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.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Spider Days

(Proverbs 30:28 KJV)  The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.

You think you have problems?  You think you are the only one who has problems?  Maybe you think that if you had a little more money or were better looking those problems would go away.  This reminds us that it doesn’t matter if your family comes from “palaces” (1964) or hovels, you find pests.  Mosquitos bite rich people as well as poor people.  In the Middle Ages the Black Death killed kings as well as beggars. 

The issue isn’t will you get cut off in traffic but in how you will respond.  It isn’t whether you don’t have enough money to have an extra bedroom but whether you live in such a way that glorifies God.  This reminds us to not get distracted by the common “squirrels” of life.

So?  We can’t control when a signal gets stuck.  We can do something about our impatience and if we can’t get a handle on it we have the promise of the Holy Spirit to lead us into righteousness.  Take advantage of the edge that gives us. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Measure of a Liar

(Proverbs 29:12 KJV)  If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.

It is important who is in the top position.  It is important that they be moral, even when no one is watching and it needs to be a morality based on Biblical principles, not what is the popular mores.  While it is true that God can work with the unworthy life it is better for everyone if the “ruler” (4910) is on board.

This is important in the climate of elections and a democratic form of government.  The citizens of Rome didn’t have much to say about who led them.  The people who live in most third world countries are forced through life at the point of a gun.  I am sure that at times it seems we have nothing to day about it even in our republic but keep in mind you do have one vote.  In this election cycle there have been many people of moral fiber running to become our next “ruler” or president.  One by one they have fallen away.  We are approaching the time when we must decide and the area of truth is a good way to judge.

So?  When you go to the polls ask yourself which candidate has the best record of speaking truth.  Don’t accept the label of liar because it is leveled by another candidate or by a media trying to shape the election.  Do a little research.  If you need to, make a list and compare.  You may come to a different conclusion than I do but the idea here is that if a person lives by lies then the people they will chose to work with them will also be “wicked” (7563).  If we vote for the wicked, what does that say about us? 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Wanting Understanding

(Proverbs 28:16 KJV)  The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.

This verse demonstrates why I prefer a more modern translation.  If you compare the NASB which has “lacks” (2638) “understanding” (8394) to the KJV which says “wanteth” (2638) “understanding” you might think they were totally different statements.  Not so, and if you are reasonable literate you understand that the word “want” often means “to lack” rather than “to desire”.  Think of the Proverb, maybe from Franklin, “waste not, want not”. 

I am enjoying the insights I gain from consulting the KJV on this blog.  I am benefitting from it and must admit that there are times when the old translation is superior, but be cautious.  It doesn’t hurt to compare with more modern usage.  It is also an encouragement to go a little deeper in our study.  Truth is available if we seek it.

So?  God has lessons for us but they are not on automatic.  God expects us to engage our brains in an active way.  It is part of what it means to walk with Jesus.  Picture walking for 40 years beside someone and never having an in-depth discussion.  Not a pretty picture. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Forever Is Not Always Forever

(Proverbs 27:24 KJV)  For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?

This verse is a good place to discuss the importance of obedience.  God makes promises.  I believe that most of those promises are conditional.  They are what I call “if/then” statements or sometimes “if/but”.  God promises that if we will do something, He will do something.  A good example is,
(1 John 1:9 KJV)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Some Christians believe that a one time decision is good for eternal results.  To their credit many of them still live lives of righteousness and obedience.  I think that verses like this point out that the one time decision is the first of many decisions and as long as we seek to be faithful all is well.  This is not a proof text, just one of many that indicate this. 

So?  God is faithful.  He expects us to be faithful.  I trust that is your goal. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Actually, It Was Your Fault

(Proverbs 26:27 KJV)  Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

Once again we see how the Bible conflicts with modern, secular wisdom.  The mantra of modern education, sociology, psychology and government is that people are victims.  Sure they have problems, but it isn’t their fault.  We always find someone else to blame.  To be honest, there are times when that is true.  A baby cannot pick a mother and father.  That is obvious but when the child gets older he can pick his friends.  She can decide who to flirt with. 

