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.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Bullets and Arrows

(Pro 26:18 KJV) As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,

This verse is in a chapter that gives a list of deviant, evil character traits.  As I write the news is full of the riots and mayhem going on in certain major cities of America.  What is fascinating and frustrating is watching the news media and a lot of public figures act like this is some kind of Constitutionally protected peaceful protest.  Substitute “gunfire” for “arrows” (2671) and you have a description of what the camera shows you.

There are people claiming to be Christians who are making excuses for this kind of behavior.  There is no excuse for the excuses.  Obviously these people are rejecting the God of the Bible for the gods of political correctness.

So?  It is good to be concerned about justice as long as you realize that justice is based on the holy standards of God, not the politically motivated and constantly changing standards of the politicians.  Do it God’s way.  Stand up for God’s standards. 

Friday, September 25, 2020

Intro and Extro

(Pro 25:17 KJV) Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.

As I write we are in the panic about the Chinese Virus.  There are a lot of levels of shut down going on.  Even where I live, you can go out but are expected to wear a mask.  It really cuts down on the amount of socializing you can do.  

Some people are bothered by this.  Many, like myself, don’t really mind staying at home.  It is what we do best.  I am reminded of a meme addressed to introverted geeks, “Call you friends and see if they are all right.”  The other side of that is if your friends are introverts, don’t worry about them they are just fine.

So?  Don’t assume everyone wants to see you or hear what you have to say. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Missing Words

(Pro 24:12 KJV) If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?

We need to deal with this phrase, “according to his work (6467).”  I have a problem dealing with the phrase because the only Hebrew word I can find listed is “work”.  Since I am not by any stretch of the imagination a Hebrew scholar I can’t reference the original Hebrew.  I can only use the tools I have.  I tried to find out where the “according to” came from.  There is nothing in my software.  I went to the exhaustive concordance I have in print form and it said there was no Hebrew word.  So where do they get this translation?

I went further.  In your English Bibles the word “not” is used four times.  The first two times are in the Hebrew, the second two are not.  When you get down to just what you find in the Hebrew it comes out “and he that keepeth they soul knows and renders man works.”  

We must also filter this through the New Testament which talks about being saved by grace through faith.  I am thinking that it is telling us one way God decides that our faith is genuine is by the way we respond to His grace.

So?  Any way you look at it we are called to live upright, righteous lives.  It is impossible without His grace and I don’t think can happen without our cooperation. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Picking Your Antidotes

(Pro 23:20 KJV) Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:

At heart this is a call to moderation but keep in mind that some things are better avoided.  Since I have more trouble with food, let me talk about gluttony and moderation in eating.  With all the references to feasting and the good foods of life we need to understand we are not called to eat nothing but unsweetened oatmeal and brown rice.  We are to eat and enjoy.  At the same time we are not to be gluttons.

With alcohol you can do a total abstinence routine and suffer no complications.  While Timothy was told to take some wine for his “infirmities”,

(1Ti 5:23 KJV) Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.
an honest person will admit that our water is clean and we have lots of medications available.  Food is not so simple.  We must eat and because of that we are to enjoy what we consume.  I find that some foods I cannot be moderate on.  If I go to a pizza buffet they will need to haul me out on a dolly.  I love pizza but it doesn’t have an “enough” switch.  On the other hand, I used to have a restaurant that had a vegetable soup that satisfied me.  For me the sin would be going to the pizza place.  It would make it impossible to control.

So?  Pick your poison and pick your antidote.  God have us minds and the free will to make decisions.  Use them wisely. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Signs for the Times

(Pro 22:28 KJV) Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

Who are today’s “fathers” (1)?  I don’t think this is the literal man that sat across the breakfast table from you.  I think this is more a generic concept.  It is the idea in the hymn, “Faith of Our Fathers” and the term “Founding Fathers.”  It is a reminder that some things have stood the test of time and that endurance says something about what works.  

What would be some of those fence posts set up by previous generations?  Start with the Ten Commandments.  When people talk about the Law and how we are beyond the Law I think of this passage in Scripture.  We need to understand that if you had read them to Adam he would have just nodded and said, “Yes.  Those are obvious, expect what’s this resting from work thing?”  If you had read them to Abraham he would have said, “Yes, obvious”.  There are some sign posts that are eternal.

So?  Live in the liberty of knowing where the pot holes of life are located.  (Posted, September 22, 2020, PP)

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Truth Will Out

(Pro 21:28 KJV) A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.

I keep hearing it but I have a hard time accepting it.  “The truth will out.”  Really?  When?  Will I live to see it?  We live in an age when the elite classes are rewriting history and theology to say what they want it to say instead of what it says.  We often see this in modern translations that don’t even blush when they change “son” to “child”, “man” to “person” or “God the Father” to who knows what.  We see it in our culture as they redefine marriage and the definition of evil.  We live in a day of deception.

This word tells us not to despair.  It does not deny the presence of evil or its persistence.  It does remind us that “The truth will out.”  

So?  Trust and have hope.  Remember that Jesus is the way the truth and the life.  It doesn’t depend on us. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Plow or Beg

(Pro 20:4 KJV) The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.

This is a simple lesson of cause and effect.  That is a lesson that is not being taught.  It is a lesson that is not being learned by experience.  We live in a cultural milieu which seems to teach that everyone deserves everything regardless of the contribution you make.  That is just one more example of how the standards of the Bible differ from the our surroundings.  The Bible expresses it several ways,

(Gal 6:7 KJV) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
(2Th 3:10 KJV) For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
This is not a matter of ignoring the poor or the lame.  The Bible also recognizes the difference between the worthy poor and the unworthy.

So?  Yes, we are saved by grace.  At the same time you can’t get away from the repeated demands that we live upright lives.  Harvest season is coming.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Understandable, not Justified

(Pro 19:3 KJV) The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.

I imagine that rage can take many forms.  Some people can seethe with a smile on their face.  Some can pat you on the back and wish they had a knife in their hand.  How often do we say, “No, that’s okay,” when we really want to scream?  It is interesting that one of the definitions of this word has the idea of a sad face.

Is our anger at the Lord ever justified?  I don’t think so.  It might be understandable when we are going through a rocky time.  It might be forgivable when it comes on us suddenly.  In the long view, it is out of place.  Here the causes of the problem are lack of integrity, perversion and ignorance.  And because we are caught or exposed we get angry.

So?  God is patient.  I would say that it is rare that He strikes out at first offenses or even after many disappointments.  And the door is usually open for us when we come to our senses.  We have a lot to be thankful for.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Delight in Embarrassment

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

My first thought as I read this today was, “I resemble that remark.”  So often I assume I am the one that has the worthy thoughts to share.  To be honest, there are times when that is true.  To be honest, it isn’t as often as I think.  Repeatedly Proverbs tells us to slow down, stop talking, listen, think, consider and reach and “understanding” (8394) of what is being said.  I hope I am not the only one who later realizes that I sounded like a “fool” (3684).

So?  Sometimes the only way we learn is by being embarrassed.  Pray that God would give us insight, even if it makes us feel stupid. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Reversal

 (Pro 17:13 KJV) Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.

This verse takes the Golden Rule and gives a different spin.  This is a curse on people who are so lost to the dark side that they delight in slapping down what is good.  You run into this at times when you try to help someone and they turn on you.  You see it in the political world.  It can happen in families.  God sees and promises that they will be paid off.

So?  Our job is to be righteous not to be the sheriff. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Behind the Scenes

(Pro 16:28 KJV) A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

Disruptive people are not always obvious.  Often they have a lot of practice in causing trouble without being noticed.  In the recent riots it is not the organizers that are in the front lines.  The whole purpose is to let someone else do the disrupting and if there is any penalty they will also pay.  This might be one of the reasons we are told to be calm and forgiving.  There is often something going on that is being kept from us.

So?  We need to also be careful that we are not the ones being manipulated.  One antidote is to make sure that our decisions are based on God’s word not someone’s opinion.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Get off the Couch

(Pro 15:22 KJV) Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

The meaning of “counselor” (3289) has certainly changed.  Although we still hear it in movies referring to a lawyer, it has come more to mean a psychologist or psychiatrist today.  If you think of the common cartoon of a patient laying on a couch and talking while the “counselor” takes notes.  The Biblical idea is of people who pool their experience and wisdom to fill in the gaps in what you know.  Unlike the cartoon, you are the one doing the listening.

