An Idea Borrowed

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

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Baby Monitor

(Pro 5:21 KJV) For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.

As I write I am in the sight of a security monitor.  I have no idea if anyone is watching, but it is possible.  It is in my room to monitor the baby crib during nap time but it can be accessed whenever someone once to take the time.  I tend to forget about it.  I was reminded of it one day when my wife spoke to me through its little speaker.  You see it also has the ability to let the parent tell the kid to lay down.  It is a bit startling to have the walls start talking to you.

It is easy to forget that God is watching.  He knows what color underwear you have on.  He sees you sneak that extra cookie.  It even goes further, He knows what you are thinking.

So?  Live like someone is taking notes because Someone is.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

High Ways

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

I know you wish this was your wife being spoken about.  It would be a great proof text for marital relations.  It would be so easy.  Unfortunately it is referring to wisdom. 

We are to “exalt” (prize NASB) (5549) wisdom.  I think the KJV gets more of the nuance here.  As I was looking at the definitions I saw “to cast up a highway”.  If you have ever needed to drive on a road during a massive storm you know how grateful you can be when the engineers designing it paid attention to drainage patterns in the area.  To keep clear the road must be above possible water levels in a time of flood.  The same is true of wisdom.  It must be above the churning floods of life.  We must keep it high and dry.

So?  One point of wisdom is to lift us out of the mud.  Build the highway of your life well. 

Friday, April 3, 2020

Clueless

(Pro 3:5 KJV) Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

"Understanding" (998) ultimately must be based on God's view of things, not on ours.  We are forced into mystery here.  Some truth we will see.  Some truth is currently beyond us.  I think of what it is like living with an inquisitive toddler in the house.  She wants to examine everything.  Sometimes I tell her “no” because I know if she opens a drawer she will see the tissue and decide that she needs to blow here nose, again and again.  Her understanding makes it a priority.  Other times I might forbid a sharp knife to her because I know what it can do and she doesn’t have a clue.

So?  Face it.  There are many times in life when we don’t have a clue.  This can be when we can’t see a clear choice.  It can also be when a resounding “no” is to save us from unseen danger.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Heroic Choices

(Pro 2:20 KJV) That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.

Recently the untimely death of a famous athlete was in the news.  It really doesn’t matter who he was.  I knew the name but nothing about him.  As expected, some of the headlines were about the glowing and tear rendering praises heaped upon him at the funeral and memorial services.  Were they deserved?  I have no idea.  What bothered me more was the number of people who talked about him as if he were a great hero, someone to be emulated. 

He was an athlete.  He had a combination of specific skills that made him a whiz at playing a sport.  Those skills might have made him useless in another sport.  Either way this is not enough to make him a hero.  We need to get over spending so much time praising quarterbacks, forwards and short stops.  They make the world a better place by taking people’s minds off of the struggles of life but they don’t really improve anyone’s life.

So?  Look for heroes among those who model goodness and righteousness.  We don’t need more great pitchers, we need more great fathers.  You also have a much better chance of being the latter, unless you are a woman, of course. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Rejoice in Reproof

(Pro 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.

Which comes first, the “turn” (7725) or the “pour” (5042)?  Is the pouring out of the Holy Spirit a cause or an effect of repentance?  I would say both. 

If we refuse to admit we are sinners and have no desire to change course, there is little point in sending the Holy Spirit to do a work in us.  Few Christians, except die-hard, five point Calvinists, believe that God coerces people into belief.  If there is no buy-in on the part of the sinner the path of salvation runs into a wall. 

As we walk with Jesus there are numerous corrections that will need to be made.  Some of it is just part of the learning curve.  Some will be the result of sin.  We will become aware of the need for repentance.  It can come from the simple inner conviction given by the Holy Spirit and run a spectrum to being confronted by someone who knows you well.

So?  Being corrected is part of the spiritual path we all walk.  Count is a progress. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Boardwalk Principle

(Pro 31:9 KJV) Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

It is important that we notice the modifying term “righteously” (6664).  This is a concept that does not fit into the recipe of modern culture.  It is like adding cayenne as you make a creme brulee.  Righteousness is a concept that brings our modern world to a screaming halt.  It says “No”, which is not the big problem, although it is problem enough.  What is rabidly rejected is, “Because God said so.” 

Take for instance the current sexual revolution.  In most sectors it is still frowned upon to cheat on your spouse.  Adultery is still considered wrong, unless of course, she deserves it.  Everything else is a go.  God says, “Not so fast.”  The secular forces keep running into this. 

So?  If you are going to play a board game you need to know the rules.  In life, God is the one who makes the rules.  You can kick and scream all you want it doesn’t change the fact that landing on Boardwalk with hotels will probably wipe you out. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

A Curse Caused

(Pro 30:11 KJV)  There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.

One of the joys of my life is having the “kind” (1755) of kids that are willing to spend time with their parents.  KJV uses “generation”.  We do not embarrass them, at least not yet.  It is one of the things that I think can be passed down and taught.  I have two living brothers and they have a lot more children than I do.  One thing I notice is that they get together a lot and enjoy being family.

Part of that is because of geography, they live close together.  Part is the decision of the children.  A large part is the atmosphere created by the parents.  It is an atmosphere that started years ago and remains in force.

So?  It is possible to have the generations enjoying each other.  Let it start with you. 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Target Practice

(Pro 29:22 KJV) An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.

I don’t see any qualifiers on “angry” (639).  We don’t see the source of it.  We have no idea if it is righteous or not.  Having said that we see how it is interpreted.  It is sin.

How do we know that this anger is sin?  Look at the target of the anger.  It is stirring things up.  It seems that it is multiplied in other behaviors.  This is not the anger at injustice that makes you go on long walks and ponder on how you can work on a problem in your city.  This is not the emotion that drives you to read your Bible more carefully to seek truth.  This is a self centered lashing out for personal gratification.

So?  What is the result of our response?  When I get angry on the spur of the moment I tend to want to justify myself or win some points.  That is certainly not in the category of righteous.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

A Difference of One

(Pro 28:2 KJV) For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.

One “man” (120) [adam] can make a difference.  It would do us well to remember that.  History is full of individuals who have been the pivot point of a nations destiny.  While there are many vying for positions of power and influence they seem to be part of the sin of the land, the problem rather than the solution.

The one supreme example of the exception would be Jesus.  While He lived few knew who He was or what He was doing.  He certainly made a difference.  Through the Bible you see others like Moses or the apostle Paul.  Today we have people hailing Barak Obama or Donald Trump.  History will need to be the judge of people alive today.  We know that if George Washington had been like most modern politicians the United States would have been stillborn.  

So?  I am not going to turn the country around.  I might, however, have influence in my neighborhood, church or workplace.  I definitely will leave a mark on my family.  Sobering. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Historically Politically Correct

(Pro 27:12 KJV) A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.

There are times when I wish I could go back and get into the mind of an ancient Jew so that I could read a verse in Hebrew and feel the assumptions of that culture.  If you are looking at the KJV you will see that the word “man” is in italics.  That means it is not in the Hebrew.  This is a common occurrence as you read through the Bible.  The translators assume the word and put it in.  Without that assumption this becomes “the prudent sees evil...”  In our modern, politically correct, virtue signaling culture some people are very sensitive to this system of “patriarchal oppression”.  They would be glad to know that the original did not include it.

So?  The Bible seems to clearly infer that God is not feminine.  He is called Father, not Mother.  Jesus was the Son, not the daughter.  At the same time it is clear that the principles are applied to all, not just one group.  I guess that includes me and you. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Fool Dogs

(Pro 26:11 KJV) As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

Why does a dog “vomit” (6892)?  I would imagine there are a number of reasons.  One is that it ate too much and the body is relieving the pressure.  I think when dogs eat grass it can lead to a purging.  However you want to look at it the reason has to do with the dog’s body being smarter than the dog.  Yet the dog goes for it again.

This does not say much for the fool.  You may have noticed that they keep coming back to the same arguments and positions.  It does not matter how many times you bring them the facts.  They continue on their way to death.

So?  Dogs vomiting is not an eternal issue.  Fools refusing to respond to the truth of God is. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Word Alert

(Pro 25:11 KJV) A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Good timing can be everything.  Think of the medications people take.  Usually there are timing requirements.  Some are to be taken at bedtime, others when you rise.  The one I take is supposed to be taken with food.  One I used to take prohibited grapefruit.  Our words and actions can be the same way.  Here the focus is on what we say.

