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, December 31, 2017


(Proverbs 31:26 KJV)  She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

As we come to the end of another year it is good to be reminded to two character traits that we will need in large measure for tomorrow and the days after. 

We desperately need “wisdom” {2451}.  My wife has a bit of technology called Roku.  On in she has multiple choices available at the click of a button.  I think there are even more she could access with the application of a credit card.  I am not sure than any of them dispenses wisdom.  The main product is entertainment.  Others will be informative.  What we need is wisdom, however you want to define it.  What we need to the max is wisdom from God.  Pray that voices will be lifted up and that ears will tune in.

We also need “kindness” (2617a).  This is more than helping old ladies across the street and being patient with the new kitten.  This is a galactic word in Hebrew, chesed.  It is the Old Testament word for the New Testament agape.  It is only possible in the context of God’s grace.  We live in a republic, so partisan differences are our glory.  The Constitution gives us the right to express ourselves in something we have come to call Freedom of Speech.  We need to remember that while the civil law says “Yes”, there may be times when the divine law says, “No.”  We may express our opinions but with what Peter calls “gentleness and reverence” in the NASB’s translation of I Peter 3:15.

So?  The date for the new year is arbitrary.  Wisdom and kindness are eternal.  Make this a W&K year. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Sour Grapes

(Proverbs 30:23 KJV)  For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.

Some people are never happy.  Here we have two women who have achieved the top spot available in their culture, honorable marriage.  Today that may seem a holdover from the patriarchal age but in Solomon’s day women did not have careers in anything except prostitution.  So these ladies have arrived and they proceed to rock the world.

I wonder how many blessings God has given us that generate a selfish response instead of gratitude and grace.  When I had success in losing weight I found myself becoming critical of those who had not.  I should have had understanding and compassion but the tendency was to judge and be full of myself.  When I sail through flu season without a sniffle I somehow feel like I am God’s chosen one instead of being blessed for reasons I don’t understand.

So?  I need to rock the world with thanksgiving and generosity, not arrogance and self centered evaluations of others.  I guess it is an application of “judge not”.  God is watching along with the people around me.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Mutual Abomination

(Proverbs 29:27 KJV)  An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.

It would be a good thing if Christians could get over their Pollyanna complex.  We get this way in our concepts of evangelism and outreach.  It is the basic foundation for the idea that we can make our worship less threatening and more appealing to the world.  We see all kinds of churches and sincere believers who think that if they can just be nice enough and not offend their neighbors, the sinners will repent and come running to Jesus.  Others think that if we could just explain the gospel in simple, positive words then people would turn toward the cross.

It doesn’t work that way.  Paul makes a couple of statements in I Corinthians that should give you an idea.
(1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV)  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

(1 Corinthians 1:23 KJV)  But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
The cross means that we are sinners in need of a savior.  We live in a culture that teaches that we are wonderful and it is the structures of society that are the problem.  To them we don’t need a personal savior we need a reformation in society so that we can reach our full potential.  When you live for Jesus, you are an offense to there sense of self-righteousness.

So?  The world hates you.  Some may feel it more mildly but you are still an abomination to them.  And, yes, the word is as bad as you think it is. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Seeds of Decline

(Proverbs 28:5 KJV)  Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.

Have you noticed how society seems to be going down hill?  In one sense that is an illusion.  When people talk about the “good old days” it is more the patina of memory than the reality of the past.  Often we define change as bad just because it is not what we are used to.  I was asked recently if I was still looking for the perfect burrito that I had enjoyed years ago at a now defunct restaurant.  When I said I had given up they wondered why.  I told them that I was not sure that my memory was as accurate as I thought it was and even if I found the same taste I would not know it.

At the same time there are certain measures that say there is serious moral decay in our culture.  Unwed mothers are now single parent families.  A disease based almost exclusively on immoral behavior, AIDS, has civil rights.  Abortion is not only accepted but is funded by tax money taken from people who feel it is murder of a child. 

