An Idea Borrowed

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

Saturday, September 25, 2021

One Step in the Process

(Pro 25:1 KJV)  These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.

This verse is a glimpse into the activity of the Holy Spirit in preserving the written word for us today.  What we are reading happened thousands of years ago.  We don’t have all the details.  I wonder what kind of editing went on by the priests and officials.  Ultimately I trust that the process was in the hands of the Holy Spirit.  

This should be a reinforcer for our understanding of the inspiration of scripture.  We believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God.  We don’t believe it contains the word of God, but is.  There is a big difference in those two positions.  One says to take the truth and live by it.  The other says to take the way you want to live and edit to Bible to fit.  History is full of people who have edited the Bible.  Thomas Jefferson is famous for literally cutting portions out that he did not like.  Today it is often done by Bible translators, seminary professors and preachers.  

So?  Beware.  One of the foundations of knowing who is a Christian is accepting the Bible. 

Friday, September 24, 2021

Calamity or Revival

(Pro 24:22 KJV)  For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?

To whom does the “their” refer in this verse?  If you look back to verse 19 you see “evil doers” or “evil men”.  There is no “men” or “doers” in the Hebrew.  A better way to express it would be “the evil”.  That is what the Hebrew word means.  

We need to first remind ourselves that there are evil people.  Most will accept that general statement but refuse to admit how widespread the evil is.  Anyone who supports or allows activity and values that are contrary to God should be understood to be evil.  It doesn’t matter if they shower everyday, dress well, speak gently and live in the right neighborhoods.  If they are advancing the agenda of Satan then they are on his team.  The hard part of this is that when we are honest and listening we realize that our children and friends often are the ones being referred to here.

The promise is that they will go down in flames.  It is implied that they will also go down to flames.  Sometimes we will see it.  Other times it will be secret, but the flames will come.

So?  I think of cartoon characters who are giving a tongue lashing and walk into a wall.  What is going to happen will not be funny and will be more serious.  We need to keep praying for revival and living as righteous witnesses in hopes that some of these lost people will be saved instead of destroyed. 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Through an Eye Darkly

(Pro 23:6 KJV)  Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:

The NASB waters this verse down by using “selfish” with a marginal note instead of the KJV’s “evil” (7451a) [ra] “eye” (5869) which is the literal translation.  I prefer the literal in most cases because it allows the scripture to speak to me instead of a translator.  I ask myself, “How do I know what an evil eye is?”

I did a search for the times that the two words appear in the same verse.  True to the translator’s opinion triumphing over the voice of God, the NASB only has them once while the KJV puts them together nine times.  As much as I like the NASB I must say it tends to water down the effect of the words.  

I am not sure that we can always know when someone has an evil eye.  As near as I can tell it refers to people looking at you with some type of wicked intent.  It could be hatred or envy.  It could be simply a desire to harm.

So?  Beware.  As wonderful as you are remember that everyone does not love you and want the best for you.  Be alert and walk wisely. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Connections

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

I recently finished reading The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx.  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading it.  I was also surprised at how clear some of the principles of Communism are and how much we ignore them to our own peril.  Take for instance,

“In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.” Kindle location 239-240.
Now compare that to the verse we are considering today.  I hope you can see the contrast.  When I read I keep my mind turned on and filter everything through what God’s word is telling me.  The Bible says that property is not to be taken away.  The Communists say it must go.  I am not trying to make the Bible an advocate of an economic theory but it is pretty clear that anyone who considers themselves a Bible believing Christian cannot embrace Communism.  This is one of the reasons that Christians are under attack around the world.

So?  Something to consider when you read the headlines and watch the government actions.  Keep in mind that following Jesus does not mean embracing your surrounding culture.

Marx, Karl.  The Communist Manifesto, 1848, Project Gutenberg download

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Hard Choices

(Pro 21:9 KJV)  It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

This is where I started reading this morning and I was tempted to skip beyond it but I am back.  Keep in mind that as far as we know this is being written by Solomon.  Some of the Proverbs are from other authors, it says so in the text, but this has no other designation.  Solomon had a total of 1,000 women who were bound to him as either wives or concubines.  I am not sure if that means he shouldn’t talk or makes him a great authority.

Let’s also state that this is not talking about divorce.  Although a later verse talks about living in the desert, it is not a call to walk away from the marriage.  It also is not a call to separation and ignoring your responsibility.  I would also accept that the concept of “brawling” (contentious NASB) (4066) can apply to men too.  Where does that leave us?

There are times and people that call for distancing ourselves.  Some people we can avoid for the rest of our lives.  Some need time to cool off.  Some need space.  Some need to be handled with kid gloves.  I don’t see any indication here that the man is guilty of generating this conflict.  It is still very real.

So?  It might be good to spend some time reviewing I Corinthians 13:5 where it talks about not being provoked and such.  Some relationships require a lot of grace. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Do I Fix the Broken Drawer?

(Pro 20:24 KJV)  Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

The second part of this verse presents a very real issue with people who believe in the Omnipotent God of the Bible.  The question is asked in different ways.  Recently I was involved in a discussion about prayer.  One of the guys in the group was discouraged because he felt like God had ignored his prayer concern.  Most of us can understand that.  My input was the confusion on the purpose of prayer.  If God is all the omni’s, omnipotent and so forth, and knows what is going to happen, what is the point of my petition?  He knows what I need.  He knows what I want.  He knows what He is going to do.  

Do you feel that question in this verse?  So often I have decisions to make.  I want to do things God’s way.  Many times the options are clear.  For instance if I have a bill I don’t have the money to pay I know that God’s will is not to rob a bank.  What about the choice between going to the church work day or fixing something broken at home?  Both are needed and important.

So?  If you have questions at times, I am not sure I have the answer for you.  What I can assure you of is that God is not hiding the difficulty and we all experience it.  Isn’t it sometimes frustrating serving a living God who created us in His image?

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Brother, Can You Lend Me a Dime?

(Pro 19:19 KJV)  A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.

I tend to think that you go the extra mile for people you know well rather than those you just met.  I still think that is true but this verse makes me stop and think twice about that.  Knowing people for a long time can prepare you to help them better than if you know little about them.  It helps us give advice and makes us sensitive to the times they want help as opposed to the times they would rather do it themselves.  So that is good.

What is harder is the thought that knowing someone well might also make us less likely to help.  In this verse the focus is on people with a quick temper.  We all know them.  What we don’t know when we first meet them is whether the anger is a personality trait or whether someone managed to push that one button they struggle with.  

So?  Familiarity may cause us to withhold support and encouragement.  Remember Tigger.  Anything that came up was what Tiggers do best.  He needed restraint, not encouragement.  Alcoholics don’t need people to clean up for them and shelter them from reality.  Our faith requires our active minds. 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Self-Talk

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

Proverbs is full of recurring themes.  This chapter mentions now important it is to listen more than we talk.  This verse points to a big part of the problem.  We all know people who talk too much.  We have all been guilty of the same thing.  Okay, maybe you haven’t but a lot of us have.  At the root of the problem is the root of sin:  Self interest.  Much of the sin in our lives is taking a blessing that God has created and turning it to selfish purposes.  

So?  Take a look at the conflicts of the past 24 hours.  I would imagine that if we are honest with ourselves we will find out that self-centeredness is involved.  I know we see it in the other guy but we might ask ourselves if he sees it in us too.  

Friday, September 17, 2021

Turning Talk

(Pro 17:20 KJV)  He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.

At what point does our “language” (3956) become “perverted” (2015)?  At this point I think the KJV’s “perverse” is a better choice.  The word has the idea of turning.  In fact a variation of “turn” is the most common choice in both translations.  

What kind of turning would be beneficial or even necessary?  I think of turning the mattress or turning the pancakes.  There are also times when we turn for the wrong reasons.  If you are giving someone directions you can have them turn at the wrong place or the wrong direction.  You might turn certain things over to hide the fact that they are dirty.  The point is that some people are out there agitating to bring about evil.

So?  Beware.  That is probably the most important alert.  Also, we need to make sure that we are not falling into the trap of this kind of speech. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Pre-Loaded

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

I find myself frequently frustrated with what I see going on around me.  I can almost imagine a special thermometer designed to measure all the emotions that current events and the experiences of the day generate.  This verse recommends trusting.  Sometimes that is easier said than done.

