(Pro 31:22 KJV) She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
I have a problem. I tend to judge people who like nice things. I honestly do not understand objects like necklaces and bracelets. What does a brooch add to life? Beyond saying I am married, why would I want to put a piece of metal around my finger and decorate it with expensive jewels? I can understand down jackets and leather gloves. They have a function. As I said, I have a problem.
This lady knew how to dress and if you read the whole thing you find that she dressed her family in the same way. I have to assume it wasn’t because she was impressed with fine fabric as much as she wanted the community to know that she cared about her family and the impression she made regarding her family. You could also assume that she dressed well to reflect on her husband. There is a lesson there.
So? I for one should get more serious about how I dress and whether my hair is combed. It isn’t so much that I care what people think of me but I do care what they think of the God I serve. He does not want me gaudy but He does want me to reflect His care.
Friday, December 31, 2021
Godly, Not Gaudy
(Pro 31:22 KJV) She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
Thursday, December 30, 2021
(Pro 30:29 KJV) There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going:
Three, or four, things are listed as “comely” (stately NASB) (3190). I want to go with the NASB translation today. It would seem that being stately is an impressive thing to look at. As you look at the examples that follow you can see that the first three are of little consequence unless you are in the wrong place at the wrong time and then you won’t be admiring how they look. Even a king can look good but be a butchering barbarian.
So? Don’t be impressed by what you see. That is extra true in this day of air brushing, photo shop, dubbing, cosmetics, plastic surgery and lip-syncing. Look to the inner measures that show a heart and mind in communion with the God of the universe.
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Embracing the Bag
(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.
As we approach the new year it is a time to look around you with honest eyes. The trend setters and public molders are set on a path that means destruction to you and me. They are determined to drive God and His people out. They have started with the public square. We have seen such simple things as changing “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays.” Who could object. The season starts with Thanksgiving and stretches to New Years. For some it starts with Halloween and goes to Valentine’s Day. Why be so focused? They have banned the Nativity from public places and censored valedictorians who wished to express their faith in God.
The battle is being waged. We are finding out what happens when they have a war and you don’t show up. You are steamrollered. And it will get worse. They are now closing down your churches, muzzling your pulpits and coming for your children.
So? It is time to take a stand, but that has always been true. Keep in mind that you cannot embrace a bag of manure without getting some of the smell on you. When you carpet your living room with it, well, you can come to your own conclusions. Keep in mind that too much manure can kill your lawn.
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
Take a Deep Breath
(Pro 28:10 KJV) Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.
As I am bombarded with the examples of corruption in high places I tend to get discouraged. I wonder if there is any reason to keep taking the high road. Recently an organization that I held in the highest regard has started down the road of compromise and anti-God thinking. I am almost ready to buy a little cabin in Alaska and retreat from life.
Almost, but not quite. The verse also has the promise in it. You find both sides of this life experience in the Bible. We are warned of the evil around us. We are called to be salt and light. We are promised that God will redeem us and the situation.
So? This is the time of the year to be reminded of the past in the Christmas story. God became man. It is a time to build confidence in the God of the New Year. If you have extra time off begin to develop the habits that keep you in tune with God’s Providence.
Monday, December 27, 2021
Consequences of Foolishness
(Pro 27:13 KJV) Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.
Have you ever had someone ask you a question and you frustrate them by answering, “It depends.” This verse reminds us that when you develop a response based on the Bible you need to take what is called “the whole counsel of God.” That means you need to understand what the verse actually says and know the qualifications that are given other places. An example of the first is the KJV translation of “Thou shall not kill” which is really “Thou shall not murder.” See the difference?
An example of the second would be isolating verses that deny free will and ignoring all the ones that say God gives us choices. This verse is in that category. If you read the Bible you find cautions about taking someone’s coat for an unpaid debt. Here it seems to be acceptable. You need the context. The previous verse seems to draw the line for this verse with those who are in debt because they refuse to grow up and be responsible.
So? In many cases it is better to err on the side of compassion. In others, like this, doing that can cause them more damage because they refuse to learn the lessons. We are all teachers in some way and our lessons can be life changers.
Sunday, December 26, 2021
Merry Day After
(Pro 26:2 KJV) As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.
Two thoughts, are there curses out there just wandering around looking for a landing place? Are curses a part of the natural world?
My background is devoid of conscious superstition. Yes, I chanted, “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.” Yes, I often believed I needed to not bad mouth my car when I was driving. But when it comes to a belief in seven years bad luck, black cats or general curses, not so much. A verse like this makes me wonder. It equates “curses” (7045) with birds flying around. You usually don’t notice them as they are “flitting” (5110). This would seem to say that there are random, unattached curses flying by my head on a regular basis.
If that is true then the second thought brings me comfort. If the curse is “causeless” (without cause NASB) (2600) it will be like truth with a liberal theology professor. If you are superstitious this is just another reason for you to live righteously.
So? How many reasons do you need? Of course all the righteous living in eternity will not save you from Hell without the blood of Jesus. Merry Day-After-Christmas.
Saturday, December 25, 2021
(Pro 25:17 KJV) Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.
Lets take a look at this from the opposite direction. This is very pertinent over the Thanksgiving to New Years season. It is clear that we are being warned about being a pest. Got it. What also is important is our response to the pest. We all have them in our lives either on a regular basis or at unforeseen moments. I am thinking about how I should be responding to this kind of person.
One of the great devises of modern technology is caller ID. I am sure you have never done this but it is possible to ignore someone if you don’t want to talk to them. I use it all the time for spam. So far I don’t have a lot of memory of ignoring people because I am in a bad mood or they create a bad mood. I think it might be justified if you have people who call and talk about nothing for hours.
When they show up at the door it is a bit more dicey. If you are having that type of relative over for Christmas then get yourself ready now. We need to respond through both the definition of agape, long suffering, and the admonition to not spend a lot of time with fools.
So? Again, no one said walking in righteousness would be easy. Engage your mind, listen to the Spirit and be Godly.
Friday, December 24, 2021
A Pesky Gerund
(Pro 24:34 KJV) So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.
In comparing the KJV and NASB and looking at the definitions of the word “one that travelleth” (robber NASB) (1980) I was having a bit of conflict. The definition is to “come, walk, go.” After comparing it to my different translations and checking the marginal note in the NASB I realized that this was a case where a verb was being used as a noun, a gerund? Thus we have the idea of a traveler and that morphed into a roving vagrant.
One of the thoughts that came to me was something Thomas Sowell points out in various places. He says that wealth comes and goes and when economists who are trying to manipulate the narrative talk about the poor and the rich they ignore the fact that these groups are constantly changing. The poor of one generation often become the rich of the next and we all know of stories where the spoiled rich heir blows it all. The point being made here is that one of the ways in which you can make solvency depart and destitution arrive is too many naps. In a word, sloth.
So? Don’t base your political or spiritual positions in life on the definitions given to you by pagans or pseudo-Christian scholars. Or is it Christian pseudo-scholars? I would put my money on pseudo-Christian pseudo-scholars. Build principles and priorities based on the Bible not your college professor.
Thursday, December 23, 2021
(Pro 23:13-14 KJV) Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
Verses 13 and 14 go together. They are the result of having the right understanding of priorities and reality. If children are not taught right from wrong then they are being given what could be behind Door Two, an all expense trip to Hell. By teaching them eternal truths you are giving them the material that is necessary to make an informed choice.
How do you approach the events of life as delivered by our culture. We are coming up on the date that the Western Church celebrates the birth of Jesus. Although the date is arbitrary the event it celebrates is not and the reason for that event is vital to each person’s eternal destiny. If we allow our children to absorb the holiday of our secular culture they miss the whole point of the manger: It was the opening scene in the story of the cross. God had to become man in order to be able to die. The only sacrifice worthy enough to pay for our sin was the Perfect Lamb of God.
So? Teach your children well. Their eternal destiny depends on it.
