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.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Rights Are Wrong

(Proverbs 31:9 KJV)  Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

This verse also shows how our cultural expectations begin to force their way into the translation. 
If you look at the older KJV it says “plead the cause” (1777) instead of “defend (1777) the rights (1779)”.  The older translations tend to focus on the idea of justice and have the idea of an objective standard.  The newer translations like the NASB tend to use the idea of “rights”.  The word comes from the meaning of judging.  It is not the same family of words for “judge” (8199)  used earlier in the verse.  It has the idea of bringing in unchanging standards and applying them.

“Rights” is a modern concept that seems to focus more on modern political theory than Biblical standards.  Rights are something that give us leverage where justice advocates equal treatment.  Rights say I have an advantage, justice awards equality.  Most people mix those up.  When they say they want equality they really mean special treatment.  Justice is illustrated by Jesus parable about the workers all getting the same pay because that was the agreement.  Rights mean “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”  The government emphasizes the first half, the citizen the second.  That is a tenet of Marxism, by the way.

So?  Don’t hide behind the American concept of “rights” when it is applied in a way that is just glorified selfishness.  We are called to do what is best for the other person, not what serves our purposes. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Who Me?

(Proverbs 30:20 KJV)  Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.

Is this part of the previous list?  In the previous list Solomon talks about four things that he claims to not understand.  Then, using the same terminology, he adds this verse which talks about the “way” (1870) of the “adulterous” (5003) “woman” (802).  The reason that Solomon does not understand this is because it is specific combination of words which mean the same in English as Hebrew.  You see, often when we see the English words talking about adultery the actual word means “stranger” or “foreigner”.  The assumption is the person is evil because they are outside Israel.

Here the culprit is someone who knows Gods standards, who is part of the nation of Israel and breaks the law knowingly.  At the same time they claim to not know what is wrong. 

We have all met people like this.  They take a second piece of pizza when there is only one apiece and it is obvious there is only one and then look at you with that puzzled look and say, “Oh, I didn’t know.”  They play their music loud and late and claim they didn’t know it would bother anyone. 

So?  I know people like that.  They bother me.  What bothers me more is the realization that I might be pulling the same stunt.  Time to do a little self-examination. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rare and Well Done

(Proverbs 29:3 KJV)  Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.

When I am not in thinking mode I wonder who would not be in favor of “wisdom” (2451).  When I actually engage my brain I realize that the opposite is true.  Wisdom is not popular today.  It probably never has been popular.  Remember the familiar words.
(Proverbs 9:10 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
The fear of the Lord involves accepting that He is Lord.  It involves making decisions based on the principles and standards taught in the Bible.  What P&S?  How about telling the truth.  Or what about the practice of turning the other cheek.  Sobriety, decorum and moderation are not objects of praise in our culture. 

So?  People who love wisdom are rare in our day.  So are people who genuinely bow their feet at the cross of Jesus.    It is my goal.  I hope it is yours. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Gender Wars

(Proverbs 28:7 KJV)  Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.

One way you can know if the translators of your Bible are concerned about being faithful to the actual words of the original Hebrew is in how they translate this verse.  Look at the Good News Bible.
(Proverbs 28:7 GNB)  Young people who obey the law are intelligent. Those who make friends with good-for-nothings are a disgrace to their parents.
Compare that with the KJV or NASB and you see how popular modern culture is effecting the clarity of the word of God.  The words in the Hebrew are “son” (1121) [ben] and “father” (1) [ab]. 

The religion of the Bible is patriarchal.  The culture of the Bible was patriarchal.  There was an established order to things.  For that reason some churches will not allow women to preach or serve in the ruling bodies.  Whether you agree with that understanding or not it is clear that God is referred to as “father” not “parent”.  Notice that the Hebrew for “father” is [ab], the root for the term of “Abba, Father” used by Jesus.

“Son” of course is masculine in translation but in understanding we need to know that it refers to everyone.  The masculine aspect simply points out that we are special and important.  It is not meant to exclude.

So?  If you want to be special in God’s eyes, don’t worry about becoming male, work on being “wise” (discerning NASB) (995).  That is the measuring stick. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Benefits of Nagging

(Proverbs 27:15 KJV)  A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.

Actually, I like the steady sound of dripping rain.  We don’t get it much where I live.  I remember a song from my youth called “Rhythm in the Rain” or something like that.  So how is a nagging wife like a heavy rain?

Did you ever think that it might be necessary?  We need rain.  Sure it can be over done but it is necessary.  How often have you been in a position where you needed to be nagged. 

