An Idea Borrowed

Years ago on a radio program someone shared that they read a chapter in Proverbs every day. Since there are 31 chapters and the longest month has 31 days it allows you to read through Proverbs on a regular basis. I use it as the launch pad for my personal worship time and branch out from there. On this blog I will try to share some of the insights I have in the Word. I will try to organize them in the archive by reference.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Mundane Majesty

(Proverbs 31:25 KJV)  Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

“Honour” (dignity NASB) (1926) is a case of undertranslation.   It is used widely from an ox to old men but the most common reference is to God himself.  The most common translation in the NASB is “majesty”.  The KJV uses “glory” and “majesty” most frequently.  In this case we are looking at a description of the model wife.  We do not get the picture of a simpering little doormat who runs around picking up socks.  This verse is wedged in transition between her business activity and her spiritual contributions.  It speaks of her character.

“Dignity” (1926) is a quality that can be cultivated but it can become artificial and proud.  Instead of majestic it can become pompous and arrogant.  The key for us is to let it become a reflection of the time we have spent with the Lord and a product of worship rather than the results of a self help program.

So?  Daily exposure to majesty gives us a dignity that is life resistant.  Thus patience becomes a fruit of the Spirit not a result of discipline.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Day of the Lord

(Proverbs 30:21 KJV)  For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear:

What does it take to be an “earth” (776) shaking event?  One of the patterns I follow is to hit the “next blog” button on my internet page after I have posted my blog and exited.  It is amazing what people blog about.  I land on sites from Africa fairly frequently.  The events that they focus on are of no importance to us, or so we think.  Many of the screaming headlines of our lives are vague echoes over there. 

Have you noticed how the threats close to home are the most real?  We have survived Hurricane Harvey.  Under the radar has been the fires in the Western United States.  While we are worried about rescuing pets in Houston, Mexico is hit by an earthquake that kills more in one hour than Harvey killed in a week.  Our focus is on the local.

So?  The continued reminder of Proverbs is that as much as our world rocks, our Rock is not moved.  Is today a red letter day for you?  Maybe a black letter day.  We have the “Day that shall live in infamy”.  Halloween has been relabeled the “Day of the Dead”.  For us we are reminded that “this is the day the Lord hath made”.  Prepare to rejoice in it. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Road of Trust

(Proverbs 29:25 KJV)  The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

I remember when I used to live near Boston and went each day into the bowels of the city.  I pastored a small church in a neighborhood that many feared to drive through, let alone walk the streets.  I don’t remember ever being too worried about it.  I did have my car broken into once but since I didn’t have anything worth stealing I was mainly frustrated by the cost of fixing the window on our skeletal finances.

I had a choice to make and made it every day.  I could choose to live in “fear” (2731) or I could “trust” (982).  Although I had many struggles with times of depression I kept coming back to the road of trust.  That is what being saved through faith involves.  It is not just trusting God for my salvation.  It is not just having my sins forgiven.  It is an attitude that diffuses into every area of life.  Thus when we were a potential target for Hurricane Harvey I was mainly worried about the roof of our new home leaking.  I also tend to enjoy earthquakes and thunder storms. 

So?  It could be I am crazy or that I have learned to trust in a few areas.  Each day, each step it is a trust and a commitment that is renewed.  Sometimes I teeter on the rim of despair but so far the Lord has pulled me back.  I expect, or trust, it to continue. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Common Oppression

(Proverbs 28:3 KJV)  A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.

One way in which the “poor” (7326) can oppress the “poor” (lowly NASB) (1800b) is by taking charity, free food or some type of welfare when they don’t really need it.  In the Hebrew there are two different words.  That is not reflected in the KJV.  Score one for the NASB.  I always liked the wisdom of the proverbial saint who said, “We were not poor.  We just didn’t have much money.”  The first word here represents what we would call the lower classes of America.  They don’t have big bank accounts.  They might live in small homes.  They might drive old cars.  In spite of that they are keeping the wolf away from the door.  They often have Air Conditioning, cable, internet and a second car. 

The second word is where most of the world is at.  They go without food some days.  They live in one room huts and have no access to medical care.  They are not able to work or there is no work available.  They are truly destitute.  When those who can work take what is intended for those who cannot, it is the poor oppressing the poor.  This type of oppression is more prevalent than the rich oppressing the poor.  Think how much would be available if we could do away with graft and fraud in the different social programs. 

