “decked” (spread NASB) (7234) is used.  That would not be obvious if you simply looked it up in a concordance.  There are several other words translated that way but they have different meanings from “anointed” to “broken apart.”  You have possibly heard this meaning recently if you have sung the Christmas carol, “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly”.  We also might express it when dressing up and being “all decked out”.

The concern I pick up is the tendency we have to cover things up with cosmetics.  When you go to a pharmacy, a place for healing medicine, you find that a large part of the store is dedicated to products to remedy superficial flaws.  You can find fixes designed to disguise your fingernails, split ends and everything in between.  You can find ways to change your smell and shape.  None of them do anything to change the real you.

We cannot cover up who we really are with thin coatings of man made products.  This is true whether you are talking about cosmetics or the latest seminar you went to by the current guru.   Only God can change the inner you that is causing the problems.

So?  Deck your halls with ivy.  Cleanse your heart with the blood of the Lamb.  Remember that Christmas was necessary for the cross to be offered.  Make it an inner Christmas.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Love Antithesis

(Proverbs 6:16 KJV)  These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

Are there only “six things” (8337) that the Lord “hates” (8130)?  Of course not.  If you follow the word through the Old Testament you can find actions and attitudes to add to the list.  The meaning of the word would seem pretty obvious.  The problem we run into are the feelings-focused people who reject the idea that the God who is love could also hate.  Yet it clearly says He does.

One of the most interesting translations of the word I found is also in Proverbs.
(Proverbs 30:23 KJV)  For an odious (8130) woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.
The NASB words it a differently,
(Proverbs 30:23 NAS77)  Under an unloved (8130) woman when she gets a husband, And a maidservant when she supplants her mistress.
It would seem that hatred is a suspension of love because the object is so repulsive.  This obviously does not refer to the offensiveness of our sin.
(Romans 5:8 KJV)  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
It is the product of a continual and lifelong rejection of the love of God.

So?  Are you loved or hated?  God extends His loving grace to all.  If we don’t respond that leaves only the condition of withdrawn love.  Rejoice or repent. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Bless You

(Proverbs 5:18 KJV)  Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

The Bible is full of figurative language.  The idea of marriage being a “fountain” (4726) is one of them.  This should not bring to mind the structure spewing water in decorative ways in the middle of the park.  This should make you think of an artesian well bubbling up with fresh purity. 

Notice that the fountain is not doing the blessing.  It is the object to be blessed.  The Hebrew word translated here is different than the Greek word.  The Greek means to speak well of.  The Hebrew means to bow before.  If you are married then that relationship is to be given preference in your life.  It is something that should be acknowledged as a dominant force.  This is why one of the earliest decrees in history involve marriage,
(Genesis 2:24 KJV)  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
So?  The covenant of marriage is the dog not the tail.  It should determine the choices you make in occupation and leisure.  It should monitor your relationships with the rest of your family.  It is to be blessed.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Update Your Apps

(Proverbs 4:14 KJV)  Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.

You may not recognize this as a command, but it is.  It is not a direction given when you are in the midst of sin.  It is a command before you start down that “path” (734).  It is much easier to do the right thing when you don’t start doing the wrong thing.

The key word is “not” (408).  It isn’t a word meaning “try” or “sometimes”, it is a word that means “no”.

How do you define a “wicked” (7563) “path” (734)?  Did you really ask that?  Some things are so obvious that only someone who disagrees with me on politics would not see them.  Start with the law.  Read over the Ten Commandments and think about all the applications of adultery, lies and covetousness.  We are not saved by the law but it is there to make it crystal clear what is clearly evil.

So?  When you play Monopoly you can change a few rules if everyone agrees.  In the game of living in righteousness that doesn’t work.  Think about it when you dress, drive and flirt.  I am sure you can find an application.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

I Don’t Care What They Deserve

(Proverbs 3:29 KJV)  Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.

Notice that there is no adjective in front of “neighbor” (7453).  In the next verse it has the phrase “without cause”.  That qualification is not here.  We are familiar with Jesus saying we were to love our neighbor as ourselves.  We ignore the fact that Jesus was just quoting from the law,
(Leviticus 19:18 KJV)  Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
You can’t get much more into the law than Leviticus.  Solomon knew this verse.  Israel knew this verse.

But people do all they can to ignore simple truth.  Jesus was asked, “Who is my neighbor?”  He responded with the parable of the Good Samaritan.  The Samaritans and the Jews hated each other.  The idea is that we are to treat everyone properly.  It is the foundation for the courtesy and polite behavior that is expected in well raised Americans.  It is more of that “middle class morality” that is so vilified today.

So?  It doesn’t matter if your neighbor’s dog barks all night and leaves greetings on your lawn.  You are to demonstrate the love of God to them anyway.  Hard?  Of course.  But it is also hard for a rich man to get into heaven and Americans are rich by the standards of history and the world. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Death Watch

(Proverbs 2:18 KJV)  For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.

As Christians we tend to think in terms of life.  This verse is talking about “death” (4194).  It doesn’t hurt us to stop and think about it for a moment.  One reason is that we can rejoice in being delivered.  No matter how you define death, it is no longer a concern for us.  The other reason is that we need to understand how serious the issue is for those we love who are not saved.

I get the idea of a road that slowly descends to disaster and hopelessness.  This is not the picture of one mistake or moment of rebellion that casts us into the fire of hell.  This is a complacency and casual attitude toward life that lulls us into a sense of comfort.  It is a road to disaster.