So?  Learn to listen and discern good advice.  We are surrounded by people who have been down the road before us.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Warning Flags

(Pro 14:9 KJV) Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.

The second part of this verse does not seem to follow.  Are the “upright” (3477) having “good will” (7522) toward “sin” (817)?  That can’t be right.  As I look at the use of the Hebrew it seems to me that it is a difference in what you approve.  Evil people make fun of sin because they approve of it.  The contrast is that the righteous approve of things that are acceptable.

When I am trying to decide if a person deserves my vote or support, I listen to the opinions they express about subjects that have become accepted by our society but are still on God’s sin list.  It is considered main stream to accept all the groups under the homosexual banner.  The feeling is that we don’t want to be condemned for not being tolerant.  When I read a book it becomes clear early on that I might not finish it.  We need to feel free to evaluate people based on what they support and how they feel about sin.

So?  This applies double in church leadership and in accepting people as being brothers and sisters in the Lord.  It isn’t comfortable but it is right. 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

A Good Fall

(Pro 13:17 KJV) A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.

Note that the verb in the second part of the verse, “is” for KJV and “brings” in the NASB are assumed.  Notice they are printed in italics which means they are not in the Hebrew.  Substitute a comma and see how that works for you,
(Pro 13:17 KJV) A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador, health.
Now notice the first verb, “falls” (5307), which is a very common word in the Old Testament.  In Proverbs is seems to have a negative connotation.  That may be why it is left out of the second part.  Either way this points to a natural result of our intent and discipline.

So?  One message of the Bible is that God honors those who seek to be righteous.  Good deeds won’t earn us salvation but will help to get God to smile in our direction. 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Peg It

(Pro 12:14 KJV) A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man's hands shall be rendered unto him.

What you do makes a difference.  Why you do it makes a difference.  Here we have mention of both speaking and working with your hands.  It is assumed that the things being said and done are positive and moral.  There is value in just doing the right thing.

We sometimes want to change the world.  We want to write the classic novel or record a song that endures forever.  I am at the point where I am feeling blessed if I can get through the day without breaking a dish or stubbing my toe.

So?  Today’s grace is enough for today’s challenges.  Maybe you will get famous tomorrow but for now be satisfied that you got all the square pegs in square holes. 

Friday, September 11, 2020

Fat Blessings

(Pro 11:25 KJV) The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.

This verse is one reason why moderns like new translations.  The KJV talks about being “fat” (1878) like it is a good thing and we know that fat is bad.  Not really.  God made fat to do a number of beneficial things for our bodies.  The problem isn’t the fat, it is the overeating and sedentary life style that allow it to build up beyond proper levels.  I am not sure what a modern picture might be, perhaps we could say that the reward for generosity is a BMI of 20.

The point is that we are to be generous.  God does not bless us in order to make us feel like the little boy who stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plumb.  He blesses us so we can bless.

So?  Most of us have something we can share with someone in need.  It might be financial, it might be emotional, it might be spiritual.  Be a blesser. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Avoidance

(Pro 10:26 KJV) As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.

If you didn’t notice, it is the people who trust the “sluggard” (6102) that pay the price for his sloth.  I am hoping that these people sent him in error.  Maybe they did not know he was this way.  If they did then why would they be surprised.

We have a tendency to think we are immune to stupidity.  Have you ever been camping and sitting around the campfire?  The smoke is kind of romantic until the wind shifts and it gets in your eyes.  It can be a real awakener.  I am not a wine drinker but I understand that wine can turn into vinegar.  That must be an eye opener.

So?  What you do is avoid smoke and don’t drink vinegar.  I guess the same must go for some kind of people.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Set Up

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

My wife gets frustrated when she has me “set” (6185a) (KVJ furnished) the “table” (7979).  With all due respect, I can’t get too excited about whether the knife faces in or out.  I can see the importance of getting all the utensils at each place setting but what difference does it make if the fork is on the left or the right?  I would only worry about it if I was having someone over who cared.  The problem with that is you can’t be sure who that is.

How do we structure our daily lives?  What difference does it make if we wear shorts or long pants?  Do we really need socks?  There are many questions we could ask and the answer to most of them would be one we hate, “It depends.”

So?  Take the high road.  Look to present your best.  Avoid the shortcuts.  You know all the advice.  The problem is applying it on a regular basis. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Potential

(Pro 8:30 KJV) Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;

This reminds me of the gift of craftsmanship.  I believe this is a spiritual gift mentioned in the Old Testament.
(Exo 31:3 KJV) And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
Some people just have the gift.  I don’t.  I can’t cut a board straight.  At the same time we each have a gift for edifying the saints.  We are to strive to be a “master workman” (525).  In the KJV the term used is “one brought up”.

So?  Obviously we are not equal to wisdom personified but we are children of God, made in His likeness and usually capable of much more than we are showing. 

Monday, September 7, 2020

Not So Innocent

(Pro 7:13 KJV) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him,

I am not a hugger.  I’m not and I feel no guilt for that.  I can hug if I run into a hugger but I keep it as short as possible.  I make exceptions for family members.  Hugs were part of our morning routine when I had morning duty with the toddler.  Sometimes that game was for me to chase her until she was willing to give up.  Great times.  But I am not a hugger.

I am not a hugger because of what this verse is illustrating.  Just as few people get addicted to marijuana without smoking a cigarette, no one becomes an alcoholic without taking a drink and you don’t get fat by not eating, few people get caught up in sexual sin without some “innocent” contact.

So?  Be a prude.  There is nothing to lose by doing so and an eternity to lose if you get caught us in sexual sin. 

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Consequences

(Pro 6:35 KJV) He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.

This might be a good verse to review at the beginning of most modern entertainment.  Lack of sexual boundaries is a common denominator in the secular media.  There seems to be no such thing as sexually transmitted disease, destroyed children and emotional trauma as a result of the so called “sexual freedom.”  They can criticize the prudes of the past all they want but they had lives filled with much more joy.  This verse reminds us that some sins cause greater calamities than others.  Contrary to those who talk about any tiny sin being enough to qualify us for hell, God has always regarded some as more evil than others.  If you don’t believe that then go compare the sacrifices and offerings necessary for different types of sin.

So?  Christians avoid sin.  When they fail they repent and get on with life.  We need to keep on the alert because the forgiveness of our fellow man may not come as readily as the forgiveness of God. 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Wise or Cowardly?

(Pro 5:3 KJV) For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:

What do you associate “oil” (8081) with?  The first thing I think of is motor oil.  Moderns tend to get this because we think of oil as a slippery substance that makes things move easier.  I can’t think of too many places in ancient Israel where they would think that way.  They might have used it on door hinges but most people were not rich enough to have metal door hinges.  They used oil to burn in lamps and to rub on their skin like a lotion.  In spite of that, they knew it was slippery.

We have a lot of things in our world that work this way.  If I have a sticky lock or a squeaky door I use graphite.  It that doesn’t work I use WD-40.  If that doesn’t work I get ear plugs.  In any case we are being warned about people and situations that make it too easy to slip.  Or to compromise.  Or simply to ignore.

So?  Stay alert.  Avoid things that are dangerous.  It is called wisdom not cowardice.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Watch Your Step

(Pro 4:12 KJV) When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.

Part of wisdom is knowing the location of the stationary obstacles.  When I get up in the middle of the night to answer a call of nature, I don’t need to turn on any lights.  I know what is between me and the bathroom.  I can also walk through the house in the dark, usually with no problems.  I know where the dangers are.  Wisdom can give us that about life.

Part of wisdom is knowing about the moving obstacles.  We have two cats in the house.  One of them seems to think its role in life is to stop right in front of me and often roll over and dare me to go farther.  I need to keep that in mind as I walk.  It doesn’t matter how bright the light is, the cats move, or not.  We also have issues with scorpions and centipedes.  That means bright lights and vigilance or wear shoes.

So?  God has given us the directions we need and the ability we need to walk in righteousness.  Now to use them. 

