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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Sales Resistance

(Proverbs 17:18 KJV)  A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.

This concept can be extended to volunteering for just about anything.  Often we speak up when someone presents a need and later we cool down and realize that it wasn’t such a good idea, but we are committed.  I remember years ago I applied this principle to responding to the gospel.  When the evangelist gave the invitation I dug in my heels and said, “No.”  In my heart of hearts I was not resisting the gospel, just the evangelist.  I did not want to make a life changing decision in the emotional manipulation of the moment. 

Looking back I believe the Lord could see my heart.  One of the bits of pressure put on by revival speakers is “what would happen if you were hit by a car on the way home?”  I think the contract has an escape clause in it.  Salvation is not a matter of putting together a mechanical clock and having it fail because you left out one screw.  It is a covenant between God and man.  It is designed to save as many as possible.

So?  Don’t give in to pressure.  At the same time, don’t pass up the real deal.  I believe we can tell the difference.  I know God can.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Proud Club

(Proverbs 16:5 KJV)  Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

“Everyone” (3605) sounds conclusive.  In many situations there is some wiggle room.  Fools are hopeless, but we find some indication that they can learn.  Sinners are lost, but can be redeemed.  The arrogant have no such hope.  This is more along the lines of,
(Romans 3:23 KJV)  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
We tend to think, or at least I do, that arrogance is an attribute of the rich and powerful.  When I stop to consider I find that it also exists in the poor and weak.  It is an attitude of mind that puts the self first and looks down on others.  That is a human trait not just a rich human trait.

So?  This is why we need to keep in daily contact with the Lord.  He needs to keep softening our hearts and molding our minds.  He can’t do that if we fall into the trap of having arrived. 

Monday, October 15, 2018

Be a Peacemaker

(Proverbs 15:1 KJV)  A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Again we see free will at work.  We are often confronted with situations that we do not create nor do we desire.  How often have you run into someone who is having a bad day and they are determined to pass it on.  You may have done everything you could be avoid the situation.  It still faces you with no escape.  Now the choice is yours.

Notice that it doesn’t say you will calm the anger.  All you can do is “turn it away” (7725).  There is another verse that this brings to mind. 
(Proverbs 25:21-22 KJV)  If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:  For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.
The possibility offered is that your refusing to return the anger will get them to think and maybe get a little embarrassed.

So?  Whether it “works” or not we are still required to follow the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.  That involves the other cheek and the extra mile.  Be a peacemaker. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Labour Party Platform

(Proverbs 14:23 KJV)  In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.

 How does work “profit” (4195) us?  Our first consideration is that we earn our living by our productive efforts.  We might do this as farmers, miners, plumbers, teachers, pastors, the list goes on.  We find something to do that is of worth to someone else and the transfer enough wealth to make it worth our time.

There is also value in the “labor” (6089a) itself.  There is a dignity and a sense of responsibility that comes from effort.  This is why working for less than we think we are worth is still a good thing to do.  It teaches us that we should value the bread we buy.  It does not come easy.  I find that I would evaluate something’s financial cost in how long it took me to earn the money for it.  People who have never earned a salary or run a business don’t understand that.

So?  Work.  Produce.  Give to society and grow in your character. 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Make Them Work

(Proverbs 13:22 KJV)  A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

I think it is interesting that the idea of leaving wealth skips the children.  Based on reading and listening from sources outside the Bible, I have heard people comment on how often children are spoiled by rich parents.  The parents knew how to work hard but too often they think they are going to do their children a kindness by sheltering them from that lesson.  Some learn it in spite of the handicap.  Others are weakened to the point of destruction.  When a child believes he is going to inherit a fortune, why would he put in the effort to train himself for success.  It is guaranteed. 

So?  Instead of making life easy for your children you should be preparing them for the trials and struggles ahead.  Then let them do the same for the grandchildren. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

On Whom Is the Joke

(Proverbs 12:20 KJV)  Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.

Who are the biggest victims of “deceit” (4810)?  If you are on the short end of a con game you feel like you are the one who suffers.  That is true on today’s radar but if you learn from the experience you come out ahead.  The con artist goes on feeling like he has achieved a victory.

Deceivers think they are winners but what is down the road?  There is a good chance that prison or murder is in their future.  There will be a lot of fear and loneliness.  There lives are like I imagine it must be to have a drug habit with little money.  You have a brief high and then comes the desperate search for the next fix.  Deceit is like that.

So?  A number of things come to mind.  Get the last laugh.  Learn from your mistakes.  Feel sorry for the trickster wallowing in his desperation.  Pray for his foolishness.  Don’t feel like you will be happier if you join him. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

On the Record

(Proverbs 11:31 KJV)  Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.

A recording “artist” comes to mind.  If I remember correctly he had a series of hits and became very successful.  Then at 26 years of age he committed suicide.  I don’t remember his name.  Neither will the world.  He got everything he wanted but it was not enough to keep him alive.  What destroyed him?  Was it the business executives that gave him millions?  Was it a type of music that I would consider ridiculous noise?  Ultimately it was his demand to get what he wanted instead of what he needed.

This picture is repeated with great regularity.

So?  Don’t be fooled by the facade presented by so many people.  Seek ye first the kingdom of God,...  You know the rest. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Victory Snooze

(Proverbs 10:5 KJV)  He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.

This is not a condemnation of sleep.  Proof-texting can cause all kinds of problems.  Usually it is done by someone with an agenda.  Sleep is a necessary part of life when it is done at the right time and in the right amounts.  Here the problem is the right time.  When it is time to work, work.  When it is not time to work, sleep.  Other places in Proverbs sleep in the wrong amounts is one of the causes of poverty.

The victorious Christian life is not always a matter of what as it is when and why. 

So?  Seek balance.  Work on timing.  Live in victory. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fun Choices

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

From what I hear, sin is fun.  Of course I have no first hand knowledge...., right.  One of the lines I have heard before is that if it is fun or enjoyable, it is a sin.  That is obviously not the whole story and impossible to be true.  Life is full of fun, fulfilling activities that we can participate in and still be righteous.  In spite of that we tend to focus on the few things that we are not allowed to do.

When I went to watch my daughter ride in a rodeo it was fun and up to God’s standards.  It wasn’t so much fun watching her fly off the horse and hit a fence, but no harm, no foul.  When my son beat the sox off of me playing fussball, it was fun and God probably enjoyed it more than I did.  He didn’t lose.  The list is only limited by your imagination.

So?  Keep the big picture in mind.  Sin may be fun now but the payoff has some serious drawbacks. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Unregenerated Deafness

(Proverbs 8:9 KJV)  They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.

If you want to end a conversation then start talking about Jesus.  I have seen it frequently.  If you even sound like you are getting serious about spiritual things or Godly behavior the glaze comes down over the eyes and attention wavers.  Share the same words at a prayer group and people zero in and light up.  One “understands” (995) and the other doesn’t.  Why the difference?

It has to do with the Holy Spirit.  If the Holy Spirit is not involved then it does not register.  One indication of this is given to us by Jesus,
(John 14:26 KJV)  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
My opinion is that the Holy Spirit is working on everyone.  Some respond to that leading and are brought to a point of repentance and new birth.  At that moment the Holy Spirit is free to lead to a deeper understanding.  Until you reach that point it remains cloudy.  I remember the difference in my understanding of love changing in the moment my first child was born.  You could tell me and have me write out definitions but when I saw that boy, I understood.

So?  Witness.  Share.  Live.  But don’t understand that everyone, or many, will understand and respond.  It doesn’t work that way.  Remember how many listened to Jesus and walked away.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Ultimate Discipline

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

The NASB has the phrase “discipline (4148) of a fool (191)”.  I have never noticed it much before but today it sounds disturbing.  If you continue reading you find that his foolishness is not only going to get him into a compromising situation but will send him to hell.  It is the ultimate discipline.  The purpose of discipline is correction.  It is possible for fools to learn and grow.  What is disturbing is that this does not seem to be a high possibility.   It assumes that once you get far down the road to self indulgence and disobedience, the results are fatal.

So?  I guess it seems a no brainer but the word whispered in my ear is, “Do a self check and do what is necessary to get back on track.”  The results will be different for each of us and different each day.  I would hope the results can be the same.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Heart Evil

(Proverbs 6:14 KJV)  Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.

