An Idea Borrowed

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

Monday, August 31, 2015

Marry an Amazon

(Proverbs 31:10 KJV)  Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

It would seem to be that a “virtuous” (excellent NASB) (2842) “woman” (wife NASB) (802) is really hard to find.  We just reached 40 years of marriage.  Sometimes my wife will ask me if I would do it all again and I ask her if she has looked at what is available out there.  There are very few worthy candidates for wife or husband.  I am glad I am not looking.

An interesting thing about this adjective.  The most common translation is “army” (82x).  Next comes “valiant” (41x) and the third is “wealth” (25x).  Maybe the Amazons of the video games are the real perfect wives.

I would assume that the same idea extends toward finding a good husband also. 

So?  If you can’t find a good woman then listen to Solomon.  He had hundreds of wives and still says a good one is hard to find.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Khans and Crosswinds

(Proverbs 30:21 KJV)  For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear:

Some of the things we joke about are a real threat.  This is the second list given in this chapter using the same presentation.  This list has four things that seem minor irritations yet are considered “earth” (776) shakers. 

It is the little things that ruin most lives.  Most of the people in history have not had to worry about Genghis Khan, the Inquisition or the IRS.  Such things happen but most of us are derailed by more common events such as being cut off in traffic, losing our keys or stepping in a surprise left by the dog.  Minor events, really.  Yet they manage to bring out the worst in us.

So?  Take it as a friendly reminder.  You will run into crosswinds and road construction.  Plan on it.  Plan to keep walking in righteousness.  Pray and ask for focus, wisdom and strength.  If that doesn’t work this time, repentance and renewal are in order.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Godly Choices

(Proverbs 29:4 KJV)  The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.

Let me get political in a non-partisan, spiritual way.  Yes, it is possible to be spiritual when it comes to politics.  We have an election coming up in 2016.  People have already declared their intent to run, are raising money and scrambling for the attention of the media.  The circus has begun.  That is the secular part.  The spiritual part is that we have plenty of time to do our homework.  That involves listening but even more looking into the past.

What are we looking for?  Read this verse again.  I don’t care if it is voting for president or signing a petition outside the grocery store.  We are to be seeking leaders who believe in “judgement” (justice NASB) (4941) as the Bible defines it and are not into taking “gifts” (bribes NASB) (8641) however they are disguised.  Biblical justice means acknowledging that there are absolutes of right and wrong and people are examined as individuals in relation to that standard.  Bribery is using political office for personal benefit rather than what is good for the nation.

These standards, found in the Bible, may rule out the person you would vote for because you want bread and circuses, which can be health care you didn’t pay for or a tax break on your home mortgage.

So?  It is painful but God has blessed and cursed us with a democratic form of government.  Don’t mock Him by voting selfishly. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Borrowing Trouble

(Proverbs 28:8 KJV)  He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.

If you are looking for a Biblical statement to criticize our modern American way of doing things, this is a place to start.  Of course, it also applies to the rest of the world and, if you are being honest, to the entire course of history.  Lending, borrowing, debt and “interest” (5392) have always been traps that are waiting to be sprung.  The Biblical standard is wealth based on labor and businesses that produce a product and sell it for profit.

The trap is in the seductive aspect of immediate gratification.  You may have listened to Dave Ramsey on the radio.  He is death on debt.  He will concede a home mortgage if you have saved up the 20% down payment but beyond that he says a big “No!”  He does not even want you to have a credit card for “emergencies.”  Why?  Because most people find that the term “emergency” covers anything they want now but don’t have the cash for.  Usually that is the opening door to financial slavery.

So?  Take this seriously.  Don’t blow it off because you like to charge things.  Credit, debt, interest, and borrowing are traps that God is warning us against. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015


(Proverbs 27:16 KJV)  Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.

The last phrase of this verse is confusing when you compare translations.  The basic difference is shown between the KJV which says “bewrayeth” (7121) and the NASB which has “grasps” with a footnote giving a literal meaning of “encounter”.  As I read through the different translations on my computer I saw the two threads.  The most common translation in both KJV and NASB is a variation of “call.” 