So?  Often there is little you or I can do except act as watchmen.  We can report abuse.  We can vote for people with genuine 365/7/24 Christian values.  And of course, we can make sure that when we receive some help that we really need it.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Giving the Shirt on Your Back

(Proverbs 27:13 KJV)  Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.

From whom are we to “take” (3947) the “garment” (899b)?  From the one who guaranteed the loan, not from the borrower who did not pay.  In this case the one who co-signs is considered as much a fool as the one doing the borrowing.  He is as much a fool and more accountable because he knows better. 

How many actions will we take that are foolish but we make excuses for doing it.  This summer has seen a slew of natural disasters.  Fires in California.  Hurricanes in Texas and Florida.  Earthquakes in Mexico.  As Christians our hearts respond and our pocketbooks are touched.  How many have been irresponsible enough to give their hard earned and much needed money to charities that use most of it to pay bloated salaries to executives and buy advertising to generate more income?  It is not a question of giving, it is a question of giving wisely.

So?  Don’t co-sign unless you are willing to give the shirt off your back in the process.  God might demand it. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017


(Proverbs 26:11 KJV)  As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

Why does the Bible take such a dim view of “dogs” (3611)?  They are rated with pigs in the hierarchy of creation.  They obviously exist but seem to be nothing much but scavengers.  When you think about it the Bible doesn’t seem to make pets a major topic.  What does that say about our modern culture where we hear about people leaving their estate to a favorite animal?  When we had our will redone lately the lawyer stuck in some boilerplate about animals.

So?  Think of your priorities.  Think of your preferences.  Should pets have the place of honor that they do in our homes?  I am not an animal person but consider me like the ignorant child who asked why the king was running around naked. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Moments of Gold

(Proverbs 25:11 KJV)  A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

How do we know if what we say is “apples” (8598) of “gold” (2091) or just prunes of bronze?  This is the beginning of a series of word pictures that convey the importance of a word spoken at the right time.  This verse emphasizes the proper timing.  Next comes content and the third element is the character of the speaker.  Two out of the three are choices we make.

We should be careful about waiting for the right moment.  I know that can just be an excuse but in reality we can often do a better job.  It might be a good idea to check our own motivation.  The right moment is not the one that makes us look good but has a chance of being heard.

So?  Wait actively for the right moment.  It may come only once.  To be honest, it may never come and you will realize that what was so important, wasn’t. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Double Standard

(Proverbs 24:12 KJV)  If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?

When a student would pass me in the hall and say, “See you next period” I would often respond with, “Is that a promise or a threat?”  I feel the same way about this verse.  It has two statements that can be good or bad, depending on my mood of the moment.  The first is that God “pondereth” (weighs NASB) (8505) our “hearts” (3820).  On the good side, when we mess up in spite of the best of intentions, God knows what was the desire of our heart.  On the bad side, when we do a hallelujah chorus with the wrong motivation He also knows what is going on inside. 

The second is that He is going to “render” (7725) according to our “works” (6467).  This points out that God expects us to live obedient lives.  Yes, we are saved by grace.  That simply means we can never do enough to deserve forgiveness and salvation is God’s gift in spite of that.  However, that is no excuse for living debauched lives.

So?  Take it as a both/and moment.  God sees what we do and knows why we do it.  Fear and rejoice. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Deadly Sin Number Two

(Proverbs 23:21 KJV)  For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

What is gluttony?  It is one of those words that gets slippery when you try to pin it down.  Gluttony is something someone else does.  Feasting is what I do.  The Bible is full of feasting and celebrating.  Think of the fatted calf prepared for the Prodigal Son.  Think of Wisdom in chapter 9 calling us to eat and drink.  Then you have Jesus feeding the five thousand until they were full.  So what qualifies you as a “glutton” (2151b)?

It is more than overeating.  The root of the word has to do with treating lightly or making worthless.  I think in terms of waste.  I think of having no awareness of the amount of work it took to put the food in front of you.  Thus most Americans qualify as gluttons even if they do not overeat.  The waste aspect could apply to people who sit down to a meal, fill their plates and don’t eat it. 

