An Idea Borrowed

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

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Watch Out for Black Helicopters

(Pro 16:14 KJV) The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.

I find conspiracy nuts are either a lot of fun or a total bore.  It depends on the subject and my mood.  So I ask you, “Is the deep state out to get you?”  As a general rule do you drive around worried about the black helicopters descending on you and the Department of Agriculture SWAT team taking you into custody at gun point?  Do you at least have a concern about the local cop sitting in a speed trap?  You are not necessarily paranoid.  They may be out to get you.

According to this verse the government, the “king” (4428) really is out to get you.  God sends the word to Samuel when they demanded a king.  It starts with this verse,
(1Sa 8:9 KJV) Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
It goes down hill from there.  You can read that on your own.

According to Paul the government is instituted by God and has a purpose.  That does not mean that it will always be your friend.

So?  Be a good citizen but don’t fall into the nonsense of Big Government being you daddy.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Hard to Believe

(Pro 15:9 KJV) The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.

And they don’t care.  Really.  It is hard for believing Christians to wrap their heads around but the world as a whole is quite happy being in their handbasket playing their “wicked” (7563) games.  They are quite content telling you that marriage does not matter if you are really in love.  Sin is fun and holy living is boring to them.  So they really don’t care.

It isn’t the sin that generates God’s wrath as much as the insistence on rejecting the blessings of the kind of life He has for them.  He sees the destruction of fornication, abortion, indulgence and self centeredness.  He knows how it will warp the mind and deaden the soul or warp the soul and deaden the mind, same difference.  But His love is rejected.  That is abominable.

So?  Witness by words when you can.  Witness by action all the time.  Pray and hope that some of the people you care about will come to the point of repentance in time to make the final cut.  The Good News is that God is patient.  The bad news is that He does not play games. 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Not Good Enough

(Pro 14:31 KJV) He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.

I wonder about the choices here.  We have “oppresses” (6231) and “mercy" (gracious NASB) (2603) [chesed].  I don’t know about you but I feel like I am somewhere in between.  Is that good enough? 

That is a dangerous question for followers of the one who told us to deny ourselves, take our cross and follow Him.  I don’t want to get to the judgement day and hear Jesus say, “I guess that was good enough, thou flaky servant.” 

I don’t need to worry about oppressing the poor.  I don’t have enough power or influence to make a negative difference in their lives and I don’t accept the current mantras of the social justice warriors.  I could do better at being gracious.

I don’t think this needs to be an obsession.  I don’t need to get up in the morning mumbling about finding a poor person.  I don’t need to stop at every fast food joint looking for a panhandler.  It does need to be a greater awareness.

So?  That gives me enough to worry about for the day.  I will let the economy run itself and pray for world peace.  At the same time I need to be more gracious.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Era of Rationalization

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

In our era of rationalization we keep looking for words that soften the blow of sin.  We water it down to the point where we think we don’t need to be concerned any more.  One way of watering it down is the NASB use of “falsehood” (8267) as opposed to the “lying” of the KJV.  We tend to move toward the part of the definition that says “deception” and put that in the category of what a woman looks like when she gets her make-up on.  Lying sounds so negative.

It is.  We may want to say we were just exaggerating.  Maybe we were but if the stretch was to deceive people and not just to tell a humorous story then we are standing on the bank of the lake of fire, getting ready to jump in.

So?  A lie is a lie is a lie.  You may be able to get away with it with your friends but God is not amused.  Walk in righteousness.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Two Roads Diverged...

(Pro 12:28 KJV) In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.

The phrase “way (734) of righteousness (6666)” made me think of this verse from the NASB,
(Isa 35:8 NAS77) And a highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it.
In the KJV it is,
(Isa 35:8 KJV) And an highway (4547) shall be there, and a way (1870), and it shall be called The way (1870) of holiness (6944); the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
In spite of the similarities in English the words are different in the Hebrew but I have always liked the phrase “highway of holiness” and the ideas are parallel.  God has laid out a path for us to follow.  It deals with attitudes and action and through the law, the blood, grace and the work of the Holy Spirit He has made it possible to walk that way.

So?  Don’t kid yourself about sin and sloth.  There is a way to live so that we can live and a way to live so we will die.  Choose wisely.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Love Despiseth Not

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

This verse gives us an insight into the meaning of love.  Granted it comes from the negative but even that will help us understand love a little better.  When asked about the greatest commandment Jesus said,
(Mat 22:39 KJV) And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Both Jesus and Solomon are talking about neighbors.  One says to love, the other says to not “despise” (936).  What that tells us is we really need to watch the negative attitudes.

So?  Got a neighbor you can’t stand?  You don’t need to invite him over for Thanksgiving dinner but you do need to examine your attitude.  Maybe one way to do that is to invite him over for Thanksgiving dinner. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

No and Yes

(Pro 10:13 KJV) In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.

As I said before, “Discernment is one of the gifts of the Spirit”.  Some people have it at a level that the rest of us can only guess at.  But, like all gifts, there is an level of discernment that is expected of all of us.  As all don’t have the gift of evangelism, all are to witness.  It is the same with discernment.  We are expected to go about in our lives in such a way as to develop this ability.  That requires focus and discipline.

Focus means making it a priority.  Certain things will not happen unless we are determined.  I will not lose weight wishing.  I will not play better golf by sitting in my chair.  I must make the choices that move me in the direction I theoretically want to go.  I must study.  I must prioritize.  I must learn to say “No”.  I must learn to say, “Yes”.  In other words, I must be disciplined.

So?  Unfortunately discipline is not a fruit of the Spirit either but with the help of the Spirit it can be developed.  Will it happen?  It depends on when we use the “yes” and when we use the “no”.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Don’t Waste Your Powder

(Pro 9:7 KJV) He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.

This is not telling us to refuse to “reprove” (correct NASB) (3256) or “rebuke” (reprove NASB) (3198).  If you have read your Bible you know that it is expected when the timing is right.  What is being declared is that it is a waste of time on some people. 

You may have noticed that some people refuse to hear your simple English.  It is a rare find if you can locate someone who will admit to being a Calvinist or a liberal.  Or if you really want to find out what it feels like to ram your head against a block wall, find a “journalist” and try to convince them that they have a liberal bias.  The same thing happens when you confront people on spiritual issues they don’t want to hear.

So?  Keep your powder dry but don’t use a rifle to shoot at hornets.  They may need it but you won’t touch them. 

Monday, July 8, 2019

Package Deal

(Pro 8:18 KJV) Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.

Wisdom produces life with a package deal.  That means that the wise person is not out of balance.  So, often as we set our goals we limit our vision.  Sometimes the limitation is based on our ability.  Sometimes it is lack of imagination.  Too often it is not done in consultation with the standards and power of God.

Money is pointless if it is not “enduring” (6276).  Recently we walked through the floor of a casino and I watched people punching buttons on slot machines.  One of the problems with gambling is that when you win you just put the money back into the system hoping to win more.  It isn’t like taking the gain and investing it in a home or something else that will be around for a few years.

So?  If you want to throw away a dollar on the lottery, who am I to stop you.  I am not sure God would bother either.  If you want to throw away the groceries hoping to get the gold ring then you have a problem that needs to be dealt with. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Figurative Surgery

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

How do you “write” (3789) on your “heart” (3820)?  I would say this is obviously figurative language but that does not answer the question, just helps us focus.  Part of the writing is done by a desire to see the commandments of God internalized.  That gets us to developing the right kind of habits so that some things are foundational and don’t need to be repeated.  They become a spring board, not a new lesson.

One of the disservices that modern education has done is getting rid of what they label as “Drill and kill”.  Too much repetition can be counter productive, true.  Too little can keep you stupid.  There are certain boring things that I will only retain if I repeat them often enough.  There are even things I want to retain that will fade if I do not practice them. 

So?  Develop spiritual habits and then practice them enough to keep them fresh.  Like so many things in life there are so many areas to work on we will never run out of material and we are so different that the bell I need to ring is automatic for you. 

Saturday, July 6, 2019

All Charged Up

(Pro 6:22 KJV) When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.

