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.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Advice from Introverts

(Proverbs 25:7 KJV)  For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.

I tend to be an introvert.  I have grown to like e-mails because I don’t need to talk to people to communicate.  I can function in a social setting.  I can carry on a conversation.  I can stand in front of a group and talk.  I prefer to sit in a corner with a good book.  When I read this verse I cringe inside because this is a situation that hits home.

As an introvert I also have an exaggerated fear of rejection.  I have a friend and we have dinner together on occasion.  I am always amazed that he is willing to be seen in public with me because he has always been part of the in crowd and I have been one of the “oh, him” crowd.  I don’t need to be reminded of this.  Maybe you do.  If so, take it to heart.

So?  Let others lift you up.  Leave your horn at home so you don’t toot it.  If you are an extrovert this rejection might not bother you but think about your children. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Life of Leaks

(Proverbs 24:8 KJV)  He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.

How often do we hear our pagan culture praise the “mischievous person” (schemer NASB) (1167/4209).  We are currently being inundated with a series of “leaks” from unnamed sources in the administration.  Are they real or made up?  If they are real then the leaker is the schemer.  If they are false, then the reporter gets the credit.  Notice the marginal reading of the NASB, “deviser of evil”.  It isn’t a leak.  It isn’t a slick business deal.  It isn’t aggressive driving.  It isn’t creative accounting.  It is devising evil.

As believers we need to understand we serve a God of truth and holiness.  Being full of schemes or mischief is not the intent of God.  We need to understand that people like that exist.  We need to reject it for our lives and, as far as possible, for our associations.

So?  Walk in righteousness.  It is not an option but it is a choice. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

End and Future Hope

(Proverbs 23:18 KJV)  For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

What a difference a translation makes.  Note what that NASB says,
(Proverbs 23:18 NAS77)  Surely there is a future, And your hope will not be cut off.
One seems to be full of hope.  One focuses on despair. 

I like the way the NASB puts it.  As I write I just went through a retirement moment at school.  They had a cake and said a few words.  It was well done and found the right balance.  My final words could have been out of the NASB because I commented that I was still full of life but it was time to move on.  It wasn’t the end of the book, just a new chapter. 

The KJV is the most accurate.  The idea of “end” (future NASB) (319) is more of the last days.  As believers we need to realize that even if our health is bad and we are running on fumes, there is still “hope” (8615b).  For Christians that is not a vague desire for a happy ending, it is an assurance of an eternity enjoying the presence of God.  As you read this, if all goes according to plan, I will already be in Texas exploring the future and making discoveries on a daily basis.

So?  Rejoice at whatever stage you are in life.  For us the seeming end is just the first page of the next adventure. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Promises, Promises

(Proverbs 22:19 KJV)  That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.

In a better time in our history, congress decided to print “In God We Trust” on our money.  It was all the way back in 1956.  It seems like ancient history now.  Those of us who notice probably think it has always been there but it was a statement the country wanted to make.  Would we do it again?  It is hard to believe it could happen now.

If you look at the context, the reason that Israel was able to trust in God was because they had taken the wisdom of God and internalized it.  It would be impossible to trust God if we don’t know what He has had to say to us.  It would be like buying tires without knowing the size of your rims.  You might get lucky but don’t count on it. 

So?  Know the promises.  Know the Promiser.  They go together. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Go to Grad School

(Proverbs 21:22 KJV)  A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.

It seems like Christians have abandoned the market place and the city square.  I think it was Alistair Begg who said that he could not think of any verbal Christian in the mass media.  Where once the people involved in the cutting edge science and academics of the day were believers, now we seem to avoid involvement.  That is wrong. 

We should be taking the wisdom we have and vigorously applying it to the world around us.  There might be some areas where Christians would be on both sides, such as a cure for cancer or the best way to get to Mars.  That is not a problem.  What is missing from the debate is how the knowledge is applied.  Our technology is advancing double time while our ethical application is in reverse.

So?  We need to change that.  Young people need to assault the halls of learning but they need to do it with their foundations already established.  If we don’t have the fear of the Lord already rooted they will chew us up and spit us out.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

But I Didn’t Know

(Proverbs 20:27 KJV)  The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

One of the phrases I hear all the time at school is “I didn’t know”.  It applies to almost anything that a student is supposed to be doing or have done.  It is a one-size-fits-all excuse.  It also is worthless in my class.  When I have given out papers and reviewed them, repeatedly asked if any one else has the assignment, written it on the board, gone around checking and answer questions that the person making the excuse has asked, it doesn’t wash.  They knew in their “inward (innermost NASB) parts” (2315).  They know they know.  They just don’t want to admit it.

I believe that people know or have known what is right and wrong.  It is possible to be conditioned to think different but there is still a part of us that knows the truth.  Paul put it this way,
(Romans 1:19 KJV)  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
I observe this at school on the issue of homosexuality.  Kids know it is not acceptable but over the years they are conditioned.  They resist the label.  Take that and apply it to any of the sins that we make excuses for whether it be gossip or adultery.  We know because God makes us know.

So?  Don’t seek the solace of excuses.  God does not play games and He will not change the rules just because you claim you did not know. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Take Out the Trash

(Proverbs 19:24 KJV)  A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.

This is an interesting picture and a strange observation of sloth.  The KJV gives a picture of Napoleon in the classic picture with his hand in his coat.  The NASB describes someone too lazy to feed himself.  In this case the NASB is more accurate.  The “dish” (6747) of the NASB is a literal translation.  I am not sure where the KJV gets “bosom”.  Either way the picture is someone whom you would not want to take out in public.

How many problems in the world are because of laziness?  It is hard to tell.  Some people are in dire circumstances because of sloth.  Others through no fault of their own.  Some neighborhoods are run down because of sloth.  Even a poor person can pick up trash, not write on the walls, wash windows and sweep a sidewalk.  It doesn’t matter how much money you have if you are lazy.  I remember going to the apartment of a computer geek one time.  If you have ever seen the cartoon depictions of a computer surrounded by piles of pizza boxes and empty cans then you have seen his apartment.  Was it poverty?  No, it was a lack of home training and effort.

So?  Being lazy is not just a personal choice.  It is a statement about destiny and eternity.  I cast no stones but I am dodging a few. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Foresight

(Proverbs 18:12 KJV)  Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.

Have you ever had a great looking piece of fruit and taken a big bite only to find that it was bad on the inside?  Or how about the time you didn’t look close enough and you missed the little hole near the stem only to have a revolting taste.  Sometimes I don’t find the bad part of an apple until I am half way through.  The lesson is that what we see if often not what we get.

We can build castles in the sand and put out some pretty impressive designs but don’t forget the tide is coming in.  When you build your life castle with arrogance it ends up as “destruction” (7667).  We may not even notice it.  We may notice it when it is too late.  Think of the people who think the infant learning the word “no” is so cute.  Eventually they become broken adults. 

So?  We should be building our lives on the blueprints God has provided.  Our priorities or the social expectations we experience tend to be short sighted and counterproductive.  Keep it in mind as you plan your vacation or your next job.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Fire Pots

(Proverbs 17:3 KJV)  The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.

What difference did Solomon mean when he mentions a “fining pot” (refining pot NASB) (4715) and a “furnace” (3564a)?  If you look at the words there is a different meaning.  The pot seems to refer to a confined space.  The furnace can mean a pot but seems to refer more to the heating process.  Literary device or theologically significant?  Your guess is as good as mine.

Let me speculate anyway.  Some situations that spur our growth are situations we cannot get away from, like a pot.  The mix continues to bubble and causes separation.  I have heard of a process where the silver is heated and the impurities are skimmed off the top.  There are times when God is removing the problem from us.

With the furnace I think of crushed rock containing the pure gold being heated until the gold runs out, leaving the waste behind.  Sometimes God allows a situation to get overheated in order to force us to move.  There may be a situation which we are tempted to stay and battle and instead we should be doing a disappearing act. 

So which is it for you?  I can’t make that call since I am not you.  You can’t really tell me either.  We do have the Holy Spirit and the written word to give us direction.  Pray for the guidance that produces the fruit of wisdom in your life. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Pointless Practice

(Proverbs 16:22 KJV)  Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.

“Instruction” (discipline NASB) is not an automatic solution.  Someone, maybe many people, pointed out that it is not true that “practice makes perfect”.  It should be “perfect practice makes perfect”.  If you practice wrong, you reinforce the wrong things.  If you spank wrong, you build resentment and confusion. 

