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.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

In the Valley

(Pro 15:29 KJV) The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

Keep in mind that although the Lord is “far” (7350) from sinners, He has great hearing.  It does not say that he cannot hear them although that seems to be implied.  The problem for the sinner is that God can hear their heart, not just their voice.  It doesn’t matter what your lips are saying if you heart is not in tune.

So?  Are you walking through the valley of the shadow of death?  I know I seem to be.  The world seems to be on the verge of chaos.  If I were not a believer I would be very much afraid of viruses, wars, black helicopters and all the rest.  I am aware and concerned but the Lord is with me.  It makes a difference. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Microwave Interpretations

(Pro 14:15 KJV) The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

What is the difference between a cynic and a realist?  Between a skeptic and a thinker?  Between being critical and being negative?  Often it is a fine line and the difference is in whether you agree with them or not.  Pardon me if I don’t believe that congress passes laws to benefit the country.  Forgive me if I don’t rush out and buy some product that a celebrity has endorsed.  Don’t expect me to believe the milage boasts posted on the window of a new car.  Please don’t color me “simple” (naive NASB) (6612a).

Part of being a follower of Jesus Christ is having a thinking cap and wearing it at all times.  That applies even when you are reading the Bible.  The problem isn’t the Bible but the interpretations we have heard over the years which tend to predetermine what we read.

So?  God can speak but only when we listen.  One thing I have noticed is that I can’t hear what my wife says from the other room when I have the water running and the microwave on task.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

No Such Thing As Holy Mush

(Pro 13:24 KJV) He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Spoiler Alert!  In case you are still living in denial and/or attend a liberal church, the standards of God are at constant conflict with the world you live in.  This extends through the moral degeneration represented by abortion and the homosexual agenda to the philosophy of deconstructionalism.  In the middle of all that is child discipline.

Your world tells you that wisdom is in the children and parents are oppressors.  The Bible teaches that children are born with a sinful nature and need to be nurtured in the truth of God.  That will not be easy.  If you have not had an encounter with God yourself then it may not be possible.

So?  If you are not on board with Jesus, make the choice.  Then you can apply the lessons that God wants you to demonstrate instead of the mush your school counselor tells you to dish out.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Watch Your Step



(Pro 12:21 KJV) There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.

Have you ever stepped on a Lego with your bear foot?  Have you ever been walking through the house and your foot seems to have a mind of its own as it swings wide and catches your little toe on a table leg?  How is it going when you are in a hurry, go out to your car and find one of the tires flat?  I would advise you not to read this verse at a time like this.

The time this verse comes home is when you are going in for some kind of surgery.  You can do so knowing that Providence is alert and on the job.  You can know that whatever the result, it will not qualify as “evil” (205).  It is interesting that one of the definitions of this word is “idiolatry”.  A broader meaning is sorrow.  We do not need an attitude adjustment if we are trusting in the Lord.

So?  Get ready for the adventure of the day, taking comfort in the knowledge that you have read the book and you know who wins. 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Measure of the Law

(Pro 11:1 KJV) A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.

One of the often repeated ideas in both the Old Testament and the New is that Israel was to keep God’s laws.  They were to obey His commandments.  Those concepts have a bleed over effect on Christians for although we are not saved by the works of the law we still have those standards that we are aware of.  It is those standards that make us aware of where the lines are between righteous and sinful behavior.

As New Testament believers we often mock the idea of the law.  We look at commandments not to mix linen and wool together or not to boil a calf in its mother’s milk and we say, “Nonsense that is better left behind.”  Large numbers reject the idea of tithing because it is the Law and does not apply to us.  The danger is that we fall into the heresy of antinomianism.  Remember that the Ten Commandments are part of the Law and if you reject tithing because it is in the law maybe you can also lie with impunity because, after all, it is in the law.

Here we see the Law being applied to business dealings.  We are not allowed to cut corners or fudge our measurements.  To do so is an invitation to experience the wrath of God.

So?  Righteous living is our calling.  It applies to every part of our life.  Since we will never get it down perfectly, we have grace and the blood.  Those make it possible.  They do not mean we can ignore it.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Prepping

(Pro 10:1 KJV) The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

Every child will disappoint parents at some point.  I understand that they are human and it isn’t good enough to blame those bad moments on the genealogy of your spouse.  Kids mess up.  The question is not if but how much and how bad.  Child failure can be a teaching moment.  The key is are you teaching.  Of course that requires that they listen.

Keep in mind that to instill wisdom you need to have wisdom.  Wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord.  Wise children begin with seeking parents.

So?  It is never too late to start.  Your children may have moved on or in tragic times you may have outlived them.  There are other little ears and eyes watching.  Prepare to prepare. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Good Reception

(Pro 9:9 KJV) Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

The emphasis we need for this verse is not in the verbs but what I think used to be called the direct object.  It has been a long time since I studied sentence structure.  It is the response of the receivers that is key, not the gift.  The gift is available just about anywhere.  Bibles can be found in many motel rooms and any thrift store.  Most churches will give you one if you ask.  The answers to the quiz are right there but it is like giving an open book quiz to middle school students who were too lazy to look for the answers.

So?  God offers wisdom and instruction.  We need to offer ears and attitude.  It can be a winning combination or just frustration for the Creator.  That is not good idea. 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

From Start to Finish

(Pro 8:1 KJV) Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?

I recently read an article about Star Wars and it kept talking about the great wisdom of Yoda.  This is something that comes up often in Science Fiction and Fantasy.  The books will often have quotes from fictional “holy books” or the sages of the planet.  There will be songs and poems; aphorisms and proverbs.  What always mystifies me is that people who write from their imagination think that they can come up with eternal truths.  I am amazed, not at their wisdom, but by their arrogance.  

It is possible that they are just paraphrasing what they have read elsewhere.  We should not be guilty of having many sources and processing them through our imagination.  The life God wants us to live is not based on us being creative with His eternal truth and modifying it with our spin.  Too many theologians and Bible translators look at it that way.  God has given us the Bible to base everything on.

So?  I say it often because I am not listening.  Make the Bible the starting point.  For that matter, we should make it the finishing point also. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Scheduling

 (Pro 7:20 KJV) He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.

I can get fixated on minor details.  In this verse the KJV says “day (3117) appointed (3677)”.  The NASB says, “full moon” (3677).  I start wandering, which is it?  I went to the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament for more depth and all it said was, “full moon”.  There doesn’t seem to be much wiggle room.  This is one of those rare cases where the KJV is acting like the Living Bible, it is paraphrasing.

Biblical people could plan and have schedules.  It is not a modern occurrence.  They may not have had the atomic clocks we have for incredible accuracy but they had enough to serve them in their day.  Remember, no one else had a Rolex either.  There are times when we just have to go with cultural conventions.

So?  This is another reminder to let what is Caesar’s be Caesar’s. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Personal Growth

(Pro 6:7 KJV) Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,

The ant does not labor under a supervisor.  At the same time, the ant knows what its job is.  Part of that is instinct.  Ants don’t build bee hives.  They don’t dam up rivers.  They dig tunnels and gather certain types of food.  That is instinct.  Where the food is and where it is stored is information gathered from those who have gone before.  There are lessons for us.

When we are transformed by the Holy Spirit there are certain qualities that are built in.  This is why we can often let people grow in grace.  They have an inner sense that certain things are not to the glory of God.  At the same time they can learn from others on the same path.  That is the value of times of testimony and reading biographies of godly people.

So?  Walking the path and learning about it are important and available.  You may not want to dig tunnels but you can dig into the word. 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Hierarchies

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

Our current cultural enthusiasm is for diversity and equality.  Society is trying to level the playing field in all areas.  Excellence and achievement are suspect.  We hear that such things as being on time and honesty are cultural affectations.  All cultures are supposed to be of equal value.  No one is better than anyone else.  Part of this, of course, is the communistic mantra of redistributing the wealth so that no one is rich and no one is poor.  

To this the Bible says, “Rubbish.”  Here we see one example of this.  The fruit of your life is accumulated to be given to those close to you, not to the one from far away.  Are we encouraged to share with those in need?  Yes.  The point here is that you don’t share with the guy you never met before you take care of your family, church and friends.