You can’t do much about the person next to you on the plane that is coughing for the entire flight.  You can avoid HIV.  Although I have kids passing germs to me all the time I have no fear of the HIV virus.  If I come down with AIDS it will be because of a blood transfusion.

God has given us plenty of guidelines in how to live our lives. 

So?  Got problems?  It might be time for a little honesty.  Don’t accept what your college professor told you about the greedy corporations.  They did not make you take out the student loans.  You could have gone to the community college.  Accept responsibility.  One reason this is important is we must eventually admit that we are sinners so that God’s grace can work in our lives.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Trading an Ego for a Soul

(Proverbs 25:22 KJV)  For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.

The Christian responds differently to adversity and hostility.  He does not act in the way that the world expects.  This is an analysis of the actions stated in the previous verse that talks about being considerate of our enemies.  The world says, “Payback!”  We say forgiveness.  The pagan culture calls for revenge.  We call for their redemption. 

Sometimes we do this simply because God has told us to.  Jesus is the one who said to turn the other cheek and go the extra mile.  On one level it is simply obedience.  This verse gives us a look into the forces at work.  When we respond with kindness it gives the Holy Spirit a chance to wake up the conscience that they have been sedating.  It gives God a chance to speak to ears that have been closed.  It sets the stage for redemption.

So?  What is at stake is not your ego, it is their soul.  Defuse, don’t escalate.  God is not really interested in vengeance but will see justice applied where grace isn’t. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Weed Warning

(Proverbs 24:31 KJV)  And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.

A yard does not become “all” (completely NASB) (3605) “overgrown” (5927) with weeds in an afternoon.  It may appear that way if it was mowed the day before or it rained for the first time in weeks, but it is just that you have not been paying attention.  It usually starts with one or two small plants.  If they are not dealt with they multiply and it is a geometric multiplication.  Eventually you need some major attention to get rid of the weeds.

A life does not become completely overgrown overnight either.  Solomon is not really concerned with a lazy man’s field.  He is concerned with a lazy man’s soul.  Just as weed seed can blow in from the neighbor’s yard so your life can be fertile ground for the seeds of sin and desperation.  The answer is to be alert, keep in contact with the Lord and let Him deal with the pollution as it comes. 

So?  Don’t be spiritually slothful.  Don’t coast because sooner or later the way of life starts uphill.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

How Much Is Enough?

(Proverbs 23:4 KJV)  Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

How often have we heard stories about men, and now women, who work 80 hour weeks to be successful, provide for their family and build wealth, only to find that as they moved through life the success was fleeting, the family rejected them and money could not buy any of the lost opportunities back.  It is a theme in movies where dad misses the boy’s baseball game and the family is in crisis but he made the big deal.

That is the concern here.  The problem is not working hard.  That is expected.  The problem is wearing yourself out in pursuit of a goal that ruins the important things in life.  While it might be better to be rich and miserable than poor and miserable, it is better to be solvent and happy.  The happiness only comes from the inner peace given by the grace of God.

So?  Get up and get to work.  Earn your keep.  Save and invest.  Don’t destroy yourself and your loved ones in the process. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Corn or Turnips

(Proverbs 22:8 KJV)  He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.

“Vanity” (205) is the product of “iniquity” (5767b).  In English vanity has two general meanings.  The first is empty or pointless.  The second is conceit or self-centeredness.  Either one works here.  The Hebrew word means trouble and sorrow.

Sin is fun, or so I am told.  I have my doubts.  In a public restroom I was forced to listen to a group of young bucks talking.  They were loud and boisterous and discussing some great time they had experienced.  I guess you had to be there.  I wondered who they were trying to convince.  What the Bible keeps telling us is that sin is destructive and leaves an empty taste in our mouth as well as an empty feeling in our heart. 