So?  Take salvation seriously.  Be praying, witnessing and living like those you love are caught in a sinkhole.  They are. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Spirit of Christmas

(Proverbs 1:23 KJV)  Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

As I write I am thinking of Christmas coming.  I am also thinking about the legitimate question that many ask, “How can God condemn people to Hell who have never heard the gospel?”  Is that a strange question for Christmas?  No, not really.  As you go through the stores and public places you will hear Christmas music.  A growing segment is modern nonsense like “Santa Baby”, but you will still find the old carols rearing their heads.  Anyone who has heard the traditional Christmas Carols has heard the gospel.

That relates to this verse.  This verse talks about how God will “pour out” (5042) His Spirit.  Now look at the context of verses.  The Spirit will be poured out on the naive, the scoffers, the haters.  God will speak directly to the hearts of those lost in sin and rebellion.  At Christmas God will touch much of the world and the world will reject Him.

People do not reject the gospel because they do not understand.  They reject the gospel because they understand too well.  The gospel is acted out by the magi and shepherds kneeling at the feet of Jesus.  Human beings have a self centered nature that refuses to kneel.

So?  Have you heard the music of Christmas?  Does it bring joy to your heart because it announces the incarnation or hostility because it demands submission?  Rest assured that people have their chance to respond.  Maybe this month you will get a chance to explain the details.  Merry Christmas. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Small Packages

(Proverbs 30:24 KJV)  There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:

Wisdom is often found in small units.  One of the mistakes that many believers make is to try to absorb too much at a time.  I have never been too excited about programs that get you to read through the Bible in a year.  It is probably a good idea but people being what they are, they substituted a set quantity for an alert quality.  They become legalistic worshipers.  They feel like if they have met a measurable minimum then they have done their part and can get on with the fun stuff. 

Most of my moments of insight come from the combination of a focused mind, a willing heart, an inspired text and the touch of the Holy Spirit.  Although God can work wonders, I am not sure how many times He breaks through the walls of legalism we put on our reading and worship.

So?  Engage your mind.  Focus.  Listen.  There are so many ways God wants to speak to us.  It might be in the first verse of the three chapters you have scheduled.  Don’t blow by and miss the blessing. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Beggar at the Door

(Proverbs 29:7 KJV)  The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.

I would venture to guess that most of us do not hang around really high class restaurants.  By that I mean the ones with the ridiculously high prices.  For me the most expensive experience I have had is a steak house called Flemings.  I don’t think it is at the top of the scale, just the highest I have been to.  Generally the steak, usually a la carte, is at least $50.00. 

As I said, I don’t frequent these places but I realized one thing as I was reading this verse today:  I have yet to see panhandlers around the expensive restaurants.  A general rule of thumb is that the higher the price, the fewer the beggars.  I think one of the reasons is that Bible believing Christians tend to be more frugal with their money than the rich and famous.  At the same time they have read verses like this and realize that they are called to share what they have.  That makes them better targets.

So?  Next time someone asks you for a buck, rejoice.  They recognize that your heart is more open to their situation.  It may not be the way you want to be recognized but there it is. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Cosmetics or Character

(Proverbs 28:11 KJV)  The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.

Americans are in love with success.  I say “Americans” because that is whom I rub elbows with every day.  My suspicion is that the rest of the world is the same way.  I don’t know if it is still on the air but there used to be a program called “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”  Millions of people watched it.  Many of those were Christians.  I never could figure out why it connected with people.  Personally I would rather have a box of crackers than a catalogue of haute cuisine that I could never afford.  I never made it a habit of stopping in at a restaurant just so I could smell the sauce.

We need to understand that the spiritual qualities God wants us to have are not tied to our income or power.  Wisdom cannot be bought.  Integrity cannot be ordered on-line.  Righteousness cannot be produced by trips to the gym. 

So?  God will meet you where you are.  He might want to take you somewhere else and make you something you can never be on your own but don’t expect that to include a stylish address or a fat bank account.  It is possible that you could not handle it. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Join Heart Book

(Proverbs 27:19 KJV)  As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.

Maybe that is why the popular social sight is “Face Book” not “Heart Book.”  Most of us are happy just putting on a happy face, as the old song says.  I have very limited experience on social media.  The young adult Sunday School class I taught tried to have a group account.  For the most part, very little of what came through was the real person.  On twitter, how much of the real you can be portrayed in 140 characters?

Think of the reflections seen in water.  The slightest wind can distort what you see.  You can have fish lips appear in the middle of your forehead.  A water spider can travel across your nose.  Yet it is still reflecting what you show it. 

Cosmetics can change the water reflection.  They cannot touch the heart.  What is inside is the real you.  There is little you can do about it but Peter pointed out why the Gentiles were first accepted as brothers in Christ.
(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?  You can wash the dirt from your face.  The Holy Spirit can wash the dirt from your heart.  If you have not experienced that, maybe it is time to consider it.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Be a Loud Mouth

(Proverbs 26:22 KJV)  The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

The KJV and the NASB use a different Hebrew word here.  At least it looks different to me.  But one source says they are really the same word.  A “whisperer” (7279) (talebearer 5372 KJV) is a gossip.  The idea of whispering comes closer here because while it is definitely bearing tales the modification is that it is a murmured tale.  It is not openly declared, it is mumbled behind the hand while looking around to see if anyone is listening. 

I wondered as I looked at this if this might refer to the way in which we witness.  Is it the way in which we speak truth or take a stand on moral issues.  We often are not willing to speak out when a voice is needed.  Sure that is a tangent but that is the way my thinking is going today.

So?  If you can’t speak it out boldly it might not need to be said.  On the other hand it might need to be said and the answer is still to speak out boldly.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wearing Out a Welcome

(Proverbs 25:17 KJV)  Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.

This is an interesting verse to come up the day before Thanksgiving.  A large portion of the American population will be traveling to visit friends and family.  They will put their “foot” (7272) in someone else’s house.  Keep in mind that most of the Biblical recommendation and laws are based on moderation and balance.  That is why it is Ten Commandments not ten thousand.  There are standards with no wiggle room but that is not what this is saying.