Think about the verbal expectations we are presented with.  We are to witness.  We are to rebuke and encourage.  Timing is very important.  That is why the “fitly” of the KJV and the “right” (5921) “circumstances” (655) of the NASB are so important to remember. 

So?  Since you may only get one good chance to say what needs to be said, be alert.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Safety Not First

(Pro 24:6 KJV) For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.

I think the NASB does a better job with “victory” (8668) rather than the “safety” of the KJV.  There is a sense in which winning can lead to staying safe but that is not always true for the warrior in the front lines.  The safety is a relative thing.  Their job is to protect the safety of the others and sacrifice themselves if necessary.

I guess this should remind us that there may be casualties in our spiritual battles.  If we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit and operate by the principles of God we can be assured of final victory.  Sometimes it doesn’t look that way but it is the focus of the promise.

So?  Keep the God’s eye vision in place.  God is still God and will remain on the throne. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

A Rod for a Rolex

(Pro 23:14 KJV) Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Yes, this is talking about corporal punishment.  It is talking about spanking.  It is approving it as a way of dealing with defiant children.  Yes, this goes against modern theories of child rearing.  If you advocate this you will be rejected by most of your peers and possibly face court action. 

Deal with it.  The reality is that much of what the Bible advocates goes against what is politically correct today.  You don’t need to do a lot of reading to begin to sense the conflict. 

So?  Ultimately you must decide whether you are going to follow the Creator of the universe and His owner’s manual or the guy trying to tell you he is willing to sell you a real Rolex for $100. 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The First Half of the Formula

(Pro 22:22 KJV) Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:

The most common pattern in Proverbs is for each verse to stand alone.  There are a few places where a longer section holds together.  Here we need to look at the next verse in order to get the full impact.
(Pro 22:23 KJV) For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
This is one of those cases where we are told the consequences of ignoring what we are told.  We need to remember that if we take advantage of the disadvantaged then the counsel for the other side will be God Himself.

So?  You may get away with playing it fast and loose for the day, week, year or even a lifetime.  You need to remember that eventually you will meet the Judge. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Mouth Watch

(Pro 21:23 KJV) Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

Watching your mouth protects the “soul” (5315) from the many “troubles” (6869a) that are waiting.  Our spiritual side represented by the soul is always tied in with our temporal side.  These troubles fit in that category.  In looking at the word the most terrifying trouble is found in childbirth.  To multiply the problem it is a first child.  These are things that we must go through but wish could be dealt with more gently.

The implication is that we will see trouble in our lives.  Try to avoid people who tell you that life will be a bed of roses or if you have problems it is because you don’t have enough faith.  If you have trouble with that think of David, a man after God’s own heart, being chased from his palace by his son.  Or think of Jesus in the Garden wishing there was another way to save mankind.  Then you have Paul asking that the thorn of flesh be removed.  If you got problems, you also got good company.

So?  Rejoice because there are ways to reduce the suffering. 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Like a Sparrow

(Pro 20:28 KJV) Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.

In America we do not have hereditary monarchs today.  In the time of Solomon this would have been an assurance that God cared about the king.  The king was sustained by “mercy” (righteousness NASB) (2617a) [chesed].  This is the only place this word is translated this way in the NASB.  Most common is “lovingkindness”.  That is a concept I love.  It wraps up all the love and grace of God and reminds us that God extends his lovingkindness toward us. 

Here it applies to the king.  In modern politics it might refer to a president or prime minister.  If you want to stretch it a little bit it refers to each one of us.  We are upheld by His almighty hand.

So?  You can think of it as grace.  You can imagine the Holy Spirit at work.  God has His eye on us, each and every one. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Wisdom Is Not Catch and Release

(Pro 19:8 KJV) He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.

It is one thing to “get” (7069) something.  It is a totally different thing to “keep” (8104) it.  We tend to forget this.  Remember your first paycheck?  I don’t either but I can imagine how I would have had a change of emotional state when I moved from the moment I got the check to the understanding that I had already lost 25% before I could cash it.  And then when you move down the road to how quickly it was spent.  When we are young we are not too good at being stewards of our wealth.  Sometimes we never learn.

We are used to acquiring.  We go to college and can’t measure our knowledge but we can keep track of our classes and grades.  We cram for a test and forget it all after the crisis.  We are good at that part.  Where we fail is in the maintaining what is gained.  A key part of our understanding of the Hebrew for “get” is that it involves guarding.  That involves vigilance and care more than a loaded AR.

So?  I find it helps me establish some priorities if I ask myself if I will take care of something once I have it.  My lack of attention to maintenance is one reason I am in no hurry to get a new car.  My spiritual life is a little higher on the list. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Target Lips

(Pro 18:20 KJV) A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.

What we say makes a difference.  How we say it makes a difference.  What we really mean makes a difference.  Communication is important.  I think that is the main point underlying this verse.  The focus seems to be on our own lives but I think the principle can be outward mobile also.

So?  Let the products of our mouths be vitamins and minerals, not just empty calories.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Look Out for the Lips

(Pro 17:4 KJV) A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.

The ways in which the thinking of the world and modern psychology have invaded the church is pervasive and clever.  Proverbs tells us time and again that evil exists.  The constant reminder also clues us in that it is very common.  The fact that Jesus said the gate to eternal life is narrow should be another indication.  The world is full of evil people.

At the same time we are told to demonstrate the love of God in all our behavior.  Even when it comes to our witnessing and defense of our faith, I Peter 3:15 tells us to do it with “gentleness and reverence”, or as the KJV has it “meekness and fear”.  That has been manipulated by the world to get us to think that we should accept the evil in people and ignore it instead of confronting it.  As a result we see our pulpits being filled with heretics and our worship being redesigned to please non-believers instead of glorify God.

So?  Be alert.  We are surrounded by slick liars and perverted tongues.  Walk in righteousness and don’t be fooled. 

Monday, March 16, 2020

Monopoly Understanding

(Pro 16:22 KJV) Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.

It would seem that some people have  “understanding” (7922) and some don’t.  That makes me wonder how each group arrive at that conclusion.  Is it a matter of choice?  Is it a matter of chance?  Is it predestination? 

I believe that it is available to all.  Think of it as a game like Monopoly.  Each person starts out with a certain amount of wealth.  From there it depends on how you respond to the choices put before you.  In a game there is the element of chance.  It is possible to make all the “right” choices and have the role of the dice put you on Boardwalk every round after someone else buys it.  The difference between the money of Monopoly and the understanding of the Bible is that God looks at how we get it as much as how much we have.

So?  I believe understanding is available to all.  I believe that each person will have what he needs if he is seeking first the kingdom of God. 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Certain of Uncertainty

(Pro 15:16 KJV) Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.

Many people who look at this see a contrast between much and “little” (4592).  That is really not what is being contrasted.  The difference between the two lives is the focus of your trust.  Do you trust in God or do you trust in your own influence?  Proverbs makes provision for wealthy people being happy and secure, but only if their priority is living a righteous life as God expects.

We face a lot of uncertainty.  We have prophets of doom who have a long list of catastrophes that we are facing.  It could be a financial collapse.  We have a long line of diseases that have drawn headlines.  Divorce might threaten.  The list is as varied as there are people and concerns. 

So?  Something will threaten.  We need to take precautions.  Most of all we need to develop our trust in the Lord. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Mouth Proud

(Pro 14:3 KJV) In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.

In this verse the NASB has “back” (2415), yet its most frequent translation is “pride”, just like the KJV has here.  I often think that the problem with translators is pride.  They can’t leave well enough alone.  They have to leave their mark.  We have two cats in the house at the moment.  They seem to follow each other around remarking their territory.  I guess they figure the other will come by next time and admit defeat.  It ain’t gonna happen.

So often we get that way in our pride.  I have to fight it in all kinds of petty things.  My wife thinks the silverware should be arranged a certain way.  It makes no sense to me but I gave up on it years ago.  It would be great if I could learn that in other areas.

So?  Mouth and pride seem to go together.  In order to get victory over one we need to work on the other.  Take your pick. 