It is a problem of translation.  As Adam Clarke says, “The Hebrew is very obscure, and is variously translated.”  “Bewrayeth” is an archaic word that meant “to make clear or evident” in 1611.  By 1823 it had taken on a negative sense as in “expose or betray.”

So?  There are situations and people in life that we can do nothing about.  Any attempt at correction or improvement will come back to bite you.  The hard part is recognizing when this is the case.  Since the context here is marriage, which is for a lifetime, I would suggest that the only way you can learn this is through trying repeatedly and failing.  We must try to reach out to people but with experience we can learn when to back off.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bad Sports

(Proverbs 26:19 KJV)  So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?

It is interesting that the NASB has “joking” (7832) and the KJV has “in sport”.  Because we take our sports so seriously today we miss a bit of this in the KJV.  As I was looking at definitions I saw a dramatic difference from my computer’s dictionary and the 1828 Webster dictionary.  Today we look at sports as competition in physical activity or a leisure pursuit.  As late as 1828 it contained the idea of mockery or merriment.

That is a significant cultural difference.  It reflects a growing affluence.  Most of the modern American sports were developed after 1828. 

The point being made for us is that mocking and deceit are not to be a part of our lives.  I know that I do a lot of joking with people.  This is reminding me that I need to examine the root of my humor.  Actually it is not just reminding.  It is accusing me of not being loving in my mirth.

So?  I need to examine my motives.  It might be a point of repentance in your life too.  Only you can say, or stop saying. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Horn Tooting

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

What is this boasting that is being talked about?  We are familiar with how Paul “boasts” (1984b) about his weakness so it is not necessarily evil.  But here we are warned.  The word is translated “boast” in both the KJV and NASB but in both translations it is much more frequently rendered as “praise.”  It means talking positively about something or shining a light on it.

One of the differences I noticed in how it was translated was the target of the action.  It seems like it is called boasting when we are talking about ourselves and praise when we are talking about someone else.  That is an indication that the goal is humility and building others up.  In a sense we are not to toot our own horn.

So?  Let others bear witness to your qualities.  We are to use our gifts to build up the body of Christ and other believers.  It is not natural but it is Christian.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Affirming, not Affirmative

(Proverbs 24:23 KJV)  These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.

The KJV is more literal here but still is not completely literal.  The “partiality” of the NASB and the “respect (5235) of persons (6440)” of the KJV literally means “recognize the face”.  This kind of thinking is at the basis of American principle that we are to be a nation with the rule of law.  That law is to be applied evenly, without respect of person or status.  It is why the statue of justice wears a blindfold and holds a balance scale.

Our culture is abandoning this.  When we have such things as affirmative action and quotas we see that it is not the facts of the specific situation that are being considered but the attempt to advance a specially selected group, one who’s face is regarded.

So?  This is another trait of our culture we must reject if we want to walk with Jesus.  We cannot give special treatment to people based on our personal preferences.  Right is right and wrong is wrong.  They are not a color, a gender or a political party.  Walk in righteousness.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

False Advertising

(Proverbs 23:31 KJV)  Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

Did they have white wine in ancient Israel?  I don’t know much about wine but I believe that the color comes from the type of grape used, but I don’t think that is the point.  Some people would use this verse to say that drinking is no problem as long as it isn’t a smooth red wine.  Thus whiskey in an opaque glass is not being banned.  The point is, to use another worn out saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” 

I was at a wedding recently and wine was available at the reception.  There were only a few of us that stuck to soft drinks.  The alcohol was not abused as far as I could see.  Afterward we were talking about our observations.  We all agreed on two things.  First, we could not stand the smell.  If you are not a drinker, wine smells like rotten grapes.  The reason for that is that wine is the rotten juice of grapes.  The second thing we agreed on was that it really looked good.  There is something about the deep red color of some wines and the way in which it swirls around the glass that is attractive. 