The reason for this decline is that the righteous have withdrawn from leadership.  We have silenced our voice.  We have retreated into our sanctuaries and tried to be seeker friendly.  Instead of having a Bach writing pieces that set the framework of western music we have “Jesus gave me this song last night and I want to share it with you”.  Instead of basing sermons on the eternal word of God we have the latest gospel guru quoted as if there was some new truth.

So?  People who have abandoned the God of holiness do not have the wisdom to lead or set examples.  We need to seek as individuals to follow Him and work to pick leaders who are capable of wise leadership. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Drop the Drip

(Proverbs 27:15 KJV)  A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.

Notice it is not the “dripping” (1812) which is a problem but the “constant” (2956) dripping.  This might be a pointer in our daily lives.  Don’t overdo actions that irritate.  We have all seen the person who does something and it is funny.  Everyone laughs; the first time.  After the action has been repeated it becomes inflamed and infected, no longer funny, past irritating.  It makes me pause for a moment and wonder what I do that gets on people’s nerves.

I have known for a long time that certain people don’t seem to have much sense of humor.  In reality that means that they don’t have the same sense of the absurd that I have.  I have learned not to joke around some people.  The same sensitivity might help in how I drive a car, dry the dishes, hang my clothes and untold numbers of other activities.

So?  I need to work on being less irritating.  Sometimes I can’t do much because it is the problem of the other person but that can also just be an excuse. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Seeing the Lion

(Proverbs 26:13 KJV)  The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.

I have seen the lion.  In military parlance they talk about having seen the elephant.  It means you have been shot at in combat, you are more than a barracks rat.  Seeing the lion means that I have seen work that needed to be done and I found a way to avoid it.  If it happens between Christmas and New Years you can probably get away with it but remember that there are many things in life that will not get done if you don’t do them.

This is the beginning of another condemnation of sloth.  Here the focus is on excuses.  I don’t know about you but I have a million of them.  Of that number a dozen are legit.  The rest are just ways of putting off what I don’t want to do.

So?  I need to work on honest assessment of tasks that need to be done.  Maybe I will start tomorrow.  Just kidding. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Refreshing Messenger

(Proverbs 25:13 KJV)  As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.

I don’t know about you but if I was working in a harvest field under a hot sun and suddenly snow started falling, I would get excited.  I would revel in the coolness.  I would laugh at how impossible it was.  I would rejoice, I think.  I might be the pessimist who worries about how the snow is going to hurt the crop, which is a possibility.  I might worry about the fields getting muddy.  The idea though is just enough cold to be invigorating. 

That is how we can effect people if we are “faithful” (539) “messengers” (6735a).  December is a good time to be a faithful messenger.  We might start by expunging the term “happy holidays” from our vocabulary, unless you want to pronounce it correctly as “happy holy days”.  We are in the advent season.  We are celebrating the coming, not sale-ebrating the great deals we got at the mall.  Think of the faithful message that went,
(Luke 2:10 KJV)  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
And don’t forget the other end of the story,
(Matthew 28:8 KJV)  And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
The incarnation is the miracle that led to the crucifixion which led to the resurrection.

So?  Merry Christmas.  This is the first verse of the message, “He is risen”. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Selfish Wisdom

(Proverbs 24:14 KJV)  So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.

There seems to be a personal aspect to wisdom.  Yes, we need leaders who exhibit wisdom, but the point here is that it will benefit you.  Is that selfish?  It could be but it isn’t.  Always keep in mind the instructions given when you are starting a flight on a commercial airline.  They talk about the possible need for oxygen masks and tell you if you are traveling with children, make sure that you have yours on before you help your children.  The point is that you won’t be of much help if you pass out.

You won’t be able to help select and support the right leaders if you don’t know what to look for.  If you have “know” wisdom, how will you know it in another?  This is why people don’t recognize nonsense in the news for from the pulpit.  They don’t have any common sense themselves.

So?  Prepare yourself.  If you think that is selfish then realize you have been given the green light on this type of self-seeking.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Famine Preparation

(Proverbs 23:23 KJV)  Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Recently, after watching the latest conspiracy newsflash, my wife commented on how we did not have a lot of food stored up.  In California we were in good shape.  Here in Texas we have not emptied our moving boxes let alone filled our shelves.  The concern is that when we have a disaster, man made or nature induced, we will not be able to run out and “buy” (7069) a loaf of bread.  As I write it is Thanksgiving.  As this is posted, it is almost Christmas Day.  Picture how many stores are closed just because it is a holiday.  Think what it would be in a crisis. 