Have you met Siri?  I now have an I-Phone and Siri is that mysterious voice hiding behind the screen that emerges every time I hit the button in the wrong way.  I never ask her anything but she keeps trying to get in the middle.  Like the law of God she is there all the time, ready to advice and guide.  I wonder if an artificial intelligence can get frustrated?  I wonder if the Holy Spirit gets frustrated?

One of the values of a daily time of worship is that I structure my day for a time of listening.  It is still common to get on auto-pilot.  I know I have read entire chapters and then said, “Huh?”  But usually it pays off.

So?  Like your phone, God is with you all the time.  Unlike the phone, God wants to charge you instead of needing a charge. 

Friday, July 5, 2019

Assembly Thoughts

(Pro 5:14 KJV) I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

As I looked at the context of this verse I noticed for the first time that it is a statement in regard to adultery.  Here is someone sitting in the middle of a group of worshipers and is thinking about his total failure.  I don’t know if he is ready to repent but at least he is ready to admit his problem.

It is a common thing for us to listen to a sermon and think about how it applies to the life of someone else when we are really the target the Holy Spirit had in mind. 

So?  Next time you are at worship, in church or in your Lazy-Boy, take a moment to do a little self analysis. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

One Step at a Time

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

Have you noticed that it is hard for your heart to go where you feet don’t lead?  Of course I mean your physical heart.  Your emotions and feelings are a different matter, or are they really?  From what I have read it is possible to change how you feel about people and things by the way in which you live your life.  It doesn’t happen overnight, but it can be done.

The point here might be to remind us about the daily discipline of life.  It is great to pull out a map and point to a location across the continent.  It is sometimes good to dream about where you want to be in life ten years from now.  You will never get to either if you do not step right today.

So?  Plan and dream but make sure that you don’t step in a hole you were not looking for today. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

He Giveth More Scorn

(Pro 3:34 KJV) Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.

You have heard it said that God helps those who help themselves.  Repeat after me, “That is not in the Bible.”  As attractive as it is, you won’t find it.  On the other hand this verse seems to be saying that God will respond to you based on your attitude toward Him and His laws.  You want to live in rebellion and defiance?  Then He will help you along your way.  Notice here that what gets help for the “lowly” (afflicted NASB) (6035) is not their bank balance but their attitude.

So?  We have a lot of promises about God being there for us.  They are usually conditional and apply only to the faithful.  Live like you believe it. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Deliverance Card

(Pro 2:12 KJV) To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;

One question we need to ask ourselves is, “Do I want God to ‘deliver’ (5337) me?”  It seems like a no brainer.  Of course we want God to pull our chestnuts out of the fire, but we need to understand that this is not the conclusion offered at the end of a night of debauchery or a joy ride in a “borrowed” car.  This is a promise that comes when we have been walking in the path God wants for us.  It would also apply if we are on a learning curve and doing the best we can to stay on the road.

So?  Deliverance is one ingredient in a life of obedience.  It is not a Get Out of Jail Free Card. 

Monday, July 1, 2019

Unescape Clause

(Pro 1:28 KJV) Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:

We do a disservice to non-believers and weak believers.  We give the idea that God is not God in that He can’t seem to realize that we are not sincere about our spiritual lives.  The biggest problem to me is the young Christian who might get the idea that God is no smarter than the gods they read about in their fantasy literature.  He cannot be tricked.  He will not be mocked.

At the same time He is a gracious and forgiving God.  When we approach Him with open hearts and a spirit of obedience, He will listen.  He ignores this verse for you.

So?  Walk in honesty before God.  Live the life and if you mess up, confess, repent and be restored.  Glory! 

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Pure Test

(Pro 30:5 KJV) Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

If you compare the KJV and NASB you see that one uses “pure” (6884) and the other says “tested”.  A straight meaning might be refined or smelted.  You can see how each could be used.  We have a little different perspective than they did in Solomon’s time.  We have several thousand years to see the results of that testing and refining.  We have the vantage point of seeing prophecy fulfilled.  We know of the ultimate Word, Jesus Himself, who came and lived among us.  For believers it has stood the test of time.

You can still get a copy of Plato’s works in a good book store.  You can download all kinds of ancient works from Project Gutenberg.  A lot of the old stuff has survived but only the Word of God can be found in almost every home in America.  It has withstood the test of time.

So?  Why not get acquainted with something that works?  One of the great refinements is the number of translations that range from very loose paraphrase to hard core word for word.  Find the one that allows God to speak to you. 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Tribal Wisdom

(Pro 29:15 KJV) The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

In looking at the definition of “rod” (7626) I notice that one of the possible translations is “tribe”.  That set my mind off on a tangent about what is being taught in this verse.  If you substitute in the translation it starts off,

“The tribe and reproof give wisdom.”

In spite of all the race baiting politics going on in America to divide us based on ethnic and economic lines we are still a society that is non-tribal.  My suggestion here is that the body of Christ is our tribe.  They are the ones we are to listen to and relate to.  The example of older believers should be a large part of out foundation.

So?  The real church should be showing us the way and getting in our face when we don’t listen.  You don’t need to talk to the psychologist, you need to listen to the saints. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Eye Development

(Pro 28:22 KJV) He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.

The New Testament mentions a spiritual gift called discernment.  Its primary function is to have a sensitivity to the difference between good and evil.  Like most gifts, there is a level of spiritual skill that can be developed or practiced.  For instance some people have the gift of giving.  All believers are expected to be stewards.  Some are evangelists, all are to be witnesses.  Often the spiritual gift develops as we cultivate the gifts of the Spirit.

Some people who resist the leadership of the Holy Spirit develop what is here called an “evil” (7451a) “eye” (5869).  I guess it might be considered just the opposite of the gift of discernment.  This person seeks out and recognizes evil.  It is the result of many choices.

So?  Little bits add up to major bits.  If we work on the little things then the big things will often take care of themselves. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Unhidden Treasure

(Pro 27:5 KJV) Open rebuke is better than secret love.

As I was thinking about the contrast between “open” (1540) and “secret” (concealed NASB) (5641) I thought back to my basic training in the army.  We were being instructed about how to hide in plain sight in a combat situation.  It was night time and we were facing an open field.  They shot off a flair and told us to look carefully.  The field looked empty.  Then they shot another flare and the field was full of soldiers.  What was the difference?  During the second flare they were moving and waving their arms.  They were essentially invisible when they did not move. 

The same is true of our responsibility to love.  It is not something that can be hidden and still be effective.  Love is expressed and applied.  It is not always a matter of what we say but it is always a matter of what we do.

So?  Love is lived out in daily activities whether it is patience or forgiveness.  It is active.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Pitfalls and Booby Traps

(Pro 26:2 KJV) As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.

Proverbs is about applied wisdom.  It is about the benefits of obeying God’s law.  It deals with how we are to think and act.  It lays the foundations for both.  One of the repeated thoughts is that God blesses those who walk on the Highway of Holiness.  The corollary to that is that those who stray are cursed.

One of the blessed truths that we often overlook is that living the righteous life shields us from many of the curses of life.  Sometimes that shield is total protection.  I must admit that I do not worry about HIV personally.  If you live a chaste life, not to worry.  Sometimes the protection is a matter of principle and balance.  The Bible does not speak of chocolate, coffee or cigarettes but I have a feeling that a little thinking and a bit of moderation will keep the problems associated with them away from your door.

So?  Life is full of pitfalls and booby traps.  If we live right many of them will never visit our doorstep. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

gods Are Not God

(Pro 25:2 KJV)  It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.

It is not clear in the KJV but comes through in the NASB that the same word, “glory” (3519b) is used twice in the Hebrew.  Once the KJV translates it “honour”.  This points out two contrasting concepts from the Bible.

First, we have the similarities between man and God.  We are created in the image of God.  That means we are different than the animals around us.  They too were created but not on the same level or with the same intent.  Only in humans do we find the stamp of the divine.  Only for humans was the sacrifice of the Lamb.  Here we see both man and God connected to glory.

Second, we are not gods.  The glory has different functions in each.  One “conceals” (5641) and one “searches” (2713).  One knows all and filters it to man.  The other has to seek out truth.  We are limited and finite.  He is unlimited and infinite.

