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.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Snow No Fear

(Proverbs 31:21 KJV)  She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

I live in an area that seems to have a similar climate to Israel and it has never occurred to me to be “afraid” (3372a) of “snow” (7950).  I guess it could cause a problem but only if I go looking for it.  As I write the mountains above me are covered with snow and I saw some hail in the past month but unless I get lost or deliberately drive into the mountains, it is no problem.

Which brings up the question of how much trouble we could avoid if we simply took the time to think and plan.  You can’t avoid taxes, true, but you can keep your receipts and accurate records.  You may not be able to avoid the flu bug but you can reduce the chances of illness by keeping your hands clean.  Most of the people I know in crisis are there because they have made a series of bad decisions, usually a very long series.  The time to start acting with wisdom is now.  The place to begin is with the fear of the Lord.

So?  You can’t avoid it all.  Sometimes, no matter what you do, you can’t avoid disaster.  You can make it hard for the bad times to bring you down.  You can also trust in the Lord and know no fear. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Food Chain

(Proverbs 30:14 KJV)  There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.

We have the predators in our culture and we have the victims.  This points out that there are those who seek out the weak and disadvantaged and target them.  In other verses it talks about being concerned for the poor and seeing that justice is done.  Yesterday the idea of rights ,or fair judgement, was referenced.  There are two reminders for us.

First, there are evil people out there.  It is a dangerous world and jackals are looking for the weak members of our community to drag down.  They may do it through legal means or through threats of violence but it is still destructive.

Second, we as Christians are to be champions of the weak and helpless.  Some of that is taken care of as we work together in our churches.  Some is by being salt.  Some is by political action.  Any way you want to frost the cake we are to make a difference for the weak.

So?  Live it and apply it.  Make it a natural part of your day. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Rights Cause

(Proverbs 29:7 KJV)  The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.

The KJV talks about the “cause” (1779) of the poor.  The NASB uses the word “rights” (1779).  The KJV does not use the word “rights”.  That is probably because it was translated in a time of Divine Right of Kings and common people did not really have any rights.  When modern people think of rights they think of something that they have coming to them.  In the Bible all we have coming to us is hellfire and brimstone.  Grace has no room for rights.

We need to get a Biblical grasp of rights.  We live in a day when everyone talks about their rights.  In the Bible it means justice.  That means, as Proverbs repeatedly says, that when you pay for a pound of wheat you have the right to a pound of wheat.  It does not mean that you have freedom of speech and definitely not freedom of religion.  By implication it would mean a fair trial but not by a jury of our peers. 

So?  As followers of Jesus we have duty, we do not have privilege.  We do not have rights we have the responsibility to treat people justly according to the law of God. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Guilty as Charged

(Proverbs 28:24 KJV)  Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.

Some people say that America has never been a Christian country.  If you require a population that is 100% converted and walking in righteousness, then no, we haven’t been.  If you mean a country that has been based on Biblical ethics and justice, then yes, we have.  The sad thing is that is changing.  People have committed adultery since the dawn of time.  People still commit adultery.  The difference today is that people are starting to say, “No big deal.”  We have come up with this nonsense of “victimless crimes”.  Politicians have always been on the take but now there is no shame involved.

We are surrounded by a culture that denies their actions are sin because they do not believe there is sin or sinners.  That is bad enough but this thinking is permeating the church.  The word evil is not used in this verse but it appears several times in this chapter.  This kind of thinking is evil.

So?  I don’t expect to be prefect.  I don’t expect you to be flawless.  What I believe God expects is for us to be willing to call a sin, sin.  Confession is part of repentance.  It is necessary for the application of grace. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Cutting Remarks

(Proverbs 27:6 KJV)  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Some “wounds” (6482) make us stronger.  Maybe we need to expand the meaning of wound.  When the nurse pokes you with the needle she is wounding you but the purpose is a medication to heal or protect.  When the surgeon puts the scalpel to your skill he is going to wound you but the purpose is to get to the problem that cannot be seen.

If we are “faithful” (539) there are times when we will need to be spiritual nurses or surgeons.  We need to make sure our attitudes are right.  I am not sure I would want to get a shot from a nurse who was gleeful for the opportunity.  I would not want the doctor to have that look in his eye that tells me he thinks this is fun.  They would also explain what they are doing and why.  Maybe we should take that as guidance.