Wednesday, December 22, 2021
(Pro 22:3 KJV) A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
As I look around and watch other people’s lives I see a lot of disasters and dysfunction. I see people who had all the temporal benefits that life can offer going down in flames. I wonder where it started. Were they destined by some mysterious act of God to misery? Was there a conspiracy that undermined them? I sometimes come to the conclusion that their failures are a result of having an open mind.
I say this because when I look at the possible definitions of “naive” (6612) I notice that “open mind” is on the list. What the ancients meant by this was a mind that was so open that it became empty. Everything that should have been stored up fled. The lessons that should have been remembered were forgotten. The principles that should have been internalize were rationalized away because their mind was open to foolish reasoning. An open mind is like an open balloon. It either holds nothing or has burst.
So? Fill your mind with the wisdom of the ages. I will let you guess where I think you should find that.
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
Don’t Be a Puppy
(Pro 21:2 KJV) Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
There is a reminder in this verse and it is at the beginning. We are reminded that we tend to see things through our own experiential filters. Those filters are woven naturally of pain and emotion. Maybe you are different but I tend to consult the facts in follow-up. This is why it is so important to keep in touch with the heart and mind of God. It helps us keep on the same page.
The second part points out that God can see better than we can. What I pick up from other places is that I can get a better idea of what He sees by study and meditation on His word. I may not know all that He knows but I can know the principles and standards by which He judges.
So? Trust. That is a basic ingredient, but don’t assume that means turning off your mind or your need to understand. If God had wanted mindless robots He would have made up puppy dogs instead of human infants marked by His image.
Monday, December 20, 2021
(Pro 20:1 KJV) Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
It is easy to get distracted by the example being used here. The misuse of alcohol is something that everyone can agree is not good. I phrase it that way because there are so many who are defensive about their drinking and another block that see booze as undiluted evil. I tend to be in the latter group. Don’t get distracted by the concrete example. Look to the principle that is expressed in “intoxicated” (7686). The word picture in this word has to do with the staggering drunk, weaving his way down the street. It means to stray. It is a common problem we have and we miss the point if we confine ourselves to getting drunk.
We are called to live righteous lives. There are many ways of contrasting righteousness with sin. You can have upright as opposed to crooked. You can have the KJV word I love, froward, as opposed to pure. The point being made here is that there are many choices and actions in life that can drag us off the path God wants us to follow.
So? Read the signs. Follow the directions. Stay in the right lane. Of course that assumes that your destination is eternal life. As usual, the choice is yours.
Sunday, December 19, 2021
Between the Lines
(Pro 19:23 KJV) The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.
As I read the headlines and watch unfolding stories I see government agencies abusing their power. I see at least the beginnings of a police state unfolding. Since I like to speak my mind and grew up assuming the protection of the Bill of Rights, this generates a bit of dread in my mind. This verse is offered as a bit of reassurance.
Because of other passages that promise persecution, examples of the trials Paul faced and a reading of church history, I can’t get too cavalier about this but there is a promise here. “Evil” (7451b) [ra] will not prevail.
So? Read the headlines and between the lines. Prepare. Be ready. Don’t panic or live crippled by fear.
Saturday, December 18, 2021
(Pro 18:6 KJV) A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.
In this verse and the next a fool’s “mouth” (6310) is the focus. At other places in Proverbs the mouth is given good reviews. When I did a search I found that the English word “mouth” was used 46 times in Proverbs. It is another one of those words that depend on context for its understanding.
God gives us gifts. They can be gifts of the Spirit or an unexpected check. The big question is how we use them and there are a lot of significant long term results for our choices. We can be a “fool” like this verse speaks of or we can we wise. So often the choice is up to us. I remember my motorcycle days. A friend bought one the same time I did. His blew up within a short time and mine just kept on running. The difference was how we used this piece of metal and plastic.
So? I have another day given to me. How will I use it? Will I rejoice and spend it wisely or fall into a funk. As usual the choice is mine.
Friday, December 17, 2021
Pray for Pain
(Pro 17:10 KJV) A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.
One of the commercials that used to run was a statement that comes from a German proverb I learned in junior high. The English translation is expressed in the commercial as, “No pain, go gain.” The reference is to physical training. If you don’t make your muscles work they will not get stronger. If you cross a certain line there is discomfort. I remember that such a simple thing as starting to walk as exercise caused my legs to ache.
Keep in mind that pain can be good. We usually associate pain with something being wrong but miss the fact that that is good. Leprosy is a condition that causes major damage because you stop feeling pain. I think that diabetics also face severe potential problems with their feet because the nerves stop telling them that something is wrong.
So? When someone criticizes you, pay attention. It could very well be that you need to hear what is being said. It could have eternal consequences. It could be healing, but only if it goes deep enough to get to the problem.
Thursday, December 16, 2021
(Pro 16:20 KJV) He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.
This is a great verse but it is richer when you consider the context and the questions it answers. If you look back over the preceding verses you see reference to arrogance, priorities and prosperity. I ask myself, “How do I know if I am arrogant?” Often we ignore the quality when everyone around us sees it. Conversely, arrogance is often a pejorative term used to describe someone who is keyed into truth and following God’s directions.
I remember one time a man in the church came to me to talk about my arrogance. He was not accusing me of it but he had heard others commenting. We spent a positive and constructive time reviewing who had made the accusation, what they felt I was arrogant about and what was the Biblical basis for our positions. Notice the key in this verse to finding out if you are arrogant or not: the “word” (1697). After considering the situation and what the Bible said he concluded that I was not being arrogant, just Biblical.
So? It is not always easy or comforting to be the one who stands up for the standards of the Bible. We expect that in public but are often surprised when it happens in the church. Don’t stick to your guns, stick to the word.
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Hell Is Real
(Pro 15:24 KJV) The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.
I don’t spend a lot of time focused on “hell” (7585). The NASB “Sheol” is a transliteration of the Hebrew. I don’t brood about Sheol either. I tend to focus on the first part of the verse. I don’t understand hell but I believe in it. If there was no other reason to embrace faith in Christ this would be enough. It always amazes me how many people seem to be choosing eternal damnation. They will even joke about it.
So? It might do us some good to remind ourselves that Hell is a reality and that people we care about will be going there if they don’t repent. I think we would get more serious about our witness if we kept it in mind.
Tuesday, December 14, 2021
Walk, Don’t Run
(Pro 14:7 KJV) Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
What does it mean to “go from” (leave NASB) (1980)? We are often in situations where we have little freedom of movement. It could be short term or long term. The long term, permanent connections can often not be changed. Relatives are hard to walk away from. In some cases you cannot quit your job and the church you are at may not have anything close in the area. As I look at the definitions of “leave” they all seem to be some form of walking, no running. This speaks to me of doing what I can in the basic, simple acts of life to distance myself from those who tend to drag us down.
There are passive ways in which we can improve our atmosphere. We can stop initiating contacts. We can make choices when they are offered instead of saying, “I don’t care.” We can offer options when prompted. The recommendation is to keep moving in the right direction.
So? It all starts with admitting to ourselves that there are some people and groups that are not good for our spiritual lives. It continues with that statement that talks about having the wisdom to know the difference between what we can change and what we can’t.
Monday, December 13, 2021
(Pro 13:21 KJV) Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.
Is this a promise or a principle? I guess in a sense it is both. It is a principle because we know the Bible talks about persecution. One example of this,
(Mat 24:9 KJV) Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.But there are also the promises that God will be with us through the entire journey. I think that as a general rule those who are walking as God has directed will see a lot less of the evils that life can dish out than those living in rebellion. Think of the diseases that righteous living shields us from.
So? Living righteously has an eternal payoff but also a temporal, daily benefit. Believe it. Live it today.
Sunday, December 12, 2021
(Pro 12:1 KJV) Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.
If you compare the two translations I am using you see either “instruction” (4148) (KJV) or “discipline” (NASB). These two words seem to be used interchangeably in the Bible but this is another area that runs counter to our popular culture. I hope you notice how often that takes place. How are they different? One of the common phrases you hear now in education is that learning should be fun. I will concede that on the lower levels it is possible to construct games that will teach. There are times when it will be fun but that is not something to build a philosophy of education on.