So?  Don’t fall for the mantra of the world.  Follow God’s standards and priorities. 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Light Touch

(Pro 4:19 KJV) The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

After tripping over something in the dark I start turning on lights.  It only lasts so long.  I gradually get back to walking around the house in the middle of the night without seeing where I am going.  After all, I know where the furniture it, right?  Maybe, but we don’t always “know” (3045) what we think we know.  Texas has these little critters called “scorpions”.  And they have bigger creatures called “centipedes”.  In addition to that we have a cat that is capable of leaving little surprises.  

Evil is “as” (like NASB) “darkness” (653).  In the English it would seem to be slightly different than being darkness.  Let’s go with that.  Evil is a characteristic that keeps us from seeing clearly.  Thus a bright light in our eyes can keep us from seeing the trap in front of us.  The point is that evil keeps us ignorant.

So?  Take the time to gain the knowledge and wisdom that Proverbs refers to so often.  I have flashlights all over the house.  It does not take long to flip a switch.  The resources are there.  Use them.  

Saturday, April 3, 2021

How Long, O Lord?

(Pro 3:16 KJV) Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.

What is the point of a long life if you can’t enjoy it?  I am at the age where every cough and ache makes me wonder, “Is this the one?”  So far it has not been, but maybe next time.  The current panic over a virus has driven many people into cocoons.  They look out the door in fear and recoil when anyone gets close.  They live in fear.  That is not the result of reading Proverbs or Romans.  It is the result of listening to the people who have a vested interest in keeping you petrified.

There is a reason why wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord.  When you have the right relationship with the greatest power you worry less about the lesser.

So?  Work on the wisdom.  It will give you a better reason to live longer. 

Friday, April 2, 2021

Gone

 (Pro 2:13 KJV) Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;

A Biblical truth that is stated here is that people can “leave” (5800) something called the “paths” (734) of “uprightness” (3476).  Most Christians would accept that because they have seen it.  The difference is in understanding what it means.  For the Calvinist it means that they were just going through the motions of conforming to church behavior.  They were never really saved in the first place.  To the Wesleyan it can mean that they have gone apostate, they have denied the faith and consciously left it.  

So?  We need to learn to accept that people can turn on us.  Whether they were really saved or not does not change the fact that they get a real joy from messing with God’s people.  Be aware.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Embrace the Promise

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

The Bible is full of promises.  In verse 2 we are in the middle of a long promise that God is making to us.  If you have a chance read, over the first seven verses of chapter one.  Maybe you could even pause and make a list of the qualities that are being offered.  Then ask yourself how many people you know exhibit these qualities.  You might even join me in looking at ourselves and asking how we measure up.

We begin a new month.  Months are a bit arbitrary as are weeks.  Days have a definite beginning and there is some basis for years.  All of them are useful for the pause that generates growth.

So?  It may be April Fool’s Day but that does not mean we need to be part of a Fool’s life.  Embrace the promise and move forward.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

She Earned It

(Pro 31:16 KJV) She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

We have a lot of stereotypes about the past.  Many of them have to do with the patriarchal nature of the society and how that kept women in subordinate roles.  Cultures based on muscles and the power of the sword probably fit this pretty well, although there are plenty of stories of women overcoming even those obstacles.  A culture built on Biblical foundations trends more in the way of opportunity and success for women.  Keep in mind the opening chapter of Genesis.

(Gen 1:27 KJV) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
When you start with the statement that women are part of the image of God you need to put some brakes on your Tarzan images.  

The KJV talks about the “fruit” (6529) of her “hands” (3709), which is the translation given in the margin of the NASB.  This is a powerful way of getting the NASB’s “earnings”.  You don’t have earnings unless you are working on something that gives earnings.

So?  Although I support the woman who is a full time wife and mother, you cannot rule out the place of a woman earning.  Nuance is often important.  Flexibility is a part of the spiritual walk as long as it is not violating basic Biblical standards. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Avoiding Emergencies

(Pro 30:25 KJV) The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;

Strength can be a relative term.  Here we hear that “ants” (5244) are not “strong” (5794).  If we are in a hurry we agree because they are so small and we have all stepped on a few.  If we stop and think with a critical mind we remember seeing ants carrying things that are bigger than they are.  That tells me that they are very strong.  Which is it?

The point here is that physical strength has limitations.  I can identify with that.  I am getting to the point where opening a jar of peanut butter is a real challenge.  A package of potato chips can defy my fingers.  I find that I need to plan ahead.  You supply yourself with tools to get the job done.  If you don’t, whose fault is it?

So?  God has been known to come through in an emergency.  I am not sure He is too big on bailing us out for our own lack of thinking ahead.  He might want us to learn a lesson instead.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Choice

 (Pro 29:6 KJV) In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.

You don’t need to look too far to see people who are trapped in life in such a way that there seems to be no hope.  It could be economical.  It could be health.  It could be family issues.  I always wonder how much of their situation is a result of their choices and how much was beyond their control.  We need to be careful but also aware.  A judgmental attitude can be destructive but making excuses doesn’t help either.

Let’s take the economical traps of life.  We all know people who have their credit cards up to the limit.  Maybe you are one of them.  We know people who have filed bankruptcy.  At the other end we see people who are so addicted to making money that their lives are empty.  You can’t do much about an airplane that crashes on your house.  Unless you are on a golf course holding a club up in the air during a storm, you can’t usually be blamed for lightning striking you.  On the other hand, most of us have bought things with our credit card that we did not need.  Many times it might have been something we don’t even want.  

So?  It is never too late to start making righteous choices.  It is never too late to start digging out.  You may not have time to finish but you can begin.  Be honest with yourself.  I find it very easy to blame others for my mistakes.  I am not saying I blame you, but I might, given a chance. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Hardly

(Pro 28:14 KJV) Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

I am currently reading through Exodus and the plagues against Egypt.  If you are familiar with the passages you will remember that Pharaoh repeatedly “hardened” (3513) and “hardened” (2388) his heart.  Two different Hebrew words are used in Exodus 9:34 and 9:35.  The word used here, (7185), is again another.  

There are many ways you can harden your heart.  Some words seem to mean to strengthen, like when you clench a fist.  Others mean to make heavy.  Here it means to become severe and harsh.  Although we can recognize times that fear can be beneficial, hardening usually is a sense of being insensitive to what requires sensitivity.   

So?  We often put up our guard because we are afraid of being hurt.  Maybe we need to be more willing to suffer if it will make us more supportive of those around us. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Foundations of Trust

(Pro 27:24 KJV) For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?

“This too, shall pass”.  That is a bit of wisdom that we need to remember.  We also need to remember that is applies both ways.  Are you having a rough time?  This too, shall pass.  Are you flying high?  This too, shall pass.  The only eternal part of existence is God Himself.  One of His attributes is being immutable.  That means He does not change in His character and essence.  It does not mean He cannot respond to us as individuals and we know that Moses argued with Him.

The warning here involves putting our confidence in our material surroundings.  Political situations change.  We are seeing our liberty eroded.  The economy goes through cycles.  What was a source of prosperity can become an anchor on your soul.  

So?  The reminder is here to encourage us to put our confidence in the eternal things, not the temporal.  Look at your coins.  They say, “In God we trust”.  As some wag said, all others will need to pay cash. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Factor It In

(Pro 26:24 KJV) He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;

Hatred is real.  Most of the people I rub elbows with are mellow and gracious.  If they were the only people in the world then verses like this would not be necessary but there it is.  So many Christians drift through life denying and ignoring what is going on around them.  They think that if they are nice to pagans then pagans will be nice to them.  Sometimes that works.  Be alert to the fact that often it does not.

It is becoming more clear every day as we watch what is happening politically and culturally that there are a lot of people who hate God and because of that, they hate you and me.  It is only deserved in that God keeps reminding them that they are sinners.  God’s word keeps condemning homosexuality and fornication.  They don’t like it when a holy God won’t change His standards to make them feel good about themselves.

So?  We are called to holiness.  That will never be accepted in the world.  Sadly it is often not accepted in the church either.  It is still God’s expectation. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

A Simple Principle

(Pro 25:23 KJV) The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.