So?  There are times when we will need to speak with painful candor.  If done properly it will definitely hurt us more than it hurts them. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Diamonds in the Rough

(Proverbs 26:4 KJV)  Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

We are looking at the bonding and application of several qualities.  We are looking at an attitude of love with a background of knowledge and wisdom, measured by discernment and applied with power.  None of these words are used here.  All are implied.  Without them you are whistling in the dark without lips.

We must not respond to individuals or social expectations in the same terms of the secular pagans.  They run the newspapers, TV stations, educational system and most offices of government.  They have rejected the standards of God.  They think they are smarter that people who accept the God of the Bible.  It may be true.  They may be smarter.  What they are not is wiser.

So?  We are the ugly ducklings.  We are the quarter you occasionally find that is old enough to have silver in it.  We are the frog waiting to be kissed.  We are children of God in a perverse generation, or we should be. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Demanding Tense

(Proverbs 25:4 KJV)  Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.

If this were in the Greek I would want to know if the verb was in the present or aorist tense.  Is this an ongoing process or a one time action?  Is this the process of sanctification or the act of being sanctified?  Interesting linguistic questions but I don’t know Hebrew well enough to give an opinion.  Actually I could give an opinion but it would be a “guess”-inion. 

What is clear is that this is declaratory.  It is a command, not a request.  It is a demand, not an option.  “Dross” (5509) is pollution.  It must be removed.  Culturally this is a call on the church to be prophetic and call out evil.  Personally it is a statement that we are to be growing in grace and purging our lives from anything that keeps us from being what God wants us to be.

So?  The script is written.  The stage is set.  Repentance, humility and change are in the lines.  Will you read them as an entertaining play or live them as reality? 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Political Action

(Proverbs 24:11 KJV)  If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;

This verse reminds me of why Christians need to be involved in the political process.  We are to be prophetic.  We are to advocate the position of righteousness.  If that means we are to try to legislate morality, then so be it, but not at the expense of speaking the truth.  We are surrounded by people who are “ready” (staggering NASB) (4131) toward being “slain” (slaughter NASB) (2027).  They are doing it individually but also as a culture.  Too long have we hid behind the veil of being nice and not offending. 

As I say this I need to stress that our main influence on our culture is not political.  We are to be involved in prayer and supplication.  Intercession is our primary weapon.  We are not to use the tools of the pagan with violence in the streets and subterfuge in the back rooms.  We are also not to use our prayers as an excuse to be silent.  We are blessed with residual freedoms dug out by a previous generation.  We are to use them.  We are also to live them on a daily basis.

So?  Live in righteousness.  Vote in righteousness.  Speak in righteousness.  We are to be salt and salt on an open wound hurts. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Take the Long View

(Proverbs 23:15 KJV)  My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.

What do you wish for your children?  It is a question to be asked when they are young but the goal should never disappear from before your heart.  One of the struggles I have with parents, other teachers and school administrators is what we wish for the children we work with.  Most of what they want for them involves how the kid feels about themselves for the next twenty minutes.  It is all about feelings and self esteem.  I run into conflict because my focus is where they will be in twenty years.  It makes a difference in how you treat them and what you expect from them.

Here the goal is wisdom.  I can think of a passage that wishes many children.  Proverbs also seems to think a wife is good for a man.  Nothing comes to mind in regard to being rich or powerful. 

So?  Being poor and hungry is not a great place to be but lacking wisdom is a greater failure.  A neighbor can give you a loaf of bread.  No one can chose your priorities. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How Long Is the Second Mile?

(Proverbs 22:16 KJV)  He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.

How far are you willing to go in order to become rich and powerful?  This reflects on the tendency to manipulate and use people for your own ends.  On one end you have oppression and on the other bribery.  The goal is selfish achievement.  This is not God’s way and it cannot be our way.

We are to treat people as befits creations of God.  Things like wealth or social standing should not change the element of courtesy and consideration.  While it is true that their behavior may generate different responses from you, there are limits.  I have a student in mind.  He never brings anything to write with.  Every day he expects someone else to supply what is his responsibility.  I was helpful for a few days but after a time refuse to help any more.  It isn’t because he is poor.  It is because he is lazy and selfish.  By now the class won’t loan him anything either because he often breaks what they give him and rarely returns what is loaned.

So?  Kindness, compassion, consideration are staples in our lives.  They are not offered because of class or self benefit, they are due.  They can also be abused and withdrawn.  Of course that is my humble opinion.  Many would disagree with me. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Simple Is Often Better

(Proverbs 21:19 KJV)  It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

It is a good thing Solomon is not around today to explain himself.  If this was the case, why did he have so many wives?  Sure, many of them were political matches, but how many powerful countries could there have been around that required all those wives?  I think his roving eye got the better of him.