So?  We are not gods.  We can never be gods in the Biblical sense of the word.  There is a reason that proper English usage does not capitalize “gods” in the plural because they are always extensions of man and lacking in Godhood.  Rejoice that the God we serve is above all so-called gods. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Weed Control

(Pro 24:31 KJV) And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.

This verse caught my eye in the NASB because instead of the “thorns” (7063) of the KJV it has “thistles” (7057).  My references say that they are actually the same word in the Hebrew.  Both translations have “nettles” (2738).  The reason I noticed is because I have been pulling them up out of my yard.  I originally thought they were the same thing but evidently not.  The plant with the glorious purple flower is a thistle.  Nettles are not so colorful.  Both have the spiky, thorny leaves.  Both have to go.

I am just beginning my struggle against these two plants.  I am operating on the assumption that just mowing them down will not take care of the problem.  I am pulling them up and trying to keep the seeds from spreading.  Fortunately they seem to come up easily.  One thing I know, if I don’t pull them they will multiply.

So?  The point Solomon is making is that we need to be diligent in our spiritual lives as well as our gardening.  We need to pull the weeds out by the roots or they will take over.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Know Your Targets

(Pro 23:5 KJV) Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

In my reading I have come across successful businessmen talking about how to be successful in business.  Makes sense, more sense than asking movie stars how to run the country.  I digress.  One of the points I seem to remember is that you don’t just ask yourself, “How can I make the most money?”  Obviously you need to make a profit but the point they make is the same one Solomon is making.  If your only goal is to make money, you probably won’t.

Instead they say find a need and fill it.  Or I guess they would say create a need and fill it.  When people feel they need that microwave that senses when the popcorn is ready you will sell one to each popcorn lover.

So?  Follow God’s principles and you will get the desires of your heart.  Chase the desires and you will watch them fly away. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Borrowed Trouble

(Pro 22:13 KJV) The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.

Do lazy people live vicariously?  Did a friend see a lion once?  Really, have you ever seen a lion in the street?  In Israel it might have been possible in a small town.  I know that in California they have bears that wander out of the mountains on occasion.  I have heard of joggers being mauled by mountain lions.  I have never seen any of this myself.  So would I use this as an excuse to not take the garbage out at night?  I doubt it.  But I can remember when I was afraid of the boogeyman. 

I have my own 21st century fears: What will the neighbors think, Does this color look good on me, Will they take Discover?  The thing is we are supposed to live fearing God, not social scorn.  If we fear God in the right way then the other stuff become an irritation, not paralysis. 

So?  What are your lions in the street?  They are probably different than mine but no more worrisome.  Trust and obey.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Peace, Bro

(Pro 21:14 KJV) A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.

One of our roles is to be peacemakers.  Think of the words of Jesus,
(Mat 5:9 KJV) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
I am still wrestling with the concept of buying people off with rewards.  That requires a careful dance, but the principle that we are to be oil on the waters instead of vinegar on baking soda is clear.  It may require that we do things we don’t like.  It may require humiliation or at least a bit of humility.  It is still our path.

So?  Be a peacemaker.  Leave the agitation for the servants of Satan. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Fathers’ Week

(Pro 20:20 KJV) Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.

As this is posted we are a few days after Fathers’ Day.  I guess you could say we are in Fathers’ Week.  This is a good reminder at this time of year.  As we pause to recognize fathers we can turn this on its head and say that our lamps will not go out if we bless our fathers. 

On the other side, maybe those who are fathers might remember that they are supposed to live up to this recognition.  This is not supposed to be one of those Millennial Summer Camp award ceremonies where we give out trophies for participation and no one comes in first place.  This is hopefully a time where we recognize the daily grind of faithful service that has been slipping under the radar.

So?  I hope you have something to celebrate. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Adult Pain

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

Once when I was in elementary school I had a boil that had developed on my back.  My mother set up her tools to deal with it.  I immediately began screaming.  I think everyone in the neighborhood thought I was being murdered by torture.  I remember that I put on a great show.  Was I in any danger?  No.  Did the boil need to be lanced?  Yes.  Did my screams stop my mother from doing her duty?  Not a chance. 

Children do not like discipline.  They do not like to be corrected.  I think of the way my granddaughter responds when she is told not to touch something.  Now realize that adults don’t like to be disciplined either.  It isn’t so cute when they throw their little tantrums.  It is one of the reasons for the violence we see with the snowflakes rioting on college campuses. 

So?  Keep in mind that the old saying, “This is going to hurt me more than it will you” did not refer to the physical pain but the pain of being the one forced into the role of adult.  Also keep in mind that the alternative is “death” (4191), not just the “crying” (4191) that the KJV refers to. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Pantries Trump Walls

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

There are a lot of people who look at things through human eyes and make the decision about what is “strong” (5797) and what is weak.  The purpose of the choice is to decide where to invest their time and how to set their priorities.  You work to your strengths to compensate for your weaknesses.  The ancient world was full of great cities that thought their walls would defend them.  As far as I know, they all fell.  One thought I hear repeated is that cities do not usually fall to attacks on their walls but are betrayed from within.

While the world is working to build walls higher and repair cracks, the real danger is in their hearts.  While the ramparts are worked on, the world does not make sure that they have enough food and water to maintain a siege.  It doesn’t matter how high your walls are if you pantry is empty.

So?  Let the world build its walls.  We need to strengthen our inner man, to develop our trust in the Lord and our obedience to His word. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Foolish Conclusions

(Pro 17:25 KJV) A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.

Don’t jump to conclusions.  “Foolish” (3684) children are a real problem and a burden but don’t confuse childish immaturity with being a genuine, unadulterated, total fool.  Children can be embarrassing.   I should say, “Will be embarrassing”, but a lot of that is grounded in your lack of a healthy sense of humor.  As I enjoyed my granddaughter on a recent visit I thought about how often I could find it embarrassing that she left more food on the floor than she got in her mouth.  That is not being a fool, it is being a child.  It is being a learner.  If my adult children did the same, that would say something about my parenting skills.

Childish foolishness will go away with training.  Youthful foolishness will hopefully be the same.  If you are still a fool when you become an adult, then we have some serious issues.

So?  Be patient and keep training when it comes to your children.  Be anxious and repent when it is you.  God is trying to communicate.  It is up to us to listen.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

How Are Your Lips?

(Pro 16:13 KJV) Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.

I am glad that this verse is translated literally.  I like the phrase “righteous (6664) lips (8193)”.  This is the only place it occurs exactly this way but there are two other places where the words are used together.
(Pro 10:21 KJV) The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.
(Pro 10:32 KJV) The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.
Both are positive statements.  They are a standard we should look for in our leaders.  Good luck with that.  Righteousness involves speaking truth more than avoiding crude language.  Political leaders are not known for their truth speaking.

It is also an expectation for us.  We need to be leery of expecting people in authority or leadership to live on a higher level than we do.  It was one of the failures of the medieval church.  People began to expect that it was enough for pastors and elders to live righteous lives while the laity were free to pursue the desires of their hearts.  I used to run into a comical expression of this when people who were cussing up a storm would find out that I was a preacher.  They would stammer and get apologetic.  I would assure them I was familiar with the words.  So is God and His approval is much more important than mine.

So?  Expect the best from our leaders and live up to that level ourselves. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Members Only

(Pro 15:8 KJV) The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

For the believing Jew there was only one place that you could make a “sacrifice” (2077).  After the temple was built sacrifices could only be offered in Jerusalem.  The Hebrews ran into real problems trying to get around this.  That was one error.  The other error was that many began to look at the sacrifice as a superstitious ritual, a rite that they could perform and expect some mystical power to be invoked.  They would come with pagan hearts and expect a response from a Holy God.  It did not work that way.  It still doesn’t.

Gentiles do not sacrifice in the temple.  Christians now have communion to remember that blood sacrifice is not longer necessary because Jesus shed His blood to pay for our sin.  As He said on the cross, “It is finished”.

This verse should remind us though of the warning issued by the Apostle Paul.
(1Co 11:27-28 KJV) Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
So?  Communion is a sacrament that was instituted by Jesus.  One of the aspects is that we are to examine ourselves and make sure that we are up to date on our repentance and obedience.  Non-believers need not apply. 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Maybe It Is in Your Head

(Pro 14:30 KJV) A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.