Friday, March 13, 2020

Sanctifying the Fall

(Pro 13:11 KJV) Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

I need verses like this to balance the account of the Fall.  Adam was cursed with work.  Because of sin he would be condemned to earn his living by the sweat of his brow.  I liked to use that when people wanted me to dig ditches.  Work was the result of sin.  It worked for me but it doesn’t work for God.

Here we can see that “labor” (3027) is something that produces good things.  It may be hard, but then it is supposed to be.  As the old German proverb was translated by Nike, “No pain, no gain.”  I guess it goes back further than the Germans.

Jesus has sanctified it.  Now work is a virtue, not a punishment.

So?  I doubt if I need to tell you to get a job.  I am retired so I don’t need that advice.  What I do need to hear is that getting out and working in the yard has a value on its own.  I need to be reminded that when I mop the floors it is glorious to do a good job.  I don’t have to like it. 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Low Expectations

(Pro 12:8 KJV) A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.

Have you ever shared a bit of wisdom and no one seems impressed?  Then you read this and wonder what is going wrong.  You feel like this verse missed something.  This is an assurance that does not have a timetable.  History is full of great thinkers and statesmen who have proclaimed truth and been ignored or ridiculed.  William Wilberforce battled for 30 years to end slavery in the British Empire and died with only the first step taken.  Eventually he was vindicated. 

To be honest I don’t think the major portion of the population is able to recognize truth even when it bites them on the nose.  A lot of that is because they are not paying attention.  For those who are watching and listening, sin is still their guiding force. 

So?  Keep speaking the truth.  It is likely that no one will jump on board.  That doesn’t change the truth. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Don’t Settle for Less

(Pro 11:19 KJV) As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.

I noticed it again today as I was reading.  “Righteousness” (6666) keeps popping up.  The reason that keeps jumping out at me is that so many people claim that it is impossible to live a righteous life or be a righteous person.  They love to quote,
(Rom 3:10 KJV) As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
and use it as a proof text.  It does not stand alone.  If you read a few verse down you come across,
(Psa 14:5 KJV) There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.
If you can’t have any righteous how do you have a generation of righteous?

So?  My concern is that people will settle for living in defeat and sin because someone likes to quote an isolated verse.  God has called us to live upright and godly lives.  It does not say perfect, it says righteous.  Go for the gold ring.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Qualities Needing Judgement

(Pro 10:20 KJV) The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.

Is this a principle or a law?  Is it a hope or an expectation?  Is it a measure or a goal?  It seems that we should be able to tell who the “just” (righteous NASB) {6662} are by the way they talk.  There are certain things we can look for.

We can expect the right content.  Honesty, an adherence to truth is required for righteousness.  While it would be possible to exaggerate for effect as a literary device the distortions that are common in our culture would not be acceptable. 

We can expect the right attitude.  We should have courtesy and kindness.  How we say things is often as important as what we say. 

What about vocabulary?  I tend to be very up-tight in my vocabulary but as I get older I am realizing that everyone was not raised with my restraints.  I have to accept that it is possible to use some four letter words and still be part of the family of God.

None of this means that the answers will always be what we want.  That is not the measure of righteousness. 

So.  The first application is to ourselves.  The second is to people who claim to speak God’s truth.  After that if could become a form of the kind of judgement that is condemned. 

Monday, March 9, 2020

Media Faith

(Pro 9:14 KJV) For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city,

The similarities between the call of wisdom and folly are striking, and frightening.  Here we are looking at folly.  How are we to tell the difference?  I think it is possible.  You might want to tune in to one of the big names in media Christianity.  Names that come to mind are Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer.  I must point out that I do not personally listen to either of them.  I think I may have been in the same room during an entire Meyer presentation but I don’t think I have heard more than clips and quotes of Osteen.  Another name that comes to mind is Franklin Graham.  Whom would you trust?

You would need to listen to each one.  I am not sure how long you would need to listen to begin to form an opinion.  It might depend on how much you read the word of God on your own.  I get the feeling that it would not take too long to begin to sense some dissonance with Osteen and Meyer.  Again, it would  depend on how much you have read yourself and how well you listen to the Holy Spirit.

So?  Always remember that Satan and his minions do not charge you in a red suit and waving pitchforks.  I believe he is called the Angel of Light.  Never turn off your powers of reason. 

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Always Wise

(Pro 8:24 KJV) When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.

Is wisdom eternal?  Is it an attribute of God or is He so far above wisdom that such a statement is an insult?  It makes me wonder what “brought forth” (2342a) signifies.  It seems to have the idea of twisting and turning.  It implies birth in the course of great struggle.  The older commentators drew parallels to the concept of “only begotten” relating to Jesus.  If that has traction it could infer that wisdom is eternal but had to be squeezed into a form that humans could use.

It makes me wonder if the Pumice Pathetic Paraphrase would translate it “trotted out”.

So?  The point is that the principles laid down in Biblical wisdom are consistent with the nature of God and His creation.  We all benefit from making them a part of our lives. 

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Self Games

(Pro 7:8 KJV) Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,

I hope you are not filled with sympathy for this young man who seems to be trapped by a loose woman.  Don’t be.  He seems to have a goal and that goal is this babe who is waiting for him.  Notice that he is heading for her neighborhood.  He knows where he is headed and knows who will be waiting for him.  I imagine he felt he could deny it if he met the wrong person but it was all laid out in advance.

So?  How many times have I talked myself into believing that I am being caught by the unexpected?  Sometimes it is true.  On reflection I can look back and see how I could have done better, no, how I should have done better.  It is hard to live without playing games with ourselves. 

Friday, March 6, 2020

The Hunger Football

(Pro 6:30 KJV)  Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;

I sometimes wonder if I have ever been really “hungry” (7456).  I have had my stomach growl.  I have had a great appetite.  I have had my mouth water.  I don’t think I have ever been to the point talked about here.

Hunger is a political football today.  I don’t know how many times I have been urged to make a donation to feed hungry children.  We have all heard the spot ads and political chants that tell us how many children will go to bed hungry tonight in America.  In the ancient world starvation was a real problem.  People lived on the edge of it.  There are places in the world today that people are starving.  The problem is not lack of food stores.  Usually it is a political issue, caused by government policy or perpetuated by “religious” leaders.  The real problem is sin. 

So?  If you know of a hungry child then pass on some food.  It may be that the parent is lazy or just spending all their money on cigarettes and alcohol.  You may not be able to do much long term.  Don’t stop with giving food.  This is where prayer and witnessing are important.  The hunger will not go away until the real problem is dealt with. 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

A Ravishing Context

(Pro 5:20 KJV) And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?

This is an interesting choice of English.  The NASB has “exhilarated” (7686).  The KJV has “ravished.”  You may not have noticed but the previous verse uses the same word but in a positive context,
(Pro 5:19 KJV)  Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
This is an interesting play on words.

The Hebrew has the base meaning of leading astray.  It is used in the context of getting someone drunk and having them out of contact with reality.  I guess the translators were trying to find a word that would translated in two verses with different consequences. 

So?  This is another case of something being positive in the right context and destructive when used wrong.  Think of salt, sodium chloride.  Two lethal elements combined to make a necessity of life.  God’s way of doing things is totally awesome. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

A First Step

(Pro 4:7 KJV) Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

There is a saying that you find on motivational posters.  It goes something like, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”  That is the point here.  In order to arrive you usually have to get moving.  The only exception to that would be if you are already there.  Such is not the case for most of us in life.

We have “miles to go before we sleep,”  to paraphrase Robert Frost.  There are few areas of my life that I am totally satisfied.  I am not sure if there are any and I am not willing to stop and think about it.  The key point here is that if we don’t get moving we will never arrive, nor will we get closer. 

So?  I need to get moving on my journey toward wisdom.  Today.  Now.  I see that some have gotten a head start.  That is okay.  It is not a competition with only one prize.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Creation Wisdom

(Pro 3:19 KJV) The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.

At first I am sure we think of wisdom as being a concept we can understand.  Wisdom is, you know, wise.  Then we see it as being different than knowledge and even understanding.  I think this verse gives us a clue to the deeper meaning of wisdom.  Here it is linked to creation. 

One of the reasons that people can believe in a Creator God is the complex coordination of the universe.  Everything works together.  Sun spots tie into rain fall.  Osmosis and diffusion are vital to life as well as chemistry and physics.  What happens a million light years away is tied in with the fungus under your toe nails.  That calls for Wisdom.  That is an understanding of how it all ties together.  It knows how the ripples of your rock skipping can effect the sex life of a frog in the pond.