If you are reading this verse in isolation it is important to recognize that Solomon is not asking a question, he is making a statement.  It is already established that there are evil people in the world.  This is hard for many to grab hold of.  We see things happening such as children being molested and brutal murders.  Uninvolved bystanders are injured in drive-by shootings.  Politicians are caught with their hand in the til.  We see it and think it is the exception.  It really isn’t.  We see it and wonder how people could do such things.

Grab hold of this truth.  There are large numbers of people who are only happy when they are wreaking havoc or disrupting lives.  Don’t expect to understand it.  Accept.  If it is hard for you then ask yourself how Satan, who has been in the presence of God and has a knowledge of how things work better than you or I could ever hope for, can pretend he can win against God.  I don’t think he plans on winning, just taking as many of us with him as he can.

So?  Make sure you don’t join him.  Be willing to punish his minions.  Recognize the reality. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Stumbling at Both Ends

(Proverbs 5:6 KJV)  Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.

Is it necessary to remain “movable" (unstable NASB) (5128)?  Are we locked into a pattern of perpetual falling and stumbling?  I hope not.  The Hebrew has a variety of applications from waver to quiver.  As I am past my allotted time of three score and ten I am aware that my physical abilities are deteriorating.  As I watch my granddaughter I can see that she has a lot of coordination to gain.  Life is like that.  We go through stages. 

Usually we can improve our condition but it requires an awareness that we need improvement and a belief that it can happen.  Babies learn.  I watch the look of surprise on her face as the infant gets a teething ring in her mouth and between her gums.  Eventually she will catch on.  Will I ever get it into my thick head that I can’t bend over and then straighten up quickly?  The jury is still out on that one.

So?  If you are wavering or quivering understand that you can improve.  It applies in the spiritual and emotional worlds just as much as the physical.  God made the whole package.  He designed it to wind up and wear out.  Enjoy the ride. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Perfect

(Proverbs 4:18 KJV)  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

I noticed a difference in translation between the KJV and the NASB that I thought was interesting.  The KJV uses “perfect” (3559) while the NASB uses “full”.  It caught my eye because I come from a theological persuasion that uses the terms “perfect love” and “perfection” in statements of doctrine.  Often we are criticized for using the word and usually the criticism is because others use their definition of the word rather than the Biblical one.  If you will excuse the slight of tongue, perfect does not mean perfect.

I know that sounds like the often mocked statement, “That depends on what the meaning of “is” is.”  It is not, because we see the same pattern in the Old Testament and the New Testament.  In both cases the word has the impact of things being at the goal.  They do not mean there are no rough edges or a seam out of place.  It means that the total picture presents the image intended.  Notice that it is the “day” (3117) that is perfect.  Somehow I can’t help believe that somewhere in that day there is an unhappy worm or a bit of dust on a counter.

So?  God is real and He deals with real people in real lives.  It is a perfect arrangement. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Asleep At the Wheel

(Proverbs 3:26 KJV)  For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.

This is a really hard lesson to learn.  As Americans we used to be taught to stand on our own two feet.  Recently I visited the John Wayne birthplace and was reminded of how much of the traditional American mystic was molded by men like him.  Modern generations have been taught to be victims and to turn to the government for our safety.  As Christians we need to be continually reminded that the president and politics are just junior programs not the final source.  That is God’s place.

It is even harder to apply regularly.  We can read a verse like this and get juiced up and then when we walk out the door we forget it all.  Maybe we don’t even get out the door.  Maybe the TV news or a conflict within the family is enough to distract us and make us fall into our old patterns.

So?  We lose focus if we don’t seek to be reminded on a regular basis.  It is like a steering wheel in the car.  Life requires constant small adjustments.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Bullion Wisdom

(Proverbs 2:4 KJV)  If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

I don’t know if you pay any attention to the price of gold and “silver” (3701) but an ounce of gold costs a lot more than an ounce of silver.  For example, at this moment gold is $1,200 an ounce and silver is $14.10.  Silver is much more in the reach of the average citizen than gold.  That is just economics.  This verse reminds me that wisdom is within the reach of the average believer.  Yes the Bible also refers to jewels and gold but it does not ignore the more reachable assets.

So?  Don’t think that the truth of the Bible is just for people with a lot of fancy education.  Often that stands in the way.  Keep in mind that $2,000 worth of silver has the same value as $2,000 of gold. 

Monday, October 1, 2018

For Crying out Loud

(Proverbs 1:20 KJV)  Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:

When was the last time you took a public, moral stand?  I would bet it has been a long time.  If you are like me you might behave personally in a moral way but you don’t make a big deal when others stray from the path.  I know that in some cases I have learned that the people who are telling lies or dealing dishonestly don’t want to hear it.  Often they have already convinced themselves that what they said was true because of special circumstances or they actually believe their memory is correct.  In those cases I think we have some excuse.

But there are certain actions that God has clearly condemned.  Sexual sin is one clear example whether it be homosexuality or fornication.  Cheating in business is also a clearly defined sin.  Our problem is that we have been effectively silenced because the culture threatens us. 

So?  Wisdom is meant to be shared.  Sometimes it may be quiet but it must be.  Pray for strength. 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Taller ≠ Tall

(Proverbs 30:31 KJV)  A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.

This is an interesting list of inflated egos.  All of the bold walkers in these two verses seem to be impressed with themselves.  They walk tall with an attitude that broadcasts self satisfaction.  What is not mentioned is that they all have limited areas of influence and no guarantee of victory.  It reminds me of video clips I have seen where some dude is advancing with arrogance, steps on a rake, gets hit in the face and becomes an internet source of ridicule.  Walking tall does not make you tall, just not as short.

So?  I am more concerned with walking straight than strutting.  I want Jesus to be the one who approves of my progress and I don’t think He is impressed with swagger. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

It Makes a Difference

(Proverbs 29:8 KJV)  Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.

It makes a difference the type of leaders a “city” (7151) picks.  Keep in mind that democracy as we know it was isolated to a few locations if it existed at all.  Power came from the top.  Governors of provinces were appointed by the king.  For the most part cities were also under his control.  In spite of that autocratic understanding of government the leaders would often have councils of civic leaders.  This got more common as you moved toward the grass roots.  Those leaders would have some input into some of the choices for civic leadership.  However they are appointed, it makes a difference.

If you need an example, look at what is going on in San Francisco.  There are constant jokes going on about how drug needles are handed out by the city leaders but you can go to jail for giving someone a plastic straw.  People defecate on the streets with nothing done about it.  It was also one of the early centers of homosexual political power.  Could there be cause and effect here?  Solomon seems to think so.

So?  Christians with morals may not be able to elect godly leaders but we can still make our voice heard.  If no one listens then look for a chance to vote with your feet.  I will admit that is totally personal opinion.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Hardening Choices

(Proverbs 28:14 KJV)  Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

Hardening your heart happens as a result of our decisions and choices.  We may not consciously say, “I am going to harden my heart”.  But deciding to take the culturally popular position on an issue adds callus to our sensitivity to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  When we give into temptation once it usually becomes easier to push things a little further.  When we are accepted by others because we did not stand up for uncomfortable truth it makes us want to be accepted even more.

So?  Understand that each choice we make is a move toward either right or wrong.  The concern is our long term direction.  You do not achieve eternal life by traveling opposite of God. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Passing It On

(Proverbs 27:24 KJV)  For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?

We see two different examples of a principle here, “riches” (2633) and a “crown” (5145).  The two seem to be tied together.  It expresses something that we see often around us.  One generation will achieve great success.  They will leave a legacy to their children.  This can be more than money but that is the easiest example.  The pattern seems to be that the second generation might be able to maintain the wealth but the third begins to fritter it away. 

The same can be said in spiritual terms.  The parents are strong believers and walk with God in a dynamic way.  Their children get the form but not the power.  The grandchildren drift away.

So?  It is possible to defeat this dissipation but it takes focus, discipline, instruction and a living example.  Principles must be lived and taught.  I am still trying to keep my eye on the future. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Give and Take

(Proverbs 26:22 KJV)  The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

Is this a word for the speaker or the listener?  The Bible is clear that the one who spreads gossip is involved in sin.  Does the same thing apply to the listener?  I think it might be a type of “age of accountability”.  When someone starts to speak you don’t know what they are going to say.  There comes point when it becomes clear what is going on.  That is the time to disconnect.  Sometimes all you can do is refuse to pass it on.  More often we need to learn to cut them off and walk away.  It isn’t easy.

