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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

God Morning

(Proverbs 31:15 KJV)  She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

When I was young I would have hated this verse.  The idea of getting up early was ugly.  Now that I am getting older and my body won’t let me lay in bed I am finding it easier to enjoy the early morning a hours.

Early morning is a special time.  Once I am up and awake I find that my mind is at its sharpest.  That means that I am more tuned in to hear the voice of the Lord.  Once I get over the emotional upheaval of not sleeping in I can benefit from the experience.  There are other references to this.

So?  Give it a try.  Start drinking coffee if that is the only way you can get the juices flowing.  See if a morning time of worship will make your day better.  Some things you never know until you try. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Make up Your Mind

(Proverbs 30:29 KJV)  There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going:

Agur needs to make up his mind.  Is it three or four?  Notice from verse one that this chapter is not claimed by Solomon.  Notice that first it says three, then four.  If you read through Proverbs you will see this confusion appears several times.  It is not confusion, it is a literary device.  Like hyperbole, metaphor and personification, this is a way of getting your attention.  Keep in mind that the Bible is not written as a manual to show you how to set up your new cell phone.  It is a living book for living people in dynamic lives.

There are certain words that come up in regard to the Bible:  Literal interpretation, inerrancy, contradictions.  They point out that you need to read the Bible with your mind turned on and your reason engaged. 

So?  Ask questions.  Assume there are answers.  Don’t assume that you will understand all of them all of the time. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

One on One

(Proverbs 29:13 KJV)  The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes.

I struggle with the linking of these two groups of people.  Both seem to be standing before the “light” (215) of God without any discernible difference.  I am guessing that we are seeing that our assumptions about each group are not reliable.

We assume that the “poor” (7326) are the virtuous, wronged party.  Down through history that has often been the case but just as we are guilty of judging the rich with nefarious motive we can be guilty of judging the poor as helpless pawns.  One of the differences between the Christian view and the current post-modern attitude is that we view people as individuals instead of members of a class or group.  That is called identity politics. 

God deals with us as individuals.  It may be that you are part of a persecuted minority.  God does not give you a pass on righteousness because of that.  It may be that you are part of the wealthy class, God does not condemn you because of that. 

So?  God wants to meet with you where you are.  He is not looking for victims desiring special treatment.  He is seeking sinners who are looking for a savior.  Consider where you stand. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Complexity of Killing

(Proverbs 28:17 KJV)  A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.

Some people who don’t want to think or deal with complexity try to put things into simple boxes.  One such box is the KJV translation from the Ten Commandments that says, “Thou shall not kill.”  Unfortunately that is not an accurate translation.  The actual meaning is that you should not “murder”.  That is a difference that some don’t want to think about.  It would mean that there are things worth killing for.  It would do away with their rejection of the death penalty.  It would make life more complex.

That is the thinking behind this verse.  It you follow the law you will find that in some cases a person who kills is to be offered sanctuary.  In other cases, what we would call first degree murder, the offender is to be handed over to justice.

So?  God is not simple minded.  God expects us to reject naive thinking.  Being righteous means engaging your entire being, including your mind.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Threescore and Ten

(Proverbs 27:25 KJV)  The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.

As I approach my allotted “threescore and ten” the end of the road becomes a constant companion. 
(Psalms 90:10 KJV)  The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Death can strike at any age but at a certain age it ceases to fit the category of tragic or unexpected.  Weakness becomes something to compensate for, not deny.  It is a part of life.

How many people do we know that have such a fear of death that they will mortgage their children’s future in order to have a medical procedure to extend their time a few months?  I am going to have a colon exam in a few weeks.  What if the doctor comes into the room and says, “I’m afraid I have bad news.”  The world will respond with weeping and gnashing of teeth.  The believer will respond differently.  By the time this is posted I will know what he had to say.

So?  We are as grass.  We will “disappear” (1540).  But it really isn’t disappearing.  It is being transformed.  It is being promoted.  It is moving into eternity with and assurance in our hearts that we finally get to ask Jesus those questions that have had no answers.  I trust you have that security no matter what your age. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Synonyms of Evil

(Proverbs 26:28 KJV)  A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

“Lying” (8267) and flattery seem to be synonyms.  Both seems to be symptomatic of our modern culture.  It is even undermining the church.  I work with a lot of young people who are regular in their church attendance.  I have one young man who often wears a shirt that has a message of testimony on it.  My general response is that if he is an example of what that word about Jesus produces, I want nothing to do with Jesus.