Don’t let something like this become an excuse to join a monastery or become a hermit.  Paul points out the problems with that,
(1 Corinthians 5:10 NAS77)  I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world.
If we do not have any contact with the rest of the world then we would never be able to witness or be salt and light.

So?  Always seek balance.  In social contact, be friendly and gracious but don’t overdo it.  Finding the middle ground is work but it is expected.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Kiss It Off

(Proverbs 24:26 KJV)  Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.

“Kisses” (5401a) have different significance in different cultures.  For us the context is romance and sexual expression.  We think of “french” kissing and wet kisses and all kinds of other terms that get our libidos roaring.  In some cultures it is just a form of greeting.  Even two men who would kill each other if given the chance will greet each other with a kiss.  So broaden your mind a little.

In the OT it is used 34 times and except for once in Proverbs dealing with adultery and twice in the Song of Solomon I could not find any place where it was connected with romance.  In fact it was usually men kissing men in greeting or as a sign of submission.

Some of the paraphrases get the nuance.  For instance the Good News Bible,
(Proverbs 24:26 GNB)  An honest answer is a sign of true friendship.
We should welcome people who are capable of speaking the truth.   I would go so far as to say we should reject people who cannot tell the truth.

So?  Be honest.  Speak truth, not to power but to righteousness. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Impossible Dream

(Proverbs 23:34 KJV)  Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.

What can make you dream the impossible dream?  The context here is the delusions provided by alcohol.  Having never been drunk I can only use my imagination.  I think we could add such things as legal and illegal drugs to the mix.  We might also add modern addictions like video games, music and sports.  How many kids have I worked with who tell me they don’t need an education because they are going to be professional athletes.  They will probably play in the middle of the sea or on top of a mast. 

Impossible dreams can come from ignorance, deliberate or not.  I remember the teacher, who was a Christian, that voted twice for Bill Clinton.  I asked her if she knew what a moral disaster he was and she said, “Yes.”  I asked her how she could vote for such a man and she told me that she thought he would change.  She chose to ignore the obvious.

Impossible dreams can come from rejecting truth and unchanging standards of morality.  The church is dancing on mast heads.  The organized church has drunk the kool aid and started down the road of deception.  Too many individual believers are going along in relief that God didn’t really mean what He said.

So?  Can you swim?  Have you asked the question, “How many Christians can dance on the point of a mast?”  If you are in danger it is time to repent.  If you are still on board it is time to pray and possibly rebuke and reprove. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Have a Clear Vision

(Proverbs 22:3 KJV)  A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

Although the Hebrew word is the same, the KJV and the NASB give different nuances.  Both are important.  The NASB uses the simple translation of “sees” (7200).  Evil exists.  Prudent people know that and recognize it when they are confronted by it.  They have a clear vision that has been lost in our popular culture.  When we talk about a child at school who is a moral pervert with violent tendencies we are not allowed to point out that they are evil.  We use words like “confused” or “misguided”.  You need to understand that modern culture does not see the evil in the hearts of men.

The KJV uses “foreseeth” which carries the important idea that we are to look down the road for the evil that is developing.  We need to understand that when we plant squash we cannot expect a harvest of corn.  We need the insight to see that when you teach relative values and deny moral absolutes then you are producing a future of chaos and hopelessness.

So?  As Christians we need to have open eyes and recognize the world as it is, not as Pollyanna saw it.  Grace can overcome any obstacle but we are poor servants of that grace if we don’t recognize what needs to be overcome. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Sure Thing

(Proverbs 21:5 KJV)  The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

There is a word that occurs twice in this verse.  It applies to both the carrot and the stick.  Diligence, or the lack of it, will “only" (surely NASB) (389) produce results.  This is kind of like that law of thermodynamics that says that for ever action there will be an equal and opposite reaction.  One of the quotes, usually attributed to Einstein, that makes me smile has to do with insanity is when you do the same thing and expect different results.  Another way of expressing that idea would be
“How is that working for you?”

Certain behavior brings certain results, certainly.  We deny it at our peril.  Here the reminders is a very common experience.  We need to look ahead and plan.  We need to prepare.  How many people don’t have enough food and water in the house for a few days of power loss?  How many people run out of gas on a regular basis?  How many people raise kids who don’t know the meaning of “No”?  How many people will stand before the Lord on judgement day and say, “I didn’t know” only to get that “look”.

So?  Tomorrow just arrived.  Did you expect it yesterday?  It will happen again in the morning.  Put some time into preparation.

Friday, November 20, 2015

One of the Top Ten

(Proverbs 20:10 KJV)  Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.

In my younger days I used to enjoy watching late night talk shows.  David Letterman had a segment he called “Top Ten Reasons....”  Most people never stopped to think that he might have stolen the idea from the Bible.  I am thinking of the Ten Commandments.  He could have labeled it “The Top Ten Reasons Why People Will Go to Hell”.  One of the big sins is the lie.  When talking about who will be thrown into the lake of fire, liars are on the list.

That is the issue with “differing weights” (68/374).  This doesn’t mean that you could not have ounce and pound weights.  It means that you can not have weights that appeared accurate but are off just enough to give you a dishonest advantage.  God applies His standard of truth to business and commerce.  He expects us to avoid lying even when we have another clever name for it. 

So?  You want to be very careful to avoid actions and attitudes that God finds abominable.  Deception is a stone that lines the road to Hell.  Make the right choices.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Spiritual Hygiene

(Proverbs 19:7 KJV)  All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? he pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him.