I find that the first part of the verse prepares me for the second part.  If I don’t do the first then the second is not impossible but is unlikely.  The KJV confuses the issue a bit.  Perhaps it would help to look at the NASB and realize that correct translation involves the “word” (1697).  

(Pro 16:20 NAS77) He who gives attention to the word shall find good, And blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.
The Holy Spirit can bring the word to mind but it seems to happen more readily when we are involved with it.  I have heard of electronic devices that come “pre-loaded”.  That is what we need on a daily basis.

So?  Partake before you need.  I just works.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Prayer Problems

(Pro 15:9 KJV)  The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.

Sometimes the “way” (1870) of the “wicked” (7563) is obvious.  Sometimes it is subtle.  It is the subtle ones who are confusing.  The previous verse lifts out the importance of prayer.  I was in a discussion about prayer recently.  I don’t understand prayer.  I do it on a regular basis, but I don’t understand why.  God is all the omni’s, from omniscient to omnipresent.  How can my prayer influence Him?  That is the part I don’t understand.

The danger of the wicked way comes when we try to make things like prayer a tool to manipulate God.  To me a lot of the prayer lists we have are wish lists.  They become nagging lists.  We are telling God all the things we think He should be doing if He is really God.  The last time I had a role in leading congregational prayer I experimented with writing out my prayers before hand.  I used what is called the Lord’s Prayer as a templet.  There are only three specific creature requests in that prayer:  Daily bread, forgiveness for sin and avoidance of temptation.  Everything else focuses on praise and glorifying God.  

So?  I plan on making prayer times a time to focus on thanksgiving and praise.  I will also try to make it a two way conversation by listening. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Deluge of Deceit

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

We have a call to be constantly alert, to discern the difference between truth and lies, righteousness and evil, even between degrees of accuracy.  It would seem that this would be an automatic understanding but we have a problem with sloth.  We don’t want to put the energy into thinking, let alone investigating.

We are under a deluge of deceit.  That is obvious in politics and the news, or it should be obvious.  How many times do you need to be lied to before you stop accepting the party line?  It always amazes me when people tell me, “I never heard that.”  Or when someone watches a video and shares it as hot off the press when it was available for days before that if you were paying attention.

The not so obvious is the heresy and deception that we can find coming from people who claim to be spiritual leaders.  In reality there is even less excuse for ignorance here.  We all have access to the source in this area.  When someone tells you Jesus did not physically rise from the dead you can read a little bit and see how He went out of His way to prove it in the upper room.  If someone tells you certain sexual situations are good with God, it does not take long to find out they are lying.

So?  Refusing to engage your brain is a dangerous place to be. 

Monday, September 13, 2021

What You See...

(Pro 13:7 KJV)  There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.

I have a knee jerk reaction to this verse.  It says that the pretend rich guy is a phoney but the pretend poor guy is just humble.  I am not sure that is the message.  There is no praise or condemnation offered, so we supply our own.  I don’t see God throwing thunder bolts over this but I do imagine Him shaking His head at the foolishness of His creation.  

We have a hard time being ourselves.  There are some things I have accepted about myself.  I have big feet.  It is hard to hide.  There are other things that I keep hidden in the deep recesses of myself.  I know.  God knows.  No one else needs to know.  It is possible that if they did know they would ignore them as no big deal.

So?  There are sins we need to confess and repent of.  There are other things that we need to just get over.  It should be clear which is which. 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Be Judged Not

(Pro 12:9 KJV)  He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.

Have you ever wondered if you had mustard on your nose or something?  You notice people are looking at you.  They might be laughing or just critical.  There is something about you that does not measure up.  I have been there.  Often I didn’t realize what was bothering me.  I remember one time when we realized that we had the oldest car in the church parking lot and realized we were being judged for it.  At that point I would sing the words of the old Beach Boys song which said, “And one more thing, I’ve got the pink slip, baby.”

So?  It is easy to say and not always easy to do.  Don’t expect the world to look up to you if you are living God’s way.  If they do, ask yourself what is wrong.  Maybe they think you are weird because you are the only one with your shoes on the right feet. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Not 911

(Pro 11:14 KJV)  Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

As I read this today I thought about being an introvert.  I can talk.  I can be a part of a group.  I prefer not to do either.  I listen to people talking about how we need to share and get input from others.  I can agree with that in principle but I wonder if we take it too far.  I hear people complaining about the lack of worship.  At that I scratch my head.  

It seems to me that we are being seduced by a culture of experts and group-think.  We want to consult with people with diplomas saying, “I can help” and want the approval of the group.  We forget that the Holy Spirit can speak to us if we will just listen.  Yes, He sometimes speaks through the experts or the group but He is not limited to that.  God has given us an “abundance” (7230) of sources, all with unimpeachable credentials.  They are called the books of the Bible.

So?  It is amazing, but should be standard, the way in which the Bible will speak to us.  Two things are required.  We seem to avoid both.  First, we need to read it.  Second, we need to listen.  Help is available.  Don’t dial 911. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Going for the Gold

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

There are times when I can keep quiet with no problem.  There are others where I can’t keep my lips together.  One place of too much talk is when I am in a group discussion and feel I have to share to earn my seat.  I usually pay too much.  One that is more current is being around people who seem to take everything I say and turn it sour.  I keep telling myself to be quiet.  I don’t need to make any verbal offerings.  As they say in reading the Miranda rights, “Anything you say can be used against you.”  I have heard that changed to “can, and will,”  but I don’t seem to be listening.

So?  I want to get rich by practicing “silence is golden.”  Maybe today will be the day it starts.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

The Avalanche of Angst

(Pro 9:10 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Our world is being beaten down with fear.  You have all seen the people driving around with their windows up, a mask on their face, gloves on their hands and terror in their eyes.  They have been conditioned by an avalanche of angst.  They have forgotten the many cases of flu, the colds, perhaps bouts with measles, mumps and chicken pox.  They make the mistake of believing the words of organizations that have lied to them repeatedly and ignore the word of a God who sent Jesus as the way, the truth and the life.

“Fear” (3374) is used two opposite ways in the Bible but it is used with two opposite objects.  When it comes to God we are to fear.  When it comes to the microbes of malignance in our world we are told to fear not.  I got sick a few weeks ago.  We have been conditioned so that any time we get a snuffle we think, “Covid!  I’m going to die!”  What nonsense.  We are no more going to die that we are because there are drunk drivers on the road and slippery bathtubs in motel rooms.  People have asked me, “Was it covid?”  My general answer is, “I don’t know and I don’t care.  My immune system worked the way it was supposed to.”  I hope I would have said the same thing if I had died.

So?  Fear, and fear not.  Both are commands.  Get the objects reversed and what time you have on earth will be bad but not as bad as eternity. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Results

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

As I was reading the chapter I noticed a theme of promise.  The promise is that wisdom delivers.  It delivers a better life.  It delivers prosperity.  It brings peace of mind and all of the things that a healthy person might want.  It is a simple message.  We keep looking for the trap door and waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it is a promise.

Or maybe it would be better to say it is a prophecy.  The clear message is that living God’s way works.  Why should that surprise us?  Are we surprised when a car works better with gas in the tank than with water?  Are we surprised that fresh lettuce makes a better salad than old stuff that is liquefying?  Are we surprised when leaving early gets us to our destination on time?

So?  Wisdom works.  Obedience works.  God made us and the world we live in.  His directions should not come as a surprise. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Wardrobe Speech

(Pro 7:10 KJV)  And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.

I am not sure the difference is so obvious any more but it used to be that you dressed up for special occasions.  If you were going out on a first date you not only took her to a nice restaurant but you also dressed up.  It wasn’t enough to be clean.  When you went for the first time to meet her family you stepped up a level, or two, or three.  Remember those days?

Let’s say you married the girl, or guy as the case may be.  If we took a photo of you when you came to dinner, what would we see?  Would your clothes say that you wanted to present the best appearance for your significant other or that you are very “comfortable” and able to be you?  What does your outfit say to your children?

So?  It makes a difference how we are “dressed” (7897).  It is something that bears consideration.  Are we simply adopting the casual approach to life that the world exhibits?  And, yes, I know that those faded, hole infested jeans you are wearing cost a lot of money but stewardship is not my topic today. 