What is so hard to accept about the principle of “cause and effect”?  Why is it that so many of us think that we can do something without results that have been around forever?  I recently finished reading Mike Lindell’s autobiography.  One of the observations I had is that people get sucked into the drug culture with so much ease.  All you need to do is look around.  All you need to do is observe the ruined lives.  If you don’t have anyone you know then take a drive through the middle of any large American city and observe the people living on the street.  They did not just wake up one day and say, “I think I will go live in desperation and poverty for the rest of my life.”  No, it started with the simple belief that just because this substance ruined someone else’s life it won’t effect me.

Yes, it will.  It doesn’t matter what the substance is.  It could be just an idea or way of doing business.  Rarely is the first step a death producing overdose of a hard drug.  

So?  Choices have consequences.  In His mercy God has provided a way of escape but that doesn’t mean that your bank accounts and the respect of your children will be restored. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Relax in Obedience

(Pro 24:19 KJV) Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked;

A recent headline link told me that a man wearing a dress and claiming to identify as a woman, who has been appointed as Assistant Secretary of Health, is a proponent of giving children access to drugs and operations that will allow them to change their sex.  I try to avoid politics on this blog but this is not politics, this is a moral outrage.  I keep asking myself how to respond to this kind of thing and as I read Proverbs this morning this verse jumped out at me, along with verse 22,

(Pro 24:22 KJV) For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?
We are to call for justice and stand up for morality.  The point here is that we are not to get consumed with “fret”ing (2734).  The word has the idea of being burned up with passion over the evil we see around us.  We can get so wrought up about what is wrong with society that we become part of the problem.

So?  Be concerned.  Speak out.  Fret not.  The word is that these people will be brought down.  It is not specific about how or when just definite about it happening.  We are going through dark times.  We must insist on walking and living in the light. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Eyes Right

(Pro 23:26 KJV) My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

I am always a bit jealous of people who can talk about someone who had a life-changing influence on them.  I am sure that I have had many but I have never looked at it that way.  If it came right down to it I would have to say what this verse is talking about:  My father was the big influence on my life.  To many that would seem obvious but I am not sure they look at the right factors.  It wasn’t the verbal lessons.  It wasn’t the discipline.  I think it was the daily faithfulness that you could only see from the inside.  

You need to be careful of your influencers.  To be honest, I am not sure that I would want Solomon to be someone I looked up to.  He seems to have started out well but by the end he had abandoned just about everything that was righteous.  I guess that is why we look to Jesus.

So?  Be the best example you can be and seek people to influence you who live consistently godly lives.  Be slow to become a follower. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

The Answer Man

(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?

Are you a good test taker?  I am.  I remember on one of the standardized tests I took I found the answer to one of the questions later in the test.  I was talking to a guy last week who was terrible at taking tests.  We could both have the same knowledge and I would do much better than him.  If you wanted it applied to fix something then you needed to talk to him.  Like I said, I am a good test taker.  I am not so good at applying what I know.  

We still need to be able to “answer” (7725).  The root meaning of the word it to return.  I guess that would tell us to answer the question that is asked, not the one we want to answer.  The guy I mentioned above said he was great at essay tests and horrible in multiple choice.  Part of the problem was that the questions on the tests were poorly written and the answers were not clear.  On an essay he could get a better feel of what they wanted.

So?  We are called to witness.  Although they don’t want to admit it, the world around us has a lot of questions they can’t answer.  Be ready and try to hear what they are really asking. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Where Justice Starts

(Pro 21:3 KJV) To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

It is easy to play church.  It is possible to keep the commandments in public.  Patriotism and citizenship are easy to pantomime.  Going through the motions can become empty habit.  I think most people can agree with the basic idea even if they are afraid the principles might be applied to them.  We are used to it in our daily lives but we usually assume that the one who disagrees with us is the guilty party.

We need to remind ourselves that the standards here are based on God’s eternal word which is rooted in His eternal character.  Our public figures toss around words like “justice” but I urge you to be aware that they do not mean what God means by the word.  I repeat myself.  I will repeat myself again because it is so easy for us to fall under the spell of the talking heads.

So?  You can’t know what is true unless you know the truth.  It must start in your Bible, not in your commentaries, daily devotional books, sermons or Sunday School Classes.  By the time you come to those potential sources of learning you should know enough to filter out the dross.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Business Rocks

(Pro 20:10 KJV) Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.

Which is more Christian, capitalism or socialism?  You can find elements of both in the Bible.  If you are trying to define economic systems you would need to do some studies and a lot of prayerful heart searching.  At the core of any business conducted by Christians is a principle that is irrefutable.  It is called honesty.  God would condemn false advertising whether it was an ad on TV or a promise of a five year plan.  Truth is truth, or as the Hebrew actually means, a stone is a stone.  

So?  We are called to honesty as God defines it, not as a used car salesman triages it.  It you say it is a pound, it better be a pound.  If it isn’t, your worry is not the Better Business Bureau but God Himself. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Promises, Promises

(Pro 19:9 KJV) A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.

When I read the daily news and listen to podcasts with videos of reporters and politicians I am overwhelmed with the amount of deceit that is being presented.  That does not surprise me.  What disturbs me is that they seem to be getting away with it.  For the moment they are.  Don’t think this will go on forever.  

We like to think about the glorious promises of scripture.  There are also some that are simply panic material.  Here we have God’s promise that liars will be punished.  We want it now but it does not come with a timeline.

So?  Be patient.  Keep living righteously.  One of the realities is that people who skate on thin ice will eventually fall through.  People who constantly draw to insight straights will eventually go broke.  Drunk drivers will eventually kill or be killed.  Stay straight.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Words for the Day

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

I guess it is time for our monthly scolding on gossip.  If you are reading along you realize that the attacks of gossip in Proverbs are more frequent than monthly.  This is not the only verse that deals with loose lips, not by a long shot.  The reason for that is the simple sins are the easiest sins.  Few of us would know how to rob a bank.  Adultery is more in the imagination and fantasy than in reality.  Gossip is an every day temptation.

Gossip takes many forms.  Sometimes it disguises itself in righteous cloaks, like some prayer chains and Bible studies.  I think it is possible to wander into it simply because we are not thinking.  

So?  Be alert.  Live righteously.  Habits can be changed and attitudes can be adjusted. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

The Law of the Zoo

(Pro 17:19 KJV) He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.

Why do sinners love chaos?  It might be the same dislike that barbarian warriors have for the laws of society.  Order and the rule of law put a crimp in their style.  It limits your chances of self gratification.  While we tend to feel constrained by things like speed limits and the banning of fighting in public, they are there to protect the weak members of society.  They are in place to limit the law of the jungle.  

Keep in mind that the animals that provide the source of meals for the predators would be more in favor of bounties on wolves and mountain lions than the wolves and lions.  The problem we often run into is that the wolves and lions eventually get in control and put the deer and antelope in cages so that they can be harvested.  Zoos are generally safe for all the animals but keep in mind that the meat they feed the carnivores comes from somewhere.

So?  Law is your friend unless your goal is to take advantage of others.  Maybe I should reword that a little.  The restraints of righteousness and righteous leaders are your friend.  I don’t think the Nazi law against hiding Jews would qualify. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Mush or Manna

(Pro 16:1 KJV) The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

This seems a good summary of Godly preaching.  It starts with preparation.  The preacher is at first a student and a seeker.  It is glorious how much you can find in a verse when you focus and listen to the Holy Spirit.  Then when it is time to speak it is amazing how often it doesn’t come out the way you planned it.  One of my constant observations is that I said things I was not planning to say.  Often it was not because of lack of planning but by the leading of the Holy Spirit.  

Too often people use the second part of this as an excuse to not prepare.  I can’t give you a time and date but I believe I have heard people get up and say something to the effect, “I didn’t have any time to prepare so we will just let the Lord fill my mouth.”  Usually it comes out mush, not manna.

So?  Be serious in your time of focused worship.  Study.  Think.  Inquire.  Then trust God to make it come out the way He intends. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

Mouth Editors

(Pro 15:28 KJV) The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.