I find that a simple “no” is often not enough to stop the person who says, “Do you want to know a secret”.  Often the “secret” is a bit of juicy gossip that they obviously want you to pass on.

So?  Obviously we need to not spread gossip.  Maybe we need to be more aggressive in refusing to listen.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Guilt Trips

(Proverbs 25:22 KJV)  For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.

I am constantly amazed at how people charged with the responsibility of preaching will betray it in order to be politically correct and acceptable to those who resist the gospel.  What does this have to do with this verse?  I heard a preacher one time take this verse and spend a lot of time twisting and warping in order to try to say that this was an expression that really meant you were being humble and contrite.  He rejected that fact that people could be made to feel guilty because that would violate their safe space and make them feel uncomfortable.

The simple fact is that God uses guilt to convict of sin and often it is your righteous behavior that brings to light their lack of God’s blessing.  I would suggest that we often don’t see it.  I would admit that many times the guilt they are feeling brings out even more violent reactions.  The truth is that God has many ways of trying to reach people.  Think of Noah going to Nineveh and preaching repentance.  It was enough.  Other times repeated warnings and pleading only hardened hearts.

So?  God is working.  Don’t feel that He has to embrace the current trend toward trigger warnings and safe spaces.  He is trying to save people from the ultimate, eternal unsafe space.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Partial Truth

(Proverbs 24:23 KJV)  These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.

I have recently had several conversations in which the subject of justice came up.  I am afraid that our pagan overlords in education and the media have penetrated the minds of many in the church and substituted their meanings for what God means.  They have done the same thing for “love” so that when Christians talk love they no longer mean agape.  Usually they mean eros or philios.   The world is comfortable with those but rejects the key word from the New Testament.

We most often see the perversion of God’s concept of justice being expressed as “social justice”.  Although it sounds very noble it is very far from the Bible standard.  Social justice is identity politics all tied up in a pretty bow.  Keep in mind that you can label bleu cheese as mild cheddar all you want but when you take of the wrapper it still stinks.  The same is true of “social justice”.  Social justice takes a chosen group and put a value on them based on their group identity not on their behavior.  What Solomon is saying here is that such tactics are evil and of the devil.  The KJV uses “respect of persons”.  It means that you don’t let someone off from a crime because the person is a relative or a member of your lodge.  It means that you judge them based on what they have done, not their connections.

So?  Don’t be partial.  A big part of that is being alert so that your vocabulary and choices are not dictated by the current social trends but by eternal truth. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Viper Warnings

(Proverbs 23:32 KJV)  At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

Texas has some dangers that I did not need to be alert for in California.  Scorpions and centipedes might have existed somewhere but I never say one.  In Texas they are common enough that I worry about walking through the house at night.  I recently had a centipede about four or five inches long stroll out of my closet.  Snakes were rare in the suburbs and I don’t think I ever saw a rattler in the wild.  Now they tell us to be on the alert.

Instead of going on a snake hunt I have done a little reading.  Several things become obvious.  The first is that snakes will go out of their way to avoid you.  Most of us are too big to make a decent meal.  Snakes generally don’t take bites, they swallow their meals whole.  They also know that you can hurt them.  They may not be intelligent but they are not stupid.  Rattle snakes will also try to give you warning if you are getting too close.  Because of this I don’t worry about snakes much.

I also don’t worry about the dangers of alcohol.  I have heard the warnings.  I am aware of the dangers.  I don’t go there. 

So?  God gives us ample warnings about the dangers to our spiritual lives.  We may make mistakes because of lack of judgment but it is possible to avoid choices that endanger our eternity. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

God’s Positioning System

(Proverbs 22:5 KJV)  Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.

As I write we are on a road trip.  It makes a difference what road you choose to take.  I am at an Interstate time of life.  My wife is leaning toward back roads.  Both can get you there, wherever there is.  The difference is in the traffic and speed.  There are many things that you don’t know about when you start out for the day.  You don’t know where the construction is.  You don’t know if traffic will grind to a halt because of an accident.  You don’t know because you don’t investigate.  With modern phones and computers you can find out where the tie ups are and you can plan around them.

This brings us to our verse.  Christians have always had GPS for life available.  If we follow the warnings and conditions laid out in the Bible and the directions given by the Holy Spirit we can avoid a lot of the problems that handicap those without such information.

So?  You don’t know unless you look.  How many traps could I have avoided if I were paying attention?  Don’t get cocky.  Your record isn’t any better. 

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Problem of Treasure

(Proverbs 21:6 KJV)  The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.

What are my priorities?  I do many of the right things and try to avoid the wrong things.  That is good enough but am I ever ready to take shortcuts in order to get the gold ring?  Am I willing to compromise my standards because I feel total honesty will put me in the loser’s corner?  I am afraid the answer is yes. 

Remember that the problem is not wealth, or “treasures” (214).  The Problem is how you get your treasure and how you use it.  It is amazing how many large and successful businesses were started by Christians.  Years later they are totally detached but at the beginning they offered a good product at a fair price and viewed their work as stewardship.  God blessed them.  Does he still bless the children and grandchildren who now own the company and have turned away from the Lord?  I doubt it.

So?  God demands to be first in our lives.  We can follow many different paths, careers and dreams but if we forget to put Him first it will eventually become a “pursuit of death”. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Sense It Makes

(Proverbs 20:12 KJV)  The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

God has given us the ability to see and hear.  Although we have other senses, these are the ones that make a difference in our intelligence and understanding of the world around us.  You can sense that a nail is sharp but unless you see it and learn what it looks like, you can’t avoid it.  While I watch my granddaughter I notice that it is her eyes and ears that are necessary to putting together all of the sensations involved with the waving arms and loud noises.

When we worship we can get a lot of good feelings from touch, smell and balance but it is the eyes and ears that put it together.

So?  God has designed us to learn about Him and His creation.  Use the paths of learning that are available to you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Pastry Wisdom

(Proverbs 19:10 KJV)  Delight is not seemly for a fool; much less for a servant to have rule over princes.

If “delight” (luxury NASB) (8588) is not appropriate for a fool, is it okay for the wise?  I am not so sure.  As I look at the word I don’t see it being used in a positive way.  The word itself simply means exquisite and dainty but the way it is used always seems to have some context of misuse and poor focus.  It seems to be one of those qualities that can be genuinely enjoyed but has a tendency to be misused. 

Does wisdom and maturity make us immune to the potential seduction?  No.  With the strength and insight that sometimes comes from time it might make us skilled in handling the luxurious safely.  There might be times when it is necessary.  Even with that said, it is important that we not assume.  Can you go to the corner bakery that has a case full of fluffy pastries and fresh brewed coffee, enjoy a treat and move on?  I am not sure I would be successful even though it would be within the path of righteousness.  In some areas I know my limitations.

So?  Can real men wear pink?  Yes.  Should real men wear pink?  That is another question.  We need to answer those kind of questions with thoughtfulness and prayer. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Expressions of Attitude

(Proverbs 18:3 KJV)  When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.

“Contempt” (937) is an attitude that should not be in our repertoire.  This verse is not clear who is extending it or who is receiving it.  I think it is safe to say that looking down on people and working to destroy reputations is a tool of evil.  We have a lot of different ways of expressing this.  It can be open arrogance as expressed by the translation here, contempt.  It can be clothed in “caring” about others and being willing to coerce them into doing what you want them to do.  This is the attitude of our elite politicians and educators who take away our ability to make choices because they think we will make the wrong ones.

Contempt is also expressed by Christians when they surrender to “holier than thou” attitudes so common among people seeking righteousness.  We often look down on non-believers and even on brothers and sisters who are not as far along as we are. 

What is clear is the association with the wicked.

So?  The answer is agape.  When we do what is best for others there is no hidden agenda of advancing our cause.  It is a response to clear standards God has laid down.  We always need to examine our own motives. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Hierarchy of Relationships

(Proverbs 17:17 KJV)  A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Notice that this is a parallel statement.  One of the parallels is the similarities between “friend” (7453) and “brother” (251).  Since this is the Old Testament we can take the term “brother” literally. 