If this were the New Testament I would have some assurance about the difference between “brothers” (251) and “friends” (4828).  I think the same apply here.  I think in the NT we would have “brethren” and “neighbors”.  The first represents believers, part of the body of Christ.  The second represents people we rub elbows with who are not believers. 

How do you get along at church?  Do you consider yourself the thorn in the flesh that is helping people to grow spiritually by giving them opportunities to exercise their patience muscles?  Do other people consider you that way? 

So?  What kind of reaction are you creating in others?  Do you want people to flee from you?  This can be caused by bad hygiene or bad manners.  It is not acceptable. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Building Walls

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

This verse has some translation issues that are beyond my skills.  I noticed it when I was looking at some of the translations on my software.  It focuses on the word “offended” (6586).  Two versions, the Darby translation and the Good News Bible, translate this as “helped”.  That seems a bit more than a nuance.  In looking at other sources, Adam Clarke says,
“Almost all the versions agree in the following reading:  ‘A brother assisted by a brother, is like a fortified city; and their decisions are like the bars of a city.’”
Keil and Delitzsch go into it in greater detail but they are beyond my limited scholarship.  It seems to be based on how you read the text.  The interesting thing to me is that both translations work very well.  Helping people builds walls around the relationship.  Attacking people builds walls between you. 

So?  Which do you think God wants?  If we are talking about you and the local drug dealer it needs to be walls between you.  If it is you and the guy in the next pew build them around.  Act like a believer. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Promise of Payback

(Proverbs 17:13 KJV)  Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.

God has a way of repeating the lessons He wants us to hear.  Sometimes He is blatant about it and hard to ignore.  People ignore Him anyway.  Sometimes He is clear but it requires a bit of thought.  People don’t like to think.  Some lessons come all the way around the barn to get in the door.  This is one of those.  We are being reminded that the way we relate to those who do us wrong is different than the pagan or pseudo-Christian worlds.  Our stance is to endure, turn the other cheek and allow God to be the agent of vengeance.

People are going to do you wrong.  Some delight in it because you are the servant of a holy God and they can’t stand holiness.  This is reminding us that God is aware of what they are doing and they will eventually get what is coming to them, or what they are rushing toward.

So?  Don’t delight in the news.  We are still supposed to pray and hope for their redemption, but if it gives you any comfort, rest assured, all forms of evil will set up housekeeping where they live.  You may not see it.  They are good at covering up, but God has promised. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

OT/NT Hope

(Proverbs 16:6 KJV)  By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

One of the great Hebrew words is the one translated “mercy” (lovingkindness NASB) (2617) [chesed].  I think of this as the Old Testament equivalent of the Greek agape.  Both are words loaded with nuance and depth.  They are built into the character and actions of God and expected of us.  A familiar NT usage of agape,
(John 3:16 KJV)  For God so loved [agape] the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Another word is “truth” (571).  This is a vital concept to Christians and part of the reason we are not comfortable with our world.  We believe there is absolute truth.  We believe that there are eternal truths.  We believe that truth is tied in with the person and work of Jesus.
(John 14:6 KJV)  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
When Jesus went to the cross He brought together lovingkindess and truth.  Because of that our “iniquity” can be forgiven.

So?  Rejoice today in the assurance of forgiveness and eternity. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Organ Recital

(Proverbs 15:2 KJV)  The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.

James has important comments about the “tongue” (3956) and its potential for evil.  He mentions it twice.  The shorter statement is in the first chapter.
(James 1:26 KJV)  If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
James brings up the same point that Solomon is making.  The tongue needs to be brought into submission to the heart.  Christians cannot just say what they feel.  They cannot exercise the organ of the mouth without engaging the organ of the brain without it being cleansed by the organ of the heart. 

Of course that makes the assumption that the heart is right, that our religion is not vain.

So?  What comes out indicates what is inside.  If you are not happy with the words or tone maybe it is time for a spiritual tune up.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Slow Enough to Stop

(Proverbs 14:29 KJV)  He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.

Most of us would admit that we should be patient in most circumstances.  We are aware that being “quick-tempered” (7116/7307) is a mistake.  The problem is that we are often just looking at giving the badge of legitimacy to an eventual lashing out.  The point is not that we should put off our anger and not go off half-cocked.  The point is that by putting off our anger it gives the Holy Spirit time to work so we don’t get cocked at all.

Yes there are times for anger.  There are times when a vibrant response is the right thing.  Most of the time, however, it is simply us forgetting that we are to be servants not lords.  The disciples did not get it.
(Luke 9:54 KJV)  And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
We don’t get it.  Patience is not a virtue because it makes us look good.  It is a virtue because it allows us to serve.

So?  Work on allowing the Holy Spirit to douse you anger and have a healthy love rule in your heart.  I don’t know about you but I need to be reminded about this every day after I drive to work. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Schedule Your Departures

(Proverbs 13:14 KJV)  The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

In my first reading it seemed a bad thing to “depart” (turn aside NASB) (5493).  Then I looked again.  What it is saying is that if we are listening to the things God is trying to say to us, we will probably need to change direction. 

I don’t know about you but I have my default modes.  My alarm clock is set to the same time unless there is a special event.  I have a routine and order to my morning preparations.  I drive to work by the same route.  I have a 1-2-3 list at work.  In much of life that is a great tool for accomplishment.  At times it can be a “snare” (4170) of “death” (4194).  When we follow the standards and expectations of the world around us be can be compromised and doomed.  Keep in mind that the majority of people around you are serving Satan by serving themselves.  There is a reason for the written word being available to us.

So?  If they tell you everyone is doing it there are some possibilities you need to consider.  Everyone could be wrong.  They could be lying to you.  Either way, if you know the truth, you can stay on track. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Problem with Desire

(Proverbs 12:12 KJV)  The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.

