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, February 19, 2019

Life Choices

(Proverbs 19:14 KJV)  House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.

Marriage is always risky.  It amazes me how many people we run into are divorced and remarried with all the challenges of blended families.  From what we can see it looks like they are coping.  I can’t picture what it is like being raised in a family where I have “brothers and sisters” that share no DNA with me.  But it is necessary for many.

One aspect of marriage is how you end up with the spouse you have.  In this verse it points out that material possessions are things we can figure out.  When we bought our new home we had it inspected by someone who is supposed to find the flaws.  When you buy stock you have a prospectus to consult.  When it comes to a wife there is little you can be sure of.  I read somewhere that women marry with the understanding they will be able to mold the man into what they want.  Men marry expecting her to stay the way she is.  Both are headed for disappointment.  There is a divine element in choosing the right spouse. 

So?  There may be a reason here for Paul urging singles to stay single.  At the same time, marriage is instituted by God. 

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Mouth as a Trap

(Proverbs 18:7 KJV)  A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.

We read about the two edged sword in different contexts.  Here we see that talking too much can cause a double disaster.  The first is “destruction” (ruin NASB) (4288) in this life.  We can get in fights, lose friends, damage our reputation and who knows what else by a careless word at the wrong time.  That is bad enough.

But it seems to get worse.  It can also damage your “soul” (5315).  I don’t know how far to take this but it gives me the impression that an undisciplined mouth can eventually destroy my status before God.  That has eternal consequences. 

So?  How much encouragement do we need to stop talking and be polite?  Some need more than others. 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Making God Bald

(Proverbs 17:21 KJV)  He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.

When I was teaching in middle school I would often look at kids who were bright and good looking and a total mess.  It was heartbreaking if I let myself dwell on it.  I often wondered how they would be different if I had been able to take them home and change their environment.  We will never know.  When I think of how awesome my children are I jokingly say it is one of two things:  Heredity or environment.  In reality I would add free will and the grace of God.

Are children born fools or do parents make them that way?  I would imagine there are so many factors that the question is pointless.  Everyone is unique in such a way that it takes an infinite God to be able to deal with us.  I am sure that if God had hair He would be pulling it out.

So?  Foolishness can be cured but the fool must want it.  That makes it very hard.  Each of us needs to concentrate on growing ourselves and pray that God can reach others. 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Travel Agent

(Proverbs 16:9 KJV)  A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

Some “plans” (2803) are easier to make than others.  If I was making arrangements to drive to Los Angeles I could almost do it with my eyes closed.  Of course the first thing I would do was have my head examined for going to California, but I still have a few friends there so bear with me.  I could drive it without even consulting a map.  I have driven it that many times.  I am also starting to work on a trip to Japan to see the grandchild.  That requires a lot of research. 

Life has both types of preparation.  In some areas God has so imprinted what is right and wrong that it can almost be automatic.  Other decisions require a lot of prayer and study.  As long as our hearts are listening we can count on our Travel Agent.

So?  The longer we walk with Jesus the more comes automatically but we never get over the need to consult with the Lord for our day.  Have a blessed one. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

More Than Lip Service

(Proverbs 15:4 KJV)  A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

We need to beware of smooth talking that is pretending to be “wholesome” (soothing NASB) (4832).  We all know how politicians work, and this applies no matter which side you are on.  They pay what we call “lip service” to a certain issue.  Right now immigration is a hot button.  At another time it might be changing clocks for Daylight Savings Time.  Public figures have a way of saying things to pull the wool over the ears of listeners.  It is very hard to get them to commit themselves in honesty.  They want to calm the waters while they are passing through.

We need to beware of this.  We need to avoid it ourselves.  We are to be honest and not deceptive.  We also need to watch for it in others.  Does the guy running for city council tell you one thing and your neighbor another.  We can never check with everyone but we can engage our memories and put a little effort into it. 

So?  Life requires participation.  We need to engage our memories and our minds when we make decisions and when we deal with other people.  Let the Holy Spirit work in your heart so your motives are pure and in your mind so your actions are positive.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Weather Reports

(Proverbs 14:26 KJV)  In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.