There may be times when it is impossible to find “truth” (571).  Libraries may be shut down for evaluation.  Book stores closed for political reorientation.  The internet may be totally censored, not just filtered.  You may come to the point where the only sources of information available are what are on your shelf.  And of course, what you have stored up in your heart.

So?  Become a prepper.  Have enough food on your shelf in case the next hurricane comes to your neighborhood.  Have enough truth in your heart in case the Illuminate take over our world.  It isn’t weird, it is prepared. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

What Is on the Quiz?

(Proverbs 22:25 KJV)  Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

This verse in a continuation of the last.  The context is picking our friends and associates.  To a large degree I can’t pick my neighbors.  I have no say in my birth family.  I am limited in controlling my work associates.  Even picking friends is not just a matter of reviewing qualifications and punching a button.  Friends don’t fill out an application.

There is a point at which we can encourage a deeper relationship or distance ourselves.  Friendships involve sharing the things you have in common and compromising on what you don’t.  Rarely do you agree with anyone on everything but there are certain types of people to avoid.  Here the reference is to short tempered people.  In chapter one it was violent thieves and people advocating a communistic sharing of resources. 

So?  As you read Proverbs or any other book in the Bible there are recommendations about the common things of life.  You won’t have a quiz on teleology or hermeneutics.  I need spell check to even mention them.  You will be influenced vitally on other things like the friends you chose.  Choose wisely.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Plum Truth

(Proverbs 21:28 KJV)  A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.

“I was only joking.”  No you weren’t, you lied to me.  “So I exaggerated a bit.”  No, you lied.  “It is just a matter of opinion.”  No, a lie is a lie.  If you have ever listened to the news or read a newspaper you know how easy it is for some people to look at truth and deliberately distort it.  If you have had someone tell a story about an event that you also witnessed, you have sometimes wondered if you were on the same planet.  I know at times that I wonder if it is me who is losing my mind or the other person who lives in fantasy.

We are called to be beacons of truth.  That starts with eternal truth. 
(John 14:6 KJV)  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
It extends into every nook and cranny of our influence.  Obviously there is room for differences of opinion and perception.  My wife had her toe nails painted.  Why?  I don’t know.  I think it is a female thing.  I commented on the black color.  I was told they were “plum”.  Then she came up with a couple of other colors that were also hard to tell from black.  That is not an issue of truth.  The fact that she had them coated is truth.

So?  Are you a follower of Jesus?  Then there is a limit to how much you can exaggerate, joke, spin and interpret.  Take this seriously.  God does. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Honorable Cheeks

(Proverbs 20:3 KJV)  It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.

I find the process of “keeping away” {cease KJV} (7674) from conflict to be frustrating.  It is difficult at times but even more, it is frustrating.  This is dealing with one of the core behavior patterns of Jesus.  It is one that has gotten in my face ever since I was a child.
(Matthew 5:39 KJV)  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Then Jesus goes on to add other applications of the principle so that we cannot avoid it.  I am getting really tired of walking away from personal attacks and insults, but Jesus did not give me the option.  He also didn’t add, “if you feel like it”.

I want the personal satisfaction of lashing out.  I want to stand up for myself.  I want to be a man in the face of accusations.  Sometimes that is possible without strife, often not.  So I turn the other cheek in obedience.  Not always.  Sometimes I lose control.  I admit it, but I am more concerned about the “honor” that Solomon is talking about than a brief victory.

So?  The struggle goes on in my life.  I take consolation that God can see my heart even when the person I walk away from doesn’t. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Bottom of the Curve

(Proverbs 19:1 KJV)  Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

I am currently reading a book called The Bell Curve.  It has received a lot of bad press like anything does that looks at facts instead of political correctness.  It is a scientific look at intelligence and how it effects our lives.  It is criticized because it takes the actual data from research showing how IQ is different in different ethnic and socioeconomic groups.  One of their repeated points is how low IQ is very highly correlated with poverty, crime, illegitimate births, low birth weight, etc.  In almost every area of social concern they find low intelligence is a common trait.