So?  What do you want to harvest from life?  Salvation is through grace and faith.  It leads to a life of righteousness.  The alternative is a field of weeds.  Or from my point of view it is the difference of feasting on corn on the cob or turnips.  I hate turnips.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Offense of Salt

(Proverbs 21:10 KJV)  The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.

You need to understand that you cannot please everyone.  If I can misquote a supposed quote of Lincoln, “You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”  I would depart from that to echo what this verse seems to be saying, some people you just can’t ever please.  You can never find “favor” (2603a). 

That is a hard thing to accept and the reason for it is even harder:  Many people are controlled by a desire for evil.  I think that the leaven of Christianity has diluted that in our culture but the rise of paganism is bringing it back with a vengeance.  Listen to what makes people laugh.  I don’t recommend that you check out the internet but listen to what people are able to find out there.  I never went to the sights that show video of Muslim terrorists cutting off heads but I understand they get mega hits. 

So?  We are to be salt but we need to understand that we live in a world teaching that salt is bad for you.  I trust that it doesn’t lead to martyrdom but it certainly will makes things uncomfortable at times.  Trust in Jesus and move forward. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Junk Food or Cuisine

(Proverbs 20:15 KJV)  There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

I continue to be mystified by translators.  I would love to be eavesdropping in the committee when they discuss what word to use.  I am looking at “precious (3366) thing (3627).  A literal translation would give you “honorable vessel”.  Why did they shy away from such a simple statement?

We have goals in life.  Hopefully they are goals based on obedience and a desire to do God’s work in our situation.  Some are simple responsibility, such as being at work on time.  Others might involve sharing the gospel with the queen of England.  We plan and act using the tools that are available to us.

This is about preparing and using the right tools.  If you need to get gas for your car then money will take care of it.  If you need to open a combination lock, you need knowledge.  I might try a little Pumice Pathetic Paraphrase here.
(Proverbs 20:15 PPP) Money is good for a munch but knowledge is necessary for nutrition.
So?  Is your goal a bag of chips for a craving or a solid meal for sustaining satisfaction?  Plan accordingly. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Noise Pollution

(Proverbs 19:12 KJV)  The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass.

One lesson that we should learn is that political leaders are not God.  They are servants just like the rest of us, even if they don’t know it.  At the same time they tend to have more power over us and the Bible seems to imply that they are in the positions they are in to keep us in line.  They are God’s instruments.  This is true even if they don’t acknowledge Him. 

Is a “roaring” (5099) lion dangerous?  Yes.  And they are more dangerous if you don’t pay attention to the roaring and avoid them.  It is the quiet lion that you really need to worry about.

We are in a political season.  There are many would-be lions roaring all kinds of things.  We need to learn to listen without being intimidated.  We need to sift and sort.  Above all we need to listen to the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit.

So?  Spend time on a scripture that has touched you some time in the past.  Better yet, read with an open heart so that a renewed mind can be yours. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Agape Friends

(Proverbs 18:24 KJV)  A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

At school I have students ask if a certain teacher is my friend.  I tell them that we get along well and are friendly but I have never had them over to my house for dinner.  When I am listening to the radio and hear the Voice talk about how someone is their friend I wonder how they have time to keep up on so many people.  In our hurry and lack of discernment we often forget that words are supposed to mean something.  We ignore that there are “friends” (7453) and there are “friend(s)” (157). 

Some people we call “friends” (7453) are really just acquaintances, or as the word is usually translated, “neighbors”.  The point here is that we can have too many buddies that we hang out with.  They can sap our energy and monopolize our time.  As the KJV puts it, we must “shew ourselves friendly”.  In reality, life is too short.

A “friend” (157) is really someone that we love.  That is the root of this second word.  This is the person that renews us instead of draining us.  This is the person who rebukes and reproves as well as praises and comforts.  This is a rare jewel not costume jewelry.  

There is a reason why one is plural and one is singular.

So?  Be friendly.  Be courteous.  Show agape.  But keep in mind that Jesus is your best friend and those who walk with Him should be all you have major time for.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Striking Deals

(Proverbs 17:18 KJV)  A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.