Monday, September 6, 2021

T Stands for Total

(Pro 6:12 KJV)  A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.

I began reading today and the first words I saw were “naughty" (worthless NASB) (1100) “person” (120) [adam].  How mean spirited.  How unfriendly.  How non-seeker friendly.  And of course, the one that modern American church attenders like to leave out, how Biblical.  It is amazing how hard it is for us to connect simple truth with the world we live in.

Think of the Calvinists.  Chances are if you scratch a Christian they will bleed Calvin.  The first point of the TULIP system is Total Depravity.  That is the ultimate worthless person.   Yet we go to church after church that is trying to appeal to the totally depraved by appealing to their comfort zone.  What part of depraved are they not getting?

So?  Wake up church.  We are not out to make the depraved feel at home in our sanctuaries, sorry, worship centers.  We are out to create an environment that will move them toward being uncomfortable with their sin. 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Toe Safety

(Pro 5:6 KJV)  Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.

I am reaching an age where my automatic systems don’t work as well as they used to.  I sometimes say I do not multitask well anymore.  Of course there is the question of whether I ever multitasked.  It used to be I could set down a coffee cup and it would end up where I intended.  Now if I don’t pay attention it will be half on the coaster and might spill on everything.  It has happened.  I find that when I first get up I need to pay special attention to my walking.  Sometimes I run into the wall a few times before my brain kicks in.  “Ponder” (6424) it says.

You may have had the experience of your foot reaching out and trying to move a heavy piece of furniture with you little toe.  It doesn’t go well.  I would kick myself for being such a klutz but the toe already hurts.  I was not paying attention.

So?  This can happen in our spiritual lives.  We have decisions to make and comments to contribute.  Instead of stopping to consider the wisdom we have been reading we kick the couch, so to speak.  Take the time to ponder.  Check the balance.  Think of consequences.  Avoid the pain. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Hump Warning

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

The thing we read over and over again in Proverbs is to do what you are told.  Words are being shared and we are to listen and apply.  That is good as far as it goes but what if your father is a man of few words?  I can’t remember my father sitting around sharing all his wisdom.  What I do remember is watching how he “led” (1869) by example.  Consider that in my entire life I never heard my father curse, swear or take the name of the Lord in vain.  He was in construction and people who paid him for a job could be sure that it was done right.

One of my frustrations in our current house is that the person who built it did not pay attention to detail.  I was building some shelves for the garage and had to redo them because it never occurred to me that the floor would not be level.  I did not expect the big hump along the wall.  

So?  We are to be leaders.  We are to not just avoid moral shortcuts but make them anathema in our lives.  We need to realize that there are people who may stumble permanently because they saw us cutting corners.  No pressure or anything but the results are eternal. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Pockets of Calm

(Pro 3:25 KJV)  Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.

It seems like everything I read or listen to is declaring that the “desolation” (onslaught NASB) (7724b) of the “wicked” (7563) is just around the corner.  Some even say they have already made the turn.  What God is saying to us through Solomon is that when it comes, notice I didn’t say “if”, don’t worry about it over much.  I find it interesting that this message comes through from the most unexpected sources.  This is from a site called According to Hoyt.  Sarah Hoyt makes no claim to being a born again, Pentecostal Bible thumper.  I do pick up the Catholic faith at times.  Her words might resonate with you.

“Keep in mind most of you will be safe. No, seriously. Take it from someone who’s lived through this. You can live and work in dangerous places and still be completely safe. Just for the love of heaven, if you see a group of people behaving like lunatics run/drive/walk the other way.”
Many of the dangers and tragedies of life take place because people are stupid, not thinking or just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It is possible that God is planning on some of us being martyrs.  Remember the persecution is promised.  At the same time there are almost endless promises, like this, that God has this one.  You can relax.
 
So?  Sing with me, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way....” 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Shields Up

(Pro 2:7 KJV)  He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.

A recurring theme in this chapter is the way in which God looks out for the righteous.  We see words like “guard”, “preserve” and “deliver”.  In this verse the chosen concept is “buckler” (shield NASB) (4043).  When modern people think of shields they think of Star Trek.  In ancient times it was a different image but the same idea.  Ancient shields came in many sizes and shapes.  The buckler of the KJV was a small shield with a center grip.  It could be moved around and was not as big a burden as a full shield.  

The point being made here was not an argument for specific weapon styles but the reminder that our greatest defense was in Providence, the hand of God.  It is easy to forget this.  When we keep being barraged with a deluge of fear over a virus that God knew was coming, it is easy to say I need the medical profession to protect me and forget the agency of your guardian angel and immune system.  If you are one who follows the expansion of government power it is easy to think that it will be overcome by a bunch of AR’s.  

So?  First notice that the requirement for God’s protection is to walk in righteousness.  Then relax and let Him be God. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Have I Got a Deal for You

(Pro 1:10 KJV)  My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.

Evil people will try to “entice” (6601b) us away from what we know to be right.  I don’t know that we understand the appeal of this on both sides.  Evil people love to drag the righteous into the mud.  They like to destroy.  We see this in a simple way at school:  graffiti “artists” always want the cleanest book to write in.  The dirtiest always wants the cleanest desk.  

The verse talks about “sinners” (2400) who try to “entice” (6601b) us.  I think we read over that a bit too quickly.  We tend to look at the world as two camps:  Sinners and Righteous.  God may be able to break it down between the lost and the redeemed but we do not have the ability to read hearts like He does.  We are forced to deal with a lot of shades of grey.  We tend to make allowance for family and friends but not for the pagan down the street.  

Who has the best chance to drawing you into sin?  If some guy with tattoos and a gun in his pocket tried to talk me into robbing a bank he would fail.  I have no question about that.  Would the response be the same when the guy who sits down the pew came to me with a great deal that was only a bit dubious?  That is our danger.

So?  We need to make our decisions based on what the Bible tells us and how the Holy Spirit leads us based on what the Bible tells us.  Avoid evil even when it is a very small dose. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

A History Lesson

(Pro 31:19 KJV)  She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

When it comes down to it, I didn’t have any idea what a “spindle” (6418) and a “distaff” (3601) were.  I knew that they had some function in the making of cloth but beyond that there was just a fuzz in my mind about them.  So, in the age of the internet, I went to see what You-Tube had to tell me.  “Distaff” is kind of ghetto talk for this stick, as in “Dis is my staff”.  It is a stick on which you gather the wool that you are planning on making into thread.  It looks a lot like a stick of cotton candy.  

The “spindle” is another stick that you spin, surprise, as you pull a strand of wool off the distaff.  You first pull out a length of wool, twirl the spindle, and then wind the thread onto the spindle.  One of the points brought out by the lady on the video was that it was totally a mobile device and that you could start and stop all day long.  

So?  Just a bit of Bible background today.  I will let you make your own applications. 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Stare Back

(Pro 30:30 KJV)  A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any;

I think I prefer the NASB use of “mighty” (1368) to the KJV’s “strongest”.  In fact it is the KJV’s favorite translation of the Hebrew word.  The point is not that the lion is at the top but that he is in the top echelon.  It is this characteristic that keeps him from backing off from challenges.  

Is that a good trait or a problem?  I would suggest that it depends on the situation, like so many things in life, “it depends”.  What we can take from it is the praise being given the lion when confronted.  Too often I back down from any push back.  I turn away, look for another route, retreat.  As I look back I wonder how things would have been different if I had simply returned the stare.  Notice it does not say the lion attacks.

So?  We need to be willing to stand tall for the Lord.  That is double true in the present environment where we have people who should know better embracing moral positions that are totally opposite to what God has laid out in His word. 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

The Pause

(Pro 29:11 KJV)  A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.

As I compared translations today I was drawn to the way the KJV says “a fool uttereth all his mind.”  It is much more than losing your temper like the NASB says.  This speaks to lack of discipline in our speech.  An attribute of the Christian is that he stops to consider before he says what he has to say.  I will admit that is difficult at times.  I find that in conversation with some people if they ask a question I really don’t want to answer all I need to do is pause and think a moment.  Since people seem to be afraid of silence, they start talking before I have a chance to put together an answer.  Usually the question never comes up again because they didn’t really want an answer.