God demands a high level of morality from His people.  We need to remember to define morality by the standards of the Bible not the standards of the Sierra Club or PETA.  By their standards taking a long shower or eating meat are immoral acts.  They are perfectly fine with lies, deceit and fornication.

So?  Honesty and truth are required.  Sexual purity is demanded.  Don’t be sidetracked by the latest perversion of moral behavior.  Save the trees.  Be a vegetarian.  Don’t substitute those for righteousness.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

But Now...

(Proverbs 25:23 KJV)  The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.

Previously I wrote about how in some locations the north wind would bring rain and in others it would blow the clouds away.  You need to know where you are in relation to truth whether it be meteorological or spiritual.  If a farmer moves from one location to another he needs to make allowance for the move and how it changes his daily choices.  If you are doing work that depends on sunlight you need to remember that days are longer in July than they are in December, but only if you live in the northern hemisphere.

The same is true in the Bible.  Jesus sent His disciples out at one point and told them to take nothing.  At another time He sent them out with different instructions.  You find both referenced here,
(Luke 22:35-6 KJV)  And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.  Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
Notice the key words, “But now...”  That is the question we must always answer.  Some things never change.  Adultery is sin.  Some things are seasonal or timing. 

So?  Following Jesus is never a mindless, cruise-control existence.  It engages all of us including our minds.  Keep thinking as you listen and grow. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How Is It Working for Them

(Proverbs 24:32 KJV)  Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.

What was it that Solomon “saw” (2372)?  What did he learn from?  We would like to think it was some lofty tome by Saith Augustine or a well known piece by C. S. Lewis.  Not so.  What he saw was the laziness of a neighbor.  He noticed the fields and vineyards that he passed during the day.  He noticed that some were overgrown and not cared for.  He must have known how this was working out in the lives of the owners because his conclusion was that were living in poverty.

We can learn from others.  How does that flirting with the woman in the next office work out?  Open your eyes to the real world instead of watching how it works on TV.  Ever hear of STD?  Just because they say everyone is doing a certain drug doesn’t mean that life is good when they are home with no one watching.  When I look at the shiny new cars that the secretaries at my school drive I get a little envious until I stop to think about the car payments and cost of insurance.

So?  Look and reflect.  Let the standards and principles of chastity and frugality be the measure, not your credit score. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Peripheral Vision

(Proverbs 23:5 KJV)  Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

Have you ever seen something out of the corner of your eye but when you look it isn’t there?  This is the picture we get here.  Or picture when I have lost my wife in a mall and I need to find her for some reason.  I tend to see her everywhere but it isn’t her when I get there.  Maybe you have seen a car advertised in the paper and not read the fine print that says “One at this price”.  Of course, when you get there it is gone.

The KJV says it well when it translates “that which is not”.  The focus here from the previous verse is riches.  When it comes to wealth we are usually deceived.  We look at the money but what our eyes are seeing is happiness and success.  Such is “that which is not”.  For Christians there is only one way to arrive at the desired destination.
(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?  You all know this verse.  You may not know where to find it but you can quote it.  Maybe it is time to focus on it instead of letting it linger just out of the corner of our eye. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Ouch Factor

(Proverbs 22:9 KJV)  He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

One of the big differences between the Christian sharing with the poor and modern ideas of welfare are locked in that little word “his”.  I don’t know enough Hebrew to know how that word fits into the text but every translation I have except the Contemporary English Version (CEV) uses it.

Why do I say that is a difference?  Most of the modern, government sponsored, welfare efforts are a matter of Peter spending Paul’s money to help Peter’s friends.  It is a matter of spending other people’s money and getting the credit for it.  The Biblical approach is that we are to give from our resources.  It gets us involved financially and personally.

So?  Personally I am against any government handouts.  You can accept that as making a mountain out of a molehill or agree with me.  The key is that we are to be giving out of our personal resources to those in our personal sphere.  We are to do it with love and concern.  We cannot hide behind the knowledge that the government has been there before us.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Pray Attention

(Proverbs 21:11 KJV)  When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.

Wisdom is a win/win.  Look at this.  This is more than slowing down when you see someone getting a ticket.  You know you speed up as soon as the cop is out of sight.  This is watching someone else fry their brain on drugs and avoiding them yourself.  This is learning to not go out to dinner at 8:00 on Friday night. 

The second win is that you listen to what people tell you.  It may be something as simple as reading about all the diseases caused by obesity and cutting back on your food.  It might be taking the advice of Proverbs on raising children.  Either way, wisdom pays off.