I believe there is a hierarchy in relationships.  At the bottom you have all mankind.  We are expected to love and be courteous to everyone.  Honesty is not for an exclusive group.  At the other extreme the general world would put blood relatives.  Christians would put brethren in Christ above that.  We owe more to fellow believers than we do to non-believing siblings.  That does not let us off the hook but simply tries to remind us of what is expected. 

So?  We are to be different.  We are also to be stewards of our time and treasure.  Use them wisely with special attention to brothers and brethren. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Big Roadblock

(Proverbs 16:4 KJV)  The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Does this verse make you feel uncomfortable?  Does it make you look for ways to get out from the implications?  Do you look for exceptions?  If it doesn’t, it should.  This is one of the hardest things for human beings to accept:  He is God.  We are not.  Everything is for His “purpose” (4617).  Everything.  It is not about your happiness.  It is not about your personal goals or sense of fulfillment.  Those things come.  There are promises.  God is faithful.  All that is true but the basic reality that we have a hard time with is He is God.  We are not.  He does not exist for us to call on to fulfill our plans.  We are His servants.

Why do we find people resisting the gospel?  Why do we find people drifting away after they first respond to the love of the cross?  Why do so many continue to go through the motions but never really get on board?  It is this verse.

So?  Remember that one day every knee shall bow.  Now it is a choice.  Now it involves entering the family of God.  At judgment it will be forced.  At judgement it will be too late.  Live in submission.  Live in victory. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Grow in Fear

(Proverbs 15:33 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.

One of the spiritual sound bites that I keep hearing is that love of more powerful than _______.  The blank can be filled in with hate or the sword.  I am not sure that we can use it with “fear” (3374).  Fear is a great teacher.  On a low level it can keep you from slamming the door because your mother will yell at you.  At the other extreme it will help you keep your head down in a fox hole.  Fear can stimulate your memory and motivate your lethargy.  It only works in the right forms and amounts.

Fear of the Lord does not cripple the willing heart.  Fear of the Lord motivates because it is based on an awareness of the awesomeness of God as well as the fact that God is love.

So?  Fear and grow.  Fear and learn.  Fear and rejoice. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Foundational

(Proverbs 14:22 KJV)  Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.

One of the confusions we have in evaluating our world is the observation of people who will do the right thing even though they are not a part of the family of God.  History is full of people who do “good” (2896b) but reject God.  What this verse is telling us is that they lack the basic wisdom necessary to build a life of righteousness.  They will eventually “go astray” (8582).  I like that better than the KJV’s “err” because even the righteous will err.  They do not deliberately leave the path of righteousness. 

If you read any of the popular literature on the best seller lists you will be familiar with the kind of protagonists I speak of.  They are often portrayed as patriotic, honorable citizens.  They sacrifice themselves for their country.  They do brave acts.  They are portrayed as role models because of this.  They will help little old ladies across the street and then fornicate with her granddaughter after executing her nephew without a trial.  They are not noble.  They are typical sinners making excuses for gratifying their personal desires.

So?  Be very cautious about the brainwashing that goes on in our world.  It is everywhere.  When you go to the movies be skeptical.  When you go to church, take your Bible and make sure that all the entertaining monologue you are hearing is based on the word of God. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Results

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

How we live makes a difference.  There are times when the righteous will face persecution.  There are times when the evil will win a round.  We have seen enough of that in history and in our own lives.  The promise is still there and still to be believed.

The problem we have with this is that our vision is limited.  We see a chapter in a life and don’t see the later chapters.  Or we see the final chapters and don’t realize how much previous activity has produced what we see. 

So?  Our lives should be different if we want our destiny to be different. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Simple Truth

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

Honesty is foundational for eternal life.  No, being honest does not get you into heaven but being dishonest can keep you out.  God expects us to speak truth and not modify it to meet the current trends.  Truth and honesty are “established” (3559) by God and are part of the package of regeneration. 

If this does not make you uncomfortable then maybe you are not paying attention.  Truth is the minimum standard.  It is not an option.  God is not amused by us breaking things into “little white lies” and “that’s your interpretation”. 

So?  If you can’t speak truth then don’t speak at all.  That might be good advice for a lot of situations. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A Key Ingredient

(Proverbs 11:30 KJV)  The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

I wonder if part of the meaning here is that a “righteous” (6662) life will bear fruit in our families and our children’s spiritual condition.  Notice the previous verse talks about our own house.  I have always wondered what it was that caused children to grow up as mature Christians.  Parents cannot be the only factor.  I know some people who are serving the Lord with gladness but came from families that being called “dysfunctional” would have been seen as a complement.  I have seen families where some children serve God and others are disciples of evil. 

But while parents are not the only factor they are an important one.  Fathers and mothers that seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness have a greater potential for being successful with their children.  You can’t do away with free will, grace, and the work of the Holy Spirit but it seems that God also throws in our examples as parents.

So?  Live like it makes a difference.  You know why. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Riches Are Relative

(Proverbs 10:4 KJV)  He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

Recently I was discussing what it means to be “rich” (6238).  How much material wealth does God want us to have?  Does He care all that much if we have nice things or not?  I have also been thinking about what it has taken to make me feel rich over the years.

When I was a child there was a guy at church that was always giving kids a quarter.  I can remember how rich I felt when I had that twenty five cents in my hand.  Of course in that day it would buy me two large candy bars and some penny candy.  What more could anyone want.  In high school a five dollar bill could make me feel like life was good.  As I got older it took more to make me feel secure.

By the measure of most of the world, I am rich.  By the measure of America I have enough to make it through without want.  That is financial.  When it comes to the things that Proverbs would include in the formula of wealth I am also blessed.  I forget that sometimes.  God has a way of reminding me.

So?  My sense of well-being is based on more than a bank account.  I have tried to establish a routine that will remind me of that on a regular basis.  Writing this each day is a part of that ritual.  It forces me to engage in the important things of life.  I do it at the beginning of the day.  God rewards. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Needs and Wants

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

Context and expectation can influence our perception.  Is the room dark or light?  It depends on weather you have just come in from walking in the summer sun or just opened your eyes from a nap.  Which tastes better, the cookie you sneaked off the cooling sheet or the last one in a package that you are finishing? 

The point here is that Satan and his minion are going to work all the angles.  He is going to make you think that just because everyone else says it is wonderful then you need it too.  He will then take you the next step to where you think it is your right to have it.

So?  Learn the difference between “want” and “need”.  God has not promised to deliver everything you think is shiny.  He will take care of your needs.  If you can’t have it you probably don’t need it.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Straight

(Proverbs 8:8 KJV)  All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.

This is wisdom speaking.  Wisdom is presented as a good thing.  Not only good, it is also necessary.  We are to look for it in others and we are to demonstrate it ourselves.  Obviously we are all at different places in our journey but we need to be on the journey.

As we move through life we need to understand that genuine wisdom is linked to high moral caliber.  Although we don’t see the word much any more I like the way the KJV used “froward” (6617).  The NASB here calls it “crooked” which is a literal meaning.  For Christians there is a straight path to follow.  The world can go for twisting and bending truth and reality but we are to walk the Highway of Holiness. 

So?  Right and wrong exist.  Morality is not a matter of conforming to the latest social fads.  Morality is adhering to the standards of right and wrong given to us by God.  Don’t be fooled or distracted. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Yield Signs Have a Purpose

(Proverbs 7:21 KJV)  With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.

What kind of “fair speech” (persuasions NASB) (3948) do we face on a daily basis.  Most of us don’t face a temptation to adultery, but we are tempted to compromise on many other issues.  It is also an obvious point that we are not tempted by things we are not interested in.  Don’t bother trying to tempt me to eat liver.  I can be talked into petting your cat.  Please don’t bring out any Doritos. 

What might be tempting to you doesn’t even get honorable mention in my pantheon of weaknesses.  Thus I can sit in a bar all day without partaking of alcohol but don’t ask me to sit at a poker table and stay uninvolved.  You might be the opposite.  If we are persuaded the consequences can range from gaining a few pounds to losing your life savings.  On some issues it could mean losing your eternal soul.  That is the point here.

So?  Be aware.  Plan your path.  The Holy Spirit will help you but probably not after you open the package and have the chip in your hand. 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Watch Your Step

(Proverbs 6:13 KJV)  He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;

Every time I read this verse and the one like it, Proverbs 10:10,  I get a vision of a pimp in a zoot suit making a rap video and thinking he is cool.  It is amazing some of the things that are on God’s radar.  Who would think He would care about simple things like body language, but He does.

