(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.
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.
Saturday, January 30, 2021
(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
(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
(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
(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.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Minorities and Salt
(Pro 20:8 KJV) A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes.
When you consider the compromised ethics of most politicians today I am almost ready to go back to the days of having a “king” (4428). Almost, but not quite. Just as politicians are divided up between the moral and the corrupt, the competent and the hopeless, the informed and the clueless, so also kings come in all flavors. What this reminds us of is that people in authority have a responsibility to stand up for “justice” (1779), not for their own agendas.
One of the dangers we live with in our form of government is that people vote their pocketbooks and not justice. The reason for that is history has always had a majority of people who reject the standards of God. Remember Jesus’ words about the narrow and wide gates. At the same time, we are to be the voice and example of righteousness.
So? Speak up. Live by the Book. Be salt.
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Can You Spare Me a Dime
(Pro 19:7 KJV) All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? he pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him.
My impression is that the Bible tells us to care for the weak and helpless. I would think that would include our “friends” (4828), but this runs counter to that. I am guessing that one reason for the difference is that we know our friends well enough to judge their needs. Strangers are different. They could be genuine or frauds. Those who are involved in our lives are more of an open book to us.
Another difference is that they are in a position to “pursue” (7291). This has all of the meanings, good and bad, of someone hounding you. They keep coming. They are hard to get away from.
So? Perhaps this is a reminder that we should not be always hitting up relatives for hand outs and loans. Keep in mind that they know us well enough to give us some advice we don’t want.
Monday, January 18, 2021
Asking for It
(Pro 18:6 KJV) A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.
I remember when James Dobson wrote and spoke about parenting. One of the pictures he painted was the way in which children are often calling out for discipline. They resist. They kick and scream but his point was that inside they were glad when the hammer came down. It gave them a sense of security knowing that there were fences and limitations.
In another way there are people who seem to be looking for trouble. We see other places in Proverbs where some people are not happy unless they can make life miserable. There are others who are not happy unless they can provoke someone else.
So? I am not sure if this means we are to ignore them or give them what they are asking for. I would imagine that our discernment would give us the answer in each situation. The Bible is full of times when people endured and other times when they openly rebuked. Pray for guidance and don’t put your mind in neutral.
Sunday, January 17, 2021
(Pro 17:17 KJV) A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
We need to understand that “love” (157) does what is best for the other person. That means that they may not admit that you are loving them. There are times when love will motivate us to correction or reproof. It may turn to discipline. Of course it includes things like patience and kindness. The point here is that love endures.
So? Don’t be manipulated by people who do not understand love. Remember that it was love that sent Jesus to the cross and caused His suffering. We are called to live as He lived.
Saturday, January 16, 2021
Slow Is Not Stop
(Pro 16:32 KJV) He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
I would suggest that “slow” (750) is not the same as never. The Hebrew word is used three times in Proverbs and each time it is linked to anger. Christians often have the misconception that anger is never appropriate. They go so far as to say when Jesus cleansed the temple with a whip he did so with a smile on His face and using gracious words. Nonsense. There is a time for anger. The point being made here is that anger is not our first or second choice. It may not even be our third, but it is a possibility. If you are not angry about abortion then you have not been paying attention. If the scandal about human trafficking, a modern term for slavery, and child pornography doesn’t raise your ire, then you need to pray for some ire.
So? Patience and courtesy have limits. A few of us need to work on those virtues. It is possible that many of us need to get mad about some of the issues of our day.
Friday, January 15, 2021
(Pro 15:26 KJV) The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.
We do not all think alike. I am currently spending time with my grandchildren. The parents and grandparents sit around enjoying the children. We muse on their precociousness. We tend to think that they are the most perfect children in the world. We would instantly step in to give our lives for them. All that is good. Where we err is to think that all people feel that way.
Yesterday our granddaughter was forced to wake up from a nap before she was ready. She was not a happy camper. She was negative and uncooperative. At one point she broke down in tears. I have seen adults that would get hostile and even violent in situations like this. That is because their inner selves, their “plans” (4284), are not in tune with the love of a holy God. When I was teaching I dealt with parents like this every day. They would claim to love their children. They do as long as that love does not require them to give up their plans. Those of us outside their heads don’t know the difference until we observe their actions.
So? Accept the reality is that all people do not love their children the way you love your children. It is one of the reasons why there are so many wasted lives on the street. Rejoice that the God who is love lives in your heart and regenerates your mind as well as your heart.
Thursday, January 14, 2021
(Pro 14:13 KJV) Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.
The KJV throws a good insight into the “grief” (8424) of the NASB. It uses “heaviness”. Isn’t that a translation that reaches out and grabs you? I think it does. I have had those times when it seems like my insides are in a rocket ship trying to get back on the ground. Joking and kibitzing don’t do much to lighten my soul. A long walk in the woods simply reminds me of the mosquitos that are around. The only solution I find is refocusing my attention of the God who made me. I mechanically begin to review all the realities in my life that I have to be thankful for. I always start with my salvation and the grace of God. That is a good jump start.