So?  Gluttony is one of those sliding scale things based on attitudes.  It is something that we can know in our hearts but deny all day.  It is a sin and thus needs to be take seriously.  In fact, it is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.  Think about that. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Don’t Worry about Uriah

(Proverbs 22:23 KJV)  For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.

I can remember days when I was on my way to our Monday faculty meeting.  I would meet other teachers in the hall and we would be cheering each other up on the way down the hall.  We tried to convince ourselves that it would not be that bad and some times by the time we got to the door we had succeeded.  Then we walked in the door and saw the person our principal had brought to share wisdom and you could almost see us deflate.  That is what is being talked about in the second part of this verse. 

The NASB says “take (6906) the life (5315)” but that seems a little too strong.  I think the KJV hits it on the head with “spoil the soul”.  He will rain on their parade.  He will prick their bubble.  He will throw a monkey-wrench in their gears.  He is going after those who have been messing with the poor.  God is working quietly behind the scenes to make life unpleasant for those who prey upon the weak.  We don’t usually see it because people are so good at covering up their pain. 

So?  Don’t worry about the punishment or justice that some people deserve.  The inner soul conflict is already in motion.  The price is being paid.  Focus on being obedient and generous yourself and let God worry about the Uriah Heep’s of your life. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Is Share a Noun or a Verb

(Proverbs 21:26 KJV)  He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.

For my wife “coveting” (craving NASB) (183) something is an excuse to go out to eat.  I can satisfy mine by opening the refrigerator.  This idea is a little stronger than that.  This is more like the drug addict craving his next fix and willing to do anything to get it.  This is the sports fan who will ignore his family and other commitments because another game has come on the TV.  It might be why some people have so many pairs of shoes. 

The contrast here is in attitude more than actions.  The contrast is between the taker and the giver.  In our day the culture is enshrining the victims and trying to please a large number of people who have demands but don’t know how to give.  We have vocal whiners who can do nothing but complain and point out how they deserve more.

The righteous gives and gives again.

So?  How do you want God to look on you?  What does He see?  Does He see someone who ignores all the blessings and just wants more shiny or does He see someone who wants to pass on the prosperity they have received?  This is why the scripture says that unto him who has much, more will be given.  He knows how to share. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Wisdom Meter

(Proverbs 20:1 KJV)  Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

This is a pretty clear statement.  If you get drunk, you are not “wise” (2449).  We have the wise; we have the fools.  Is there an in between or a continuum?  What do we call all the people in between?  I am thinking that perhaps neither on is an absolute.  I think we have all had times when we seemed to see things clearly and other times when it was like our brain forgot to come back from lunch.  It would seem that what we do in the physical realm effects us in the intellectual and spiritual.  That would explain why too many naps can sap our initiative and gluttony sate our acuity.  Physical discipline can enhance or drain our lives.

On second thought, does the wine deaden the wisdom or does getting drunk mean you never had any?

So?  Don’t eat, drink and be merry or tomorrow you may die.  If you don’t die you will move toward the wrong end of the wisdom meter. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Skip the Pastry

(Proverbs 19:28 KJV)  An ungodly witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity.

I was struck by the different words used in the KJV and NASB in the second half of this verse.  Actually it was one Hebrew word.  If the NASB did not have a marginal reading that said “literally swallows” I would wonder if they had done their homework.  The NASB has the “wicked” (7563) spreading “iniquity” (205).  This is the only place that it is translated that way.  The most common translation is “swallow”, so the KJV gets it right.

It makes a difference.  The point is that the evil people of the world consume and add to their wickedness.  They seek it out.  We would look at pornography as a sample.  It always amazes me how often we take the epidemic of porn consumption and talk about how even Christians are hooked on the stuff.  I am not sure that is how God sees it.  I think He tends to look at it more as the wicked devouring iniquity.  They don’t just give it out, they take it in.

So?  Pornography is just an obvious example.  There are many sources of evil around us.  They are always tempting.  We are like diabetics in a bakery.  There is whole wheat bread for sale but our eyes and nose are only aware of the temptations.  Beware.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Fit

(Proverbs 18:16 KJV)  A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.

I remember a man named Reuben Welch.  I am not sure if he is still alive, but if he is he has the “gift” (4976) of longevity.  He was one of the preachers that could speak for an hour and a half and still have everyone without hemorrhoids still with him.  He shared the time in his life when he realized he was not “God’s golden boy”.  Have you reached that point?  I have.

