An Idea Borrowed

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

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Little Becomes Much

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Be an Ant

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


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

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

Monday, December 28, 2015

Supporting Roles

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Eye Appetite

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Common Core

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Range of a Lie

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Think Priorities

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Seeker Friendly

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Base of Honor.

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 21, 2015

Term Insurance

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Standards of Success

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Brute or Blessed

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Belly Full

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Time to Meddle

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Peace unto Me

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Patient Alert

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 14, 2015

Peace, Brother

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Simple Choices

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Get Out of Jail Card

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 11, 2015

Inherit the Wind

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

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

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

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Harvest Alert

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Discernment of Diet

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Hate of the Christian

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 7, 2015

Deck More Than the Halls

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Love Antithesis

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Bless You

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

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

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

Friday, December 4, 2015

Update Your Apps

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 3, 2015

I Don’t Care What They Deserve

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Death Watch

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Spirit of Christmas

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

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

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

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

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