So? We have heavy days. God is willing to lift us up.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
(Pro 13:21 KJV) Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.
The “righteous” (6662) will be “repayed" (rewarded NASB) (7999a). That is a promise. Notice that it does not come with a time-line. It is not a package of heat and serve. It is not quick oatmeal. It is an assurance that we will come out on top. Of course it has the qualifier: You must be “righteous” (6662). Don’t let that freak you out. This is not the unrealistic righteousness that some people say is impossible. This is the righteousness that is repeatedly referred to throughout the Bible as a principle of God’s people and their lives.
I like to think of it as a time release capsule. You may notice nothing at first but in time it will take hold and will continue working as long as needed.
So? Be encouraged. Do what is right. God is watching.
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Words Can Hurt
(Pro 12:18 KJV) There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.
Why is it so hard for us to stop and think before we speak? Is it because experience has taught us that if we stop and think we will never get to let off steam, even if we are wrong? Is it because it is easier to get forgiveness than permission? Is it just the sinful desire to hurt? It is hard to tell.
Selfish motives are destructive. The destruction can be as mild as a minor moment of hurt feelings or it can cause death and disaster. Either way it is selfish. Either way it is sin.
So? It is always a good time to stop and look back over the day and see if we have been drifting toward self-centeredness. Sometimes it sneaks up on us. Sometimes it comes crashing in. Always it is a time for repentance and restoration.
Monday, January 11, 2021
(Pro 11:29 KJV) He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.
“House” (1004) is an incredibly common word in the Bible. It has the same range of meanings that we have in English. Out of 2052 times the Hebrew word appears the KJV translates it “house” 1761. I think we can assume that in this verse it does not refer to the building you live in.
The most likely meaning is “household” or “family”. I am sure you know of some families where there is constant backbiting and betrayal going on. As a teacher dealing with a student’s foul mouth I would at times meet with the parents and quickly discover their source of vocabulary. This also applies to how we deal with problems. Violent parents often train up violent children. The same it true with things like selfishness and deceit.
It could also be stretched to our communities and country. There are people working to undermine our civil civic discourse. They may well succeed. The big question is will they be happy with the results. They might be benefitted to reading about the final days of Robespierre.
So? We are called to use the Bible as our standard of behavior. That will increase our chances of peace, at least in our own homes.
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Skip the Romance
(Pro 10:30 KJV) The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.
I find this verse an herb of encouragement in the soup of despair. We think we live in difficult times. Obviously that is only comparing it to some idealistic romance we have in our head. Compared to most of the world, we are in paradise. Compared to historical conditions, we are living like emperors. We still get discouraged.
Keep in mind that being discouraged is a long way from being defeated.
(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? Cheer up. Lean on God. Listen to His voice. Read His word. It will make a difference in your day.
Saturday, January 9, 2021
Time to leave
(Pro 9:6 KJV) Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.
“Forsake” (5800a) means to repent. Behind that is the idea of abandoning something, walking away from it, leaving it where it is. We think of delinquent fathers forsaking their children. It means taking your hands off and going another way. When it comes to your family that is a move of selfish sin. When it comes to sin, it is a step of supreme wisdom.
Most people are concerned about the direction the country is going. The problem with that is that they cannot agree on which direction it should be going. It is a giant tug of war because most of them are ignoring the real need. We need to forsake the sin in our lives. We need to abandon the habits and investments we have that drag us down. As I have said before, people like to quote
(2Ch 7:14 KJV) If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.They also like to edit out that part that has us turning from our wicked ways.
So? Pray for your country. While you are at it examine your own life and ask what needs to change at home.
Friday, January 8, 2021
Pro 8:34 KJV) Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
The word “daily” (3117) [yom] jumps out at me. Spiritual discipline and health are dependent on a regular diet. It is just like our need for certain nutritional content in our food. You can go one day with no fiber but if you make it a regular occurrence you cease to be regular. Okay, not a good image for a spiritual lesson, but you get the point. We see this in the teaching of Jesus,
(Luk 9:23 KJV) And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.You find this call to discipleship in all the gospels and in various forms. We are to take up our cross and follow Him. I like this one better than the others because it includes the word “daily”. I have gone periods of time when I have been on cruise-control. I am not proud of it but it is true. I did not drift off into a hell-bent lifestyle but that is only because of the grace of God. I am much better off when I make it a daily routine to worship and contact my Savior.
So? No big secret but it won’t happen unless it is a priority and planned for.
Thursday, January 7, 2021
(Pro 7:17 KJV) I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
Are myrrh, aloes and cinnamon evil and sinful? I don’t know about myrrh but that would make all skin treatments that include aloe a path to hell. If cinnamon is evil what have I done to my Granddaughter? I put it in her oatmeal every morning for months. Woe is me.