So?  Don’t accept things at face value.  The advertising for destruction is attractive.  Keep in mind that Satan is called the “angel of light” for a reason. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Savor the Moments

(Proverbs 22:29 KJV)  Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.

Our skill will determine where we “stand” (3320).  Most of us will not stand before heads of state or kings of capitalism.  If so, then well and good, but for the most part we will be called to answer to managers, parents, team leaders and such as that.  I would hope that we would be called on because we are “skilled” (4106) (NASB) and “diligent” (KJV) in what we do and not because we are simply “yes” men.

Usually principals do not bring tours of parents to my rooms.  One reason is my lack of enthusiasm about decorating.  The walls of my room do not make good advertising.  Another is that they can never be sure what I will say.  I understand that.  One time a group was escorted in and among the group was the parent of a child I had taught a few years before.    I was informed that the parent had demanded they come to my room because she wanted to have the others meet me.  She informed me that her next son was excited about having me next year.

That is what I call standing before kings.

So?  If we are faithful we will usually be unsung heroes, to be honest.  We serve God, not man.  But on occasion you can expect some feedback that is more valuable than all the awards you get because your boss took some class on motivating the troops.  Savor them. 

Friday, August 21, 2015


(Proverbs 21:2 KJV)  Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.

I have worn glasses since I was two years old, or so I have been told.  I am used to them.  The first thing I do in the morning is put them on and the last thing I do at night is take them off.  I have learned to always put them in the same place.  It is hard to find something that helps you see when you can’t see.  When it comes to seeing the world around me, I know that I cannot trust my “eyes” (5869).

The same is true in examining our plans and priorities.  We have a tendency to see with faulty vision.  Some of that error is built in by our sinful nature.  Some is influenced by our background.  Some is deliberate deception.  When it comes to life, what you see is not necessarily what you get.

So?  We can fool ourselves.  We can fool others.  We cannot fool God.  We need to call on Him to make sure that our “hearts” (3820) are providing the right prescription for our vision. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Legacy Building

(Proverbs 20:7 KJV)  The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.

As I drive the freeways of Southern California I keep seeing billboards advertising a local chain of cemeteries.  The theme I have been seeing is about leaving a legacy.  We hear reference to presidents who are concerned about their legacy.  I am not so sure it is the proper word for us common folk but lets go with that.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind you?  Many people are concerned with building wealth and power.  The Bible warns against that.  Often it is hard to build wealth and power and still walk in “integrity” (8537).  People are tempted to cut corners or take advantage in order to be successful.  That is not the kind of measurement that God wants us to have.

The question of legacy is focused on our children.  What kind of children does our life create?  There is always a measure of free choice on the child’s part but as parents we have the job of not only teaching the principles but modeling the application.

So?  You influence people.  Are you directing them to create buildings that will be rubble in a few centuries or souls that will be a tribute for eternity?  Take the long term view. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Smell Check

(Proverbs 19:4 KJV)  Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour.

Another application of this is that we are to seek to be people of value.  As I said earlier, “wealth” (1952) has a definition that includes the idea of “high value.”  High value attracts friends.  We are expected to live in such a way that we can attract friends.

What can we do to make ourselves of high value?  We can become good listeners.  We can be the kind of person who does not pass on confidences.  We can encourage people.  We can even rebuke people if that is what they need.

Keep in mind that this is not automatic.  Righteousness is not attractive to many people.  We exude a fragrance of righteousness.  To some people it is the stink of death.
(2 Corinthians 2:15-16 NAS77)  For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?
So?  Walk in righteousness.  Live the upright life.  Make yourself the kind of person that Jesus will direct people towards as a good influence. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Make Room

(Proverbs 18:16 KJV)  A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.

Let’s turn this around a little.  We are all on board when we feel people should allow us a place at the table.  We believe we should be allowed to use our gifts and abilities and others should not hinder us.  Now, what about when we are the established ones and someone else comes along that has a spiritual gift and wants to use it?