I remember when I first started down the road to dealing with my diabetes.  The doctor told me to count carbohydrates.  I began to count carbohydrates and I noticed a strange thing, many of the foods I really liked didn’t have much in the way of carbohydrates:  Bacon, cheese, butter.  I regulated my carbs.  I pigged out on everything else.  Needless to say things did not get better.  it was the “discipline” (4148) of a “fool” (191). 

So?  We need a solid foundation in the things of God and a heart motivation that is established by grace.  It doesn’t do much good to exercise if it just leads to bigger bowls of popcorn. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Don’t Lose It

(Proverbs 15:18 KJV)  A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.

Sin is often a distortion of a blessing from God.  Thus appetite can become gluttony.  A desire for intimacy can become lust.  Hard work can become greed.  Another form of sin is when we take qualities that are reserved for God and apply them to ourselves.  Here the KJV gives us more clarity in the translation when it talks about “wrath” (2534) instead of the “hot-tempered” of the NASB.  Although Proverbs does not seem to use it this way, the word refers to the wrath of God.  It does have the idea of hot.  God is capable of wrath without sinning.  Men don’t tend to know the line between righteous indignation and sinful anger. 

So?  This kind of strong emotional reaction is out of bounds for us.  Yes, we will experience moments of anger but as followers of Jesus we are not to allow it to get a hold in our hearts.  It is much more satisfying to rage than to turn the other cheek but understand, we are not given that option. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mock Vocabulary

(Proverbs 14:9 KJV)  Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.

You can tell a lot about people by the words they use.  It is always a challenge to understand the students I work with.  Not only do they change the meaning of known words but they make up their own.  To “dis” someone has become a mainstream term.  “My bad” is to be interpreted as “my mistake”.  On one level it demonstrates the resilience of the English language.  On another it reflects intellectual sloth.

One of the ways in which I evaluate a church is the vocabulary.  We all like terms like love, grace and forgiveness.  The problem is that we need to hear words like sin, repentance and sacrifice.  In an attempt to be accepted by the pagan culture the church is working hard to “mock” (3917b) without appearing to mock.  One way you do that is to ignore the elephant in the room.

So?  The Bible was written because of sin.  The church is made up of the redeemed.  What were we redeemed from?  Sin.  The Blood has been applied.  We can rejoice in that by not ignoring it. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

On Guard Duty

(Proverbs 13:6 KJV)  Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.

When it comes to “righteousness” (6666) some people teach that it is just a dream meant for heaven.  You hear them quoting,
(Isaiah 64:6 KJV)  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
They seem to think that this verse trumps the other 156 times the word is used in the Old Testament.  If we cannot be righteous, what is the point of this verse?

Righteousness is a gift, given by God through grace and the work of the Holy Spirit.  It is also a way of living in response to that gift.  It is a set of daily choices determined by the free will God has given us by the work of that spirit.  Without Him it can’t happen.  Without our willing cooperation it won’t happen.

So?  Be alert today.  Be alert all day.  You are on sentry duty and have an eternity to protect. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Army Wife

(Proverbs 12:4 KJV)  A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

Notice the difference in translation between the KJV and NASB.  The KJV has “virtuous (2428) woman (802)”.  The NASB has “excellent wife” with a margin note of “virtuous”.  Why the difference?  As I said at another place, the most common translation for “virtuous/excellent” is “army”.  It gets this because the word has the idea of efficiency, strength and wealth.  So I guess the wife we all need is an army wife, with apologies to the navy. 

God is expecting us to be people who have our acts together.  The vapid airhead does not fit into the picture.  In Proverbs the word for such people is simple, naive or fool.  Being a servant of the most high God requires us to have our ducks in a row and our mind engaged.  We will all be at different levels in that.  We can’t all be Einsteins but I am not sure Einstein was an Einstein in every area of his life.

So?  Seek excellence.  We will fall short but we can always be closer to the goal.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Motive Power

(Proverbs 11:15 KJV)  He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.

One of the issues with loaning money is motivation.  I am at a point where I don’t “loan” money.  I might give it to someone and encourage them to pay me back but I don’t loan it because I am sure I am not getting it back.  To some people, like my students, I tell them that I will be glad to loan them a dime when the guy I loaned one to in 7th grade pays me back.

What is destructive as a motivation is speculation.  Often people will “invest” in get-rich-quick schemes.  They think they are clever enough to make a big profit based on being smarter than everyone else.  What often results is a lesson in stupidity.  The Bible has no problem with honest business.  It encourages hard work.  Wealth can be a blessing.  It all depends on how you get it and whether it is done in righteousness or by cutting corners.

So?  Financial success can cost you your soul.  It can destroy your family.  It can drive away your friends.  It can also be the way in which God makes it possible for you to serve Him.  Examine your priorities and methods. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Sorry about That

(Proverbs 10:22 KJV)  The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

Money can’t buy you happiness.  True.  It also can’t buy you love according to the Beatles.  It can’t buy you salvation.  I can make your life less miserable.  It can make you a helper to others.  It can give you the necessities so you can pursue wisdom.  The key is how you use it and whether God blesses it.  Money is not designed to bring “sorrow” (6089a) but God is willing to let that happen if we demand it.

God’s purpose in hard times is to bring us to repentance.  Paul put it this way,
(2 Corinthians 7:9 KJV)  Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
The purpose of life is to groove us into the righteous road.  It is to prepare us for eternity so we can bless God and enjoy Him forever. 

So?  Having a bad day or has it been a bad year?  Look for the lesson, apply it and get on to the upright walk. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Salt on the Wounds

(Proverbs 9:2 KJV)  She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.

Wisdom is “prepared” (2873), so says the NASB.  The problem is that the KJV gets much closer to the literal statement Solomon is giving us.  A literal translation puts it this way,
(Proverbs 9:2 LITV)  she has slaughtered her slaughter; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table.
“Prepared” is so much more gentile and sanitary.  Give me the undiluted translation, please.  I am a big boy.  I can make my own interpretations.  Wisdom and truth are not always pretty.  They are not always achieved politely or without destroying current comfortable cultural norms.  I was tempted to put “never” for “not always” but I wanted to be reasonable. 

This is a word to the church and to us as individual followers of Jesus.  Walking in righteousness has never been the accepted norm.  It never will be.  Keep in mind that we are called to be salt and salt on an open wound is always painful.

So?  What will I be faced with today?  God will be sufficient.  My prayer for me, and you, is that I will be faithful and a useful tool of Wisdom. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Awesome Point of View

(Proverbs 8:29 KJV)  When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:

Creation.  Big Bang.  Expansion of the Universe.  Planets forming.  The Bible is not a science textbook or a peer review journal.  At the same time it is interesting how basic this is.  We don’t read about a world balanced on the back of a turtle.  We don’t hear about the exciting battles of the gods that made mountains or the perverted sexual exploits that made certain animals.  What we do read about are some basic steps in the process of an almighty God forming a universe with wisdom.

If this is just the writings of ignorant semi-barbarians where do you come up with some of this stuff.  It may be written in pre-scientific terms but it is cosmic in scope.

So?  The immutability of God is the basis for the scientific method.  The continued presence of God is the basis for hope in the midst of a seemingly chaotic and hostile universe.  Rejoice in how big God is and how focused He is. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Homebodies

(Proverbs 7:6 KJV)  For at the window of my house I looked through my casement,

I am a homebody.  I don’t need to go out and “do something”.  That is not necessarily a virtue.  If I had been Abraham my family would still be in Ur.  If I had been Lewis, Clarke would have explored by himself.  It is also not a vice.  In this passage it is the homebody, looking through his “window” (2474), who observes for us the fall of the young man who had to “do something”.

Might I suggest, since it is my inclination anyway, that we might be better off if we spent more time at home.  When I read about tragedies in the news it seems that a large number of those killed or injured would have been safe and healthy if they had stayed home and read a good book.  I accept you may be different but give it a thought.

So?  Maybe I need to get out more.  There is a balance in everything. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sin Produces Results

(Proverbs 6:33 KJV)  A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.

We have two different words, “wounds” (5061) and “dishonour” (disgrace NASB) (7036).  In a place like this I find myself wondering if this is a literary device of repetition for emphasis or does it portray two types of damage that sin can deliver.  As I say many times it is a case of both/and, not either/or.