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Barns of Plenty

(Pro 3:10 KJV) So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

By “coincidence” I was reading in Luke today about the rich man who was having some great harvests.  He had more than he could cope with.  It sounds like the man in this verse.  Here it is given as a blessing.  In Luke it becomes a curse.  The difference is not in the success or material goods but in how you view them in life.  It is in the principles involved.  If you look back one verse you find that the full barns are God responding to the farmer’s faithfulness.

In Luke the response to prosperity is selfish,
(Luk 12:18 KJV) And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
He is impressed with his skills and management.

So?  How do we respond when God blesses us?  Knowing how we would respond might mean that some of us don’t have certain blessings.  Rejoice in the ones you have. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Follow Through

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

Is this a two step process or a call to perseverance?  My first response is on process but as I look a little deeper at the words I am leaning toward perseverance.  In both parts of the verse there is a call for us to actively seek results.  There is a burden on us to discern wisdom.

One of the paradoxes we find in scripture is the juxtaposition of the sovereignty of God and the free will of man.  If we don’t have the second then our response seems kind of empty to me.  If we don’t have the first then there is nothing worth responding to.  God has put us on the tight rope.  He has also given us one of those long poles that make it possible to balance.  He then shoves us off and says, “Walk.”

So?  Ask, seek, knock, find.  It is one of those promises that makes grace a living proposition instead of a miracle pill.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

A Noise in the Dark

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

I would hate to play hide and seek with God, even if He was confined to my yard.  It reminds me of playing the game with my son when he was young.  I would find an awesome hiding place and he would almost be at the point of tears when he could not find me.  At that point I would make a noise and keep making it until he “discovered” me. 

Usually that is the way God plays the game.  We are incapable of finding Him so He makes noises to get our attention.  This is the work of the Holy Spirit, enabling us to hear, bringing us understanding as we read, putting us in the right place at the right time.

All that is good.  What is frightening here is that there comes a time when God concedes that we are only playing games and leaves us searching in the room while He goes about His business.

So?  Pray for those you know who are playing games.  God may be infinite but His patience is not always. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Simple Measure

(Pro 31:12 KJV) She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

We often fall into the trap of saying, “That does not apply to me.”  This verse is describing the perfect wife.  I have never been a wife, nor do I expect to ever fill that role.  Like almost everything else in the Bible, it applies to me.

How do I treat people around me?  What is the effect of their contact with me?  Our commission is to do them “good” (2896b).

So?  Seems simple.  Seems measurable.  Today is the day. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

How Many Guitars Is Enough?

(Pro 30:16 KJV) The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.

When do we have “enough” (1952)?  The most common translation of this word in the NASB is “wealth” and the KJV, “riches”.  It is used most frequently in Proverbs.  It is not always a bad thing.  So the question again is, how much is enough?  This is a real question for Americans living in an economic system that at least pays lip service to free enterprise. 

I don’t think you can put a dollar amount on it.  There is something in us that always wants more.  I find myself thinking about a new guitar.  You know I really need one.  The problem is I already have six and don’t play them as much as I should.  Do I really need another?  No.  When it comes to a car that is not always in the repair shop or a home that does not have enough bathrooms things get a bit more serious.

So?  It is a hard line to balance on but although God promises to meet our needs He expects us to be stewards of the blessings.  I am looking for someone to give a guitar to, not so I have room for a new one, but because I have more than I need. 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Two Teams

(Pro 29:27 KJV) An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.

How does this work in our everyday lives?  We need to start with the acceptance that there is a spiritual war going on and everyone is not on the same side.  The public division is between those who claim to be born again and those who don’t.  When someone tells me they have met Jesus, I accept that at the moment and operate on that acceptance.  Time will tell is we are on the same side.  If they mock God, it is also clear.

We need to also remember that the dividing line is not our family, or local church, our political party, our denomination.  The church you attend will have people in it who are living a lie.  They may look good but they are on the other side.  Paul address this concern,
(1Co 5:9-11 NAS77) I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world.  But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one.
I used the NASB because it is clearer there.

So?  Know which side you are on.  Realize that those on the other side are on the other side.  Stand your ground in knowledge and wisdom. 

Friday, August 28, 2020

Cool Doctrine

(Pro 28:7 KJV) Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.

I was in a discussion about the younger generation.  You know how it goes, no respect, ignorant, etc.  One of the observations we had was that the younger generation seems to be totally out of touch with the economics of socialism versus capitalism.  They seem to be totally ignorant about how they are being manipulated.  To be fair, I am not sure it is just the younger generation that is this way.

I understand that there are pastors in large churches that refuse to take a biblical stand on any kind of sex outside of marriage.  There are organizations calling themselves churches which will accept the statement that Jesus was not physically raised from the dead.  The list goes on.  This is based on a lack of wisdom, a lack of respect for the Biblical law, no fear of God and a general rejection of all the things God has done to teach us.

So?  All we can do for many of them is gently stand our ground.  Remember that gently does not mean we bend with the wind.  It means that we don’t get angry and super aggressive.  It means that we keep our cool as well as our doctrine.  Give the Holy Spirit time and material to work with. 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Rub Someone the Right Way

(Pro 27:17 KJV) Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Part of the set of knives in our kitchen is a steel rod.  You use it to keep your knives sharp.  I am not sure but I get the impression that if you wait too long to sharpen the knife, the rod does not do the job.  It is something that requires constant use.  The same thing would apply for our need for the right kind of fellowship.  It is hard to stay sharp if we don’t keep the edge.

As I write we are going through all the panic about a virus.  The government has decreed that churches cannot meet.  When they lighten up they say things like “sit six feet apart” and “no singing”.  To be honest it is kind of hard to worship through a Zoom ap. 

So?  We need to find ways to get fellowship.  To be honest, the odds of going to hell are a lot stronger than the odds of serious complications from this virus. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Butt Out

(Pro 26:17 KJV) He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.

I would think that it is often obvious when we should stick our nose in someone else’s business.  Or maybe the opposite is more appropriate.  It is usually obvious when we should not offer our two cents worth.  My wife tells the story of the time she was almost physically attacked in a store because she offered some advice to a father.  I was not there.  I know only what she tells me.  She was, of course, completely innocent and his hostility was unwarranted.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  It obviously was the wrong dog ears that she was ruffling.

So?  I think the point is that we should lean toward not offering unsolicited advice.  That is true even when it is obvious.  There are times when people are being real fools, like pushing on a door that says “Pull”.  Let them find out on their own.  It will be embarrassing enough.  It might also have more chance of being educational. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Feel Free

(Pro 25:16 KJV) Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.

We often get the wrong idea about moderation.  Well, maybe not totally wrong but at least one sided.  Moderation is not just a limitation.  It is not a matter of saying, “Don’t have any fun.”  It is also a permission.  It is saying, “Enjoy life but realize that there are limitations.”  It is a reminder that excess can be very damaging.  It always amuses me when some “study” will show that a substance is dangerous to our health.  If you read the fine print you realize that the amount of the substance given to the test animals is extreme and obviously would be damaging.  It is a lack of moderation that is the problem, not the substance.

So?  We need to embrace more freedom in our lives.  I would say that the world is our oyster but since I don’t like oysters I will say the world is our french fry.  For me one oyster is too many.  You might feel the same about fries.  Feel free. 

Monday, August 24, 2020

Yes, and Yes

(Pro 24:11 KJV) If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;

Is this verse cultural/political or spiritual/salvation?  I think the answer is, “Yes.”  We have a responsibility to do what we can to save people’s lives.  Applications that are not really popular have to do with opposing abortion and working to free slaves still in bondage.  What is even more unpopular is to point out that bondage is in existence in the “free” world in the form of sweat shops, prostitution and child pornography. 

We also need to keep in mind that the end of a road without Jesus is eternal damnation.  We don’t like it.  They don’t like it.  That changes nothing.

So?  Be politically and socially active.  Be a witness for Jesus. 

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Guarantees

(Pro 23:19 KJV) Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

This is another place to see if your translation is politically correct.  Solomon is talking to his “son” (1121).  It is a Hebrew word, ben, that you see in names such as David Ben-Gurion.  It generally does not mean “children”, but that is just one of my pet peeves.  The point here that I am looking at is the responsibility of the children for whom they become.  I just participated in a discussion with a group of fathers and if there is one question they might have asked it would have been, “What could I have done different as a father?”  Even more on their hearts was, “What can I do now?”