What that has to do with today is that they are constantly repeating that even though you may have a lot of people with low intelligence in the poverty range, most of them are being responsible citizens.  Although they are at the low end of the IQ scale that does not mean they are failures.  They are still productive and living good lives.  This simply backs up what this verse is getting across.  There are things more important that the common measures of success.  Integrity is one of them.

So?  Don’t judge someone based on the snob appeal of their cars, clothes or homes.  Look at how their children are turning out.  Look at their moral positions.  God’s standards are not those of our culture. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

The “Lot”erry

(Proverbs 18:18 KJV)  The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.

I would like to use this verse as an excuse to buy lottery tickets.  I figure that if God wants me to be rich this would speed up the process.  The problem is that it would only be valid once, so I am waiting until I am really desperate.  Who knows, it might be God’s will for me to win the Big One.

But I doubt it.  One of the problems with reading the Bible on a regular basis with your mind turned on is that you find the balance that excludes your delusions.  Just a few pages beyond this you find,
(Proverbs 20:21 KJV)  An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.
This verse is the one that applies when you have two points of view and both seem equal.  It is not an invitation to stop on the way home and take a chance.

So?  I am sorry to report that you will probably need to keep working until retirement.  Of course that is easy for me to say at this point since I am retired. 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Let It Lie

(Proverbs 17:9 KJV)  He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

A good way to ruin a friendship, poison a marriage or break up a family is to bring up some untouchable from the past.  The first part of the verse implies that a wrong has been done.  Whether it was resolved or allowed to fade from memory does not make any difference.  It is in the past and should remain there.

A good way to ruin things is to bring it up again.  It is always nice if people have confessed or the wrong was righted but it does not say that is necessary.  Sometimes the scar has just faded in time and is best left to rest.

So?  This probably goes with the admonition to be slow to speak that is given other places in scripture.  As believers we are to leave the ugliness of the past in its grave. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Yule Tide Aspirin

(Proverbs 16:28 KJV)  A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

When I think of people who are deviant my mind goes to things like molesting children and torturing animals.  I don’t tend to think of the family member who comes for Christmas and proceeds to get the family fighting, yet here they are labeled “froward” (perverse NASB) (8419).  This is the direct contrast to the person Jesus spoke of in the Beatitudes.  That whole passage addresses this and specifically,
(Matthew 5:9 KJV)  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
This is not talking about negotiators for the UN.  This is talking about the family member who doesn’t complain about the gifts they got, who doesn’t keep asking how much something cost, who doesn’t grab the best seat and leave grandma standing. 

So?  You all have seen this happen.  The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Has it been me?”  If you follow this word through Proverbs you notice a strong presence of volition.  People choose to be a pain.  We can work on being an anesthetic. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Road Hazards

(Proverbs 15:24 KJV)  The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.

When I am driving down the road and see some debris in the lane I try to avoid it.  That makes common sense.  It might just be an empty cup.  It might be a bag of nails.  It is just a good idea to be safe.  This verse implies that we can avoid or “depart from” (keep away NASB) (5493) from “hell” (Sheol NASB) (7585).  We don’t forget that we are saved by grace, not our own efforts.  We should also remember that God has tasked us with the responsibility to live upright lives.  That means avoiding evil.

I find that if I am paying attention and driving a reasonable speed it is easier to miss the board in my lane.  If I am daydreaming I might not even see it coming.  If I am going too fast I may not be able to swerve safely.

So?  Keep that in mind as you plan your day.  We can live in faith that God is in charge.  Just because the sergeant is not in charge does not mean he can march out of step. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Colonoscopy Anyone?

(Proverbs 14:14 KJV)  The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.