How often has it been that the first thing we think of to say is usually not what needs to be said?  Sometimes it is mean spirited.  Sometimes it is critical for the wrong reasons.  Sometimes it is just stupid.  One problem with words is that they can’t be undone.  It would be nice if we could go back over the day and edit our contributions.  When I write something to post on the internet there is usually an editing and a curing process that goes on.  I write.  Then the next day I edit.  On this blog I try to keep a month ahead.  When I post it I edit it again and I am always amazed at the things I find that I missed before.  Sometimes I need to express my thoughts differently or I find a better word.  And even though I know the difference between their, there and they’re, I still type the wrong one at times.

So?  We need to work at installing editors on our mouths.  Rarely is life worse if we don’t say something critical.  You can’t say the same about compliments. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Don’t Be Mary Poppins

(Pro 14:14 KJV) The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.

Here we have an insight into the nature of sin or, in this case, Original Sin.  It is someone who is a “backslider” (5472) in “heart” (3820) [leb].  Notice that the backslider is “have his fill” (7646) of his “own ways” (1870).  He is self centered.  He believes that the world should conform to his desires.  He is quite self-righteous about it.

Part of the message of the gospel is that once you are right with God it changes the way you relate to your fellow man.  It means that you begin to see others as more important than yourself.  It is the kind of attitude that has made Christians the leading founders of hospitals, orphanages and colleges over the years.

So?  You may have seen Mary Poppins pull out her measuring tape that says something like “absolutely perfect in every way”.  In case you missed the point, Mary Poppins was a witch.  Our calling is drastically different. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

The Morality of Farming

(Pro 13:23 KJV) Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.

Farming is a skill.  It has a very real learning curve.  Last year when my daughter was staying with us she decided to become a farmer.  She planted tomatoes.  The general impression I get about tomatoes and zucchini is that they will flourish anywhere.  That does not seem to apply by our front porch in Texas.  I have the feeling that a real farmer would have produced a bumper crop.  

I don’t even have a good guess at the skills a farmer develops.  One of the techniques of good farming is letting the land lie fallow.  It is known by farmers around the world, and some of us non-farmers.  Good management means conforming to the laws of nature that God established.  You might not think that moral judgements would have anything to do with farming, but it does.  When you get a greedy farmer, he wears out the soil.  If he is a sharecropper, the owner may demand that he do things he knows are wrong.

So?  God’s justice is rooted in His holiness.  It demands moral behavior.  That means treating the land properly.  Now go mow the lawn. 

Friday, March 12, 2021

Pick Your Heart

(Pro 12:20 KJV) Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.

You can pick the kind of heart you have.  You don’t need to settle for the one that was issued.  Eternity will be different based on your choice.  Because we are born with original sin residing in our hearts we start in a losing position.  It is like you are entered in the Olympics but they don’t tell you your race has started until after the gun goes off.  You can’t win.  

The promise that is clear from other scripture is that God has made provision for your sin through the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Because God intervenes, you have a choice.  If you are happy with the evil you have then, as the internet notice says, you need do nothing.  

So?  Pick your heart.  Do you want the evil one in door one or the joyful one in door two?  Both are offered.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Divine Pay-Off

(Pro 11:31 KJV) Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.

This is about the character of God.  While it is a glorious truth of the Gospel, that we cannot earn our salvation, God is just and holy.  He rewards those who follow the rules.  

(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.
This specifically refers to living by faith but speaks to the dependability of God.  

If you pay any attention to all the gods of literature, the pagan gods, they tend to be cruel for no reason but to be cruel.  While God can punish, He does not do it for the jollies.  He does it to pay for sin or to teach a lesson.

So?  We can trust God.  He does not play games.  He is true to His character. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Two by Two

(Pro 10:32 KJV) The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.

“The ‘mouth’ (6310) of the ‘wicked’ (7563)” can only know what is “frowardness” (perverted NASB) (8419).  This is true even when they seem to be speaking truth.  I think the central idea behind this Hebrew word is crooked or twisted.  That means you can have someone making a statement of fact and yet doing so with the intent to endorse evil.  My definition of a lie is “a communication with the intent to deceive.”  It doesn’t matter if you give a speech on “Two Plus Two” and concede the answer is four if the question was, “What is two divided by two.”  

We are surrounded by people and organizations that are experts at deceiving us while telling us what are technically facts.  I have this snack food called Crunchy Rice Rolls.  On the label it proudly tells me it is “gluten free”.  It is also low fat, low sodium and has no cholesterol.  If you are diabetic it is still a bad deal because it has plenty of sugar.  

So?  Know the motive of your source of information.  I trust my Bible because it was prepared to save my soul and prepare me for eternity.  Bible commentaries, not so much.  They all have a slant they are pushing. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Scoffer ID

(Pro 9:8 KJV) Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

How do you identify a “scorner” (scoffer NASB) (3917b)?  In looking at the many times this word is used I noticed that one characteristic is that they look down on righteousness and righteous people.  It would be easy to simply say that anyone who is negative is a scoffer or anyone who is critical.  No.  Some things need to be criticized, but not the things of virtue.  

The church is missing the boat here.  We are so into being nice that we herd the wolves in with the sheep and call them part of the flock.  Although Jesus was welcoming to the genuine seeker, He was hostile to the hypocrites and self-seekers.  Keep in mind that people who endorse the works of Satan are not going to listen to you.

So?  Learn that all white powders are not sugar.  Be careful what you put on the Cheerios of life. 

Monday, March 8, 2021

Baby Steps to Perdition

(Pro 8:36 KJV) But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

When we are talking about potato chips we can tell ourselves that just one won’t make any difference.  When we say that we are lying.  The effect may be minuscule.  We may not notice it, but every calorie counts.  At one point in my weight loss I noticed that one Life Saver was 10 calories.  To someone my size that isn’t anything to worry about.  It is only 10 calories.  But do a little math.  If everything else stays the same, and I know it never does, over a year that is 3,650 calories if you just eat one a day.  Over a year, one Life Saver a day makes a pound difference.  They add up.

Rejecting wisdom has the same effect.  The little sins add up.  Over time it makes a big difference.  It is also true that, like Life Savers, no one stops with one.  Rejecting the small points of wisdom leads to rejecting the major points.  

So?  Baby steps may be small but they still get the baby across the porch to the place where he will fall off. 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

I Was Only Gone a Second

(Pro 7:19 KJV) For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey:

Have you ever wondered what goes on when you are not there?  Think of the mischief your children got into when you stepped out of the room for a minute.  Think about how long it took to clean up the mess.  There are times when we must be away.  We need to prepare for those moments.  Obviously the man mentioned in this verse had done a poor job of choosing a wife.  Maybe his parents chose her for him.  Either way he still is not paying attention.  

So?  Are there any people that need your supervision or direction?  It could be a family member.  It could be someone you work with.  It might be a casual stranger.  We influence others whether we choose to or not.  It would be better to choose. 

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Quick Cure for Sloths

(Pro 6:6 KJV) Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:

What is the cure for a “sluggard” (6102)?  I guess the first thing is to want to be cured which requires acknowledging your condition.  That is the same problem with salvation.  Before you can repent and trust Jesus as your Savior you need to know you are a lost sinner.  But lets assume you know your are a bit lazy.  How do you get over it.

The clue we are given is to “observe” (7200).  Do a little research.  Look around.  Find someone who is obviously not guilty of your weakness and watch.  Pay attention.  We have a tendency to want the quick fix.  Growth often takes time, or should I say “usually”.  While I know of people who have been instantly set free from addictions, most people are forced to go through withdrawal and discipline.  The cure for sloth is not easy, which is a double whammy.

So?  After you see the need for improvement start getting your mind in gear for the change that must come. 

Disaster Not Waiting to Happen

(Pro 5:9 KJV) Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:

Sin is a multifaceted disaster.  It destroys and cripples.  It wastes and withers.  The context of the warning here has to do with casual sexual relationships but the principle is consistent.  Sin will suck all that is worth having out of your life and pass it on to what the NASB calls “the cruel (394) one”.  

Proverbs keeps repeating this pattern.  Righteousness leads to a better life.  Sin leads to futility.

So?  It seems so simple.  I makes me wonder why so many people make the wrong choices. 

Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Obviousness of Light

(Pro 4:18 KJV) But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

Have you ever tried to find the darkness in a field at noon?  It is pretty much an impossible search.  Picture guessing that there is darkness under a leaf.  The minute you lift it up the darkness disappears.  Now try to find the burning candle in the same field at midnight.  No problem.  

We need to first admit that both “light” (216) and darkness exist in our world.  They exist in our political culture and the media.  Both are in our schools.  The tragedy is that both have found a place in our churches.  Then we need to recognize the difference.  That should be no problem if you believe that Jesus is the incarnate Son of God.

(Joh 8:12 KJV) Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
So?  Focus on looking for the righteous course.  It is visible and findable.  Look for the people and policies that follow that path.  Let the evil focus on the shadows. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Head Turning Value

(Pro 3:15 KJV) She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.

What makes something “precious” (3368)?  When I pulled up this verse and read it out of context I thought Solomon was waxing strong about the wife of the week.  Wrong.  He is talking about wisdom.  He is setting wisdom above all of the fancy trappings of an ancient monarch.  I have to believe that when he wrote this, he was serious.  He believed it.  If you know about Solomon’s life you know that at the end he turned back to the pagan gods and began to encourage their worship.  What happened?

My guess is that he began to spend more time admiring the wealth he had accumulated than listening to the things that God had to say.  He started to listen to all the syncopates that surrounded him and believe what they say.  It is a caution for all of us today.

So?  Welcome the slap downs of life that remind you how unworthy you are.  God is so beyond our understanding that He can maintain the universe in His spare time.  While doing that He has time to listen to our prayers and mold our world.  That is precious. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Gentlemen, Feather Your Engines

(Pro 2:10 KJV) When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;

“Wisdom” (2451) is not a neutral quality.  It changes what it touches.  What is does not touch is also changed but for the worse.  I have never been a pilot but I have seen sequences in which the real pilot is constantly switching levers and checking dials.  He does not do that because there is an emergency.  He does it to avoid an emergency.  He knows what to look for so he is constantly adjusting all kinds of things that I as a passenger am not aware of.  He increases the fuel load to engine three.  He tweaks the little panels on the wings.  He turns two degrees to port.  He “feathers” the engines, whatever that means.  

The pilot is not guessing.  He is taking action based on “wisdom” he as accumulated by paying attention.  It was part of his training.  We do not need to be guessing either.  We should be growing in wisdom and doing a better job of “feathering” our engines all the time, whatever that means.

So?  Growth is not an option. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

Not So Fast There

(Pro 1:1 KJV) The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;

Here is a good place to look again at how to interpret the Bible.  One difficulty is not allowing for all the literary devices.  The Bible has hyperbole, metaphor, word pictures and so forth.  A bigger problem is focusing on one verse and thinking this is the final word.  Understanding a verse in the Bible demands that you make an attempt at understanding the Bible as a whole.  Obviously not everyone is at the same level on this but we can all put on our thinking caps and make a stab at it.

If you were just starting to read the Bible and chose Proverbs, the first verse might give you the impression that the Book of Proverbs was written by Solomon.  Many people who have been reading the Bible for years still think that is the case.  I might suggest that you take a quick look at how the last chapter starts,

(Pro 31:1 KJV) The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
You will find others that are connected to Proverbs besides Solomon.

So?  This is not a trick book.  It is meant to be read, understood and applied.  It is also meant to be studied and meditated on.  Chapter one is a good place for that to start. 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Targets

 Pro 28:13 KJV) He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Is there a difference between the “transgressions” (6588) of the NASB and the “sins” of the KJV?  Not in the Hebrew.  I noticed though that this word is overwhelmingly translated “transgression” by the KJV and always by the NASB.  I have not idea why the change here.  I would suggest that “transgression” has a wider target than sin.  Sin would be against God.  Transgression would also include acts against other people.  Both are condemned.

So?  We are to be the same people in public that we are behind closed doors.  Our attitudes and actions toward others is part of righteous living. 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Two Know

(Pro 27:23 KJV) Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.

There are times when my study tools confuse more than explain.  When I look at the “know well” of the NASB and the “diligent to know” of the KJV I get a doubling of the number, 3045.  My assumption is that the word is repeated in the Hebrew for emphasis.  We see a similar arrangement in other places.

(Pro 20:10 KJV) Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.
This is literally “a stone and a stone”.  

What today’s verse is calling us to is paying attention to things that are important and that we have some responsibility for.  I don’t need to know if the president likes two scoops of ice cream but it is important to know how my city council members vote.

So?  Stay awake.  It is hard to make a difference if you are taking a nap. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Superficial Words

(Pro 26:23 KJV) Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.

“Burning” (1814) “lips” (8193) could be a description of praise.  It could refer to someone who has something important to say and they are intense about saying it.  It could be, but here it isn’t.  Here the connection is with an evil agenda.  This is a person with a warped purpose who is adamant about pushing his narrative.  He could be convincing and seem so sincere.  He could be charismatic.  He could be a lot of things but he is bad news.

We run into this in so many places.  It seems ready made for politics.  It is too common in the pulpit.  The news is a natural home.  We need to be careful to look past the words at the intent.  We can’t do that very well when people are coming across a screen or even out of a book.  It is still a question we need to ask.

So?  Be wise.  Be discerning.  Be a skeptic.  There is really only one ultimate source of truth and everything must be measured by it.  

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Distant Destinations

(Pro 25:22 KJV) For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.

It is strange how some people respond to kindness and expressions of practical love.  It can get violent at times but we are still called to represent Jesus.  Rest assured that underneath it all you are providing ammunition for the Holy Spirit to work.  Don’t expect to see the results.  Often we are the witness to someone coming to the Lord because of what someone else did years ago.

I get tired of planting seed and not seeing the harvest.  I think that may be part of the agenda in the resurrection.  God works in wondrous ways.

So?  Live in surrender and obedience.  It is part of walking by faith.  We don’t always see the destination but we know the way.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

We Are Not God

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

If you read the entire chapter you find that this concept of “render” (7725) “according to” (not in Hebrew) “works” (6467) is used two times.  The first time is when it says God will do so and the second is when we are told not to in verse 29.

(Pro 24:29 KJV) Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.
Some might say this is inconsistent, but that is not necessarily the case.  As a Bible believer I would say it is necessarily not the case.  The words are the same but the actors are different.  In one God is acting; in the other, man.  The point is that certain actions are reserved for God, not just because He is God, but also because He is omniscient.  Notice in this verse that it says that God looks into the heart and takes your inner motives into account.  God can do that.  You can’t.  I can’t even tell my motives all the time.

I think this could even go back to the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were told not to partake of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  They were not ready for it.  Possibly we still aren’t.

So?  God can create universes.  We can’t.  God can see the heart.  We cannot.  But we can trust Him and live lives of obedience based on that trust. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

A Spot of Gladness

(Pro 23:25 KJV) Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.

When I am in one of my pity pot moments it always helps me to think of the blessing my children have been and are.  Sure, they have their moments, like when they destroyed my prized ukulele, but overall they are daily miracles.  I could only wish that every parent could feel the same way.  I hope my children feel the same way.

I once said I would write my book on parenting when my children turned thirty.  I figured by then I could speak with authority.  I don’t think it will ever get written because I am constantly reminded of “there but for the grace of God, go I”.  I have watched other people raising their children.  Many I have shared the journey with.  I think they did a stellar job, but somehow it didn’t work out the way they though it would.  My children didn’t either but that has usually just been unexpected blessings.

So?  Praise God for His blessings and do your part. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Words of Truth

(Pro 22:20-21 KJV) Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, 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?

We live in troubling times.  That is true but I think most times could say the same thing.  The truth of the Bible is under attack and it has always been that way.  Some of the attackers are blatant in their hatred.  Others are hiding under the cloak of being clergy or scholars.  What we need to be constantly reminded of is that there is Truth and it does not change.  We may be in a time when metric replaces English standard.  It does not change that reality that a pound is to be a pound and a kilogram, a kilogram.  It does not mean that a pound is a kilogram.

We must know the truth that does not change and how to tell it from the relative.  These verses remind us that God has given us what we need to know to live in our times and answer the questions.  He has also made it clear what is acceptable and what is abomination.

