An Idea Borrowed

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

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Then What?

(Proverbs 20:17 KJV)  Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

We need to think more about the “afterward” (310).  Obviously this has an eternal concern but I think Solomon is more focused on the next few moments, days or years.  This is not just a spiritual concern but a principle that seeps into every area of life.  We are so affluent as a culture that we forget that debts must be paid.  We live on credit in our finances.  We live on the principle built up by previous generations.  Our decisions have consequences even if we don’t see them.

As Christians we should always be asking ourselves what the long term results will be to our decisions and actions.  When you have a genuine emergency it is sometimes necessary to charge things you don’t have the money for.  The problem is in those two words “genuine emergency”.  That does not mean a lack of planning.

So?  God is concerned about today and what we face.  He is concerned because He has the big picture.  He wants us to end up at the right conclusion.  We can’t do it if we refuse to consider what comes after.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Politics of Sloth

(Proverbs 19:15 KJV)  Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.

How do political positions relate to our faith?  There are many issues which are personal opinion or preference.  I think of taxes on imports and infrastructure renewal.  Others, such as abortion and homosexual marriage are obvious places to combine the two.  Some are more subtle.  Recently a politician suggested that everyone should have a guaranteed income and suggested two groups of people to consider.  One was those who could not work.  That is worth discussing.  The other group was those who do not want to work.  That is being addressed here.

The apostle Paul put it another way.
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 KJV)  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
That is a Biblical and Christian position.

So?  Don’t assume that we should not vote and campaign because it is beneath us.  There are certain positions, such as not encouraging sloth, that are based in our faith.  Apply them. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Gossip by Any Other Name...

(Proverbs 18:8 KJV)  The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

It is interesting the different ways the Hebrew is translated.  Here the NASB has “whisperer” (7279) and the KJV has “talebearer”.  If you look at the other translations on my software I come up with one who says evil, gossip, double tongued and slanderer.  That is quite a selection.  The benefit of looking at all these translations is that we need to be reminded of all the ways we can rationalize our talking about other people.  You can pick one of these or one that you like better.  It is still an activity that God frowns on.  We know it is serious because of how often it is brought up. 

So?  Watch your mouth.  Nothing new here except when we are successful.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Divine Perspective

(Proverbs 17:22 KJV)  A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

One of the goals of my morning routine is a “merry” (joyful NASB) (8056) “heart” (3820).  That is one reason I start by focusing on what I have to be thankful for.  It is so easy to get consumed with the pin pricks that distract us.  When you stub your toe it is easy to forget that you live in America and have a wealth of material goods surrounded by more liberty than history could ever imagine.  All you can think about is your sore toe.  In the morning I grab for the divine perspective and remind myself of all my blessings.  I always try to remember my salvation as the ultimate blessing.

So?  Having a good day is usually more a matter of discipline and attitude than perception based on distractions.  I find that if I don’t start in focus I wander in a haze all day. 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

A Christian Nation

(Proverbs 16:10 KJV)  A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.

Is America a Christian nation?  In one sense we have been and still kind of are.  We are Christian because we are not Muslim or Hindu.  That does not mean a lot.  Of greater importance are two other key elements.  The one we are not looking at today is the character and belief of the people.  In order to be a Christian nation America would need to have enough spiritual salt to deserve that label.  If we look at the way the general culture is going and how the so-called church has been discarding basic Biblical truth, the label is getting questionable.

The other element is the leadership.  That is what this verse addresses.  Does America have leaders who acknowledge and live by the word of God?  That is even more doubtful.  I believe there are a fair number of mayors, city counsel members, state officers and federal officials who are genuine in their faith and practice.  The problem is that they are few and far between.  It is a blessing of God to have leaders who walk the path of righteousness.  In a republic it is the job of the rank and file to elect those who can serve well.

So?  We have no elections on the near horizon but we do have the process of politics and living going on daily.  We need to stay awake, observe and when the next election comes, be ready to vote as if we wanted a Christian nation. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

A Fool’s Choice

(Proverbs 15:5 KJV)  A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.

A “fool” (191) is not “prudent” (6191).  I guess the corollary of that is that a wise man is.  Have you ever prayed for prudence?  I don’t think I have.  It may be like praying for patience.  You don’t want situations where you have to exercise that gift. 