This could be a reminder of what we call psychosomatic illness.  Our state of mind has a lot to do with our health.  We need to be careful because people who tend to be healthy can get to be arrogant and judgmental toward people going through real problems.  Ultimately our health is in God’s hands but He lays down the foundation that helps guide it.  Living by faith is one of them.  Stress is a part of life.  The unknown is always with us.  Much of our stress is non-spiritual.  Picture approaching a signal on a road with a 50 MPH speed limit.  Will it change?  When it does should you hit the brake or the accelerator?  Stressful but not spiritual.  At the same time the amount of confidence we have about the providence of God makes a difference in how our bodies respond.

So?  Relax.  Easy to say and often hard to do.  The basic fact is that we can work ourselves into a frantic attitude that opens us up to physical issues. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Want or Need

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

Which is more common, getting what we want or getting what we deserve?  One old saying that has always bothered me it “People get the kind of government that they deserve”.  Another that is frightening is,
(Rom 3:23 KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
and when you put that together with,
(Rom 6:23 KJV) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
it can become panic time.  This verse offers some reassurance.

God looks at our heart and ends up giving us what we really need.

So?  Actions are important but will never replace the condition of the inner man.  Sometimes that condition is automatic.  Sometimes it requires focus and discipline. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Close Enough for Government Work

(Pro 12:27 KJV) The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.

It is interesting the variations in translating the word “slothful” (7423b).  Sloth and laziness are the two most common.  Another that comes up is “deceitful” which is also possible.  The one I found interesting was “slow” because that hits me where I live.  I have never been known for moving fast.  Maybe that is something I need to work on.

However you prefer to translate it the problem is an attitude that gives less than its best.  It is a “good enough for government work” kind of approach.  You all know how that works out when you are the one in line and nothing is getting done.

So?  As Christians we should be the ones who are in early and leave late.  We should go the extra mile and strive for excellence.  Others are watching.  It isn’t necessarily a matter of us getting into heaven but it might influence their choices. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Over the Fence

(Pro 11:11 KJV) By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

I don’t think there has ever been a time when our culture has needed this verse applied more.  Okay, that was hyperbole.  If you compare our day with Rome at it’s worse we still have a little way to go, very little.  If you look at the way the poor were treated in the days of David Copperfield you can see that things are still above average.  But the evil in our day is on the attack and few are rising to meet it.

We are hearing more about it.  Say what you want about Donald Trump, he has been making frequent reference to human trafficking.  There are advocates calling for an end to abortion.  The problem is that we don’t have enough of the rank and file that are speaking up on a daily basis.  We need to take a stronger stand in our checkout lines conversations and back fence dialog. 

So?  We need to be an active blessing rather than a full bottle on the shelf. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Immutable

(Pro 10:12 KJV) Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

I get frustrated with people who think that the Old Testament is somehow an archaic book, that the God of the New Testament is different somehow.  You have heard how Yahweh was a God of anger and Jesus represents the God of love.  Wishful thinking.  There is little of Jesus’ basic teaching that is not grounded in the Old Testament and it would almost seem like Paul had read the book of Proverbs.

“Love” (160) as being central was not a new concept conceived by the apostle Paul to meet modern times.  It was the universal standard of God.  Our problem with this is that we have allowed the pagan pastors and humanistic Hollywood to define down our concept of both God and love to the point where we cannot handle either.

So?  Love with the love that is rooted in the holiness of God, not the feelings of your philosophy professor.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Red Herring

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

What is necessary for salvation?  This is a question that can be asked sincerely and can also be a dodge.  The Philippian jailer asked it and received a simple answer.
(Act 16:31 KJV) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
If you are a sincere seeker this opens the door.  This is enough to bring regeneration and justification or at least start the process.

The problem comes when we get to the Rich Young Ruler.  He essentially asked the same question except his terminology had to do with eternal life instead of being saved.  This actually comes up in Luke twice.  The second time the answer involves the Ten Commandments and then selling everything, giving it away and following Jesus.  The first time the answer is slightly different and boils down to two things.
(Luk 10:27-28 KJV) And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.  And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

A complete reading of the Bible assures us that salvation is a gift given by God but also reminds us that we are expected to respond.

So?  Don’t be sidetracked by the red herring of being saved by your works.  That obviously is not Biblical.  So is a salvation without repentance and change. 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Enough Rope

(Pro 8:17 KJV) I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

An interesting difference is seen between the NASB “diligently” (7836) and the KJV saying “early”.  This is a demonstration of how variations in translation can bring home the meaning of the Hebrew.  The definitions of the word include both ideas.  There are a number of ways to look at this.  Today the thought that is working on me is a concern for those who are playing games with God.  You know the type.  They are going to have their fun and then at the last minute repent.  They think they can then have the benefits of salvation and the perceived benefits of a life of sin.

The problem is that God can see their cards.  He will either call trump when they are not looking or pull the hidden card out of their sleeve when they try to take the hand.  By that I mean they would go of a sudden hear attack or He would respond the way we see at the beginning of Proverbs,
(Pro 1:28 KJV) Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
So?  God gives out the rope.  You can use it to fasten to a sure foundation or hang yourself.  It is not that He does not care.  It is that He is holy and not to be mocked. 

Friday, June 7, 2019

Torque Test

(Pro 7:2 KJV) Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.

When people come to know Jesus in a real way it makes a difference in how they think.  It might be a good test to read this verse and respond to find out if you are really saved.  To the genuine convert this verse is a promise.  To the superficial or phoney it is a threat.  There is a correlation between living the moral, focused life that God lays down and life.  To the believer it is not just eternal life that is being referenced but today and tomorrow.  It is the good life of the good.

Some people respond to the call to salvation but when they hear the commandments they pull up and say, “Now wait just a minute.”  They are quite willing to take the promise of pie in the sky but they want to be in the fast lane until that day comes.  Any restriction is poison and it eventually turns them away from Christ.

So?  I trust that you are enjoying life, now and forever.  We need to remember that the commandments are like a good torque wrench.  They keep the wheels from coming off. 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Agent of Change

(Pro 6:21 KJV) Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.

How do you “bind” (7194) something like a commandment?  The Jews decided that one way to reinforce the word was to take written portions and literally tie them to their bodies.  Like many physical gestures, it can help but the danger is that the ritual replaces the reality.  The key to this is found in the previous verse where be are told to keep the commandments.  By keeping them we eventually build up what athletes call muscle memory.  We get to the place where we react automatically in many situations.

It is called a habit.  I have developed the habit of pulling my bed together in the morning.  At first I had to remind myself.  Now it has become almost automatic.  Many of the expectations God has for us can be built in that way.  Don’t confuse this discipline with the necessary work of grace through the Holy Spirit.  It is an application made possible by that grace.

So?  We all have areas of life that need improvement.  It might be something as obvious as anger.  It might be subtle enough that only you know.  It will not change unless you become an agent of that change. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Listening Sloth

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

Comparing the KJV and NASB brings an interesting insight.  The KJV says “obeyed” (8085) and the NASB has “listened” (8085).  Both are acceptable but the idea of paying attention is at the root.  If we are listening to God’s voice then we should be following His direction.  It is as simple as that.  If you don’t obey then you are either in open rebellion or guilty of listening sloth.

We are surrounded by whispers and shouts that try to give us direction.  When the question comes up of those who have never heard the gospel I tend to answer that they heard many pre-gospels and refused to acknowledge them.  Think of the people who smoked cigarettes for years with the warnings on the label.

So?  Listen and respond.  Realize that to not respond is still a response. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Straight Choices

(Pro 4:25 KJV) Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.

Words having to do with righteousness have an element of straight to them.  Evil and corruption tend to show an aspect of crooked or twisted.  On a theological level we deal with original sin and recognized that we are born sinful creatures.  It is a part of our being that keeps trying to turn us away from God.  It keeps us from following the straight and narrow.  We battle it and too often we lose. 

Then we meet Jesus.  He redeems.  He washes.  He justifies and through the power of the Holy Spirit we are now able to make real choices.

So?  Choose wisely.  When you ignore your GPS it sometimes leads to a long trip back. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

The Curse of Example

(Pro 3:33 KJV) The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.

