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, 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.