I don’t think that this verse is excited about wives nagging but maybe it needs to happen.

So?  I find myself trying to look at nagging as a chance to learn.  That is after I grow up and get over pouting.  I find things I need to change.  You? 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Violence Is Timeless

(Proverbs 26:18 KJV)  As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,

This describes a horror that occurs too frequently in our modern day.  How often have we read about someone coming into a church, school or home and spreading death and destruction?  Once is too often.  This reminds us that it is not just a problem of modern times.  In the days of Solomon they did not have firearms and roadside bombs.  They did have “firebrands” (2131) and “arrows” (2671).  In both cases “death” (4194) results.

The reason given in the verse is insanity.  The context adds laziness, meddling and lying.  Our culture tries to psychoanalyze the criminal.  The Bible soul-analyzes. 

So?  Understand that the core cause of crime and violence is sin.  It is spiritual in nature.  The solutions offered by society are limited at best.  Be willing to offer grace and forgiveness.  It may be rejected, but that is on the head of the rejecter. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Be Summer Snow

(Proverbs 25:13 KJV)  As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.

I think this is a reference to the privileges known only to the very rich in that day.  Refrigeration did not exist for anyone in ancient times.  One of the perks of the kings was to have teams of runners carrying snow from the tops of mountains to the palace so that the monarch could enjoy a cold drink.  It was repulsively expensive and exclusive.  The common person would have never experienced such a thing.

I wonder if this implies that a “faithful” (539) “messenger” (6735a) is that rare.  Many people were illiterate so the messenger had immense power.  The temptation to change the message and the reality of imperfect memory could cause real problems.

So?  We are called to be honest and reliable.  It is part of being a Christian.  For many that is so obvious it is silly to bring it up but remember there is a reason why the Bible repeats the call to honesty and hard work so many times.  It isn’t because of a lack of other important issues.  It is because it is a vital foundation.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ouch Moments

(Proverbs 24:22 KJV)  For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?

How bad do things need to be before you face a genuine “calamity” (343)?  This reminds me that often the failure I face comes because I have not been paying attention to those in authority and what they want.  At work this can come when the boss calls me to the office.  Sometimes the dressing down is deserved, sometimes not.  The problem is I am not in charge and did not do as expected.

With God it is a little different, or should I say a lot different?  When God uses disaster to reprove us, it is deserved.  We need someone to grab us by the short hairs and say, “No!”  God does not make mistakes.

So?  When I am faced with difficulties I need to examine myself and see if something needs to be changed.  Self examination is hard because I often have a hard time being objective.  In that case find someone you can trust and ask.  Before you ask get prayed up because you might not like what you hear. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dangerous Verbs

(Proverbs 23:30 KJV)  They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.

There are two verbs here in regard to alcohol.  We are warned not to “tarry” (linger NASB) (309).  This does not refer to the slow drinker.  This is the guy who stays behind to have “one for the road”.  He might be the one who needs to be reminded that it is closing time.  I have been chased out of the library, but never out of a bar.

The second verb is better in the KJV with “seek” (2713) rather than the “taste” of the NASB.  I picture myself at a pot luck dinner with so many choices and only one plate.  I keep going back to taste each one, I seek them out.  In terms of alcohol I imagine this could be seeing how many different variations you could have, you know, olive or onion.

So?  We have so many reasons for doing things we know damage our body and our spirits.  When I go to an “all you can eat” restaurant, I look at it as a challenge to get as much as I can for my money.  I call it good stewardship.  God calls it gluttony and He is not amused. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Shiny Boundaries

(Proverbs 22:28 KJV)  Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

We are living in an age where the new and flashy is assumed to be better than the tried and true.  Look at the trend in portable communication devices.  You can’t even call them phones any more.  My first Kindle had the ability to send and read e-mail.  I never used it because it was too slow for me and I didn’t want to spend the time making it work, but it was there.

What is the number on the latest I-Phone?  I have no idea.  My question would be, “Do you use your I-Phone honorably or do you use it for gossip and slander?”  We can use new technology but we need to be careful not to ignore the “ancient” (5769) “landmark" (boundary NASB) (1366).

We went through this when TV came out.  It was a fabulous source of entertainment and information.  Some watched Shakespeare, others watched cartoons.  VHS increased the possibilities but too many moved the boundary to accept pornography.