Where do people learn to move the way they do.  I was walking behind a man the other day and watching the way he carried himself made me feel tired.  I found it hard to believe it was natural.  I think he had to learn it.  Maybe his father walked that way.  Maybe he saw a movie as a kid.  Have you ever tried to walk like John Wayne or sing like Madonna? 

So?  We need to be very careful whom we look to as examples.  We need to be very careful the example we set.  Obviously we can’t be aware of all our quirks but it doesn’t hurt to pay attention. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Hanging On

(Proverbs 5:5 KJV)  Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.

I get frustrated with the desire to evangelize.  I don’t want anyone to go to Hell.  God does not want anyone to go to hell.  As I struggle with this I come across verses like this.  Notice the term “take hold” (8551).  This has the idea of reaching out and grabbing something and then holding on like it is necessary for survival.  We recently had the reminder of what it is like trying to give an infant a bath.  They are wiggly and squirmy and slippery.  You don’t want to drop them.  When they hand off to me expecting me to swaddle her in a big towel I need to make sure that I have a good grip.  People are that way with their sin and rebellion.

So?  You cannot talk anyone into salvation.  It is a gift offered by God and their hearts are responding to the Holy Spirit.  What we need to realize is that the response is usually, “No.”  It will become “a thousand times no” before God is finished with them.  By holding on to their sin they reject the God of salvation as well as the salvation of God. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Multipurpose

(Proverbs 4:17 KJV)  For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.

As I read this verse I notice the similar elements to the sacrament of communion.  In both places the elements are bread and wine but the purpose and results are totally different.  I am sure that Solomon was not writing thinking about the Last Supper or even the Passover meal on which it was based.  It might help to remind us though that it is possible to use the same materials and actions for either righteousness or evil.  It depends on what our purpose is.  Here evil is the desire of the heart.  When we go to the table of the Lord our purpose is communion with a holy God.

Another significant difference:  Jesus told us to partake and remember.  Here the goal is to forget.

So?  There will be many common activities today.  It would be renewing to pause and think about them in terms of the blessings that God is bringing and the blessings He expects us to be administering. 

Monday, September 3, 2018

Sure Things

(Proverbs 3:25 KJV)  Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.

No, you are not imagining it.  It will come.  There are differences between the KJV and the NASB.  The KJV says “desolation” (4480/7722) which is a compound word meaning “out of ruin”.  The NASB has “onslaught” (7724b) which means “devastation, ruin”.  It looks like the Hebrew has the same root with different endings.  The point is the same.  Both translations say “when” instead of “if”. 

Will we see war?  Yes.  Will we see economic problems?  Of course.  Will we run out of mayonnaise in the middle of a sandwich?  Also very probable.  The point is that we are not to live in terror waiting.

So?  God is in charge.  When Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den I don’t think he was saying, “Oh boy, another adventure!”  I do think he was confident about God’s will being done. 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Part Numbers

(Proverbs 2:3 KJV)  Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

The KJV is a bit weak here.  It has “knowledge” instead of the “discernment” (998) of the NASB.  The KJV usually does better because its most common translation is “understanding”.  It is not enough to have knowledge, as important as it is.  I was recently looking for a replacement knob on an old air conditioner.  I knew what I wanted.  I understood how to change it and how to order it.  What I didn’t know was the part number.  That took a lot of research.  I ordered the part but until it arrives I still won’t know if I did good.

So?  Read, study and gather knowledge but don’t stop there.  Pray for understanding so that you can put the knobs on correctly. 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

No Muggers Need Apply

(Proverbs 1:19 KJV)  So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.

There are at least three different Hebrew words translated “greedy of gain" (violence NASB) (1214) in Proverbs.  This one specifically means to use violent force to take the wealth of other people.  This is not the violence of war or of the police chase.  This is the violence of the mugger.  You attack first and rob second.  If  you were preaching to a bunch of bankers you might link it to the techniques unscrupulous loans harks might use, but that would be stretching it a bit.

So?  I would hope this has no application in your life.  There is no place in the walk of a Christian for this kind of behavior.  You might need to understand that when you evaluate what others are doing. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Reject Identity Politics

(Proverbs 31:31 KJV)  Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

We live in an age of identity politics where people are judged by the group they belong to.  Thus we have the nonsense that only white males are racist and all white males are racist.  Actually this is nothing new.  It is just an extension of age old stereotypes.  Think of the linkage between Jew and cheap, Mexican and lazy, Irish and temper and so forth.  That is not the Christian way and until recently did not receive the support of the culture.  The prejudice existed but was not approved.

This verse reflects how we are to evaluate people.  We should not weigh them by the color of their skin, the size of their nose, their religion, or their gender.  We should evaluate them by their “works” (4639) not their words or social ranking.  Here it is lifting up women but we see this idea expressed other places.  We are saved by grace through faith but our actions and obedience work into the mix in some mysterious way.

So?  Be a living example of righteousness.  You walk on thin ice if you think that a doctrine of eternal security means that you can ignore your behavior.  Make Jesus proud. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Standing Tall

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

I am not sure that I would want to think of myself as “strongest” (mighty NASB) (1368).  I have visions of the comic book super heroes who have at least one extreme power.  That could be the idea but as I look at how it is used it seems to be more of the person who stands tall and does his duty in the face of opposition.  The most frequent way it is expressed is “mighty men”.  Sometimes they are named.  Sometimes what they have done is listed.  The point is they did their duty.

There are times when a lioness will slink away but if her cubs are threatened you had better be far away.  We need that attitude.  Just because we do not go to battle over every little issue that comes up does not mean that we don’t stand tall when it is called for.

So?  Remember the church used to sing “Onward, Christian Soldiers” as a call to faithful service in the face of evil.  Too often we are AWOL. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Rights Cause

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

What “causes” (rights NASB)” (1779) do the “poor” (1800b) have?  The godly understand this better than the self centered, carnal leaders that we have.  This exact phrase appears only one other place.
JER 5:28 'They are fat, they are sleek, They also excel in deeds of wickedness; They do not plead the cause, The cause of the orphan, that they may prosper; And they do not defend the rights of the poor.
The idea is expressed in at least one other place:
ISA 10:2 So as to deprive the needy of justice, And rob the poor of My people of {their} rights, In order that widows may be their spoil, And that they may plunder the orphans.
“Rights” literally means judged.  This implies justice, but we must always make sure that we are using the Biblical idea of justice which is based on truth and the character of God, not on some slippery concept of “social” justice. 

So?  We need to stop listening to powerful voices that base their ideas of justice on some arbitrary checklist of identity politics.  God is not a respecter of persons.  Righteousness is not a sliding scale.  The only way to justice is through an unchanging law understood through a redeemed heart. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Confession

(Proverbs 28:13 KJV)  He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

The believer “confesses” (3034) his sins.  Is this to God or to man?  It doesn’t seem clear to me.  I would guess that it could be to either or both depending on the situation.  When it comes to confessing to people it is easy to abuse the concept.  One of the brainwashing techniques of Marxism is to have people sit around and confess to having thoughts that violate the doctrine of the Marxist religion.  It is important to confess something.  If you don’t confess enough you are confronted.  It is sick and manipulative.  We can get that way in the church looking for juicy sins that are none of our business.

It is possible to get too concerned about this with God.  He wants us to confess our sins, yes.  He wants us to be open, yes.  He does not want us to get so nervous about missing one that we become a nervous wreck.  If we are open the Holy Spirit will bring to mind what we need to deal with.

So?  Sin happens.  Repentance is the cure.  Remember that I John 1:9 was written to believers.
(1 John 1:9 KJV)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
And don’t forget that second part. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Start at Home

(Proverbs 27:23 KJV)  Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.

This is a principle of stewardship.  Most of us will need to accept the pastoral setting as figurative.  The principle is that we are to mind our own business not the business of everyone else.  Picture being invited to someone’s house for dinner.  You surprise them by showing up a bit early and explain that you just wanted to make sure that their furniture was arranged properly.  Then imagine that you start moving lamps and couches to the places they should be.  Then imagine being uninvited for dinner.