So?  Be the one who might be thought a bit slow because you don’t talk much.  Of course you might also be thought wise, but that is another verse.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Prepping

(Pro 28:19 KJV)  He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.

Those of us who are not farmers might miss that tilling is not planting.  It is a process that loosens the soil and prepares it for planting.  As I did a little research, one source said that if you did things right you could even skip a year.  Think about how this might apply to something like evangelism.  We should be preparing the soil by living righteous lives.  In the same way, how many restaurants are opened because someone has impressed people with their cooking?  

So?  We need to look at our lives as an investment in the future.  As I write I think of all the time I spend on meaningless tasks or leisure activities.  I need to look at my day. 

Friday, August 27, 2021

Just Sayin’ or Not

(Pro 27:2 KJV)  Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.

Some of my best moments came when people would say things about me that I knew I did not deserve.  What made it even better was when they did not realize I considered it a compliment.  I think of the time in class when a kid said, “Why are you always talking about Jesus?”  I would have worn that badge gladly but I rarely said the name of Jesus.  He just picked it up from the other things I said.  There is no way I could have generated that on purpose.

So?  Live the way that reflects the values of Jesus.  Be a credit to your savior.  You are not doing it to bring credit to yourself but to Him. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

No Flow

(Pro 26:1 KJV)  As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.

I am not satisfied with the “fitting” (5000) of the NASB or the “seemly” of the KJV.   I guess both will work but there is also the idea of beauty involved in the word.  My wife got a new dress and of course that brings to mind all of the jokes involved in that subject.  As she was sitting in the car I noticed that the pattern in the material was pleasant and it seemed to fit her well.  I forced myself to complement her on the dress.  It is fortunate that I did it then because when she stood up and started walking it evolved into a granny dress.  It fit.  It was seemly.  It looked like a poorly designed mumu.  Mumus can look good.  They have a flow.  This one didn’t.

“Honor” (3519b) can be like that.  You can try to bestow it but somehow it just doesn’t fit.  We see this happening at most of the award dinners we attend.  The media is constantly trying to put lipstick on the pig.  We need to avoid it and make sure that we do not look up to or praise people who are really fools.

So?  Be careful where you give you complements.  There are some people who listen to you and take what you say to the bank.  Don’t make your trustworthiness bounce.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Stay on the Fairway

(Pro 25:28 KJV)  He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

I remember when I first started to get into golf.  I had the newbie enthusiasm.  I would play anywhere and any time.  I checked out books at the library.  I even bought a few.  As my thinking caught up with my enthusiasm I realized that golf has its experts just like any other field and they were as unreliable as any other group of experts.  I remember reading two different pros as they talked about which was more important, power or accuracy.  One said swing as hard as you can and work on control later.  The other reversed the order.  The truth is, both are important.  That is what this verse is dealing with.

You may have built what could be called a fortress in your life.  It is a major accomplishment.  Then you end up leaving the gate open and the light on because you have no self control.  As Christians we rely on the Holy Spirit.  Part of what that means is He does the things that are mighty and awesome.  We work on discipline.  It is not good for our ego but important for our eternity.

So?  Focus on self control and discipline.  God will deal with governments, weather and the economy. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

7/1

(Pro 24:16 KJV)  For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

Law or principle?  That is not a question to avoid the issue.  It is real.  Some of the teachings of the Bible are hard and fast rules.  For examples you can start with the Ten Commandments.  Other statements need to be understood as principles.  If you get that mixed up then you think that the rule is you can stumble seven times for every one the wicked do.  It is like Peter being told he had to forgive seven times seventy.  That did not mean 490 times.  It meant keep forgiving.

The same it true here.  It is a reminder that we have a resource unavailable to evil neighbors.  We have the endless strength, power and creativity of the Holy Spirit.  That is why Paul wrote,

(2Co 4:8-9 KJV)  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
So?  Stop counting and start living.  Life happens and sometimes that means stubbed toes. 

Monday, August 23, 2021

Medicinal Purposes

(Pro 23:31 KJV)  Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

Whenever alcohol comes up the drinkers always refer to Jesus turning water into wine and Paul telling Timothy to take some wine for his stomach.  Let me respond to the second based on this verse.  Paul was telling Timothy to use the wine like a medicine.  What seems to be one characteristic of medicines?  They do not taste good.  I could easily use wine as a medicine because I hate the smell of alcohol.  I would always limit myself to what was required.

Notice the warning against using wine when it goes down easy, when its color seems warm and inviting.  Balance is a good solid Christian virtue.  In some cases abstinence is even better.

So?  If you feel a need to justify your alcohol then maybe it is something that needs to be rethought. 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Credit Enablers

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

We live in a day of easy credit and easy forgiveness of credit.  One of the political footballs being tossed around today is the forgiveness of college loans.  In the lockdowns we had the government declaring that tenants did not need to pay their rent.  I hear ads on the radio about how a law office can get you out of paying back taxes.  It is often stated that you can negotiate with credit card companies to reduce your debt.

What is being stated here is that we should not be part of anything that enables people to get into debt.  We should discourage college students from getting credit cards.  We should send out children to community colleges instead of the high cost university.  We should drive the smaller car and stay in the less than elegant hotels.

So?  Live within your means and expect others to do so also.  If it is a crisis then our place is gifts not loans.  If their problem isn’t important enough to get us to simply give them what they need then it probably isn’t something that a loan will cure. 

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Channeling Jack Horner

(Pro 21:8 KJV)  The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.

If I were preaching a sermon on total depravity or original sin then I would prefer the KJV translation.  Fortunately the doctrine does not depend on this verse.  That understanding leave you wondering where the “pure” (2134) comes from.

I think it is better to look at this as a reminder that our choices have results.  We need to avoid judging others because we cannot know all the factors involved but it is eery how often people who are in crisis have made it a habit of making the wrong decisions.  Again, great care needs to be taken to avoid the judgement of focus.  That is where we are so busy channeling our inner Jack Horner that everything we see comes out as saying, “What a good boy am I.”

So?  The words are not for us to evaluate and lecture others.  They are there to remind each of us that our decisions lay the foundation for future events.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Certainly Uncertain

(Pro 20:15 KJV)  There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

We live in uncertain times.  Realistically, most people would say that no matter when they lived.  We do not have the Blitzkrieg raging across Europe.  In spite of our panic we do not have anything even close to the Black Death spreading through out cities.  We do have a government printing all kinds of money and borrowing like there is no tomorrow.  It is getting so that no matter what plans you have made and how careful you have been, you could lose it all.

This is a reminder that there is a greater security than is found in material wealth.  There is an investment that will be more sure and have a greater pay off.  Part of that precious awareness is being rooted in an eternal God’s-eye view of today and tomorrow.  It won’t protect your IRA but it will let you sleep at night.

So?  Be a good steward of the physical assets God has put in your care.  Be an even better steward of the mind God gave you and the soul He wants to save.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Avoiding Catch-Up

(Pro 19:14 KJV)  House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.

I think about the decision my wife made to give up her career plans and invest her life in our children.  What she thought she wanted was coming together but she realized there was a higher calling.  I think our children have turned out well and that it is more than just the love of a father that says they stand head and shoulders above the rest.  Much of that is rooted in her decision and attention to priorities.

Those kind of decisions come from the Lord.  Sometimes you only get one chance to get it right.  If you don’t then you are destined to playing catch-up.  I look at the grandchildren of friends being dumped into day care and then surrendered to public education and shake my head in sorrow.  I read a post recently about children cancelling their parents.  It starts when you accept the standards of the world and don’t even know it.

So?  Pray for any unmarried person you know.  Ask that God would provide them with the spouse they need and that they would be such a spouse.  If you have been married for awhile it might be a little late for that but God is willing to help. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Not Again

(Pro 18:13 KJV)  He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

Here again is a reminder of the value of reading through Proverbs on a monthly basis.  There are certain things that need to be rubbed in my face on a regular basis.  This is one of them.  I could learn it from experience.  I am constantly reminded that people are not listening to me.  Sometimes that is because they talk over me.  Other times it is because their response has nothing to do with what I said.

So?  Say less; listen more.  Simple to say but hard to hear. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Velcro Wisdom

(Pro 17:24 KJV)  Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.