Sin has physical consequences.  The first word here is usually translated “plague” in the KJV.  It can refer to leprosy.  How many times have people found themselves beaten, broken and even killed because they have lied, stolen or fornicated?  How often does drunkenness cause broken bones and fatal accidents?  How often does gluttony lead to gout, heart disease, diabetes and the list goes on.

So?  All physical problems are not the result of our personal sin.  All of nature is corrupted.  But in addition to the attacks our bodies get from its natural enemies is the added dimension of personal sin.  It does matter how we live.  It matters very much.  This is a thought for self examination, not having “Aha” moments about others. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Engage the Brain

(Proverbs 5:13 KJV)  And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!

Every once in awhile when I am deep in thought and driving I will suddenly become aware that I have not been aware.  Others have shared the same experience.  The car is staying in its lane.  If someone stepped out in front of you, you would hit the brakes.  Suddenly you become aware that you have not been paying attention.  You have been on auto-pilot.  I don’t know how dangerous this is.  We can do a lot through habit.  I still find it disturbing.

I have had the same experience in church.  I have had it reading a book.  I become aware that I am going through the motions but my mind is not engaged.  In our Proverbs passage the listener seems to be waking up.  He is aware of the problem.  It doesn’t say what the stimulus is.  It doesn’t say what he did about it.  It is a warning to us.

So?  This is relatively gentle.  Life could deliver a much more serious wake up call.  I need to ask myself, “Am I paying attention?”  God is speaking and He doesn’t like to waste His breath. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

DIY Resource

(Proverbs 4:2 KJV)  For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.

Where can we find “good” (sound NASB) (2896a) instruction today?  Solomon is setting himself up as a source.  He is a father who seems to have a genuine concern for his children.  He has the reputation of being the world’s wisest man.  He wrote the book of Proverbs.  Did you ever wonder why the world’s wisest man, given the gift of wisdom by God and with the power of the government behind him did not leave us a lot more?  Maybe he did but none of it survived.

This is a reminder that we are not to establish any experts as our source of spiritual information.  What survived of Solomon’s wisdom was edited by the Holy Spirit.  It was published in a form we can use.  It is available in numerous translations and languages.  The only thing lacking is for you and me to pick up the book and start consulting it.

So?  Everything we need to know for life and salvation is found in the Bible.  It is readily available.  In spite of that we keep seeking people to tell us what it says.  I have a suggestion.  Ignore me and read the chapter for yourself.  I do.  You can. 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Rejection

(Proverbs 3:11 KJV)  My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:

At what point do we “despise” (reject NASB) (3988a) a truth or a standard?  Is it immediate or gradual?  I am sure that both apply depending on the situation.  Think of all the people you know who have “come” to the Lord and all is wonderful.  Then they begin to realize that being a follower of Jesus is not just a temporary or part time affair.  Jesus wants all of you.  They begin to understand that they cannot continue living the way they have always lived.  It doesn’t even need to be because someone confronts them.  Usually it is the work of the Holy Spirit in their inner man.

And they begin to slowly reject the things of God.  The word has the idea of contempt or despising.  They find that their love of the world begins to trump their love of God. 

So?  Keep alert to the danger.  Make up your mind which way you are going to go.  If you are going to live in sin you might as well stop wasting your time.  If you are going to go the way of righteousness, don’t risk falling away.  Every day counts. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Treasure Hunt

(Proverbs 2:11 KJV)  Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:

If you look back to the previous verse you see that the foundation is wisdom.  It seems to imply that there are three things which accompany wisdom.  Verse 10 gives knowledge.  Here we have “discretion” (4209) and “Understanding” (8394).  That is quite a combination.  It is a powerful combination.  It starts with wisdom.  Wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord.

Think of the ways in which life tries to subdue us.  When I look at the headlines each day I have come to realize that what I see might have nothing to do with the actual story.  You sometimes have to read to the end to find the key paragraph that makes it come together.  Sometimes it isn’t even there.  How do you pick up on the bias of a reporter?  How do you tell if the story is just another hit piece? 

It all starts with a fear of the Lord and an engaged brain.

So?  Don’t ever stop thinking.  Don’t ever stop checking to see if what the preacher is saying is really consistent with the word.  Don’t believe anything you hear, little of what you read and much of what you see.  Truth exists but sometimes it is hiding. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Wise Measure

(Proverbs 1:5 KJV)  A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

If you were to ask me if I am “wise” (2450) I would be very modest.  It would be an act.  In my heart I have this fantasy of wisdom.  I guess it depends on the competition and how you measure. I must admit that it am surrounded by the molehills of wisdom.  I have a Pumicism that I came up with for kids telling me how good their grades are,
Being the deepest puddle on the sidewalk is nothing to brag about.
I often wonder how people can believe the nonsense that they accept without a batted eye.  Part of the difference is that I spend enough time with the eternal truth of the written word that I can see the big picture. 

In reality I have a long way to go.  I am aware of it.  God has a way of humbling us and deflating our egos on a regular basis. 

So?  I will continue trying to listen and gather.  You never know where you will find the missing piece of the puzzle in a messy house. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What Color Is Virtue?

(Proverbs 31:22 KJV)  She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

What is your color?  “Purple” (713) is mentioned here.  It was associated with nobility in ancient culture.  Sumptuary laws in the Roman Empire made it illegal for common people to wear purple.  We associate certain emotions with green, yellow and blue.  What color is a “power tie”?  Why is pink hot?  Colors can say something about your mood or your attitude.  At the same time keep in mind that some of us wear what our wives buy.

Some characteristics have a positive side as well as negative.  Take the idea of being noble.  In medieval times a noble was a social class.  They were the ones that ran everything.  The reason the term came to be used was because they were supposed to be sacrificing themselves to care for those under them.  Feudal loyalties ran both ways.  It was not only the job of the lower levels to serve when called, it was the responsibility of the higher levels to protect. 

Take Christian virtues as an example.  They can be guidelines for service.  They can also be sources of arrogance.

So?  Are you honest?  Don’t use it to beat people over the head.  Virtue is something to be grateful for not a tool of superiority. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

For Sure

(Proverbs 30:16 KJV)  The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.

When the KJV says the “grave” (7585) it is not talking about the hole in the ground with a tombstone above it.  It translates it “Hell” the same number of times.  To avoid that confusion the NASB uses “Sheol” every time.  This is a transliteration of the Hebrew.  The word refers to the underworld.  I am not sure if it is the eternal destiny of the damned as much as a holding tank before the final judgement.

However you understand it, we are reminded that physical death is certain and we need to be ready.  Kids at school will try to get under my skin by telling me I am old.  I agree and tell them I am older today than I was yesterday and so are they.  What is different is that I have no fear of getting old and eventually having my body stop.

So?  Death is certain unless the Lord returns.  But remember,
(1 Corinthians 15:55 KJV)  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
It hasn’t been that long since Easter has it? 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Speed Reading

(Proverbs 29:20 KJV)  Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

I looked through the translations and could not find the turn of phrase I wanted.  If I had the credentials I would put out my own translation.  As it is I will be forced to contentment with this blog.  I was looking for the phrase “hasty” (213) “words” (1697).  This obviously means putting your mouth in gear when you brain is in neutral, but, having been a preacher, my mind took a little jog and I saw that it also applied to our study of the written word.

I knew someone who was extremely disciplined about having daily devotions.  She had a certain amount of the Bible she would read every day.  She did it every day.  The problem is that it went in one side and out the other.  There was not thinking.  There was no storing up in the heart.  There was no application in the character.  That is why I don’t like the phrase “personal devotions”.  I think of it as “individual worship”.  Worship does not happen in an empty mind.  It involves interacting with the presence of God.  It not only means outward ritual but inward involvement.  Too often we are in a hurry to get to lunch or preoccupied with some work we need to get done that afternoon.

So?  It may not be what Solomon meant but it still applies.  Take the time necessary to be involved with the word on a daily basis.  You don’t want to be worse off than a fool.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Two Step

(Proverbs 28:26 KJV)  He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.

The Christian life involves faith and obedience.  Different traditions emphasize one or the other and come up short in the process.  Here we see both placing your faith in the right place, Jesus, and walking in obedience.  You can proof text either one.  You can preach on either one.  To reach the end of the road and find it was the right one requires both.

Truth is truth.  It does not depend on us believing it or accepting it.  It is.  If you think you are smart enough to pick and chose, you lose.  The life of faith is a walk, not an arrival.  Faith in Jesus makes it possible to get on the road.  Think of an escalator guarded by a locked gate.  You can’t get on unless you are given the key.  Once you get through the gate you realize the escalator is running in the wrong direction.  You need to start moving or you will go backwards.