It may sound silly but it would be even sillier if your house was a total mess.  One of the questions I have for people giving advice on how to raise children is, “How many children do you have?”  Another one I would ask if I had the courage is, “And how have they turned out?”  I think of pastors who have children who are a total mess.  I think of one who was very “successful” and none of his children are serving the Lord. 

So?  Focus on getting your own house in order.  I hesitate to say that since I am not sure mine is ready for showing. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Igniter

(Proverbs 26:21 KJV)  As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

There is a general category of evil that is being dealt with here:  Gossip.  Gossip takes many forms from recreation to political disinformation campaigns.  It is possible to justify the work of deception when it comes to national security but in personal life such an excuse tends to be rationalization. 

It is important that we honestly ask ourselves our motivation for the things we do.  This would apply even to our humor and our attempts to “help”.  In eternal issues our motivation and attitude are as important as our actions.  I might even say they are more important because God can see our hearts.  He knows if we broke something while giving it our best.  He also knows when we are just putting on a show and He is not impressed.

So?  Cut the gossip and agitation.  Examine the heart. 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Spiritual Schizophrenia

(Proverbs 25:21 KJV)  If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:

When I look at this verse I see one of the reasons why I tend to think of America as a Christian nation.  This is a principle that is foreign to most of the world and even if they pay lip service to it they never carry through in action.  This is one of the foundations of the Just War Theory.  It put limits on how we treat even enemies.  I think back to the end of the Civil War and the way America treated Japan and Germany after World War II.  Lincoln called for a binding of wounds and forgiveness.  The Marshall Plan rebuilt the countries we had sacrificed thousands of lives to defeat.  You can call it schizophrenic.  You can call it bi-polar.  You can call it insane.  You must call it Christian.

So?  There may be times when physical force is necessary.  There is also a point where it is replaced by forgiveness and restoration.  God draws the line before we are willing to.  Live in obedience.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Balancing Act

(Proverbs 24:22 KJV)  For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?

We are warned about the “ruin” (6365) that can come from both the government and God.  As Christians we are to be submissive to the king, i.e. government, but not forget our priorities and standards.  That can be hard in modern times where Biblical morality is becoming a hate crime.  It can be a tough wire to balance on.  We are required to make the effort.

We have Jesus paying taxes and giving us the admonition to give Caesar what is Caesar’s.  We have Paul telling us to live in submission to the governing authorities.  At the same time we have Peter saying he will not stop preaching just because they told him to.  In a day that has Christians being banned from the public square we need to be willing to take the risk.

So?  Don’t be obnoxious.  Don’t be arrogant.  At the same time stick to your guns. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Shiny

(Proverbs 23:31 KJV)  Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

One of my childhood memories involves going to the pound to pick out a family pet.  Us boys were totally sold on all of the dogs pushing against the wire and clamoring for our attention.  My mother was no so easily bought off.  She picked one that was sitting back in a corner looking sad.  When we got the dog home she proved to be loving and loyal.  It was a good choice.  It is not the choice that the children would have made.

As children we were seduced by the shiny.  I am not so sure that we are not still into shiny as adults.  Think of the shiny offered by all the advertising we watch.  I have always been puzzled by the beer commercials.  I see a bunch of beautiful people yucking it up and looking like they just made it past the gates of heaven.  What are they so happy about?  When I have seen that live it is because someone just told a dirty joke or gave the guest speaker a wedgy. 

So?  Be leery of shiny.  There is a small chance it means something but usually it is just the make-up that the actress has put on for the camera.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Key to Riches

(Proverbs 22:4 KJV)  By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.

“Riches” (6239) is a concept that gives many Christians pause.  We tend to think of the condemnations given to the rich.  The Social Justice Warriors of our culture have the words “greedy” and “rich” joined at the waist.  The church often goes along with that because we have forgotten to engage our minds and disengage our cultural biases.  If you read carefully you will see that the problem is not in the wealth but in how it was gained and how it is used.  Riches also applies beyond gold and silver.  It is used to talk about wisdom and knowledge.

It is just anecdotal but if you look at the world today and ask yourself where the most of everything that human beings want is found it will be in countries that at some time in their history have given Christianity a leading role.  Those days may be past and it may have only been lip service but it is still a genuine correlation. 

So?  The principle has been demonstrated time and again.  Living the way God wants you to will make life better for everyone.  It is a tragedy that our nation is moving in the other direction. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Plenty Pause

(Proverbs 21:5 KJV)  The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

Here we see diligence and haste contrasted.  You would think it would be better to use “slow” or “cautious” as opposites of “hasty” (213).  Or “sloppy” against “diligent” (2742a).  Those of us that are procrastinators will love this verse because it gives us ammunition to throw at people who get things done.  We would be wrong. 

Being “diligent” means taking the time to sharpen your knives before you cut up the salad.  The hasty just grabs a knife and starts chopping.  Usually both people get a salad at the end that meets minimum standards but the one who takes the time to hone his blades will actually have less risk of hurting themselves.  Sharp knives take less pressure and so you have less inclination to slip.  People who take a few moments to think things through will come out ahead of the traffic jam.

So?  My tendency is to put off decisions but my motive is usually not the right one.  This is a reminder to me to spend my time wisely.  For you it might be to slow down.  Listen to what the Holy Spirit has for you today. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Indicators

(Proverbs 20:11 KJV)  Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

I think it is the NASB that “distinguishes” (5234) (known KJV) itself here.  Every other translation has “child” (5288) instead of “lad”.  The word seems to have a male sense to it and is often conveyed as “servant”.  It has the idea of being an underling of little power. 

It is important how we behave when we are not in control.  It might be a good way to measure how someone will mature if you watch how they treat animals and smaller children.  If they are someone who thinks it is fun to pull the wings off of flies then I would guess you would not want them as a chief of police.  If they steal the pencils from your desk you would not want them as your banker. 

So?  Watch others and watch yourself.  The future is waiting. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

More than Pants on Fire

(Proverbs 19:9 KJV)  A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.

There are some promises that are focused on this world.  There are others that look to eternity.  I tend to think this is more an eternal promise than one for this week.  Much of the time, liars will be found out.  You might even say most of the time.  The problem I have is that there seems to be no day of reckoning.  I watch people making up the news or tailoring it to fit their personal agenda.  It becomes obvious and yet the masses keep watching and the paychecks keep coming.  I watch politicians whom cannot be trusted to take out the garbage being reelected.  There seems to be no consequences, at least in this life. 

But God will not be mocked.  One of the Ten deals with telling lies.  Liars will be in the lake of fire.  It is a big issue and He is watching.

So?  We need to allow God to be the referee and judge.  He knows and unless there is genuine repentance He will punish.  We need two things to be true of us.  First, we are to tell the truth.  Second, we are to lift up the liars and hope for repentance.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Liberating Fools

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

When you lift this verse out of context and look at the translations from the KJV and other older works you find an interesting insight.  The context is pointing out how hopeless a fool is and in that sense this is saying that a “fool” (3684) only listens to himself.  But if you look at the KJV it seems to imply that if the fool is going to learn anything, he has to start in his own inner man.

A frequent use of the Hebrew word for “discover” (revealing NASB) (1540) has to do with carrying away into exile.  If you follow that meaning then you find that a fool needs to get away from the ideas that mold him in order to find mental release.  The context makes this seem impossible but there are places in Proverbs where it seems to say that a fool can learn.

So?  There is hope for everyone.  Assuming that we have moved beyond the fool stage we might assume that if the fool can change and move forward, so can we.  A happy thought.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Affordable

(Proverbs 17:16 KJV)  Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?

Even a “fool” (3684) has the “price” (4242) required to understand the plan of God.  That would seem to me to be one way to read this.  It goes along with the idea that Jesus died for all and everyone can be saved.  One of the features of the Bible and the gospel is that children can grasp the basics while erudite scholars can still search the depths.  At both levels you can have the “price” and know the living God. 

One of the problems of the fool is that he rejects the truth given to him and insists on staying in his sin.  Modern man glories in rejecting the idea of sin, let alone that he is a sinner.  As the saying goes, why would you need a savior when you are not lost?