So?  It doesn’t do much good for your mother to prepare a marvelous Thanksgiving feast if you decide to go to the beach that day.  Feast on what God has given us if you want to be prepared for what is coming. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Stupid Questions

(Pro 21:2 KJV) Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.

Modern Bible studies are often just pooling of ignorance and narcissism.  I hate it when someone asks, “What does this say to you?”  It is possible that the question is honest and the answer will be honest.  The problem is that most of us are so locked into ourselves that we refuse to look at what it says.  Instead we warp it to fit into our present mood.

The first question should be, “What does this say?”  It is okay to paraphrase.  It is okay to consult the watered down “translations” which are themselves paraphrases.  Don’t consult commentaries.  Just, what does it say?  Then you can go on to what it is that God is trying to say to you today.  There are current conditions which might help you understand and apply but they can’t be allowed to turn the meaning into a treasure hunt.

So?  One of the reasons that the Bible can grate on us is that God knows our hearts and knows what rough edges need to be sanded, or blow-torched, off. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

I’m Glad You Asked

(Pro 20:9 KJV) Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?

As you read this keep in mind that Solomon is writing before Ezekiel made his prophecy about the new heart.  It isn’t that he is Biblically illiterate.  It is that he is pre promise.  This could be a cry for the touch of God.  It is also possible that he was echoing in his own way the cry of his father,

(Psa 51:10 KJV) Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
This needs to be a question that we ask ourselves.  For some it might be daily.  For others, the first time.  

So?  Keep in mind that there is an answer.  Jesus blood, shed on the cross, is offered as a cleansing atonement for our sin.  He can cleanse our hearts.  Rejoice.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Go for the Good

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

Often people are open to what is “good” (2896b).  The problem we have is defining or explaining what is good.  It would seem that such a process would be easy, but not so.  There are some things that everyone can agree with, at least for now.  Most people would agree that it is not good to push granny out in front of a bus.  After you move beyond that things get murky.  It used to be that adultery was not good.  Now it seems that if you are cheating on your spouse because they are not sensitive, all is good.  At one time people agreed that telling the truth was the right thing to do.  Now it only applies when it advances your political goals.

As believers we have lots of clear indications about what is good.  You can start with the Ten Commandments.  You can read the Sermon on the Mount.  You can refer to formulas like,

(Mic 6:8 KJV) He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Of course that requires you do to some studying to find out what justice is according to God.

So?  Go for the good.  It is there.  It can be achieved.  It is not automatic. 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Cameras Are Rolling

(Pro 18:7 KJV) A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.

Most of us reject the conviction that we are “fools” (3684).  Deep down in our hearts we think we have at least a few of the answers to society’s questions.  I guess that is natural.  We tend to be locked into our own senses and mind.  It is rare, if even never, that two people can really understand each other.  We survive and get along much of the time because we are wise enough to keep our mouths shut.

Keeping our mouths shut is extra important in this modern day of microphones and cameras everywhere.  Try to think of a time you are not within recording distance of some piece of technology.  Now consider that the few gaps in that coverage are covered by the ear of God.

So?  Avoiding being a fool helps us in our daily relationships.  It may keep us out of jail.  It will also help us in our spiritual walks. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Heart Condition

(Pro 17:18 KJV) A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.

“Some people don’t have the ‘sense’ (3820) [leb] they were born with.”  I can remember people being described that way.  The KJV uses “understanding” here.  Either way it is a real indictment of people’s ability to think and make decisions.  We all do dumb things but some have more of a vacuum than others.

The word is common in the OT.  It refers to the inner man.  The most common translation is “heart”.  We use heart that way a lot today in describing what motivates people.  In our Sunday School theology we talk about giving our heart to Jesus.  The Bible also uses this kind of figurative language.

(Eze 36:26 KJV) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
So?  We make decisions based on what is in control of our heart.  It can either be a redeemed and regenerated heart or one still in the grip of sin.  Watch how you deal with others and make your own judgement.  Act accordingly. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

God of the Lots

(Pro 16:33 KJV) The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

We live in interesting times.  My wife wakes up in the middle of the night and watches various presentations on You-Tube.  They all have great plans for what is going to happen.  My favorites are the ones who call themselves “prophets”.  There are times I wish we could bring back the OT standard for prophets,

(Jer 14:15 KJV) Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.
I do not put a lot of trust in prophets who have a dubious track record.  What I do put confidence in is Providence.

That is what this verse is about.  It isn’t about me expecting a winning lottery ticket when God wants me to get a job.  It isn’t about refusing to act on known truth and rolling some dice for “a word from God.”  It is about understanding that God controls even the roulette wheel.

So?  People are praying for revival.  Often revival only comes after persecution and hard times.  Be careful what you pray for and keep trusting the God of the lots. 

Monday, February 15, 2021

Counting Apples

(Pro 15:27 KJV) He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.

“Gifts" (bribes NASB) (4979) clearly refers to something that is not only bad, but evil.  In this context it refers to using your power to grant favors in order to produce a result that you want.  It isn’t a matter of reasoning.  It is not openly paying for ads in the local newspaper.  This is the kind of thing that we have seen going on in the political scene as politicians, news outlets and churches are heard advocating things that they have always been against.  At least they were against them in theory.  It is possible that desire for personal gain was bribing them even then.

God’s people stand for truth.  Truth does not change based on what benefits you or yours.  Truth in the secular sense is when the number of apples matches up with the numbers reported.  In spiritual terms it means that your statements have a one to one ratio with the standards God has set down.

So?  We live in a world of relativity and chaos.  Part of being salt means that we stabilize the world around us by adhering to God’s word. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

The Burden of Wisdom

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

One of the greatest blessings, or curses maybe, of “wisdom” (2451) is that it makes it possible for us to understand our motives.  It gives us a window into our hearts.  We know what we are about.  That is a blessing because being a believer means you are anchored in eternal and temporal truth.  You are not allowed to deceive yourself out of things you don’t like.  You are not allowed to stretch your words to make yourself look good.  That is the curse part.  It can be very uncomfortable.

“Fools” (3684), on the other hand, live in a world of delusion.  They will believe anything and relish repeating the lie.  It leads to disaster for them and often for the people around them.  The crisis is often delayed, you can keep shuffling money in your accounts, but eventually God will call the bill due.

So?  Wisdom may be wise but it is not always popular. 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Inflation Proofing

(Pro 13:22 KJV) A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

Does a “good man” (2896a) leave any money to his grandchildren?  Maybe, maybe not.  That isn’t the point and is not what is said.  It simply says he will “leave an inheritance” (5157).  When I look to the inheritance my father left me it included a bit of money but it was the example and priorities that were of the greatest value.  Who knows what happened to the financial legacy but I can see the spiritual inheritance being passed on to my children.

So?  This is not just rationalization.  It is reality.  It is a foundation that cannot be destroyed by inflation or taxation.  It is a gift of God. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Providence

(Pro 12:19 KJV) The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

One of the common bits of advice that you hear is, “This too shall pass”.  What we forget is that it applies to both the good times and the bad.  That advice is not echoed in this verse.  It is true that deceit will pass but the promise is that truth will endure.

Do you believe that or is it just a platitude we like to repeat?  The world talks about luck and chance.  As believers we are not lucky, we are blessed and what looks to us as odds and statistics are numbers in the hands of God.  

So?  Believe in Providence.  That is a word we don’t hear much.  We need to bring it back.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Winner Take

(Pro 11:30 KJV) The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

I would assume that most of us have been to some kind of evangelism training in our lives.  One of the terms for people who do a lot of witnessing is “soul winner”.  I don’t know about you but I have not seen a lot of success with this.  I have read books.  I have gone to seminars.  I have never even approached the level of soul winner.  I think this translation is unfortunate.  I have often heard it quoted.  Yet this is the only place in either the NASB or KJV the Hebrew is translated this way but note that in the KJV a form of “take” is used 812 times.  The NASB follows that pattern.

I am not sure what to make of that but I had a wisp of a thought that gave me a hope to grab hold of.  This is a promise that “righteous” (6662) living will produce results.  We may not see it.  It may be hidden from us.  The strength of the word says our upright walk plants seeds everywhere we go.