How many times have we seen something we like and gone for it without thinking of the consequences?  How is the payment on that sports car coming along?  Are your credit cards maxed out with purchases of items that have gone out of style, worn out or broken?  Who is to blame?  One of the advantages of being in a “desert” (4057b) “land” (776) is that the malls are few and far between.  This could simply be while camping out.  It doesn’t necessarily mean a literal desert as much as an area that is uninhabited.  What do you need to make you happy when you are communing with nature?

So?  This is a reminder that we do not need all the perks that we think we do.  Maybe it is a call to simplify life.  Maybe it is a call to remain single.  For many of us we don’t have much choice on that second option, so go with the first. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Enjoy the Paradox

(Proverbs 20:24 KJV)  Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

One of the paradoxes of the Christian faith is the tension between free will and God’s omnipotence.  Without free will morality lacks meaning.  It is simply programing.  Without omnipotence God is not God in the Biblical sense.  Whole books have been written trying to come to grips with these two different requirements.  I won’t solve them today.

Both are still vital to the Christian life.  We must acknowledge that all is in God’s hands.  When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we say, “Thy will be done.”  That is a confession as much as a request.  We are saved by the gift of grace.  We cannot earn salvation.

At the same time God calls for a life of obedience.  This would be sham if we did not have the ability to disobey and mockingly false is we had not choice in the matter.  It would make God nothing but a game designer and us his pieces.  That does not answer the question either.

So?  Relax in the tension.  Rest in the struggle.  We are challenged to think and reason.  We are to seek understanding.  It is an appetite that will be momentarily satisfied yet will keep bringing new horizons for eternity. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Unusual Contrasts

(Proverbs 19:22 KJV)  The desire of a man is his kindness: and a poor man is better than a liar.

Proverbs likes to use contrasts and comparisons.  Here the contrast is between “kindness” (2617a) [chesed] and lying.  Strange bedfellows.  One is required to get into heaven.  The Hebrew “kindness” is the equivalent of the Greek agape in my opinion.  It is a dominant theme in both Testaments.  The other is a quality that will get you thrown into the lake of fire.  What do they have in common?  Both are qualities that we downplay because they are inconvenient.

We are too busy to be kind.  We are too injured to turn the other cheek.  We reserve our love for those who deserve it.  We endanger our immortal souls. 

We stretch the truth.  We spin.  We exaggerate.  We hedge and evade.  In so doing we endanger our immortal souls.

So?  Sometimes this is clear and obvious.  Sometimes even we have a hard time knowing our own minds and hearts.  The Holy Spirit stands ready to help us see the problem in our life and do something about it. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

More than Adrenalin

(Proverbs 18:9 KJV)  He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.

Is “slothful” (slack NASB) (7503) something that comes over time, develops full blown or a trait we are born with?  The word is fairly common in the Old Testament, found in 45 verses.  It has the idea of relaxing, sinking or becoming less aware.  I think of a guard at the end of his shift.  He is not on edge.  His energy is waning and his attention is wandering.  That is the condition.  From that I would guess that it can strike anyone at anytime.

Have you ever been on an all-night drive and you begin to get sleepy.  You are having a hard time staying awake.  Suddenly you almost kill yourself, the adrenalin begins to flow and you are alert again, at least for a time.  The real need in those situations is to stop and get some rest, not to keep drinking coffee.

So?  Rest can take many forms and there is a time for it.  Where am I getting slack?  Has reading my Bible become a ritual instead of an adventure?  Has doing my best at work drifted from my mind?  Then we need to ask ourselves about our roles as spouses and parents.  Rest and focus.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sidelined by Silence

(Proverbs 17:28 KJV)  Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

Notice the similarities and differences between what the world sees as wisdom and Godly wisdom.  Both would admit that there is wisdom.  The wisdom of God is rooted in a fear of God and adhering to the truth.  Silence can be respected but does not automatically convey wisdom.  A pause in a sermon can be powerful but an empty pulpit conveys nothing but the suspicion that someone forgot to set their alarm clock.

The world is different.  Since wisdom is in the ears of the listener, if you say nothing they can assume that you agree with them. 

This can also be a trap for us.  There are times when we are to speak up.  What we say will be rejected by the world.  We might be persecuted for it.
(Matthew 5:11 KJV)  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
The temptation to remain silent and thus imply agreement can be very powerful.