The older I get the less I am impressed by formal education and diplomas on the wall.  We are surrounded by “experts” who have velcro closures because they never learned how to tie their shoes.  As a teacher I was constantly assaulted by the new insights of consultants and gurus.  I was told how to teach by people who had never taught.  I have been lectured on how to raise children by childless geniuses.  We have all been there.

We need people who have a deeper “understanding” (995) than they can get in a textbook or through the process of Greek logic.  Textbooks have their place.  Logic is valuable.  What is more important is the insight that comes from a fear of God and an understanding of the eternal principles.  Too often we base our ideas about things like global warming on yesterday’s temperature instead of an honest listing for the last hundred years.

So?  The insights that God gives us come from even more than documents 2,000 years old.  They come from a timeless eternity that looks back and forward and draws a line between truth and opinion.  Pay attention. 

Monday, August 16, 2021

Atonement Is Not a New Testament Idea

(Pro 16:6 KJV)  By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

One of the mistaken ideas that I come across is the idea that there was no forgiveness of sin offered in the Old Testament.  To those people I would ask, “What part of atonement don’t you understand?”  This is just one reference.  The Old Testament is saturated with this idea.  Atonement was available.

There are other things we need to consider and wonder about.  Only Jesus was capable of paying the price for the forgiveness and cleansing that we need.  Perhaps the difference is that “atonement” has the concept of forgiveness by covering while the blood of Jesus offers not only forgiveness but also cleansing, regeneration, adoption, and justification.  

So?  The discussions will go on.  The disagreements will endure until we stand in front of the judgement seat.  I am looking forward to the look on the faces of some people I have listened to when they see that eternity has people who were not members of their church.  The key point I would emphasize is that atonement if available and possible. 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Age of Fear

(Pro 15:33 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.

We are living in an age of fear.  The most obvious is the terror that has been ingrained in us about a virus.  If you don’t believe it then look at all the people walking in the sunshine with no living being within range and wearing a mask.  Sometimes they even have gloves.  Their days are filled with terror.  Every time they sneeze or cough they fear they are on an irreversible spiral toward death.  

We also see it in the attempts to divide Americans based on race.  The object is to get us to fear and hate each other.  We have all seen countless videos of elderly people, often Asian, being sucker punched as they went about their business.  The idea is to get you afraid to live life and to be suspicious of your neighbors.

So?  We have forgotten our fear of the Lord.  We have substituted other gods before Him.  Will fear of the Lord keep you from getting sick?  Don’t be silly.  A healthy fear of the Lord will remind you that you have a God designed immune system to fight off the sickness and help you keep your perspective.  I will take God’s design over a chemical concoction of a pharmaceutical company any day. 

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Always Those Pesky Choices

(Pro 14:18 KJV)  The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.

Two personality types and two implied results.  We have a choice in which one we are a part of.  The class we occupy is based on a continuous string of decisions not a one time epiphany.  Some people are “simple” (naive NASB) (6612a) by genetics.  In this case they are incapable of getting any deeper into the truth that will set us free.  I doubt if any of us would admit to being a part of that population because in reality there is a bit of mental deficiency involved.  Those people are not the thrust of this verse.

We are here worried about being a part of the intellectually lazy.  Or should I say, we should be worried.  God did not create us to slide blissfully through life with a smile on our face and a film over our eyes.  We were not created in His image to be happy dogs or cynical cats.  We were created to be able to gather and deal with “knowledge” (1874).  We are thinking creatures and thus responsible for the choices that determine our eternal destiny.

So?  We are to study, to put the word of God in our hearts, to present our bodies.  Following Jesus is not a matter of buying a ticket and sitting in the coach.  It is a walk, a following, a growth.  Welcome aboard. 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Clothespin Theology

(Pro 13:3 KJV)  He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

Is this important and timely advice?  If it isn’t you are an unusual and disciplined person.  I don’t know how many times in a day I find myself rising to the occasion demanding that I win an argument or put in my two cents worth.  I have usually said too much before I realize I should just cut off my need to come out on top.  

There is a difference between a healthy discussion and an episode of one-upmanship.  We are good at the second and pathetic on the first, or at least I am.  If you know when to keep your mouth closed and your opinions to yourself then you are blessed.  I need to be more blessed.

So?  Maybe I could practice clothespin theology.  That would involve walking around with a clothespin clamped on my lips.  It would not stop me from talking but when it hits the ground it might remind me of my resolve. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Smiley Speech

(Pro 12:25 KJV)  Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

Too many people who consider themselves Christians spend little or no time reading the “word” (1697).  I know that I have had long periods where I have gone stale.  God has been patient with me and walked me through it.  I am sure He was thinking about shaking His head over my lack of discipline but He also knew that if He shook His head the entire universe might have trembled.  As much as I would like to go off on the written word here, that is not the meaning.  This is the standard Hebrew for the spoken word.  It is extremely common, just as the words we use are common.

The point here is that we can lift up others by giving them a few “good” (2896a) words.  The idea is beautiful and positive.  This is not quoting scripture to them, although that may be appropriate.  This is the “nice job” or “you have really helped me” type of comment.

So?  You never know what a kind word can do to make someone’s day.  It would be good if we would look for opportunities to lift up the many people we rub elbows with that we don’t know well enough to do more than say something with a smile. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Right over Riches

(Pro 11:4 KJV)  Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.

While it is true that “righteousness” (6666) does not rule out “riches” (1952), we often are called on to make a decision between the two.  Integrity in our business dealings, fulfilling our contract obligations, paying on time and such practices are more important than the bottom line.  If you can’t make a fair profit then either you are not bidding high enough or it is a trade you should not be in.

So?  Don’t ever let go of the priorities. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Get Busy

(Pro 10:5 KJV)  He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.

Hard work is a spiritual value.  We need to concede that we live in a day where we all will not labor in the hot sun and literally live by the sweat of our brow.  At the same time there is a concept of effort put out and our pleasure, enjoyment, sense of fulfillment is not the measure of the value of the work.

I don’t see any emotional expression from the sons that says they are into what they are doing.  It is a matter of discipline.  Sometimes it works out that we enjoy it.  Other times we can develop a sense of purpose but the point is that we are being productive in the walk of life.

So?  What is often called the Protestant Work Ethic is a real thing.  It may not be Protestant specific but it is Biblical.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Heredity or Environment

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

Are we talking about personality types or learned behavior?  If you have more than one child, you realize they are different from the day they are born.  I see the same thing in our grandchildren.  So there is always the reality of how you were born.  That does not mean that you cannot change.  If you are an introvert, you can learn to be comfortable in groups.  I remember how terrified I was standing up in front of a crowd, then I was a preacher.  Later I was a teacher.  These require standing up and talking.  I would imagine that extroverts could learn to tone it down also.

So?  The results of coming to Christ are personalities that conform to His image.  It is the reach of everyone. 

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Even Fools Can Learn

(Pro 8:5 KJV)  O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.

I struggle with the use of “fools” (3684).  That is because of the words of Jesus,

(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.
However, if you do a little research you find that people are branded fools in both the OT and NT.  I will leave that research for another day and turn the finger pointing toward me.  

It is clear that God has a certain standard of discernment and wisdom that He expects from each of us.  None of us are born wise.  In spite of the liberal educators mantra about the wisdom of children, they are total fools and generally learn most of their lessons from pain or discomfort.  As an adult I am expected to access and use the resources available to me, starting with the Bible.  I am expected to use discernment on the toxic mix that comes over the internet and airwaves.

So?  The positive news is we can learn.  The reality is that often we refuse.  Think and act. 

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Not So Gentle Reminder

(Pro 7:24 KJV)  Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth.

This sounds like a gentle reminder of something important.  Except for the “gentle” that is true.  There is a phrase that could be added at the end to get across the point:  Or else.  If you read the context, this reminder is in the real threat of personal death and destruction.

There is a reason why it is vital to follow God’s standards.  There is a reason why America has been blessed even though most people are not serious about trusting and following Jesus.  That is because on the whole our laws and standards are based on those found in the Bible.

So?  As we watch our culture composting and our leaders polluting the land we need to remember that there are unbending standards of right and wrong.  We need to remember that we ignore them at our peril and remind those we come in contact with that God is not on vacation. 