One of the reasons that churches stay small is because they have a hard time accepting new people and allowing them a place to contribute.  It is not the only reason.  Often it is the person who leaves who is the problem.  But we all know what it is like to visit a church and either be ignored, or greeted warmly once or twice and then ignored. 

We need to be discerning and not put new Christians or frauds in positions of leadership but at the same time there is a great need for us to be open to allowing new blood in. 

So?  Think about it.  Look at your church.  Has someone ever sat in “your” seat and you feel a mild sense of violation?  Imagine if they have the gifts that might put them on the board. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Check Your Wisdom Scale

(Proverbs 17:10 KJV)  A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.

Have you ever wondered where you rank on the Wisdom Scale?  It has nothing to do with how many years of school you have and does not correlate with your IQ.  It isn’t based on your race or marital status.  It is hard to gauge.  Here we have an indicator.

How do you respond to correction?  Do you blow up when someone tells you that the cabbage is chopped too fine in your coleslaw?  Do you get mad when people tell you that you are driving too fast?  How do you respond if someone asks, “Was that the loving thing to do?”  One mark of wisdom is the ability to listen when people try to help you with correction.

This is something that can be learned.  It takes an honesty about how you respond.  It takes a willingness to change.  It is work.  It can be done.

So?  Do a bit of a self check.  Honesty is called for.  If you can handle it, ask a friend.  Progress is possible. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015


(Proverbs 16:3 KJV)  Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

After you have turned things over to the Lord and are trusting, what kind of result can you expect.  Your plans are “established” (3559).  There are two main translations.  The other is in the word “prepared”.   There are a lot of directions that this can go in but the general idea is having a solid foundation laid down to make it possible to move forward.

Rarely can we have absolute guarantees an any project, hope or dream.  Most of us accept that.  When people at work say “I’ll see you tomorrow,” I often answer, “Lord willing, and the creek don’t rise.”

If we are listening and learning about the will of God, we are half way there.  If we are grounding our plans in the wisdom the Holy Spirit has implanted we have a greater chance of success.

So?  Plan you day.  Set goals for yourself.  Dream.  But do it based on the foundation that God has given you.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Brush Your Teeth

(Proverbs 15:32 KJV)  He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

I like the NASB better on this one.  It speaks to me.
(Proverbs 15:32 NAS77)  He who neglects discipline despises himself, But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.
I like to believe that I am not the only one who will sometimes be too tired to focus and go to bed without every item of personal hygiene taken care of.  It could be as universal a “discipline” (4148) as brushing your teeth.  It could be as specific as applying a medication.  It happens.  That is not the issue here. 

This is about the person who puts off washing their hair until it is smelly and itchy.  This is the person who scrubs the toilet and never washes their hands before they make a sandwich.  Eventually it is going to catch up with you.  At the moment you don’t care.  When the inevitable happens, you will.  When you can’t even climb a flight of stairs without panting you will admit that you should be exercising.  But you don’t change.

This person “despises” (3988a) himself.

So?  There is a time when self-sacrifice is the noble thing.  There is a time when it is sick.  Although I am not a disciple of self-esteem, I know there is a certain healthy self regard that is important.  I show it by my discipline.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Refuge of Fear

(Proverbs 14:26 KJV)  In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.

The second benefit in this verse is “refuge” (4268).  Our confidence is not in always winning.  I know we win in the end but that does not mean every day is filled with progress.  Because we have the right view of God we can deal with that.  If you win, you don’t need a refuge.  We all seek refuge at times.  In California we don’t need to hide from tornados and I never worry about tsunamis.  I have been known to look for a strong table during an earthquake. 

Refuge takes many forms.  Another form of refuge is confidence when our standards are being attacked and we are being belittled.  When you know who will be the villain in the book because one character is portrayed as a Christian, you have confidence because the attack is on God, not you.  Those attacks can come from the church and from family.  We have been warned.

