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, June 30, 2016

Strength vs Wisdom

(Proverbs 30:30 KJV)  A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any;

To be called a “lion” (3918) is usually seen as a compliment.  I am not sure that is the case here.  Sure the lion is powerful.  Definitely it is stately.  It is to be feared.  It is to be stayed away from.  All that being said, I don’t think I would want to be a lion. 

Why is a lion’s strength necessary?  It is vital in the day-to-day existence it lives.  Lions live in an environment of brute strength and death.  They can relax only while they are strong and are never sure where the next meal is coming from.  Also, they tend to get stuck with the less than prime cuts of meat.  Lions cull the herd.  They take the weak, sick and old.  They catch the slowest.  They get the meat that would be made into hamburger because it is too tough for steak.

So?  As Christians our goal is not to be the lion identified with power.  Our goal is in another passage where it talks about the creatures that demonstrate wisdom and nuance.  Let Jesus be the Lion of Judah.  We are to be His followers. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Poor Standards

(Proverbs 29:14 KJV)  The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.

How does God judge a society?  This indicates that leadership will be judge on how it deals with the poor, not how it deals with the rich.  Historically we don’t have much record of the poor people.  They didn’t leave stone palaces or gold dishes.  They tended to live in structures that were made of light materials and eat with wooden utensils.  They didn’t tend to be literate and so left no written records.  At the same time they made up the majority of the population.  In spite of what the movies show about warlords and dictators, the ones who built and lasted were the ones who gave the “poor” (1800b) a square shake.

We should also look at the way in which our society deals with the poor.  We should do it with an eye on God’s standards.  The measurement is not how much we give the poor but are they dealt with on a standard of “truth” (571) and justice.  We need to ask ourselves if the current atmosphere of welfare and subsidies is really preparing the poor to stop being poor.  We should not have one set of scales for the poor and another for the rich.

So?  People need just enough help to succeed if they are willing to pick up the ball and run with it.  If we bend the rules they become dependent on our largesse.  If they need to work harder they learn to stand on their own two feet.  Truth gives a level playing field.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I Need a Promise

(Proverbs 28:18 KJV)  Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.

This is a promise for me.  I will be “delivered” (3467).  Two confessions, or as they say in contracts, disclosures.

First, I am assuming that I am walking “uprightly" (8549).  Not perfectly, but as the NASB says, "blamelessly” .  Obviously it is possible.  At least it is obvious to me.  I see numerous demands for this type of life and examples.  I see people referred to that live this way.  In spite of what you may have heard, it is a doable goal.

Second, I concede that my struggles are with what we call “first world problems”.  I am not facing starvation or warlords driving around shooting anyone who invades their safe space.  I am not struggling with one of many forms of cancer.  To most of the world I live in a bubble of surplus and security.  I still struggle.  It is the human way.

So?  I have a promise.  I need to be reminded of that promise.  Maybe you do too.  If so, be reminded. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Food, Clothing and Profit

(Proverbs 27:26 KJV)  The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.

I will grant you that this is not a call to stoke up the grill and get ready for a barbeque.  It is a reminder that animals are not our brothers.  You may be a vegetarian and a contributor to the local animal shelter.  That is well and good as long as you realize that the animals were not created in the image of God.  Only men and women have that mark.

Here they are for clothing and investment.  Other places they are for food.  You have the first indication of that in Genesis.
(Genesis 9:3 KJV)  Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
Then you have the entire sacrificial system in which people are directed to eat certain parts of the sacrifice and not others. 

So?  It may not effect you.  You may already understand.  Animals are to be treated with kindness but not to be embraced as equal to people.  Just a reminder. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Let It Snow

(Proverbs 26:1 KJV)  As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.

Can modern man make it snow in the summer?  Not that I know of.  We can produce “snow” for ski slopes and spray it over the rocks.  We can make white fluffy stuff for store windows and padding.  We can produce sno-cones.  We can’t make it “snow” (7950).

Certain actions and pastimes are only appropriate at certain conditions.  I am constantly amazed to see middle school students applying deodorant in the middle of class.  Belching is considered funny.  Passing gas on demand is a real skill.  What do you expect from 8th graders?

We also should have a sense of the appropriate.  It always mystifies me why we stop in the middle of worship to shake hands with everyone around us.  I don’t understand long prayers while the food is getting cold on the table.  I am sure that God shakes His head at many things we do.