I realized that I would never be a big fish in a big pond.  I am not gifted enough to compete on that level.  As we search for a church we can endure my wife will ask me if I am going to get involved in the music.  I can only laugh.  While I am good enough to be a stand out in a small church with limited talent, I am out of my league in the kind of church she is looking for.  I know it.  I don’t like it but I know it.

I may end up doing what I did last time I was in a big church.  I may take my guitar and help the three year olds sing Father Abraham.  The true artists tend to be too good to spend time in that venue, no glory.  For me it is a way to apply my gifts where they are needed. 

So?  If I don’t make first string it is because I make a better water boy.  I am learning to live with that.  I am not God’s golden boy.  I am not even God’s silver or bronze boy.  I am however His to do with as He sees fit. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hie Talke

(Proverbs 17:7 KJV)  Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.

“Excellent” (3499a) “speech” (8193) is an interesting phrase to play with in translation.  The most common use of “excellent” is to refer to that which remains.  It can be the oil on a palm after the hand is turned over or fodder in the fields left for the cattle after a disaster.  “Speech” is usually translated “lips” but it also has the idea of edge.  There are many possibilities.  I like the Geneva Bible calling it “hie talke” or high talk.

We are not supposed to play the “fool” (5036).  As followers of the Most High we are not to get down in the gutter and wallow in the same filth as the pagans and apostates.  That also applies to our language.  Can Christians swear and use obscene language?  Can we be coarse and crude?  The only ban that comes to mind is taking the name of the Lord in vain, but somehow I think verses like this point out that we should have language that is special, or “hie”.

So?  We have a tendency to adopt the vocabulary of those around us.  Language does change but not always for the better.  We need to be aware of fool talk and avoid it.  If you will excuse the expression, “It is easier said than done.” 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Don’t Embrace Your Inner Vegetable

(Proverbs 16:26 KJV)  He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.

There are times when I wish I had the ability to go back in time and take a different path.  Sometimes it is simply because I wasn’t paying attention and had an accident.  I want to avoid the pain of my carelessness.  Other times I want to have 40 years of experience in delving into Greek and Hebrew so I could understand the word.  My software tells me that the “he” (5315) of the KJV is the same as the “appetite” of the NASB.  Neither one gives us the meaning of the Hebrew word, which is nephesh. 

Nephesh is the word for soul.  38 times the KJV uses the word “soul” in Proverbs and each time it is this word.  It is used to describe the creation of man.
(Genesis 2:7 KJV)  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (5315).
You can see it is a bit deeper than “he” or “appetite”. 

There is a life force within us.  There is a desire to live.  It applies to the animal world as well. 

So?  I don’t know about you but there are days when my higher thinking skills don’t want to kick in.  Today was one of them.  I was content to lay in bed like a vegetable.  It took awhile but eventually the battle was settled for a day of life.  I rejoice in another victory and pray that you would also experience that again today. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Original Google

(Proverbs 15:22 KJV)  Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

Let’s face it, most of us do not seek a lot of opinion when we already know what we want to do.  We avoid “counselors” (3289).  Too often they tell us what we don’t want to hear.  But assume the best, you want to know.  Where do modern Americans go for counsel?

Google.  Be honest now.  When you have a question, you Google it.  The fact that the owners of Google are filtering the information you get to shield you from certain information does not slow us down.  I am at the point where I use it for a spell check.  It can be one source of information for counsel as long as you understand that it is biased against real truth. 

You Tube.  When I want to know how to change a windshield wiper it not only tells me, but shows me.  When I want to know how to service my water softener, the same.  When I want to know how to live an upright life and walk in righteousness, it has severe limitations.

There are two traditional sources of counsel that are falling into disuse.  The first is the concordance.  I am not talking about the pathetic, edited child’s toy at the back of your Bible.  I am talking about the one that is four inches thick and has tiny print, the one that lists everything.  It is a good place to start when you want to know what God has said about something.

And of course there is the one who is called Counselor.  This is the One that Jesus said He would send us.  The Holy Spirit is a bit of counsel that needs to be sought more often. 