So?  Understand that God did not create by caprice.  He did it by wisdom.  That applies to your creation at the moment of conception too.  Go out and enjoy the night sky knowing God was really plugged in when He made it.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Sad Truth

(Pro 2:19 KJV) None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.

One of the sad truths that we need to face is that not everyone will be saved.  In fact, heaven will not be overcrowded.  It is not because God is not patient.  We can all testify to how many chances He has given us and how often we have been forgiven.  It is not that He does not reach out.  The Holy Spirit is constantly at work.  There are triggers and catalysts all around us. 

But we have that scary word “none” (3808/3605).  I don’t understand the translation.  It is a compound word combining “not” and “the whole”.  It doesn’t sound as final as it sounds if you get my meaning.  Still, it is final enough.

So?  All we can do is keep witnessing in our lives and with our mouths when we get a chance.  Oh, and make sure that we don’t drift off target.  The rest is between God and the rebel. 

Sunday, March 1, 2020

A Good Question

(Pro 1:22 KJV) How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?

As I read this today and came across the “How long” my thoughts went to David and his frequent question.  I know I have asked the same thing so I did a little search.  The question comes up 62 times from Exodus to Revelation.  Psalms, at 19, has the most.  You have it being asked by God the Father and God the Son.  You have it asked by the martyrs.  Don’t feel alone if you ask the question.

What struck me was an assumption that came with the question.  When asking “How long” the implication is that the answer is long past due.  Look at our verse today.  Solomon is talking to a bunch of people who are persisting in attitudes and actions that they should have grown out of long ago.

So?  I know God is looking at some of my procrastinations and habits and wondering when I am going to get moving.  I feel like I am not alone in this.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Belt Buckle Protects Your Head

(Pro 29:18 KJV) Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Modern Americans tend to think that being “unrestrained” (perish KJV) (6544a) is a good thing.  They would think of it as a synonym of liberty.  That reflects a willing misunderstanding of what liberty is.  Dennis Prager makes a presentation on the difference between freedom and liberty.  It has been a long time since I have heard it but one of the things he points out is that our coins have the word “liberty” and not “freedom”.  The difference is this idea of being restrained.  To use a definition applied in other areas, my liberty stops when it treads on your liberty.

In a world based on Biblical values and principles, liberty has limits.  It is restrained.  Because of that we are saved from the terror of driving off cliffs and the horror of sexually transmitted disease.  Because we accept the limits that God has put on living we are able to live life to its fullest.  That is fullest joy and sense of purpose, not fullest suffering and despair.

So?  Yes, there are restraints.  Like the rail on the edge of Suicide Point they are there to keep you from self destruction.  Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Toddlers and Scorpions

(Pro 28:1 KJV) The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

Fear is a state of mind based on assumptions and experience.  With a toddler in the house we have often noticed how little fear she has.  In Texas we have scorpions.  It is a way of life.  It gives us a reason to practice our stomping and work on our reflexes.  A baby will often have no fear of this vicious little pest.  One of the concerns we have is that the granddaughter will try to pick up this moving object that caught her attention.  She is not aware that sin has polluted the world.

At the other end you have people who jump when they see a shadow that looks like a spider.  Maybe you have done a little practical joking in your life with plastic bugs or judiciously applied feathers.  Sometimes there is a reason for that.  If you know you are allergic to bee stings then you tend to be a little more proactive when you see those little pollinators.  Those who know they are righteous, so to speak, don’t worry about it so much.

So?  God has promised His blessings on the righteous.  We don’t always know what form that will take or if there will be some tangents built into the path.  What we do know is that we have read the book and we know who wins. 

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Too Much of a Good Thing

(Pro 27:7 KJV) The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

This is a verse about attitude.  It is not the taste of the food that changes.  It is the condition of the eater that makes the difference.  “Honey” (5317) is praised in other verses.  It is recognized as a good part of the diet.  There is no problem with the honey and yet it is being pushed away.

Have you ever met someone who is seething with rage at God?  Of course you have.  It is possible that you are there or have been there.  Did God suddenly change?  Did you change? 

So?  It usually seems to us that we can do little about our deep felt emotions, our attitudes.  Without trying to point any fingers except at myself I would say that it is often because we don’t want to change.  I pray that the Holy Spirit would be patient with us until we get hungry enough to be grateful for what He has to offer. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Beware Fools and Italics

(Pro 26:10 KJV) The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.

The difference between the KJV and all the other translations I have available is jarring.  You will notice that the KJV has “God” and I hope you will notice that it is italics.  Again I remind you that italics in the KJV are not for emphasis but to let you know that the word is not in the original language.  I also remind you that reading the Bible always requires an alert mind and a seeking heart.

The context of this verse is to warn us about the “fool” (3684).  Don’t get distracted.

So?  Fools are dangerous.  Beware. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Mark of Cain

(Pro 25:10 KJV) Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.

You may have heard of the “mark of Cain”.  It has been used for a lot of things from racist opinions to cookie crumbs on our chin.  It is a sign that you have gone beyond the pale.  In this verse we get the warning that being a gossip or character assassin can be the mark of Cain for you.  Who is willing to listen to a gossip?  Probably other gossips.  Some might listen for a moment but once the gist of the conversation becomes clear they tune you out.

So?  Although there is a time to stand up and point out the king has no clothes it will probably not happen in a “private” conversation when the person being discussed is not present.  They may not hear but God will.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Wisdom Intersects the Real World

(Pro 24:5 KJV) A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

We are currently working through the joy and stress of a newborn grandchild.  He is going through a lot of issues.  None are crisis life threatening types but could be serious is not dealt with.  Our granddaughter went through a lot of the same drama but it is better this time.  What is the difference?  Wisdom. 

Both births were overseen by professional medical staff.  They had all the certificates and diplomas necessary to be medical doctors.  They did their specialty training.  What they lacked was enough experience to really know what they were talking about.  They did not have the real world experience that let them separate the sterile lessons of the text book and classroom from the world of flesh and bone.

So?  We can study and memorize.  We can be certified and certificated.  We can have the right to speak but if we have not worked at putting the whole picture together we are often doing more damage than repair.  We need to apply what we are reading with what we are living.  That means living an upright life in a real world. 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Older Children Still Need Guidance

(Pro 23:13 KJV) Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

By any measure my children are now adults.  How does this apply to me at this stage of parenting?  We have done the groundwork.  To me the admonition of Proverbs,
(Pro 22:6 KJV) Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
is past tense.  But I am still a parent.  There is still a danger if I “hold back” (4513). 

I think if we have done our foundational work our children will feel free to ask for our input when they get older.  I doubt we still have the right to corporal punishment but there will always be a responsibility to share from our greater experience and hopefully, wisdom.

So?  Since we don’t know what the questions will be before they are asked we cannot cram for the exam.  All we can do is live in constant preparation by studying the word and living the life.  Then we can trust the Holy Spirit to help us get the right answers. 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Truth Is Truth

(Pro 22:21 KJV) That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?

Having ready access to the Bible puts a responsibility on us, a responsibility that we don’t want.  We have access to “truth” (571).  We are expected to share it without watering it down.  The KJV uses “truth” twice.  The second time the NASB translates it “correctly”.  This is a place where we are told to reject the current philosophy that is popular in our culture, the philosophy of relativism.  The technical term is deconstructionalism.  It is a belief that words have different meanings to different people or to the same person at different times.  In this thinking there is not real objective truth.  All is subjective.  Thus you can have no universal moral standards and the rules can be applied differently to each individual.

So?  Keep in mind that Jesus did not say He was “a” truth.  He said He is “the” truth.  There may be many on ramps but Jesus is the only way.  We need to keep that in mind in our multicultural society.  Bread may come in many forms but it is still bread and never an apple. 

Friday, February 21, 2020

Scale Models

(Pro 21:22 KJV) A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.

Notice that this is not Jericho.  We are not told that God will make the walls of the pagan culture fall down if we just keep circling.  Here we are given another strategy, one that is more realistic for all the barriers we face.  We are to “scale” (5927), not batter.  This word could be used of mountain climbing or using a ladder to reach a top shelf.