But it should be on our list, maybe close to the top.  Prudence has to do with balance and restraint.  Those are not popular in our personal choices or our cultural priorities.  Prudence makes it impossible to pray, “I want patience, and I want it now.”  Prudence says, “What is the right response (amount, priority, direction)?”  Prudence gets into all the little cracks of life.

So?  We all have many decisions daily.  Use some common sense.  God has given us the guidelines we need but we have to apply them. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Eternal Trigger Warning

(Proverbs 14:27 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

“Fear” (3374) is one of those words or concepts that reminds us of the vast schism between the Bible and the world.  We tend to get comfortable because we still have a lot of Christian values in our culture.  They are fading but most of us are still immune from the depravity of paganism.  Fear, or awe and reverence, is shunned by the world around us.  We have schools establishing safe spaces and demanding trigger warnings to keep the sheltered souls in their care from feeling any mental or psychological discomfort.  We think the government and its programs can make life rainbows and cotton candy. 

The Bible teaches that a healthy fear is healthy.  The fear that we have of God is balanced.  On one side you have the consuming fire of a holy God.  That can get us to trembling if we are honest.  The God of the Bible should be an eternal trigger warning.  There is no safe space.  On the other side is the God who is love, who sent Jesus to die for our sins and make us part of the family of God.  But in that comfort is the fact that it is an Old Testament, patriarchal family, not a modern open family.

So?  Your comfort is hollow if it is not grounded in both the holiness of God and the love of God.  You are not on an arcade roller coaster.  You are on the Highway of Holiness. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Word of Hope

(Proverbs 13:1 KJV)  A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

How about a word of hope for those with young men in their lives.  Don’t give up on a teen ager or a slightly older kid.  Children are not known for their wisdom.  The key is at some magical point in their lives when their mind matures enough to begin to understand the big picture.  When they are 16 you as a parent know nothing.  Ten years later they can be amazed at how much you understood the world.  It happens.  Of course, some times it doesn’t.

Remember that your job is to train and demonstrate the “wise” (2450) lifestyle.  The one who will need to make the decision to embrace it is the child.  You can’t do it for him.

So?  Be an example of the life you want others to live.  You may not have children.  Your children may be out of the home.  Young eyes are still watching. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Sleeping with Your Shoes On

(Proverbs 12:24 KJV)  The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.

From the context we assume that being “diligent” (2742a) means showing up on time for work and putting in good time.  That is true as far as it goes but it doesn’t go far enough.  It also means paying attention.  If you are on guard duty you may never move from your guard post but you are expected to remain awake and alert during your duty hours.  Guard duty goes beyond that.  If I remember my days in the army correctly there was a group of men selected each night who had guard detail.  We had shifts.  When we were not on active alert we still were expected to sleep in the guard barracks and be ready to go at any time.  That meant sleeping with your shoes on.

It is impossible for us to remain on edge every moment of our life but we can find ways to stay prepared and ready to go.  It is based on an inner commitment to righteousness and the Holy God.  There may be times when the Holy Spirit is the only one awake and watching for the enemy but we are expected to be ready to respond.

So?  We are never off duty.  We are never released from the straight life.  We are never allowed to substitute sin for salvation.  Sleep well.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Scotch-Guarded

(Proverbs 11:8 KJV)  The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.

Deliverance can take many forms.  It is my belief that God shields us from a bag full of tragedy and we are not even aware of it.  I notice it sometimes when I hesitate briefly at a green light and some clown comes plowing through, running the red.  If I had been quick off the dime I would have been road kill.  Guardian angels don’t get enough credit.  How many times have I been on an airplane of coughing and come off unscathed?  How many times did I have students cough in my face and the germs all died? 

Sometimes we are delivered because it never occurs to us to do evil.  I have never drifted, or charged, into infidelity.  If I think about it I can think of a few times where the offer was there but I didn’t even notice it.  If I wanted to really think about it I might find a lot of situations that would have gone completely different if I had been willing to be “wicked” (7563).

So?  Think of it as built in Scotchguard or some such chemical.  “Trouble” (6869a) beads up instead of soaking in.  Praise God. 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

An Honest Man

(Proverbs 10:9 KJV)  He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.