So?  Are you part of the family?  Don’t try to rest on your laurels.  Get moving.  You have plenty of time.  You can make many mistakes.  You can feel a total failure.  You can live an upright life.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

I Wonder As I Wander

(Proverbs 27:8 KJV)  As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.

As I approach retirement I think of how often we see people stop working and die within a short time.  I would assume that sometimes the reason they retired was because they were failing physically and knew it.  Other times it comes as a total surprise.  I have heard it postulated that what kills them is the lack of focus.  They have no reason to get up and nothing to do for the day.  I guess they just give up.  I can understand that.  Their mind “wanders” (5074).  Their focus dissolves and their life degenerates. 

A quick look at the Hebrew word gives a clue to what is happening.  The most frequent translation in the NASB has to do with fleeing.  The definition has the idea of retreating and being chased away.  You can see that “nest” (7064) and “place” (home NASB) (4725) are parallels.  Here the KJV is more accurate. 

So?  What is your place, your home, your nest, your center?  Does the “is” match up with the “should be”?  Only one person can change that. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Fools Hope

(Proverbs 26:6 KJV)  He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.

This description would fit leaving the gospel in the hands of the disciples.  They obviously did not get the message or understand what had happened.  They had listened to Jesus for at least three years and had not heard a thing.  Have you ever been there?  His only comfort was in the final step that He knew would come.
(Luke 24:49 KJV)  And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
They did not understand this either but He was promising to send the Holy Spirit to fill them and change them in such a way that they would be able to go out and change the world.

The sad truth is that some of us have not met the Holy Spirit in power.  We have not been transformed in a way that moves us from being fools in an upper room to disciples with a message.

So?  If you are on the page, rejoice.  If not, think about it.  What was this “power from on high?  We celebrate it on Pentecost which is June 4 this year.  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Facing It

(Proverbs 25:6 KJV)  Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men:

I wonder if this is a sword that cuts both ways.  I see the direct application but to be honest, I will probably never be in a situation where a king will know I am alive.  Watching some ritual in England does not qualify for being in the “presence” (6440).  The word means “face” so we are talking about getting into the kings face.

But my thoughts are roaming to the way we might act when we are the “king” in the face of people below us.  For me it might be my students.  It might involve how you treat a waitress or clerk.  Do you lord it over the guy at the carwash?  There is a humility that we need to cultivate as Christians.  The advice here is regarding kings but it also applies to those who serve us.

So?  Apply the love of Christ in all directions. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Mouth at the Gate

(Proverbs 24:7 KJV)  Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.

Foolishness can be cured.  It usually isn’t, because one of the characteristics of a fool is refusing to admit the need to learn.  Here we see what might be the first lesson in the treatment:  Learning to keep his “mouth” (6310) shut.  It requires an awareness that there are some places where nothing you say could be of interest.

A possible extension of this that we could all learn is to say nothing when there is nothing to say.  When tragedy strikes people don’t need platitudes and cliches.  They don’t need to hear that “God has a plan”.  The pain usually drowns out the plan.  In time the believer will come to know it and you can listen but you don’t need to point it out.

So?  Be wise if you can and simply keep quiet if you are in doubt.  That covers a lot of ground.  I hope I can learn that lesson.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Celebrity Sinners

(Proverbs 23:17 KJV)  Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.

Why would a people raised on the Old Testament need to be reminded of this?  Why do we?  We have all read the Ten Commandments.  God included them twice and we still breeze through them.  Do you know what the last commandment was?
(Exodus 20:17 KJV)  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
I don’t envy my neighbor’s house or even his ox.  What gets me is the “any thing”.  That covers a lot of ground.  At times I envy his grandchildren.  I might envy his manual dexterity.  That is bad enough but there are times when I wonder what it is like to simply lust and guzzle. 

It is a dangerous road.  This morning I read about the death of a celebrity.  She was 56 and still living in the past.  She was famous in her teens and I get the impression nothing had gone right since then.  She died destitute in a trailer park.  We don’t usually hear that chapter of the story.  We look at what we can see and say, “Wow!”  If we saw the entire saga we would say, “Yuck!”

So?  I tell kids at school “because I said so” because they won’t understand my long term view of what they need in their lives.  If you don’t get the why then live with the who of your life. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Heart Songs

(Proverbs 22:18 KJV)  For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.

I know I have read this verse before but somehow that word “pleasant” (5273a) seems new.  Was it there before?  We don’t usually think of the pleasure of having God’s word memorized and stored in our heart/mind.  As I was looking at this word the homonym, 5273b, is said to mean singing.  I guess this would go along with the chorus from years ago,
You can have a song in your heart in the night,
Think of the inspiration, comfort and encouragement that can come from a verse presenting itself from the reservoir you have filled over the years.  This is a call to read and memorize the Word.

So?  It is a discipline.  I can’t say I have done well.  It has a payoff.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Active Faith

(Proverbs 21:21 KJV)  He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.

Being a follower of the Living God is not a matter of passive involvement.  It isn’t like the old Book of the Month club where you sign up and if you do nothing the next selection comes.  While grace is the free gift of God, we must be active in our holy living.  The believer “followeth after” (pursues NASB) (7291) certain characteristics.  This could be a variation of,
(Philippians 2:12 KJV)  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Relax.  This is not a command that we earn our salvation.  That is impossible.  Don’t presume.  It is a command that we walk upright and seek truth. 

So?  Find the balance between trust and obedience.  It is the way to eternal “life” (2425b). 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Scatter the Evil

(Proverbs 20:26 KJV)  A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.

To the slave every man is a king.  Sounds profound, doesn’t it.  As far as I know I just made it up.  Since we don’t live in the day of slaves or real kings we might paraphrase it, “To a new employee, every co-worker is a boss”.  As American we like to think that our liberty gives us at least a level playing field.  We like to think that no one is better than we are.  We have our rights you know.  I experience this when I have students tell me they can say anything they want. 

Society has a hierarchy.  Rank has its privileges.  What we should be praying for is leaders who exercise that privilege in a righteous way.  There are a number of places where this comes through in  Proverbs.  In this chapter we find,
(Proverbs 20:8 KJV)  A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes.
So?  I don’t expect the President, governor, mayor, principal to agree with me on what it is to be a Christian.  I usually don’t measure up to my own standards.  I can petition God to mold their hearts so they discard evil and embrace righteousness.  Pray hard. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Matter of Life or Death

(Proverbs 19:18 KJV)  Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

In this verse I need to add the NASB and work from it.
(Proverbs 19:18 NAS77)  Discipline your son while there is hope, And do not desire his death.
I struggle on a daily basis with children who are out of control.  They talk back, refuse to listen and assume that whatever gratification they want, they get.  As I write, we are coming up to open house.  Open house is a relic of the past that has no useful function.  I will still be there and some parents will show up.  Most of those who come are the ones who don’t need to show up.  They have invested their lives in their children and are seeing their investment pay off.  I always have a few that take time out of their busy schedules to find out what they can do to help their child.

“Discipline” (3256) or “chasten” as the KJV says. 

What is the one thing they are not willing to do?  “Discipline” (3256) or “chasten” as the KJV says.  It would involve a commitment of time and effort they are not willing to do.  In one class I have seven students who are supposed to bring a paper to me each day.  The paper goes home to the parents so they can check the day’s performance.  Yesterday I had one student who bothered to give it to me and he only did it because I asked him.  To be honest, the rest of the parents don’t care enough to look at a paper and sign it.  It would require them to take action.

Why is this so important?  It will keep their children from killing themselves literally or destroying their future if you take it figuratively.  It is a matter of life and “death” (4191).

So?  If you still have children who will listen, start taking discipline seriously.  As they get older the methods change but the investment is still required.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Having the Right Address

(Proverbs 18:11 KJV)  The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.

What is your “strong” (5797) “city” (7151)?  The Hebrew words are straightforward.  It isn’t a sanctuary or a citadel.  It is not a place of narrow focus.  It is a city with all of the activity that a city involves.  You know where the markets are and the best little coffee shops.  You know which direction to go when you want a thrift store and which way to church.  And you know the best routes.

A strong city involves not only safety but comfort and familiarity.  That can be good or bad depending on the city.  If we are comfortable living in pagan splendor and compromise, it is a disaster that is not waiting to happen.  If we are living upright lives, all is good.