This is not a challenge to adventure.  Have you seen pictures of people who are showing how crazy they are by climbing sheer mountain wall using ropes and pitons.  In most cases there are other ways to get to the top that are not so difficult.  This verse is not saying we need to tackle the hardest exposures of the pagan mountains.  It is saying that we need to penetrate their world.

So?  Find a way to scale the nonsense of our world.  It can be done.  It will be different for each of us.  God gives us gifts to build the body of Christ.  He also gives us unique personalities to witness to our world. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Male Refrigerator Blindness

(Pro 20:27 KJV) The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

One of the problems with “searching” (2664) is finding.  When I look at the many ways this word is used and its definition the idea of disguising and hiding comes up.  It is like the game I play with my granddaughter.  It is hide-and-seek in plain sight.  You cover your eyes and act like you cannot see or be seen.  It is amusing to the child who is learning and fun for the adult.  It does not reflect reality. 

How often do we look for something when we don’t want it?  Parents know that children are this way.  They never seem to be able to find the basket for their dirty sox.  Men suffer from what has been called “male refrigerator blindness”.  One of the ways I deal with this is to tell myself, “It is there.  Just because you don’t see it changes nothing.  It is there.  Keep looking.  It is there.”  And eventually it is there.  Amazing.

So?  God has lessons for us.  He wants us to see.  We are the ones who need to implement the search. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A Family Culture

(Pro 19:26 KJV) He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach.

Family is the bedrock of Christian society.  Our culture “assaults” (7703) this value.  I have read quotes from historical figures like John Dewey and professional organizations from the early parts of the twentieth century that have clear statements about the family being the enemy of their goals for society.  Satan would agree with that.

Does that mean that all families are perfect?  No, obviously not.  Families are made up of people.  Fathers and mothers are people.  Keep in mind that children are people also.  The oil that makes it work is the grace of God and the action of the Holy Spirit.  Each of us is accountable to God for our behavior.  We are also accountable to God to realize His standards are not the same as the society we live in.

So?  It is more important to spend your time building a strong family than a strong political party.  The same is true of just about every area of life.  If we really believed that how would it change our priorities?  I can’t answer that for you because I have my own sphere to worry about. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Sin, not Snit

(Pro 18:19 KJV) A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

It might be important that this word “offended” (6586) is not a matter of getting your nose in a snit but of actually being sinned against.  It would also seem that the sin was not an accident or mistake but a deliberate action.  It has the meaning of rebelling. 

How many times do we take established relationships and manipulate them.  It could be as simple as taking something for granted, of not being grateful.  It could be cold blooded destruction for personal gain.  Once you tear down those connections that have been built over the years it is hard to reestablish them.

So?  Whom do we take for granted.  Here it mentions a “brother” (251).  It might be a spouse or a parent.  Something to think about for the day.  I wonder how many people I will interact with and not stop to think about. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Fool Antidote

(Pro 17:7 KJV) Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.

I find myself wondering which way this is to be taken.  Does it mean that fools are not capable of pulling off the deception of wisdom or that they should not be allowed to do so.  I am thinking today that this is a warning that we should not try to put great poetry into the mouths of the ignorant. 

Have you ever been around someone who talks in lofty tones about something they know nothing about?  It often happens in discussions of science issues.  I think of how many people with Ph.D. credentials in physics trying to tell us about the sound science of evolution.  Or how about the biologist who tries to be an authority on global warming.  I would say I am amused at people who talk about Islam being a religion of peace who have never read the Koran, but it is not funny.  How about politicians who talk about the Constitution who seem to have never read it.

So?  We are expected to witness.  We are to reflect a knowledge of God.  That requires preparation in the form of study, prayer and meditation.  Prepare. 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Wise Heart

(Pro 16:21 KJV) The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.

If you compare this to verse 23 you see a lot of parallels.

(Pro 16:23 KJV) The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.
This goes as far as the Hebrew words used.  One has “wise (2450) in heart (3820)” the other has “heart of the wise”.  Both talk about “persuasiveness” (3948).  The Hebrew for “lips” (8193) is used in both although the NASB has “speech” in verse 21.

As a retired teacher it strikes me that one reason our children are coming out of school so naive and ignorant is the nature of the teachers.  The teachers have a certain amount of book learning but it has not been molded by a wise heart.  There is a limit to what you can pass on when you don’t have it yourself.

So?  Pray that God would give you a wise heart. 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Rainy Days

(Pro 15:15 KJV) All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.

What a difference an attitude makes.  Some days I am hopeless.  I am grumpy and that is it.  Don’t talk to me about attitude.  The world is against me.  Other days I am more in tune with the Spirit than my mood.  I sense negative reactions swelling up in me.  I am able to get victory and the day suddenly looks a lot better. 

So many situations effect us and if we do not walk in faith and understand the hand of providence we are doomed to be a Gloomy Gus.  I was in a conversation recently about all the times we have been close to death.  One point of the discussion was how often we have been close to that fatal microbe or that drunk driver and our guardian angels redirected them without our notice. 

So?  I think it is going to be a cloudy day as I am writing.  I can brood on everything being wet or I can enjoy the pitter patter.  It won’t effect the weather but will allow the Son to shine in my soul. 

Friday, February 14, 2020

Plug in the Toaster

(Pro 14:2 KJV) He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.

“Fear” (3372) is a two edged sword in relation to the way we live our lives.  Keep in mind this is not the craven fear that you experience when something jumps out at you in the dark or when your car goes through the guard rail and heads into the canyon below.  This is the fear that keeps you from sticking a bobby pin into a light socket but allows you to plug in your toaster without a thought. 

This is an attitude that has a ground in understanding of the holiness of God.  It is experienced by the person who knows that God turned Lot’s wife to a pillar of salt but has waited patiently for you to work on your bad habits.  It is the kind of emotion that helps you to know not to climb a tree during a lightening storm. 

So?  Walk in fear.  Walk in confidence.  Walk in the light of His love. 

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Choices and Change

(Pro 13:6 KJV) Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.

There is an inner quality that has a lot to do with how we live our lives.  It directs the decisions we make.  When we allow God to work His miracle of grace in our lives changes are made.  We have a lot of different words describing this born again experience.  We speak of regeneration, justification, sanctification, adoption and probably more.  This creates an inner condition or attitude.  In this verse they are described as “righteousness” (6666) and “wickedness” (7564).

These inner qualities determine the decisions we make.  They change our lives.  Sometimes the changes are immediate and dramatic.  Sometimes they are so slow that you need to pay attention to notice how much has changed.  They do make a difference.

So?  Which direction do you want your life to go?  God is willing to work miracles and make dirty into clean.  Which do you chose? 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

All in

(Pro 12:7 KJV) The wicked are overthrown, and are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand.

Righteousness is a better building material than wickedness.  Think of the parable of the two houses.  One, built on sand, collapsed in the flood.  The one built on rock stood firm.  Transfer that over to the story of the Three Little Pigs.  The thatch and twigs collapsed under the huffing and puffing.  The masonry plan stood firm.  Some behaviors work to insure endurance and long term security.  Others might look good in the short term but come apart when things get tough.

So?  Do you believe it or hedge your bets? 
(Heb 11:6 KJV) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
I would suggest going all in for righteousness. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Mail Order

(Pro 11:18 KJV) The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.

Have you ever ordered something on line?  It is not a new experience.  People were able to order things from catalogues before telephones.  It was called “mail order”.  With the advent of telephones you could talk to a nice lady over the phone.  The internet brings little to the process except possible speed.  What is still there is the disappointment of the object you received.  Have you been there?  Am I alone in this?  Somehow it isn’t as shiny, as big, as impressive as it was advertised to be.  If you had held it in your hand in the box store you would not have bought it.

The promises of sin are like that.  The word here is “deceitful” (deceptive NASB) (8267).  Some of that is the crafty nature of Satan and the temptation he throws at us.  Ultimately it is because we think we are going to be the one who games the system. 

So?  Keep in mind that God does not need to mark the cards to know what is in your hand or heart.  Sin has its payoff.  You will not cash in on a win streak.  God is patient.  He is waiting.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Sin Talk

(Pro 10:19 KJV) In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

Law has a purpose and the purpose depends on the motivation of the governing forces.  Originally laws were to set up the rules of society, to determine ahead of time what was acceptable and what was not.  Thus, law in the best sense makes it possible for people to live together in peace and prosperity.  This view of law assumes that the majority of citizens and the governing authorities have upright views of how things should work.