So?  Life will keep throwing “shiny” at us.  Because God has given us the ability to reason and the resource of the Holy Spirit, we will always need to engage our brain in making our decisions.  Have a life of variety, serendipity and righteousness.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

King of Hearts

(Proverbs 21:1 KJV)  The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

When Solomon wrote this there had only been two previous kings of Israel.  He had heard about the path of Saul.  David had been his father.  Saul had sinned and not genuinely repented.  He was removed by God.  David also sinned but his repentance was genuine.  One is regarded as a failure, the other a success.  God chose them both but viewed them differently.
(1 Samuel 13:14 KJV)  But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.
When you move water around, sometimes you let it flow naturally, sometimes you build damns.  Sometimes gravity pulls it, other times you need a pump.  God has methods and influence we cannot dream of.  The key is that He will see His will done, if not by us, then by someone else.

So?  You may not be a king but you can bring a willing heart.  Remember that David started out as a younger son and a shepherd.  He ordered murder and committed adultery.  God still found a way to see into his heart. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Cheap Talk

(Proverbs 20:6 KJV)  Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

The saying goes that “talk is cheap.”  What a man “proclaims” (7121) does not always reflect what he really believes.  I work in education.  Sometimes kids will ask my why I am a teacher.  I give them many answers.  One of them is, “It beats digging ditches.”  Another is, “To keep my children from starving.”  I give those kind of answers because the reasons are too complex to explain to someone with an attention span designed for text messages. 

I have occasionally had issues because I tend to be open about who I am and what I believe.  The biggest circus I caused was when I told a class my stand was based on what the Bible taught.  When confronted by the principal and her sidekick I asked, “Do you want me to lie to them?”  I could see in their eyes that they really wished I would just retire and go away but they could not say that.  Like I said, talk is cheap.

So?  Make your talk expensive by making it honest and true.  Things go up in value when they are scarce.  Make your tongue golden. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

I Have Met the Fool and It Is I

(Proverbs 19:3 KJV)  The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.

“Foolishness” (200) sounds like part of the human condition.  The Bible is not afraid to make sweeping statements.  If we were writing this today we would make sure that we put in the qualifier of “some” or perhaps “many” before the word “man” (120).  We would never have the nerve to imply that everyone was foolish.

But we are.  The exceptions are those who seem to listen the first time.  The unusual are those who learn from the mistakes of others.  In fact we tend to label people who pray first instead of last as being simple.  I guess that is part of our foolishness.

So?  Since we all go through it, I am trying to make it as short a stage as possible.  At times I wonder if I will ever learn.  The good news is that with the diagnosis there is promise of a cure along with God’s patience and forgiveness.  Hang in there with me. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Better than Snowflakes

(Proverbs 18:15 KJV)  The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.

This verse seems to assume that “knowledge” (1847) is important.  I heard someone say recently that we live in The Information Age.  You have heard it said that knowledge is power.  Knowledge is another major emphasis of Proverbs.  The Hebrew word is used in 89 verses in the Old Testament.  39 of them are in Proverbs.

Understand though that all knowledge is not equal.  You hear so much about the overwhelming increase in knowledge in modern times.  Don’t be overly impressed.  It doesn’t rock your world that we now know 1,000,000 more shapes that snowflakes can take.  At least it shouldn’t.  Most of the knowledge being gained is totally useless, unless you are publishing a catalog of snowflakes. 

The knowledge that Proverbs speaks of has to do with knowledge of God and His principles.  This is the information that has eternal application.

So?  Don’t neglect your study of snowflakes if that is your major in college but don’t let that be an excuse for ignoring the one who is designing those pieces of crystal.  Just think, no two people are exactly the same either. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Last Word

(Proverbs 17:9 KJV)  He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

I always seem to want the last word.  I think it is built into many of us.  When you get two last-worder’s together it makes for a long conversation.  Each “repeats” (8138) the same idea even if they use different words.  If it goes on long enough it “separates” (6504) us from our “friends” (441a).

I still have not learned to squelch this tendency.  It usually takes several rounds before I wake up to what is happening.  Usually at that point I try to find a way to back off.  That involves being the loser in the discussion.  What helps me is an awareness that I wasn’t going to win anyway.  What I find amusing is that the other person doesn’t want to let me go.  They will make repeated statements hoping to pull me back in.

So?  Let me go when I back away.  You don’t know me by sight?  Then extend the courtesy to anyone who tries to withdraw from a pointless argument.  You may save a friendship.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Attitude Alert

(Proverbs 16:2 KJV)  All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.

It is obvious that how we live is important, or at least it should be obvious.  All the calls for righteousness and upright walks are repeated for a reason.  It is also important “why” we live that way.  One reason we are not saved by works is because God looks at our attitudes as much as our actions.  That is what this verse points out.