It is hard for us to accept but many things that are sinful are not sinful in themselves but in the attitude and application of the people using them. Think about a simple thing like aspirin. We are told not to give it to children because it can cause something called Reye’s syndrome. The elderly are told to take a small dose for their heart. In one case it is a poison and the other it is a life saver. I am sure that more research will change all these positions but the point is the problem is not the aspirin but the dosage and timing.
So? There are many activities, foods, books and such that can be beneficial or deadly in spiritual terms. For medications we are told to consult our doctor. For righteousness we are to consult our Doctor and read his instruction book.
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
The Art of Procrastination
(Pro 6:4 KJV) Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.
This verse can be summed up in one word: Now. You may be one of those people who doesn’t understand the art of procrastination. I hear there are people like that. They plan ahead and get an early start on everything. When in school they always had their assignments done early. On the church board they brought in a report a month early. They are the kind of people that many of us learn to avoid. There are many personality types but I think that God wants us to learn to be like these people when it is important.
The situation in the previous verses is important. It comes from sinful financial practices. Yes, I said sinful. When we are told not to do something and we do it anyway, it is a sin. What Solomon is saying is that when the Holy Spirit finally makes you aware of your disobedience, do something about it, now.
So? Sin is like a dirty splinter that gets under your skin. The longer you wait the more damage it can do. Don’t go septic.
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
(Pro 5:7 KJV) Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.
Did you indulge in New Year’s Resolutions this year? I generally avoid it in those terms. I have taken the time to review the year and set some goals for the next. That is me exercising my penchant to do things my way. Some things I want to change. Some things I want to keep the same. One of the requirements of a sane year is to spend time reading the word, thinking about what I have read, and applying it to the real world I live in.
You can’t make jerky unless you know the ingredients and the method. The same it true of walking the Jesus walk.
So? Develop a habit. Read, ponder, pray, act. Today is a good day to start or resume.
Monday, January 4, 2021
They Understand Very Well
(Pro 4:16 KJV) For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.
One of the good reasons to have a habit of reading and meditating on the Bible is that it reminds us of things we would rather not face. This verse points out one of them. There are people in the world who get their jollies from making other people miserable. This verse says they cannot even relax at night unless they have messed with someone.
In the politics of the past several years I keep hearing people try to make excuses for the evil actions they see. “They can’t see what they are doing.” “They just don’t understand.” There are many ways we try to ignore a basic point: Sin is real. Sin destroys. The majority of people you see in a day are still servants of Satan and think only of themselves.
So? Get used to the idea. They are not all like you with just a few misunderstandings. That clerk at the DMV? She did it on purpose. Why? Because she could and you couldn’t. Be glad God is on your side.
Sunday, January 3, 2021
Pick Your Attitudes
(Pro 3:3 KJV) Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:
I am a big one for truth. I seek accuracy. I want the words to match reality. I think I am on the side of angels with that, however.... The thing I need to concentrate more on is “mercy" (kindness NASB) (2617a) [chesed]. If there is anything that is lacking in this world it is truth presented with kindness. That does not mean watering it down or muting it. It does mean presenting it under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
This hit me today as I read it after a bit of interpersonal conflict. It is so easy to take our position or to get huffy that we have been wronged and go Viking on people. That is not allowed if we follow the mandate of love [agape]. In I Corinthians 13 the second quality of love is kindness.
So? More important than picking your battles is picking your attitude. May God help us all.
Saturday, January 2, 2021
Count on It
(Pro 2:8 KJV) He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.
As I write we are in political chaos. There is no way to know which way things will go and what that will mean to the man on the street. In that context, as I read this verse this morning I was reminded that His presence “preserves” (8104) our “way” (1870). This is not a new revelation. I live in it every day. Yet it is a reminder that God is constantly reinforcing because we tend to be creatures of the moment.
The moment can promise all kinds of rainbows or threaten with hurricanes and broken water mains. Being finite creatures we can be shaken to the roots. If you notice the context of this verse it is the roots that will keep us firm and moving forward. It is the roots that are established as we have been listening and seeking the wisdom He has to offer.
So? Storm clouds ahead, sometime. Count on it. Also count on Him.
Friday, January 1, 2021
GPS to the Rescue
(Pro 1:32 KJV) For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
Recently we were driving on less that major roads in an area we had never adventured in before. We thought we were going right. We had checked the GPS and everything but it was taking a long time to get to our next checkpoint. We had a choice. We could keep on driving or we could take a moment to check and see if we were still on track. There had been many junctions and forks in the road to lead to confusion.
Life is like that and there are points where it is always good to stop and check if we are still following the plan. New Years is one of those obvious days. Others could be your birthday or an anniversary. It could be a weekly thing. The important point is that getting off track can have serious consequences. If you are going to a wedding you might miss the ceremony. If you are headed into eternity it is a bit more serious.
So? Stop and smell the eternal GPS. You still have time.