The Hebrew word used here has the idea of the old song that has the line, “taught to the tune of a hickory stick.” One of the sad truths is that people often need some reinforcement in order to focus on learning. Did I say “often”? I should have said “usually.”
So? Be careful what mindless drivel you parrot from the public square. It may feel good but that may just be an anesthetic, not a vitamin.
Saturday, December 11, 2021
(Pro 11:13 KJV) A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
I don’t consider myself a gossip. That does not mean much because most people would deny the accusation about themselves. Yet we always hear people telling tales out of school. I know that I find myself saying more than I intended when I let my mouth run faster than my brain. Usually it is no big deal but I always wonder what will happen to my words down the road.
One reason it is better to not share things about others, or even yourself, is that the person you tell may have their own spin on your words. Have you ever had the experience of someone quoting you and what they say is not what you remember saying? It probably isn’t, but that does not keep them from passing on their version.
So? Maybe the times of sitting around with friends are not as glorious as the garrulous like to claim. Maybe we should all be more the strong, silent type. Maybe.
Friday, December 10, 2021
(Pro 10:22 KJV) The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
Have you ever had to make a decision and wondered if you did the right thing. Often there is no way to change what you have done but you can learn for next time. Ask yourself if your decision turned out to be a “blessing” (1293) or a curse. The time you need to wait will vary. The amount of damage or blessing will always be different. The ability to learn from your mistakes will hopefully grow with experience.
It is possible that you may think you messed up. Measure the “sorrow” (6089a) to see if that is the case. If you look prayerfully you may find that the blessings more than outweigh the problems.
So? Keep in mind that God is patient and wants for us to succeed. He is also very good at taking what we think are mistakes and bringing good things from them.
Thursday, December 9, 2021
Our Future Is Here
(Pro 9:18 KJV) But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.
It strikes me that this verse is in the present tense. It speaks of eternal damnation in a place you can call “hell” (7585) (KJV) or “Sheol” (NASB). One translation has “underworld” and another “nether-world”. The destination is clear but look at the verb, “are”. That means right now. They have just been summoned and responded. I think there is an indication that the devastation of hell begins while you are still living and breathing.
Just look around you at the people living in fear. I have never understood the draw of drugs but again, look around you. It seems to be everywhere. People are desperate. The answer is right in front of them but is rejected because they seem to like living in their self-embraced lostness.
So? Those who know the joy of the Lord understand that we are just seeing a glimpse of glory at this point, but what a glimpse! The same long term view is in the eyes, minds and hearts of those who reject the promise. Until they decide to change there is little that can be done for them.
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Some Things Never Change
(Pro 8:13 KJV) The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
Everywhere I look I see “fear” (3374). This is not uncommon but today as the government and media push the narrative of a vicious, deadly virus the fear level ratchets up. The Bible takes disease seriously. If you read the Law you see how infections and rashes were to be examined by the local medical authority, which was the priest in those days, and treated following the directions of the informed person. Sometimes quarantine was imposed. It usually involved washing. I seem to remember certain procedures involving medicines, but I am not sure about that. The important feature that was emphasized over and over was that God was in charge of the healing. The message of the Bible that we need not live in fear if we follow God’s instructions.
If you look at the many times that Israel was threatened you will notice some things vary and others never change. The ones that vary are the actual responses. Sometimes Israel it told to fight; other times, submit. What never changes is that they are to fear and trust the Lord however He chooses to work things out.
So? Fear. Hate. The world gets them backwards. Make sure you don’t.
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Lock ‘em Up
(Pro 7:22 KJV) He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;
Today I read the phrase “discipline of a fool” in the NASB and it struck a cord in my mind. I was thinking in terms of the kind of self discipline that is necessary to be successful in life and it would seem that fools don’t have any. Alas, I looked at the KJV and it talked about the “correction of the stocks.” Both translations are looking at the same Hebrew. My confusion was that I was thinking of “discipline” (4148) as a positive thing but the word can also refer to actions that try to knock sense into us. The word has the idea of chastening and correction more than getting up on time.
So? The point Proverbs makes is that there are fools and we need strong measures to keep them in line. Too often we promote them and elect them to office. We give them another chance when we should be locking them up. There are times when it is a hard call to make but we need to work on our wisdom to figure it out.
Monday, December 6, 2021
(Pro 6:13 KJV) He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;
As I read this in the NASB it spoke of “signals” (4448b). The margin tells us it is literally “scrapping”. The KJV has “speaketh”. One thing that I notice is that if there is a 4448b there must be a 4448a. I think it is another case of the many possible understandings of the English word “can”. Either translation get across the point that we can get a lot of things across without saying a word. One of the reasons I don’t like the telephone for communication is that you can’t read body language or facial expressions.
What was hitting me on this today is how much of my witnessing is expressed by the way I move or don’t move. People watch me. I don’t have much contact with generic pagans but when I do I would prefer that my persona say something to them about my confidence in my Savior.
So? To say, “Smile” seems a bit patronizing. Let’s just hope that the inner peace and joy will be transferred to our eyes, feet and fingers. They tell us depression goes up during the holiday seasons. Let’s let them know that within us it is “Joy to the World” and the reason is “the Lord is come.” Notice it is not “did” or “has” but “is”. Be an Is person today.
Sunday, December 5, 2021
Keep Living the Freedom
(Pro 5:22 KJV) His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.
As I reread this verse the words of a song flashed in my head,
Once I was bound by sin's galling fetters;As one who has been washed in the blood my joy is in the last two lines of this first verse of “Glorious Freedom”. As one who is looking at what is wrong with the world I focus on the first two lines. Our world, our country, our city and possibly our church are locked in the fetters of sin. The lies of Satan have “captured” (3920) them.
Chained like a slave, I struggled in vain.
But I received a glorious freedom
When Jesus broke my fetters in twain.
When you talk to people who reject everything you believe in, keep in mind that their ability to think has been bogged down with sin. Usually that is by their own choice. Many have heard the gospel and been told about the Redeemer but they are not interested. That does not take away from the fact that you see reality. Keep talking about your freedom. Keep rejoicing in your trials. Keep pouring it on.
So? What better time than the Christmas season to talk about what happened when God became man. Keep in mind that the manger is the first step to the cross. Read the words of the carols and rejoice in the freedom of your mind as well as your soul.
Saturday, December 4, 2021
(Pro 4:1 KJV) Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
We all have times when we don’t “attend” (give attention NASB) (7181). There are sometimes legitimate reasons for this. Back when I was still flying I would generally tune out the flight attendants as they showed me how to buckle a seat belt. If I am calling in to a robot that wants to direct my call, after the third time I don’t need to listen to the canned directions. When my wife is telling me what she did all day after I have listened to her tell her friends on the phone, I don’t need to focus too much. I also tend to not listen when I don’t want to hear what is being said.
Do you want to hear what God is saying to you? That seems rhetorical but I am not sure it is. Many standards and expectations are clearly spelled out in the Bible and yet we still have people ignoring them. Some of the best preaching I have heard, or at least I thought it was good, goes ignored by people who attend every Sunday.
So? Sit up and pay attention when God is speaking. That could mean putting your phone away during worship. It could mean engaging your mind when you are reading. It is a reminder directed at you and, unfortunately, me.
Friday, December 3, 2021
Stocking Up and Taking Stock
(Pro 3:33 KJV) The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.
Everywhere I turn I see reasons to worry. As I write the Chinese are rattling their sabers and salivating over Taiwan. Cargo ships are backed up on the west coast and we are warned of shortages. That may not be a big deal if it involves bicycle parts but hits home if you need new shoes. Government officials are doubling down on mandates about injecting chemicals into our children. We are in hurricane season. My wife is in a bad mood. You know of what I write.