I am enjoying reading my old Living Bible this month.  I assumed it was almost the same as the New Living Translation but it is a different world.  The NLT pretends to be a translation.  The LB admits it is a paraphrase.  I have this verse underlined from thirty years ago,
“The backslider gets bored with himself; the godly man’s life is exciting.”
We are surrounded with bored people.  They are seeking thrills and spills.  I think of the coming Christmas season and the endless parties people will attend.  I have never made a habit of going to such gatherings because I have listened to stories.  They seem to be little more than an excuse to get drunk and convince yourself you are having a good time.  I remember years ago a guy talking about the great time he had, drinking and partying.  I asked him what he did.  He said, “I can’t remember but I had a great time.”  By that definition getting a colonoscopy is having a great time. 

So?  Being self centered is a sure recipe for boredom.  If you are bored go out and study a leaf on a tree and wonder how it was made.  Meditate on the miracle of the incarnation.  Ask yourself if Mary ever nagged Joseph. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Pual and Piel

(Proverbs 13:12 KJV)  Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

I find the sense of being “deferred” (4900) is different than I expected.  If you look at the basic meaning it is to draw or drag.  I get the impression of the way my feet shuffle in the morning as I am walking away from my bed.  There is no bounce, no enthusiasm.  My interest in the day is being deferred.  The Blue Letter Bible tells me this is a Pual participle.  Pual is the passive form of Piel in Hebrew.  Piel expresses intensive or intentional action. 

What does all that technical jargon mean?  I would guess that it is telling us that we are capable of keeping joy and fulfillment at arms length.  I think of times when I have been happy to sit around and feel sorry for myself.  That was a lot easier than moving forward in faith, trusting the barriers to God’s care and being obedient.  It is much easier to just blame others. 

So?  I can come up with plenty of reasons to feel stifled in life.  Since I don’t want a “sick” (2470a) “heart” (3820) I am going to put aside my pity party and live in joy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Donkeys Are For Riding Not Petting

(Proverbs 12:10 KJV)  A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

We are to be concerned with our “beasts” (animal NASB) (929).  Notice that it doesn’t say “pets”.  The concept of a pet in history seems to be focused on the idle rich or perhaps the familiars of those involved in the occult.  It says animal, it means animal.  These are the machines and power sources of the age.  We are to treat them well.  Jesus rode one into Jerusalem in the Triumphal Entry.  The Bible does not say that Mary rode one to Jerusalem for the birth of Jesus.

What was interesting to me as I looked at this today is that the Hebrew word is one that we are familiar with.  Actually we are familiar with the derivative.
(Job 40:15 KJV)  Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
In Job the word is masculine.  It is only used there in the Bible.  The feminine noun, used in Proverbs, is more common, over a hundred times.  You have heard speculation on what the behemoth was.  Some speculate on dinosaurs and such.  Notice how it is defined in the context of Job.  It eats grass like an ox.  That is God speaking, not me.

So?  Love your animals but keep them in their place.  They should not replace your neighbor, your children or your spouse in your concern or priorities. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

To the Rescue

(Proverbs 11:21 KJV)  Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.

This is another day in which the verse that stood out to me while reading was the one that would have come up in my routine.  I love these “coincidences”.  This month I am reading in my 40 year old Living Bible and the second half of this verse is paraphrased this way,
“And you can also be very sure that God will rescue the children of the godly.”
Part of my routine each morning is to be thankful for all my blessings.  That can take a long time because, really, I have a lot to be thankful for.  I know it is after Thanksgiving Day.  I can still be thankful.  One of the things I am grateful for is my children.

I will confess that every day of their lives I was not tickled pink to have them in my home.  Those years between 10 and 18 stand out in my mind as a continual question of “Why me, Lord?”  But even then they were worth keeping.  Sometimes all I had to do was compare them to what I worked with at school and I was good to go again.  But the overall consensus is that God is rescuing them on a daily basis. 

So?  I pray that I will be godly enough in my weaknesses to have God iron out the rough spots as they come.  I pray the same for you. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Days or Years

(Proverbs 10:27 KJV)  The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.

There is a contrast in the Hebrew that comes through in the KJV but not in the NASB.  The Hebrew has “days” (3117) [yom] and “years” (8141).  The verbs are opposites.  God “prolongs” (3254) one and the other gets “shortened” (7114a).  “Prolong” literally means “add to”.