So?  Spend some time thinking about when is the right time.  Witnessing?  Quoting scripture?  Reproving?  Encouraging?  Don’t try to snow on someone’s parade if it is summer. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Women’s Rights

(Proverbs 25:24 KJV)  It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.

We live in an age of expanding civil rights.  Women were given the vote by the 19th Amendment in 1920.  We hear about how women are still held down and treated like second class citizens.  If that is the case, why did Solomon, a king, need to be concerned about a woman who was “contentious” (4066)?  Surely he would have had the power to deal with anyone who made him unhappy and if men had so much power, so could any peasant farmer. 

Yet the alternative is to live in a corner.  This doesn’t make sense unless you understand that the Jews, and by extension Christians, had this idea that we are made in the image of God and that each individual is special. 
(Genesis 1:27 KJV)  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Mistreatment of women was not acceptable.  Of course the same was true of slaves and animals.  You need to understand that the basic American ideal that we have of all men being created equal is Biblical.  Almost every other culture in history would reject this.

So?  Be aware of the Biblical roots of our thinking.  Revel in the fact that our book can change not only us as individuals, but also our culture. 

Friday, June 24, 2016


(Proverbs 24:33 KJV)  Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

(My Bible study software is working again so for those who notice the italics will be automatic again.)

Obviously this is not talking about  “sleep” (8142) being bad.  Sleep is a requirement of life.  This deals with sleeping when there is work to be done or sleeping to avoid a task.

We need to put the entire verse together to get the idea.  Actually you need to go to the next verse.  Not looking any further is one of the symptoms of this problem.  We find an answer that fits our needs and we don’t look any further.  Intellectually we go to sleep.  We can survive that.  If you don’t invent a better mousetrap because you took a nap, it probably won’t matter to you, even if it does to the mouse. 

Spiritually it could be a disaster.  If God is speaking to you and you hide behind a nap then the time to respond may pass.  Hopefully it is not an eternal mistake.

So?  Is God trying to get your attention?  It could be someone in need.  It could be you are the one in need.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Guest Lists

(Proverbs 23:6 KJV)  Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:

I read verses like this and think of church pot-lucks.  We tend to think of them as social occasions but there is the spiritual element of fellowship or koinonia.  We tend to think in terms of not offending but there is a warning for the associations we make.  Paul warned us,
(I Corinthians 5:11 KJV)  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
The NASB uses the phrase “so-called brother” for these people.  Is that being harsh?  Take it up with Paul, not me.

Just because someone attends the same church or claims to follow the same God does not mean that they are what they claim to be.  Of course there is the problem of judging but there is also a more common problem of no discernment.  I do not believe that judging is as big a problem as lack of discernment.

So?  Be prayerful about the company you keep.  We are required to be at certain functions but there is a difference between a command performance company party and fellowship.  Seek the latter and keep you defenses up at the former. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

And in This Corner...

(Proverbs 22:10 KJV)  Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.

There is a difference between “contention” (4066) and disagreement.  One difference is that contention is based on a different philosophy of life and disagreement is located in the details.  Thus when you have someone who wants to reject the teaching of the Bible and make allowance for adultery and homosexuality you have contention.  When you want to decide on the ritual involved in marriage you have disagreement, or at least it should break down that way.

Too often we get them mixed up.  We split the church over whether we should bring coffee into the sanctuary and call people who reject the physical resurrection of Jesus “brother”.  The Bible has a word for them, “so called brothers”.  Don’t get it confused.

So?  Learn to know what is worth dying for.  It is also worth living for.  Live your day as if you are on God’s side, not trying to convince God you are right. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

You or God?

(Proverbs 21:12 KJV)  The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.

(My software is not responding but I think I have found a source of the words in italics again.)

By comparing the KJV and NASB and considering the word in italics we come across a source of a question.  Keep in mind that good printings of the KJV have words in italics and the same for the NASB.  That is to show that the actual words are not in the original but are added for clarity.  Sometimes they also raise questions.

Notice that the KJV says “righteous man”.  The word “man” is not in the Hebrew, only the word righteous but it is a noun.  The NASB says “righteous one”. 

Then you get to the second part of the verse.  The KJV says “but God” and both words are in italics.  They are not in the Hebrew.  The NASB simply implies it is the same subject as the first phrase. 

The question?  Who is the actor in this drama?  Is it the righteous, upright person or The Righteous One?  If it is the believer, then we have a responsibility.  If it is God, we are simply reassured that He sees all and will bring justice. 