So?  It may not be right to always make statements but the church of God is being sidelined because it is silent.  Too often we take the path of least resistance instead of the path of wisdom.  If there is an error we make it is being to courteous. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Highway Humility

(Proverbs 16:19 KJV)  Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

This is one of those concepts that we pay lip service to but in practice don’t allow to permeate our hearts.  Humility is great but I don’t have time for it today.  Being poor in spirit is very noble but it doesn’t move me up the food chain.  We need to prosper and we can’t do that if we let someone else get the gold ring.  “Spoil” (7998) can take many forms.  It could be nothing more than the anger you feel at someone cutting in line at the grocery store.

How much are we willing to give up to live in righteousness?  One of my daily battles is with my attitude as I drive to work and I see aggressive, self-centered people passing on the right and endangering everyone’s life in order to get ahead a couple of inches.  God is working with me on it.  I don’t need to be happy about it but I do need to learn not to ram them.

So?  Humility is a daily challenge for me and I am a nobody.  What must it be like for those who are “successful” or really gifted.  Pray for our leaders.  Pray for those arrogant enough to think they have something to say on blogs. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Beauty Is in the Heart of the Beholder

(Proverbs 15:15 KJV)  All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.

We have all heard someone say, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”  We have probably said it ourselves.  This verse is talking about the beauty of the “days” (3117).  The Hebrew word has the same range as the English.  It can mean anything from hour to epoch.  Here it is about how our attitude can make a difference in our attitude.

Assume that both parties are going through the same experiences.  It doesn’t say that but it doesn’t say different.  One complains about the weather, the other takes a walk in the rain.  One cowers in fear of the lightening, the other is in awe of God’s power.  One stays home sick and whining, the other uses the time to read a good book. 

So?  Do you believe that God is in control?  Do you believe in grace and providence?  You need to put that flash drive into your computer and let it reboot.  It can be a good day.  If you don’t trust me, trust God. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Buyer Beware

(Proverbs 14:15 KJV)  The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

Since the last presidential election we have been hearing about “fake news”.  Long ago I developed an attitude that says all news is “fake”.  I have that attitude because I am not “simple” (naive NASB) (6612a).  At least I like to think I am not naive.  I understand that there are levels of fake from the deliberate to the uninformed.  Thus when I read the news from some sources I question even the hard numbers given.  At other sources I just keep my filters on and my mind in gear.  Everyone gets it wrong sometimes and the first reports on the news are often full of error.

We face the same thing in our spiritual life.  When I talk to a Jehovah’s Witness I assume that they have a spin on what they say.  Some are deliberately lying to me and they know it.  Others are still young in their cult and have not had a chance to think it through.  When I hear a pastor in a genuine church spouting nonsense I often recognize it as nonsense.  The way I know is to get out my Divine Yardstick and start reading for myself.  The Holy Spirit will keep me informed if I put the right data into the Spiritual USB port.

So?  Always keep your thinking cap on whether you are listening to the news or the sermon.  Don’t believe everything you hear.  It is a sad truth but a necessary one.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mouth Life

(Proverbs 13:3 KJV)  He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

I casually did a search on “mouth” (6310) and was a bit startled.  The Hebrew word is used  55 times just in Proverbs.  The English word come up 65 times in the New Testament.  I have been thinking about themes in Proverbs and I would have come up with gossip but it would have never occurred to me that the simple reference to the mouth would be so common.

We overlook the evil and good that can be done with our mouth.  In addition to things like gossip and food intake it is also a major highway of germs and disease.  Here it is tied to “life” (5315).

So?  A small part of our body.  A big contributor to our destiny.  Worthy of some thought, I would say. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017


(Proverbs 12:1 KJV)  Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.

Today I am thinking of “instruction” (discipline NASB) (4148) in the sense of doing what I need to do instead of playing a game, going shopping or taking a nap.  The thought works better with the NASB translation.  I have it when it comes to writing this blog.  I seem to lack it in so many other areas of my life.  There are so many books I want to read.  There are so many books of the Bible that I need to study.  There are so many in depth articles on the internet waiting for me.  So much and yet I dilly dally. 

I need to “love” (157) “discipline”.  I need to make today one of those days where I take a serious look at my time and start living up to the priorities I already know about.  I don’t need to make any new lists or come up with fresh resolutions.  I don’t need to listen to any lectures.  I need to take the next step, and the next step and keep it up.

So?  Thanks for reminding me.  I return the favor. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Save Trash Talk for the Dump

(Proverbs 11:12 KJV)  He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.