This fits well in my observations.  It seems to me that the good things in life take a long time to build and consistent effort.  Raising godly children is a project that seems to go on forever and yet the evil side can come down like a ton of bricks in a moment.  I came to marriage with a really nice ukelele.  I bought it in Hawaii when I was in college on the advice of a friend who knew ukeleles.  I played it for years and let it sit for years but time does good things to a quality musical instrument.  Then one day my young child got hold of it.  It was no longer a ukelele.  It was now good for starting a fire.

So?  Don’t get discouraged when it seems like expectations are not being fulfilled.  It takes time for life to age properly and come together well.  God sees it even when we don’t.  Of course if you prefer pasturized process cheese food to a nicely aged baby Swiss, all bets are off. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017


(Proverbs 9:8 KJV)  Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

Here we are told to “reprove” (3198) and told not to reprove, all in the same verse.  Others might contrast the words of Jesus to “judge not” and the words of Paul,
(2 Timothy 4:2 KJV)  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
This is another one of those times when we are reminded that as Christians we cannot turn off our minds and go on auto-pilot.  Thinking with discernment is always in order and sometimes necessary.  It is clear that at times we are expected to correct our brothers in the faith.  As parents we are expected to train our children.  As citizens of a republic we are expected to raise our voice when the king is naked.

It is not easy.  It will not always we clear.

So?  How do we know when and where?  Two necessary perquisites.  We must be listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.  And before we can listen we need to take vocabulary lessons by reading the text book.  Think of it as a quiz with questions that are always fair.  If you have studied you don’t need to worry about your grade.

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Tension of Wisdom

(Proverbs 8:35 KJV)  For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.

One of the constant questions in my mind is the tension between a sovereign God and the free will of man.  How do they work together?

Read Job.  He was upright and blameless and yet God allowed him to be tested.  In the dialogue with Job God brings out the fact that He is God, not Job.
(Job 38:4 KJV)  Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
It was like God was saying, “Just because I told Satan you were a good man doesn’t give you the right to question Me.”

And then we have passages like this that tell us we are to seek wisdom and God will reward us if we find it.

So?  The tension will not go away in this life.  Maybe in eternity we will understand.  I find the joy of knowing that in His sovereignty God has chosen to allow me awareness and free will.  At times of pain I wish I were a robot but overall I rejoice in the relationship it allows.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Just Around the Corner

(Proverbs 7:12 KJV)  Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)

Temptation is everywhere.  The context here is adultery but in real life it takes many forms.  The form will be different for each person and for that person it may change every day.  Temptation deals with actions and opportunities that are a normal part of every day life.  In the right context they may even be righteous.  Take gossip.  Sharing prayer concerns and gossip differ in attitude not always in content.  Have you ever picked an apple?  Did you have permission or just take one because it was there?

Also keep in mind the sin is not in the temptation but in the completion of the opportunity presented. 

So?  Finish the day knowing that Satan is out to get you but that he can be frustrated by simply living an upright life.  Acknowledge the temptation, turn away and get on with life. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Avoidance Behavior

(Proverbs 6:4 KJV)  Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.

Excuses abound in my life.  When there is something that I don’t want to do I can find limitless other important tasks that need to be done.  Often they do.  Often they don’t really.  We use them to keep from doing what we want to avoid.  Here we have a young man who has done something stupid.  In this case it was co-signing on a loan for a casual acquaintance.  He knows he needs to do something about it.  He is being told to go and beg to get out of the trap.  He doesn’t want to go so he thinks he will take a nap first.

Bad choice.  Avoidance behavior.  How many times have I decided to have a little snack instead of starting some task?  Look at my waistline and you will get an idea.  There are lots of good things to do but when used as substitutes for what is needed they become bad things to do.

So?  I keep working on telling myself, “Do it now.”  Sometimes I listen and life is better.  Some times I don’t and the hole I am digging gets deeper.  Profit from my mistakes.  I am trying to. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Get Ravished

(Proverbs 5:19 KJV)  Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

My wife likes to tell the kids that what attracted me was the short red dress she wore.  Since it was an asset, I can’t argue.  I am wise enough not to point out all the long discussions we had about life and how we seemed so much on the same page in our commitment to the Lord and desire to serve.  Let her have her moment.  Solomon would have nodded his head and smiled.  He knew what she was talking about.