The other approach is what we are seeing today.  We have governments that pass all kinds of laws, sometimes conflicting, and then apply them in such a way to reward the in group and punish everyone else.  It is called “statutory neglect”.  Thus we can have laws about curfew or loitering and only apply them against black people. 

A multitude of laws really reflects a population that does not want to be responsible for its actions.  It is possible to function with limited laws if people have the right motives.  Thus we have the Ten Commandments.  Very short and covering everything that really needs to be said.  Or take the United Stated Constitution.  It is only a few pages long.  Compare it to the tax code of the IRS which fills up shelves.

So?  In order to avoid sin, “seek ye first the kingdom of God”.  And keep your mouth shut while you do it. 

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Express Yourself

(Pro 9:13 KJV) A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.

I have the feeling that Solomon had my granddaughter in mind when he wrote this.  At least is seems that way in the NASB when it says “boisterous” (1993).  She is quite willing to run shrieking through the house.  It helps if someone is chasing her.  She will try to sneak into my room and has a general enthusiasm with life that is exhausting to us old people.  If you take the KJV with its “clamorous” you get the other side of this characteristic. 

The KJV seems more in tune with how Proverbs uses the word.  It is associated with rebellion, drunkenness and block parties.  It is not generally something you want applied to you.  And yet, like so many Biblical concepts, is channeled through a heart and mind transformed by the Holy Spirit, it can be a source of joy and encouragement to those around you.

So?  God has given you a personality that approaches life in a unique way.  Apply it with righteousness and be a blessing.  Or just be clamorous. 

Saturday, February 8, 2020

It Just Fits

(Pro 8:23 KJV) I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

Wisdom is a mystery and at the same time it is obvious.  This verse reminds us that some things never change.  They are eternal.  They do not warp to fit culture or the mores of the day.  They do not depend on how you feel or what the latest opinion pole tells us.  This is a Biblical truth that is very much in conflict with our modern world.  In reality it has always been in conflict with the thinking of any age. 

Where we fail is in trying to stretch eternal truth to fit what we want for the day.  I don’t know if you have any Tupperware in your home.  I am sure you have some variation of it.  There are times when you have two containers and two lids that are slightly different from each other.  If you try to force the wrong lid on the container you have issues.  With enough force you might get it to stay in place...for awhile.  You know it isn’t right but you are going to be in charge.

So?  Wisdom is like that.  You can twist, tweak and pound.  You can make it seem to fit but in your heart you will know that it is not right.  Listen with honesty. 

Friday, February 7, 2020

One in a Crowd

(Pro 7:7 KJV) And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,

How was this young man picked out?  What made him different than those around him?  Obviously the street was filled with young people with nothing constructive to do.  That is not an unusual vista.  When I was young and foolish we used to go down into LA and walk down Hollywood Boulevard looking at the strange people.  We were not noticing that they were looking right back at what they considered strange people.  Every once in awhile you would see someone walking in a determined way through the crowd.  That is this young man.

He knew where he was going and what he was looking for.  At the same time he was ignoring where he was really going.  He saw a scintillating evening with a loose woman.  What he did not see were the “chambers of death” at the end of the road.

So?  Having a goal is not a good thing if it is destructive eternally.  Know where you are heading.  Make wise decisions because sometimes it becomes too late to change direction. 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Pre-Valentine Thoughts for Swingers

(Pro 6:29 KJV) So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.

Sin has consequences.  Sexual sin has consequences that won’t go away.  You would not know it from observing the popular media.  I have stated openly that we could do away with HIV in a generation if we would simply follow the directions of God.  Chaste monogamy is a cure-all for sexually transmitted disease.  In case you were not listening in school or had a class in sex education from a believer in free love, the list of diseases that can be transmitted sexually is long and deadly.  How many are there?  When I asked Google all I got was a run around.  When I used Duck-Duck-Go the first listing said 31.  I don’t see that in the movies or on TV, but then I don’t watch TV or go often to the movies.

The consequences will not go away.  You may be forgiven but the results of your sin can endure for generations.

So?  Sexual purity is a matter of life and death.  That does not even mention such things as birth defects and other consequences. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Seasonal

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

Sometimes Christians are portrayed as dull and passionless.  People who believe that have obviously never read the Bible.  The difference between the Bible and the world in the area of sex is not the enjoyment but the venue.  The world we live in is committed to immediate gratification and “if it feels good, do it”.  The Bible says,
(Ecc 3:1 KJV) To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
In regard to the sexual preoccupation of the world that means within marriage, yes; outside marriage, no.

Think of all the differences we would see in our communities if this simple formula were followed.

So?  Do your part.  Know the season. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Now

(Pro 4:5 KJV) Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.

Priorities are in place.  We live by them.  The problem we have is acknowledging them.  Just about anyone will say that their family is a high priority and yet they allow just about anything to dump the kids with a babysitter.  Someone once said to find out what is important in your life, look at your checkbook.  Obviously that is dated.  Who uses checks any more, right?  But you understand the point.

“Wisdom” (2451) should be a priority.  We might even say it is important to us.  How many of us do much to “get” (acquire NASB) (7069) it?  The demand here is that we put aside the other pursuits of the day and get started acquiring wisdom. 

So?  The day may be almost over.  Your brain may be on hold.  Sounds like a good time to make a decision and start the journey. 

Monday, February 3, 2020

Good Impressions

(Pro 3:4 KJV) So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

Evil exists.  Proverbs continually reinforces that.  There are people who delight in doing evil.  This verse reminds us that there are also a lot of people who respond to righteousness.  If you look back to the previous verse it talks about kindness and truth.  Even people who do not follow the God of the Bible can respond to that and many will.

So?  While some will reject and persecute there are many who will see your righteousness and honor it.  Even if they don’t agree with you they will sometimes take it into account. 

Sunday, February 2, 2020

An Unpleasant Truth

(Pro 2:18 KJV) For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.

We don’t like to think about it.  We have real problems when it comes to people we care about.  How we live makes a difference in eternity.  Don’t get distracted by the claim that the Arminian position leads to salvation by works or the nonsense of Calvinism that says a person who turns away from following Jesus was never saved in the first place.  The point is that disobedience to the righteousness God demands leads to “death” (4194).

So?  God is patient.  God forgives.  God does not play games.  Some things require that we get serious. 

Saturday, February 1, 2020

One Wish, Not Three

(Pro 1:2 KJV) To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;

This verse should bring to mind the dialogue between Solomon and God.  You can read the story in I Kings 3.  God gave Solomon a wish and he asked for an understanding heart, or in popular tales, wisdom.  This is where Solomon starts off in the book of Proverbs.  It reminds us that the first thing we seek should be “wisdom” (2451).  Everything else falls into place if we have that.  What does not fall into place is not needed.

So?  You don’t need three wishes, one will do. 

Friday, January 31, 2020

A Little Chauvinism

(Pro 31:11 KJV) The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

Today I notice two differences in translation between the KJV and NASB.  One goes in favor of each.  The first is the word “need” (2637) of the KJV which is “lack” in the NASB.  The NASB comes closer.  It would not be much of an issue if the KJV were not closer with its use of “spoil” (7998).  The word has the idea of going out and plundering.  It is a warrior word for a barbaric time.  Maybe that is why the NASB translates it here and “spoil” at 57 other places.

I think the idea here is that the way a wife handles the material goods of a family has something to say about how the husband goes about finding the money needed to support them.  We don’t literally go raiding with swords and torches any more.  We do have what we call “corporate raiders” who do the same type of thing.  We have people in business who use shady tactics to get rich.  More common we have men going out and working longer hours than they need in order to pay for all the unnecessary goods that the woman desires.  Of course the man might desire them also.

So?  This is a call to stewardship and priorities.  It is a call to budget and stay within your budget.  As is often the case the women are called on to civilize the men in their lives.  If the women give up then the men are lost.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Curse Awareness

(Pro 30:10 KJV) Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty.

In modern times our intellectual side does not believe a “curse” (7043) has any power.  The problem is that we have a non-intellectual side that is open to superstition.  How often have you had someone say, “Knock on wood”?  How many people do you know that are a bit wary on Friday the 13th.  The Bible admits that curses exist but seems to tell us not to worry about it.  Even here we don’t see what we think of as a curse.

