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 24, 2022

Be on the Right Side of History

(Pro 24:24 KJV)  He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:

So often it seems like the author of a particular verse in Proverbs has been listening to our modern news programs.  It is very common for the talking heads to be in total denial about reality.  Actually it is worse than that.  They know the truth but refuse to express it.  We live in an age when people who hold to the standards God gave us in the Bible are labeled with a long list of pejorative adjectives.  Those who believe in morality are labeled immoral.  In fact, morality is totally redefined.  

If you have been paying attention, the dictionaries available on line are changing the definitions of words.  They are able to do this because they deny truth as an objective reality.  Truth is whatever advances their agenda.  This is why it is so important for us to keep in contact with the source of truth.  It is time for us to admit that we are under attack and need to see to our defenses and training.

So?  One of the first steps in a cure is to admit it is needed.  Then the solution must be sought.  Be strong and trust in God. 

Friday, September 23, 2022

Build a Better Rod

(Pro 23:13 KJV)  Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

I had the conversation again today.  It was a grandparent concerned about an over-active grandchild.  You could hear the pain in her voice.  There wasn’t much I could say.  I would bet dollars to donuts that the parents would reject this verse totally.  

Children need discipline.  Obviously it can be overdone.  There is a level in which it becomes abuse.  The problem with today’s society is that their level of abuse is before it starts.  You don’t want to spank?  Fine.  Find a different type of “rod” (7626).  If you are blessed with a child like our second then you know that a frown can be a rod.  If you have one like our first then you know that for some even the rod isn’t enough.  Strangely enough putting him on a chair seemed to do the trick.  Go figure.

So?  Don’t throw out the standard of discipline because of the word “rod”.  Grab the principle and apply it.  Save a life. 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Watch

(Pro 22:9 KJV)  He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

I don’t know what the major media outlets are saying but everywhere I read people are worrying about a developing famine.  The reasons are many.  The most basic is government interference.  I think farmers can deal with natural disasters.  They know what to expect and where to cut corners.  What they can’t deal with are regulators who know what is best.  Any way you want to look at it we are looking at some kind of food shortage.

In that world this verse reminds us of our need to be generous.  Most of us can cut back some but we need to develop an eye that sees need.  I would suggest that we begin watching for candidates that we might be able to help.  Think of families with children and jobs that are marginal.  I would say try to get a sense of whom the working poor are.  To me it is good stewardship to share what I have to share with those who are most deserving.

So?  Maybe it will blow over.  It is still a good idea to look for places to help those less fortunate.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Post Time

(Pro 21:22 KJV)  A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.

One of the terms I have heard the last few years is “post Christian”.  I don’t like it but the more I observe what is going on in our culture the more I think it is descriptive.  All of the sources of influence seem to have sold out to the pagan world view.  It saddens me to include the church in that statement.  Yes, there are individual churches, boards and pastors who are proclaiming the truth but the list gets constantly shorter.

It is time to stand up and be counted.  Understand you will not be welcomed.  Not only will your congressman ignore you but your family may ask for a DNA check to see if you are really theirs.  It won’t change the truth.

So?  I have lived through some of the most glorious times in history.  Liberty and freedom were assumed.  I am living through the surrender of our culture.  My task now may be harder because I did not stand up as tall as I should have when I had the chance. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Lookin’ Good

(Pro 20:13 KJV)  Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.

Are the “eyes” (5869) that we are supposed to “open” (6491b) physical, emotional or spiritual.  Are they to be directed inward or outward.  I would imagine that this becomes one of those both/and situations that depend much on circumstances.  It is a call to be aware.

We need to be aware that sin exists.  We need to be aware that there are needs all around us.  We need to look at the blessings God has heaped on us.  We need to be honest about our hangups and foibles.  

So?  I would imagine that we all have plenty to work on.  It is a good thing that God is patient and has sent the Holy Spirit to oversee the work. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

Team Dues

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

There is a serious threat in this verse.  It says liars will “perish” (6).  There are many different translations for this word and none of them are pretty if you are the object of the verb.  One of the reasons I give for believing someone I know to be a Christian over someone I know is not has to do with this verse.  If Jim Dobson lies to me he knows it could send him to hell.  If Richard Dawkins lies to me it is just another day at the office because he does not believe in hell.  It makes a difference in how reliable people are.

So?  Stick with the truth.  We serve a holy God.  One of the words Jesus used to describe Himself was “truth”.  You are either on the team or you are not. 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Time to Judge

(Pro 18:5 KJV)  It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.

We have an election coming up.  We live in a republic that was designed for the power to be in the hands of the people but that power was to be managed by elected representatives.  I don’t care how jaded you are to the process.  There is corruption in the process.  The people running will lie to us.  They may be bought off when elected.  We still have a responsibility.

We are to support and elect people with the most “righteous” (6662) “judgment” (4941).  I don’t believe we should refuse to make a decision because none are worthy.  Life is about making thoughtful choices.

So?  Do your homework and be responsible.  It will improve the atmosphere we live in.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Attitude Gifts

(Pro 17:8 KJV)  A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.