Our “desires” (2530) can really get us in trouble.  Too often they are the desires of our flesh, not of the Spirit.  This is a verb.  It is a word you are familiar with in other contexts.

You see it in the Garden of Eden.
(Genesis 3:6 KJV)  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired (2530) to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Forbidden fruit suddenly had a luster to it. 

Then we come across it in the Ten Commandments.
(Exodus 20:17 KJV)  Thou shalt not covet (2530) thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
Original sin and coveting are the dangers that drag us down.  Instead we should have the desires of a heart in tune with the God of the Universe.  It brings to mind a chorus we used to sing in the dinosaur days.
My desire, to be like Jesus.
My desire, to be like Him.
His Spirit fill me,
His love o’erwhelm me.
In deed and word,
To be like Him.
So?  Walk in righteousness as the Holy Spirit empowers you and you practice the discipline of obedience. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Do You Have a Trust?

(Proverbs 11:28 KJV)  He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.

Is America in decline?  I don’t mean that as a political question based on criticism of our current leaders.  I mean that as a question that people have been wondering about at least since the 60's.  Part of the picture is based on the political picture but it is bigger than that.  I don’t think I will live to see the definite answer but I see the trend.

We are following a similar curve to the fall of Rome.  Many people try to blame the end of Rome on the barbarian invasions.  Some blame Christianity.  The core factor was that the power that Rome exercised began to be the object of “trust” (982).  Rome was already in a nose dive when the church was made legal.  Rome had become totally materialistic.  All was based of wealth and power.  The traditions of truth and law that had been around during the Republic had been replaced by bribery and licentiousness. 

Americans are almost totally materialistic today.  By that I don’t mean that they love their luxury.  I mean that they put there focus and search for meaning on those luxuries.  Americans truly believe that “He who dies with the most toys, wins.”  The real tragedy is that the church, which should be trying to correct that, has become so “seeker friendly” that we are not willing to tell the king he is naked.

So?  What gives you a sense of hope?  What are you striving for?  Would God approve?  You are to be salt and light not just a well managed mutual fund of spiritual values. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

2/3 Spock

(Proverbs 10:4 KJV)  He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

If you get out much you have heard people talk trash about American “middle class values” and how this is an archaic way of looking at the world.  The idea is that we are the slaves of capitalism and greed.  While there are certainly aspects of American culture that need criticism we need to be careful of taking the bait offered so freely by academic culture.  Many of their criticisms are designed to remove the salt of Bible teaching from society.

Here we have reference to work and it is clearly stated that hard, or “diligent” (2742) work is a good thing.  Many of America’s “middle class values” are an extension of the influence that Christians have had on our country.  One of those values it what is sometimes called the Puritan Work Ethic.  It is called that as an insult when we should accept it as a compliment.  Hard work is the expectation that the Bible has for the people of God.  Sloth and laziness is a product of sin and a cause of poverty. 

So?  As Christians we need to be alert for the dangers of materialism.  As Christians we are to be even more alert for sloth in our lives.  To add to Mr. Spock’s formula so that it is more Christian, “Live long, work hard, and prosper.”

Monday, November 9, 2015

Simple Wisdom

(Proverbs 9:4 KJV)  Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,

Are you “simple” (naive NASB) (6612a)?  Let’s face it.  Most of us consider being naive a sign of immaturity.  Sometimes the Bible would go with that.  But here there is a different slant that we need to consider.  Here it is saying the danger is not in being naive but in denying that you are naive.  If you don’t admit that you need gas and keep living in denial, you will run out and possibly be stranded.  If you do not admit that you are spending too much you will eventually reach bankruptcy. 

The prescription for naivety is not denial but wisdom.  God is saying, “Come in here.”  He is offering to provide a solution.  But first we need to admit the need.  If someone yells, “Hey, handsome” I either ignore it or look around to see who they are talking to.  If they say, “Hey, old man” I answer “Yes.”

So.  So we always need to start with acknowledging our need.  This applies whether the need is wisdom or forgiveness.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Wisdom and Popular Culture

(Proverbs 8:12 KJV)  I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.

One of the nagging questions I have is how people can be so smart and yet so foolish.  How can they know so much and be so ignorant.  Yes, sometime I call disagreeing with me “ignorance”.  After all, I am always right.  But let's allow for that and get to the real issue.  Recently there has been a scandal about an organization called Planned Parenthood planning their abortions in such a way that the procedure produces the largest quantity of human body parts suitable for sale.  I can understand when I ask my 8th grade students about it and they don’t know what I am talking about.  Their ignorance is genuine.  But to be a senior member of Planned Parenthood you would have seen the sonograms of living babies.  You would know the research on fetal pain and understand that many of the babies being killed would survive if delivered by genuine doctors and nurses.  You would know and still celebrate the harvest.

What is missing?  Here we mention “prudence” (6195) and “discretion” (4209).  Other places it points out another lack.
(Proverbs 9:10 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Not only do they not fear God, but they also do not fear a government and a judicial system that looks the other way.

So?  Part of wisdom is facing truth even if it is not politically correct and part of the current social standard.  Stand tall for righteousness.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Opportunity Knocks, and Kills

(Proverbs 7:15 KJV)  Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.

I believe there is a Shakespeare quote that has something to do with the tide in the affairs of men.  The point he makes is that when opportunity knocks you should grab it because it may not come again.  There is another quote about all that glitters not being gold.  The two ideas need to be bundled.  Just because we seem to have a natural opportunity does not mean that it is best for us to grab hold and go with it.