So?  Are you feeling on fire?  Assume it is a charge to you.  Are you out of gas?  Let the Lord take care of it.  Based on other verses, either response is acceptable.  Maybe a combination of the two is the real answer.  Act in obedience and trust the Lord to work it out. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Diet Bread

(Proverbs 20:17 KJV)  Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

Once again the KJV has a great phrase, “The bread (3899) of deceit (8267)”.  I am always on the prowl for foods with lower calories.  There are many packages that promise and few that deliver.  One way in which they claim to be lower calorie is to reduce the portion being measured.  If four ounces is 200 calories then cut the portion to two ounces and you have a low calorie food.  Who would have guessed that thin sliced bread had fewer calories per slice than normal?

Another way is to substitute other ingredients.  You put in fillers.  You go with something with less energy in it.  When you eat it you feel good about it.  It is “sweet” (6156).  The problem is that it doesn’t last long.  Bean sprouts can look like pasta in the right light but they do nothing to keep you going during the day.

So?  There are a lot of temporary fixes in life.  At the time they may seem like a good idea but given time they are “gravel” (2687).  I find rocks hard to chew and impossible to digest.  Jesus is the bread of life.  Substitutes are nothing but substitutes. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Follow the Plan

(Proverbs 19:14 KJV) House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.

Some benefits can be passed on to your children if you are careful.  Here we see real estate and bank balances.  We could add to this with a little thought.  Genetic health and personal habits come to mind.  Disease runs in families.  So do strong teeth.  Parents who have good character pass it on to their children.

Some things are new in every generation.  Here it notes that you cannot pass on a wife or husband to your children.  A bad choice here can cause perpetual rain on your parade.  Often a career choice can bless or curse.  What college or church will you attend?  Many areas of life are not only beyond us but are beyond any preparation that we can make.

So?  This is where trust comes in.  We follow the standards of God.  It isn’t because we are earning our righteousness but because when we follow the plan there are certain things that are produced.  Who would have known that circumcision of men would cause women to have less cervical cancer?  God knew.  I wonder what else He knows that we don’t. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Out of the Corner

(Proverbs 18:2 KJV)  A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.

Why is corporate worship so important?  Why is it better to go to church than to worship God by yourself under a tree in the forest?  This verse points out an attribute of the fool.  

A “fool” (3684) wallows in his own awesomeness.  How did the nursery rhyme go?
Little Jack Horner
Sat in a corner,
Eating his Christmas pie.
He put in his thumb,
And he pulled out a plum,
And said, "What a good boy am I!"
Jack was a fool.  He was in the midst of a celebration of the incarnation and all he could think about was how wonderful he was.

That is at the core of the incarnation.  We like to sit in corners and proclaim how wonderful we are.  We might do it on the highway by the self-centered way we drive.  We might do it in a store or restaurant thinking we deserve special service.  We might do it in church when we think we have a great song, written by ourselves, to share with the world.

So?  We need to draw from the wisdom of others not the shallow thoughts of ourselves.  Let the body feed you as you feed it. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Level or Straight?

(Proverbs 17:20 KJV) He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.

How can you tell if something is “froward” (crooked NASB) (6141)?  Sometimes it only takes a quick glance.  If you park your car and one wheel is on the curb, even the curb will notice.  But what about if one of the tires is just a little bit low?  Can you tell if your car is out of alignment just by looking at it?  It doesn’t take much to chew up your tires.

When you are hanging a picture on the wall, do you go for level or straight?  What is the difference?  Level is in relation to the gravity of the earth.  Straight is in relation to the walls and ceiling of the room.  If they are out of whack then the picture can look straight but be out of true.  In a picture that might be what you want but if you are putting in the stove top you will know if you are not straight and true.

So?  Too often we measure how we are doing based on the world around us.  If we live in crooked times, and we do live in crooked times, the standards of our surroundings are not to be trusted.  Only the eternal and unchanging will give you eternity.  You won’t find that in the daily newspaper

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Court Jesters

(Proverbs 16:13 KJV)  Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.

It is possible that speaking the truth will make you the court fool.  I don’t know if it is a fictional notion or real history but some sovereigns are rumored to give the court jester a special charge.  The obvious is to be funny and amuse people.  The not so obvious is to speak the truth to the man on the throne.  He was commanded to say things that would get others banned or beheaded.  I assume it was a frightening position to be in.  What happens if the king is having a bad day?

Any leader worth his salt has a niche for this person.  It is better to have the fool laugh at you than other people of influence. 