The “curse” (3994) and blessing of God go beyond the individual targeted.  Notice it is directed toward the “house” (1004).  We raise children and there are times when certain mannerisms and habits get passed along.  When my son and I were being forced to stand for a picture he pointed out that we need two things to make the photo genuine: Hats and hands in pockets.  It is how we do things.

Parents pass things on to their children.  It is part of the reason why pastors who look so good to the public turn out kids who are reprobates.  The kids see dad in public and private.  They tend to follow the private.

So?  Do you love your children?  That is another reason to get serious about your commitments and priorities. 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Apply What You Know

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

What is the difference between “discretion” (4209) and “understanding” (8394)?  We could assume that the author is simply using a literary devise of searching for a synonym to underscore his point.  I think it goes beyond that.  I think he is trying to increase our grasp of the issues involved. 

Discretion is an act of the will, a conscious decision.  Understanding is mentally grasping information.  You can understand that gossip is a sin and still have loose lips.  You can understand that adultery is wrong yet still get involved.  You can also be discreet even when you don’t know what is involved.

So?  The Holy Spirit and the word make it possible to have the foundation we need to make decisions.  We must decide whether we will live in obedience or rebellion. 

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Unblessed Assurance

(Pro 1:27 KJV) When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.

I have no indication of what the Hebrew word is for “when”, or if there is a Hebrew word, but it appears in all the translations I have available to me.  They all seem to agree that trials and tribulations will come.  Bad times happen.  We, as believers, are told about that and reminded that God will see us through.

It is not so promising for the unbeliever.  This specifically points out that things will eventually fall apart for them.  If you have a hard time accepting that, go back and think about all of the people who seemed to have it made who committed suicide, overdosed on drugs or got a divorce.  When the calamities of life come they have nothing to make the difference.

So?  The answer is available to them as it is to you.  They have chosen to ignore it.  Pray for them and live in faith. 

Friday, May 31, 2019

No, Thanks

(Proverbs 31:4 KJV)  It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:

As I read this verse I am reminded that President Trump does not drink alcoholic beverages.  I don’t think that is any proof-text that he is God’s man of the hour, but it is interesting considering how much certain people hate him.  I would be willing to bet that everyone who hates him is comfortable having a glass of “wine” (3196).  I would venture a guess that most of them use things much stronger and more illegal.

Have you ever been mocked because you don’t drink?  I have.  I will admit that most of the time it is good natured ribbing but there was also a deeper discomfort.  The discomfort was not in me.  I am comfortable not drinking and it does not bother me when they hoist a few.  The tension is in them.  That tension is present any time you take a stand that makes you stand out from the crowd.  It is even worse when the stand is clearly Biblical morality and not just alcohol which is a bit more nuanced.

So?  I think you would be better off as a teetotaler but won’t condemn you to hell if you aren’t.  It is one of those things that has never been a problem for me and I am grateful for that.  I just wish I didn’t have a problem with gluttony. 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Hindsight

(Pro 30:4 KJV) Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?

This is a verse that the ancient Jews should have been scratching their heads over.  Did you notice it was talking about the One who “established” (6965) and then it refers to the establisher having a “son” (1121).  This does not make sense to someone who doesn’t have a doctrine of the trinity. 

But to us it does make sense.  Jesus is God’s Son.  He is eternal with the Father.  He was involved in creation and actually is holding creation together.

So?  Isn’t it great to have the hindsight that explains the unexplainable. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Judge

(Pro 29:14 KJV) The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.

Yesterday we looked at a general principle to treat people fairly.  Today the verse lifts our focus to those in leadership positions.  For most of us it won’t be applied as a king.  We will be lucky to get elected to the board of the HOA.  What do we look for?  I would say that this is a reminder to those of us who can vote for leaders that we should be looking at their character.

We should be looking for leaders who will treat people with equality before the law.  Here the emphasis is on how we treat the poor.  Other places it is pointed out that we are not to give people the advantage just because they are poor.  One of the ways that we could work a lot harder to apply this is in the area of judges.  Everywhere I have lived it has been our responsibility to vote to return judges to their seat.  It is also hard to know how to vote for judges.  Information is hard to find so we don’t look.

So?  Take your responsibility seriously.  Seek people who can help you make this decision.  Also pray for wisdom in this area. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Law not Fiat

(Pro 28:21 KJV) To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.

This is a reminder that Christians are committed to what we call the “rule of law”.  That is the opposite of “rule by fiat”.  The law is a mutually agreed on and understood statement about what is right and wrong.  It is to be applied evenly to everyone.  It does not mean there will not be variations in opportunity, ability or outcome.  It means that you will not treat people difference because of superficial qualities.

Remember that this is not the same as modern perversions like affirmative action and race politics.  Those manipulate the law to gain power.  The Bible treats people with the law of love.

So?  As we live in the image of God, treat people evenly. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Worse than Anger

(Pro 27:4 KJV) Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?

One question that comes to mind is “Why is ‘jealousy’ (7068) worse than ‘wrath’ (2534) or ‘anger’ (639)?”  Is jealousy an emotion or a decision?  Does it start with one and become the other?  I guess that is more than one question.  Maybe it starts as a temptation and becomes a sin. 
I think of jealousy as being something that has a target in a quality that cannot be changed.  Thus I usually don’t get mad at someone who is better looking than I am but I might be jealous.  While the target can’t be changed the attitude can, and must.

So?  It might be a time to ask yourself if you are jealous of anyone else.  Let us hope it is a vain search. 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Harvest Honor

(Pro 26:1 KJV) As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.

Some types of honor are natural and should be automatic.  For instance,
(Exo 20:12 KJV) Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
This does not have any qualifying tests to receive the honor.  It is deserved by the position and we are to reward it the same way.

Some types of honor are dependent on deserving it.  Too often we get the two types confused.  The confusion often comes because we don’t want to make the call.  We don’t want to make the decision about whether the honor is appropriate or just convenient.

Sometimes honor at the wrong time is not an issue.  A dusting of unexpected snow does not ruin a crop.  A light sprinkle does not flatten the wheat.  Other times it is disaster.

So?  Think before you honor someone.  Isn’t it frustrating how often God expects us to think?

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Resist the Tide

(Pro 25:1 KJV) These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.

How easy it is to forget the things that should be remembered.  How could Israel forget the wisdom of Solomon?  I guess you could ask the same thing about the history of your country.  Just as we are watching the intellectuals of our country rewrite our history and ignoring it, I am sure the same could have happened in ancient times.  In America how many people are there who have no idea what is in the Declaration of Independence?  I would guess the percentages would be similar to those who could not list the Ten Commandments.

I think one of the steps to ignorance is when we allow the professionals to take charge of the truth.  Next Sunday let’s assume that you go to church.  Look around and see how many people brought their Bible.  Watch and see if they look up the passage under consideration.  Listen and see if the preacher is actually using the verses he refers to.  Does he refer to any verses?

So?  Just because the wave has crashed and the water is flowing down hill does not mean that we can’t stand up and keep moving inland.  Pay attention and apply what you know.  It may keep you away from the sharks. 

Friday, May 24, 2019

The Other Side of the Scale

(Pro 24:30 KJV) I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;

Yesterday we saw Proverbs warning against too much stressing after wealth.  Today we see the other side of the problem coming up, too little stressing.  The NASB uses “sluggard” (6102) for the KJV’s “slothful”.  I like both words.  There are some people who are given all the tools to provide for their needs.  I don’t know how many kids I used to see in school like this.  They had good looks and physical ability.  Socially they got along well.  Their parents had enough money to buy them decent clothes and piles of supplies.  With all that, they would never bring their book and always borrow paper and pencil.  Even then they would do little or nothing and still expect to pass and participate in sports. 

God is not a public school teacher.  For many of us that is a tragedy.  It means that the holiness of God will be expressed in wrath.  For those who respond it means His holiness comes out in the sacrifice of the Perfect Lamb and our salvation through trusting in Him.

So?  Don’t sloth out on Him.  He gave it all for you. 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

One Side of the Scale

(Pro 23:4 KJV) Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

This is a verse about balance.  Actually it is an unbalanced view of balance because it only warns against one extreme.  If you proof text and try to build positions on one verse you see here a condemnation of the wealthy.  That is cultish, not Biblical.  The Bible does not condemn wealth, it condemns immoral ways of earning it and unethical ways of using it.  One of the unacceptable ways of relating to wealth is being consumed with gaining it. 