The context here is the opportunity for sexual sin.  It is amazing how many would claim that they could not help themselves and they were helpless pawns in the hands of fate.  That may work when you are explaining it to your friends but it won’t work when you are looking into the face of a holy God.  Keep in mind that you are surrounded by people who would relish the chance to drag you down.  God always provides us with a way out.
(1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV)  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
It is interesting to note that just after Paul gives this bit of hope in the next verse he gets even more practical.
(1 Corinthians 10:14 KJV)  Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
So?  Temptation will come.  Situations will arise.  Pressure will mount.  Flee.  That is a way out but it probably isn’t the direction you were going before.

Friday, November 6, 2015

No More Warnings

(Proverbs 6:15 KJV)  Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.

Today there is no warm word of support.  There is no blazing hope.  Today there is a word of warning.  I would like to think it is just to those in the world.  If you look at the previous verses you can see that there are some people who are committed to evil.  It is a part of their life.  They thrive on it.  When the end comes there will be no new warning.  They have heard it all.

Think of the rich man who died and went to hell.  He got into a conversation with Abraham in Luke 16 and asked that they send someone to warn his brothers.  The answer was that if they would not listen to the prophets they would not believe someone returned from the dead.  We may not know when someone reaches that point, but God does.

So?  Keep being salt and light.  Witness.  Leave the results to God.  And always do a little self examination to make sure that you are not drifting into the area of the hopeless. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sharing Is Not for Everyone

(Proverbs 5:17 KJV)  Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.

As this is posted the holidays that are distinctly Christian are on the horizon.  Thanksgiving is days away.  Christmas is weeks.  These are times of great celebration, reflection and sharing.  This verse is about sharing and the context is sexual.  We are to be faithful.  Some things are not to be shared.  That is an unchanging standard, part of that “middle class morality” that America used to be hung up on.

But another aspect of holidays and sharing came to me as I read this.  We will have family members traveling across the country to be together.  We will be pulling together to spend time blessing the tie that binds.  While this is also a time of year to reach out to those less blessed it is also a time to find ways to spend time alone together.  It is possible to ruin a special time by the injudicious inclusion of people who are nothing but a disruption.  Make sure that there are times when it is just the family.  Listen and share in the ways you cannot do when outsiders are with you.  Glory in the blessings God has given you.

So?  Does that mean never include others?  No.  It means have enough common sense to give your family the priority it needs to stay a strong unit.  Then reach out. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Roots and Education

(Proverbs 4:13 KJV)  Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

We live in a day of universal public education.  It is available to anyone in this country.  It would be natural for us to see an admonition about “instruction” (4148) and think of going to school.  If we go that route then we should think more in terms of the one room school house with a stern taskmaster than the modern version based on self esteem, recess and special education. Those are all modern adaptations of that it means to go to school. 

The essence of the word is grounded in discipline and correction, not reading and writing.  The way to a productive and successful life is rooted in getting yourself under control.  Yes, it also will involve a body of knowledge and skill but those are useless unless our mind and will are brought into submission.

So?  Start with the law of God.  That law is not a matter of proper spelling or accurate addition.  It is a matter of solid values and impeccable morals.  With that foundation the book learning provides the tools for life.  Without them we are just fooling ourselves.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Neighbor Love

(Proverbs 3:28 KJV)  Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.

Have you ever hid behind the Holy Spirit?  Do you ever know what is the right thing to do, what God wants from you and you still say, “Let me pray about it.”  It is a common ploy among those of us that are tight fisted. 

I think we need to take into consideration the way Jesus used “neighbor” (7453).  Remember the question that brought about the parable of the Good Samaritan.  Jesus was asked, “Who is my neighbor?”  Most people don’t realize He was quoting the Old Testament.
(Leviticus 19:18 KJV)  Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
Jesus included our worst enemies.

So?  Be on the alert for ways in which you can help people in need, even if they are not on your wedding invitation list.

Monday, November 2, 2015


(Proverbs 2:17 KJV)  Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.

Here in the midst of a discussion of adultery we find a phrase that reminds us about a quality of marriage.  In this verse it comes from the perspective of the wife and the “guide” (companion
NASB) (441a) of her “youth” (5271).  In Proverbs 5:18 and Malachi 2:14 it comes from the man’s perspective.  The picture is portrayed in the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” when Tevye and Golde, sending their children off into a new world that talks of love, “Do you love me?”

How do they decide that they love each other?  Because they had lived together and cared for each other and served each other though the years.  They were faithful to the companion of their youth.  Marriage is a life long commitment.  It is based on years of common experience, struggle, pain, joy and laughter.

So?  Marriage is a “covenant” (1285).  It is for life.  That is part of what some deride as “middle class morality” that is based in the word of God. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Time to Learn

(Proverbs 1:5 KJV)  A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

I tend to think of the “wise” (2450) man as the one who dispenses.  This says he will “hear” (8085).  He will listen.  The wise man is one who receives.  But have you noticed how two people can sit in the same learning situation and only one gets anything out of it?  They could both match up on demographics and still come out different. 

Part of wisdom is in moving beyond accumulating knowledge and putting it together into a meaningful pattern.  I have known people who follow a disciplined pattern of daily Bible reading and a rigorous schedule and yet don’t seem to be able to put that together in how they are to treat the person walking their dog in front of the house.

Perhaps the emphasis should be on meditating and thinking about what has been read instead of checking off the chapters.  I know that in writing these posts it is very easy to get into just producing something.  My goal is to dwell on what I say so it isn’t just nice words.

So?  Give the Lord that extra time that He deserves. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Spoil Sports

(Proverbs 31:11 KJV)  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

The KJV has two differences from the NASB in translating this verse.  The first is in inserting the word “safely” before “trust” (982) the second is in talking about “spoil” (7998) instead of “gain.”  I want to look at the second.  I must admit that I think the KJV is more accurate here.