So?  I wonder if in a small way it applies to those of us who are not important.  Maybe we all need a person around us who will give us a gentle mocking to bring truth into our lives.  Maybe the mocking needs to be more than gentle. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

More than Confused

(Proverbs 15:9 KJV)  The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.

Solomon repeats himself.  So will I.  “Wicked” (7563) people exist.  This is not a synonym for “confused” or “diversity” or “wrong”.  This is a synonym for “evil”, “nasty” and, yes, “abomination” (7563).  You may not like the idea.  Your professor may have told you different.  It might not agree with what you were told in kindergarten.  It is still true.

There are people who are evil.

Next time you find yourself making excuses for someone rioting in the streets or on trial claiming to be innocent, use your eyes, your discernment and your God-given sense of right and wrong.  Don’t get distracted by their baby face or their mother’s tears.  Give them a fair hearing but know that evil exists.

So?  We are on the side of righteousness.  It doesn’t help when we aid and abet those who are trying to thwart the will of God. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Why Wisdom?

(Proverbs 14:1 KJV)  Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

Why is wisdom important?  I would venture to guess that most of us are willing to leave the wisdom bit for our pastors and scholars.  Maybe we would allow it for the people who really get old.  For us normal people, what is the point?  Look at the verbs.  You have two actions going on.  One “builds” (1129) and the other destroys. 

It isn’t always clear at the end of the day.  Notice that the KJV has “plucketh”.  That brings to mind women, mirrors and eyebrows.  Not exactly the end of the world.  Maybe a better picture for us would be a chicken and a cooking pot.  One by one the protective feathers of life can be uprooted.  When all the feathers are gone, into the pot.

So?  Does wisdom make a difference?  According to this the answer is yes.  Each of us should be seeking it so we can build a life instead of contributing to someone else’s dinner.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Toxic Pursuit

(Proverbs 13:21 KJV) Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.

The NASB uses “adversity” (7463) for the KJV’s “evil”.  The problem with adversary is that we sometimes look at it as character building.  In fact you can find that point of view in the Bible.
(James 1:2-3 KJV) Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance
We can grow through the hard times. 

Here it might be better to label it The Adversary, as in Satan.  Evil has a way of marking people.  It is a toxic pollution that builds up over time, like arsenic.  There is a moral handicap that dogs “sinners” (2400).  It isn’t always immediately obvious.  In fact, evil is good at covering up the damage until it is too late.  Think of the millions who have HIV because of sinful activity.  Think of the small number who received the virus through a medical procedure.  Both will be living with that potential death until life comes to an end.

So?  Spiritual evil has a cure.  It isn’t an antibiotic; it is the Blood of the Lamb.  If evil is following you, seek the cure.  If you have already been inoculated, live in thanksgiving. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Fire Spin

(Proverbs 12:19 KJV)  The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

I noticed another difference between the NASB and KJV.  One is plural and the other is singular when it talks about “lip(s)”.  If it is the singular, like the KJV has it, then we are talking about an attitude or habit rather than a behavior. 

Honesty needs to be an ingrained inclination in our souls.  We all know people that exaggerate.  In the news we call it spin.  In theology we call it interpretation.  It can be nothing but deceit.  Is it just a desire to tell a good story?  That can work well.  It is a tendency to change a few words to make yourself look better?  We have a problem.  A lie is a lie no matter how you want to explain it. 

So?  Truth is a big deal to God.  Remember that there is a special corner in the lake of fire for liars.  Honestly.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Profit without Honor

(Proverbs 11:4 KJV)  Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.

The “day” (3117) of “wrath” (5678) is assumed to be judgement day.  At least I assume that is what it means.  If that is true then again this is consistent with the teaching of the rest of the Bible.  If we are believers, living in “righteousness” (6666), then we do not live in fear of the wrath of God.  Jesus talked about this right after the well known John 3:16.
(John 3:18 KJV)  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
I think that there is often a way in which righteousness protects of from wrath on a daily basis.  I think of how often I have been standing in class simply looking at a student and he will cry out, “I didn’t do it!”  Since I often have no idea what he is feeling guilty about I will ask, “Then who did?”  Sometimes it works.  The point is that they are living in fear of wrath because they know they are guilty. 