Some people are “void” (lacking NASB) (2638) in “understanding” (sense NASB) (3820).  This person does some things without thinking.  Actually, they probably do almost everything without thinking.  Sometimes it is simply immaturity and lack of experience.  I remember as a kid I signed up for the Science Fiction Book Club.  The deal was that they would mail you a notice about the monthly choice and if you liked it, do nothing.  They would be happy to mail it automatically.  If you didn’t want it, just mail back the attached coupon.  I don’t know how many books that I did not want were purchased before I came to my senses and cancelled.

I learned my lesson.  Some people never do.  Every time you are offered something “free” you need to read the fine print.  It is free for a month.  It is free when you buy another item.  It is free if you sign up for a service contract.  That does not fit my definition of free.

So?  Even “free” salvation isn’t.  Following Jesus will cost us everything.  The point of salvation is that even if we give everything it isn’t enough to pay for our sins.  Only the Perfect Lamb of God could do that.  Rejoice. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Scale Models

(Proverbs 16:11 KJV)  A just weight and balance are the LORD'S: all the weights of the bag are his work.

I think we can take this a bit figuratively, as regarding more than selling produce.  Our lives are represented by “all” (3605) the “weights” (68) in the “bag” (3599).  Every action and commitment we are involved with is to be put on the “balance” (scales NASB) (3976).

Are you familiar with the traditional statue representing justice.  A balancing scale is held up and the woman holding it is blindfolded.  This is to represent an honest weight and not the results of prejudice and personal opinion.  God does not need a blindfold.  He doesn’t even need a scale.  It is also impossible for us to balance the debt we owe Him.  The picture is still a reminder of how our lives are to be lived.

God wants every area of our life to be examined.  He wants everything about us to conform to His will.  Jesus put it this way,
(Mark 12:30 KJV)  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
Paul put it a different way,
(Colossians 3:17 KJV)  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
So?  It is called living an upright life.  It is called righteousness.  It is what we are called to. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Monopoly and Grace

(Proverbs 15:7 KJV)  The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.

Wisdom speaks from the “heart” (3820).  This is the inner man.  This is character and common sense.  Where does this inner being come from?

Part is from your training.  When dealing with problem children we often note how the nut does not fall far from the tree.  Parents, family and even kindergarten teachers lay a foundation of right and wrong that is hard to change in later years.  I have heard that the Catholic church says to give them a child until he is five and he is theirs for the rest of his life.  Early training is vital.

But it does not stop there.  If it did there would be no hope for most of us.  We would be locked into our fates from an early age.  One reason  I do not like to play Monopoly is that I know who is going to win after about 30 minutes of the game.  The die is cast and only a freakish amount of luck can change it.  God’s grace, the power of the blood and the work of the Holy Spirit change that.

So?  If you have wisdom, dispense it.  If you don’t, seek revival.  After you get your heart right, speak from the heart. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Being Part of the Solution

(Proverbs 14:34 KJV)  Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

What do we mean by “righteousness” (6666)?  For a brief time is was the word of the week with the in-crowd of students.  They would say, “Righteous” as a sign of approval.  Of course they could use the term to put their stamp of approval on a bit of pornography.  The word to them was morally neutral.

For us the word is loaded and significant.  Righteousness involve outward actions.  If you look at the second half of the Ten Commandments you get an idea.  For the Jew the kosher law would be involved.  Modern America finds this entire list unsavory.

Righteousness involves an inner condition.  It is not just following rules.  It is a heart, mind, soul and strength thing.  They are transformed by the Holy Spirit.

Can an entire nation be righteous?  No, but it is clear that if you have enough salt it can flavor the entire stew.  We are to be that salt.  We are to walk in righteousness.  Keep in mind that God promised Abraham to spare Sodom if there were just a few upright people in town.

So?  It is a heavy burden to bear.  We may feel rejected and despised.  It doesn’t matter.  We may be the only thing keeping this nation from being destroyed like so many in the past.  Be a source of exaltation. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What Is Your Desire?