Whether you are considering giving a “gift” (7810) (KJV) or a “bribe” (NASB) there is always the question of motive when you extend something good toward another person.  I know people who are always giving gifts.  They seem really generous.  The problem I have is that they seem to keep a record of what they give and what they get back.  In reality it was more of a bribe.  You may have heard someone say, “How could they do this to me after all I have done for them?”  You may know some parents who are always putting their children on a guilt trip.

So?  Our attitude is so important in what we do.  I think we should give without a concern for return.  Stewardship says we select carefully where we invest our wealth but that is not for our payoff. 

Friday, September 16, 2022

Popcorn Faith

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

We live in interesting times.  It can get so interesting that we have a hard time sleeping at night.  We avoid certain parts of town.  We are suspicious when someone knocks on the door.  We don’t let our children out of our sight.  Interesting.  The times also lack a sense of security.

That does not need to be the case.  We are to “trust” (982).  We don’t have confidence in the government, the police or even our family.  Our foundation needs to be based on a belief that God is in charge.  It is not a guarantee that things will work out the way we want.  It is a guarantee that they will work out the way God wants.

So?  Get out the popcorn and buckle in.  The ride is just beginning.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

A Word from the Wise

(Pro 15:2 KJV)  The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.

Wisdom is linked to integrity.  What this verse is pointing out is that the wise person can be believed.  They don’t play games or deceive.  A person can have many positive qualities such as intelligence, flexibility, creativity and such but if they are not used with wisdom and integrity they become damaging.

So?  I want to be rooted in truth which means I must pursue wisdom.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

No Deceit Allowed

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

I would imagine that one of the problems with “deceit” (4820) is that we even practice it on ourselves.  I think that is the contrast being given here.  It is a challenge to look at ourselves objectively.  It would help to take the entire Bible into consideration.  Some like to emphasize that we are all sinners.  True.  Too often we ignore the fact that Paul also called us saints.  One should apply mainly before we meet Jesus and the other should be the norm afterwards.

That deceit works both ways.  Some of us who are insecure tend to play down any strengths or skills we have.  At one level it is humility.  At another point it becomes sinful deception and rejection of God’s work in your life.

So?  Remember mankind was created in the image of God.  Believe that He wants you to be a righteous representative of Him and His kingdom. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Secrets We Don’t Need to Know

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

What is the dividing line between honesty and deceit?  I can see some real problems with filling out a credit application and exaggerating your resources.  It is probably harder to do today than it used to be, but if you can’t game the system you probably are not really trying.  

I wonder if the ones acting poor are doing the “woe is me” routine that we hear so often.  You know how often you hear from people about their lack of funds.  Usually the ones who are really in trouble don’t talk about it.

So?  Beware of people who try to convince you either way.  Be honest but realize that people around you don’t need to know how much you can pay for a car or if you had to buy the store brand of green beans for your casserole this week. 

Monday, September 12, 2022

Speaking of Character

(Pro 12:13 KJV)  The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.

Have you ever had the experience of someone saying you said or did something that you don’t remember?  When that happens I first consider the source.  Is the reporter someone to be believed?  Do they have an agenda?  Are you on their radar?

If the person passes muster then it is time to analyze what is reported.  One of the questions I ask myself is, “Does that sound like something I would have said?”  Often the glove just doesn’t fit the hand.  If it involves foul language or profanity then I can almost guarantee it wasn’t me.  If it is criticism of something I approve of then I doubt seriously that the truth is involved.

So?  Obviously we need to start with guarding our mouths but I think if we are building our character then we can at least be confident in how it is expressed. 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

The Smart Shouldn’t Smart

(Pro 11:15 KJV)  He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.
 
This is about trust.  The idea of “surety” (6148) is a recurring theme in Proverbs.  The Updated NASB uses “guarantor” as if illiterate readers would understand that any more.  One of the common elements of when this word is used is the type of person you are not to trust.  Usually it is the “stranger” (2114a).  In every case there is an obvious reason why you should be slow to commit.

This is not about helping your son get his first car, although it could be applied that way and if your son is a sluggard it would hit right home.  This is about risking your stability on someone who does not deserve it.

So?  It is always hard for us to make calls like this.  We keep thinking about “love”.  We want to be warm and friendly.  We don’t want to judge.  Keep in mind that one of the spiritual gifts is discernment. 

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Hate Light

(Pro 10:12 KJV)  Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

A few day ago I wrote about how God hates evil.  Here we seem to have another side of “hatred” (8153) and it got my mind going on a tangent.  Before I go down that road I realize that the point of this verse is to tell us we should love not hate.  But I started thinking, if we take seriously the thought of Proverbs 8:13 then when we speak up for righteousness people will understand that God does not approve of what is going on in their life and it will stir up “strife” (4090).  It won’t be our hatred but the reaction of the unrighteous.

So?  Prepare yourself.  We are called to be salt and light.  We are surrounded by people who have a creed of “me first” and will not respond well to the call of repentance, let along a call to righteousness. 