So?  The lessons you need are all around.  Don’t just pray for guidance.  Pray attention.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Losing Your Shirt

(Proverbs 20:16 KJV)  Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.

Notice who is being condemned here.  It is not the person taking the loan but the one making it.  Don’t get confused, it is not saying it is okay to borrow.  It isn’t but that is covered many other places.  Here the warning is for the one who guarantees the loan. 

One of the reasons that credit is getting so out of hand in our country is that people are covering the spenders.  The credit card companies carry the spendthrifts.  They must figure they will get enough interest along the way to make the risk worthwhile.  The government guarantees house-of-cards loans and encourages people to live beyond their means.  It is everywhere.  God says no.

So?  Don’t co-sign.  That is obvious.  What isn’t so obvious is the ways in which we support political and social actions that shield people from their own irresponsible decisions.  Or maybe we could say the same about the children we spoiled.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Touch of Reality

(Proverbs 19:13 KJV)  A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.

This verse presents a double whammy.  Picture being the man with children that are fools and a wife that is a shrew.  Picture a woman who has losers for children and a husband that is the equivalent of a shrew.  Solomon would know about this.  For all of his wisdom keep in mind that his children tore the kingdom apart and he had to deal with hundreds of wives. 

Bible characters did not live in a vacuum.  They had daily trials.  If they lived today they would have toilets that backed up, cars that would not start and neighbors with dogs that bark long into the night.  This verse is a confession of Solomon and a contact point with us.  That is part of why Jesus became a man.  He walked in our shoes.  He lived in reality.  He calls us to follow Him.

So?  Be a disciple.  Be faithful.  Walk in righteousness knowing that God became man.  He was not only the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God.  He was also the example we are to follow. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Two Cents Worth

(Proverbs 18:1 KJV)  Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.

What level of disagreement is “intermeddleth” (quarrels NASB) (1566)?

There is another word in Proverbs for quarreling.  It means to strive or dispute.  This one means to have your ideas exposed.  The idea is that when you talk stupid it is clear to others that what you say it stupid.  Perhaps a better translation would be “knocks his head”.  It seems that you might put this together with the last verse of the previous chapter.
(Proverbs 17:28 KJV)  Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
How often have I felt like I needed to put in my two cents worth, uttered some inane tidbit and realized that it wasn’t even worth two cents?  By wanting to be included I exclude myself.

So?  Wisdom is wise because it is the product of experience and a knowledge of the truth.  We need to think twice before we try to add to it.  And as I write this I am planning to post on a blog.  Go figure. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Frank Sinatra Moment

(Proverbs 17:19 KJV)  He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.

One of the protests that I hear about the teaching on Hell is that a loving God would not sentence people to eternal torment.  Such a statement ignores two things.  While God is love He also is just.  Sin demands payment and we are sinners.

The other side is illustrated by this verse.  There average person who is bound for Hell “loves” (157) “transgression” (6588).  They probably don’t think of it that way.  They would argue with you.  I think it is one of the big reasons why people reject Jesus.  Jesus demands upright living.  Jesus demands that we walk in love.  Jesus requires us to turn the other cheek. 

Most people prefer a Frank Sinatra theme of “I Did It My Way”.

People choose Hell.  They may not see it that way but if they would not be happy on this earth living in obedience, imagine locked into an eternity of it.

So?  Don’t hide behind accusations of God not loving you.  Don’t buy it when others use it.  Make a choice and live with it, forever. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Quest for Morality in Government

(Proverbs 16:12 KJV)  It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.

As I write we are in a political campaign to elect a president.  This verse gives us an indication of what kind of person we should, and should not vote for.  Solomon was not elected.  In those days no one was elected, but we do not live in those days.  With “progress” comes responsibility.  The clear application here is that we should be voting against “wickedness” (7562) and for “righteousness” (6666).  The problem we have as Christians is that we have come to ignore the Bibles standards and have substituted those of the pagan world.

Set aside all of the comments about no one being righteous.  In a sense that is true because we are all born into sin and all in need of a savior.  Set aside a definition of righteousness as being perfect.  Set aside the call by those deep in sin that we should not judge.  This verse says that one group of people is wicked.  One group is righteous.  We are required to make a judgement call.

Remember that the Bible defines righteousness in terms of Biblical morality, not the current definitions of following the politically correct line.  Thus morality and righteousness have to do with honesty, fidelity and what is referred to as fair scales in business.  It is obvious to anyone who will look that some people rate high on the scale.  I would suggest Ben Carson as an example but he is no longer in the race.  It is also clear that others are at the other end of the scale in every area of their life.