So?  Examine your city and either rejoice or repent. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Laurels Are Not Guarantees

(Proverbs 17:2 KJV)  A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren.

When certain issues, such as homosexuality, come up at school you need to walk carefully.  The students have been brainwashed with the immorality of the world and consider the standards of God strange.  I bring this up because one of the questions I get repeatedly is, “Is your son told you he was homosexual would you disinherit him?”  They are shocked when I say, “Yes.”  We have the same kind of thinking in some branches of theology, God would never reject someone once they are a child of God.  We who are not a part of that thinking call it “eternal security” or a “sinning religion”. 

This verse makes it pretty clear that even a son can expect to be demoted if he does not walk the line.  I can see that it does not say the son is cut off or has no inheritance but it is one of many factors that says you can’t rest on your laurels. 

So?  Jesus did not die to see how many He could reject.  He wants to save as many as will come and believe.  At the same time we are called to righteousness and obedience. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Seek Wisdom

(Proverbs 16:21 KJV)  The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.

How does wisdom find its way into our “heart” (3820)?  Obviously there is the work of grace. 
(Acts 15:9 KJV)  And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
We have the phrase we use about Jesus coming into our hearts.  It is expressed many ways but God must work a miracle for wisdom to have a chance of being planted, let alone growing.

Then we need to actively seek wisdom. 
(Proverbs 4:7 KJV)  Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
It does not just happen.  Wisdom requires a desire to know the God we are to fear.

So?  As Jesus said, “Ask, seek, find”.  You might start in the book of Proverbs. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

What’s for Dinner?

(Proverbs 15:17 KJV)  Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.

There is a point here that modern Americans miss.  In that day and in much of the world today, most people could not afford meat.  When we hear that “bread is the staff of life” it is not only saying that bread has a lot of nutritional value but it also is affordable.  Most cultures seem to have some kind of product made from grain.  The only food that produces more per acre would be potatoes and they don’t store for years.

When Jesus said,
(John 6:48 KJV)  I am that bread of life.
He was reminding us that He is to be the main staple of our existence.

So there is a sense here that we are being reminded to make sure that we don’t waste our time and energy on luxury and image.  There is a reason simplicity goes with following Jesus. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Choice Labels

(Proverbs 14:8 KJV)  The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.

Before we can decide if we are “prudent” (6175) or “fools” (3684) we need to admit that both options exist.  We live in a culture that wants to deny that some people are fools.  I have frequent conversations with people in education and they tell me how “smart” they think a student is.  My polite response is, “I have seen no indication of that.”  What I want to do is either give a snarky “I don’t think that word means what you think it means” from Princess Bride or scream, “Then you must think you are the definition of smart because they seem to be on your level.” 

The Bible does not deny the existence of fools.  In fact they seem to be very common if the number of references in Proverbs is any indication.  Our responsibility is twofold:  Recognize them and don’t be one.

So?  They way to avoid the label is to know truth. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Jargon Watch

(Proverbs 13:5 KJV)  A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.

One bit of jargon I have heard in education is the term “authentic assessment”.  It seems like a no-brainer but keep in mind that jargon is often used to disguise the real meaning.  I see the deception in education.  I have come to expect it in politics and the media.  What disturbs me is that I see it more and more in the church.  In philosophy it is called “deconstruction”.  It means putting whatever meaning you want in words.  Usually it is an ego issue of putting ourselves above the eternal.

For instance the Bible clearly condemns adultery.  At the same time we have people who call themselves Christians claiming that the exception is when you really love someone.  The Bible does not give that safety valve.  We see the same when it comes to honesty in business or in figuring our taxes.  God has standards that will not admit to wiggle room.  God can forgive weakness.  He forgives when we are genuinely repentant.  For those who want to play games with the meaning of words He will have a special surprise.  Believe me, you do not want that surprise.

So?  Live upright lives.  Take the high road.  There is truth.  We are given that truth.  We are not to be editors of that truth. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Editorial Emphasis

(Proverbs 12:3 KJV)  A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.

This is an unusual verse because the KJV and NASB are almost identical.  The only difference is that the NASB says “will” and the KJV says “shall”.  It has to do with the laws of grammar.  Remember when you were young and the English teacher made a big deal about when you would use one or the other?  No?  I guess you were not paying attention.  Did it ruin your life?  Only when you were in class.

The point is that minor differences or misunderstanding don’t usually make any significant difference.  I still have a jar that goes through my body when people say they are doing “good” when the proper word is “well”.  No one else notices and we all understand what they mean.  Solomon here is not giving a grammar lesson.  He is giving a life lesson.  The point is that righteousness will provide us a solid foundation in life.  Evil will destroy us.

So?  Don’t believe what you see in the movies.  When is the last time you saw the hero confessing to genital warts?  When did the car chase with guns blazing end up with a lot of dead bystanders?  God expects us to live upright lives not to be edited by Hollywood. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Our Two Cents

(Proverbs 11:14 KJV)  Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

I notice that this is not a personal warning but a group warning.  It is the “people” (5971a) who are going to “fall” (5307).  There are no secret, hidden meaning to obscure words here.  This is a simple assurance that the wrong advice can ruin a group of people.  Pick your size.  Are we talking about a nation, a city, a church or a family?  This is an “all of the above” answer. 

I think it is implied that the “counsel” (guidance NASB) (8458) is to be grounded in the wisdom of God.  That is the one type of guidance that is missing from our culture.  The media and book stores are awash with the input of multiple gurus who want to sell us their opinions.  The one that is missing is “thus saith the Lord”. 

That is where you and I come in.  There are many times in a day when we have a chance to put in our two cents worth.  That is the moment of truth.  Will we step up and share from the wisdom God has given us or will we toe the party line and go along to get along?  Too often I must plead guilty.

So?  We live in a world that needs guidance.  It may be that it will only come from solitary and solid believers like you and I.  I pray that we will be vocal when the time is right.  Our people are depending on us. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Last Lug Nut

(Proverbs 10:21 KJV)  The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.

How does righteousness “feed” (7462a) people?  I could make a case for the literal, physical sense of the word.  It is the honest farmer and merchant that make it possible for the masses to eat well.  Look at countries that have tyrannical elites.  Think of North Korea.  Every picture you see of the leadership is filled with chubby, well fed people, yet the masses are starving to death.  Look at Venezuela.  I find it hard to believe that the top dogs are standing in line in front of empty stores. 

But the most frequent translation in both the NASB and KJV has to do with shepherding and pasturing the flocks.  It involves nurturing and caring for others.  This is the mark of the Christian in a position of authority or responsibility.  This is the glue that holds our society together.  It is a glue that is beginning to be dissolved by the pagan influences.  We are used to the idea of being salt and light, we are also glue.

So?  You may not feel you are in a position of importance but every nut and bolt has a job to do.  Sometimes it is one last lug bolt that keeps the wheel from coming off.  Be the last one doing your job if necessary. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Seeing the Obvious

(Proverbs 9:1 KJV)  Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:

You do not need to reinvent the wheel.  People keep trying but it really won’t happen.  Science Fiction has been writing about hover-craft type transportation for decades.  Although it is possible, it still hasn’t happened.  As a people we keep seeking the new and improved.  Can you really improve on a BLT? 

We see the same problem in the church.  The people who worship still have this craving for the latest fad.  We see it in contemporary worship and hear about things like being “seeker friendly”.  Trends are just that, they are trends.  That means they are temporary and will be replaced by something else.  Wisdom says that there are certain truths and principles that will never go out of style. 

So?  We can spend our lives looking for the hippest place to be seen or we can concentrate on getting in contact with the eternal.  Other places in Proverbs you will find that Wisdom is waiting and calling.  It is up to us to recognize the voice and follow. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Creative Assumptions

(Proverbs 8:28 KJV)  When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:

Assumptions.  We all have them but we don’t think about them much.  One of the basic assumptions that we should have is that God created everything.  By everything, we mean everything.  What are the first words that we have in the book organized and guided by the Holy Spirit?
(Genesis 1:1 KJV)  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
We should start our thinking there.  It doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves of that.

God also said He made us in His image, I think that includes the ability to be creative. 
(Genesis 1:26 KJV)  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
We cannot bring things into being the way God did.  We don’t have the power.  We can put things together in ways that were not laid out before us.  Art is an example.  The cotton gin is an example.  Humor is an example.  How we view our day is an example.