Often the answer is, “Not much.”  We can teach.  We can model.  We can pray and fast.  We can do it all right and if the child will not “listen” (8085) [shama] there is not much you can do.  Remember that God did it all right and Eve still bit the apple.  Jesus did it all right and Judas still betrayed him. 

So?  Be willing to let your children make their decisions.  God did as much for you.  I don’t think there are any guarantees on things like this. 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Financial Shenanigans

(Pro 22:27 KJV) If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?

In trying to understand what is being said here I examined the context.  That is often useless in Proverbs because many of the couplets are stand alone propositions.  It is easy to see this one being an extension of the previous verse and almost automatic to say it has nothing to do with the next.  The Bible does not support sloth or irresponsibility.  In isolation this verse seems to be okay with that and the one loaning the money is the bad guy.  I think the landmark mentioned in the next verse gives us a clue.

This is about victims of oppression by the rich.  It is speaking about people who come in during a time of extreme hardship, make loans that they know people cannot pay back and then take away the property that has been in their family for generations.  I think the point is to examine our motives and our methods.  There are some kinds of loans we should not make.  If we have someone hungry we don’t loan them money knowing that they will default and we get to take their home.

So?  It is a hard line to follow but our concern for people should overrule our clever financial arrangements. 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Context

(Pro 21:27 KJV) The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?

We have lost our understanding of “sacrifice” (2077).  We sing choruses like the one that says, “We bring a sacrifice of praise” and think we have it.  Keep in mind that Proverbs is written before the cross.  Because Jesus paid the price for our salvation and we talk about grace, we forget one of the great points that demanded the death on the cross.
(Heb 9:22 KJV) And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
We forget that part of Jesus fulfilling the law was to pay the price for our sin with His sacrifice.

So?  When you are having a bad day and are discouraged, take a moment to be grateful for the sacrifice that Jesus paid for your forgiveness.  Rejoice in that knowledge.  It won’t make the broken leg go away but will give it a different context. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Later

(Pro 20:3 KJV)  It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.

We know that having conversations and communicating are important.  Jesus dialogued with the Pharisees and Paul held meetings on Mars Hill.  It is hard to share your faith without getting face to face with others.  There is also a point where wisdom says, “Enough”.  It may be that you can change the subject.  You can excuse yourself.  It is possible that you can only turn your back and walk away.  That is what is going on here.

We need to be sensitive to when people stop listening.  Yes, I know that some people never listen but there are those cases where you cross a line and you can see the veil descend over their eyes.  Part of wisdom is deciding to wait for a better time.

So?  Don’t forget that conviction comes through the Holy Spirit, not our clever arguments.  When people are ready it will be obvious.  Patience. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Google It

(Pro 19:2 KJV) Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.

What an age we live in.  Even with the censoring going on by the social media moguls, the availability of “knowledge” (1847) is impressive.  The mantra of our age has switched from “look it up” to “Google it”.  We can get so much information that it swamps us.  The access to all of this becomes an excuse when it should be a responsibility. 

God gave us a brain.  He created us in His image.  That means that we are expected to use that brain and one of the areas of importance has to do with moral choices.  We are not robots.  We are the highest level of creation and with that comes to duty to use the gifts we have.  On the internet keep your brain engaged.  When reading the Bible or listening to a “Bible teacher” keep your brain engaged.  At all times keep your thinking cap on and powered up.

So?  God gave us free will for a reason.  Rejoice.  You are not a dog that automatically responds to “Squirrel”. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Bucket List

(Pro 18:1 KJV) Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.

Is there a problem with “desire” (8378)?  I guess the answer would be that it depends on what you want and why you want it.  Don’t you hate it when people say, “It depends”?  Yet that is part of so many answers in life.  Take an example from Grandpa’s Diary.  When the precious toddler is sitting in her high chair she is often willing to eat oatmeal.  The problem I had was the existence of grapes.  She had a mild desire for the oatmeal and a wild desire for the grapes.  Since both are healthy, it is a matter of discipline.  But suppose there was a bowl of ice cream on the counter and she only had eyes for that? 

Or take our cat.  Actually it is my daughter’s cat but we are cat sitting.  If she is indoors, she wants out.  As soon as I let her out she is crying at the door to get in.  Many times if I open the door she will roll over and try to look cute.  She has some real confusion with her desires.

So?  Go ahead and make a bucket list.  Then go over it with God’s priorities in mind.  I am guessing there will be a few changes made. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Mama Bear

(Pro 17:12 KJV) Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.

There are some bits of wisdom that have stood the test of time.  Staying far away from a mama bear and her babies is one of them.  Or at least you would think so but every once in awhile you see a picture on the internet that has some snowflake getting involved with a cub.  Evidently they didn’t get the message.  Or they could be like some people I know who believe the rules don’t apply to them.

Fools exist.  Frequently they breed new fools.  There are not enough mama bears around to teach them the error of their ways.  Just as you would not want to try to reason with a mama bear, it might be a waste of time to reason with a fool.

So?  You can pray for them.  You can live upright in front of them.  You can refuse to cooperate or participate.  You cannot reason. 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Character Assassination

(Pro 16:27 KJV) An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.

There are certain hallmarks of Christian character that migrate across to Christian culture.  We have the idea of “turning the other cheek”.  That is foreign to pagans.  We have the rejection of bribery.  One that is drummed in but often passes under the radar is the desire of the best for other people.  We find it referred to in the Love Chapter,
(1Co 13:6 KJV) Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
We see it in Proverbs,
(Pro 24:17 KJV) Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:
This is another page in that chapter.  We are not supposed to go around digging up dirt on people.

So?  Avoid character assassination.  Most people will dig their own graves.  They don’t need help from you and if you live right they may turn to you in a time of crisis.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Happy Fools

(Pro 15:21 KJV) Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.

How does one become a fool?  I often wonder, only partially tongue-in-cheek, how people who seem to be intelligent and decent can disagree with me on so many issue.  If you have ever seen a sonogram of your unborn child, how could you even consider an abortion?  If you have ever cleaned a gun how can you believe that so many people shoot themselves while doing so?  In current affairs, how can you watch a city burning and talk about peaceful protesters? 

For some people it is a condition of birth.  We don’t like to admit it but some people are born owing cans to the six-pack and they never catch up.  Others are conditioned by their parents.  Children that are stuck in a baby carrier with a bottle stuck in their mouth are further behind with every gulp compared to a child being held and interacted with by a loving mother.  And to be honest, I think some people choose to be fools because they think it will benefit them.

So?  What is my excuse, you say?  I sometimes wonder.  Until I know more I will seek to follow the life of righteousness. 

Friday, August 14, 2020

Making Haste Slowly

(Pro 14:8 KJV) The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.

One of the pieces of advice I see in this is “slow down, get the facts, think”.  Maybe that is three pieces.  I think this is consistent with the rest of Proverbs.  We have a tendency to hear something that fits with our view of the world or hits our hot button, and rush off to join the crusade.  When we stop to consider, we realize we were wrong.  Sometimes we keep charging ahead because we are too embarrassed to confess.  Sometimes we slink off into the shadows and hope people forget we were part of it.  On rare occasions we actually proclaim our error.

So?  It is much less embarrassing to think before we act.  Even more important, it is less damaging to others and our society when we do so. 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Choice Folly

(Pro 13:16 KJV) Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.

We are living in an age of extreme “folly” (200).  As a general rule we cannot say that people are unaware of statements of truth and morality.  I would guess that none of us know anyone who has spent their entire life in a rainforest without any contact with the outside world.  We have all the information we need to make decisions, yet so many ignore what is there to see.  I don’t worry much any more about the question, “What about the people who have never heard the gospel?”  The information and opportunity is out there.  The majority  choose to ignore it.

So?  There is nothing you or I can do about the masses that are happy in their ignorant bliss.  What we can do is make sure that we are setting the kind of example that will make it impossible for them to ignore it totally. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Slippery Tongues

(Pro 12:13 KJV) The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.

I keep coming across people who point out that it is easier to tell the truth than to lie.  If you ever have the misfortune to be arrested or questioned by the authorities it is important to stay as close to the truth as possible.  For Christians there is always the assurance that liars go into the lake of fire.  That should be enough for us but some need more.  The problem with exaggerating or out and out lying is that you can’t always remember exactly what you said.  If you tell the truth, you know what to say next time.