So?  Some have already voted.  Some will still vote.  Then we have the general election.  Your vote matters not only to the country, but to God.  Do your homework.  Vote for righteousness. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

It Isn’t a Sacrifice if Noone Is on Base

(Proverbs 15:8 KJV)  The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

“Sacrifice” (2077) is a wider concept than you might consider.  In our modern English ears it has the possible meaning of going without so that someone else may have their needs met.  Parents will sacrifice a new car in order to get their children braces for their teeth.  In a less serious mode we might think of going without dessert as being a sacrifice. 

In the Hebrew a sacrifice can cover a wide range of financial worth.  It could be a dove or it could be an ox.  From the outside one is worth much more than the other.  From God’s eyes they were the same because the offering was based on your ability to pay.  Thus offering up a dove for a poor person could be a bigger financial hit than an ox for a rich man. 

The point here is that it doesn’t matter how much you spend on trying to placate God.  If your motive and heart are wrong, God rejects your sacrifice.  If you are upright then the gift will be right.

So?  It matters what we do but it is a two sided coin.  A coin with just a face is counterfeit.  Our reason and inner motivation is also vitally important.  This is why we listen to the scripture as it calls us to repentance and renewal.  How are the ears working?  How is the heart working?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Response Time

(Proverbs 14:35 KJV)  The king's favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.

When people get angry with us we go two opposite directions.  Sometimes, and some people, we get angry right back.  We sink to their level and imitate their behavior.  Not good.  Sometimes we get defensive and make excuses.  We point the finger many ways.  Any direction will do as long as it is not pointed at me.

What does not often occur to us is that we deserve the anger.  Well, maybe not the actual anger but at least some strong criticism.  When we mess up we want people to be understanding.  When they mess us up we want the king’s wrath to come down on their heads. 

So?  It is hard but stop for a moment and consider if the criticism is justified.  I am working on this.  Regardless of how I respond at the moment I try to review the criticism at a calmer moment and honestly look at what part is justified and what is hormonal.  Usually it is a combination of both. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Club Membership

(Proverbs 13:20 KJV)  He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

I think it was Groucho Marx who said, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”  I think I want to walk with wise men but what makes me think that wise men will be willing to walk with me?  Perhaps the answer to that is found in another part of Proverbs,
(Proverbs 17:28 KJV)  Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
If I want to be accepted by those who are truly wise then I need to keep my mouth shut.  That means listening instead of talking.  That is very hard for me to do because I have so many opinions.

So?  I need to work on not sharing every bit of “wisdom” that comes to me.  That will probably be more of a blessing for those around me than for me. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Be a Healer

(Proverbs 12:18 KJV)  There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

Four times the book of Proverbs uses the word “sword” (2719).  None of them would be used in a positive way.  In Proverbs 5:4 it calls it a “two-edged” sword and is linked to bitterness.  In 25:18 it links to being a false witness.  In 30:14 it compares it to teeth feeding on the weak and needy of the earth. 

Although a sword can be used for defense its main purpose is offensive.  You can cut.  You can stab.  You can even use it as a club if necessary.  We must be very careful about going on the offense with out mouths.  While it is true we are to rebuke, reprove and correct those are not to be forms of attack.  They are not to advance our own personal agenda.

So?  Our words should be for healing, not destruction.  Sometimes the germ killer will sting but that is a side effect.  Be a healer. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Treasure Map

(Proverbs 11:3 KJV)  The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.

I think it is a memory from an Indiana Jones movie.  In my mind I have the picture of a room covered with square tiles and the cast is seeking a treasure.  It is clear that they must step on the tiles in just the right way or some mysterious disaster will strike.  One wrong step spells doom.  But they had a “guide” (5148) of some kind.  I assume it was a treasure map.

Christians also have a treasure map.  It tells us to walk in “integrity” (8538).  It tells us where to step on the floor of life.  And, of course, there is the promised reward at the end.  If that is the case why do so many people who claim to be Christian ignore the map?  Why do we have people involved in pre-marital and extra-marital sex who claim to be Christians?  I heard a lady on a podcast claiming to be a lesbian in a long term relationship and a Christian at the same time.  We have politicians calling themselves Christians and also bragging about how they have openly sinned.