So?  We don’t need to live that way.  Every time there is a terrorist attack the kids will ask me if I am afraid.  I tell them no, I am ready to go.  I feel that way when I am flying and the plane does something funny.  It is a state of mind created by knowing I am covered by the blood. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Choose Your Mouth

(Proverbs 10:11 KJV) The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

I like the idea of being a “well” (fountain NASB) (4726) of “life” (2425b).  I like the idea that what I say can bring healing and health to others.  I wish I could claim that it was because I am sensitive and talented.  Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.  Left to myself I am nothing but vinegar on baking soda.  Everything I touch fizzes up and flows away. 

The only hope of being different comes from being righteous and that is something I can’t do.  That is the bad news but the good news of the day is that through the blood of Jesus and the in-filling of the Holy Spirit it can happen.  In fact it is promised and assumed.  Proverbs would not talk about the righteous so often if they did not exist.  If they could exist in his day then after Calvary and Pentecost the condition is even more in reach.

So?  Don’t settle for a mouth that conceals violence.  Take the road of repentance and obedience that make it possible to be an instrument of life. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Fear Adds and Multiplies

(Proverbs 9:11 KJV) For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.

How does wisdom, the speaker here, make our lives longer?  One way is explained by the context.  Wisdom begins in a healthy fear of the Lord.  If we look at our world we have many reasons to fear and fear can be a great motivator in improving behavior.  We have all seen traffic slow to acknowledge the presence of a police car.  It used to be that children did not burp in the presence of their parents, but that is changing.  I know that being hit up side the head with diabetes gave me the motivation to lose weight.  Did I really want that Twinky and a needle or would I prefer an apple?

Another explanation is that by following the ways of wisdom we come to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  That adds eternal life to the equation.  Last time I checked >70.

So?  If you have not responded to Jesus, what are you waiting for?  If you have, the question becomes are you serious about becoming all He wants you to be. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Double Harvest

(Proverbs 8:19 KJV) My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.

We have two different products offered by Wisdom, “fruit” (6529) and “revenue” (yield NASB) (8393).  While I think that this is a literary device of repetition with variation and is not a statement of doctrine, I want to act like they are preaching points.  They show two ways in which wisdom rewards believers.

Fruit is a natural product.  It is produced by a healthy tree.  An apple tree that is functioning normally will produce apples.  Unless there is some outside influence that stops pollination and such, apples show up and grow to usefulness.  It is demonstrated by the fruit of the Spirit.

Yields make me think of return on investment.  A farmer’s field produces a yield of wheat or barley.  It is purely a result of the seed planted. 

One comes built in.  One is produced by conscientious attention to detail.  God works in us both ways.  The Holy Spirit gets things going and growing.  That is produced in our daily lives.  At the same time He expects us to use our minds and energy seeking more truth and wisdom.

So?  I hope you enjoy a double reward today.  Living in the Spirit will change your responses.  Conscious study will help you understand your world.  Happy Harvest. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Free to Channel

(Proverbs 7:22 KJV) He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;

I have never been around when an ox is led to the “slaughter” (2874) but I had an uncle that worked in a slaughterhouse.  It has always amazed me that a normal sized human being can manipulate a very large animal into a position where it can be killed.  I have seen video of cattle being herded down narrow lanes where they could only go one at a time.  Do they sense the end or are they just irritated because they are being pushed?

The idea of free will is a mirage in the pagan world.  People tend to think that they are free to live the good life and God is trying to confine them to the corral.  Some theological positions that talk about predestination tend to go along with this.  God becomes the spoilsport that takes all the fun away.  In reality it is just the opposite.  The world is on a wild roller coaster ride.  It is quite a thrill until it comes around the corner and the tracks end over a lake of fire. 

So?  Truth and choice are a part of God’s approach to us as people.  If you can’t handle the truth then enjoy to trip to the slaughter.  I remember the time I fell off a steeple.  It was a lot of fun until I hit the bottom.  Unlike the ox, that fun only took a few weeks to pay for.

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Morning Mold

(Proverbs 6:22 KJV)When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.

What are your first thoughts when you wake up in the morning?  At this point in my life I usually thank God for the absence of pain.  The literal first words in my mind are “Good morning, Lord”.  At some times in my life they would have been, “Can I go back to sleep?”  We have all asked, “Where am I?” at times. 

What is it that molds your day?  Is it your children?  You need to get them dressed, fed and off to school.  Is it your job?  You need to finish up something before you get to work.  What sets the parameters and priorities?  The recommendation here is that we let the commandments mold our day.