So?  Don’t feel like a failure.  I often do.  Maybe you don’t experience it.  But I believe that everywhere we go we leave seed if we will live the life we are called to.  I guess that might be a big “if”. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Non Fake News

(Pro 10:31 KJV) The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.

One of the concerns that Americans have in the present is finding a reliable source of news.  Since God has placed us in a republic and we have the responsibility to vote, this is an important goal.  One way I filter out whom I listen to is by statements they make having to do with moral issues.  If the source expresses support for abortion, homosexual marriage, critical race theory or any of a number of concepts that are antithetical to the Bible, then I know they do not deserve my listening ear.

You see, it is only the “mouth” (6310) of the “righteous” (6662) that can speak truth.  I know it says “wisdom” here but wisdom is grounded in truth.  If someone will speak evil in one area that God has made clear, they will speak evil and act evil in other areas.  They are not to be trusted.

So?  God gave us a brain.  In our case He also put us in a political situation where we are expected to engage them in our choices.  Keep seeking truth.  Keep seeking truth sayers.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Get Your House in Order

(Pro 9:7 KJV) He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.

I generally write these thoughts on Proverbs a month ahead of time and try to keep a week ahead in my posting.  By the time this is posted in February we are going to see a lot of changes take place in our country.  There have been many voices calling God’s people to prayer.  We are in troubling times and if you have been paying attention, many of the politicians seem to get special joy out of shutting down churches.  We have been called all kinds of names by people who attend churches, or used to.  We have tried to speak to people.  They have not listened.  In fact this verse points out that it is impossible to speak to people who refuse to listen.

That is political.  Getting beyond politics the question is focused on us.  We can’t do much to change the hearts of those who reject truth.  That is the job of the Holy Spirit.  All we can really do is be available to that same Holy Spirit to give a verbal witness and a non-verbal example as He leads and prods.

So?  In this time of chaos, get your own house in order.  That does not mean bury you head and ignore the demands of our society.  It means that we need to make sure that we are listening, paying attention.  It means that we are saturating ourselves in the word so that we will be able to recognize the truth when it is presented.  Along with that is the ability to recognize the lie when it rears its ugly head.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Life and Favor

(Pro 8:35 KJV) For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.

Are “life” (2425b) and “favor” (7522) synonyms, steps to salvation or totally separate?  Is it possible to receive the gift of life, which I assume means eternal, without being in God’s favor?

The most common translation of “favor” has to do with acceptance so I would assume that the two go together.  When we find life it is because we have found acceptance.  For those who are wondering where total depravity comes in, it is before we are redeemed, regenerated and all of the other concepts that go with becoming a child of God.  

One of the important steps to salvation is to begin the journey into wisdom.  It is a life long journey.  It is an eternal journey.  It begins when we trust in Jesus for our salvation.

So?  If you are a believer you have already begun the journey.  Keep on truckin’.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

One More Time

(Pro 7:18 KJV) Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.

Just this once and then I will stop.  How many times have I said that to myself?  How many times have I stopped?  One answer is, “Many” and the other time it is “Almost never.”  Years ago I lost a lot of weight.  It is slowly coming back.  I am still fighting the battle.  Usually I just give up and start eating again.  This time every pound has to fight its way kicking and screaming onto my body.  I like to blame others for the gain.  You know the drill, they fix your favorite desert.  They want to go to a fancy restaurant.  It is Christmas.  I keep telling myself those are the problems.  

Wrong.  The problem is that I always go for that second portion or continue the lack of restraint when I am by myself.  It is a continual parade of “just one more.”  It doesn’t work that way.

So?  Don’t give in or give up.  I know that is easy to say and hard to do.  It is still doable.  God is patient and forgiving. 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Don’t Be the Target

(Pro 6:5 KJV) Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.

My son is a dreamer.  At one point he lived in a state that did not allow him to go hunting.  The deer were protected, at least during certain times of the year.  You needed to have a license.  The one exception was if the deer were eating your crops, then you could shoot.  His solution?  Find a nice safe area with a hill behind to absorb any misses, plant some corn at the bottom and wait for the unsuspecting deer to show up to dine.  Legal.

Understand that the forces of evil are planting corn to attract you to the hunt.  While God may protect you as you avoid evil, that shield may not be applied if you go looking for a loophole.

So?  Avoid evil.  Avoid the appearance of evil.  Avoid the seeds of evil.  You have the guidelines you need:  The Word and the Spirit. 

Friday, February 5, 2021

Baby Steps

(Pro 5:8 KJV) Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:

The context here is to avoid associating with loose women.  The principle is much broader than that.  The caution we should be embracing is to stay far away from people who are committed to evil.  I know it is fun to hang around with some people.  The problem is that the compromises begin almost immediately.  It may start with the need to simply laugh at a dirty joke.  I doubt that will send you to hell.  Face it, some jokes are funny even when they are dirty.  The problem is that once you start to move you tend to keep moving.  You also tend to accelerate.  

So?  There is some wise saying about taking care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves.  It is true.  Wouldn’t you rather try to recover from cussing at the dog than murder? 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Revival of Pagan Culture

(Pro 4:17 KJV) For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.

We have two interesting word pictures here.  We have the “bread (3899) of “wickedness” (7562) and the “wine” (3196) of “violence” (2555).  I would imagine that almost every meal in ancient Israel would include these two ingredients.  The bread would probably be a barley bread rather than wheat.  Barley is a much hardier crop and would be available to the poor when wheat was not.  The wine would probably be a very low quality and diluted with water to the point where it made the water safe to drink.  But rest assured these were the every day elements of life for people.

This is a reminder that the general population is full of people who thrive on evil.  Not only do they thrive but they require it.  That is one of the reasons why our culture is in decline as we drive the principles of God out of the public square.  Look at primitive, pagan culture.  You have universals such as slavery, treating women and children like animals, a small rich elite dominating the masses of poor.  Life was dominated by muscles and swords.  As the pagans gain power we are moving back in that direction.

So?  Start with prayer for yourself and your community leaders.  For yourself, ask for wisdom to be salt.  For your leaders pray that they would be humbled by the Power of God. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

A Principle of Godly Capitalism

(Pro 3:14 KJV) For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.

One economic reality is that a business that does not make a “profit” (5504) will not continue to exist.  If you have nothing left after business is concluded you will not be able to replace your stock, pay your employees or buy food for your own family.  Profit is not evil.  Many people today try to act like it is just the results of stealing from the poor.  That is nonsense.  Making a profit is a solid Biblical principle.

The real questions are how you made the profit and how you use the profit.  That is where wisdom comes in.  That is where the financial system you support becomes a question of morality.  If you made money based on lies and deception, you are the real loser.  If you use what you made to do nothing but live the high and fast life, you are the real loser.

So?  Feel comfortable being good at business or your trade.  God will bless you if you are wise in your methods and your goals.  Be the kind of money maker that is a blessing by providing for your customers, your family and your community at large. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Duty Is Hard

(Pro 2:9 KJV) Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.

It has been a rough year and there is no promise that this year will be any better.  That is a statement that could be written almost any time.  It is still true.  As Christians who want to be responsible citizens we are called upon to make decisions.  Too many Christians ignore that call or refuse to apply their minds and spirits to respond.  It is hard to know how we can move our world on the “good” (2896a) “path" (course NASB) (4570).

The comforting thought is that our responsibility is primarily to direct our own paths.  After that it extends to our families and our church.  Only then do we need to feel a charge to change our society.  As we move away from personal duty, each step gets harder and less achievable.

The frustrating part is actually accepting our responsibility to be salt and light.  We are surrounded by sources of information that should make us the envy of history.  We have access, but how do you discern what is worth listening to.  I think it is possible but it requires effort on our part.  We must start with a solid foundation in God’s word.  We must then seek to apply that prayerfully.  

So?  No one who lives in the real world ever said it would be automatic.  No one who lives by faith will say it is impossible.  If we don’t do it no one will salt the broth. 