So?  The question really is what have you done with the treasure map?  And what have I done with the treasure map?  You can’t get the prize without it. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Winking the Other Way

(Proverbs 10:10 KJV)  He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall.

The Hebrew word used here for “winks” (7169) is defined as “to nip, pinch”.  In Proverbs 16:30 it is used in regard to the lips.  It could mean to refuse to see what is going on around you.  It could be a way of saying “look the other way”.  Sometimes we have no choice but to ignore a problem.  If your neighbor is not watering his lawn it is none of your business.  In California today that would even make him a hero.  If he is beating his wife it would be time to call the police.

One of the causes of the “sorrow” (trouble NASB) (6094) in our society is people looking the other way.  Too many refuse to get involved.  What would happen if everyone picked up one piece of trash?  It would not be long before there would be no trash to pick up.  What would happen if everyone picked up their own clothes?  I had better not go there.

So?  You get the idea.  Be it silly or serious we need to be alert to doing our own part to keep our world moving forward.  Either do it for altruism or for self protection. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Press the Start Button

(Proverbs 9:10 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

You have to start somewhere.  The place you begin depends on your goal.  People come to Jesus through different routes.  I have talked to people who became Christians because they saw a movie, “The Late, Great, Planet Earth” by Hal Lindsey.  Some grew up in a Christian home and can’t remember the beginning of real faith.  Some came intellectually by considering all the facts and making a decision.  Different people with different motivations. 

The “beginning” (8462) if you are seeking “wisdom” (2451) is “fear” (3374).  This is where you put aside your fear of death, your comfort in family, your curiosity, your insecurity or whatever the Holy Spirit used to bring you in and make a conscious choice to fear God.  It is where you put aside your agenda because you realize it won’t work.  It means you put your life in His hands, accept His standards, choose His priorities and begin to seek answers to questions you didn’t even know needed to be asked

So?  Have you started the path to wisdom?  Some never get there but it is a road God wants us to travel. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Gold Not Paper

(Proverbs 8:18 KJV)  Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.

It would be easy to stop at the first part of this verse and miss the point.  The flashy aspect of money and fame are what catch the eye.  They are easy to measure and heady to achieve.  But if you do not get the depth added by the second part, you lose.

The first measure of “riches” (6239) means financial accumulation.  The second reference of “wealth” (1952) has more the idea of substance or depth.  In the same way “righteousness” (6666) has a moral component that is missing with simple “honor” (3519b).  The Christian life is built on depth not height.  It is on substance not show.  It is the difference between a twenty dollar gold piece and a twenty dollar bill.

So?  Don’t be impressed by the smoke and mirrors defining so much of life.  Go for the upright life of righteousness not just the label of honor. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Flatter Lips

(Proverbs 7:21 KJV)  With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.

What is the difference between “flattering” (2507b) and complimenting?  Is there any difference?  Are both condemned?  As I look at definitions the main difference seems to be sincerity.  Flattery doesn’t have any.  So beware of flattery.

“Flattering” (2507b) language is something we fall for all the time.  We are sitting ducks for this because we want the world to praise and accept us.  It shows we are being good witnesses, right?  We also run into it in the church as people try to manipulate or influence us.

One of the ways to guard against falling for this is to consider the source.  If you have someone who lives a life of sin and self-centeredness, the chances are they don’t mean a word they are saying.  If you have noticed them lying about other items the odds are they are lying to you.  I recently had a student tell me I was a great teacher.  Right.  And he wasn’t talking or eating either.

So?  Salt is to be taken by the grain or spoonful depending on how much praise someone throws your way.  Enjoy the moment but don’t be seduced. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Slip Knots

(Proverbs 6:21 KJV)  Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.

Why would we need to “continually” (8548) “bind” (7194) God’s words to our inner being?  It would seem that some things, once done, would not need to be repeated.  I am thankful that I only had to go through puberty once.  On the other side, how many times did I knock my head on the garage door after I got my bifocals?  How much pain was necessary before I learned to duck.

In the same way our inner being can be a slippery customer.  Our hearts seem to have a short memory.  Things need to be repeated, again and again.  That is why the same lessons are repeated throughout the Bible.  It is why Proverbs has themes that come up repeatedly.  We need to tie God’s words to our hearts and keep checking the knots.

So?  It is a living relationship with a living God and in order to not strangle us there needs to be stretch and wiggle room.  Stay alert to make sure things are in place.  Just a friendly warning about a serious need. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Dream Big

(Proverbs 5:23 KJV)  He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.