Are your “spirits” (motives NASB) (7307) right?  Do you tell the truth because you might get caught or because it is the right thing to do?  Do you tithe out of fear or love?  You may not know what is in my heart, but God does.  We can only be assured of the right motives when we call on Him to work on our hearts and make them right.  That is why the fruit of the Spirit develops in transformed hearts and love is the first fruit listed.

So?  Time for the good old attitude check.  If you are not in the green, it is time to call on God to work in your inner being. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


(Proverbs 15:31 KJV)  The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.

The NASB calls it “life-giving” (2425b) “reproof” (8433b).  The KJV says “reproof of life.”  I think we tend to put this in our “life saver” cubbyhole.  You have seen those round objects at pools.  They usually have a sign that says, “Use only in emergency.”  Or we might think of fire extinguishers that we see encased in glass that says “Break in emergency”. 

We relegate statements like this to the moment of crisis.

They are intended as our regular diet.  That bowl of soggy flakes you had was life giving.  That sandwich for lunch was life giving.  Your mashed potatoes were life giving.  If we don’t get the basics we can keep going for a time but there comes a point where we begin to weaken.  If we wait too long the super vitamin will not help.

So?  God is constantly sending messages to us, messages of reproof and correction.  If we listen on a daily basis we avoid the crisis.  It isn’t as exciting but it is more healthy. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Witness on Trial

(Proverbs 14:25 KJV)  A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.

My first thought in reading this was being a “witness” (5707) in court.  It is used that way.  It is also the word used as false witness in the Ten Commandments.  I have never done the first and hopefully avoid the second.  I then realized there is one sense in which we use the word that is, or should be, a daily occurrence.  I am to be a witness for Jesus Christ.

What kind of testimony do I give for Jesus on a daily basis?  If asked in a carefully controlled environment I can do an acceptable job.  Most of us could.  The big issue is in the moment by moment ways in which we demonstrate to people who really is Lord of our lives.  By being impatient, by stretching the facts, by ignoring the obvious, even by being silent, I can deny my Lord.

So?  Jesus said turn the extra cheek.  He told us not to take a brother to court.  He told us to love our enemies.  How is my witness?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Bath Water Anyone?

(Proverbs 13:10 KJV)  Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

Have you ever tried to “counsel” (3289) someone who has an attitude?  As I think about that I begin to wonder how many times have people tried to open my eyes to reality and I would not listen because I knew I was right.  Even when I am being “open” to what others have to say, in my heart I am impervious. 

Sometimes that is necessary.  To waiver on Biblical truth is the first step to decay.  Some things are so clear that we don’t need to listen to the sophistry of evil.  For instance, homosexual marriage.  The Bible is clear.  There is no wiggle room.  It fits in the same category with those who claim to be Christian and are sexually involved before marriage.  Sin is sin. 

The key is knowing what is Biblical truth and what is tradition.  That takes a familiar grasp of the Word and the right friends. 

So?  They say, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”  Unfortunately we are often throwing out the clean baby so we can keep the dirty water.  Have a care. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Local Broadcasting

(Proverbs 12:8 KJV)  A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.

“Commended” (praise NASB) (1984b) is an interesting word.  Most of the nuances of translation have to do with us tooting our own horn or others singing our song.  One variation was more interesting.  It can mean “to shine, to flash forth light”.  Thus a person of “insight” (7922) would radiate this quality.  He would not need to talk about it.  His life would show it. 

I am reminded of a time when a student said he wished I wouldn’t talk about Jesus all the time.  I wish his statement were accurate but I had not mentioned the name of Jesus in class for a long time and usually it was in response to specific questions.  What I think he was seeing was the “praise” of my life.  At least I would like to think that is true.

So?  What do your daily actions broadcast?  We say something in the way we ask a question, in the way we answer a question, in how we listen and look.  I think I would be embarrassed if I had a video replay of my day. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Different Hope

(Proverbs 11:23 KJV)  The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.

As I was reading this verse I noticed that it was very similar to the one I looked at yesterday in the previous chapter.  I noted that at the beginning of chapter 10 my translation had a title of “Proverbs Contrasting the Godly and the Wicked”.  Your translation may have such titles at the beginning of a chapter or at the top of the page.  Understand that these titles are not part of the Hebrew or Greek text but are added by editors to guide your reading.