Monday, February 1, 2021

Dog Ears

(Pro 1:33 KJV) But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

We like God’s promises.  We ignore His conditions.  It is part of the human condition.  It is what you might call having dog ears.  If you have ever had a dog you know how they can often not hear you when you say “come” but they are right there when you open a bag of cookies.  Children are the same and we shake our heads about it.  God probably does more than shake His head.  Here we have the promise that we can “live” (7931) “securely” (983).  We like that and we can even go along with listening as long as no one takes it too seriously.  

To get the conditions necessary for the promise you need to look at the previous verse where we are told that we need to avoid “waywardness” (4878) and “complacency” (7962).  Both of these go beyond the promises of grace and trust in Providence.  The first requires decisions to walk in righteousness and the second requires us to be alert.

So?  Trust the promises.  Apply righteousness.  Expect the reward. 

Sunday, January 31, 2021

One Comes before Two

(Pro 31:15 KJV) She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

It isn’t mentioned here but one of the keys to getting up early is going to bed early.  That would seem obvious but only become clear when you get old enough to gain a little wisdom.  Somehow I don’t think this wife is out partying into the early hours.  I don’t think she wastes her energy on things that are not important.  We could certainly learn a thing or two here.

So?  Get organized.  Set hour priorities.  Put them into action. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Big Deal

(Pro 30:24 KJV) There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:

Size is not important in God’s economy.  A similar idea might be understanding the relationship between volume and mass.  I used to ask kids which was heavier, a pound of feathers or a pound of lead.  It is one of those questions for the unwary.  In case you are unwary, they both weigh the same.  Their volume, however, would be totally different.  Some people think that because they are not worth much in terms of the world, they are not worth much.  While that may be true, it is not because of the world’s measurement.  God looks at the heart and weighs what He sees.

So?  Be encouraged.  Average people can make above average contributions. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Third Place Finish

(Pro 29:5 KJV) A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.

Relations with people around us are important.  We need to accept the reality that our words and actions effect others.  This is double true if they know we claim to be Christian.  Have you ever heard someone very vocal about their Christianity and then watch them turn around and take unfair advantage or speak words that are less than kind and true?  I know you have.  The scary part is that it might be said of us.

So?  An important part of love is that we are doing what is consistent with the standards of Almighty God and we are doing what is best for the other person.  We are to take third place. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Go for the Glory

(Pro 28:12 KJV) When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.

Moral behavior changes society.  That change is reflected in “glory” (8597).  The definition of this word includes the concepts of beauty and splendor.  I would say that it has been a long time since righteousness has been on the ascendancy in America.  How do I know?  Our culture is getting more ugly all the time.  

If you don’t believe that then turn your memory machine back to the year you were born.  Picture yourself being time warped to 2021.  Would you say, “This is great.”  Or would you say, “Take me home.  What is this place?”  There were brief periods where we made some progress.  Before Martin Luther King was assassinated the civil rights movement had the high ground.  After his death it became little more than power politics as usual.  We have made awesome advances in technology but have used it to pollute the public square with pornography both sexual and cultural.  We are not living in times of “glory”.

So?  We can still reflect that glory in our personal lives.  We can walk the straight path.  We can speak truth.  We can strive to be salt in a salt-free society.  Rest assured we will pay the price, but if we are not willing to pay it God will not bring revival. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Fools to the Right of Me,...

(Pro 27:22 KJV) Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.

I have a lot of opinions.  Since they are my opinions, I assume they are legitimate, well reasoned positions that reflect truth.  Of course I do.  Otherwise they would not be my opinions.  Although I like to think of myself as being rational and willing to listen to dissenting ideas, in reality I am not sure that is so true.  I like to think this verse applies to other people.  To be honest, it usually does.  When you have someone claiming to be a Christian who is involved sexually without benefit of marriage, denies the sinful nature, rejects the physical resurrection of Christ and thinks abortion is about choosing instead of murder, I don’t think their logic is much worth listening to.

So?  On one side, realize that some people are content in their sin and are not willing to listen.  On the other side, make sure that the description does not fit you, or me. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Strange Morsels

(Pro 26:22 KJV) The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

I find the translation “dainty morsels” (3859) (NASB) to be strange.  I find the “wounds” of the KJV to be even stranger.  The definition of the word is “to swallow greedily”.  The translation brings to mind awesome cookies that melt in your mouth.  The definition speaks of shoveling it in as fast as possible.  Either way it is something that the eater wants.  Such is the nature of gossip.  It has an addictive fascination with many people.  It is what stimulates people to read, and sometimes even buy, the gossip magazines at the check out.  It is the attraction that keeps much of what is on daytime TV alive and well.  People want to know the dirt.  

I think this is intended as a warning to us.  There are inclinations we can resist and we need to resist them for our spiritual health.  In many cases you know who the gossips are.  In many cases you can avoid them.

So?  Keep your mind empty of what these people want to say.  It is easier to avoid than to erase. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Base Line Righteousness

(Pro 25:21 KJV) If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:

Most people are familiar with the words of Jesus about turning the other cheek and going the extra mile.  Many might quote those phrases without knowing they came from the Bible but we are familiar with the concept.  This is a reminder that the principles Jesus set down in the Sermon on the Mount are minimums, not maximums.  They are the starting point, not the goal.  Here in the legalistic, angry God Old Testament we find the extension of the principle.  You find it in the NT also but it starts here.

Treat your enemies with love.

So?  A trap for the religious is to look for the lowest level of righteousness so that they are free to run everywhere else.  That is a recipe for hell.  God wants us sold out to righteousness.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Applied Patience

(Pro 24:15 KJV) Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place:

You would think this does not apply to believers and I would hope that would be the case.  The problem is that we sometimes get upset with our brothers in Christ and go too far in dealing with it.  

(1Co 6:7 KJV) Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
And Jesus laid down some guidelines in Matthew 18:15.  You start by going to the person who has wronged you, then you take witnesses and only after that do you go public.

So?  We need to handle each other with kid gloves.  I know that when I am feeling offended and put upon it helps me to remember how much patience God has with me. 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

The Base of Destruction

(Pro 23:24 KJV) The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.

Many people have speculated on what is wrong with out society.  What is the key factor for all the failure and destroyed lives around us?  The simple answer is sin.  For the moment let’s concede that and instead ask ourselves what manifestation of sin is the biggest contributor.  Again you would have many nominations for the award.  I think this verse points out a major factor:  The lack of “righteous” (6662) “fathers” (1).

I have read a number of references to research that finds the common denominator in such things as incarceration, abuse, alcoholism, and other types of antisocial behavior is the lack of a father in the home.  Just this week I read that in a list of known serial killers, only one was raised with a father in the home.  

So?  As Christians we need to resist the inclination of society to glorify single parenthood and divorce.  Such things happen.  People trapped in them need our compassion and understanding.  That does not mean they are desirable or normal.  We need Biblical standards as a foundation. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

A Simple Joy Ride

(Pro 22:3 KJV) A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

I think of the stupid things I did as a teenager.  Many of them had to do with driving.  Some were potentially suicidal.  Picture a young fool careening down a road and deciding he was going to blow through a stop sign for the thrill of it.  Picture hitting speed bumps at 50 MPH to see what would happen.  How about going for a midnight cruise through a part of town you wouldn’t even go to at noon.  Young people are not known for their wisdom.

So?  If you are reading this you lived to grow up and hopefully grow out, out of some silly behavior.  We keep our guardian angels busy.  I wonder if they enjoy the thrills or just wish they could let us crash.  It is best to keep your guardian angel happy. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Not Obvious

(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.

Why the emphasis on the “king’s” (4428) “heart” (3820)?  Possibly because we need to be reminded that even those at the top of temporal power are subject to Providence.  This is another difference between the standards of God and the standards of our secular society.  It doesn’t take much of a wake up call to see that the elite in society are not held to the same laws that us common folk are.  Our culture has rejected the ideas of justice and morality that God provided so clearly.  Those of us that don’t have a relative to get us a Get-Out-of-Jail card already can see this clearly.  

This is a reminder that God still “channels”  (6388) the rich and the powerful.  We may not see it.  We probably won’t understand God’s timing.  We will feel let down and deserted at times.  We still have the promise.

So?  Keep in mind that

(Heb 11:1 KJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
And have a good day.