So?  Today is a fresh start.  We can call on the Helper to give us a different attitude about our situation.  We can see the people around us with new eyes.  We can relate to them from a new heart.  You may not be able to create clouds above but you can pull out the silver linings of the ones around you.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Learn and Live

(Proverbs 7:5 KJV)  That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.

Wisdom and knowledge have a purpose in the Bible.  They are not sought so we can pass an examination.  They are not to give us bragging rights.  They are not fill to make us well rounded personalities.  The purpose is to enable us to avoid sin and live righteous lives.

We live under grace, not law.  Everyone likes to point that out yet Jesus said He did not come to abolish the law.  He came to fulfil it.
(Matthew 5:17 KJV)  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
And what was the purpose of the Law?  To make it possible for us to live upright lives before God.  The law pointed out what was moral and what was sinful.  It gave an awareness of what God expected.  When Jesus came He finally made it possible to live upright lives.

So?  New technologies and temptations are always sneaking up on us and jumping out of the closet.  We need to deal with that.  When TV came many called it evil.  Little did they know, but the evil is not in the technology, it is in the hearts that misuse the technology.  Learn and live. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Temptation’s Template

(Proverbs 6:32 KJV)  But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.

I think this is one of those sentences where the subject is not in the actual Hebrew.  It starts with the verb and should read,
“Committing adultery with a woman lacks sense.”
What is interesting is the fact that this is directed toward men.  That tells us that men seem to have more trouble with this than women.  Just as all sin is not equal, all sin is not equally tempting to all people.

I am not really tempted to rob a bank.  I have no risk of getting drunk.  I am not sure what it would take to get me into adultery.  Gambling, however, is something that I need to keep on my radar.  You might have no trouble with poker but need to stay away from the liquor aisle in the market.  Know your temptations.  Avoid them.

So?  A boat that is tied up or anchored does not tend to float away.  It is the owner who is too busy or lazy that creates the problem.  People don’t drift away from the Lord on purpose.  Don’t get too busy to check your lines.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Choice Ignorance

(Proverbs 5:12 KJV)  And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;

Ignorance is a choice in our modern age.  It is possible that in the past people had no way of knowing truth.  Think of the peasant classes of many cultures.  Most were bound to the land and could not travel without permission of their lord.  Most could not afford to travel if they were free to do so.  And how would they get home?  I am sure you have known people like that.  Perhaps you are one of them.  They get to driving and suddenly realize that they are totally lost.  Why?  Because they have not been paying attention.

I know that I get lost much easier when someone else is driving.  When I am behind the wheel I can remember the turns because I made them.  I know which are necessary and which are not.  My wife sometimes drives me to work when a car is in the shop.  I know where I am going.  I know where I was but if I close my eyes for awhile and then open them I might not know where I am because she takes a different route every time depending on her moods.

So?  One lesson from this rambling is that we need to do our own spiritual navigation.  It isn’t enough to go to church once a week or less and expect to know where we are.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Sons Are Children

(Proverbs 4:1 KJV)  Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

Translations matter.  Each individual translation has a philosophy.  When the Living Bible first came out I was able to read it, use it and enjoy it in spite of its inaccuracy.  Why?  Because we understood it to be a paraphrase.  The NLT and NIV I only use when I have no choice because they are paraphrases in my mind but they won’t admit it, and I can’t trust what they say. 

This verse is a good example of the issue.  Notice how the word “sons” (1121) [ben] is translated.  Chapters 2-7 all have the same Hebrew word.  The NASB always translates it “son” while the KJV translates it “children” in this place only.  The CEV usually uses “children” except in chapters 5 and 7.  Why the differences?  In all the other places it is singular and possessive.  Here it is plural and more generic.  The NASB goes for strict accuracy.  The KJV changes to show the plural, which is acceptable.  There is a good reason because the plural use often is gender neutral.  The CEV prefers the politically correct word, ignores the plural and arbitrarily uses the correct word a few times.  Which approach do you prefer?  Conforming to constantly changing cultural norms does not live up to the level of inspired scripture for me.

So?  Chose your translation carefully.  The Holy Spirit can speak to honest minds and open hearts no matter what translation you have but don’t make it harder than it needs to be.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

But I Don’t Have a Barn

(Proverbs 3:10 KJV)  So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

One of the problems that Bible believers have is that if we follow the teachings of scripture and live the way God wants us to live, prosperity follows.  It just does.  A convert spends less money on booze.  A believer becomes less of a glutton.  His health improves because he no longer lives in destructive ways.  His business becomes more stable because people find they can trust him.  These are natural benefits of living a godly life.  In addition to that you have all the times that God shields and protects you.  Why is that a problem?  Because it leads us to trust in our prosperity instead of Jesus. 

Are there exceptions?  Of course.  Nothing in the Bible is knee-jerk reaction.  God is not a vending machine that requires the right change and pushing the correct buttons.  We are promised persecution.  If the Perfect Lamb of God could have the police after Him, why would we expect less?

So?  The promise still stands.  Our lives are richer in material and immaterial ways.  Our hope is assurance, not wishful thinking.  Our failures are covered by the adjustments that only God can make.  If you consider the Biblical meaning of prosperity then there is a prosperity gospel. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

When? For? Because.

(Proverbs 2:10 KJV)  When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;

You may have noticed that there is a slight difference between the KJV and NASB.  It is in the word beginning this verse.  The KJV has “when” (3588) and the NASB has “for” which the reference does not number.  Either one is acceptable.  The most common translation in the KJV is “because” (460x).  This is part of series of if/then statements.  This one starts in the previous verse.

In the previous verse it talks about righteousness, justice and equity.  All of those would fit into a good political speech.  How can you be against justice and equity?  Actually it is easy when you have not had a heart transformed by “wisdom” (2451), a heart that grapples with a fear of the Lord, a heart regenerated by grace.  If you will pardon a silly comparison, I can never understand what it is like to go through menopause.  I will never have the capricious hormones involved.  Talk about it sure; understand, never.

So?  Rejoice that God has begun the good work in you.  If you can’t rejoice then maybe you need to check to see if you have begun the journey. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Think Young

(Proverbs 1:4 KJV)  To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

Why does Solomon single out the “young man” (youth NASB) (5228) as needing “knowledge” (1847) and “discretion” (4209)?  We need to be careful in assuming that advice given is only for a small demographic.  If you go to the last chapter and read the praise heaped on the perfect wife you will find that much of what is said should apply to everyone.

One reason for youth is he is talking to his son.  He does not want the boy to wait until he is old to get an education.  So he naturally puts it this way.  The Hebrew word is usually translated “young man”.  The young is consistent.  The male part is common but not required.  The KJV is more accurate here. 

One reason is that old people have a hard time listening.  I know because I am one.  I get to the point where I feel like I have heard it all.  Most of the people I listen to are ignorant, naive or evil.  My age gives me the benefit of years of experience in which to judge.  That can also be a curse because I might not listen when I should.  “Curmudgeon” comes to mind. 

Why is it when it comes to fashions and trends everyone wants to be young but when it comes to learning and growing we figure we have arrived.  Of course that could be another trait we are getting from the youth of today.

So?  When it comes to having a mind like a sponge, think young.  When it comes to cutting through the chaff to the wheat, remember that you are a saint.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Happy Leach Day

(Proverbs 30:15 KJV)  The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough:

I have lived most of my life in Southern California.  It is semi-arid with no places that I know of where a “leech” (5936) would thrive.  I only heard about them on vacation and I am not sure if I have ever seen one in real life.  They are bloodsuckers.  They live by pulling the life blood out of other creatures.  My understanding is that they never let go, even in death.

We run into people like that.  They don’t want to give.  They make no contribution.  All they will do is demand and take.  Our modern welfare system has been guilty of creating a whole class of people who have developed an attitude that we have an official title for:  Entitlements.  I am in the process of signing up for Social Security and Medicare.  They are entitlements.  We think we deserve them.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Most of us have paid into the system for years and feel like we are entitled to some fulfillment of the contract.

Our welfare system goes beyond that.  It starts with the best of intentions.  The purpose is to help people in need.  That is good.  The problem is that it quickly moves from aiding the needy to rewarding sloth and indolence.  When charity was in the hands of the church there were natural safety features that encouraged people to get back on their feet.  In the government system the tendency is the other direction.  What would happen if the social workers of the world were suddenly successful?  They would all lose their jobs.  Can you spell “conflict of interest”?