Keep in mind that at the other end we have sloth and the welfare mentality.  Those are also condemned.

So?  Work hard and be a good steward.  To some that will lead to wealth.  To the rest it will provide what we need. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Grow

(Pro 22:12 KJV) The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.

Some Christians have a fear of new translations of the Bible.  They like the KJV and don’t see the need for anything else.  The more I use it in writing this blog, the more respect I have for it.  That does not mean there is no place for bringing the language up to date.  The reason I believe it can be done is that the Holy Spirit did not go on vacation in 1612 after the Authorized Version was finished.  He worked with the committees of scholars that King James had gathered together.  I think He still works with devout scholars today.

The biggest danger to me in new translations is the danger of what we see happening in our schools.  A better translation is not necessarily easier, it is more accurate.  If the reader does not need to go to the dictionary once in awhile, then they are not paying attention.  You cannot describe the truths of eternity in kindergarten language.  You can’t really get there with a Ph.D. either but it gives you more insight when you have a better understanding.

So?  Keep studying and expect the Holy Spirit to push your boundaries no matter what your level of knowledge.  Grow can be eternal. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A Negative Approach

(Pro 21:13 KJV) Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.

If you stop to think about it this is a variation of the Golden Rule.
(Mat 7:12 KJV) Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
The concept of the Golden Rule is not limited to the Bible.  Some present it in a proactive way, like Jesus did in the verse quoted.  Others put it in a restrictive way, don’t do something that you don’t want done to you.  Here Proverbs takes that approach. 

So?  If you don’t listen to others, don’t expect them to listen to you.  It may not be the way you want it, but it is fair. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Another Day, Another Reminder

(Pro 20:19 KJV) He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.

Yesterday I was reading and writing about having compassion on the poor.  Today it is about “gossip” (6601a/8193).  Let me guess, tomorrow with be about sloth.  Sometimes it seems like God is out to get me.  My belief is that He already has me so I guess I should say that He is out to mold me.

Molding me can be very uncomfortable.  Think of the ways that a cook makes little balls of food.  If it is melon balls then you cut out what is wanted.  It it is meatballs, you take a portion and roll and squeeze.  If chocolate, heat and pour into a mold.  None of these are enjoyable.

So?  I guess the quicker we learn the quicker God can go on to other lessons.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Poor Thinking

(Pro 19:17 KJV) He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

It seems like this verse is brought to my attention more often than it should.  Maybe I should say, “More often than I want”.  This is an area of my life that I need to continually take to the sharpening stone.  I tend to feel like I am doing well because I deserve it or earned it.  In the morning when I am getting my hat on for the day the Lord keeps reminding me of the blessings He has poured out on me.  It comes during the time I am being thankful.  I often think about all the hands that have gone into the simple thing like a cup of coffee.  I am now reading a book about World War II and it keeps hitting me how blessed I am not to have lived in eastern Europe or Asia during those years.

So?  We need to be thankful and show our gratitude by being more gracious to those who are “poor” (1800b).  One of the truths of life is there is usually someone worse off than we are. 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Name It

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

It might be a good moment to stop and think about all the songs we sing in worship that mention the name of Jesus.  It doesn’t matter if it is a hymn or a contemporary bit of repetition, there is a lot about the name.  Historically names have significance.  A family name can open doors.  A first name can identify your ethnic background.  A lot of modern names reflect something about the disturbed nature of the parents. 

Here the reference is to the name of the “Lord” (3068) [yahweh].  The key thing that we need to understand is that the name means “I am”.  It is God reminding us that He actually exists.  He is not the formulation of a bunch of theologians or a frustrated author.  He is not one of the gods of fantasy novels that can die or grow senile or lose its power.  He is God, now and forever.

So?  Think about that and have a nice day. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Window and the Chair

(Pro 17:24 KJV) Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.

Wisdom is often a matter of focus.  Picture the nature lover who is busy with the glory of a far off mountain peak and doesn’t see the ravine in front of him.  You laugh but have you seen the statistics involving people dying while they take selfies of themselves?  They will take one step back to get a better angle.  The problem is they are already on the edge of disaster. 

So?  It is great to admire the sunrise and sunset.  I have been doing that today.  Before I admire what is outside the window I need to make sure that the chair is under me before I sit down and that the coffee cup goes onto the coaster. 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Righteous Excuse

(Pro 16:12 KJV)  It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.

The authority of leadership is “established” (3559) in “righteousness” (6666).  Down through history there has been a constant tendency for kings and people with other titles to assume that righteousness is defined by their choice of behaviors.  Thus we have believers in the divine right of kings who felt like any perversion was righteous because they were doing it and they were the king.  In us common folk it shows itself in what the psychologists call rationalization.  We have an awesome ability to make excuses for whatever we want and call it good.

We need to remember and remind others that righteousness is not defined by the actions of celebrities and trend setters but by God Himself.  If you violate those standards then you have stepped out of the bounds of being good.  People keep saying that it is impossible to keep the law.  Actually the basics are within our grasp.  Look over the Ten Commandments and you will find that, except for putting no gods before Him, the rest are quite doable. 

So?  Take this righteousness things seriously.  God does. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Fool Choice

(Pro 15:7 KJV) The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.

How do you determine good preaching?  Often we go with the popular approach, was it entertaining?  Did the time pass quickly?  Did I like the jokes?  You can have all that and be listening to a fool in robes.  Don’t get me wrong, I like all those things but when it comes down to it, has anything significant been said?  I have heard it attributed to John Wesley that the purpose of preaching is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.  You do that by passing on the content of the scripture.

So?  Next time you hear someone preaching ask yourself if the Bible is being shared.  Check the source material to see if what is being said is from God or from the psychology department.  You didn’t bring your Bible?  Then I guess the question is who is the bigger fool, you or the preacher? 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Ten Count

(Pro 14:29 KJV) He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.

Have you ever observed someone who is doused, turns around seething with indignation, sees who dumped it on him and immediately calms down?  Not only have I seen it, I have experienced it.  What changes the reaction?  “Understanding” (8394).  If you are a teenage boy and you see that the attacker is a young lady you like, the attack becomes an enjoyable moment of flirting.  If it was your grandmother trying to get your attention, respect kicks in.

Understanding involves allowing the mind that moment to think before your mouth, or other parts of your body, responds.  It comes automatically for some.  Others must develop it.  It is part of the popular mythology of counting to ten.

So?  Don’t waste your anger quota on trivial irritations. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Freedom of Unspeech

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

Americans who have read the Constitution are aware that we have what is called the “freedom of speech”.  I don’t know about you but when I listen or read what is called news or free speech I sometimes wonder if that is such a good idea.  This verse reminds us that just because we have the political freedom to speak our mind, it is not always the right thing to do.

The focus here is on our personal safety.  There are times to keep our mouth shut because to say anything would incite a violent reaction.  There are times, as we have seen in the case of General Mike Flynn, where speaking boldly puts you in jail.  And of course there are times when it is just wisdom in inaction to be silent.

So?  It is much more frequent for most of us to say too much than it is to say too little.  Isn’t that a reminder we need? 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Call a Friend

(Pro 12:26 KJV)The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.

Recently I bought a piece of equipment that I really did not know how to use.  My wife urged me to call a friend who had one and listen to his wisdom.  Being a man I wanted to figure it out for myself.  Bad choice.  What is the point of having friends who know things if you don’t take advantage of their expertise?  Actually I am quite open to learning from others as long as I am not forced to ask.  It is amazing what you can pick up if you pay attention.  I was stuck in the mountains with a copper pipe that had burst.  I had never done copper pipes but I had watched my brother do it.  That, and a few trips down the mountain to buy things, was enough to do the job.

We need to understand that other people are watching us.  As I watch my daughter and her mothering skills I realize that much of what I am seeing she learned from her mother. 

So?  What do people learn about marriage, parenting, citizenship and a plethora of other qualities when they watch us?  Have a exemplary day.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

A Higher Standard

(Pro 11:10 KJV) When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting.