So?  This is advice for everyday life, not just in court.  Speak the truth. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Business Ethics

(Pro 11:24 KJV) There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.

If I were writing a book on principles of successful capitalism that are found in the Bible I would look at this verse.  Perhaps if I called it “business” instead of “capitalism” there would be fewer triggers pulled.  Generating wealth does not happen in a vacuum.  There are certain requirements on how you deal with people.  One of the observations that Alexis De Tocqueville made when traveling down the Ohio river was that the property on the slave side was poorly kept up and undeveloped while on the free side everything was vigorous and prosperous.  His observation was that paying a living wage caused the workers to work harder because they stood to gain something from it. 

There might be short term gains by shortchanging workers in a business but the Bible tells us that long term you are more successful when you treat people right.

So?  The problem with employers is in their heart, which influences their policies.  You may not be an employer but you will hire people to do things for you at times.  Treat them well.

De Tocqueville, Alexis.  Democracy in America, Vol. 1, Translated by Henry Reeve, Project Gutenberg Edition, Kindle Location 6944-6947.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Types of Winds

(Pro 10:25 KJV) As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.

The storm does not need to be a “whirlwind” (5492a) to be dangerous.  Every once in awhile my wife has be go out and bring in all the furniture on the front porch.  Her weather reports tell her we are going to get blown away.  I remember one storm where the barbeque grill was blown out from under the awning into the middle of the driveway.  I think we have all seen vehicles moved dramatically by a cross wind.  The Hebrew would support all of these in addition to tornados and cyclones. 

What does not seem to move is the foundation.  What is hard to move is things that are tied securely to the foundation.  We put to much effort in life on wallpaper and not enough on foundations.

So?  I can’t make the decisions of priorities and relative importance for anyone but myself.  I hope I am building my foundations and that you are doing the same.  Storms are coming.  No, that is not a prophecy.  That is an observation.  

Sunday, August 9, 2020

There Are Answers

(Pro 9:1 KJV) Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:

In the context of this chapter we see a contrast between “wisdom” (2454) and the claims of foolish woman in verse 13.  They both make great claims.  They use similar language.  Welcome to the real world.  God has provided the information and opportunity for us to chose the way of righteousness.  Satan has gone out and done his best to confuse the issue.  What is a mere human to do?

Might I suggest using the mind that God gave us.  Recently there was an article about how the Chinese had peddled a vast amount of fake gold bars.  I didn’t read the article but someone who did said that they were copper bars covered with a thin layer of gold.  I had assumed that they would have been lead covered with gold because I know gold is heavy.  To duplicate the real thing you would need to fool me with more than a nice facade. 

Satan has a lot of pretty offerings.  They might look good.  If your brain is turned on you will be able to find the fallacy in his presentation.  The problem is that no one who wants to be fooled can be convinced.

So?  First, check your heart.  Then turn on your brain and do a little prayerful thinking.  The answers will be there. 

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Foundational Appointments

(Pro 8:29 KJV) When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:

The phrase “foundations (4146) of the earth (776)” shows up ten times in the KJV.  In this discussion of creation it seems to be referring to the core and principles of gravity for this planet.  It also lets us know that the cosmos is involved.  It has been a long time since I listened but William Lane Craig talked about the fine tuning of the universe.  He said that science seems to point to a large number of physical characteristics of the universe that by even a light variation would make life impossible.  He then says that it almost seems like the entire universe is set up in a balance for the purpose of maintaining life on earth.  He of course sees God’s hand in this.

So?  Our world, as polluted by sin as it is, was created by God.  It is maintained by God.  That should give you a little comfort amid all the hysteria going on around us. 

Friday, August 7, 2020

Minion Avoidance

(Pro 7:12 KJV) Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)

We really need to consider the context here.  If you go back a few verses you find a young man out looking for something, or someone.  Now you see that the young woman is out looking for some action too.  If either agent had been busy that night then the meeting would have never taken place.

Having said that you need to realize that evil is not going to stay home.  It is looking for you and knows your habits.  Count on it.  The key person in keeping out of a brand of trouble that ends up in Sheol of verse 27 is you.  You need to develop avoidance behavior.  If they can’t find you then you won’t be tempted.  But remember, Satan and his minions will not give up.  Also remember that his minions are not those cute little yellow creatures the bumble around a movie screen.

So?  Act like you are on a journey and plan your route.  Avoid certain off ramps and parts of town.  You have the knowledge to do this. 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Webster’s Jealousy

(Pro 6:34 KJV) For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.

“Jealousy” (7068).  This is not a word I think about much.  It is another one of those Hebrew words that can be used in a positive or negative way.  As I was looking at it I decided to access Webster’s 1828 dictionary in my software.  Since this is being used as a human emotion in response to adultery I thought one of the things Webster wrote was interesting.
“Jealousy is the apprehension of superiority.”
The cheating couple are both saying to the husband, “You are not good enough.”  When we experience this in any area of life it is a reflection of our feelings of inadequacy.  The reminder here is that adultery is sin, and a nasty one in the eyes of God and man.  The warning is that we need to make sure that we are not putting other people in that position. 

So?  There are a lot of behaviors we should avoid simply because they put other people in a compromising situation. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Passive Tense

(Pro 5:2 KJV) That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.

I don’t know about other people and other times in history but many Americans tend to be pragmatic in their approach to things like wisdom.  Why would I want it?  What do I do with it when I get it?  I ask myself these questions when I see the latest app for I-pads and I-phones.  I don’t know if you have ever scrolled through the Ap Store.  The resources are endless but again, why?

Wisdom is desirable not just because of what it helps us do but by what it helps us not do.  This is the word “discretion” (4209).  As you read through Proverbs you see some advice to do, such as work hard.  You also see a lot of encouragement to not do:  Keep your mouth shut.  Building Christian character is often what we avoid as much as what we pursue. 

So?  Spend some time meditating and considering.  Wisdom is for thinking as much as acting. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Who’s Serve

(Pro 4:11 KJV) I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.

This is Solomon speaking but it brings to my mind the question of God giving us direction.  It goes without saying that God is moving to bring everyone to salvation.  Well, maybe it needs to be said,
(2Pe 3:9 KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
I hope that is clear enough for you.

Why does it not happen?  It would seem to me, as they say, “The ball is in your court.”  I believe that God moves to give everyone opportunity.  It usually does not start with someone presenting the Four Spiritual Laws.  It might be a decision to go right or left and you don’t see the connection with eternity but God does.

So?  God is giving us the direction we need to walk in righteousness.  We have another day to follow that guidance.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Disposable Income

(Pro 3:9 KJV) Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

Do you have any “wealth” (1952)?  If you are an American that is a stupid question.  The poorest of the poor in our country would be looked on as wealthy in most third world countries.  Picture a child with no shoes, one pair of clothes and two days without a decent meal.  Give him the loaded shopping carts of an American street person.  He would be in rapture.  If you are reading this you have an electronic device and electricity.  I would guess you have a roof and running water too.  We are wealthy.

The point here is not to quibble over tithing or if the giving is just on the first check.  It always amazes me how people have trouble with tithing.  I imagine God is going to have some long talks with them just as he will talk to me about my eating habits.

So?  Give.  Share.  Rejoice in the ability. 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Auditory Disconnect

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

It amazes me how often we don’t really listen.  I know I am guilty.  Sometimes it is because the person talking is repeating what they have said many times before.  Sometimes I have a hard time taking people seriously when I recognize that they don’t know what they are talking about.  Maybe they weren’t listening.  Maybe they edited their memory to fit their preconceptions.  Sometimes I am just tired.  Too often I am busy thinking about what I want to say.

So?  We cannot afford to be that way with the truth that God wants to share with us.  What is the point of consulting your GPS if  you are not going to listen to directions?  Don’t ask God for guidance if your mind is already made up. 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

No Toilet Paper

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

We have a lot of things we worry about today.  Currently we are in hysteria about a virus and always looking over our shoulders because of the rioting going on.  We are told to prepare and be alert.  Good advice but the point here is that it could be too late.  Remember when there was a toilet paper shortage and people were running out?  I remember going to Cosco and seeing the empty pallets.  People were panicked.  “There is no toilet paper!” was the cry.  Actually there was toilet paper.  You just had to look a different place.  I remember being in a dollar store and seeing piles of it when Cosco was out.