In both translations the word is usually translated “spoils”.  It has a root of plunder and booty, not just simple profit.  Why it is “gain” here in many translations I do not know.  I think the point here is that a trustworthy wife can keep a husband from compromise.  How many times has a woman spent her husband into penury?  How many times has a need for a new car or the latest fashion caused a man to work extra hours, take a second job or cut corners that should not be cut? 

Reverse it.  How many times has a man forced his wife to work instead of staying home with the kids so he could have the new truck or more leisure?  How many men are slacking by putting their wives into the job market?  Financial responsibility is a matter that involves both spouses.

So?  Are you trapped into the financial rat race because you want more or is there genuine need?  I can’t call that one for you.  You can’t call it for me.  God is the judge and He knows the heart.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Earthshaking Brides

(Proverbs 30:23 KJV)  For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.

This is not a theme for a romance novel.  This is not Cinderella, slaving away for the ugly step-sisters and finally getting discovered by Prince Charming.  This is the ugly step-sister who has forced her foot into the slipper and obligated the Prince to marry her.  As the KJV says, she is “odious” (8130).  As the context says, she shakes up her world.  She also ruins the life of the Prince and his entire family.

One lesson is for us to be aware that all are not innocent victims.  Some are obnoxious manipulators.  Some people are sitting in the corner by themselves because they are so unpleasant to be around.  God loves them.  Jesus died for them.  They are still “odious”.

Another lesson is that we had better not be that anti-social person.  We are not allowed to be nasty to people.  We can’t manipulate and destroy and have a part of the Kingdom of God.

So?  Walk in love.  Practice love.  That means patience, kindness, forgetting wrongs and all those other things that the world mocks.  Walk in grace. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Song of Hope

(Proverbs 29:6 KJV)  In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.

What a song of hope this gives us.  Life can dish up some pretty tense moments.  We face temptations on all fronts.  I am not talking about the classical things like sex and booze.  I am talking about the temptation to compromise on the clear teaching of the word of God.  I am talking about the temptation to submit to despair.  It is always there.

Look at our nation spending and fornicating its way into a Sodom experience.  Look at our world being attacked by killers and terrorists.  Look at the front page with its predictions of massive earthquakes and killer comets.  If we give in to despair we are joining the “evil” (7451b).  If we want to stay on the “righteous” (6662) team we sing about the hope and assurance we have in Jesus.  It isn’t hiding our heads in the sand.  It is understanding the big picture.

So?  Are the Chinese, Koreans or Iranians going to nuke us?  Maybe.  Will it be fun?  No way.  Can we be ready to either go be with Jesus or stay and be salt?  Definitely.  Rejoice.  You are part of the solution.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Borrowing Trouble

(Proverbs 28:10 KJV)  Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.

There is no clear statement here that the person doing the leading is automatically “evil” (7451b).  The results of their action clearly are but it does not say they are themselves.  Let’s look at the context to get a feel.  That does not always work in Proverbs but bear with me.

In verse 8 we see reference to usury and unjust gain.  One of the major traps of life all through history has been debt.  It was one of the three ways that people could end up being sold into slavery.  Debt is a destroyer.  In our modern times where everything is based on debt and our credit score it gets even worse.  We not only have all the shiny toys, now we can buy them.  In ancient times people went into debt from desperation.  Now we go into debt because we want more than we can pay for now and are not willing to wait for satisfaction.  Credit cards and “needs” destroy individuals and families.  It is destroying our country.

How does this come back to bite the lender?  When you get an entire culture living beyond its means then eventually things fall apart.  Think of Paris during the French Revolution or Russia in 1917.  To be wealthy was to be a target.  It could happen here.

So?  When someone comes to you for a loan think twice before you say “yes”.  Maybe think three times.  Do they really need it?  Are you contributing to their destruction?  Are you laying the groundwork for hostility toward yourself?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Give a Fig

(Proverbs 27:18 KJV)  Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.

This seems to be a place in Proverbs that has a series of unconnected thoughts.  This verse stands alone and is another way of expressing the greatest commandment of loving your neighbor as yourself.  It picks two types of work that are not that common today but have modern equivalents.

Ancient Israel did not have the wide variety of fruits available that we enjoy today.  One was the fig.  I would imagine that it was a hardy plant that could be cultivated in hilly country with iffy sources of water.  Figs were not the cuisine of kings.  Today we might think of farm workers who pick apples destined for the apple sauce or apple juice plants.  They are working hard for low wages.  If they eat a few apples in the process it is okay.  We are to be considerate of those who work hard for a living, not look down on them.

How do you treat the clerks in Walmart?  I agree that often their “service” does not deserve kindness but that is still what we are called to ladle out.  We are to be courteous and kind because they are qualities of agape and we are to be controlled by agape.

So?  Think of it as a way of turning the other cheek.  It is difficult and counter intuitive but it is our standard of behavior. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cause or Effect?

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

The obvious reminder for today is that we are not to be “contentious” (4066 NASB/4079 KJV).  Our effect on people around us should not be causing strife.  Where this is put in the “don’t” category, Jesus put it in the “do” column,
(Matthew 5:9 KJV)  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
And Paul chimed in
(Romans 12:18 KJV)  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
I don’t think this is saying to keep our mouths closed when we see evil.  That might not be possible.  It means to not be the source of the evil.

So?  This is a tall order.  I understand it is harder for some personalities than others.  That does not change God’s expectation. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Satisfied or Surfeited

(Proverbs 25:16 KJV)  Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.

The KJV and NASB have a tension here.  One goes with “excess” (7464), the other goes with “filled”.  Those would seem to be different concepts but they are both based on the same Hebrew word.  And notice they both result in vomiting.  The difficulty is that the word has a wide range of meanings from simply being satisfied to being surfeited.  I had to look that last one up.  It means stuffing so much food into your stomach that you cause it to malfunction, thus vomiting.