Having said that I am again reminded that there are large numbers of people in the world that march to an evil drum beat.  Notice that they have an “expectation” (8615b) of “wrath” (5678).  This word has the sense of hope.  These people desire wrath.  Have you ever been around someone who keeps pestering and bothering someone else until there is a violent response.  They will not stop until the victim explodes.  It is like a game to them.  For many of them, if it gets them involved in a fight that is fine.  They desire violence.  It makes their day.

So?  This is where the fruit of the Spirit is our strength.  We can call on the power of God to resist and keep our cool.  Of course, if we are the one causing the problem, we might want to do a little self examination.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Lip Glosses

(Proverbs 10:32 KJV)  The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.

I wonder why [yada] is translated “bring forth” (3045) in the NASB?  How do you get to that with a word meaning “to know”?  This would really be “A righteous mouth knows what is acceptable”.  The KJV is better here on this point but uses an archaic word, “frowardness” (8419)  also.  Notice that the verb is implied in the second part of the verse.  Just as the “righteous” (6662) has an awareness, so do the “wicked” (7563).

So?  We know the difference between good and evil.  Even people who advocate tolerance of deviant behavior know in their hearts it is wrong.  They may not admit it, but they know.  My job is not to try to get them to admit the truth but to live the truth.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Balking Dead

(Proverbs 9:18 KJV)  But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

Somewhere in a novel I remember reading a phrase, “They are dead.  They just don’t know it.”  I think it referred to people who had been infected with a disease or parasite.  We are surrounded by the walking “dead” (7496) and I am not talking about zombies.  I am talking about spiritual zombies, people who have been infested by sin and have no hope.

The reason they have no hope is because they have no faith.  Having no faith is a matter of choice.  You could call them the balking dead instead of the walking dead.  Think about the people who saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead.  Did they fall at the feet of Jesus and proclaim Him Lord?  No. 
(John 11:53 KJV)  Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.
They were dead and didn’t know it.

So?  Do you know any spiritual zombies?  Pray for them.  Witness if you get a chance.  Live an upright life in front of them.  Hope is available. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

All Means All

(Proverbs 8:8 KJV)  All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.

“All” (3605) is pretty inclusive.  Such a small word and yet it covers so much.  Here it is talking about our speech.  This is Wisdom speaking.  It is informing us that in order to be true wisdom an idea or teaching must conform to a high moral standard.  Wisdom is moral.  It is not amoral or immoral.  Totally.

As we gain wisdom ourselves be become like her.  So these are expectations for our lives.  Since we are fallible human beings there is a lot of training and growing to be done.  Our knowledge is incomplete.  Accept that.  Our habits are ingrained.  Don’t accept that.  God understands that we are on a growth track.  When in doubt, do the righteous thing.  What is the righteous thing?  Read your Bible and find out.

So?  If you stumble across an area of you life that is still not conforming to the love of Christ, don’t forget the pattern of confession and repentance.  Remember that is preceded by recognition and followed by change.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Club of the Curmudgeon

(Proverbs 7:11 KJV)  (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:

Is “a woman’s place in the home”?  Years ago, in a more traditional time, I remember hearing something like that.  If you wanted to you could use this as a proof text.  Like many proof texts it was misused to control and manipulate people, in this case women.  It made the Bible the club of the curmudgeon rather than the sword of the Spirit.

For a simple illustration of why locking women in the kitchen is not a proper understanding, read chapter 31 about the excellent wife.  She is buying and selling property, running a small business out of her home and being heard. 

Because of that, I like the KJV’s use of “abide” (7931) better than the “remain” of the NASB.  The meaning here is more “home is where the heart is”.  At least that should be true of godly women.  It should also be true of godly men. 

So?  Take a look at your priorities.  Abide.  It is a great New Testament concept too. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Easy Come, Easy Go

(Proverbs 6:11 KJV)  So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

One of the first Greek vocabulary words I learned was “erkomai”.  It was translated both “come” and “go”.  Confusing?  It was to me.  The Hebrew word “come” (935) presents the same choices.  It also adds “bring” and “brought” to the mix.  I get a picture of an action that involves movement and baggage. 

The results of sloth, as it is presented in the previous verses, brings the baggage of “poverty” (7389).  Poverty is delivered automatically, not by request.  I remember in my youth signing up for a science fiction, book-of-the-month club.  The plan was that I would get a notice of the monthly selection and if I did nothing, I would receive it automatically.  I would receive the bill just as automatically.  I don’t know how many books I received because I was too lazy to return the card saying, “No”. 

Poverty is like that.  It will be delivered if we do nothing.