This brings to mind the saying, “You can’t cheat an honest man.”  That does not mean what it literally says.  What it is reminding us of is that we end up being the loser when we think we are the one pulling the fast one.  I have stopped going to pawn shops looking for a great deal.  I have bought two guitars in pawn shops.  I thought I was getting a great deal, not cheating, but a great deal.  It turns out I was paying market.  I didn’t get cheated but the person doing the selling knew exactly what he was doing.

When I hear offers that I can’t refuse, I refuse them.  You hear this stuff on the radio all the time.  Sign up for their free course and you will find out how to get rich in your spare time with no investment.  Right.  My first question is, “If it is so easy and so profitable, why are you wasting your time giving away your secret to the competition?”  The answer of course is that they make their money from people who want to get rich in their spare time with no investment.

So?  Sure, grace is free.  Salvation is a gift.  Living a holy life means living by certain standards.  Consider God an “honest man” who can’t be cheated. 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Eye Opener

(Proverbs 9:3 KJV)  She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,

History is replete with what are called “mystery religions”.  These are belief systems with hidden knowledge that is only revealed to initiates as they work their way up the ladder of spiritual status.  In the days of Rome you had the gnostics.  Their influence is all through the New Testament as the apostles fought their influence.  The understanding of Christianity in the Koran shows the influence of the gnostic gospels and their influence in the Arabian world. 

Wisdom is not like that.  There may be a lot of things you don’t know but it isn’t because it is hidden from you.  The main reason is because you have not looked or listened.  God has laid it out for you.  I will admit as the secular, anti-Christian culture gains ground that things like Christmas carols are being driven from the public square but the word is still there.

So?  Rejoice that wisdom is available.  Seek it.  Pray that those around you would have their eyes opened.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Asking for Directions

(Proverbs 8:14 KJV)  Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.

In the battle of the sexes women often comment on how men are too macho to ask for directions.  We will do anything rather than admit we are lost.  I am not sure that is just a masculine trait but I know it is true in my life.  I would rather read the directions myself than ask someone how to do something.  I would rather get my own map than rely on someone else for directions.  I don’t base my clothes on the weather report as much as looking out the window or sticking my head out the door.  That is not bad.

The point here is that we need to be very careful where we go for help.  We will often have decisions to make and would like some input.  The problem is that we get many different opinions and often each is based more in the prejudices and goals of the advice giver rather than what is objectively right.

So?  It is fine to ask for advice but keep in mind that God has given us the basics in His word.  He has given His Holy Spirit to help us understand what it means.  He has worked a miracle of grace so that we want to know.  Seek Him first.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Who’s Counting

(Proverbs 7:26 KJV)  For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.

What do you keep a record of?  Do you have anything you count?  Do you have goals?  Realize that you are on someone’s wish list.  They want to see you “cast down” (5307) and they want to be the one doing the casting.  They want you to be one of the “many” (7227a) on their list.

I am keeping track of the golf courses in my area.  I have a vague goal to play on all of them but it is not a compulsion.  For some people bringing you down is a compulsion.  It is how they get their jollies.  It is how they feel their worth. 

That is the bad news.  The good news is that we have God on our side.  He knows their poison and has the antidote. 

So?  There is a reason the old song said “Trust and obey” and not just “trust”.  There is a reason why the Bible reminds us of the glory and power of grace but also that we are expected to obey.  If you don’t take your medication it doesn’t really matter how miraculous the drug is. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Not Feet First

(Proverbs 6:18 KJV)  An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

It is sad how often our physical responses reflect what is really going on inside.  We live in a culture that tries to blame all of our troubles on our environment.  Thus we have a society of victims instead of people refusing to accept responsibility for their actions.  It is true that our surroundings have an effect on us.  Look at food.  How many are looking forward to a few honeyed locusts for dessert?  For some in the world that is a rare delicacy.  Americans like their milk.  For many that is disgusting.  Other tastes are built in.  We kept sugar from our first born for a long time.  He did not need to be conditioned to like it.  It was built in.

The condition of our “heart” (3820) has a lot to say which way our “feet” (7272) will “run” (7323).  The condition of our heart does depend on something outside, the grace of God.  The thing is we have a say in whether God’s grace does its work.