So?  As Christians we need to find the line between giving people what they want and giving them what they need.  Rarely are they the same thing. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Pick a Category

(Proverbs 29:19 KJV)  A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.

“Slave NASB” (5650) or “servant KJV”?  To us they are two different concepts but in the Old and New Testaments they are interchangeable.  Part of that is a view of social class that was different.  Part is an understanding that we are all in submission to something.  Modern Americans with their John Wayne, macho mind set tend to think that we are totally free.  The Bible does not look at it that way.  In the Bible the masses are controlled by sin.  That is why the world is in a handbasket on a journey.  The only hope is to submit to the lordship of Jesus.  As Jesus Himself said,
(Matthew 6:24 KJV)  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
The only way to belong to Jesus is to give Him your heart, soul, mind and strength.  Words alone won’t cut it.

So?  Whom do you serve?  Who is your master?  Don’t be afraid to be a slave.  You are anyway.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Beware the Proud Heart

(Proverbs 28:25 KJV)  He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.

Arrogance is one of the sources of “strife” (4066).  It is of interest to me that this is the same word that is repeatedly translated “contentious” when referring to wives that trouble a marriage.  Some people are so full of themselves that they have only one mode and that is the demand to have their own way and everyone else is wrong.  This obviously leads to a lot of friction.  In a marriage it is deadly.  In other relationships it is divisive and destructive. 

Unlike marriage, you can often walk away from the arrogant person in every day life.  You can move to a new home, get a new job, change churches and so forth.  The reminder for us is to work at not being the “arrogant” (7342) one in a social contact.

So?  I am not sure how to tell if I am arrogant.  Like going senile, you are probably the last to know.  I would suggest taking it seriously when someone tells you to come down off your high horse.  Give it serious thought.  It could be that they are the arrogant one trying to manipulate you.  It could also be a moment of sincere rebuke that needs to be prayerfully considered. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Soul Food

(Proverbs 27:7 KJV)  The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

This is a verse about balance.  Notice that two souls are held up for sampling.  I say “souls” instead of “man” (5315) because that is the word.  The KJV is more accurate here.  The Hebrew is “nephesh” which is usually translated “soul”.  This is referring to the basic inner nature or core of your being.  The two examples are extremes.  The word is to not be in either extreme.

What is the problem with extremes?  They drive us to make bad choices.  They jumble our priorities.  Here the example is one we can understand.  We know what it is to eat so much of our favorite food that we don’t want any more.  We know what it is to be ready to eat anything.  The principle is one that should be applied to every area of our lives from leisure to purchases.

So?  Keep your eye on the center line.  Pretend you are on a narrow bridge in the fog and all you can see it the yellow line outside your window.  They usually don’t lead you over the edge.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Word to the Not-Wise

(Proverbs 26:5 KJV)  Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

“Fools” (3684) need to be kept in their place.  I am sure there are many ways to do it but this verse seems to be telling us not to encourage their foolishness.  This seems to be calling for us to get aggressive about keeping them from running away with the show.

What do you do when the fools outnumber you?  What do you do when they are in charge?  We can’t be aggressive in those circumstances but we are still called to be honest.

So?  Pay careful attention to your situation.  Truth does not change.  When people will listen does. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

All Around Righteousness

(Proverbs 25:5 KJV)  Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.

I don’t know how you read this without thinking of politics.  We all have a tendency to evaluate how our leaders are doing based on our personal opinions.  We assume our personal opinions are the best because they are ours.  We interpret the standards of God for our own convenience.  While we do that righteousness still exists.  Right and wrong still exist.

We don’t seem to be able to get leaders who do more than pay lip service to eternal standards.  They go to church and live life as it pleases them.  We should be encouraging them to pick the right people for support.  If we could surround the president with godly people then the advice would keep pushing in the right direction. 

So?  The presidential election is behind us but we have lot of voting at different levels that is still to come.  Keep praying and voting.  Be salt. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Asking for It

(Proverbs 24:6 KJV)  For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.

Life is full of conflict and challenges.  We have phrases such as “battle of the bands”, “gas war”, “conflict resolution” and many others that point out the competition in a free society between people with different priorities and values.  Some may be just as insignificant as what to have for dinner.  Others may involve surgical procedures.  As Christians we are not above making mistakes or needing the advice of others.

It is not a sign of weakness to seek counsel.  Often it is a sign of wisdom.  We often take input without thinking about it.  We read body language and tones of voice.  Other times we have to make a point of asking serious questions.

So?  In regard to the Lord we are told to ask, seek and knock.  That can sometimes be done when we seek the accumulated wisdom in other believers.  It doesn’t make us less, it makes us more. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Rejoicing in Righteousness

(Proverbs 23:16 KJV)  Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.

We “rejoice” (5937) about many things.  We rejoice when others share what God is doing in them.  We rejoice when a healthy child is born in our family.  When someone speaks truth and supports what is “right” (4339) we tend to be surprised and shocked.  This is reminding us that we need to be a little more excited when it happens.

I think that one aspect of this rejoicing is thanks.  We need to thank God for bringing forth a brave witness.  Maybe if we get thankful we will see more of it.  Another thing we need to do is let the person who took a public stand know that we are supportive.  Encourage the speaker of righteousness.

So?  This is not pushing for us to make a statement as much as recognizing it when someone else does.  When it is our turn maybe they will step up to have our backs. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Hearing Aids

(Proverbs 22:17 KJV)  Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.

I have heard people discuss the difference between the words “hear” (8085) and “listen”.  One is considered the physical ability, in other words, your ears work.  The other involves having your mind actively engaged to bring your conscious awareness into the process.  This difference points out you can hear a sound without listening to it.  In looking at this word I find that the NASB translates it frequently either way.  The KJV only uses “listen” once but uses “hearken” frequently. 

The point is that the Bible expects us to do more than acknowledge the existence of wisdom.  We are to engage our minds with it and apply it.  If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there does it make a sound?  If wisdom is spoken and no one listens, is it wisdom? 

So?  God holds us accountable for what is available.  People may claim that they never had a chance to respond to the gospel.  I would say that their hearts were already made up because they would not listen to the words that would draw them in.  We need to make sure that we do not turn off our conscious listening to the direction of the Holy Spirit in our walk of faith.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Pencil Economics

(Proverbs 21:20 KJV)  There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.

In discussions on economics, often disguised as “poor me”, someone pointed out to me that it isn’t how much you make that is important but how you spend what you have.  It is very easy to fall for the current political mantra that we are poor because someone else is rich.  It is ________’s fault.  Whether you put in Donald Trump, George Soros, Bill Gates, or your landlord depends totally on your political views and honesty.  The real difference is the wisdom or foolishness of the spender.

I see the pattern developing everyday at my school.  I have students who come to class everyday and need to borrow a pencil.  I don’t mean the kid who had a hurried morning.  I mean literally every day.  It doesn’t matter how many times you give him a pencil, he will not have one the next period.  Why?  It is a shortage of pencils?  Is it a plot by rich capitalists to keep him ignorant?  No.  It is because his foolishness “swallows” (1104) it.  Here you can lay it at the feet of irresponsible behavior and a lack of effort.  Any way you want to slice it, if he had a house full of nice things they would be trashed in short order.

So?  Be on the lookout for people who deserve your help.  They will never ask but that does not mean the need is less or your need to help can be ignored.  Do not reinforce foolish behavior. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bearing

(Proverbs 20:25 KJV)  It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.

We come across another place where the Hebrew gets different translations.  The KJV talks about “devoureth” (3216) and the NASB says “say rashly” (3886b).  In the Hebrew, as far as I can tell the word is written exactly the same in both places but often the same word can have different meanings.

Take for instance the English word “bear”.  What does it mean?  It all depends on context.  First, is it a noun or a verb?  That makes a difference but in the Hebrew our word is a verb.  Okay.  So are you bearing a load, bearing left or bearing a child?  Do you see the problem?  In situations like this I like to consider both in order to come to an understanding.

That is part of the point.  It is often necessary to wait for meaning to develop.  Sometimes that is just matter of pondering.  Sometimes it is purely time. 