So?  Do your homework but don’t forget to ask the Holy Spirit to be your guide and interpreter.  He is waiting to provide the insight and understanding that lead to holiness and wisdom.  Consult Him often.  He does not keep office hours. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Where Water Runs Uphill

(Proverbs 14:12 KJV)  There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

At Knott’s Berry Farm they used to have a spot called the Haunted Shack.  It may still be there but I have not been there since I had hair.  You have seen variations of it.  They make it look like water will run uphill and a chair will let you sit in it half way up the wall.  There is a “right” (3477) and there is a real.  Your eyes see it but you know it can’t be true.  Your mind can explain the phenomenon but your eyes still see the impossible.

Often in life we see what appears to be right and true.  If we are out of contact with the unchanging God we might follow on that path.  But for those who have read their Bible and spent time in the presence of the eternal there is something that we know is wrong.  When we hear people telling us to accept couples living in fornication because they are in love and God is love, it sounds so beautiful.  The problem is that the meaning of love has been twisted to make it look like water is running up hill.

So?  Deception is all around.  We are only human.  He is “only” God and has provided us with the tools to tell what is really right and what is illusion.  Remember that the level doesn’t do any good in your toolbox. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Pattern of Pride

(Proverbs 13:10 KJV)  Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

The “presumption” (2087) of the NASB is better than the “pride” of the KJV in this spot.  Pride is a word that can have a positive force.  It can be a synonym for dignity or a healthy sense of self worth.  This word is negative.  It is pushy.  It is not content with being quiet and smug but insists on applying itself moment by moment.

This is the opposite of humility.  It is aggressive.  If you follow the verse you see that those in touch with wisdom are willing to listen and accept advice.

So?  Did you listen yesterday?  Are you going to listen today?  What is your pattern?  You should be able to see one.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Wisdom Nuanced

(Proverbs 12:8 KJV)  A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.

If you are reading the KJV you will notice that this verse talks about “wisdom” (7922) while the NASB uses “insight”.  I point this out because this is not the most common Hebrew word for “wisdom” in Proverbs but it is what might be called a “nuance word”, it gives us some understanding of what wisdom is.

Here the definition involves insight and prudence.  It almost seems to be emphasizing the practical aspect of wisdom.  It is something that can be applied and used.  The words from this wisdom actually mean something and help.  Often when I read fantasy or any genre that deals with the world of magic and the occult, wisdom is vague and mysterious.  It is held in awe but does nothing but confuse.  This points out the rubber meets the road aspect of real wisdom.

So?  What the Bible teaches us is useful for what we do in our everyday lives.
(2 Timothy 3:16 KJV)  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
It isn’t a tool for impressing people.  It is a tool for guidance.  And again I remind you that the tool is useless to you if it isn’t in your tool chest.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Active Pursuit

(Proverbs 11:19 KJV)  As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.

As I compare the two translations I see some differences that trace back to the Hebrew.  We have another situation where the Hebrew word looks the same but can mean different things, like the English word “can”.  What I do see coming through in the two translations is the general posture of the two people represented. 

The upright is pictured as standing or quietly following.  The “evil” (7463a) “pursues” (7291).  I see the Godly listening and responding in obedience.  I see the wicked out looking for even more quicksand.  We also see the different promises, “life” (2425b) and “death” (4194).  Both are goals.  Both are choices.

So?  Every day we are offered choices.  It can be an action or an attitude.  It can be a direction or a way of responding.  May your choices lead to life today. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Righteous Resilience

(Proverbs 10:25 KJV)  As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.

As I write, Irma is approaching and Harvey is in cleanup.  Five years ago I was writing about Katrina at this point.  What is a hurricane but a big “whirlwind” (5492a).  One of the snippets I read in the coverage of Irma was a group of people in Florida who were going to stay where they were because their building was rated to withstand a category 5 hurricane.  I am not sure I would have that kind of faith.  I doubt if I will read about how it went with them.

You notice in this verse it is not the wind that is labeled as evil.  It is a force of nature.  The doom is on the “wicked” (7563).  The promise is on the “righteous” (6662).  How that plays out with forces of nature I don’t know.  I tend to want to make this figurative but there is always the question of how our spiritual condition relates to the tragedy of life.  We need to be careful about literal understandings.  Note the words of Jesus,
(Matthew 5:45 KJV)  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
I think the difference is in how we respond to the forces of nature and life.  Having a foundation of righteousness makes us more resilient.  We bounce back.  We keep the faith and live the life.