Like so many things we do, the meaning is found in the context.  In this case, since you have the word “vomit” (7006a) as a result, it must mean the word of excess.  This is difficult for a legalist and dangerous for an antinomian.  One wants to ignore the Holy Spirit and one wants to ignore the law.  Both are required to walk in righteousness.

So?  Moderation obviously is required, but there is also a reminder that the rules of God are to be interpreted with a desire to understand them properly, not just an easy way out. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Call to Judgement

(Proverbs 24:25 KJV)  But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.

The NASB says that we will “rebuke” (3198) the “wicked” but you can tell by the italics that this is implied from the previous verse.  In our day and age of warm fuzzies, seeker friendly worship and self esteem this sounds alien to our ears.  Unfortunately much that the Bible teaches sounds foreign to our ears these days.  I was talking to the pastor of our previous church who had just retired and I pointed out that I kept expecting him to be escorted out of the church in handcuffs because he was preaching what the Bible said. 

It is a concept that travels across the Testaments.  Here for instance,
(2 Timothy 4:2 KJV)  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
It is possible to use this type of verse as a proof text for judgmental crusades against people we don’t like.  It can be abused.  It is still required.

So?  Avoid being “judgmental” by making sure your heart is right and your knowledge of the word is solid.  Then call ‘em as God sees ‘em.  It won’t make you popular with the wicked but it will please the heart of God. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Eyes of the Beholder

(Proverbs 23:33 KJV)  Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.

What makes you see “strange things” (2114a)?  This is hard for me to understand.  The word is a verb yet it always seems to be translated as a noun.  Perhaps this is saying that you will see actions and put values on them.  Its most common translation is stranger or variations.  The context is dealing with the effect of alcohol.  If Solomon were writing today he might include drugs.  It could be music or any kind of manipulative atmosphere. 

The warning is that we are to seek clear minds.  That means avoiding distorting influences and seeking out that which edifies.

So?  This can be universal.  Drunks are not known for their discernment and decorum.  It could be very individual.  You might be overwhelmed by things I don’t notice.  Pray that God would help you know yourself and act accordingly. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mixing It Up

(Proverbs 22:2 KJV)  The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.

The KJV gets is right, the NASB has to get it fancy.  “Common bond” (6298) means “meet together”.  Check the marginal reading in the NASB.  So why get fancy?  Sometimes we try to get fancy in simple Biblical teaching.  This says that we are not to be separated by wealth or lack of it.  There are to be common values and moral principles for all.  Our cultural gurus mock this and call them “middle class” values.  They are not just mocking things that need to be mocked like materialism expressed by a home in the suburbs.  They are also mocking things like fidelity, honesty, trust and admission of our sin.

What brings us together?  In Solomon’s day it would have been the Law and the temple.  For us it is the living Word and the written word. 

So?  Look past the cut of clothes and the car people drive.  Look at the cut of their jib and the source of the wind that drives them. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

High Brows

(Proverbs 21:4 KJV)  An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.

Have you noticed how often we look at the concept of pride and arrogance?  That is because it comes up so often in Proverbs.  Solomon must have been very aware of the danger of pride.  God must have kept reminding him.  Because of that we are constantly being reminded.  I assume it is because we need it.  I know I do.

We have an interesting phrase.  The NASB talks about “haughty” (7312) “eyes” (5869).  The KJV translates the same Hebrew words as “high look”.  Other translations use “lofty eyes” (Darby) and “conceit” (GNB).  They all have the root concept of looking down on people, of thinking we are better than others.  In some ways it might be true.  You might run faster, smell better and shoot straighter.  The great equalizer is that we are all saints by the grace of God, not by the skill sets we bring to life.

So?  We grateful of God’s grace.  Rejoice in your gifts.  Realize that you are part of the body not the crown of creation. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Rhet Asks a Question

(Proverbs 20:9 KJV)  Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?

This is a rhetorical question.  For those of you who did not pay attention in school that does not mean a question asked by Rhet.  It means a question that does not expect an answer because the answer is so obvious.  It is like the kid who is the only other person in the room who says, “Who?  Me?”

The answer to this question of course is “No one.  Not even Jesus.”  Before you accuse me of heresy remember that Jesus had no “sin” (2403b) to cleanse.  He was free from sin eternally.  That is what made it possible for Him to be the sacrifice for our sin.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV)  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
The answer to this question is the same before and after the cross.  Only God can do this.

So?  Rejoice.  God is willing.  Jesus has paid the price.  That puts the ball in your court.  I hope you have already accepted the invitation. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Proverbial Stink Bug

(Proverbs 19:6 KJV)  Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.

Have you ever heard the term “noblesse oblige”?  It is a French term.  To get the idea, reverse the words and give them common English meaning.  You get the obligations of nobility.  The term used here carries that meaning.  The “generous” (5081) of the NASB and the “prince” of the KJV should carry the same value.  Thus we have the phrase, “He is a prince of a guy” to mean a generous and gracious person.

The idea of nobility was originally supposed to refer to people who were not only rich and powerful but who used that wealth and power to serve others.  This is where we get the idea of a head of state offering a pardon or clemency. 

In our American thinking we have come to associate nobility with self centered despot who live off the poor and look down their nose at everyone below while kissing up to everyone above.  It may have devolved into that but it was not the original idea.  The blessed were to serve.  That is certainly the Christian concept and standard.

So?  What gifts and situations have you been blessed with?  They are not given to make your life comfortable and lift your own banner.  They are given to you to serve Jesus and others.  People will come to you as the verse implies.  Be a rose, not a stink bug.