As I was spending my morning on a dark porch I was reminded of all the promises that I keep reading in Proverbs and Psalms. To be honest, if you pay attention there are also mentions of oppression and persecution but the end promise is what we see in this verse. God will take care of His people. It may not be the way you want but He will watch over us.
So? Relax. Stock up on basics. If you have a fireplace, lay in some wood. Lock your doors. Be alert when you are out at night. While you do that realize that you will have the hand of Providence riding shotgun. Rejoice in the Advent season.
Thursday, December 2, 2021
(Pro 2:16 KJV) To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;
I am reminded of the importance of adjectives. Remember that an adjective is a word that modifies a noun. Here the noun is “woman” (802). This is a basic Hebrew word that is used 776 times in the Old Testament. The overwhelming translations are variations of “woman” and “wife”. It is a noble, honorable word, then you add the adjective and it changes the whole formula. It is kind of like putting salt in the sugar bowl. By the time you wake up to reality, it is too late.
Keep in mind that most sin involves actions that God has blessed being put in motion at the wrong time, place or target. I have said it before. I will say it again. Satan takes God’s blessings and perverts them into destruction. You can apply that in the Christmas season. It can effect the gifts you buy and why you give them. It can make the music a blessing or a desensitizing dirge.
So? Check your adjectives. Make sure that the modifiers in your life are righteous.
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
(Pro 1:10 KJV) My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
Each month begins with Proverbs chapter 1. It is loaded. One of the points it makes is that our lives are full of choices. We make them moment by moment. Some are less than earth shaking. This morning I decided to put cinnamon on my oatmeal again. It didn’t change my life in spite of the articles I have read about the therapeutic benefits of the spice. Later I will decide if I am going to walk or not. If you think about it we constantly make exercise of our will and preferences.
Some of out choices are moral. Some are significant in other areas. One of the details I see in the Bible is the matter of free will, our “consent” (14). Behaviorists tell us everything is a combination of heredity and environment. Hard core Calvinists tell us that it is all grace. My Bible says I make choices. This word does not just mean mouthing the word “yes”. It means to be willing, to desire.
So? As we begin a new month, what is the desire of your heart? Is it to grow in grace, to please you Maker? Is it just to get by and squeeze through the pearly gates by the skin of your teeth? Choose wisely because you might have a tooth ache on judgement day.
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Start at the Beginning
(Pro 30:24 KJV) There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:
When I think of wisdom I usually focus on profound and lofty thoughts. This series of verses seems to focus on the basics. There is nothing overwhelming or out of reach in what is taking place. I have a inclination to say, “Yeah. Big deal. So what?”
I think part of the lesson being given here is that wisdom starts in the small things. When I was first planning on the discipline of rising early to spend time with the Lord I found it very hard to get up. Eventually it dawned on me, or the Holy Spirit finally got my attention, that if you want to get up early you need to go to bed early. It seems obvious now but I don’t know how many times I failed because of it. Our lives are full of simple little bits of wisdom.
So? Apply what you know. Don’t wait to finish your graduate degree in philosophy. In reality it will make you educated but not necessarily wise.
Monday, November 29, 2021
Question of Priorities
(Pro 29:26 KJV) Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the LORD.
What we are dealing with here involves priorities. While we are told by Paul to be subject to the governing authorities and Jesus said to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, there is always the qualifying statement by Peter and John,
(Act 4:19 KJV) 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.We need to keep in mind that we are ultimately citizens of the Kingdom of God and only temporarily of the Republic. Governments come and go but God is forever.
So? When there is conflict, follow the Lord’s direction. Make sure that you know enough about the Lord’s word to know His direction.
Sunday, November 28, 2021
(Pro 28:9 KJV) He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
If this were written in Greek I think the action of “listening” (8085) would be in the present tense rather than the aorist. The present tense in Greek carries the idea of continued action. There is a value in returning repeatedly to basic ideas. We tend to forget. We fudge. We rationalize. We have all kinds of ways to adjust unchanging truth to fit our special situation. If we make it a habit of going back and paying attention, we are returned back to the default setting.
Every time I get a new computer I have to learn new ways to do things. Usually that means finding the basic commands on the new system. When I update my word processing software I always am forced to consider the default settings and how to adjust them for the way I do business. We can fall into that norm in our spiritual life. What we need to do is go back and see how we were programmed at the start.
So? Keep checking. If you see something that doesn’t match up, it isn’t the Bible that has changed.
Saturday, November 27, 2021
(Pro 27:12 KJV) A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.
I compared the KJV and NASB in this verse and I see a difference in tense. The NASB says “sees” (7200) while the KJV says “foreseeth”. This is a very common Hebrew word, 1308 usages, and only twice is it translated “foreseeth” by the KJV. I think you can get the time element by the context. You would not know to hide unless you were looking ahead a little bit.
Keep in mind that the men of Israel were called out to war on a regular basis. This is not a demand that we avoid any kind of danger. There are times when duty calls. What we are to be doing is watching ahead for trouble. If you are driving through a strange neighborhood and see a riot going on use your head. Don’t quote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death....” Turn around.
So? Is there a problem with common sense? There is no glory it going face to face with evil. Sometimes we can’t avoid it but when we can, we should.
Friday, November 26, 2021
(Pro 26:1 KJV) As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.
We are warned about calling someone a “fool” (3685).
(Mat 5:22 KJV) But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.At the same time we are here being warned against fools. Maybe the warning is about going public with someone being a fool because of the possible backlash. Proverbs makes a big deal about fools. If you read on in this chapter you can see it is a theme.
We are giving repeated warnings about trusting fools, arguing with fools, hiring fools. What we need to remember is that in Proverbs fools are defined as people who have rejected the wisdom of God.
So? When you vote for or support anyone for a position you are expected to take a look at their spiritual life. Often it will make no difference because all choices are fools. In that case look for the one that is the least foolish. If we want revival in our land we need to begin to take stands and make decisions based on God’s standards.
Thursday, November 25, 2021
A Legacy of Feasting
(Pro 25:16 KJV) Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.
I would guess that many people will not have any “honey” (1706) on the table for Thanksgiving. There will be a lot of other things though. There will be nay-sayers who will lament the gluttony of the Thanksgiving meal. There are constant debates about whether the day started with the Pilgrims. There is a lot of confusion in our country about whom we are thanking. All well and good but remember that feasting and celebration are part of our heritage. I just read about how Solomon dedicating the temple.
(2Ch 7:5 KJV) And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.Then it goes on to talk about the singing and music. Some people don’t understand the festivities here. The animals were sacrificed to God but there was no “waste” involved. A little further down we read,
(2Ch 7:9 KJV) And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.They feasted for seven days on the meat that was produced. Keep in mind that most, if not all of Israel was gathered for this event so there might not have been enough steak to go around for everyone.
So? They celebrated with music and lots of food. Enjoy the day as we unite in an emphasis on our thanks to God for His bounty. And remember the frosting on the cake: After dinner you can put on the Christmas music.
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Its Only a Little One
(Pro 24:33 KJV) Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
Today this speaks to me, not in a still small voice but with thunder. I am retired. I am getting old. I really enjoy my afternoon nap. At first I read this and feel guilty. I get over it when I realize I am retired and old. Naps can be a part of a healthy afternoon. What thunders at me is the extra time when I sit and drift off when I know there are things I should be doing. Confession time. I hope that confession will be a motivator.
So? I need to make my naps like the old commercial line, “But you can’t take just one.”
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
(Pro 23:12 KJV) Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
Translators. You got to love them. You got to hate them. You got to have them. I guess the alternative is to spend years studying Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Notice the word “apply” (935). The basic meaning of the word is “to come”. It also means “to go”. Go figure. The Greek has a similar word, the first word I learned when taking Greek, erchomai. It also means to come and to go. I think the basic idea is to change your position in relation to something. This is the only place that it is translated “apply”. On the other hand it is translated “come” or “came” over 1,200 times. So lets do a Pumice Pathetic Paraphrase and say this should start,
(Pro 23:12a PPP) Charge toward discipline,...That is not the usual way we approach it. We avoid it as much as we can. Maybe that need to change.