So?  Make a choice because if you do nothing the club will deliver. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Setting the Alarm

(Proverbs 5:13 KJV)  And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!

As I was looking over this verse I noticed that the Hebrew for “listened” (885) is shama.  That made me check out the famous Jewish recitation of the  same name,
(Deuteronomy 6:4 KJV)  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
“Hear” and “listen” are the same word, which adds to the impact of this verse.

We could talk about the different ideas expressed by the two English words but it is a concept that we must embrace:  We must develop a habit of paying attention to what God is saying to us.

It is easy to go on cruise-control.  It is hard to stay alert.  It is also vital to our survival in this world and for eternity.

So?  Find a way to pinch yourself spiritually.  Try to find some way to work into your patterns a moment that serves as an alarm clock.  Listen and hear, then live accordingly. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Beauty Tips

(Proverbs 4:9 KJV)  She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

Somewhere I heard it said that “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”  I guess in the land of the ugly, plain Jane is the beauty queen.  So much of what we consider “glory” (beauty NASB) (8597) is based on cultural norms and expectations.  Have you ever wondered why all the women in Renaissance art are overweight?  Because having enough food to be fat was a sign of wealth.  Skinny meant you were a starving peasant.  The same applied to having a tan.

We live in a world in which righteousness is considered ugly.  Our world sneers as the idea of being a prude.  Victorian is an insult unless it refers to the design of your house.  Being a virgin is looked at as a badge of failure.  Disciplining your children is considered child abuse.  You get the picture.

We are called to be righteous.  Part of righteousness is wisdom.  It may not be accepted by your neighbor, but then, neither is God.

So?  Go for the crown given by a holy God, not by a panel of celebrities. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Security Alert

(Proverbs 3:24 KJV)  When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.

How often do we hear a noise in the dark and we are terrified.  I think of how I used to be  “afraid” (6342) of the dark.  The word has the sense of dread.  How often do we lose sleep because we are worrying or dreading what is to come.  Too often the fear that keeps us awake is not fear of the dark night but the unknown future. 

I wonder when I stopped being afraid of the dark.  Was it just maturing or did its timing have something to do with my regeneration and learning to trust.  Except for worrying about stubbing my toe, I have no concerns about walking through the house in the dark.  I don’t stay awake wondering about the monsters under my bed or in the closet.  Even the noises of a creaking house are just the background noise of life.  It is good to grow up, physically and spiritually.

Not fearing the future is a work in progress.  Most of the time I am doing well.  At times I forget Who is in charge of the valley of the shadow of death.  I need to be reminded.

So?  Make sure that your assurance is in Jesus.  For most of us that is something we need a constant reminder of.  I am reminding you. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015


(Proverbs 2:13 KJV)  Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;

This verse lifts out a contrast.  The contrast here is not between Republican and Democrat.  It is not between public and private school.  It is not between any secular trains of thought.  The contrast is between “uprightness” (3476) and “darkness” (2822).  The difference is real.

These contrasts are “paths” (ways NASB) (1870) of life that result from decisions we make.  Notice that this person or group of people made a decision to “leave” (5800a) the straight path.  They were at one time going straight and decided to abandon it to go crooked.  Why?  I don’t know.  I believe that there are many people who would rather burn in hell for eternity than bow their knee to a holy God.  To them holiness is repulsive, or as it says other places in Proverbs, an abomination.

So?  What destination is determined by the path you walk?  Are you happy with it?  Keep in mind that if you want to go to Tampa and you get on the plane heading for Barbados, they will not divert to deliver you.  Be happy with your choice. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Law in Principle

(Proverbs 1:1 KJV)  The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;

This is a book of  “proverbs” (4912).  It is considered part of the Wisdom Literature, not the Law.  There is a difference.  Both can influence your life and change outcomes but one is more along the line of strong suggestions and the other is, well, the law.  There are places where Proverbs reflects the law and is written in the context of the law, such as adultery.  In those cases it is obviously binding.  There are other places where it is pointing out how you can blindly follow the law but miss the whole point, such as its comments about alcohol.

Proverbs is Wisdom Literature.  You will get out of it what you want to put into it.  It requires buy in and adoption.  It requires a desire to understand the principles.  It means that we can take those principles and adapt them for situations which were not possible in the days of Solomon.  Solomon did not need to deal with pornographic web sites.  He did however need to deal with cheating hearts.

So?  We start through another month of Proverbs.  I pray it will speak to me.  I pray it will speak to you.  That depends on us more than on the book itself.