A lot of people are like that in life.  When “desolation” (storm NASB) (7584) hits, they go to the same shallow pool of relief that they have always gone to and they come up empty.  It doesn’t mean that there is no succor available.  It means that they refuse to look where it is offered.  And the next verse says that it might actually be too late.

So?  I would advise not waiting until the flood waters are ready to overwhelm.  I would start getting in contact with the Shelter in the time of storms, and doing it now. 

Friday, July 31, 2020

Trust Issues

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

We are at the beginning of a long passage on one topic.  It is possibly the longest single topic passage in Proverbs.  It is talking about the qualities in the ideal wife.  This verse puts before us the first, and thus most important.  It is the matter of “trust” (982).

When it comes to marriage, trust is a must.  The same is true of any serious relationship.  The word seems to have the idea that you can press ahead without having to worry about what is going on around you.  If you are leading a charge in war it would mean that you assume the rest of the unit are moving forward with you.  It is the confidence that you will not be left out in the cold while everyone else clusters around the fire.

So?  We should work to build that kind of attitude in others.  It is easy to destroy and hard to maintain.  Start with prayer and continue with straight living. 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Beware of Swimming Holes

(Pro 30:15 KJV) The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough:

The KJV translates this with “horseleach” (5936).  When I looked for a definition I came up with,  “a large leech, as Haemopis marmoratis, that infests the mouth and nasal passages of horses.”  I asked myself how a horse could pick up such parasites.  To my knowledge leaches live in water.  I would imagine that a leech could attach when the horse was drinking infested water. 

So heed the warning.  Be careful where you drink.  Take that figuratively or metaphorically.  We seek knowledge and companionship in varied ways.  Some are neutral, some beneficial and some are evil.  The evil will infest your mind and soul.  It will suck the joy and possibly the salvation out of you.

So?  Feed on God’s word.  Keep your eyes open.  I remember getting in a lake in the Midwest, seeing leeches in the water and immediately exiting.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Favor of the Day

(Pro 29:26 KJV) Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the LORD.

I am currently starting to meet with a group of guys who are concerned with the way our country is going and seeking ways to do something about it.  The focus of our group will be with the first part of this verse.  That has its place and in a republic is necessary, but we cannot forget the second part of this verse.  God is the ultimate authority.

I at times fall into the frustration trap because my plans are not working out.  What do I mean, “At times”?  It is a constant failure.  The failure is actually in believing in my gut that God is in control.  He not only judges me, He judges the culture I live in.  I need to be reminded that if God could work with the rulers of Egypt, Babylonia and Persia then He can work with our ruler of the day.

So?  Take the long view.  Seek God on a regular basis.  Keep moving forward. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Options

(Pro 28:6 KJV) Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.

Let’s be honest.  We really think we should have both.  We think that God should honor our spiritual stands and get us the promotion or cause the stocks we bought to shoot through the moon.  We get discouraged when it doesn’t happen.  Okay, maybe it is only me.  Maybe I am the only one who gets tired of doing the right thing and being left alone in the corner while the party moves on.

I pray that I can live with that, in victory.  I am not called to get rich.  I concede that it would be nice but it might also destroy me.  I am called to be righteous.  My goal is to set my agenda for the day on that basis.

So?  Go to work because you need to pay the bills.  Spend time with the Lord because you need to avoid the traps. 

Monday, July 27, 2020

Drop Drills

(Pro 27:16 KJV) Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.

Are you a control freak?  No?  How about just liking to be able to control the basics of life.  Join me in a moment of my life where I dropped an ice cube on the floor and it shattered into little pieces.  Picture me with my big fingers trying to get a grip on those little slivers.  The macho man in me would just let them melt and evaporate, but I have a wife, so that won’t do.  I keep trying to pick them up.  That is the picture here.

The answer would involve using alternative methods.  You could try a broom and dust pan.  I think that a dry dish towel might do the trick.  Maybe your needle-nose pliers would keep you language pure.  Whatever you do it will require patience and wisdom.

So?  Even if you are single life is going to hand you some form of contentious woman.  Count on it and learn to deal with it.  You are not alone. 

Sunday, July 26, 2020

A Time to Spoon Feed

(Pro 26:15 KJV) The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.

Having just spent months with our two grandchildren in the house I look at this a little different.  The newborn could not bring his hand to his mouth.  He wasn’t sure what a hand was.  The toddler is a different story.  If we had let her it is possible that we would still be spoon feeding her at two years.  Even after she demonstrated she could handle the utensils, she would have times when she wanted to be fed.  Was it sloth?  Possible.  Was it manipulation?  More possible.

We have a lot of people around us who never grow up.  They want others to do their work.  They feel like you are their servant.  You may not have noticed, but Proverbs does not have good things to say about those kind of people.

So?  Grow up and help others grow up.  I am sure that each of us fits into one of those categories.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Light the Slow Fuse

(Pro 25:15 KJV) By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.

Sometimes I think translators allow the sermon they heard on Sunday to influence their translating.  The “forebearing" (forbearance NASB) (639) mentioned here is usually translated “anger” or “wrath”.  It is not the patience we associate with forbearance.  Of course there is the other word that is hidden in the NASB but comes out in the KJV, “long” (753).  They make it patience.  I make it controlled, simmering rage that works slowly toward a solution.

We live in republics that grant us the right to petition our government.  We are supposed to be getting on their backs.  It will keep them in line.  The second part of the verse reminds us that people respond better if they are not painted in a corner.

So?  Go to the city council meeting.  Write the letter.  Participate in the church committee.  Find a way to let them know your are deeply concerned but allow them to find a way to respond without having to duke it out. 

Friday, July 24, 2020

Hand Brace

(Pro 24:10 KJV)  If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.

The phrase “day of distress” caught my eye.  I tried doing a search of the English in the NASB and came up with five references.  Then I realized that the KJV used a different word and saw that many times “distress” (6869a) was used it had modifiers that kept it from showing up.  My interest was what that day would involve.  Was it simply bowel trouble or was it the end of the world?  I guess the answer is “yes”. 

We will face problems.  The point is that we are to face them head on.  I remember from my days of football practice that if I faced the opposition face to face and braced myself, I could handle just about anything that came my way.  When my granddaughter was with us she learned that when things looked rocky if she would take my hand she could deal with just about anything.

So?  Keep in contact with the eternal Hand, you know, the one with the nail print.  He will help you brace for whatever is down the road.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Got Hope?

(Pro 23:18 KJV) For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

“Be careful what you wish for.”  I am not sure where that comes from.  The internet tells me it is Aesop’s Fables but the site I got that from was more a personal reminiscence than a history so they didn’t bother to tell me which one.  You find that idea in the word “expectation” (hope NASB) (8615b).  As Christians we understand the hope that is in us but the word is used at least once to speak of the “hope” of the evil people around us.
(Pro 11:23 KJV) The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation (8615b) of the wicked is wrath.
The key is found in the source of our hope.  If you check the previous verse or about anywhere in Proverbs you find that we need to focus on a proper fear of the Lord.

So?  Everything has a context.  Real expectations are built on a foundation.  Build on the rock, not the sand.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Don’t Shake on It

(Pro 22:26 KJV) Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.

The literal meaning of the Hebrew is given by the KJV in “strike” (8628) “hands” (3709).  I guess it could be clap hands.  This could be where we get the idea that a deal is not finalized until we shake on it.  That really is a side issue though.  The core though here is to not get into co-signing a loan.  I would think that in an age of capitalism there might be some questions about buying stock or investing in new issues.  Venture capitalists would need to think seriously about how this applies to them.

This could be understood to not co-sign on a loan for your son’s car.  In addition to protecting you from loss, it might also be important because it would teach the young man responsibility.  It is probable that if he cannot qualify for a loan he does not need the car.

So?  Our financial commitments come under the title of holy living, just like everything else.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Just Do It

(Pro 21:15 KJV)  It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.

When you read the same scripture over and over again it can begin to be taken for granted.  In the search for a fresh voice I start reading at a different part of the chapter each month.  Since it is toward the middle of the year I began in this verse today.  It immediately jumped out at me in light of what I see going on in the culture around me.