So? Some skills will never be learned unless we avidly apply ourselves. I am sorry but in spite of what educators may tell you, all learning is not fun.
Monday, November 22, 2021
(Pro 22:2 KJV) The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.
So many things are pulling us apart as a nation. We have a new racism trying to divide us. We are turned against each other on taxing the “rich”. We have government policies pushing to force communities to accept public housing. We have the effort to marginalize people who have not had the government mandated drug doses. We need to embrace this reminder: God made us all.
Does that mean we should let child abusers work in our nursery? Don’t be simple minded. Does it mean that people who can’t count should be given positions in a bank. What have you been drinking? Does it mean that practicing homosexuals should be preaching in our churches? A pox upon you. Does it mean that we are to care about people even when they have those problems. Yes.
So? Don’t let artificial divisions keep us from caring about each other. God loved sinners enough for Jesus to go to the cross. That does not mean He will allow the unrepentant to spend eternity with Him.
Sunday, November 21, 2021
(Pro 21:1 KJV) The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
This is a reminder that we need. As much as it is important at all times, it is extra significant today. I don’t know about you but I look at our political leadership and shudder. Not only is there a lack of competence but there is a definite support of evil. I am not talking about whether they agree with me on deficit spending or green energy. I am talking about pushing an agenda that encourages abortion, racism, paganism and the list goes on.
The reminder that we need is God’s ability to deal with the “heart” (3820) of the president. Always remember that God could work through Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar. They may not have been men after God’s own heart but He could direct them anyway.
So? We need to keep praying for our leadership and assuming that God can, and will, move. It is possible that He is watching us to see if we are serious. Remember how few it would have taken to save Sodom.
Saturday, November 20, 2021
(Pro 20:30 KJV) The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.
One of the sad truths of life is that we often only learn through pain. When we were on vacation I fell hard. The reason was not physical. It was not paying attention. I was assuming that the builders of the strip mall had used a bit of common sense. Who would have imagined that in basically flat land they would put a step half way down the walk and not even put a yellow strip to make it visible. Of course, since I was looking up at the signs, I might not have seen the yellow stripe anyway. Two days later I turned to wave goodby and missed another step. Isn’t there a saying about twice bitten, once shy? Or was it once bitten, twice shy. Anyway, I am in hopes that I have learned my lesson.
So? Got any pain? Did it teach you anything? If not, then you may be in for another lesson.
Friday, November 19, 2021
(Pro 19:22 KJV) The desire of a man is his kindness: and a poor man is better than a liar.
As I observe the corruption and waste that is represented in our different levels of government I often wonder about paying taxes. When I see the ways in which the elites shield their wealth and manipulate the laws to their advantage I wonder about my attitude. I am not “poor” (7236) because of taxes, or at least not yet. I have less wealth because of the government demands but I am a long way from the bread lines. In spite of that I question the system and its basic dishonesty to those who work for a living.
In that regard I remember Jesus having a discussion about paying taxes. His final response was,
(Mat 22:21 KJV) They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.So? It still troubles me. It is one of many areas that I question and think as I follow the law. It is one of many. I keep hoping to find my own loopholes.
Thursday, November 18, 2021
Get under Their Skin
(Pro 18:5 KJV) It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.
We were having a discussion about replacing godless school boards with people who had some standards. One of the comments had to do with people will say anything to get elected. We have all seen this. I remember when I was a relatively new teacher we had a candidate who came and ask for the support of the teachers. He explained what he wanted to do and the changes he wanted to make. We got behind him and he won. The next day he did 180 degrees and marched in lock step with the ones we wanted out. He used us. Could we have seen through him? I don’t know.
We need to learn to look deeper. That is part of the concept here. The verse means to not accept people at face value. We all know how often we have been deceived and there are time that nothing will give us the information we need.
So? Be alert and listen to people who have some discernment. This applies to politics but even more in the church. It is so important to know the word, be in prayer and listen to the Holy Spirit.
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Prepping for the Holidays
(Pro 17:1 KJV) Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.
As I began reading this chapter the word “better” (2896a) stood out to me. I remembered that the formula in this verse had been repeated recently and when I looked I found this concept to be regular. Things are better when we put things in priority based on God’s standards. So often we look at the expectations of our friends, neighbors and family. It gets us off track because in the heat of the moment we forget that the God who made us knows what is best for us. When we get to church and face the same misguided priorities it is even harder to take.
The point here is avoiding the clamor of a large group. I have less trouble with this than some because I am by nature an introvert. Some people who are social animals might prefer the big family gathering or a church pot luck. I guess in defense of them it would be good to point out that the contrast is not reading a good book and a festival of joy but the danger of thinking the trade off of conflict with being out of the house is a loss.
So? If you are home by yourself, relax and rejoice. Thanksgiving is coming. If you are away from family then focus on the blessings of God and not the absence of friends. If you are blessed with a big gathering then be a peacemaker and oil on the waters.
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
(Pro 16:17 KJV) The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
We have a multitude of songs and sayings that talk about following Jesus. Good thought. We make a lot of decisions in life and knowing where righteousness leads is vital. One of the things that we may not allow for is that we can find ourselves on the wrong path. It can happen because life plays a trick on us. It can simply be because we had a laps of attention. I think of times when I get to daydreaming and drive past a turn I wanted to make. The key is to take corrective action.
I have never flown an airplane or steered a ship but my understanding is that constant corrections are necessary. Currents in the air or the water can push you off course. We do the same thing when driving. Usually in a car the corrections are automatic. In our spiritual walk it may be automatic also. If there is a big crosswind that pushes you off course then the word here is to “depart” (5493) from the path that leads to sin and get back where you belong.
So? The Christian life is referred to as “the Way,” not the Fourth Spiritual Law. It is a walk that expects us to pay attention and make adjustments. Momentary wrong paths are not an issue if we are paying attention and making the changes necessary.
Monday, November 15, 2021
(Pro 15:16 KJV) Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.
Do we really believe this? I guess what I am asking is, “Are we willing to accept this as a foundational position or do we only plug it in as a fall back.” There is a difference.
As Americans we believe in the “pursuit of happiness.” It says so right in the Declaration of Independence. One of the cornerstones of liberty is the right to follow our own dreams. It means that the world is our oyster. It means that the sky is the limit. We are frustrated when things don’t work out but since we are believers in the “prosperity gospel” as well as prosperity politics, we keep striving. Maybe next time. Maybe tomorrow.
And maybe not. The key here is living in the “fear” (3374) of the Lord. It means that we trust Him more than our government or our jobs. With that element in place we are ready and able to move forward.
So? Does this mean that we just kick back and let the grass grow? No. It means that we start from obedience and an understanding of priorities and then dream based on that.
Sunday, November 14, 2021
What Is Wrong with You?
(Pro 14:34 KJV) Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
What is the purpose of the Law? Where did I come up with that question? Well, if you don’t know what the rules are then you don’t know when you are breaking them. Have you ever been pulled over by the police and your excuse is, “I didn’t see the sign”? Usually it doesn’t matter. You may go back and look and there it is. You still got a ticket. Or have you ever tripped over something on a sidewalk that you did not see? It doesn’t matter, you still tripped.
In the same way we cannot expect our nation to be righteous if they don’t know what “righteousness” (6666) looks like. They need to know what is right and wrong. Paul puts it this way,
(Rom 7:7 KJV) What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.Part of our job as Christians is to be walking signposts about right and wrong. Notice I did not say, “Walking, talking.” We often do too much talking and answering questions that no one is asking.
So? Try this on for size. We are all concerned about the way our country is going. Next time you are in public let the joy of the Lord radiate through you and maybe, just maybe, someone will ask you, “What’s wrong with you?” It will give you a chance to tell what is right with you.