So?  I pray that you and yours have made it through the earthquakes and hurricanes of the year.  I also pray that you have the strength of the Lord to flourish. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Who Has the Pink Slip?

(Proverbs 9:6 KJV)  Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Recently I heard a preacher comment on how people are willing to love Jesus, they just don’t want to serve Him.  It doesn’t work that way.  It never has.  Here we see the part of the formula that keeps so many people out of the kingdom of God.  In order to belong to Jesus we must give up our old way of life.  We sold a car last month.  When we took the man’s money we signed a paper saying that the car was his.  We had to “forsake” (5800a) any claim that we had before he would give us the money.  It was part of the deal.  I can’t be showing up in the middle of the night because I need a ride.

It is the same way with serving God.  We have a new title of ownership.  In California we called it a “pink slip”.  You might remember the old line from a Beach Boys song, “And one more thing, I got the pink slip, baby”.  God demands exclusive ownership.

So?  Are you still trying to lease salvation?  Then it doesn’t belong to you yet.  If you want life you must give up the ways of  the “foolish” (folly NASB) (6612a). 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Honing Memory

(Proverbs 8:33 KJV)  Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.

I wish I could give credit to the first person who pointed it out to me but I can’t.  Most of us don’t need some new idea or teaching.  We are not even following what we already know.  We “neglect” (6544a) the wisdom that we already have access to.  We are like someone starving to death in a grocery store because he refuses to open a can.

I am finding that much of the music I had memorized is slipping away.  I have known this for years and it kept slipping.  Part of it is probably the aging process.  I just don’t remember like I think I used to.  Most of it is a lack of application.  Now that I am retired I am picking up my guitar and reaching back.  Slowly I am regaining ground but if I neglect to practice and worship with what I have recovered it starts to slip again.

So?  Most of us have the blessing of being taught truth and wisdom.  Most of us have taken it for granted and it is hiding in the recesses of our minds.  Do not fail to stir it up before it disappears. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Choices Have Consequences

(Proverbs 7:10 KJV)  And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.

This is an unusual chapter in Proverbs.  Almost the entire chapter deals with one story, an event.  It is not just a series of pointed remarks.  It relates two people meeting and the evil that comes of it.  We meet people in a constant flow.  Some we ignore as we pass by.  Some we give superficial greetings.  Others we engage in conversation.  We have more control over how the contact goes than we think. 

Recently my wife and I were involved in a long conversation with someone we had never seen before and never expect to see again.  In the process we heard much of her life story.  Later my wife commented on how long it went on and could not understand why.  I did.  It went on forever because she kept asking questions and responding with her own stories.  If it had just been me the conversation would have never moved beyond first greetings.

The man and women in this chapter of Proverbs made choices.  There were many places where different choices would have caused different outcomes.  We face the same in our lives.

So?  We need to develop a longer range view of the choices we make.  Sometimes that is based on common sense.  Other times it is experience.  Always it requires us to be honest with ourselves.  Engage your brain. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Libby Lips

(Proverbs 6:2 KJV)  Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.

One of the greatest protections we have from an overbearing government is the Fifth Amendment where it says no one “shall be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself;...”  If you have ever heard of someone “pleading the fifth” this is it.  If you remember the name Scooter Libby you might remember that he went to jail, not because he had committed a crime but because he gave an inaccurate answer to the FBI.  Most of us are aware of this guard to our liberty when it comes to criminal offenses.

Solomon is telling us that we need to be aware of the trap that our mouth can set for us in our daily lives.  We talk too much.  We talk too fast.  We talk without thinking.  We get ourselves in hot water. 

So?  Beware.  Often I am my own worst enemy.  People remember and so does God.  Take a look at your day and start planning your conversations. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Silent Love

(Proverbs 5:17 KJV)  Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.

Everyone does not need to know every detail of your life.  Some people have a tendency to share more than they should about everything.  It is bad enough when they tell all the details of their lives but crosses another line when they share the private details of others.  People probably don’t want to hear and usually the ones involved don’t want you sharing about them either.

The context here is our sexual contacts.  The Bible is clear that sex is to be reserved for marriage.  You could extend that to talking about private matters.  Tales of the bedroom, intimate details, failures of a spouse, etc. should all be kept between the people involved.