(Proverbs 13:19 KJV)  The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.

Having your dreams “accomplished" (realized NASB) (1961) is more than having an “aha” moment.  You need to put the whole verse together to understand this.  Whatever this desire is it involves turning you back on “evil” (7451b).  It means, in a word, repentance.  Many people want the peace and joy that comes from knowing God.  They want the benefits that flow from a life of righteousness.  They want children they can be proud of.  They want a reputation that makes them respected.  They would love people to believe them when they speak.

But they don’t want to change.

It isn’t going to happen.  Sure you can get people to praise you.  You can force people to obey you.  You can dominate and profit.  But in your heart you know it is all meaningless.  You have missed what you really want in life.

So?  If you want to be just another petty rich person, you can have it.  Stay on course.  Keep clawing and pushing.  Enjoy the view from the highest pile in the junk yard.  Or you can turn your back on evil, repent, allow the grace of God to work in your life and know fulfilled desire.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Truth Is Not Comfortable

(Proverbs 12:17 KJV)  He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.

We live in a day that does not believe in “right” and “wrong”.  Everything is simply a matter of your personal preferences.  The current jargon for this thinking is multi-culturalism.  Philosophically it is called “deconstruction”.  What is being deconstructed is not an old building but the time tested meanings of words.  Truth no longer has any meaning.  That goes double for the concept of “right” (6664) or as the older KJV calls it “righteousness”.

As Christians we live in a world that does not accept our ethics and standards.  God says sin is real and we are sinners in need of a savior.  Our world says we just have not had the right opportunities and need understanding and a social worker.  If you have been heavily influenced by public education and the universities you have a hard time accepting that.

So?  Either relax in the knowledge that there is a reason you are different or get concerned because you have been brainwashed by a culture that is rejecting the God of the Bible. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Shamed into Sainthood

(Proverbs 11:2 KJV)  When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.

If your values are based in the Bible you have a lot of dissonance in your life.  We see it here with the idea of “shame” (dishonor NASB) (7036).  This is a concept that has fallen off the radar of New Age thinking and more important, New Age feeling.  In my collection of translations the most common word is “shame” but you also see “disgrace”, “reproach”.  This is a word that connects our inner sense of what is right with the mores of society around us. 

We live in a culture that has no shame.  Shame might imply that there is something wrong with us, something that needs to be fixed, something that we are responsible for.  Today that is all rejected by the secular world and much of the religious world.  We need to embrace it, not because we want to put ourselves down but as my auto mechanic says, “If it ain’t broke, you can’t figure out how to fix it.” 

So?  Human beings are broke.  We have much to be ashamed of.  We have much that should generate guilt.  All of that drives us to repentance, faith and the grace of God turning us from dirty, rotten, no-good sinners into saints in process.  Admit your failures and limitations so that God can do something with them. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016


(Proverbs 10:9 KJV)  He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.

The Hebrew word for “walks” (1980) reminds me of the first Greek word I learned, erkomei.  Both of them have definitions that include “to come, to go”.  How can you be moving in both directions at the same time?  The answer is to translate it as “walks” and let the context give the meaning.  We all walk.  We are all moving through life even if your heels are dug in and we are screaming “No!”  We cannot control whether or not there will be a journey, all we can do is make decisions that influence the walk.

Daily decisions have a lot of power when you follow the results through a lifetime.  One year I decided to come home for Christmas.  It was no big deal but on that trip I met the woman who would become my wife.  One day a friend called to tell her I would be at church.  She could have left the curlers in her hair, finished the homework she was doing and said, “Later.”  Forty years later we are still making decisions.

So?  Every decision you make should be looked at in the light of “uprightly” (integrity NASB) (8537).  Sometimes it will be a fruitless search but it is good practice and gets you in a habit that kicks in when it is needed. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Lessons in Learning

(Proverbs 9:9 KJV)  Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

Why would being “just” (righteous NASB) (6662) make you more teachable?  Notice the different English words used by the KJV and NASB.  The most frequent translation in both is “righteous”.  It has a moral dimension.  In order to make the right decisions you need that moral dimension.  It is more and more lacking in the judges we see making decisions.  When you wonder how the courts can come up with the things they do just remember that these are the elites that are removing the Ten Commandments and nativity scenes from public places.