Saturday, November 13, 2021
Supersizing the Spiritual
(Pro 13:20 KJV) He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
Do you know anyone that you would consider wise? When I ask myself that question my initial reaction is a blank mind. One reason for that is my awareness of the limitations of the human mind and my skepticism. I find that I even question what I read in the Bible. I don’t question its truth but I am concerned about my understanding. Just today I read about David sending priests to the high places at Gibeon to offer up sacrifices (I Chronicles 16:39) right after he set up the Ark in Jerusalem. My mind goes back to all the Kings of Israel and Judah who were judged by God because they did not destroy the high places. I need to work this out and it isn’t even a major issue.
So who is wise? What I do know is that the masses don’t follow the wise. They tend to follow the showmen and entertainers whether they are in a pulpit or a movie.
So? It is okay to be a part of a small group if your basis for coming together is the central truth of God’s word. While it is possible for a large church to be Biblical the odds are against it.
Friday, November 12, 2021
(Pro 12:28 KJV) In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
As we read the Bible we come across many direct quotes from God and many proclamations that have the weight of God speaking. Often we come across statements that seem precipitous. If we take them in isolation they seem to be absolute and have a clear time frame. There are many of them and if you pick carefully you are able to make some decisive statements about doctrine, morality and eschatology. This is why we get an ever increasing number of denominations and many different schools of eschatology. Too frequently these pinnacles are reached by ignoring other verses and statements of God.
Here we have a reference to “life” (2416) being tied to “righteousness” (6666). You cannot deny the connection; it comes up too frequently. The question is the timing. This verse gives us a clue which we often do not find. That clue comes in the promise of “no” (408) “death” (4194). Since there are numerous references to people who are righteous and none of the ones mentioned in the Old Testament, except possibly Enoch and Elijah, are alive today, the death referred to here must involve eternity, not temporal existence.
So? Make sure that you allow the Bible to explain itself. Keep in mind that most of the authorities, including me, have a point of view and seem to have spots on their spiritual retinas that have been burned out.
Thursday, November 11, 2021
Ichabod or Upright
(Pro 11:11 KJV) By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
Most people I know well enough to be honest with feel that the country is in a handbasket and ignoring where it is going. It seems like everything is crumbling around us. People are living in fear, even those who claim to know the Lord. You can hear it in their voices and see it in their eyes. What has brought us to this condition?
The failure of the church is the primary cause. By “church” I mean both the organized church and the body of believers that are the real church. We have ceased being the “upright” (3477). We have been working overtime to blend in and avoid controversy. We have substituted a Hollywood god for the God of the Bible. Jesus would use the image of salt.
(Mat 5:13 KJV) Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.I have been saying it for years. The church has ceased being the church and our culture has been on a downhill rush ever since.
Is it too late to recover? I have no idea. God is patience but there comes a time when He declares “Ichabod”.
So? Responsibility starts at home. I need to be salt. You need to be salt. God has shown that if enough of His people will be upright, He will withhold His hand of judgement.
Wednesday, November 10, 2021
(Pro 10:21 KJV) The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.
As I read through this chapter today the contrasts stand out. They each have a bit of a different emphasis but the point is that the “righteous” (6662) of the world make a difference and it is a good difference. Think of all the little things that are done by good people. They wash their hands before they fix you a sandwich. They return the book you wanted to check out at the library. They only take one parking space.
Think of all the things they don’t do that make life more pleasant. They don’t open ice cream containers at the store, lick them and put them back on the shelf. They don’t play their music loud in the middle of the night. I might go so far as to say they don’t leave the toilet seat up, at least not on purpose.
So? Most of us will not be the hero that saves someone from a racing train. All of us can do the little things that keeps society running. That is part of what God wants to see.
Tuesday, November 9, 2021
(Pro 9:17 KJV) Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
It should not be surprising how often a verse brings out the same thought, even when separated by years. I think as I was reading this my under-mind was thinking about the need to curb my appetite and keep my diabetes at bay. Whatever the reason I again heard that old quote echoing in my mind, “If it feels good it is probably bad for you.” It have various versions but the point is that we are attracted to things that will destroy us.
I guess it might be a good rule of thumb to be suspicious of anything that is attractive. If you worry about MSG then be leery of Chinese food that tastes too good. If you are still single and dating, keep in mind how much money is spent on cosmetics and clothing. If you are wanting to walk with Jesus beware of anything that sounds congruent with the world around you.
So? Be vigilant. It is possible to make the right choices but it is also easy to be deceived.
Monday, November 8, 2021
The Problem of Accountability
(Pro 8:1 KJV) Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
I hope you realize that this is a rhetorical question. It should be one that we are not even tempted to answer because it is so obvious. Unfortunately that is not the case for everyone. The law and commandment are saturated with wisdom but people don’t want to be bound. The teachings of Jesus are dripping with wisdom but are ignored. Righteous living is anchored in wisdom, yet so many drift.
The problem that some face is accountability. Answers are available, but many people don’t want them. You see, if you know that the cookies are off limits then you might not have an excuse for having one. If you ignore that dinner is almost ready, you can have a little snack. If you don’t want to accept delayed gratification you see no problem with promiscuity.
So? Keep in mind that whether you acknowledge gravity or not, you will still fall if you step off a roof.
Sunday, November 7, 2021
(Pro 7:16 KJV) I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.
We tend to make excuses for our team. Parents are known to ignore the tantrums of their children. Grandparents are even worse. Aren’t they cute? Actually, no. A child dumping their milk out on the floor because they don’t want it should only happen once. We tend to make excuses.
One type of excuse is what might be called class or quality. One approach is to pretty sin up with emotion: Fornication is good if we really love each other, I really fell in love with that car I can’t afford, they are so cute it won’t make any difference. The excuses go on. Just because sin is disguised by fancy words or pretty faces does not make it any less sin. Twisting scripture to justify what is clearly evil does not make it any less damning.
So? Be honest with yourself. The standards of God can cut through any cosmetics and tear off any facade. Be honest with yourself because eventually you will have to be honest with God.
Saturday, November 6, 2021
(Pro 6:12 KJV) A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.
How many times have I heard that Jesus would have gone to the cross if I was the only one needing to be saved? I don’t know. It was usually offered by a pastor who was very much in touch with his feelings and ignoring his brain. Personally I think that God might have worked out something else rather than taking on the sins of the whole world. Of course, if I were the only one needing salvation there would not be many sins in the whole world comparatively speaking. I had best be careful because I hear heresy calling.
What is not heretical is that some people are “naughty” (worthless NASB) (1100). Notice I said “some” not all. Popular theology says there are nothing but worthless in the world. If that is the case how do you explain Zacharias and Elizabeth?
(Luk 1:6 KJV) And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.So? It is true that we cannot earn our salvation through our own efforts. It is also true that many have decided to do what they can in their ignorance of the blood shed on the cross. They may not be able but they are worthy.
Friday, November 5, 2021
Pro 5:21 KJV) For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
I had this discussion yesterday with a painter. We were talking about the qualities that separated the managers and business owners from the hired help. One of those qualities is that they are able to work unsupervised. He expressed it that there was always Someone watching even if noone was watching. Although he was talking around it, he was acknowledging that God sees everything we do. It is hard to find people who will work hard when the boss is not looking.
I don’t think about that all the time but I am aware of it. My boss is God. I may have some middle management in my life but ultimately He is the Someone who sets the standards.
So? As I heard or read somewhere, “You can run but you can’t hide.” The internet tells me it is attributed to boxer Joe Louis. Who knew that boxers could dispense wisdom.
Thursday, November 4, 2021
Eternal Truth or Consequences
(Pro 4:17 KJV) For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.
I have heard that pornography is a problem for ministers. Now that the internet will bring it right to you with a click of a button it has become a bigger problem. I have my doubts that it is as big a problem as experts want us to believe but I will accept that there are some in spiritual leadership who have fallen for the temptation. I pastored full time for ten years and have at least another ten in part time roles. To be honest I never came across any indication it was a massive problem.
For those who do succumb to the click bait this verse is a warning. Take the advice of the health gurus and realize that “you are what you eat.” In the spiritual world it is also true that you are what you “eat” (3898b). Back up a few verses and read though it again. You have one group that is absorbing the truth and wisdom of God. You have another that is feasting on the works of the devil. It makes a difference in the outcome.