We as Christians need to be about the “execution” (6213a) of “justice” (4941).  The verb here is an incredibly common word in Hebrew which simply means “to do”.  That is how the KJV translates it here but the NASB in the pursuit of new sales or creativity translates it “execution” in the 1977 version and “exercise” in the update.  Either way it is a command for us as believers.  What I found interesting is another place it is used that I go to on a regular basis.
(Mic 6:8 KJV) He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do (6213a) justly (4941), and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
So?  Justice is a big concern for Christians but make sure it is the justice of the Bible, not the social justice of our current political manipulators.  Do it. 

Monday, July 20, 2020

Pick Your Battles

(Pro 20:2 KJV) The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.

Proverbs is big on telling us to avoid the lime light.  Keeping your mouth shut is a virtue.  It is true that in Acts Peter defies the powers that be but it was a special case.  He was not being called on the carpet for demanding his rights.  He was being told to stop preaching the gospel.  There is a difference.
(Act 4:18-20 KJV) And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
There are times when it will make the king mad.  There are times when it will make your spouse mad.  There are times when you go ahead and let them have their mad.  There are other times when you keep your opinions to yourself.

So?  Pick your battles.  Be alert to the difference between witnessing and showing off.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Silent Type

(Pro 19:1 KJV) Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

What price would you be willing to pay in order to be accepted, to fit in?  Sometimes we do this by remaining silent.  If I looked I could list a number of places in Proverbs that would endorse this behavior, verses having to do with avoiding anger and conflict.  Then there is my favorite,
(Pro 17:28 KJV) Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
The Bible is okay with us keeping our mouth shut.  The problem seems to be when we open it.  I know I have times when I need the last word.  I also realize that I rarely simply say, “I don’t know,” and leave it at that.  I always seem to need to add, “but...” and share my wisdom.  That is not approved.

So?  Simple.  Most of the time, keep your mouth shut.  Now if I could only practice what I am preaching. 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Be Careful of Benjamin

(Pro 18:24 KJV) A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

I have heard the phrasing from the second part of the verse used to refer to Jesus.  Although it is a true concept, you can’t get it from this verse.  That is a good illustration of a “preaching point” and a “Biblical truth”.  When we teach and preach we often look for words that support a bigger concept.  It has some value but we need to make sure that what we are saying is really in the Bible.  Think of all the times that Benjamin Franklin is quoted and people think it is scripture.  You have statements like “God helps those who help themselves.”  That is not in the Bible.

So?  Good thoughts are not grounds for Christian Doctrine.  We need to be alert to the difference.  That is only possible if we know the original document. 

Friday, July 17, 2020

Unguardian Angels

(Pro 17:11 KJV) An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.

Sounds like a threat to me.  I wondered if “cruel (394) “messenger” {4397} was a frequent term that had an understood meaning, but this is the only place the phrase appears in the NASB.  In our current civil turmoil I have had frequent times to think about guardian angels and to thank God for them.  The word “messenger” is often translated “angel”.  If God provides guardian angels it would seem he could also send them to administer His wrath.

So?  We think that evil people are getting away with things.  Today that may be true but we have no insight into the pain in their privates lives or the disasters that may be awaiting them.  We are also told to pray for them, for repentance, not peace. 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

A Thumb in the Back

(Pro 16:26 KJV) He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.

I just finished reading a book by Thomas Sowell called Migrations and Culture.  He traces a number of groups that have been involved in migrations over hundreds of years and around the world.  He notes that when they first arrive in a new land they are destitute and often without any useful skills.  Then an interesting thing happens.  In every country down through history they move up the ladder and become prosperous.  They surpass the locals.  Why?  Because they were willing to work hard.

In our affluent age we have forgotten the value of being in want.  I think of times when I knew that we were almost on the street but my kids never understood that.  They assumed that Dad and Mom would provide.  And providentially, we did.  We had help but the most important action was the second, and a few times third, jobs that kept the budget in the black.

So?  We must be willing to work.  Grace is wonderful for the forgiveness that we cannot earn but there comes a point where the saved soul is expected to get in gear.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Walking Wisdom

(Pro 15:20 KJV) A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.

Wisdom is often associated with verbal expression.  In the cartoons showing someone climbing to a mountain peak to ask a question of the wise man sitting there, the desired goal is a verbal answer to a perplexing question.  When it comes to our children I think it needs to go beyond that because in our lives as parents it needs to go beyond that.  Wise words are weak without wise behavior.

My son has a lot of dreams and plans.  That is well and good but I don’t get excited about them.  I watch what he does.  That is where the wisdom will come out.  In the same way people are watching us.

So?  Be walking wisdom.  Anyone can be talking wisdom.  Sometimes the talking kind is on the level of the package that says, “New.  Improved.”  The real test is in the contents. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Get Away

(Pro 14:7 KJV) Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.

Most of us have had times when we could not concentrate because of noisy distractions.  Maybe I am the only one.  I know that as I get older I find it hard to hear people over certain types of background noise.  A simple example is being in the shower or around running water.  What did you say?  I don’t have a clue.  The same in noisy restaurants.  It is hard to understand.

The word “perceivest" (discern NASB) (3045) in the Hebrew is one of those common words that has a deeper nuance.  It is yada.  It is a form of deeper comprehension.  It means to know on the deepest level.  There are times when in order to hear the Lord, let alone understand, we need to get away from the distractions.  I find that early morning is the best time to get away from the things that demand attention.  I love sitting on the front porch with my guitar and coffee and basking in the Presence. 

So?  If you want it enough you will find it.  God waits, nudging.  It is worth listening. 

Monday, July 13, 2020

The “G” for Today

(Pro 13:15 KJV) Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.

Recently my son brought these cute little techy gizmo light strips.  They seemed very simple.  They had a switch and a place to recharge.  I asked a simple question, “How do you know when they have a full charge?”  Then I asked a second question that was really stupid, “Did you read the directions?”  Real geeks don’t need directions.  They just keep experimenting until it works.  Or not. 

We are told we can have a certain level of “understanding” (7922).  You need to understand the other part of the promise though.  We need to read the directions.  Some things might be no-brainers but the directions might tell us things are capable of much more than we could dream of.  The light strips have an on, off and a “G”.  What does the “G” stand for?  Read the directions.

So?  There will be many “G’s” in life.  You might want to spend some time finding out what they can do.  Read you Bible. 

Sunday, July 12, 2020

The Yield of Righteousness

(Pro 12:12 KJV) The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.

“Net” (booty NASB) (485b) is an interesting word.  The Hebrew has several translations.  Among them is the idea of bulwark, something you hide behind.  Take that along with the awareness that “men” is not in the Hebrew.  There are people who hide behind “evil” (7451a).  In order to keep their position or power they will commit any atrocity or destruction on others.  We see this in barbarian cultures and modern societies that have barbarians in charge.  It can be a system of rules that are meaningless except for control purposes.  It can be intimidation by personality.

It is also interesting that the word “fruit” is not in the Hebrew.  Godly people are inclined to “yield” (5414).  This is about turning the other cheek and forgiveness.

So?  We are to be different than the world around us.  That may seem to cost us in the short run but remember that God watches over us and controls the outcome. 

Saturday, July 11, 2020

The Goal of Columbus

(Pro 11:23 KJV) The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.

Notice that there are two words, “desire” (8378) and “expectation” (8615b), that speak to the view toward the future.  Both words are used in both positive and negative ways in the Old Testament.  It key is in the context.  Hope can be based in reality or it can be rooted in deception.  If the reality is the person and power of God, then there is good news coming.  If you hope is based on your own worth or the promises of our culture then there is no guarantee of the outcome short term, and a real danger of disaster long term.

So?  What does your heart desire and why?  Why was Christopher Columbus successful when so many others made no mark?  It is not often mentioned but one of his concerns was spreading the gospel.  He was not a 21st century evangelical so we might not understand his lingo or accept the whole picture but he was more successful than he thought.  He never found China but he opened the new world to Jesus. 

Friday, July 10, 2020

Walking Stick Shoes

(Pro 10:24 KJV) The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.