So?  The words of God need to become like that melody we can’t get out of our head.  That will only happen if we discipline ourselves to let the celestial song play in our presence.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Repetition Is Providential

(Proverbs 5:1 KJV) My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:

Repetition.  Again.  Do I really need to be reminded in 24 hours?  Yesterday I was meditating on this verse,
(PRO 4:20 NASB)  My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.
Notice that we have the same two verbs today.  Is it coincidence or is the Lord trying to get my attention?  Someone wiser than I once said that it is amazing how often coincidence pops up when the Lord is involved. 

So the question comes up again, am I paying attention?  I would like to say, “Are you paying attention” but that is just ignoring the whole purpose of studying Proverbs.  This morning I was listening to Alistair Begg.  He was talking about God in the ordinary and focusing on how everything seemed to be going wrong for Ruth and Naomi.  Yet God was working behind he scenes.

So?  I think we need to be reminded that God is working behind the scenes.  When the curtain is closed is the time that most of the work is done on stage.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Training Inclinations

(PRO 4:20 NASB)  My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.

(Today marks the beginning of posts in which my normal Bible software stopped working.  As a result I will not be putting the words in italics that the original KJV has.  If I find a way around it I will adjust.  If you never noticed then ignore this.)

There are two levels of spiritual growth being described here.  First you have the deliberate act of paying “attention” (7181).  This is a matter of conscious choice, moment by moment.  The Holy Spirit will activate your mind and you must make a choice to be responsive.  If you have a choice of going to a mid-week service or watching Wheel of Fortune, which will it be?  If you have a choice of visiting a sick friend or playing golf, which will it be?  The question is real and consistent.  Which will it be?

The second level has to do with our inclination.  Which way have we trained ourselves to lean?  I don’t have any trouble with pornography on the internet because I early on trained myself not to click on certain types of ads.  I learned that they led in the wrong direction.  The first click may have been no big thing but each click took you another step toward sin.  I have learned to not buy salty snacks.  I can resist sugar.  I like chocolate and cobbler.  I have no problem passing on dessert.  I can’t start a bag of chips without feeling a moral compulsion to finish it. 

So?  Train your inclinations with your conscious decisions.  It may take time but it can be done.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Display Case

(Proverbs 3:35 KJV)  The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.

Have you ever heard or read about how people come to look like their dogs?  You have probably seen it in cartoons.  I am not sure which one is supposed to be changing.  In life it works that way.  We become more and more like what we believe.  Our basic beliefs eventually are on “promotion” (display NASB) (7311).  We develop laugh lines and frown lines from years of laughing or frowning.  They are not something that develop over night.

We have been doing state testing at school.  A few of the kids want to know what they can study to do better.  The answer is simple:  Nothing.  You have been acquiring knowledge and honing skills for months.  You can’t cram it overnight.  The same with challenges like the SAT.  Consultants make millions on crash courses to prepare you.  I am not convinced they do much good except to make the consultant a pile of cash.  I do know that if we walk with Jesus we become different people. 

So?  You are on display today as you go about your business.  What will people see?  Will it be the real thing or a Rolex life you bought on the sidewalk?

Thursday, June 2, 2016


(Proverbs 2:2 KJV)  So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

This verse is an answer, not a question.  The preceding verse inquires about our goal.  Do we want to know what God is saying?  Do we want to be able to recall important truths in times of cross examination?  Do we want to be able to demonstrate righteousness in times of sordid crassness?  Do we want to know peace in times of conflict?

The answer is, act like it.  If I am training to be a swimmer I need to get in the water.  I need to schedule my day so that there will be time to get wet.  Other things must fit around it.  I must plan my day based on my priorities.  We must make choices.

In the same way we need to decide to pay attention to what God is trying to say to us.  It doesn’t do any good to have an answering machine if we never check the messages.  It doesn’t do any good to check the messages if we don’t respond.

So?  Want more of Jesus?  Then pay attention and lean in the right direction.  You never fall forward when you are leaning backwards.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Picking and Choosing

(Proverbs 1:29 KJV)  For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:

Choices and priorities.  Coincidence and probability.  Take your pick and build a life.  I keep hearing surveys that show most Americans believe in God and pray.  That should show a culture of wise choices and righteous priorities.  The evidence before my eyes shows a population taking their chances on the luck of the draw.  Someone is living in delusion. 

We know that the “fear” (3374) of the Lord is the foundation for “knowledge” (1847) and wisdom.  Obviously a person who “hated” (8130) knowledge is rejecting the Lord.  Without these ingredients you are destined for frustration, failure and, yes, hell.

So?  Life has big choices and small choices.  Make sure you base them on knowledge, not guesswork.