So? Next time you decide to watch a video or read a blog you need to ask yourself if this is truth or poison. It is like a spiritual game of Truth or Consequences for those of you old enough to remember that game show, except the consequences are not just doing embarrassing stunts in front of an national audience.
Wednesday, November 3, 2021
(Pro 3:5-6 KJV) Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
There is a reason that certain verses are quoted often. They speak to great needs and great promises. I had a discussion with a believer who claimed that the Old Testament was not meant for us. He stated that all scripture is not of the same importance. I agree with his words but not with his meaning. It is obvious that the Old Testament was written to and for the Jews. In the same way the Bill of Rights were written for Americans. That does not mean that the truths embodied do not apply to others. As far as importance, I agree that knowing how many men of warrior age were in the tribe of Naphtali (Numbers 1:43) is not on a level with knowing that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) That does not mean I can ignore the largest portion of the Bible.
So? Read and reread the portions of the Bible that speak to you. Make sure you read the rest so that you don’t become a cherry-picker who falls into heresy.
Tuesday, November 2, 2021
(Pro 2:13 KJV) Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
This verse starts a three verse section that explains why so many people will end up in hell. It can be summed up in two words that are denied by many Christians and pagans: Free will. I was talking to a college student and one of his classes was debating whether free will exists. The name that pops into my mind is B.F. Skinner. Another name that forces itself forward is John Calvin. A third is Mohammad. What do all have in common? They deny free will. This verse rejects all three.
People make choices. The choices may not be shouted through megaphones but they are still real. Those choices have consequences. If you make the wrong choices, and we all have, you are on your way to damnation. If you make the right choice and trust Jesus for your salvation you are on the road to an eternity with Him. But keep in mind that the choices keep coming.
So? Live like every day makes an eternal difference. Don’t fall into the trap of “I prayed a prayer” or “God will make arbitrary choices”.
Monday, November 1, 2021
Reasons for Repetition
(Pro 1:7 KJV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The phrase “fear (3374) of the Lord” is used 14 times in Proverbs if I counted right and found them all. That is a healthy dose of a medicine we don’t want to hear. I find it interesting that the population thrives on horror movies and books but is repelled by the fear of the Lord. One reason is that the Lord is real and should be feared, especially by the rebellious. I would guess that many don’t even know about the fear of the Lord. The pulpits of America have done a great job of avoiding anything that contradicts the wisdom of the elites.
So? I think God repeats Himself for the same reason that your mother repeated herself: You were not listening. I never had to be told not to eat liver and onions. I did have to be warned about the mustard on my nose. Maybe if we would listen more God would not need to spend His time reminding us.
Sunday, October 31, 2021
(Pro 31:20 KJV) She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
If you are like me you don’t have enough money to do all the things you want to get done. God does not promise us enough to do what we want. His promises tend to focus on our needs. We don’t like that but God is not taking a poll. We have a surplus. If you don’t believe that then take a walk through your home. How many TV’s do you have? Do you have internet and/or cable? Are there brand name groceries on your shelves? Do you have a side by side refrigerator? Do you have two cars? You can see where this is going.
This verse reminds me that I need to be finding ways to share with people who need help. Since there are more people needing a hand than I have hands, God wisely gives us some criteria for narrowing down the scope. They must be “poor” (6041) and they must be “needy” (34). We don’t see the word “both” here so there is some flexibility but I think they are good measurements. Many people who are poor are not needy. They have food on the table and a roof over their heads. They are good stewards of what they have and God honors that. Some people are needy but not poor but you are not going to be much help to people who have not learned to manage what they have.
So? Keep your eyes open. There will be people to help. Two things you need to do. First, you need to soften your heart so that you can be sensitive to need. Second, you need to sharpen your mind so that your thinking process will help you tell a real emergency from simple lack of planning.
Saturday, October 30, 2021
(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.
You cannot read the Bible with your mind engaged and not see that the standards of the Bible are different than our surrounding culture. You cannot read what our cultural leaders have to say without realizing that they are at war with God. Many of the elites are calling for a reduction in population. Big families are frowned on at social gatherings. At the same time the term “childless couple” is expressed in the Bible as “barren” (6115) “womb” (7358). Being childless is not something to celebrate, but to mourn.
The church is to be different from the world. The Greek for church means “called out ones.” We are called to make choices and those choices will often put us at odds with our neighbors, fellow workers and even the person in the pew next to us.
So? Be prepared for rejection if you follow Jesus. If it doesn’t come either rejoice or question your witness. If it comes then rejoice but make sure you are criticized for the right reasons.
Friday, October 29, 2021
(Pro 29:18 KJV) Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
The NASB is better here. A lack of “vision” (2377) will destroy but it is the destruction of no discipline. Think of a group of people isolated in a cabin in the middle of winter. They cannot get out and are limited to the food on hand. After careful consideration they recognize that if they are very careful they will still be alive when spring comes. If they are not, they will die. You can see how the “unrestrained” (6544a) of the NASB can segue into the “perish” of the KJV.
This is a reflection on true “vision”. As you can see the context of the vision is the “law” (8451). It is a vision that sees things as they are and as they can be. It is not the vision of the daydream or fantasy.
So? Dream big but keep your dreams restrained by the limits of the plan of the Creator. (Posted, October 29, 2021, PP)
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Division of Labor
(Pro 28:5 KJV) Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
Evangelism is ultimately the job of the Holy Spirit. We are called on to witness and to make a defense of the hope that is in us. We are not expected to argue people into the kingdom. Unless hearts and minds are conditioned and led by God Himself our evangelism programs are exercises in futility. We might as well be talking honesty to a reporter or politician.
What are the steps the Spirit goes through to bring people to repentance? I don’t have a clue but I have seen people who are ready and even more who have eyes that glaze over at the mention of anything spiritual.
So? We need to keep witnessing. Go ahead and leave a tract at the restaurant but make sure that you leave a big tip to go along with it. I think the Holy Spirit finds people more receptive when we have lived our righteousness in front of them.
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
(Pro 27:5 KJV) Open rebuke is better than secret love.
How often have you heard something like this? Our lives are full of advice which we might nod to intellectually but go full berserk against in our daily life. When we look back we will say things like, “I wish they had told me at the time.” No we don’t. We were happy with the lie because it was what we wanted to hear.
That does not make this verse any less true, just hard to live up to. Christians have been sold a bill of goods on things like “seeker friendly services” and “ministering to people’s needs”. We are not the church so that we can have rock music, coffee bars and food banks. We are the church because the world is lost in sin and needs a redeemer. They don’t want to hear it. We don’t want to say it.
So? We need to remind ourselves regularly what the stakes are. We are not in competition for the sportsmanship trophy. We are trying to cut into the flow of souls into hell.
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Do You Want to Know?
(Pro 26:23 KJV) Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.
I was involved in a discussion of gold and silver eagle coins. It seems that the Chinese are deeply involved in counterfeiting both. When you consider that a gold eagle is selling for around $2,000 you can see how a bit of creative artwork could bring lucrative returns. Most of us would not be able to tell the difference and, in fact, it would not occur to us that the coins we bought were fake.
Ignorance does not change reality.
In the same train of thought, I am not sure if I would recognize “silver” (3701) “dross” (5509). It might be obvious but if I had not learned a bit the obvious would be obtuse. The lesson here is not really about silver. It is about foolishness and evil being delivered as wisdom. Most of the world would not know the difference. The ignorance would not be because the needed information was not available but because they really didn’t want to know.
So? Ask yourself, “Do I really want to know?” The honest answer to that question will determine how you spend your day.
Monday, October 25, 2021
(Pro 25:4 KJV) Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.
It seems to me that there is a step missing here, or maybe many steps. Removing the impurities does not produce a finished product. I think that is true in crafting artwork or saints. The more complex the design the more steps involved. I imagine that in some cases the vessel may go back into the fire, not because it is impure, but because it has not shaped properly. We are on a lifelong journey and the final form of our body, soul, mind and strength will not be set until eternity. It is possible that the crafting may continue then.
