An Idea Borrowed

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

Tuesday, February 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.