I am a bit confused.  If we have “strong” (5797) “confidence” (4009), why do we need to take “refuge” (4268)?  It would seem to me that if I am confident, I will march out with boldness and face everything that comes my way.  Spend some time in Proverbs.  There are times when wisdom says to keep your mouth shut and your head down.  We can still be confident in the midst of that.

We had just moved to Texas when a hurricane hit.  Houston had a lot of damage and other cities were decimated.  We were far enough north that all we got was a lot of rain and some very intense winds.  At the time we did not know that was all that was coming.  When it came we wondered if we would lose some roof or have a tree come down on us.  There were a lot of things to worry about.  We would have worried a lot more if we were living in a tent instead of a brick house.  I would have had more concern is we had an old roof.  Because I trusted my shelter, I was able to open the blinds and enjoy the weather.

So?  Trust doesn’t mean no storms.  Trust means a sense of peace when the rain in pelting and the branches are swinging.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Weathering Speed Bumps

(Proverbs 13:25 KJV)  The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want.

Do you notice the difference in priorities here?  It is a bit covered up by the NASB because it uses “appetite” instead of “soul”.  Both are the Hebrew nephesh (5315), which is most frequently translated “soul”.  With that in mind you see that the “righteous” (6662) focuses on the inner man and the “wicked” (7563) on the outer. 

There is a lot of confusion by the “name it and claim it” crowd.  There are blessings for those who walk the straight road.  No one can question that but the greatest blessings are those that touch our heart and soul and give us the stability to face whatever come.

So?  Quote Proverbs 3:4-5 to yourself and spend some time applying it to the bumps in today’s road.  You say you don’t know those verses?  Then look them up.  It will do you good. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Relax and Shut Up

(Proverbs 12:23 KJV)  A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.

Most of us talk too much or talk at the wrong times.  Often we are trying to share the love of Christ with people and we forget that many of them don’t care.  We think that because something is true and offers hope everyone will be interested.  It doesn’t work that way.  That is why Jesus said,
(Matthew 7:6 KJV)  Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
I am sure you have had the experience of mentioning the name of Jesus and watching people’s eyes glaze over as they change the subject.  Proverbs makes it clear that at one extreme there are people who think the wisdom of God is an abomination.  There are also many people who know on a subconscious level that living a righteous life will limit their sinful activities.  They don’t want to hear about it.

So?  Realize that it is the Holy Spirit who does the real convicting and teaching.  We are to be ready and willing to speak and share but sometimes we make it worse by jumping in and trying to take charge.  Relax and let God do His part. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Are You Expecting?

(Proverbs 11:7 KJV)  When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.

I am not getting old, I am old.  It has always amused me that people will change their hair color or spend lots of money on products that are supposed to make them look younger.  It does not change reality.  I am okay with that.  Of course in my mind I am a lot younger than my body knows.  I sometimes wonder who the old man is reflected in the store window, then I realize it’s me.

Since I believe that the death and shed blood of Jesus paid the price for my sins, I have a hope of eternal life.  Death is not a scary thing.  The possibly uncomfortable process of dying is a concern.  Dementia is a possibility.  Death itself is no big deal.  The wicked don’t have that assurance.

So?  One thing to be thankful for is not having to live in fear and desperation.  We don’t have to make our mark.  The success of the universe does not depend on us.  We are preparing for eternity, not preparing eternity. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The In Box

(Proverbs 10:8 KJV)  The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.

A characteristic of wisdom is the ability to take direction.  This is often a matter of pride.  If you read through Proverbs you will see pride and arrogance brought up repeatedly.  One of the visible demonstrations of those qualities is a refusal to listen to others.

Of course the purpose of wisdom is to help us know how to process the information we are receiving.  Just because words are coming out of someone’s mouth does not mean that they are true or, even if true, of any value.  We need to be able to think and evaluate.  That is why Jesus commands that we love with our minds as well as body, soul and heart.

So?  Seek wisdom and use the wisdom you have to put together what you are receiving. 