What is necessary is the purification, the removal of what you might call the evil components.
So? Make sure you are praying with David,
(Psa 51:10 KJV) Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.This is what made him a man after God’s own heart.
Sunday, October 24, 2021
Think about It
(Pro 24:32 KJV) Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.
I have been accused of being too introspective. I would probably plead guilty to the “introspective” but not “too”. I am a believing skeptic. That means I trust the Lord, believe truth exits and realize that many people want to deceive me for their own benefit. Here we see that Solomon “considered” (reflected NASB) (7896/3820). The margin says this literally means “set my heart”.
We can know some things with little contemplation. If someone tells me it is hot outside I don’t need to spend a lot of time reflecting on the meaning of “hot”. If someone tells me I must believe in a pre-millennial rapture I will need a little background and a lot of thought. I think it is usually clear which is which.
So? Never turn your mind off but don’t get bogged down in minutia. Which category ideas fit into will be individual but the process is universal.
Saturday, October 23, 2021
(Pro 23:10 KJV) Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:
I would imagine that most people have not bothered to read the Communist Manifesto. If they had they would realize that Communism is the enemy of Christianity. It is also the enemy of ordinary people owning property which might be less of a big deal if the Bible did not endorse the practice. Here is one of the places. In ancient Israel the land was divided up first among the tribes and then among families. You were not to sell your family property. If you did then it was to be returned in the year of jubilee.
The Bible recognizes the importance of private property. It does not demonize profit, just the wrong methods of achieving it. The Bible is not a book on economics but it has a lot to say about economics.
So? Be aware of the differences between the teachings of the Word of God and your friendly neighborhood professor. There will be little overlap.
Friday, October 22, 2021
The Unknown Name
(Pro 22:1 KJV) A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
Notice that the “good” is in italics, which means it is not in the Hebrew. It is assumed by the context of the entire Bible that the name that should be sought is one that reflects the righteous living of the named. We should not want to be known by nicknames like Slick or Fingers. The Puritans tried to get a head start on this by naming their children things like Faith and Joy.
So? We may never know the names people have for us when we aren’t around. They probably reflect our character. Let the unknown be a source of pride.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
By Choice, Not Just Nature
(Pro 21:10 KJV) The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.
A line from some childhood cartoon echoes through my mind at this verse.
“He’s everywhere. He’s everywhere.”I don’t know if it is accurate or just my hazy recollection but we need to understand that there are bad people everywhere and they are out to get us.
When I say “bad” I am not making a theological wimp-out about the carnal nature and how we are all sinners. That should be assumed by every believer. That is not what this is talking about although it is the foundation. The world is full of people who not only are sinners, but rejoice in that condition. Being evil means that they want to extend the pain and loss to you.
And keep in mind that they are out to get us. They serve Satan. Some know it. Others still live in the fantasy world of being in control. They are still out to get us.
So? Keep in tune with God. Keep reviewing God’s standards. Stay alert and leave your inner Pollyana in the closet.
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
More Than Tough
(Pro 20:26 KJV) A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.
This is more than “tough love”. This is a command to take strong action against the “wicked” (7563) who surround us. Our modern wimpy Christianity that is afraid to offend anyone except God rejects this clear statement. This can also be demonstrated in the New Testament from such passages as,
(1Co 5:11 KJV) But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.I think we need to accept that this is a position that applies to more than the king. It applies at least to everyone in a place of authority and I think to every believer. We don’t like it. We would rather quote “Judge not”. It is still here.
So? Instead of worrying about the effect we have on the evil in our midst we should be worrying about the effect evil has on the weak and inattentive. As the liberals like to tell us, “Do it for the children”.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
(Pro 19:21 KJV) There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.
There are times when the technique called “brainstorming” seems really foolish. There are times when the follow up and evaluation may bring some dreamers down to earth. There is a lot of potential in using your imagination and creativity. The key is in having it grounded.
I really enjoy talking the Bible and what it says and means. When I get to certain points I will try to point out that what I am sharing is speculation, not doctrine. There is a difference. We need to be careful about demanding that others conform to our personal preferences or flights of fancy. At the same time there are certain realities that are non-negotiable. Eschatology is open to a lot of interpretations. I am sorry if you have it all worked out but others disagree with you. The physical resurrection of Christ is set in stone.
So? Dream. Speculate. Be creative. Keep your feet on the Rock.
Monday, October 18, 2021
(Pro 18:4 KJV) The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.
We see reference to two kinds of speech. The second is clearly labeled as good but the first is open to interpretation. Today I assume that they are contrasts and spent some time thinking about that. How can you tell the difference between wise words and wicked propaganda? At times the difference may be so subtle that we can’t easily discern which is right. The key is in remembering that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. That means being aware of who God is and what He expects of us as revealed in His word. Every concept and statement must be measured that way.
Beware of the comfortable understanding. Too often I hear what I want to hear. I actually get the words right but my way of putting it together fits more into where I want to go than what God is trying to convey.
So? Go for wisdom. Lay the foundation. Make the decisions.
Sunday, October 17, 2021
(Pro 17:22 KJV) A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
What is the cure for dry bones? It would seem obvious, a “joyful” (8056) “heart” (3820). What is not so obvious is the recognition that I have dry bones. A good indication would be a strong feeling of gloom and doom. It would be living in fear as we see all the anti-God forces raging through our communities. It is not seeing the problems, but being overcome by them.
The path to a joyful heart has to pass through an awareness of the God we worship. Think about His attributes and character. Look around and see the creativity involved in designing our world. Perhaps a bit of focus on all the times He has seen us through hard times. Somewhere in that journey the Holy Spirit may have a chance to touch you in such a way that you get a God’s eye view of life rather than the one that the fear mongers want you to dwell on.
So? Once God has touched you the day unfolds in an entirely different way.
Saturday, October 16, 2021
An Inside Straight
(Pro 16:4 KJV) The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
I don’t know about you but I have some serious questions about how our society is progressing or regressing. I guess it depends on your view of things. I see a continuing loss of liberty and options. I see a blatant disregard for facts and a definition of normal and moral that is like spitting in the face of God. It is so easy to get worried and depressed. In the midst of that we have verses like this reminding us that God is in charge.
God has a purpose for everything we see and hear about. It doesn’t matter if we understand it or not. It is still true.
So? We need to trust in Providence. If you are playing poker it is foolish to trust in drawing the card to fill the middle of a straight. For God it would be no problem. He doesn’t gamble, He decrees and I assume we are on His team.
Friday, October 15, 2021
(Pro 15:15 KJV) All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
I think it is easiest to identify this problem in someone else. When I see it in someone else I then compare it to my actions and am often enlightened. Have you ever been around someone who always finds something wrong with the food at a restaurant? When I notice that I begin to review how I have responded to the same thing. Somehow that helps me to expand my consideration. I find that I am more critical that I thought.
So? When I find myself being negative I begin a campaign to get more positive. Since my attention span is short I find that I need to renew the effort on a regular basis. Of course then I am accused of being unaware. Sometimes you can’t win.
Thursday, October 14, 2021
(Pro 14:26 KJV) In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
As Christians we should be walking around in our communities, stores and especially churches with an attitude that is different than we hear being broadcast. As I write I am seeing fear everywhere I travel. It is a fear generated by a virus that has been blown all out of proportion. Instead of having confidence in the power of God we are being blasted with propaganda that tells us the government, pharmaceutical companies and doctors are our only hope.
Let me take a position that is not mine and suggest that this virus is as bad as described. It is still nothing historically in comparison to the big plagues that continually decimate populations. If by some chance we actually see the kind of death rates that were generated by bubonic plague, cholera, yellow fever, small pox and a long list of ailments, we are still to have no fear. That is the message we need to live.
So? Death has not fear for a believer. Trusting the government more than God is something to fear. Don’t get them reversed.