Fear is a funny thing.  We are in the height of bug season in Texas.  Something I had only heard about before fleeing California was the walking stick.  They are everywhere and have been appearing full grown in the strangest places.  I have two ways of avoiding them.  First, I walk carefully.  That means watching my hands and feet.  The other is to stay inside.  We have had scorpions, centipedes, crickets and spiders get through our defenses but so far no walking sticks. 

So far I have not developed real fear of walking sticks.  It helps to know that they are vegetarian but since I read that online I can’t be sure.  Scorpions though can catch our attention.  When we find one we walk in fear for weeks.  Did you know that scorpions will show up under UV lighting.  We end up patrolling the house at night looking for that unique yellow that says, “Scorpion!”  Of course we could simply wear shoes.

So?  God has made it clear what is dangerous to our eternal souls.  We can walk in fear or we can put on our spiritual shoes.  Again, your choice. 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Making Reservations

(Pro 9:18 KJV) But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

Would you get on an airplane if you knew it was going to crash?  I know, dumb question.  We ignore the reality that some airplanes crash because the numbers are so low that we assume we can beat them.  Think about all the things you do that kill people every day.  Obvious ones would be driving a car and crossing a street.  Ones we don’t think about would be taking a bath and swallowing our pills. 

Then you have the people who go out knowing that they will be drunk when they drive home.  You have people who start down the drug road knowing the dangers.  You have people with very flexible sexual practices that know all about STD’s and VD.  The churches are full of people who know the standards that God has established and ignore them on a regular basis.

So?  Hell is going to be full.  That may be one of the conditions that will make it so miserable.  Make sure you are not on the guest list. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Creation Fears

(Pro 8:28 KJV) When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:

Creation.  God designed it.  God made it.  God sustains it.  God will end it, or at least modify it so that you would not recognize it.  As I write the current media created pandemic seems to be on the decline.  As I write I still see people paralyzed by fear.  I expect that in the pagan world.  They live in a superstitious wonderland of petty gods they try to placate.  They have to guess at ways to control the fickle forces of nature.  What disappoints me is when I see it in the church.

I went with my daughter for a doctor’s visit.  We were going to dinner afterwards.  After sitting and reading in the doctor’s waiting room for about 20 minutes I was asked to leave because I did not have on a mask.  Fine.  Your office, your rules.  I went to the lobby and sat in a chair a few yards away from the entrance we had used and had our temperature taken.  After another 20 minutes the lady manning the portal came over and asked me to put on my mask.  I said I didn’t have a mask.  She politely threw me out.

So?  God created the universe.  The processes He set up allowed for viruses and infections.  Our bodies are designed to fight them.  The Bible also has lesson in basic hygiene.  I hope you can join me in not living in fear. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

That’s Just Her

(Pro 7:11 KJV) (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:

Are we talking about a personality type or the result of questionable decisions?  Does it really matter?  All of us have personality types.  Every personality has its problems whether it is Pollyanna or Freddy Krueger.  Some obviously have more than others.  I tend to be someone who is quite willing to sit at home when I should be out getting something done.  My wife will come home from a two week trip and say, “I have to get out of the house.”

God has ways of using each personality type.  The woman in question in this verse obviously could be used in positive ways except she is choosing to head down the wrong path.  A warning to us is that she does not want to travel the road to hell alone.

So?  Be careful whom you enjoy being with.  Some paths lead other places than Rome. 

Monday, July 6, 2020

The Unforgiving

(Pro 6:33 KJV) A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.

Every once in awhile I run into someone who asks about the unpardonable sin.  This verse gives us some insights into the concept.  I think the Bible teaches the forgiveness of God and the extent of His grace.  Jesus did not come to die so He could look for excuses to send people to hell.  The only thing that I believe stands between me and salvation is my willingness to repent.

Repentance involves a change.  It is not just regret at being caught and saying, “I’m sorry.”  It is a confession that I am unworthy but, with God’s help, I will change.  Some sins cut so deep into us and those around us that we are unwilling to leave them.  Adultery could be one of those situations.  A person who commits adultery is willing to betray the deepest commitment that they ever made.  If that becomes a joke how can they ever be trusted again.

So?  The good news is that God can see our hearts and know if our repentance is genuine.  Keep in mind that your neighbor does not have that advantage and while God may forgive you, he won’t. 

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Stretching It

(Pro 5:1 KJV) My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:

If I were translating this I think I would use a different word for “incline” (5186).  There is a wide range of meanings and one that is missed in these is the idea of reaching out or stretching.  Sometimes we need to put a little effort into understanding what God is saying to us.  That is one reason that multiple translations can help and even a paraphrase can bring insight. 

Have you ever tried to sweep a throw rug?  How does that work for you?  For me it is a waste of time.  It is also counter-productive to use a vacuum.  I think the best method is to pick it up, take it out the door and give it a hearty shake.  Sometimes wisdom is that way.

So?  Act like you are trying to get that last bit of spaghetti sauce out of the corner of your plate.  Don’t be satisfied until you have it all. 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Live Wise

(Pro 4:10 KJV) Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.

Wisdom will lengthen your life.  Is it magic?  Is this superstitious mumbo jumbo?  Is it an empty hope?  No, it is an obvious truth.  Wisdom is the quality that observes, compiles and acts on what goes on around us.  Wisdom knows the difference between an empty wish and a solid conclusion.  Wisdom is at the root of the scientific method because the scientific method is rooted in the Biblical view of God.  You probably won’t want to say that in your science class but that is wisdom too.

The only reason we can use the scientific method of proofs and experiment is because we believe in an immutable God who created the universe and maintains it in His hand.  If that is not the case then Mother Nature could decide at any moment to make electricity behave different at any time and turn off the law of gravity. 

So?  If you know the tune you can tell when you hit the wrong note.  Wisdom helps you do that in life and keeps you alive longer. 

Friday, July 3, 2020

Signs of the Times

(Pro 3:8 KJV) It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Maybe we need to relabel our churches.  You have seen the humor in the memes where churches were putting up signs saying they were Walmarts or abortion clinics so they could stay open during the virus panic.  Maybe we could put up signs claiming to be health spas.  This verse is advertising the benefits of trusting the Lord and acquiring wisdom.  It makes you healthier, or is the proper form more healthy?

If I remember correctly I have read that people who attend church live longer, have better marriages and are generally happier than those who don’t.  If you consider how many go to church without being believers then it says a lot for the benefits of living right.

So?  Make a healthy choice.  Stick with it.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Accurate or Acceptable

(Pro 2:1 KJV) My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;

This is a good place to check and see if your translation is concerned with being accurate or being culturally appropriate.  Does your Bible read “My son” or “My child”?  The word in the Hebrew is [ben] (1121) which is clearly not generic.  It is specific. 

This is important because if the translators are going to be true to the truth, they need to respect the right of God to say what He means, not what their sociology professor wants Him to mean.  There are places where translating this as “child” might be appropriate but when you have Solomon addressing his male child, it is not one of them.  If you are not mature enough to get past the mind set of gender studies then you need to spend a bit more time in prayer to the Father.

So?  All translations are not equal.  It is hard enough to find and understand truth without scholars substituting their wisdom for the words of the Almighty.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Tissue Shock

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

When teaching middle school I would often have students approach me wanting me to use my magic powers to produce a tissue for them.  I would often reach into my back pocket, pull out my handkerchief, and offer to share.  They would recoil in horror.  Then I would blow my nose and put it back in my pocket.  They would look on in disbelief.

First a science lesson.  The handkerchief was loaded with my germs.  I doubt if I am going to get sick with my germs.  I was not worried for myself but I understand them not wanting to use it.

Second, a little history.  I used to have tissue.  I was even foolish enough one time to bring a box from home so my little darlings would not go without.  Then came the second day of school.  I watched as they would reach out, take a large handful of tissue, blow once and throw it all away.  Then they would reach for another handful.  I had paid for that tissue and they were acting like tissue welfare queens.  I stopped bringing my tissue for them to use.  So I began requesting it from the school.  The office would give me one box at a time and limit how often I could get one.  I took to handing them out, one tissue at a time.  When they ran out, they ran out.  I reminded the students that they had sleeves.

So?  God may have sympathy for our spiritual runny noses.  There comes a time when He will harden His heart because He can see ours.  God does not play games.