So?  Live in fear.  It can give you confidence.  It can provide refuge.  It can be a joy.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

No Ill Gotten Gains

(Proverbs 13:11 KJV)  Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

As I said earlier, “wealth” (1952) is a broader concept than finance.  One of the great measures in Proverbs is wisdom.  Some people have wisdom, some don’t.  For some wisdom is easier to obtain than it is for others.  We are still to grow in wisdom.  Even Jesus went through the process somehow,
(Luke 2:52 KJV)  And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
What this is telling us is that there are no shortcuts to wisdom.  This is where the “labor” (3027)  comes in.  We are saved by grace through faith.  Got it.  We grow and mature through a process of discipline and struggle.  Don’t want it. 

You can’t fake spiritual wealth.  You can’t buy it on credit.  Counterfeit bills won’t be accepted.  In short, there is no short cut.

So?  Wisdom is required.  The riches of heaven are offered.  Don’t be unemployed in this labor market of love and grace. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Standards of Reality

(Proverbs 12:9 KJV)  He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.

We have a touch of reality here.  On one side is our actual financial condition.  On the other side is perception.  Our culture is more in love with perception than reality.  I think of a “beach bum” that I observed in Hawaii.  He lived in a shack on the beach beside an affluent condo complex.  To all appearances he was homeless and living hand to mouth.  A local told me he owned a house up on the hill.  He didn’t seem to care what people thought of him.

Go down the beach and observe the many people staying in posh splendor, drinking strange drinks and partying late into the night.  Most of them are doing it on credit.  They can’t really afford it but figure they will pay later.  Our plumber takes his whole family on his credit card.  He is paying his bills so it is legal, but which one is better off?

So?  Do you ever have someone tell you that you need to say “Amen” or raise your hands or you are not spiritual?  When they do I either smile and act receptive or, if I am in one of those moods, ask them where they were at 5:00 AM when the Lord and I were celebrating.  Go for reality. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Scatter Responsibly

(Proverbs 11:24 KJV)  There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.

I think it is easy to get the wrong idea about “scatters” (6340).  This seems like casually passing out our wealth to anyone in need.  I picture the king entering a city and tossing coins to the crowd.  It seems to lack discipline.  We need to compare that picture with the following words.

In the context of the verse, the scattering would seem to hit many of us where we live.  It means paying our bills on time.  In an age of easy credit we have many people who take advantage of the system.  They speculate.  They postpone.  They run up their bills and declare bankruptcy.  This would apply to modern methods of manipulating creditors instead of paying them.  I have heard of people who would run up their credit cards and then when they could not put off paying any longer, switch to another card.

So?  God does not smile at these kinds of games.  He does not think it is funny.  It is definitely not moral.  Followers of Jesus Christ are to pay their “meet” (justly due NASB) (3476) bills on time and in full.  That might mean that you don’t get to go to Hawaii for vacation this year or it might simply mean ordering off the dollar menu. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Are You a Bunny or a Bump?

(Proverbs 10:1 KJV)  The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

Every child is born with a personality.  They are different at birth.  If you don’t believe that you either don’t have children, have only one child or have very dominate genes.  The one situation I am personally sure of is my own children.  My son kept us up all night from day one.  My daughter slept through from the start.  I could go on.  Trust me, they were different when they were born.

We have different personalities.  My wife is the Energizer Bunny.  If she is next to you in line at the grocery store she will get your entire life history and then come home and share it with me.  I am the proverbial bump on a log.  I could sit next to you all day and not even say hello except that courtesy demands it.  Some are born with personalities that seem to embrace wisdom.  For others it is like water trying to get through the feathers of a duck. 

So?  Proverbs also teaches that everyone can learn wisdom and increase in knowledge.  Don’t hide behind your personality.  Sure God will expect different things from different people but He expects growth from all of us.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Mysterious Seven

(Proverbs 9:1 KJV)  Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:

This is the only place that the term “seven pillars” is used in the NASB.  I have no idea what they refer to.  Feel free to speculate until I someday come up with the final word.