Does this mean that I can’t trash talk the guy in the next apartment?  Actually, yes, but it goes much farther than that.  This goes down into our inner man and how we look at other people.  We don’t need to accept or approve but we do need to love in the Biblical sense.  You can’t do that if you have a genuine, heart felt contempt for the unregenerated pagan next door.  You can’t do that if you won’t speak to someone who sits in the pew behind you because of something they did or because of who they are.  This goes double if your arrogance is based on race or class.

This does not mean you must respect them.  Respect if earned and deserved.  It does mean that you must be courteous and polite.  It means you need to be honest in business and word.  It means that you need to treat them as a potential brother or sister.  Sure they aren’t there yet but they may never get there is they find out what you said about them.

So?  Watch the mouth.  Check the heart. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

A Not-Word from the Wise

(Proverbs 10:19 KJV)  In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

This is not very promising for people who talk a lot or people who don’t think before they speak.  All of us have had moments when a comment bursts forth in its glory and our shame.  I don’t think there is any way to avoid it and it becomes a real issue in our modern culture of hate speech and safe spaces.  I was criticized recently because I made a student feel uncomfortable.  He could not point out anything specific that I said but he felt bad.  ????  I don’t really think that is what Solomon was talking about so I don’t worry about that.  But what about the joke that goes wrong?  What about a moment of honesty when tact was required?  What about a poor choice of words?  What about that four letter word that slips out withing consulting you?

So?  We know the problem.  It effects each of us differently and every day has different challenges.  We can’t stop talking.  All we can do is acknowledge the problem and prayerfully make progress. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

They Know Not of What They Speak

(Proverbs 9:17 KJV)  Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

Every time I read this chapter I am struck by the fact that both the foolish woman and Wisdom start off saying the same thing.  Both invite the naive to sit and partake of what they have to offer.  One offering leads to life and the other to death.  I am wondering if they are even offering the same words of advice.  Here the foolish woman admits that she has stolen her offerings from someone else.

We see a lot of this in our world.  The secular world tries to piggyback on Biblical principles.  They talk about compassion and justice.  They speak of love and the importance of family.  They know a lot of the lines but they don’t understand the implications.  It reflects back to the middle of the chapter, an idea that is expressed several ways in Proverbs,
(Proverbs 9:10 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Without the fear of the Lord there is no way to apply any kind of wisdom.  One reason I always buy tapioca ready made is that I would have no idea what to do with the raw root it comes from.  The world is like that with wisdom.

So?  Be careful what you believe in the world.  They may know all the right words and phrases.  They do not know the context or application because they do not fear the Lord. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Dusting Shelves in Eternity

(Proverbs 8:26 KJV)  While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.

God is eternal.  Although He created the world ex nihilo, out of nothing, He did not suddenly pop into being or evolve.  He has always been.  These verses are reminding us of the eternal nature of God. 

We are creatures of time.  I really can’t picture how we will adjust to eternity.  When you find infinity in every thought it changes how you look at things.  We are used to “fields” (2351) that have fences and boundaries.  We are used to dust that we can wipe off of shelves.  God is beyond all that.  He defined the boundaries.  He has none.

So?  It is good to reflect on this once in awhile.  When we are surrounded by Ph.D.’s who sometimes act like they know something keep in mind that, compared to God, they are just as ignorant as you are.  If they don’t know God, they are more ignorant, but that is the subject of another verse. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Growing Tension

(Proverbs 7:3 KJV)  Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.

Christians live in the tension of grace and obedience.  Some deny it and manage to live in obedience anyway.  Some accept it and give up to living in rebellion.  It really doesn’t matter where you are on the free will scale, we are expected to take action in our life of faith.  Here we have a clear command to do something in order to experience the wisdom of God.  If this were Greek it would be in the imperative.  It would be a demand.  I don’t know what the equivalent is in Hebrew but the demand is still there.

So?  Activate your faith card.  Whether it is credit or debit it will not be useful until you have the bank of heaven make the connection.  Then use it.  Spend time reading, listening, meditating, praying and growing.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Motive Myopia

(Proverbs 6:30 KJV)  Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;

Don’t get too excited about this being license to steal.  We have a lot of people who will say that there are extenuating circumstances and that people should not be punished when they are really victims.  Not so.  You need to read the next verse to get this but the thief is still to be punished even if he is driven by necessity. 

Crime is crime.  Evil is evil.  Neither is excused by expedience or desperation.  Mercy and forgiveness can still play a role.  In fact they should play a role but the act is still wrong.