So?  Just because others are revealing that which should not be revealed does not mean you need to match the tale for tale.  Let love be expressed in silence. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Slow Leaks

(Proverbs 4:6 KJV)  Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.

What is the purpose of a “guard” (8104) (preserve KJV)?  Most of us live our lives without posting guards.  We don’t have someone staying awake around the campfire.  We don’t take turns pacing around the walls of our compound.  We have grown secure compared to those in the past.  But we do have our guards.  We lock our doors and windows.  We might have an alarm or a dog.  We might listen in the night for squeaky stairs or rustling curtains. 

I also keep a bat under the bed.  You see, a “guard” does not fight the battle for you.  The sentry simply calls out a warning.  The idea is to wake you up in time to engage the foe head on.  It gives you time to put on your pants and maybe tie your shoes.  Wisdom has many roles and an important one is to set an alarm off in our hearts and minds.  We are aware that something is wrong.  We have a new, used car.  It has bells and whistles.  One is a light on the dash that tells us we have a problem with our tires.  It came on the other day and we could not see anything.  We had just had the tires checked.  We ignored it and a few days later I noticed that one tire was going flat. 

So?  Wisdom, when consulted, will warn us about the slow leaks in our lives as much as the attacks of the barbarians.  For me the slow leaks are a greater danger.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

To the Rescue

(Proverbs 3:27-30 KJV)  Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.  Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.  Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.  Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.

As I write we are seeing Hurricane Harvey moving east and diminishing in power.  Out in the Atlantic the guys wanting a piece of the fame are predicting another moving toward the east coast of the United States.  In Texas we are seeing the results of this passage being applied without even thinking about it.  We see people being neighbors in the best sense and being individuals in the worst sense.

If you paid attention at all you saw all the people who spontaneously responded to the needs around them.  They dug out their boats and started rescuing people.  In our area which only had some high rain and winds they began loading up 18 wheelers with food and water.  It is the response of a Christian nation that does not “withhold” (4513) “good” (2896b).  What makes this giving what is “due” (1167)?  They are in need.  I even heard stories of people who lost everything along the coast who went north to help pull others out of the flood.  Jesus smiled.

Then you have those in verse 29 who are out to harm others.  Some of it is obvious.  The looters are out.  Some people think first about taking advantage.  On a more subtle level we have the gas lines in our area.  There is plenty of gas, or there would be if people didn’t panic.  I read that the stations are selling 2 ½ times as much gas as normal.  Why?  Because people start filling up everything so they will be taken care of.  If everyone would just relax and think of others there would be no gas lines.

So?  We have the good and the bad.  I don’t need to guess which group is acting the way God expects us to act.  I pray that in a crisis I will chose wisely. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

We Are Not X-Wings

(Proverbs 2:15 KJV)  Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:

The KJV uses the English word “froward” (3868) (devious NASB) fairly frequently.  The weakness is that it uses six different Hebrew words in the process.

As I look at the different words and the roots they come from you get a picture of an X-wing fighter dodging down the canyon of the Death Star, dodging and weaving; anything but straight.  Of course in Star Wars it was to attack evil.  Too often people use this kind of course to get to the destination they desire regardless of the cost. 

What we dodge are not the bolts of Darth Vader but the commands of God.  We will take any path as long as it leads to our personal Rome.

So?  God expects, and demands, that we walk straight and true.  We are not to change definitions or directions based on what we think will get us what we want but follow the path of righteousness which is usually described as straight and narrow. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Chains into Ornaments

(Proverbs 1:9 KJV)  For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.

We have just moved to Texas and every person we meet has the potential of being a new best friend.  I am content to sit and meditate but my wife is out moving and shaking.  She can spend five minutes with someone and get their whole life story.  It is quite a gift.  One of the common stories that comes up is dysfunctional parents, the kind that don’t get verses like this written about them.  I was raised in a blue color Leave It to Beaver family.  I understand what Solomon is saying here.  Many people do not.

For such people the KJV word “chains” (ornaments NASB) (6060) is a better word because they take their heritage as bonds to be left behind.  The glorious thing is that we meet people who are overcoming this family wreckage and are moving ahead in the Grace of God.  It is possible.  In the process you may be an agent of grace by providing the godly example.

So?  Blessings as you overcome and help others overcome.