Keil and Delitzsch spend more space on the “seven” (7651) “pillars” (5982) than on anything I have tried to read before.  It is amazing how many scholars and authorities have found seven items.  You have everything from the seven ages of the church to the seven heavens.  Most are grabbing at straws.  I think the most probable is something that K&D call the “seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.”  For this they refer the reader to Isaiah 11:2
(Isaiah 11:2 KJV)  And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
On first count I only found six gifts but when I read their comments on Isaiah they talked about the seven “spirits” starting with the spirit of the Lord.  That works.  You also find it links well with the traditional Menorah used in the temple which had places for seven lamps.

So?  Just a reminder that God works in our lives in a multitude of ways.  He meets us at all times.  He works with us as we need working. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Tantrums in the Aisle

(Proverbs 8:9 KJV)  They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.

Can you tell good parenting from a disaster in the making?  It doesn’t take long to decide if the child causing the ruckus is a criminal in training or being developed into a responsible citizen.  Usually fussy children don’t bother me because I understand what the parent is going through.  I have been there.

You have seen it in a store.  On one aisle you have a child driving his mother crazy making demands, running around and handling everything within reach.  On the next you have a child behaving.  The difference may be personality but it often is parenting.  One parent “understands” (995) what is happening.  One parent refuses to understand.  It isn’t because they cannot see something is wrong.  The lack is willingness to face the task of disciplining.  The price for looking the other way will be paid someday.

How many times do we allow ourselves to have tantrums in the aisles?  Think about all the times we have done things that we know are wrong.  We might deny it.  We might make excuses.  In our hearts we know it is not right.  It might be ignoring a friend in need.  It might be going to see a questionable movie.  It might involve parking in the wrong place. 

So?  Listening to God and His wisdom is not popular because we find it inconvenient and demanding.  It has been pointed out by many people many times that we really don’t need to learn any new great truths.  We already know enough that we are not observing.  Understand? 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Googling Eternity

(Proverbs 7:12 KJV)  Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)

The larger context of this verse is how sin is looking for me.  Everywhere we go we are faced with opportunities to pollute our righteousness.  Although we see the young man who is being stalked also on the hunt, the point here is that evil is everywhere. 

Notice it mentions the “streets” (2351) or the ways we get places.  It mentions the “squares” (7339), the places we are going.  We make decisions on route at “every” (3605) “corner” (6438).  The entire trip is laid out for us but there are choices we make.

Every day when I go to work I have choices to make.  I have two general routes, freeway or streets.  I can divide them up and wander around on the way.  I could pick my path based on the information that the TV gives me or consult my Google Maps App.  I am responsible.

So?  Make use of the tools you have for picking your way to work.  Use different tools to pick your way to heaven. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tracks or Ruts

(Proverbs 6:12 KJV)  A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.

Some people invest every movement with lies and deceit.  If you look over verse 12-14 you see a pattern.  This verse sums it up with “walks” (1980), a simple word that is used in English the same way as Hebrew.  You have heard a person described as one who “walks the walk”.  You have perhaps been told to do more that “talk the talk”. 

What patterns do your feet tread out.  In the forest you can often see the paths that the animals take.  If you are traveling through dense foliage you try to follow the worn way.  It makes it easier.  That can be good in the sense of keeping you on track or bad as being in a rut.  Both terms mean the same thing but the value is on the reason and moral content of the decision.

So?  How do you let people know you are coming through?  Do you yell, “Make way” or “Coming through”?  Do you tell them what you think they want to hear so you can get what you want?  Keep in mind that our choices and reasons have moral content and we serve a moral God.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Evil Ruin

(Proverbs 5:14 KJV)  I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

What is the result of not listening?  The word here is “ruin” (7451b).  In context this comes after a period of refusing to listen.  When we look at the declining moral atmosphere of our country and world we often blame the leaders.  I know that if you get me going I point out the failure of the modern church to stand up and be counted.  It isn’t always because the word is not being preached.  The pew shares the blame with the pulpit.

In my youth I attended a church with some of the best preaching I have ever heard.  I benefited from it, but what has always amazed me is the number of people who came week after week and today it seems like they did not hear a word that was said.  How can you sit at the feet of a great preacher and continue to conform to your culture instead of to your Lord?