Saturday, February 9, 2019

The Table Setting

(Proverbs 9:2 KJV)  She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.

As I read this today it seemed familiar.  After thinking about it awhile I came up with this,
(Psalms 23:5 KJV)  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
God is ready for us and is setting up what is to come.  He is preparing so we can be prepared.  We sometimes, or should I say usually, assume that this will be done in a peaceful venue where we can lean back and bask in the moment.  That is not the case.

If you read through the chapter you see that the foolish woman is using a very similar invitation.  This points out that we will see competing voices in the marketplace of ideas.  Satan will do everything he can to drown out the voice of God.  We need to listen carefully and remember such verses as the one that points out we will know people by their fruits.

So?  Knowing truth and finding wisdom is possible but will not just drop in our laps. 

Friday, February 8, 2019

A Genuinely Inconvenient Truth

(Proverbs 8:13 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Christians need to do some serious thinking about love and “hate” (8130).  God is love.  We are to love.  As the song says, “They will know we are Christians by our love.”  Everyone seems to be on board for that.

We are also to hate.  That seems harsh but it is what this verse is telling us.  We are to “hate” (8130) “evil” (7451b) and especially the evil “way” (1870).  Too often we embrace evil in the name of love.  What would those evil actions be?  Here we could specifically see “pride” (1344), “arrogance” (1344), and foul mouths.  Other places you can find more kinky behaviors and attitudes.  The word used for “perverted” (8419) or “froward” means perversion. 

So?  Perversion exists.  It is defined and examples are given in the Bible.  We need to accept that as true not just go along with the pressure of our culture that is embracing it. 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Drift Warning

(Proverbs 7:25 KJV)  Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.

I could never be a Calvinist and, although I consider them brothers in Christ, I usually cannot attend a church for long if the pastor believes in P.  What is “P”, you say?  It is the last letter in TULIP and represents the “perseverance of the saints”.  Even there it is not the phrase but the way it is understood.  I understand it to mean that those who persevere to the end will see eternal life.  The Calvinist sees it as an ironclad guarantee of salvation even if you drift into apostasy. 

This verse is a reminder and a warning to stay on the path of righteousness.  Obviously we have times when our attention may wonder or we get careless.  This is not about a momentary drift.  This is about making decisions that turn us aside.  It is serious because whatever your theological persuasion, look down a few verses and you see that the danger of this drift is hell, Sheol, and death.

So?  Stay focused.  It makes a difference.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Innocent by Definition

(Proverbs 6:17 KJV)  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

What are the requirements for “blood” (1818) to be “innocent” (5355a)?  We often hear about innocent bystanders.  We think of the people that were murdered in the Twin Towers on 9/11.  There are a lot of people who have not earned what comes their way.

Innocence has at least two levels.  In one sense none of us are really innocent. 
(Romans 3:23 KJV)  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
I have heard people talking about convicted criminals who claim they did not do it.  They will sometimes comment that maybe they didn’t do this but there are a lot of other things they have done. 

Biblically speaking there are a few groups that would be considered innocent by classification.  Among those would be widows and orphans.  God has special concern for widows and orphans.  In the ancient culture they had a very dark future.  God is also concerned about the poor.  All that being said I think the most innocent group of people that are being killed without mercy are the unborn children being aborted for convenience.  Millions of children every year, many of whom would live if removed whole from the womb, are butchered in the name of convenience.

So?  Few modern issues are so cut and dried.  Abortion is one of them.  If an unborn child does not fit the definition of innocent, I don’t know what does.  God hates it. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Next

(Proverbs 5:9 KJV)  Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:

We have many demands on our lives and that is natural.  The big ones are family, job and country.  All of these have a Biblical place and are given honor in the Bible.  This verse is in the context of marital fidelity.  It is a reminder that we are to invest ourselves in our spouse not in casual relationships.  It is also a call to stewardship.

We only have so much energy and time.  The results of how we use that will show up in other things that we value.  Solomon is reminding us that there will always be a hierarchy of demands.  If the choice is your son’s softball game or weeding the garden most of us don’t have much trouble with priorities.  It gets more difficult when it is a matter of keeping your job by showing up on time or giving someone a ride because their car broke down.