Is this verse a judgement or a prophecy?  In other words, is this describing how society should be, and isn’t, or is it trying to tell us how our neighbors will react.  In my present thinking I am thinking it is a yardstick and we are coming in at one inch.  Take a look at approval rating for presidents.  It doesn’t really matter who is in office.  You can count on a certain percentage of the population that will always back their party no matter what they here. 

We would do well to look beyond the surface reports and deeper into what makes things right and wrong.  Keep in mind that when God talks about righteousness He is talking about the topics covered in the Ten Commandments not in the Kyoto Accord.  Of course, if you have read Genesis in regard to being stewards of the environment, you don’t trash nature.  If you have read Proverbs about taking care of your ox then you don’t abuse animals.

So?  Again I remind you, and me, that we live by a different standard than those who are in power today.  You may never be a city and never live on a hill but you can still be a shining example. 

Friday, May 10, 2019

A Mouth of Justice

(Pro 10:11 KJV) The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

The key word here is not “mouth” (6310), but “righteous” (6662).  Our understanding of what it means to be righteous can get us off on the wrong foot.  Too often we equate righteousness with following a set of rules.  There is nothing wrong with the rules.  After all, God is the one who gave us the Ten Commandments.  Jesus said He did not come to do away with the law.  Righteousness does not begin or end with a moral code.  But it certainly includes it.

The meaning of “righteous” (6662) that we often miss is the idea of justice.  As our culture does with so many good ideas, this one has been corrupted.  Justice does not have adjectives like “social”.  Those concepts are political tools to manipulate people and make the law a gimmick that has a different meaning for the in group than it does for the out group.  Biblical justice is based on the unchanging nature of God.  Justice is rooted in the standards He laid down, not in the position that will gain the most power for the group running things.

So?  When we speak we must speak in accord with God.  That is why we cannot lie.  That is why we cannot cheat.  We are to be different, as painful as that can be. 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Watering the Potato Chips

(Pro 9:5 KJV) Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.

Keep in mind I am not speaking from experience when I deal with “wine (3196).  It seems to me that there are two ways in which wine is “mixed” (4537).  The way I think it refers to here is to mix it with water.  From my reading of fiction I get the impression that wine was diluted with water to varying degrees.  For dinner with the family you would put in a lot of water.  If you had someone you were trying to get drunk you might put in very little.  Different wines would bear different amounts of thinning. 

One of the issues of wisdom is that it knows how to practice moderation and abstinence.  It knows when to limit and when to deny.  I know that moderation is the hard level to achieve.  I can do without junk food but I have a real hard time eating just a little.  That is one reason why I try to never by a box of Cheese-its.  The box is generally empty when I am stop.

So?  Wisdom calls us to know when to stop.  If we can’t figure where that is I guess you should join me in avoiding potato chips. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Divine Right of Kings

(Proverbs 8:16 KJV)  By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.

This is a difficult passage for modern Americans.  The Bible teaches that governments are instituted by God.  We look at the historical boogie men, Hitler and Attila, and claim that we are free and can pick our own leaders.  We react to things like the divine right of kings.  Unfortunately the Bible seems to endorse them.  It forces us toward accepting the concept of providence and the truth that God knows more than we do.  We don’t like that.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons that people of faith did not riot in the streets when Bill Clinton or Barak Obama were elected just because they did not agree with their stands on issues.  Going back further, many considered FDR to be the anti-Christ.  It did not start a revolution.  Compare that with the response of our pagan culture to the election of Ronald Reagan or Donald Trump.

So?  It is dangerous living in the land of liberty.  Just like materialism sucks us into depending on our wealth, so liberty makes us think that we deserve.  We need to be thankful and walk with care in our culture. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Weep or Obey

(Proverbs 7:1 KJV)  My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.

In our enlightened times we tend to regard the “commandments” (4687) of God as if they are suggestions.  Our culture likes to think that they are sophisticated that they can play with fire and, because of their wise fingers, they will not get burnt.  Old fashioned morals are for cave men, not us as an advanced species.  It is tragic that we are wrong.  We are fooling noone, even ourselves.

Generally God does not make recommendations or suggestions.  He either speaks without confusion or He remains silent.  Often we claim he is remaining silent when it is just that we are not listening.  We see our churches redefining marriage and rationalizing abortion because that is what they want God to say.  Church attenders toy with the occult and embrace materialism.

So?  Don’t let the world fool you.  Quit trying to fool yourself.  Either read and weep, or read and obey. 

Monday, May 6, 2019

Loopholes

(Proverbs 6:20 KJV)  My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

I may be looking for loopholes here but I think there is something that is understood but not stated.  I believe it is assumed that the parents described here are people who are following the laws of God and are teaching what is found in the word. 

There is a danger in loopholes.  Too often we are looking for excuses to not do what we know is right.  To often we are trying to make ourselves special cases.  Our motives for obedience or rebellion can turn everything topsy turvy.   The world is full of people who reject the God of the Bible but they still teach that murder is wrong. 

So?  Pay attention to the teaching of your parents but pay even more attention to the written word of God as a verification of what they have to say.  That is a principle that applies to what you hear in school and from the pulpit also.  You can never turn your thinking off. 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Beyond the Fun

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

It is a challenge to remain a learner and be open to ideas and standards that we may not find easy.  One of the simple truths that does not apply to all cases is that we learn better when we are having fun.  Like all simple truths that does not apply beyond the basic things that give immediate gratification.  While it may be fun to learn cuss words in Spanish it won’t help you when you need to discuss how to repair a broken air conditioner.  Children learn to speak as their parents speak.  That comes naturally.  If they are from a poor family then they will probably need to exert a bit more effort into speaking at a higher level.  Eventually learning discovers resistance and that is where the real learning takes place. 

So?  The Ten Commandments are basic and black and white.  How to apply them in a world of grey’s is a bit more problematic.  Throw in color and you are in a different world.  It can be done but requires focus. 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Froward Again

(Proverbs 4:24 KJV)  Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

As I wrote yesterday I focused on the KJV choice of the English “froward” (3868) and how it seemed to imply bending away from the path.  Here we have a different word, translated the same by the KJV, that the NASB has as “deceitful” (6143).  Here the idea is crookedness rather than just bending away.  At the heart you have the same idea of not being straight. 

One of the great, recurring themes of the Bible is that lies condemn a person.  Many words are used but the idea is the same.  Here are the words of Jesus,
(Revelation 21:8 KJV)  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
So?  One of the reasons I pay more attention to people who embrace traditional values is that these people understand lying is wrong.  Those who also embrace the Christian faith know that lies can send you to hell.  Christians cannot embrace the values and standards of our modern culture.  It is a dangerous road. 

Friday, May 3, 2019

Watch Out for the Curve

(Proverbs 3:32 KJV)  For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.

Sometimes the vocabulary of the KJV catches my attention.  Here we see the word “froward” which the NASB translates “crooked” (3868).  There are a number of Hebrew words that are translated “froward” and they all are negative.  The nuance in this word is the idea of curving away from the target.  One source of the English word contrasted “froward” with “toward”.  Thus is would be a kind of counter-repentance. 

When we repent we turn away from sin.  That is part of the deal.  Coming to Jesus is not just a matter of confession and faith.  It also involves turning away from the evil in our lives.  The froward does just the opposite, turning away from God. Thus we don’t drift into sin.  We don’t backslide.  We deliberately change course and begin to turn.

So?  If you want to walk with Jesus then keep on target.  God can be patient with our constant course corrections but not when they are directed toward our old life.  Forward, not froward. 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Catechism Time

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

When our hearts are right with God, His “knowledge” (1847) is “pleasant” (5276) to us.  There are consequences to how we stand before Him.  We read about His wrath and vengeance.  We joke about lightning striking us.  Some people practice the Christian equivalent of knocking on wood when they say something they shouldn’t.  But when we are honestly seeking Him we are met in wonderful ways.

So?  The Westminster Shorter Catechism says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”  Even if you don’t come from the Reform tradition you can understand that. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

God Is a Negative Square Root

(Proverbs 1:26 KJV)  I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;

It is very hard for us as humans to come close to understanding God.  Just making a list of the “omni’s” should give us a clue:  Omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent....  We can say the words and on a good day I can even spell them but they simply point out how far beyond our comprehension God is. 