This is why the social justice people will do nothing but destroy our society.  Their idea of justice is rooted in making demands for themselves and enjoying the ego trip of their public displays.  They are not really interested in the moral justice that comes from God.

So?  First, make sure you have the foundation for justice and learning.  Second, it is a political season.  I know the choices are hard and a times it seems like there is none, but get serious about being a righteous voter.  This applies when you are voting for a local garden club as much as for president. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Wisdom Is Not an Accident

(Proverbs 8:17 KJV)  I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

What does it take to know wisdom?  Both translations attempt to get at the key quality.  Both talk about seeking but put different adverbs as modifiers.  There is only one word and its meaning includes the modifiers.

The NASB says “diligently seek” (7836) for the KJV “seek early”.  This brings out the need to be focused and aggressive in wanting to know wisdom.  While it is true that salvation is a gift based on grace and faith, it is also true that the life we are to live expects discipline and growth.  That means that we need to be serious about learning, growing and improving. 

We all enjoy the serendipitous moments of life.  Surprises can be wonderful.  The law of unintended consequences sometimes provides a pot of gold.  Our spiritual lives are like that.  God gives good gifts to His children but don’t build your hope for the future on the chance that irresponsibility will be overcome by grace.

So?  Wisdom is good.  Wisdom is important.  It doesn’t just happen.  Be diligent in seeking it.  Start today. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Do You Love a Good Mystery?

(Proverbs 7:20 KJV)  He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.

We live in a time of economic mystery.  The stock market can’t make up its mind what to do.  We hear all kinds of reports on the employment front, all of them slanted to show what the writer wants to push.  The government is now talking about something called “negative interest rate” which is not being offered to benefit the consumer.  We hear that a bundle of new jobs have been created but then find out that they all went to immigrants.  We hear that the unemployment rate is down but at the same time fewer people are working.

How do you plan for all this chaos?  This verse reminds us that we can only make so many provisions.  Here was a man who took enough money to do what he had to do.  He had a plan and a schedule for his return.  All should have been good.  What he could not plan for was the evil in the heart of his wife.  She would be cheating on him while he was gone.  I don’t see any indication that he “deserved” such treatment but treatment he was getting.

So?  Plan.  Prepare.  Cover your bases.  At the same time remember that there will always be that part of the economy and personal relationships that you can do nothing about.  That is where walking by faith comes in.  We can rest assured that the outcome is in God’s hands.  Does it mean you will never get blind sided?  No.  It means that you will come out in victory. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Neglected Pattern

(Proverbs 6:20 KJV)  My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

The teachings and standards of the Bible fly in the face of our modern American culture.  This verse is another example of a clear truth that has largely been rejected.  It is so important that it made the top ten,
(Exodus 20:12 KJV)  Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
After that it is repeated in the wisdom literature and prophets.  In the New Testament you find it in the gospels and the epistles.  It is repeatedly brought up.  Why is that?  Is it that we need to be reminded so often today?  Yes, indeed, but there is more to it than that.  The people in Moses’ time needed to be reminded.  The people in Solomon’s time needed to be reminded.  The pattern continues down to today.

Ignoring your parents is a part of the sinful nature.  We have achieved new heights of this low in our modern times by demeaning fathers and disgracing motherhood.  The standard is still there.

So?  Earn the honor even if it is not extended.  Set the example.  Speak the truth.  And support others who choose to take the path of righteousness. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Tie That Binds

(Proverbs 5:22 KJV)  His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.

Some people get upset about the idea of Hell and eternal torment.  One of the approaches they like to take is “How could a loving God...?”  There are certain assumptions that are made, most of them totally wrong.  Yes, God is love.  But God is also holy, just, jealous and a host of other attributes.  His love motivated Him to send Jesus to die for our sins.  Though we don’t deserve it, there is a way to redemption. 