The Hebrew word is fairly common but has many different translations.  The root meaning of the word has to do with making things slight, quick or of no account.  Here we could get the idea of someone trash-talking about you.  Aside from the general sense of showing courtesy to people and avoiding gossip is the warning that even people with no obvious power over you have the ability to caste doubt on your character.

So?  If you can’t be kind and courteous because it is the right thing to do then maybe you should consider it as a means of self-preservation. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Know Their Place

(Pro 29:21 KJV) He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.

Is it “slave” (5650) (NASB) or “servant” (KJV)?  Although it can mean either the most common translation in both is a variation of servant.  In fact the KJV does not use it for slave.  In modern culture there is a world of difference between the two, in the ancient world, not so much.  The peasant farmer of ancient history had some rights but they were usually trumped by the nobility.  Slaves had rights in theory also.  Serfs in medieval Europe could not travel without permission of their lord. 

Move down a little further in history and think of the place of the servant class in Victorian England.  Picture the movie Mary Poppins is you can.  The well to do banker had a house full of servants.  He had lowly clerks at work.  Everywhere he went his class made people pay homage to him.  Of course he did the same for his betters.

This turned the tables in a way.  It did not do away with the class structure but it said we have a responsibility to those “below” us.

So?  Treat people well.  You may not respect them but you are required to be courteous and kind. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Where the Buck Starts

(Pro 28:28 KJV) When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.

I think that this verse is often slanted.  Most people would think of the nation’s leadership when they see a reference to the “wicked” (7563).  To me this is more a look at Joe Citizen.  I will concede that the record of our leaders has not been good.  With all the deceit going on in political circles and the media I think we are seeing a good example of what is happening on the street.

Significant change starts among the people.  Look at things like the 19th Amendment which granted women the right to vote.  Women had been allowed to vote for years in the less sophisticated states.  Gradually states were giving them the franchise.  The amendment was the result of grassroots support.  The same is true of people in power endorsing and enforcing evil.

So?  When we say there is nothing we can do about it we are missing the point.  We are to be the source of righteousness in our neighborhood.  When enough people turn to the Lord we will see the kind of revival that we talk about but are afraid of. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

What Kind of Chips Fall from Your Block

(Pro 27:11 KJV) My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.

Do you have children?  If not then they have never embarrassed you.  Children have a way of saying less than wise things at less than right times.  It happens.  It is life.  Usually it becomes something the family can joke about for years to come.  That does not naturalize the possibility that your son doesn’t stand the test of time.

The test comes when they grow up.  In today’s world that means that they will be out of step with the common culture.  People may think you have reason to be embarrassed.  People may think you are disappointed.  If your son is walking the high road then it is the reproach that will not hold water.

So?  If they are your children, raise them right.  If they are not, be the best influence you can be.  After that it is up to them. 

Sunday, January 26, 2020

A Fool in the Hand

(Pro 26:9 KJV)  As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

I have never been drunk so I am not sure how to take this.  Does it mean that the drunkard is so far out of contact with reality that they don’t feel the pain?  Does it mean that they feel it but it doesn’t bother them?  Does it mean that they overreact?  I would imagine that different drunks would react differently.  In any case it would seem that wisdom is of little use to people with their minds messed up.

This would also imply that fools are dead to wisdom.  How do you know who is a fool.  That will take a bit more reading but Proverbs does not stint on the aspects of fools. 

So?  Accept the fact that many of the people you deal with would fall into this category.  Fools exist.  I hope to avoid being one. 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Public Domain

(Pro 25:9 KJV) Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another:

One of the repeated lessons of Proverbs is to slow down, think and not rush into anything.  That is the issue again here.  How often do we get into a discussion and have it degenerate into a heated argument and then we end up sharing something that was not meant to be shared?  It could be a struggle someone else is having.  They may have even had victory and you are just sharing the results, but it was not your place to share. 

This is not a command to refrain from heated discussions.  It is not an expectation that we just agree with everything we hear.  It is an instruction to be careful of what we share about others.

So?  Have some great discussions this year.  People need to hear truth.  Make sure the truth you share is in the public domain. 

Friday, January 24, 2020

Putting Life into IKEA

(Pro 24:4 KJV) And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Man has a materialism magnet inside his heart.  We can’t help it.  We are physical beings living in a physical world.  You can’t eat a philosophical position and having the right position on the trinity will not keep you warm on a cold night.  We need a certain amount of wealth to survive and live decent lives.  In spite of that, material things are not enough. 

Our hearts, minds and homes need more than electricity and a well stocked kitchen.  If you have never been to an IKEA store you might want to see one.  At one place in the store they have models that show you how you can have a two bedroom house in under 700 square feet.  Of course it is stocked with their products.  What is missing is the “knowledge” that makes it a place you would want to come home to. 

So?  Make sure that you know where you stand in relation to things eternal.  That is the key to making all the other stuff of life have any real value. 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Not Montessori

(Pro 23:12 KJV) Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.

The Bible assumes that learning will not be fun.  I know that is the common mantra of education today, “Make learning fun.”  It may be possible in a cooking class or PE but not so much in Constitutional law or The Theology of Romans 101.  We see that in the use of the word translated “discipline” (4148) in the NASB and “instruction” in the KJV.  To us and our modern Montessori approach to education we don’t see them going together.  The Bible knows the hearts of mankind and knows real knowledge is an uphill climb.

As adults who are filled with the Holy Spirit, we can often discipline ourselves.  That is good.  If we get lazy then it is time for some applied chastisement, which is at the root of discipline.

So?  Push yourself.  Reorganize your day.  Search your heart and see if repentance is part of the order of the day. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Literary Society

(Pro 22:20 KJV) Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,

Part of the heritage Christians received from the Jews is a religion that demands literacy.  We have seen how this worked out in history.  The original Sunday School classes were established to teach poor children to read.  The early settlers in America established schools and colleges so that their children could read and go on to read great things.  The Bible is full of references like this that talk about writing things down and reading things.

Oral tradition is nice.  Testimony can be uplifting.  Experience teaches.  Over it all is the written word God has given us, the Bible. 

So?  Use the resources we have.  There is no excuse for ignorance in a literary society and since God wants all to come to salvation, read and teach to read. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Long Term Investment

(Pro 21:21 KJV) He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.

We are to live upright and holy lives.  This points out that “righteousness” (6666) does not exist in a vacuum nor stand alone.  Here it points out that in addition there is “life” (2416 in KJV and 2425b in NASB) and “honor” (3519b). 

I believe that living God’s way is the only way to know everything that this physical world has to offer.  Righteousness drives away depressions and despondency.  It liberates our minds so that we can see all the beauty and opportunity around us.  It gives us a perspective of trust that allows us to anticipate tomorrow. 

So?  We don’t just believe it, we live it.  Sure we wonder what is going to happen with the economy and have concerns about rogue states having nuclear weapons but that is tempered with a life invested in the eternal not just glued to the temporary. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

Kings Are Not Farmers

(Pro 20:26 KJV) A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.

I think the NASB misses the target of this verse by using “winnows” (2119).  It isn’t wrong in the sense that the meaning is impossible but they seem to be trying for an agricultural metaphor instead of war.  It is a matter of passive and active.

The farmer winnows by tossing the threshed material up in the air and letting the wind blow the lighter chaff away, leaving the heavier grain. It is a natural separation.  The king winnows by driving the evil out. 

It is possible that this is a reminder that we as commoners are to be more patient with the evil around us.  We are not in a position to do much so long suffering is our situation.  Those in authority have a greater responsibility.  They are to actively drive the evil out. 

So?  When we vote and interact with our leaders we need to understand that they have a greater calling in this sense than we do. 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Don’t Be a Fox

(Pro 19:25 KJV) Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.

At first reading it seems a good thing for the “simple” (naive NASB) (6612a) to become “beware” (become shrewd NASB) (6191).  But based on the context I wonder if this is a good idea.  Of all the words used to define this “crafty” is probably the best.  It means sneaky.  The KJV gets at the point.  Discipline to someone who rejects the things of God does not bring the awareness leading to repentance but the sense of self preservation that makes them look out for traps.  They become aware so that they can continue to sin.

Picture some modern computer games.  Players have multiple lives because their survival does not count on knowing principles and ethics but making arbitrary choices.  Thus the first lives are consumed learning whether you should turn right or left at a certain point.  All you do is learn to navigate the early moments of the game so you can reach the prize later.