So?  When you rub up against, or run head-long into, the person who does not seem to understand the need for Jesus relax and let the Holy Spirit do the convicting.  The problem is usually not knowledge or understanding.  It is a foolish heart. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

That Works

(Proverbs 16:3 KJV)  Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

“Works” (4639) get a lot of bad press among some Christians.  They emphasize that we are not saved by works, and they are right.  That is a Biblical stand.  What is often overlooked is that we are not saved without our works.  I know a lot of people don’t like that but remember what Jesus said,
(John 14:21 KJV)  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Keep in mind that Jesus did not talk about grace.  He talked about believing and He talked about obedience.  When we are redeemed we are changed.  It makes a difference in how we live.  Part of that change is in whom we live for and what Solomon is saying means that we are to dedicate every action we take to the cause of Christ.

So?  Rejoice that we don’t need to earn our salvation.  Be glad that the Holy Spirit gives us to the power to live in obedience.  Relax in that assurance and walk in righteousness. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Believer Abuse

(Proverbs 15:32 KJV)  He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

Every year teachers get a review of policies regarding child abuse and its reporting.  One of the categories might be better called “child neglect” although it fits in the general bucket.  This involves when a parent “neglects” (6544a) to provide the proper nutrition or even hygiene for the child.  The sad part of this is that most of the parents I dealt with could have been accused of neglect because they were too busy with their own lives to discipline and control their children.  Of course the state would not see it that way since they are working as hard as they can to get the parents out of the loop.  The point is that ignoring simple everyday procedures is a type of neglect.

Did you “neglect” to brush your teeth?  Did you neglect to wash behind your ears?  These are things which missing once will be no big deal but a pattern can cause serious dangers.  The same is true of our spiritual walks.  There are certain disciplines that are part of the Christian life and are regularly neglected by believers.  Some that come to mind are prayer, meditation, worship, and study. 

So?  Since we are under grace instead of law it is impossible to make some kind of rule about these things.  The problem is that neglect leads gradually to failure of key parts of our walk.  Enough unrepaired breakdowns and eternity becomes a question, not an assurance. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Error Message

(Proverbs 14:22 KJV)  Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.

At what point do we recognize that we “err” (gone astray NASB) (8562)?  I think it is an important question.  Think of people in the Bible who went astray.  You would have quite a list if you listed all of David’s failings.  Peter was known for getting carried away down the wrong path.  I John 1:9 is written based on the assumption that people will get off track. 

How do we respond?  The righteous will see their sin and repent.  The evil will continue down the path.  Notice that the straying comes because the person is evil.

So?  Did you mess up already today?  Is it because you are choosing to be evil or because you got off the track you want to be on.  Repent or keep sliding.  Different people will make different choices. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Wise Walking

(Proverbs 13:20 KJV)  He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Life is full of choices.  It can really be important whom you travel with.  I enjoy playing golf once in awhile.  I am over the “gotta play” passion.  I am not really very good.  If you know what it means, if I ever break 100 I have a shouting spell.  I enjoy playing on courses I have never been to before but they have a problem.  What looks like a simple, direct path from tee to hole is often anything but.  In cases like that it helps to have someone playing with you with certain qualities.

It helps to have someone who has played the course enough to know it.  I had one guy who would constantly tell me things like, “Try to stay to the left.  If you hit it right it will roll down a long hill.”  It also helps to know if there is some water just over a rise and hidden in a low spot.  Knowing where to hit the ball doesn’t make me any more accurate but at least gives me a chance to try.

It helps to have someone who has better eyes.  One of the most common questions I ask is, “Did you see where my ball went?”  The problem is that the ball went farther than I could track.  It could be hazy conditions.  It could be I wasn’t looking.  Often there are others who can help out.

What you don’t want is the guy who wants to tell you how to change your grip and stance when it is obvious he isn’t doing so well himself.

So?  As far as possible, choose whom you walk with. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Coup de Gras

(Proverbs 12:18 KJV)  There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

In this spot the NASB does a better job on the Hebrew.  The KJV leaves out the concept of “rashly” (981).  While the term can refer to making solemn statements it has the idea of doing it without thought, even flippantly.  I have a vision of some of the spiritual discussions I have had with people where I deliver the coup de gras only to find that they don’t think it was so profound.  It was, they just didn’t get it.  I am not referring to the times I was totally wrong.  The problem was not my facts but my attitude.

So?  It doesn’t do any good to be right if no one will listen. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Servant Class

(Proverbs 11:29 KJV)  He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.

 The second part of this verse does not necessarily have to do with the first although I can see how one relates to the other.  A fool would mess with his own house.  We have the phrase, “foul your own nest”.  I don’t know if you have ever seen pictures portraying the work space of a computer geek who has empty pizza boxes piled by the chair.  I have actually seen that in real life.  It is disgustingly awesome.

The “foolish” (191) have certain qualities.  Proverbs keeps bringing them out.  They have personalities that make them useful only on tasks that do not really matter.  It says they will be “servants” (5650) but it does not say that they will be useful servants.  They will be the kind of housekeepers that might be trusted to change the toilet paper but will need to be checked to see if they get it rolling the right way.

So?  Some people are not worthy of being in responsible positions.  That should never be said of followers of Jesus. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Soul or Not

(Proverbs 10:3 KJV)  The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.

This is a verse that is easier to deal with if you consult different translations and look at some of the study tools available.  The NASB seems to be saying that God will never stand by and let one of His children get hungry.  That is literally nonsense.  We all experience hunger.  It is how we know it is time to eat.  So we need to look a little deeper.

Different translations give us a clue.  Notice that the KJV says “soul” (5315) of the “righteous” (6662).  That brings the meaning into reach.  Also notice the marginal notes in the NASB.  There is says it is literally the “soul of the righteous”.  If that is what it means then why didn’t they translate it that way?  Sometimes I see why a friend of mine is so fed up with the NASB.

Another item of interest is that the verb in the first phrase seems to be an interpretation, not in the Hebrew.  It has the Lord and the righteous but what is the action?

So?  I think the figurative, spiritual understanding is best.  God will not allow our soul to dry up and wither.  He will be with us and hold us up through any trial.  I can live with that. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Choice Ignorance

(Proverbs 9:16 KJV)  Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,

It has been a long time since I have seriously used my Bible commentaries.  It isn’t that they don’t have good things to say, they do.  It isn’t even that they contain heresy, unless you are a die hard Arminian who thinks Calvinists are heretics.  I don’t think that.  They may be confused but they are not heretics.  The reason is that in most cases the commentaries are not sharing great insight into the meaning of the Hebrew and Greek but instead are sharing their own opinions. 

Notice in this verse that the appeal of deceit works best for the one who “wanteth" (lacks NASB) (2638) “understanding” (3820).  This type of appeal works best on people who are ignorant.  What we often overlook is that ignorance is usually a choice.  It is not the same as stupid.  You can’t help it if you are stupid.  You can be responsible if you just don’t know or have not taken the time to learn.

So?  Sometimes ignorance is no big deal.  I don’t know who the latest rap star is, nor do I care.  I do know however that the fruit of the Spirit is more important than the date of the rapture.  One is available, one is God’s business. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Utter Utter Truth

(Proverbs 8:7 KJV)  For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

Proverbs spends a fair amount of time talking about evil with all of its attributes and variations.  It also spends time on the character of righteousness.  On that list is “truth” (571).  We are to “utter” (1897) truth.  In English we have at least two different meanings depending on whether it is used as a verb or an adjective.  Both are helpful if we are talking about living upright lives.

Here it is used as a verb.  It is interesting to me the scope of meaning in the word.  Of course it means to speak or say.  In addition it carries the baggage of moan, groan and muse.  It is even translated “mutter”.  I don’t know if you mutter but I do.  Even that must be truth. 

It would help to look at the adjective also.  It is not the meaning here but in English “utter” as an adjective means total and absolute.  To you could say that the believer is to speak total truth at all times.

So?  Just as we need to be aware that there is evil around us we need to acknowledge that God expects us to be different.  Our standard is truth.  We are surrounded by a culture that is making all kinds of excuses for lies and deceit.  We are not part of that. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

It’s His Fault

(Proverbs 7:20 KJV)  He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.

We have here a man who is being betrayed by his wife.  Has he done anything to deserve it?  There is no indication that he has.  Of course that brings up the point that our behavior is not excused by the behavior of others.  As Christians we are called to follow the Highway of Holiness.  We are called to be salt and light.  We are to stand out.
(Philippians 2:15 KJV)  That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Flip Wilson used to have a routine about how “the devil made me do it”.  We have our own routines.  We blame parents, children, society and even God.  I know that when I eat too much I usually have some good excuse for my lack of discipline.