God makes demands on our time and energy too. 

So?  Make sure that your order of operations is in sync with what God is expecting.  In the long run He can make things work out.  Don’t make yourself a challenge. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Focal Point

(Proverbs 4:21 KJV)  Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.

Let’s face it.  We have different concerns at different times of the day and the year.  As my wife’s birthday approaches I try to move the idea of appropriate gifts to the focal point.  When the needle on my gas gauge gets to a certain point my focus becomes a cheap gas station.  In the morning I am trying to explain to myself again why I want to get up.  We need to understand that those can never really be our focus.

Our focus needs to be what the previous verse calls the words and sayings of wisdom.  Being followers of Jesus Christ needs to be the actual focal point of every moment of our lives.  I don’t think we are capable of singular vision but even when we are not staring at it, it needs to be at the center.  When I am driving to Austin I may not keep muttering “Austin.  Austin.  Austin.” to myself, but I keep my goal at the center or I end up in Los Angeles.  I know I don’t want that.

So?  Again I urge you to spend the key part of your day ratcheting in the scope of your life.  Put Jesus dead center each day.  Ask God to be your guide.  Do a little input from Scripture.  It is a discipline that will pay dividends. 

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Those Pesky Neighbors

(Proverbs 3:29 KJV)  Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.

How is Christianity different from other religions?  This is one piece of the answer.  Most cultures will have you getting along with the guy next door as long as he is part of your sub-group.  Thus if you are a Left Handed Baptist and your neighbor is a Left Handed Baptist then you are expected to live in peace.  If he is a Right Handed Baptist, all bets are off.  That is not the way of God.

Jesus defies the morals of the world.
(Matthew 5:43-4 KJV)  Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Like so many other teachings of Jesus we find that it is rooted in the Old Testament.  Much of what He is teaching is a matter of bringing out the truth that has been ignored.

So?  What truth have you been ignoring?  What have I conveniently forgotten?  That is one reason why we need to keep reading the Bible with a time for reflection.  God wants to remind us of something today.  It might be how we treat our neighbor.  It might be our gluttony.  It might be our use of leisure. 

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Larder of Wisdom

(Proverbs 2:7 KJV)  He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.

I was struck by the KJV using “layeth up” (6845) where the NASB uses “stores up”.  The older language made me think about the way in which you might put away supplies for a rainy day.  I picture bags of rice or beans being stacked in such a way to keep them from falling.  I think of the stories from Little House on the Prairie where they would fill the root cellar with vegetables and canning.  It is there to be used when needed.  In a good year you might not even need everything that was put aside.

I visit some web sites that focus on being prepared for the unexpected.  It could be as simple as losing power for a day in a snow storm or notched up to a flood that cuts you off for a week.  The idea is to have what you need for the unexpected.  One of the elements of wisdom is that you never know what is coming so your supply must be varied and easy to access.

The point here is that God will make sure that we have what we need when the time comes.

So?  Trust and keep laying up the wisdom.  It is a tough world out there.  We don’t know what God will allow to happen or send our way.  We can know that our larder of wisdom is ready.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Listen

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

As I read this today another verse was brought to mind.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV)  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
The common theme that I saw was that God will try to speak to us and if we listen He will bring forgiveness and renewal.  This is a perpetual promise but it requires a couple of things.

First we need to listen and acknowledge what God is saying.  This is hard when the issue is “reproof” (8433b).  We don’t like correction.  When people speak to me critically my first reaction is denial and anger.  I might later reflect and grow but not initially.  I am working on that.  I am trying to listen and cut through what their agenda might be and find what I need to hear.

The second is just as hard.  We need to change.  Notice in Chronicles we are to turn from our wicked ways.  We can’t go on doing the same and expect the forgiveness to keep flowing.

So?  God is speaking.  Sometimes through His written word.  It might have been through the sermon on Sunday.  It might have been from your wife five minutes ago.  Listen and respond.