So?  If the word is not being preached, be critical.  If you are not listening, it doesn’t really matter how much good stuff is thrown at you.  If you heart is listening the sermon can touch you no matter how boring it is. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dance the Two Step

(Proverbs 4:10 KJV)  Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.

Notice the two steps that Solomon is demanding.  Obviously it must start with the hearing.  For us today that would involve the hearing done with the eyes as we read and the mind as we meditate on the input.  We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

Then we come to the part that is harder when we live in a culture that rejects Biblical values.  We must “receive” (accept NASB) (3947) what we hear.  How often have you shared something with someone and they will blow it off with some kind of rational because it does not fit into the post-modern paradigm?  Let me throw a few words at you:  virginity, divorce, homosexuality, submission.  Need I go on.  Are you squirming yet?  Those are the ones I can lay on you.  There are probably others you can lay on me. 

So?  Lay it on bro.  If it is Biblical I need to not only listen but accept.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Get Out of the Fear Zone

(Proverbs 3:25 KJV)  Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.

God always seems to need to remind us to not be “afraid” (3372a).  Angels, when they appear seem to start off with the assurance.  It is a scary thing to come into the presence of God or his servants. 

Yet we are not to fear.

I think the warning here is for misplaced fear.  We live in an age of terrorism.  The point of terrorism is to keep us on edge and wear us down with worry.  We can become afraid to go shopping because a bomb might go off.  We can be afraid to fly, sleep, drive or go to the beach.  God is reminding us that we need to relax and enjoy Him and life. 

Does that mean everything will be eclairs and feather pillows?  No.  Joseph was thrown in a pit and prison.  He was also the second man in Egypt.  I remember an earthquake that hit at the beginning of a school day.  I remember stepping into a doorway and watching the building flex above me.  It was kind of fun.  At the end of a day another teacher was still in terror at the event.  She had run out and left her stuff in the building and was still afraid to go back for it.  I had no problem doing it for her.  She allowed fear to control her.  Of course some people would have though me a fool.

So?  Don’t ignore the red light on the dash board of your car.  At the same time don’t cause an accident for those around you when it happens. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Object of the Verb

(Proverbs 2:14 KJV)  Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;

Christians are different than non-Christians.  If we are not different then it brings up the question of really being a Christian.  This verse points out the inner character of the unconverted.  There are two verbs, “delight” (8056) and “rejoice” (1523).  They both have the same object:  “evil” (7451b).  The problem is not in the action but the object.

We are different because of our values not because of our feelings.  Pagans have feelings.  Christians have feelings.  We rejoice and celebrate.  We love and get angry.  The difference is in our ultimate focus, or priority.  Christians cannot rejoice in anything that produces or reinforces evil. 

So?  Why do you watch, read, play, sing, __________.  What is a the core of your motivations?  I guess a better way of phrasing it is, “Who is at the core of your motivation?”  You may need to go through a few layers.  Go ahead, I’ll wait....  I hope you found Jesus. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Understanding Understanding

(Proverbs 1:2 KJV)  To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;

“Perceive” (discern NASB) (995) and “understanding” (998) carry the same meaning.  One is the verb and one is the noun.  A literal phrase would be “understand understanding”.  “Discernment” carries the nuance that we are looking for.  Knowledge is based on knowing facts but keep in mind that your computer knows a lot of facts.  Knowledge by itself is like a seed on a rock, in a dessert, in the hot sun.  It is there but will never become anything.  I could take the seed and plant it in my back yard.  My soil is hopeless.  It might sprout but would soon die.  If I took the same seed and planted it in my mother’s yard it would flourish and produce.

What God wants for us is to be able to take the knowledge, the facts and observations of life, and turn them into decisions, priorities and actions that produce righteous outcomes.  He wants us to be the molders of our world under His guidance and plan.

So?  Get the knowledge.  Study, read, listen, observe.  And use it with wisdom.  You may only change your section of the neighborhood but God will be in charge of the increase.