How often do we focus on the “greatness” (7230) instead of the “folly” (200)?  We often have big plans or at least big dreams.  Too many people today have great fantasies instead of a realistic goal.  In this age of electronic virtual worlds we can fight wars, play golf, drive cars and conquer worlds without leaving our recliner.  If we fail it is just a matter of rebooting or reloading.  How many young boys who are blessed with early development figure they are going to be stars in the NBA or NFL when the only competition they are up against are gangly kids who don’t have any coordination and are not used to how long their legs are becoming.  They think that the effort involved in getting an education and developing skills is a waste of time because greatness comes so easy to them.

Such is folly.

We translate it into our spiritual lives.  We hear that salvation is a gift, that grace is free and Jesus loves us.  Slam dunk.  The road to greatness lies ahead of us.  Or is it the road to folly?

So?  Jesus said ask, seek and knock.  We are told to study to be approved.  We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  We can’t do it alone.  Jesus won’t force the issue.  Dream real dreams and find fulfillment instead of folly. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Committed to Ignorance

(Proverbs 4:19 KJV)  The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

The evil do not “know” (3045) [yada].  They live in ignorance and deception.  This word has a depth of meaning that we have lost in English.  It can carry the inference of deep knowledge.  It is used to signify the depth of the marriage relationship.  Thus we have the teaching of the virgin birth.
(Matthew 1:25 KJV)  And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
What does it take to know someone on that level?  It doesn’t just happen overnight.  It isn’t just a slight adjustment.  It isn’t possible without a real investment of yourself.  It isn’t possible unless there is a two way street of commitment.  So the evil will never have the knowledge of God.  They refuse to open themselves to know Him.  They are committed to ignorance.

So?  Paul said that the relationship of Jesus and the church is like a husband and wife.  It takes commitment to start and commitment given anew moment by moment.  Happy commitment to you. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Unlimited Partnership

(Proverbs 3:34 KJV)  Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.

I had the radio on.  I did not have my I-pod ready to go so I was forced to listen to a commercial.  The Voice wanted me to take my wealth from my storehouses and invest it in something he called a REIT.  I think it stands for Real Estate Investment Trust.  It would be managed by some of the biggest names in real estate.  I am a bit dubious because we once lost a big chunk of change in something that was called a Limited Partnership.  Then comes the kicker:  Only families with a combined income of $120,000 and $75,000 to invest need respond.  Only the wealthy need apply.

God takes a different approach.  He only has free grace to give out to the “afflicted” (6035).  Think of it as an unlimited partnership.  We come in need, He gives out of unlimited resources.  Of course there is a catch.  We are all needy but we don’t like to admit it.  That is the catch.  We must admit our lack of ability and need of a savior.

So?  Have you applied?  Have you kept your certification up to date?  God is waiting to hear from you. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Red Letter Days

(Proverbs 2:1 KJV)  My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;

It is very hard to “treasure” (6845) what I have not received.   If something is not mine I may acknowledge its value but can hardly add it to my personal inventory.  Here it is talking about “commandments” (4686) and “sayings” (561). 

For me today this is a reminder of the importance of daily worship.  I must have a time to focus on the truths and promises that God has given me in His word.  That is why I am meditating on Proverbs every day.  I must have a time where I expect to meet with almighty God.  He speaks to me by bringing to mind that which I have stored away.  I can’t always remember the exact verse and wording but that is another challenge to do a little looking and find it.

So?  Today is just another day on the calendar for most of us.  For me, and any other believer, it is a red letter day on which we encounter the Eternal and have our eyes lifted to heaven.  It is a day to remember and to add to the database for remembering.  May it be a red letter day for you. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Seeker Unfriendly

(Proverbs 1:28 KJV)  Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:

Context, context, context.  Compare this verse with the words of Jesus,
(Matthew 7:7 KJV)  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Talk about a contradiction in scripture.  Which are we to believe?  Both actually.

Jesus is emphasizing the willingness of God to respond with forgiveness to the repentant seeker.  Solomon is pointing out that God is not stupid.  He knows our hearts.  He knows when we are sincere.  He knows our motivation. 

In Proverbs you have people who have been mocking God and only get “sorry” when life explodes in their faces.  When the pressure drops so will their sorrow.  They are only sorry that they got caught.  Jesus is talking about those who are genuinely aware that they need a savior.

So?  Which are you?  Are you waiting for the crisis?  Are you planning on buying fire insurance the day after the house burns down?  It doesn’t work that way in the insurance industry.  Do you expect God to be dumber than your agent?