So?  Don’t make major decisions on the spur of the moment.  Often time and thought will reveal nuances that you had not taken into consideration. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Live in Fear

(Proverbs 19:23 KJV)  The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

“Fear” (3374) and “life” (2425b) are linked.  That may seem strange to us in our modern civilizations.  Our ancestors would understand the link much better.  Start with the hunter-gatherer level or even the nomads of the Bible.  A healthy fear kept you alert for danger.  An awareness of potential tragedy was the impetus to take extra precautions and have emergency plans.  Even today we have earthquake drills and such, just in case.  Caution can lead to less pain and suffering.  I remember the header I took down some stairs and the miracle I was not permanently damaged.

In looking at the transliteration of the Hebrew word is seems to be the word used in Fiddler on the Roof in the song that comes back to the phrase “to life”.  The idea in the movie is that there is a joy and exuberance available.  It revels in the idea that we are not just animals looking for the next meal or amoebas with an urge to divide.

So?  Live in fear.  It adds value to the day. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Name It and Claim It

(Proverbs 18:10 KJV)  The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

The significance of a “name” (8034) has been lost.  I guess maybe I should say that the loss of respect and courtesy are reflected in how the current generation uses names.  I don’t watch TV unless the choice is TV or divorce.  Even then it is a close call.  One of the things I think I have seen on TV is children who call parents by their first name.  Every once in awhile I have a kid who asks me my first name.  I always tell them, “To you, it is ‘Mister’.”  If they ask my middle name it is “and” as in “Lord and Master”.   They don’t like it but there it is.  Names have power and modern culture is about getting power.

It is a step toward the destruction of a stable society.  If we cannot show proper respect for parents and social positions as teachers then we become a barbarian culture where the biggest muscles, sharpest sword and quickest draw become the order of the day.  It eventually moves to the level of rejecting God.

So?  Strive to understand the significance of God.  We are told to not take His name in vain.  Even if you say something like “God bless you” make sure it is a genuine expression of concern, not just a fitting phrase. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Maybe You Are Not the Problem

(Proverbs 17:1 KJV)  Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.

I wonder if this is an invitation to divorce or separation?  I hardly think so when you take in the context of Proverbs and the entire Bible but what does one do when you are in a covenant with strife?  A big question is “How much responsibility does a person have for the tenor of a home?”  Is it my fault?  Am I the jarring note in our marital symphony?

Since there is a good chance it is me, I need to ask the question.  I need to be open to correction and improving my attitude.  We need to have 100 cheeks to turn and a thousand extra miles to go. 

There is also a chance it isn’t me.  I also need to be open to that.  This is where grace and the power of the Holy Spirit can help us to have the tranquility of heart that can give us peace in the middle of strife.

So?  Ask the hard questions.  Make the changes.  Ignore the barbs that are not deserved. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Roots of Sunday School

(Proverbs 16:20 KJV)  He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.

One of the contributions of believing Christians to our culture is a goal of universal literacy.  Not only have Protestant churches been on the cutting edge of higher education but they have been working to educate the masses.  Think about the Ivy League colleges.  Harvard and Princeton were started to educate ministers for the church.  Even USC was started as a church sponsored college.  The original purpose of Sunday School was to educate the children of England who were growing up illiterate because of the institution of child labor.  Sunday was the only day they had off so believers started Sunday Schools.

The emphasis was on each believer being able to read the Bible and understand for himself what God was saying.  Each was to be able to “handle wisely" (give attention NASB)” (7919a) the “word” (1697).  The NASB which gives it better than the KJV here.  It is interesting to note that the expectation of being able to read the scripture goes back to Old Testament times.

So?  Rejoice is your ability to read.  Allow that to be a channel in which the wisdom and direction of God can move through your eyes and mind to your heart. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Little and Great

(Proverbs 15:16 KJV)  Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.

As I approach retirement this strikes a bell.  One of the accepted truths is that you have less income when you retire than when you are working.  I expect that will be true in my case.  We are running the numbers and I can see I will not be buying a new Lexus soon.  That doesn’t mean much to me because I would not have bought one anyway.  I am acutely aware that I will be doing better than many people who have worked all their lives.  I didn’t plan it that way but the paths I feel the Lord led me down put me here with a teacher’s retirement instead of the social security that my dad had.

My father was self employed and not a great businessman.  He was a model of integrity and never lacked for work.  His example raised four sons of integrity.  He never had a lot but he had enough.  My mother lived on social security and was able to keep her head above water.  With that example I know that life can be good regardless of the income.

So?  God will provide.  It may not be the way I would have planned it.  It will be enough to live a blessed life.  Thanksgiving in April is always a good thing. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Fool Antidote

(Proverbs 14:7 KJV)  Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.

How does one follow this advice?  I find that I am surrounded by fools.  Keep in mind that wisdom starts with a fear of the Lord and the vast majority of people you rub elbows with have no fear of the Lord.  That means no wisdom.  That means fools.  They may be afraid of crystals, breaking a mirror, death or zombies but they have no fear of the Lord.

The first step is to accept it.  It is not being judgmental to acknowledge that the majority of people you meet don’t have a clue to the real values of life.  It is a simple fact.  They can still be nice neighbors, compatible co-workers and a great second baseman for the softball team.  While you are cheering the team on remember that it isn’t wisdom you are exhibiting but hospitality. 

So?  Saturate yourself with wisdom.  Tune up your fear.  Make the eternal ooze from your spiritual pores.  If you can’t get away from them you can at least leave the smell of righteousness. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Fat Worship

(Proverbs 13:4 KJV)  The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

How does this apply in regard to worship?  I have approached it this way before but it grabs me this way again because I am struggling to find a place to worship.  In my heart I know that I can get something from the most boring worship service.  I know that my attitude has a lot to do with it, but....

It is hard for me to get into the “song of the week” style of contemporary worship.  We have “worship leaders” who think that the words they came up with this week trump Isaac Watts, Fanny J. Crosby, Graham Kendrick and so many others who are genuinely gifted in worship music.  It has been a long time since I have heard a piece of music that is new to me that grips my soul and motivates my heart to sing.  I don’t think the problem is in me.

So?  I am grateful for my I-pod and other devices that allow me to worship at any time.  Sometimes I feel really fat just driving in my car.  I only wish I could have that experience in corporate worship.  I will continue to try. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wicked Is As Wicked Does

(Proverbs 12:2 KJV)  A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.

How do we recognize the difference between the “good” (2896a) and the “wicked” (evil NASB) (4209)?  I will concede that it is sometimes hard, hard enough that we are told not to judge.  At the same time we can recognize actions and whether they are good or evil.  We can tell whether they build up or destroy.  We can tell whether they conform to the clear teaching of scripture or violate it in principle and detail.

In short we can often tell the good from the bad by observing actions.  If someone is living in sexual sin, whether it be adultery, pedophilia or sodomy, we know that they are devising evil.  It really doesn’t matter how much they claim to love Jesus. 

So?  There are times to draw a line and defend it.  Standing up for God’s principles is not judging.  Condemning someone else for what you do in secret is.  We can know the difference. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Glaze Meters

(Proverbs 11:13 KJV)  A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

The obvious application here has to do with gossip.  It occurred to me today that this could also be applied to a person who reveals too much of their own personal information.  Who really wants to hear all the “secrets” (5475) you have to offer about your own personal thoughts? 

The most common offense in this type of behavior would be the organ recital.  As I get older I have more aches and pains.  When I get together with other geezers we find common ground and get into a quid pro quo of ailments.  That may work with some people but since I don’t like to hear about their latest visit to the podiatrist it doesn’t work well with me.  I must learn patience with them but more important must learn restraint for myself.

So?  Develop a glaze meter.  Watch people’s eyes to see when they start to glaze over.  It is not hard to exceed the limit of someone’s TMI index.  I sometimes wonder if God gets tired of our griping. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Silver Standard

(Proverbs 10:20 KJV)  The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.

This is a strange comparison, or should I say contrast:  The “tongue” (3956) and the “heart” (3820).  James talks about the tongue being one of the least parts of the body and yet here we have it being linked with silver.  We need to take note of that as we set the priorities in our lives.

The idea is echoed in Paul’s discussions on the spiritual gifts.  We have a tendency to put people in a hierarchy and treat them based on our judgement.  God, on the other hand, looks deeper and wider.  We don’t have God’s x-ray vision, true.  We do however have the standards that He has given us.  For instance, we know that righteousness is more important than money in the bank.  That means that it is more important to tell the truth than get the account.  It is a matter of uprightness to not be considered “with” it so that we can stay on the straight and narrow.

So?  You may be rejected today.  Make sure it is the smell of righteousness they are rejecting, not just your attempt to save water.