Friday, August 6, 2021

Hidden Sloth

(Pro 6:11 KJV)  So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

Sloth.  The verse does not mention it, but it is the context.  We like to make up all kinds of excuses and phoney causes for “poverty” (7389).  Some of them may even apply some times.  We also like to ignore the ones that make us the responsible party.  We would rather blame someone else or society as a whole.  God wants us to look in the mirror first.

Yes, poverty can limit your options.  Bad choices can limit them even more.  

So?  Read, study, internalize the standards of the Bible.  It recommends hard work.  Actually it demands hard work.  Sloth is sin.  The neighbors are not going to come and mow your lawn.  The guy behind you is not going to dig your ditch until after you are fired.  Trust me. 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

The Nasty Taste of Truth

(Pro 5:14 KJV)  I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

Have you ever tried to get a toddler to drink something that is good for them?  On occasion they will put it down the hatch with no problem but the title “toddler” and the adjective “cooperative” do not often go together.  It could be the most beneficial elixir in history.  It would not matter.  They are going to resist until they are so bad they crumble and drink.

That is the picture here.  You have someone who has been around the kind of information that would transform his life.  He has refused to listen.  Maybe this time.  That is why pastors tend to preach the old salvation message so often.  You never know when the Holy Spirit has softened someone up to the point of repentance.

So?  You may not need the sermon of the week.  Pray for those around you and while you are at it make sure you are not ignoring something. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Simple Steps

(Pro 4:23 KJV)  Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

As I write I am struggling with the residual effects of a deep cold.  It looks like it will take an extended time to clean out.  I always wonder where I got it or from whom.  You can never answer those kind of questions.  What I do accept is that if I had just washed my hands one more time or not gone shopping that day or stayed home from church that Sunday, I would not have gotten sick.  At least not that time.

I also accept that my general health is a result of my guardian angel being on control and the times when he says, “All right, be that way.”  Those are the times he refuses to shield me from my own failure to “keep” (watch NASB) (5341).  Most people accept such things as eating right, getting enough exercise and enough sleep as foundations to solid health.  Those all require some buy in by the individual.  The same applies to our spiritual lives.

So?  Balanced diet, adequate exercise and sleep have spiritual applications.  If we can accept them for our physical health, why not for our spiritual condition? 

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Squirrel Questions

(Pro 3:20 KJV)  By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.

I got off on a squirrel hunt on the “deeps” (8415).  This is a word that can be taken and used literally but still has a mystery about it.  It appears in the second verse in our Bible.

(Gen 1:2 KJV)  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Picture what the earth might have looked like before it took on modern form.  The elements were still churning from direct contact with the power of God.  He had not yet moved the elements to their final form.  The closest I can come is the picture that forms in my mind of looking down in the maw of an active volcano, ready to spill over the brim.

In Exodus my imagination starts to work on just what the deeps consisted of.  It seems that the deeps is not necessarily the same as the sea.
(Exo 15:8 KJV)  And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths (8415) were congealed in the heart of the sea.
At this point I think of all the mineral wealth that is in the ocean.  Some is on the bottom.  Some is in solution.  I read an article recently about mining lithium from sea water.  I have long known that gold was present.  Not just water in a plastic bottle.

Then Job makes the sea and the depths separate.  Is this just a literary device or should we read more into it.  The spiritual point is the same either way but one might help us understand the physical world better.
(Job 28:14 KJV)  The depth (8415) saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me.
So?  The Bible is loaded with questions just waiting to be asked.  Isn’t that the basis of good science?  Real science is never settled.  There is always another question to be asked.  Sounds kind of eternal doesn’t it?

Monday, August 2, 2021

Distractions

(Pro 2:17 KJV)  Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.

Context.  Context.  Context.  This verse is part of a long list of people that wisdom is designed to protect you from.  I have a friend who seems determined to make a glorious entrance to Hell.  He denies it but his behavior is obviously headed that way.  If his friendship were vital to me, I might be tempted to follow in his footsteps.  How many people have been dragged down by friends and family.

So?  Wisdom will fortify and direct us on the path that leads to eternal life.  There are lots of distractions.  Think of all the interesting places you could stop on the way to work or church.  It is necessary to keep the goal in mind.  Blessings. 

Sunday, August 1, 2021

A Place for Satire

(Pro 1:6 KJV)  To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

Have you ever met someone who has no sense of humor?  Of course you have.  If you are not aware of anyone like that it might be because you are one of them.  Maybe they have a sense of humor but it is a bit limited.  I know people who think that “I Love Lucy” was the acme of humor.  The same people would often roll on the floor over the antics of the Three Stooges.  I find them boring.  I understand their humor, I just don’t think it is worth paying attention to.  I am a George Burns and Bill Cosby (before the fall) humorist.  I love political humor.

What does that have to do with this verse?  The word “interpretation” (figure NASB) (4426) means a form of satire.  Put that together with “proverb” ( 4912) which deals in wisdom and you have the spectrum of comments that people could make.  The person that the book of Proverbs is trying to develop is to be able to deal with both extremes and the middle.

So?  The word of God is designed to make us mature and well rounded.  Keep reading.  Keep thinking.  Keep growing. 

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Nightlights

(Pro 31:18 KJV)  She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

Some of us would consider leaving the “candle" (lamp NASB) (5216) on all night wasteful.  It is certainly something that the poor of that day could not afford to do.  I would imagine that many of them went to bed at sundown and rose at dawn for that reason.  So we can assume that God has blessed this woman and her family for being focused and hard working.

I don’t know about you but I don’t leave a lamp on at night.  In my house there are enough computers and other devices that have power lights that I find I can make my way without stumbling over the big stuff.  Picture a world of almost total darkness.  A bit of light can make a big difference.  We can look at this metaphorically and think about the things in our life that can supply this kind of light.  It might be the music we habitually listen to.  It could be a poster on the wall or photographs on our desk.  

So?  Consider finding a spiritual night light.  When I am in my early morning time of thanksgiving and praise I like to look around the room and find the memories tied to different objects.  It helps to remind me of all the blessings God has given.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Three or Four

(Pro 30:29 KJV)  There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going:

So are there only three or four things that are impressive in our world?  Obviously not.  We need to accept that there are places in the Bible that we read literary devices.  I have a friend who is big on “rightly dividing the word of truth”, II Timothy 2:15.  The problem is that he is the only one he thinks capable of doing that.  I have not asked him about this verse but if he felt it was some very subtle teaching that fit into his system, then that would be that.  I would be on the border of heresy.

So?  There are interpretations that are totally false.  There are others which differ and can be considered correct.  We will never totally agree.  We can’t agree on the best coffee or the healthiest diet.  I hear people split churches over the color of the carpet.  We need to learn to separate the important from the superfluous.  Three or four is not important.  The physical resurrection of Jesus is. 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Judge Rightly

(Pro 29:10 KJV)  The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.

This verse should be obvious, yet it isn’t.  I think one reason why we may not be supportive of the “blameless” (8535) is because we don’t know who is blameless and who is not.  We have lost our discernment about good and evil.  There are two good reasons for that, not good because they are acceptable but because they explain.

One reason we don’t know the good is because the values of the world have permeated the church.  When people living in adultery or fornication claim to be brothers and sisters in Christ the church has begun to accept the world’s definition of sexuality.  That is just one example.  It could extend also to refusing to reject heresy because we don’t want people to feel bad.

Another reason we don’t take stands for or against is that we don’t want to be called judgmental.  People take Jesus’ statement in Matthew 7, reject the context, overlook the rest of the Bible and act like sin cannot be called sin.  Thus we will have the same regard for the widowed mother as we have for the welfare queen.

So?  We are called not only to live “upright” (3477) but to think upright.  It is hard.  It is condemned by the sinners who revel in their sin.  It is expected by God. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Cliff Hangers

(Pro 28:18 KJV)  Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.

I read this and get a vision of Wiley Coyote as he rides a rocket sled, catches up with Road Runner and shoots past him as the bird steps aside.  Wiley finds himself suspended in mid air with no support and suddenly he starts his “fall” (5307) “all at once” (259).

Most of us are not like the road runner, cruising through life with a stupid smile on our face, knowing that the producers of the cartoon have destined us to survival and triumph.  I for one would have my moments of panic, or should I say, have had my moments of panic.  One example of that is the omnipresent propaganda about the China Virus that has people living in fear, constantly looking over their shoulders and trembling at the thought of shaking hands.  In spite of my skepticism I keep forgetting that God provided me with a marvelous immune system that is more effective than any vaccine and my guardian Angel is on the job.  