His holiness and justice demand that sin be paid for.  Again, He has provided for that through the cross.  The gift is offered to all.  Some respond with repentance and faith, others with rejection and scorn.  One group lives their lives seeking righteousness; the other, rejecting it.

Another side of the love aspect of God is that He does not force us into salvation if we don’t want it.  The sad truth is that most don’t.  Salvation involves honesty about ourselves.  It demands submission to Almighty God.  Jesus Himself said that most people would follow the road of iniquity.

So?  We can pray, witness and agonize over loved ones who reject the truth.  Keep in mind that they are making their own choices.  As the old saying goes, “They are making their bed and they will lie in it.”  They tie their own bonds.  Make sure you don’t join them. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Growing in Grace

(Proverbs 4:18 KJV)  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

As I get older I see the sun rise more often.  In our modern culture we tend to get up, flip on the light and go about our business.  In the ancient world you might get up and go through a series of activities planned on the amount of light you would have at that time.  You would be aware of the slow advance of perception.  That is the picture being drawn here of the Christian life.

When we are first saved we are at the stage where we can get through a room without tripping over the furniture because there is enough light to see the big objects.  If we walk through the same room at a later time we are aware of corners and patterns in the carpet.  Still later we can see the colors of the walls.  What is interesting is walking through room you have traversed for years and seeing some detail you have never seen before.

So?  Where are you in your walk?  Don’t get too frustrated if you are young in the Lord and you don’t see the nuances.  Do worry if it has been a long time since you saw anything new.  Maybe you are not paying attention. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Obedience Makes a Difference

(Proverbs 3:33 KJV)  The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.

There are rewards for serving the Lord.  Moral living has a pay off.  There is the eternal aspect.  What are popularly called Heaven and Hell are realities, even if our understanding is not complete. 

Curses and blessings are also every day events.  I am not talking about the superstitious concept of going to a witch and having a spell cast.  I am talking about the simple little things that we don’t even notice that pay big dividends.  It is hard to get specific because we are all in different situations and walking different paths.  I might thank God for not getting sick this month.  I need to avoid assuming the person who does get sick is being cursed.  It could simply be something God has allowed for a bigger purpose.  It could be because of a stupid, but not evil, choice that a person made.

So?  God blesses His people.  He withholds His blessings from others.  Trust in that as a promise. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

A Reminder of Hope

(Proverbs 2:22 KJV)  But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.

There is a lot of depression and doom in this verse.  That is the bad news.  The good news is context.  If you have time to read the chapter you find that there is a lot of sin and sensuality discussed.  That is condemned.  There is also hope expressed, not in this verse but in the context.

So the bad news is that there can be a bad ending.  The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way.  Moses did not pass on the Ten Commandments and the law, Jesus did not die on the cross, Paul did not travel and write for the purpose of seeing how many people could be tricked into Hell.  It is all about how many can be saved.

So?  I hope the warning motivates you to pray and witness more.  I hope it encourages you to live in such a way that you are salt and light.  Redemption can happen and many need to be reminded of that. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Promises, Promises

(Proverbs 1:27 KJV)  When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.

Context is so important at times.  This is one of them.  If you are one of those people who always see the glass as half full, you need to look again.  This one is almost empty and these are not words leading to hope.

The promise is “fear” (dread NASB) (6343).  The promise is “destruction” (calamity NASB) (343).  The promise is “distress” (6869a).  The promise is “anguish” (6695b).  When kids tell me they will see me tomorrow I sometimes ask them if that is a threat or a promise.  In this case it is not a threat.  This is a promise of all kinds of nasty things that are going to happen.  It is a promise that offers no hope.  It is definite because these people have refused to respond to the advances of God.

So?  God does not play games.  I trust you are living in the Spirit and walking in obedience.  If you are not there will come a day when God will make a promise.