So?  We will be judged on our response to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  God already knows our excuses, what He wants is our obedience.  Seek and find.

Monday, August 6, 2018

All, or Most, for Naught

(Proverbs 6:12 KJV)  A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.

The KJV has “naughty” (1100) and the NASB “worthless”.  The English language has changed because they used to be synonyms.  I found it interesting to look at how my collection of translations handle the Hebrew.  The Basic Bible in English uses “good-for-nothing”.  Douay-Rheims has “apostate”.  The Geneva Bible has “unthrifty”.  The Jewish Publication Society says “base person”.  That is an interesting selection.

A transliteration is used frequently in the KJV as the name “Belial”.  In this chapter there are a lot of characteristics used to describe this type of person from being lazy to telling lies.  It is interesting how often this comes up.  Contrary to the teachings of our schools and media, man is not a benevolent creature.  We are prone to evil and too many have not been touched by the grace of God.

So?  Again, accept that those around you are serving the devil by serving themselves.  Make sure you are the exception but don’t expect to be loved because of it. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Mouth Sword

(Proverbs 5:4 KJV)  But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.

If you look up the uses of “two-edged” (6310) “sword” (2719) you will find it is only used twice in the OT and three times in the NT.  That doesn’t seem like much for such a well known term.  Even more startling is that a literal translation is “mouth sword”.  In context here that seems very appropriate because the woman portrayed here is doing much of her damage with her mouth.  In the end it might be said that her mouth is sending her to hell.

So?  I guess it is simple:  Watch your mouth.  As believers we are readily tempted into gossip and idle chatter.  In a world of declining politeness we are also desensitized to the growing vulgarity and crudeness of speech.  I am not sure that an occasional four letter word will send us to hell but it is an indication of our focus.  So, watch your mouth. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Insomnia

(Proverbs 4:16 KJV)  For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.

Have you ever had nights when you just could not get to sleep?  I know I have.  I can be tired and yawning.  I can’t focus.  I sit in my chair and have a hard time staying awake but when I go to bed, sleep will not come.  Often it is because something is on my mind that keeps me from relaxing.  It might have been a confrontation that took place and continually does a re-run.  I can’t let it go.

There are people like that in regard to “mischief” (evil NASB) (7489a).  This is totally alien to us but it normal for them.  They think of a chance they had to damage someone and how they missed it.  They pine for that lost opportunity and relive the moment.  They are beyond what we would consider the borders of normalcy.  I am not talking about the clinical sociopath.  I am talking about masses of people who know what is right and wrong and rejoice in doing the wrong.

So?  Part of growing up is knowing that the battle we fight is not just apologetics, reason or knowledge.  You cannot convince someone of a truth they admit and reject.  Think of the people who saw Jesus call Lazarus from the grave (John 11:43) and then went away to plot his death.  Think of the crowds who saw Him heal and went back to life as normal.  That is the normal state of mankind.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Salt Dreams

(Proverbs 3:24 KJV)  When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.

There are many ways that fear can rob us of rest and peace of mind.  I am long past worrying about monsters under my bed.  Now I worry about the government listening through my computer microphone.  One was childish, the other is very possible.  Both are real at the time.  We are in a season when it is time to nominate a new justice to the Supreme Court.  People on the left are having a melt-down.  They are talking about concentration camps and the end of freedom.  That is probably as much an exaggeration as the fears people on the right had when Obama was elected.  These things make a difference.  They are real.  Don’t let them rob you of your sleep.

Our confidence is not in the government or even the church.  Our hope is in what Romans 16:27 calls The Only Wise God.  If you are having trouble putting that in perspective then read back through this chapter and grab hold.

So?  Will there be hard time ahead?  Of course.  This is a world inhabited by sinful creatures called humans.  Sleep well.  You may be called on to be salt and light tomorrow. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Right Stance

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

I hear better out of one ear than I do the other.  If you know me well enough you can tell if I am really trying to listen because I “make attentive” (7181) the ear that hears better.  It is getting so it is automatic.  When I am in a restaurant I try to sit with my good ear toward the conversation.  How much I understand depends on how I situate myself.

Did you take your Bible to church with you?  I won’t bother asking if you went to church.  It should be obvious that you can’t hear the preached word if you are not in attendance.  But do you go with the idea you are going to hear something that could change your life?  I remember one famous church we visited.  I saw things that made me feel it was more of a social club rather than an institution of higher worship.  One indication was the obvious way we stood out as visitors:  We were carrying Bibles.  They had their coffee cups and water bottles but obviously figured they did not need a Bible.

So?  What is your worship stance?  Could a casual observer tell that you were really expecting to deal with eternal truth?  Make yourself attentive. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Cause and Effect

(Proverbs 1:18 KJV)  And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.

I have been thinking about my blessings and, as often happens, I ask, “Why me, Lord?”  Why do I have the minor aches of age when people younger than me shovel in pills to keep the pain at bay?  I could go on in that mode but the key questions is, “Why me, Lord?”  I don’t have an answer that I can spread like a blanket.  Actually it might be like a blanket at a picnic.  My facade looks good in some ways but when you try to set your glass down you find that the uneven ground is still there. 

I will tell you what I would like to think.  I would like to think I am blessed because I have not followed the path in the previous verses.  I would like to think that I have been more pure at heart and more faithful.  The problem is that I know my heart and I know my actions.  That does not wash.  Yet I am truly blessed.

So?  I don’t have an easy answer.  I do know that God promises to see us through and we are to be careful about laying sin at the feet of others.  I do know that God makes it clear that rebellion and disobedience will have a price.  I am thankful for grace and the blood of Jesus. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

When Grace Isn’t Enough

(Proverbs 31:30 KJV)  Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

“Favour” (charm NASB) (2580) used here kind of slides by us in its meaning.  Yes, we know that it is generally a good trait.  In fact, it is a glorious trait.  This is the word used in Genesis,
(Genesis 6:8 KJV)  But Noah found grace (2580) in the eyes of the LORD.
It is the undeserved favor that God extended towards Noah and extends toward us.  It is good.

Some people have this trait.  It makes them wonderful to be around.  The point here is that being a wonderful, considerate person is not enough in itself.  It is still required that we have the proper attitude toward God.

So?  One of the mysteries of my life is why so many wonderful people do not bend their knee to their creator.  It must have to do with desiring to be the god of their lives.  They may naturally tend toward being great neighbors and conscientious public servants but they still need to “fear” (3372a) the Lord. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Say, “Goat Cheese”

(Proverbs 30:29 KJV)  There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going:

In the KJV you miss the point that a Hebrew word is used twice.  In the NASB it is “stately” (3190) both times.  The KJV has “well” and “comely”.  Of the three I think “well” is the best choice.  It is translated dozens of ways but combinations that use “well” in some way are the most common.  The root idea is pleasing, bringing gladness, goodness.

I think we can take away from this the acceptance that life has its good components.  The illustrations in the next verse may not rev your engines, I don’t identify with a goat, but keep in mind this was written in a time when wealth was often measured in how many goats you owned.  Life can be good.  God’s blessings are real.  Part of the promise God gives us is that if we live according to His law we will avoid certain problems and if we live in joyful obedience under grace we will also see that many disasters steer around us.

So?  Life has its up’s and down’s.  Without God’s active grace they would be crashes and explosions instead.  Be thankful.  If you can’t think of anything else be grateful that wealth is no longer measured in goats. 

Sunday, July 29, 2018

A Reason to Sing

(Proverbs 29:6 KJV)  In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.

I find this a verse that meshes well with the belief that the power of the Holy Spirit can keep us from sin.  I will concede that the potential is still there, after all I John 1:9 was written to Christians, but the one who is being trapped and destroyed by sin is the person who is “evil” (7451b). 

We have what some call a plan of salvation that God has laid out for us.  It has the elements of confession, repentance and faith on our part and a lot of big words that God puts into motion:  Propitiation, justification, atonement, adoption, sanctification.  There comes a point were believers are no longer evil but are saints. 

So?  Sometime in the next few days you will have the opportunity to meet with other saints and be part of the singing and rejoicing.  You will have much to celebrate.  You might want to take a break right now and get started.  It will be safe if you are getting in your car to drive to work or driving nails on a ladder, but I would not recommend it if you are in an open office environment.