So?  Live righteously and expect that it makes a difference.  God may allow stumbling blocks and hard times but He will make sure of the final score.  Acme doesn’t have a chance. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Remember the Alamo

(Pro 27:1 KJV)  Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

Is this a recommendation that we should be pessimists?  Are we supposed to assume tomorrow will be a disaster?  No.  The Bible is full of admonitions to expect God’s blessings along with being thankful for the ones we have.  The precaution involves boasting about a tomorrow based on your great exploits of today.

We are always to place our trust in the Lord, not in our genius or hard work.  We have all seen examples of “the best laid plans of mice and men” that crumbled when reality strikes.  We have also seen disasters turn around to glorious success.  We have seen combinations of the two.  The two things that make the difference are our confidence in God and His actual plans for our time in history.  Living in Texas makes me more aware of the Battle of the Alamo.  It was a disaster.  It would have been a tragedy if it was the end of the story but the reality is that it gave the Texans a chance to gather to defeat Santa Ana.  That did not make the deaths and destruction pleasant but made them a moment of glory.

So?  Since we can’t see the future nor understand the strands of history at work, why not accept that God is in charge and we can trust Him?  I can’t think of a good reason either. 

Monday, July 26, 2021

Small Cracks

(Pro 26:28 KJV)  A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

This would seem to imply that there is no such thing as a little white lie.  It doesn’t rule it out but the idea is that lies destroy.  It is hard to get this across to the generation I taught because their lives were already so broken by the deceptions of their parents and culture that they had no idea what it was to really trust.  Marriage cannot thrive and might be impossible to preserve in an atmosphere of deceit.  Secure, mature children cannot be raised when lies are accepted as normal.  How can a business do well if the customers can’t trust the management?

Little white lies are usually the crack that starts to destroy the foundation.  Or think of how a leak in your roof starts small and you may not even know about it until major damage has been done.

So?  There is a reason why false witness is condemned as one of the Ten.  It behooves us to pursue the integrity and strength of the truth. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Easy to Say

(Pro 25:27 KJV)  It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.

I hate moderation.  It isn’t any fun.  I have noticed though that in the long run I am better off if I practice it.  Think of the nights we would have slept better if we had stopped eating when we reached the point.  Think of the next mornings after staying up reading long past your bed time.  Here the mention is honey and trying to get ahead.  They are not bad things unless they become an end in themselves.

So?  Easy to say and hard to do is the story of my life.  It is a story I need to work on. 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Keeping Score

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

We have a tendency to forget this verse.  We remember the “good old days” when certain things were assumed, when there was a courtesy and decencies that we could expect.  Those days are gone if they ever were here.  The “righteous” (6662) are fair game.  The standards of God face open opposition.  If you don’t believe it, go to a city council meeting and speak out against the homosexual agenda.

So?  Understand that while this is a warning to you to lock your doors and watch your back it is also an assurance that the God of the universe is on the job and keeping score. 

Friday, July 23, 2021

The Curse of Moderation

(Pro 23:30 KJV)  They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.

The use of alcohol as a beverage is controversial among Christians for some reason.  As with many teachings in the Bible, the balanced approach of the Book is usually ignored and extremes adopted.  Part of that is because most of us have a hard time with the thinking and discipline that comes from a reasoned, balanced approach to issues.  The problem with alcohol is that too much of it is destructive to our reasoning powers and too long of excess can ruin our physical bodies.  Think of it like strychnine.  Strychnine is a natural substance that is often present in water and food.  In the natural levels it is not dangerous but if too much is ingested it is deadly.  Or take a drug like morphine.  Carefully controlled it can be a life-saver in relieving  pain.  It can also lead to addiction and be destructive.

Too often people who claim to follow Jesus do not want to exercise the discipline that He expects.  Drunkenness and gluttony are two examples of this.  The difference is that you can live without booze but you can’t live without food.

So?  It is always a good idea to examine the things we think are important and see if they are enhancing our lives or dragging us down.  Here is it alcohol.  My issues are other places but just as real. 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Model Behavior

(Pro 22:25 KJV)  Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

There are times when I am bored and observing people.  Have you ever noticed how certain people tend to have their own walk.  I am not talking about the Monty Python Silly Walks but a way of pacing and leaning that seems unusual.  When I see a group of teen age boys who look like they are from some kind of hood I marvel at the way they throw their hips and rotate their shoulders.  You can watch a group of girls and notice that they all fidget with their hair and pull on their clothes in the same ways.  These mannerisms are what they “learn” (502).  It is possible that they learned them from parents but most likely they picked it up from their peer group.

Sometimes it is deliberate.  Sometimes it is unconscious.  It happens.  It is not always a good thing.  

So?  How do you worship?  Do you act like your friends or do you act like God is watching everything you do?  How do you treat family members?  There are so many questions.  Be careful whom you hang with and what models you chose. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Peaceful Violence

(Pro 21:7 KJV)  The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.

Notice that “robbery” (violence NASB) (7701) and a lack of “justice” (4941) are linked.  We would automatically think of coercion and strong arming as violent acts and we would be right.  What we also need to understand is that violence does not necessarily need to be violent.

The definition of violence has the word “ruin” and the different translations in the NASB include “destroy”.  There are many ways to destroy without attacking in the classical way.  Historically many cities have been brought down by hunger or thirst.  Another tactic that did not involve swords or guns was disease.  A lack of justice can eat away at the foundations of a society as much as a rash of gunfire.  The problem we face is the way our culture has redefined justice and made it a tool of discrimination.

So?  Don’t fall for the political manipulation of such vital concepts as justice, love, marriage or any of the many other things that are being redefined.  Justice that preserves a society is based on the standards of God and not the whims of men. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Not the Briar Patch

(Pro 20:14 KJV)  It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.

I know it is not politically correct but this reminds me of a segment of the movie “Song of the South.”  In the story you have Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox getting ready to do bodily harm to Br’er Rabbit.  He pretends that he is good with anything they want to do to him but pleads, “Please don’t throw me in the briar patch.”  Of course they are deceived, throw him in the patch and watch him dance away singing, “Born and raised in the briar patch....”

Too many conversations we have take on this element.  If we are at a swap meet and it is expected, then go for it.  If we are talking about teaching a Sunday School class it might be important to be more honest.

So?  This is about business.  We are supposed to be honest.  I know that is sometimes hard but remember when your wife asks you if the dress makes her look fat you can say with all honesty that the dress does not make her look fat. 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Perpetual Stereotypes

(Pro 19:13 KJV)  A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.

Two different classes of people are mentioned here.  In generic terms that would be offspring and spouses.  I often wonder how dangerous it is to assume the generic though.  Take children as an example.  My daughter was much easier to deal with than my son.  Both have turned out well so I don’t feel the anguish of Solomon, but there were many times when I was seriously thinking of taking him back to the hospital and demanding a refund.  I will also concede that sometimes girls are the bigger problem but if I had to place a bet I would put it on the son.

Are wives more irritating than husbands?  Being a husband, and knowing what a pleasure I am to live with, I find that easy to believe.  But do you notice that the stereotype is perpetual?  Has anyone ever heard of a rooster-pecked wife?  Do we tell father-in-law jokes?  

So?  The principle might be applied both ways but the Bible tends to reflect real life.  You don’t have to like it, but there it is. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

DIY, Not

(Pro 18:12 KJV)  Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.

This is a verse loaded with threat and dire consequences.  It also offers hope.  

Let’s face it, life has bad times.  We have all allowed ourselves to be overcome with the bumps of life.  There are times when we feel like it has all been a waste of time.  At times it is just a mood swing; at others, real tragedy.  We know that God has promised to not desert us.  We know He has seen us through before, but this time....  

The hope comes if we really believe regardless of what we feel.  “Humility” (6038) does not come easy for most of us.  The reality it that sometimes we need to be take down a notch before we will listen.  That is the crisis moment.  Will we listen, consider our God and continue to move forward in faith, or will we demand to be in charge?