Physical attraction is part of how God built us.  It is part of the program and it is more than a gimmick to insure the existence of the next generation.  Paul put it this way.
(1 Corinthians 7:5 KJV)  Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
Is it any wonder that the Prayer and Fasting League never caught on?

So?  If you are married the attraction you feel for each other is holy.  If you are not married and feel the attraction then the answer is marriage.  Children are just an added bonus.  They will certainly change your Christmas season. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Be a Hugger

(Proverbs 4:8 KJV)  Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.

Are you a hugger?  I am not.  I can hug.  I have hugged.  I can hug well.  I am not a hugger.  Both translations I refer to use “embrace” (2263).  I am not an embracer either.

Just because I am not something by nature does not mean I cannot learn how and when to practice it.  I am not a runner by nature.  My advice to visitors in Boston years ago when cars were rushing toward them as they used a crosswalk, “Whatever you do, don’t lose your dignity.”  Yet I have been known to run when my children are in trouble.  I never chose to eat sushi.  If you have me to your house and serve sushi I will eat it with a smile on my face.  We can learn.

So?  Wisdom can be learned.  It is offered by God.  You have the Holy Spirit as a tutor as well as examples in living flesh around you.  Just because you are not a hugger does not mean you cannot learn wisdom.  Remember, this is a limited time offer.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Right Hand Blessing

(Proverbs 3:16 KJV)  Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.

Why is “long” (753) “life” (3117) something to be desired?  We could play with the KJV’s “length of days” which is more literal but that begs my question.  We could speculate that this includes eternity, and some day I might, but today I notice that the other hand has “riches” (6239) and “honor” (3519b) and, as they say, “you can’t take it with you”.  Why are we not told to hurry up and get out of this life and move on to a better world?

I think one good question deserves another.  Why did God create us in the first place?  I sometimes think that we bring joy to Him by the constant generation of new experiences.  The longer we are here on Earth the more we will have to add to the eternal stew and in some way God will savor it and allow us to join in the enjoyment.  I know there is heresy waiting just around the corner as I talk about adding to God in any way but keep in mind that the Bible seems to indicate our praise and worship are something He desires.

So?  Live long in righteousness.  Why?  This may be one of those places where God would just say, “Because I said so.” 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Boring Temptations

(Proverbs 2:16 KJV)  To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;

I feel a little let down.  I don’t think I have ever needed to be rescued from an aggressive woman.  I have come across the scene in books and probably seen it on the screen.  Two people meet by accident in a bar and within a few pages are having wild and improbable sex at her place.  I am still waiting to practice my self control.  Somehow I don’t think it is going to happen with all that drama.

I need wisdom to “deliver” (5337) me from more mundane things.  With me it is more meeting a box of Cheese-Its in a grocery store and within a few pages having wild and too common gluttony in the recliner at my place.  It isn’t quite as exciting.  Hollywood won’t make a movie about it.  I still need delivery.

So?  Wisdom will give us the focus to help us deal with the real challenges we face.  They may come in a box or in a conversation.  Help is not on the way, it has arrived. 

Friday, December 1, 2017


(Proverbs 1:11 KJV)  If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:

This compound word “without cause” (2600) is fairly common in the OT.  It should be telling us something about how we respond to people.  We have often been taught that certain things, such as killing, are always forbidden.  We get the idea that we should never get angry.  Maybe that is not true based on this term.

Obviously some things are always wrong.  There is never a legitimate reason to jump someone in the dark and rob them.  But there are many things in life which are acceptable, or even necessary, if the situation is right.  You would not normally go and pound on your neighbors door at 2:00 A.M. but if his house is on fire he would understand.  You don’t normally get up and walk out of church but you might if the pastor has just denied the divinity of Christ.

At the core is our motivation and the path of reasoning we have followed. 

So?  Make sure you don’t rationalize what God will punish.  Keep seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit and enrich your mind with the words God has given to us for that help.