That’s okay.  You don’t need to understand something for it to have meaning.  All you need to do is get into high school mathematics.  I recently talked about infinity as being incomprehensible to the human mind.  How about the square root of a negative number?  Such a thing cannot exist but it is routine in some math computations. 

Here we have the God that we like to keep in our little box tell us that He will laugh at us when we try to play games with our sin.  What happened to “gentle Jesus, meek and mild”?  To paraphrase from Princess Bride, “I am not sure you know the meaning of those words.”

So?  Don’t let go of the words we can understand:  Repent, forgive, confess, trust, obey....  They will help us deal with things that are beyond our ken:  Grace, regeneration and God Himself.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Possible and the Necessary

(Proverbs 30:3 KJV)  I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.

This is a reminder that we need to be honest and take a position of humility.  Yes, we may demonstrate some “wisdom” (2451) and we do come to be known by God.  Having said that we need to keep in mind that wisdom is more an action than a collection.  There is always the chance of missing the mark.  As for knowing God, He is infinite.  He can know us but we will always be searching the riches of His being.  Go back to your math.  Two times infinity is still infinity.  Infinity minus one is still infinity.  It is a totally nonsense concept for our human minds but in math and theology it makes perfect sense.

So?  Growth will always be possible.  Humility will always be necessary. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Eyes and Ears for All

(Proverbs 29:13 KJV)  The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes.

I think this is an Old Testament approach to the concept that “all men are created equal”.  It tells me that there is no real excuse for the decisions we make based on our socio-economic status.  The Holy Spirit is speaking to hearts at all levels and in all conditions. 

Of course that is a two edged sword.  It not only reminds us that the rich will be held accountable but also that the poor will face a moment of truth.  There is no escape.  Other places in Proverbs it reminds us that God can see our hearts so just saying, “I didn’t know” won’t excuse us.

So?  Whether you would consider yourself part of the elite or the oppressed, learn to listen.  God is trying to reach us either with a call to repentance or a word of encouragement. 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Slow Blessings

(Proverbs 28:20 KJV)  A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.

When we think of Christian character there is a word that keeps coming up.  Here the word referring to that character is “faithful” (530) and the quality associated with it is patience.  Two key places we see this are the gifts of the Spirit,
(Galatians 5:22 KJV)  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
and the description of love,
(1 Corinthians 13:4 KJV)  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
For those not familiar with the KJV, “longsuffering” is one of its translations of suffering.

So?  Here the context is gaining wealth but the principle applies to every area of life.  God has his timing for our finances, our marrying, our child bearing and even our new car.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Forecast Is More Wind

(Proverbs 27:3 KJV)  A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both.

Recently as I experiment with an I-Pad ap called Pandora I have come across a scattering of recording artists who have done “Blowing in the Wind”.  I have always enjoyed the music as long as I don’t pay too much attention to the words.  It is a cute anti-war song.  I am against war.  Any sane person is against war.  That is not my focus today.  What came to my mind in relation to this verse were the concluding words to each verse, “When will they ever learn?”

One of the sad truths about life is that most people will never learn.  That is the reason that all of the government sponsored gambling schemes keep raising millions.  It is why tele-marketers keep coming back.  It is why some products are still being sold in the dollar stores.  It is the inspiration for that quote “Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and expecting different results.”  People do not learn.

So?  Life will be full of heavy things and foolish people.  We need to keep calling on God to get through all of the headwinds we run into.  That is why the apostle Paul tells us,
(1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV)  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Dunkirk into D-Day

(Proverbs 26:28 KJV)  A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

One of the hardest things for humans to do is look at things from God’s perspective.  In one sense it is obviously impossible.  He is an infinite God.  We are limited humans beings.  What I struggle with is a seeming mind block that insists that everything must be defined and described in my terms.  That is one of the points we can take from this today.  While the dangers being described in this verse could come quickly, the greatest threat is eternal.

It may seem that deceitful people win a lot of battles.  That is because they do.  The thing we need to remember is that they lose all the wars.  I don’t like the delayed gratification but it is still the way it is.  Some of that is God trying to give them a chance to repent.  Some is to give us a chance to repent.  Some is to help us mature and grow. 

So?  We need to keep remembering that we have read the book and we know who wins.  If we can wrap our minds around that it will change the way we face the day. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Beware of the Nose

(Proverbs 25:28 KJV)  He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

There was a time when any serious gathering of citizens living together would have some kind of “walls” (2346).  Usually walls would not defeated a determined enemy with a large army.  The walls would just slow him down.  In small towns and villages the walls might be nothing more than a wooden fence.  Picture the TV version of a fort in the west.  The purpose was more to keep out the roving band or hasty bandits than to keep out artillery and scaling ladders. 

That is one of the purposes of personal discipline.  Any of us can be worn down by the determined onslaught of an enemy, be it the devil or our local building inspector.  Discipline is what shields us from the quick raid that is looking for a foothold in our lives.  Thus a conviction involving chastity will shield us from an office worker on the prowl but will do nothing against rape.  Honesty will keep us from taking the money left on a desk but might give in to years of poverty.

So?  We need to daily recommit ourselves to certain standards and disciplines so that the nose of Satan can’t get under the edge of our tent.  The best defenses are deep stakes and a stomping boot. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Let God Do It

(Proverbs 24:29 KJV)  Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.

This is another approach to turning the other cheek or I guess you could say the words of Jesus are another because they came later.  What is added here is an insight into why we are not to seek revenge.  Vengeance is in the sphere of God’s activities.  When we take it on we are usurping the role of God and we are not to do that.

There are actions and attitude that are acceptable for God and reserved for His prerogative.  We access them at our peril.  Want another example?  Yahweh is a jealous God.
(Deuteronomy 4:24 KJV)  For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
Yet jealousy is not a character trait that we are allowed to have. 
(1 Corinthians 13:4 NAS77)  Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
For “jealous” the KJV has “envieth not”.  I assume the reason is that God’s motives are pure and holy while ours are tainted. 

So?  Be really careful not to try to take over God’s role.  It is easy to do and a constant temptation.  When you read something in the Bible that calls for change it is likely that the change is to be in you, not in someone you think needs to get their act together.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Rolex Response

(Proverbs 23:3 KJV)  Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.

You have heard that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  I would assume that the same thing could be said about “dainties” (delicacies NASB) (4303).  To be honest I don’t have a lot of trouble resisting the call of escargot.  I tried it once out of curiosity.  It was not disgusting.  It was also not as good as taco flavored Doritoes.  Naturally that is only my coarse, Philistine opinion.  I have never even been tempted with caviar or oysters on the half shell. 

So what is the real danger here?  It is conforming to the values and expectations of the trend setting class.  Why do people want a Rolex watch?  It is because it tells time more accurately?  Maybe it does, but not any better than my Timex for my uses.  People want a Rolex so people will ask, “Is that a Rolex?”  The Rolex mentality exists no matter what the value of the fixation.  I remember in middle school being asked, “Is that a Pro Club?”  You might have no idea what that is.  You might not know the difference between a Pro Club and a Shaka.  It was a big deal in middle school.

So?  Our priorities and values are to be set by our God and not by our contemporaries.  It is a constant temptation to look at your neighbor’s riding lawn mower and feel like you are less of a person because you don’t have one.  Beware of the Rolex Response.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Do You Really Want to Be a Nathan?

(Proverbs 22:11 KJV)  He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.

I think most political leaders would focus on the second part of this description.  I am sure that David wishes the prophet Nathan had been a little more “gracious” (2580) when bringing up the king’s infidelity.  I think it is one reason Billy Graham was able to get along with so many different presidents.  If Graham ever approached a president about sensitive issues he must have done it with great gentleness and tact.  That is why the doors always seemed to be open to him.

There are times when we must stand up and be counted.  Those come on occasion.  An every day event is being more gentle in our approach.  The danger we fall into is in not being heard because we are too gentle.  I am not sure if that is our problem or people refusing to listen is the issue. 

So?  Make sure that being a strident voice is not a matter of ego.  People often reject the truth and usually reject it when it is wrapped in self-righteousness.