So?  It is early in the morning as I write.  I don’t know what the day has in store that I have not expected or prepared for.  I need to make sure I don’t get on my high horse and demand that life be under my control.  As God says, “I’ve got this.”  The problem is that He will usually let go and let things deteriorate until we take our hands off. 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Bigger Than a Man

(Pro 17:23 KJV)  A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.

One of the recurring forms we find in Bible translations is the insertion of words like “man” in the English that are not in the Hebrew.  We also see this with the word “is”.  While it does not necessarily take away from the meaning of the verse it does give people who are looking for excuses something to grab hold of.  It is technically more accurate to say here, “the wicked” instead of “wicked man”.  “Wicked” (7563) is definitely in the Hebrew and that is the point.  Wicked people can be bought off instead of insisting on “justice” (4941).

The buying off can take many forms as we are seeing in our culture today.  It can be in immediate payment, a future promise or even threats against the family.  

So?  Recognize evil in its many forms.  Bribes are evil even when they are sugar coated.  As Christians we should be making judgements in life based on what is right and wrong, not on what benefits us.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Angles of Pride

(Pro 16:5 KJV)  Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

Pride.  In one sense it is part of the human condition.  In that sense we are all locked inside our heads and can’t get out.  It is impossible for me to know what you are feeling and in a sense what you are thinking.  Compare it to pain.  Everyone experiences pain but we respond to it differently.  I had some wisdom teeth out years ago.  Everyone I knew told me how terrible it was.  They focused on the pain and the days of suffering.  I am still wondering what they were talking about.  Sure, I could not eat pop corn for a few days but it was really no big deal.  Did I not have any pain or did I just ignore it?  I will never know.

In another sense our pride is an attitude.  It is an attitude that looks down on others.  That is the basic root meaning of the word, to be elevated.  The most common translation is “high”.  The only problem with being taller or higher is if we think it is some kind of quality that makes us better.  It is the same way of thinking that can lead to racial hatred or class warfare.  

So?  We need to keep remembering that we are all sinners saved by grace.  The balancing act comes in when we realize we have gifts and they need to be exercised. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Sneaky Walls

(Pro 15:32 KJV)  He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

I find it interesting that in all of the definitions of “neglects” (6544a) the first one is “to lead, to act as leader”.  At first that did not make any sense to me but as I looked at all the variations of the word I saw that this was not a Godly type of leadership talked about.  Proverbs is big on kings and leaders listening to advice, seeking counsel.  What we have here is a person who has all the information and expertise sitting right at his door but he chooses to ignore it and go his own way.  


Think of the successful people that ended up in tragedy.  The obvious ones committed suicide.  Less obvious are the ones who had their minds and health syphoned away by drugs, alcohol, gluttony and sexually transmitted diseases.  They often deteriorate slow enough that people are not paying attention to them when they hit the wall.  They still hit it.

So?  Each and every day I am faced with decisions.  The big question is will I listen to the wisdom that God offers or decide to go one more day on my own steam.  Maybe it would be a good idea to put a sign on the inside of our doors, “Warning!  Wall ahead.” 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

News and Noise

(Pro 14:26 KJV)  In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.

We are no longer living in the 1950's.  Things are not stable and we don’t have the sense of security that we knew then.  At least I don’t now and I did then.  As I say that I remember some of the stories my wife shares about the air raid drills she went through as a child.  She actually was worried about bombs falling as she knelt under her desk at school.  I on the other hand thought it was fun to get out of school work.  The times were the same.  The response was different.  Why?

For the verse today let’s set aside basic personality issues and concentrate of the thought here.  I lived in a family where my father had a “fear” (3374) of the “Lord” (3068) [Yhvh].  She had a father that paid only lip service to the claims of God.  Both were self employed.  Neither made a lot of money.  One child has “confidence” (4009), the other fear.

So?  It makes a difference how we respond to the news of the day and the noises of the night.  I watch the government arresting pastors for holding church.  I watch believers cowering in their homes because they have been ordered not to meet.  We need to put our trust in God and live without fear.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Violent Understanding

(Pro 13:2 KJV)  A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.

Our modern pagan culture has a lot of ideas that are warping our society.  One of those is the warping put on the concept of “violence” (2555).  The basic meaning of our English word is the use of force and destruction.  It is another one of those words that relies on its context.  The Hebrew word seems to include the idea of the force being for evil purposes.  There is a difference.  The difference is the difference between the rule of law exercised in countries based on Christian principles and the rule by fiat in tyrannical dictatorships.  Both have police but only one requires them to use restraint.  Both have courts but only one seeks justice.

So?  Don’t let the pagan culture lull you to sleep on basic truth and proper expectations of society.  God is a God of peace.  At the same time He supports the place of the government to carry the sword to punish evil and we have the final battles of prophecy. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Any Volunteers?

(Pro 12:24 KJV)  The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.

Two days ago I wrote about how being lazy can make you poor.  Today we have another reality that sometimes forces itself on us.  We have not seen this in recent times, at least not in America but there have been times in history when the rulers needed a labor force to do something that no one wanted to do.  They would send out a squad to round up anyone who was not busy with a job.  If it was just your day off then it is a bad day to be relaxing.  The British would “recruit” sailors for their navy using what were called press gangs.  If you have ever been in the military and they needed a work detail, you don’t want to be anywhere in sight.

Or it might have been that the rulers were looking at all the guys standing around with nothing to do but get into trouble.  

So?  I think the idea for us might be that if we don’t focus and find something useful to do then someone else will find it for us, and the pay will not be great. 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Overcoming Pablum

(Pro 11:6 KJV)  The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.

I am convinced that the Holy Spirit can use almost anything to teach us.  I say this because this month I am slogging through a modern “translation”, the New Century Version, which simplifies the language so much that it becomes a red delicious instead of the Pink Lady that God intended it to be and paraphrases with abandon.  This verse reads like this,

“Doing what is right brings freedom to honest people.
But those who are not trustworthy will be caught in their own desires.”
As I was reading this I was struck with an insight into the freedom that Christ brings.  It is not the political liberty that we associate with the word but the joy that comes from not being slaves to our own sinful nature.  I know that is not what it says.  There is a storehouse of difference between the promise of deliverance and a generic freedom.  “Righteousness” (6666) is much more than just “doing what is right”.  This translation is pablum.  I have no memory of what pablum is like.  It may have some nutrition.  At the same time I don’t think it compares to old fashioned oatmeal with a generous dash of cinnamon.  

So?  God can teach us even when the “scholars” of the world want to manage the message.  All it takes is a questing heart and a willing mind.  Praise and adoration.  The Holy Spirit strikes again.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Careful with the Converse

(Pro 10:4 KJV)  He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

As I was comparing the NASB to the KJV it seemed like there was a different emphasis in this verse.  The NASB says,

(Pro 10:4 NAS77) Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
The KJV seems to be saying that sloth leads to poverty.  The NASB nuances itself around that point.  I looked through the sixteen translations I have on my software and they all seemed to agree with the approach of the KJV.  The Good News Bible, a paraphrase if there ever was one, puts it short and to the point,
(Pro 10:4 GNB) Being lazy will make you poor, but hard work will make you rich.
It would also be important to point out that the opposite does not follow.  You need to be careful about saying that being poor makes you lazy.  In some parts of the world the entire population is poor and they work hard from dawn to dusk just to keep from starving.  In some American communities there are cases of generational poverty that works as a handicap.  If you have not been taught the value of work or how to work you might just give up.

So?  If you are a follower of Jesus then you are expected to not be lazy.  Of course the principle follows even if you are not a Christian but that is the way God’s laws tend to work.  They are good for everyone.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Wise for Thyself

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

As I looked at this verse today I consulted the commentaries on my software.  I downloaded a few new ones and wanted to see if they had anything to offer.  There was a consensus going on.  They agreed that it is of primary importance to apply the lessons you learn to yourself first.  Have you had the experience of hearing a sermon and knowing just who needed to hear it?  The sad part is that often it is someone else when the Holy Spirit is trying to talk to you, or me.  

Even the second greatest commandment points this out in telling us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  In this day of narcissism and safe spaces we have swung the pendulum far past its intended resting place.  That is why it is wisdom that needs to be applied.  It isn’t talk about rights and what you deserve.  It is taking the eternal standards of the eternal God and conforming our lives to them.

So?  Mow your own lawn and then go help your neighbor.