So?  Keep in mind that this is not a game to God.  It isn’t enough to be good at finding your way through the maze.  Each of us needs to become seekers of truth not manipulators of the computer. 

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Chance of Chance

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

When I read this chapter my mind tends to filter out this verse.  It seems to strange to me because I was raised to call gambling evil.  This seems like gambling.  Maybe the mistake is thinking of gambling as games of chance.  There is some chance involved but most gambling games have some understanding of statistical odds.  Still there is the chance of chance.

We tend to overlook the element of Providence.  Us moderns with our science, research and poles push God over to the side when He should really be in the center.  What we can take from this is that all of our conniving and loading of the dice will not really change the outcome.  Political organizing and stuffing of ballot boxes will not change the course that God has determined for history. 

So?  God expects us to work.  He demands that we live righteous lives.  He does not depend on us to keep the universe running or write the end of the Book.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Double Blessings

(Pro 17:6 KJV) Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.

As I write I am waiting for my “crown” (5850) to wake up and begin to demand my attention.  I have the joy of watching my granddaughter and fixing her breakfast while her pregnant mother gets a few more minutes of sleep.  It is a great time in the day.  It brings this verse home like no amount of study can do.  Following that tiny miracle down the hall as we go to liberate her “kitty” causes funny things to happen in my soul. 

“Grandchildren” (1121) are a blessing.  The KJV says “children’s children”.  When I started looking at the Hebrew it got beyond my tools.  The Hebrew word is ben, which we are familiar with as meaning “son”.  I am guessing that the Hebrew has the word twice to get the idea of a grandchild.  Maybe that is to say that grandchildren are a double blessing.  Maybe that is me looking at my own emotions.

So?  If you don’t have any grandchildren, rejoice.  You are one and you either have been or can be a blessing.  Pass it on.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Snake Oil

(Pro 16:20 KJV) He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.

It is wonderful to trust in the Lord.  It should not happen in a vacuum.  The believer “trusts” (982) because he pays attention.  Too many people who don’t understand the faith think that we Christians are blind and ignorant.  They think we refuse to think because we are called to believe.  For some reason they think that faith and thinking are mutually exclusive.  Not so.  There may be times when that is the case but it is not our default. 

As a believer I have no trouble with the revelations of science.  Let me qualify that, with the revelations of good science.  So much of what is sold as science is snake oil motivated by politics and a desire to get the largess of the power brokers.  You don’t need to look far.  It could be the most current theory on whether salt is good or bad.  It could be talking about carbon dioxide as a dangerous gas.  We need to understand that just as we have snake oil in science we have it in theology too.

So?  Yes we are saved by grace through faith.  We are to walk by faith, not by sight.  Those are truths based on being informed and keeping our eyes and mind open. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

You Gotta Have Heart

(Pro 15:14 KJV) The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.

Our thinking is molded by our “mind” (3820).  Perhaps the KJV gets it better with “heart”, which is the most frequent translation of the word in both versions.  This is one of the great truths dealing with our salvation and why it is of grace rather than works.  God works His miracle on our inner man.  Our hearts are cleansed.  Our being is redeemed and our minds are transformed.  It is not something we can bring about by our actions.

I believe in free will so I understand this to mean that
(1Jn 1:9 KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
So?  If we have confessed and been forgiven then our inner man is in a condition to move forward in our understanding of things eternal.  Otherwise they make no sense. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Bearing Walls

(Pro 14:1 KJV) Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

For “plucketh” (2040) the NASB has “tears down”.  This is the only place the Hebrew word is translated this way but it brings an interesting possibility in the art of destroying a home.  The word is used for pulling weeds and removing ripe produce one at a time.  It is not wholesale cutting like a combine harvesting wheat.  It is more like the picking of apples or coffee beans.  It is a thoughtful type of destruction.

Some people work very carefully in destroying a home.  It might not even be their goal.  They might think they are building something better but they need to remove that pesky wall.  What they may not realize is that the wall that they find unpleasant or unaesthetic may be a load bearing wall.  When you remove it you invite disaster.

So?  Be really prayerful before you try to redo the people and traditions of your household.  It may be that something or someone is irritating to you because you need revival. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Examination

(Pro 13:10 KJV) Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

Evidently Socrates once said, "The unexamined life is not worth living".  That is another way of getting to this verse.  As an introvert I am deep into introspection.  I have a hard time believing that people never stop to examine their motives or pause to consider that they may be the one who is wrong.  In that I am wrong.  Evidently it is quite common.  Solomon says that kind of attitude will lead to nothing but problems. 

I have found that I need to accept the fact that I might be right and the other person might be wrong.  Others need to look at the other side of the mirror.  I am not sure which is harder.

So?  Attitude checks are vital.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Word Games

(Pro 12:6 KJV) The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.

This could be taken as a reminder and a warning.  We are reminded that there are “wicked” (7563) people in the world.  Too many don’t want to admit that or qualify it by claiming they don’t know what they are doing.  Rubbish.  They know exactly what they are doing.  One of the great joys they have is dragging down the “upright” (3477).

They can drag the righteous down by lies and gossip.  Even more effective is the way in which they can lull us into complacency and entice us with temptations. 

So?  Be aware.  Be informed.  Be righteous.  It doesn’t just happen but it can happen.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

A Break or an Excuse

(Pro 11:17 KJV) The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.

How is your self image?  I am not talking about arrogance or conceit.  I mean do you accept the fact that you are a child of God, created in His image and that Jesus died for you.  If you have repented and trusted then that should be a starting point for you.  You may be one of those people who never makes mistakes.  If so then ignore what I am saying but most of us tend to get down on ourselves when we shouldn’t.

Maybe I am speaking just for myself.  Maybe I am the only one, but I have some real insecurities.  It always amazes me when people act like they enjoy having a conversation with me.  One of my self improvement projects involves not always assuming that I am the problem when it is obvious I am not.  I am the problem often enough that I don’t really need to exaggerate my powers.

So?  Walk that fine line between giving yourself a break and giving yourself an excuse.  The Holy Spirit will help you. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

Hidden Hate

(Pro 10:18 KJV) He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.

Different translations take different views of this verse.  Probably the most extreme is the Bible in Basic English which translates it,
(Pro 10:18 BBE) Hate is covered up by the lips of the upright man, but he who lets out evil about another is foolish.
That makes what is literally “lying” (8267) “lips” (8193) into a virtue.  Somehow I don’t think that is the intent of Solomon.

Wesley had an interesting explanation.  He thought this was talking about flattery.  When you think about it, flattery can be a lie.  It can also be the truth, your call.

So?  Hatred is something we have some control over.  Being open about it might spur us to do something about it. 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Crazy Talk

(Pro 9:12 KJV) If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.

Some people think that talking to yourself is a sign of being crazy.  In this day of exotic telephone devises we have to look more than twice.  This might be a recommendation of the habit.  At least it is a reminder that we should follow our own advice.

I am always amused at preachers and teachers who try to instruct others about marriage when theirs is a mess.  I have often wondered how our pulpits would change if we took the advice of Paul about leaders in the church,
(1Ti 3:4-5 KJV) One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
When it comes to giving input on leaders we need to be open and honest.  Unless we are asked it might just be better to keep things to ourselves.

So?  Each of us needs to be responsible for our own house.  If you are single that is extra hard because you don’t have anyone around to point out your flaws. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Target of Wisdom

(Pro 8:21 KJV) That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.

I don’t know if they did it on purpose but the KJV seems to get the depth of this verse better than the NASB.  Where the NASB has “wealth” (3426) the KJV has “substance”.  They are the same in Hebrew.  In Proverbs the most frequent way of translating it in the KJV is “there is”.  The definition has the idea of existence and nothing about wealth.  This tells me that the promise of wisdom is not material as much an a contribution to our inner being, our substance.

There are promises that seem to imply wisdom brings financial success.  That is fine but financial success becomes destructive unless it is managed by an inner strength that comes from wisdom.  That is one of the reasons you can give two people the same opportunities and rewards and one will be a pillar of the community while the other is in all kinds of courts, bankruptcy, divorce, traffic, civil, criminal. 

So?  Seek wisdom and allow it to do its miracle of grace on your inner being.  It will make a difference.