So?  Make sure your garden is weeded before you start giving lectures in horticulture. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Cosmic Preppers

(Proverbs 5:10 KJV)  Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;

While it is true that we are to be storing up treasures for heaven where rust and moths do not destroy there is a simultaneous command to be stewards of our earthly resource.  God is rooted in history and the physical world because He is the molder of one and the creator of the other.  There is a religious spur that is called Deism.  One of the aspects of Deism is that while it admits to a god, he is not involved.  You may have heard of the illustration of making a watch, winding it and leaving it to wind down.  That is the god of Deism.  It is not the God of the Bible.

As I speculate on why God gives us responsibility to manage our physical resources I come up with an idea that we are preparing for eternity.  In a sense we are cosmic preppers.  Somehow balancing our check books and living within our means will have a connection to eternal life.

So?  Manage your resources.  Make sure that the fruit of your labor goes into preserves and not the garbage bin.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Health Advice

(Proverbs 4:22 KJV)  For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

We have here a verse for the health and wealth gospel people.  We have a promise of “health” (4832).  How simple can it be.  It may be obvious but it isn’t simple.  Like most of the promises of the Bible there are conditions and expectations.  Here the expectation is that you will seek and find wisdom.  That requires focus, study and discipline.  It isn’t like the book of the month club where the latest is sent if you do nothing.

A book that I have reread is None of These Diseases by S.I. McMillen.  He goes into the results of following the kosher laws of the Old Testament.  It seems God had reasons for the outline He gave the Jews.  The revised edition even goes into things like HIV.

So?  Living a righteous life may bring persecution from the world but it also delivers better health and mental stability.

McMillen, S.I. and Stern, David E.  None of These Diseases.  Grand
    Rapids:  Fleming H. Revell, Third Edition, 2000. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

‘Cause

(Proverbs 3:30 KJV)  Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.

I think everyone has a “cause” (2600).  It may be trivial.  It may be universal.  I guess maybe I should say everyone needs a motivating factor in their life.  Some people go out and do battle every day over the silliest things.  To me one of the silliest is the organic community.  I can see that there is a place to avoid things that are contaminated and go for cleaner food.  The real problem we face though is that if all food was grown the way the extreme organic people want then the world would soon starve to death.  If you are wealthy enough to live that way then more power to you.

There is a saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  The same thing goes for our causes.  What may be earthshaking for you may be a non-issue for me. 

So?  Make sure that your bully pulpit is founded on the Rock.  Jesus gives us enough big issues to worry about.  We should not get excited about the latest craze. 

Saturday, March 2, 2019

A Paradox of Balance

(Proverbs 2:8 KJV)  He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.

It is important to make a note about whom the “He” is in this verse.  The NASB may be more artistic in its style but the KJV is more helpful by putting the word at the beginning of the passage.  He is God.  If you look back and read from verse 6 you can see that there are a number of things that God is going to be doing for His people.  If you read the further context it is clear that the recipients are not just those who are raised in a godly culture but those who follow the God of that culture.

So?  We keep running into reminders of the balanced paradox of life.  We are to put our shoulder to the wheel and work hard because it makes a difference.  While we do that we are to always keep in mind that God is in charge.  He is the source of salvation and the dispenser of judgement.  So relax and get to work. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Salvation Is Not Mush and Rainbows

(Proverbs 1:24 KJV)  Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;

This verse talks about a God who reaches out to man.  Even in the days of the Old Testament He was offering salvation to those who would listen.  It also brings up the issue of free will.  In the TULIP view of salvation the “I” stands for irresistible grace.  That means that if God “called” (7121) you did not have the option of “refused” (3985).  How can a mere human refuse God?

Simple.  By saying “No.”

That is where the vast majority of people are.  That is why hell will be so full.  That is why the road is narrow leading to salvation.  It isn’t that God can’t make it wider but that it won’t need to be.  People say, “No.”  Can God force the issue?  Yes, He is God.  He can reach down, turn your will to mush and your disposition to rainbows and have you saying, “Yes, Sir!”  There have been times in history when He has done that, but the pattern is to speak, to call, to offer and let us respond.

So?  I think of it as a daily response of obedience.  I trust in grace and the blood of Christ.  At the same time I know my decision is vital.