So?  Our attitude toward law and order are to be built on a foundation of the Bible and it’s authority, not on the most recent standards advanced by the American Psychological Association or the Department of Education. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Invest Properly

(Proverbs 5:10 KJV)  Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;

There are three Hebrew words and three English words that keep being thrown around dealing with people outside your circle.  Two of each are used here, “strangers” (2114a) and “alien” (5237).  If you go back to verse 3 you see the third English word, “adulteress” (2114a).  The third Hebrew word is not used in Proverbs.  The three words have a lot of overlap and seem to be interchangeable in translation.

The point is that there are those who are part of the “family” and those who are not.  While we are to show courtesy and concern for those outside the circle, those on the inside are to be given first consideration.  In this verse we see concern about our present efforts and how we dispose of our wealth when we die.  I have had kids at school ask my if I would cut my children out of my will if they went down the homosexual path.  The short answer is, “Yes.”  The long answer is, “Yes.” 

So?  I am to spend my life building and investing in the kingdom of God.  I am to see that the resources He blesses me with are used wisely and righteously after I am gone.  Obviously there are no guarantees.  Keep in mind that Harvard was started as a Christian school to train pastors.  That does not let us off the hook. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Autopilot Warnings

(Proverbs 4:26 KJV)  Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

There are certain times when I watch my step, times when I am on automatic and others that I step out with boldness.  Unless I am running in the dark or some other stupid activity I generally do my stumbling when I am on automatic.  I find it happens more often as I get older.  Things that used to happen smoothly now require thought.  As long as I am focused I am okay.  One example is the stairs at school.  I used to fly down them without a conscious thought.  After a few senseless close calls I now try to have a hand on the rail and pay attention.

God tries to warn us with close calls.  When we don’t listen we have unpleasant surprises.  When kids at school start asking for tissue I am reminded it is time to double down on hand sanitizer.  When cars in front of me start hitting their breaks I start looking for objects on the road or a cop cars behind trees. 

So?  Are you on autopilot?  Maybe it is time to wake up, stop smelling the roses and look for cracks in the sidewalk that you don’t want to trip over. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Holiness and Health

(Proverbs 3:8 KJV)  It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Why is it so hard to simply accept this statement?  It is a simple statement that living God’s way creates what they are calling wellness.  Holiness means health.  Righteousness makes you robust.  Go for all the alliteration you can handle. 

What is God’s way?  Chastity comes up frequently.  Honest business practices are repeatedly referred to.  Humility is demanded.  Hard work is expected.  How long a list do you need?  My guess is that we don’t need to put down many areas before we see something that we have been giving a pass. 

So?  Remember that if holiness produces health then rebellion brings the opposite.  It may not bring overnight results but it will change the end game.  Think about it when you make decisions today. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Web of Covenants

(Proverbs 2:17 KJV)  Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.

“Guide (companion NASB) (441a) of her youth (5271)” stirred a memory of another verse.  It didn’t take long to find it.
(Proverbs 5:18 NAS77)  Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth.
We see a call to commitment coming from both sides.  We see a warning against wandering directed at both sides.  We are reminded that marriage is a “covenant” (1285).  Abandoning the person you married in your youth meant walking away from the covenant that you had with God.

Notice this is not a mark of patriarchal society where men can abandon their wives with a simple divorce decree.  This is not about protecting weak members of society.  This is about wilfully letting your commitments lag.  It is about destroying the most important oaths and pledges.  As Christians we are part of a community of righteousness.  There are certain promises that are not just pinky promises. 

So?  Be faithful.  Here it is to your spouse and your God.  In other places it is to your customers.  Children and neighbors are thrown into the mix.  Walking with Jesus is a total package not recommended for weekend warriors. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Reproving Spirit

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

I have been coming across this call to “reproof” (8433b) recently.  I checked and the Hebrew word is used sixteen times in Proverbs.  What is interesting to me here is that reproof is one of the ways in which the Lord speaks to us.  It is a learning tool of the Holy Spirit.  I would guess this supports the idea that we learn more through struggle than we do through pleasure.

It is true for me and I think it is true for people in general.  Think of the cycle that Israel would go through.  God would bless them and they would prosper.  In prosperity they would begin to focus their confidence on material success and withdraw from God.  God would warn them and be ignored.  Finally you would have tragedy that brought revival.  Revival would bring blessing and the cycle repeats itself. 

So?  This is why Bible believing churches used to have revival services on a regular basis.  It was not a ritual, it was a renewal.  We don’t see it much in the church any more.  That means it is up to us to search our souls and listen to what God wants to teach us.