Friday, September 9, 2022

Target Selection

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

One of the things we don’t like to do is be selective.  We think it is virtuous to minster to the homeless but wrong to target the well-to-do.  In reality we should be looking for those who are receptive.  If people are happy in their sin there is little you can say to them and we need to understand that many in poverty are happy in their sin.  Part of that sin is envy of the wealthy.  Part is sloth.  You can find similar issues with the in crowd.

We need to be ready to respond to those who are open.  That is often something we cannot determine without getting to know someone.  I think that most evangelism takes place with people who are like you, know you and will listen to what you say.

So?  This is not an excuse but a reality.  Watch attitude not logos. 

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Maybe a New Song

(Pro 8:13 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

We need a new song.  

“What the world needs now
Is hate, real hate.
Evil needs a comedown
If its not too late.”
This would be a song for the church because this hatred would need to be controlled by agape and not vengeance.  We are not allowed to wish bad things on people or rejoice when sinners suffer but we also are to stand up for righteousness.

When this verse says, “I hate” it is God speaking.  

So?  Make sure that your attitudes toward the things and people around you are the ones that God would have.  Remember,
(Rom 5:8 KJV)  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.


Stir Well

(Pro 10:12 KJV)  Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

A few day ago I wrote about how God hates evil.  Here we seem to have another side of “hatred” (8153) and it got my mind going on a tangent.  Before I go down that road I realize that the point of this verse is to tell us we should love not hate.  But I started thinking, if we take seriously the thought of Proverbs 8:13 then when we speak up for righteousness people will understand that God does not approve of what is going on in their life and it will stir up “strife” (4090).  It won’t be our hatred but the reaction of the unrighteous.

So?  Prepare yourself.  We are called to be salt and light.  We are surrounded by people who have a creed of “me first” and will not respond well to the call of repentance, let along a call to righteousness. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

No Excuses Allowed

(Pro 7:2 KJV)  Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.

Is there a difference between “commandments” (4687) [mistvah] and “law” (8451) [torah]?  In this verse I think it is just repetition for emphasis.  In other places it might be significant.  This is a reminder for all those who think grace negates the need for obedience.  Grace reflects the fact that we are unable to do enough good things to pay for our sins.  That was as true in the Old Testament as the New.  It does not give you permission to take your scissors and cut out all the references to living the way God wants you to live.

So?  Don’t get hung up in the letter of the law but embrace the spirit of obedience.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Life Saver Theology

(Pro 6:27 KJV)  Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?

It would seem to me the obvious answer to this is, “No.”  Obvious does not always mean applied.  There are so many things we know are true but we act like they are not.  Keep in mind that every potato chip you eat adds calories.  You may have the willpower to stop at one but it still adds up.  Just yesterday I succumbed to temptation as I walked by an open jar of cookies.  I will pay.  I may never feel any pay but it will make a difference.  

A fun fact for those who cheat on their diets.  If you add one life saver a day, not the whole roll, just one lifesaver, it will add one pound over a year.  Think of the un-fun facts.  Every thought that is not taken captive will make a difference.  Saying “no” to God today will make tomorrow different.  It may make eternity different.

So.  Live each day like it make a difference.  Make each decision the same way. 

Monday, September 5, 2022

Double Vision

(Pro 5:21 KJV)  For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.

It is easy to forget that God “pondereth” (watches NASB) (6424) all that we do in life.  That has its good side and its bad side.  On the good side it is reassuring.  God sees what is over the next hill.  He sees that microbe that thinks it has your name written on it.  He knows the temptation that is waiting for you.  So He can prepare you.

On the bad side, he sees everything you do.  I guess I should say “we.”  He knows every thought.  And he is paying attention.

And in the center of this is your free will.  You make choices.  Sometimes God overrules them.  Sometimes He lets them stand.

So?  Work on the right choices.  It will make a difference. 

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Multiples of Ten

(Pro 4:22 KJV)  For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

“I have the strength of ten because my heart is pure.”  That is a modern paraphrase of a line from a poem by Tennyson.  I have not read the poem but I know the line.  It sometimes shocks me the different physical issues people around me have had.  I sometimes wonder why I have not suffered more.  I don’t have an answer but there is a part of me that really likes this verse.  

There is a principle here but we need to be careful how we use it.  The principle is that if we live according to God’s standards we will be healthier than if we don’t.  Keep in mind that this compares you to you, not you to your neighbor.  Even a person with cancer may be healthier than he would be if he were living in debauchery.  God’s promises are true even if we apply them incorrectly.

So?  Live in righteousness.  That brings to mind things like gluttony and drunkenness, as it should.  It should also bring to mind gossip and dishonest business practices.  They are all mentioned in Proverbs.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

“Seeker Friendly” Mode

(Pro 3:31 KJV)  Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.

We are drawn to those who are successful.  This is true whether it is to business seminars, churches or football teams.  What we don’t like to do is look below the surface.  I remember hearing a guaranteed way to fill your church every Sunday:  Give away a free car.  In business one way to be successful, at least over the short term, is to find suckers and take advantage of them.  In churches you have the “seeker friendly” mode which distorts the gospel and makes it easy to swallow.  Keep in mind that calling lemon drops a “fat free food” does not make them healthy.

So?  Be careful in your choice of gurus.  The best choice is to have none.  Do your own reading and your own studying.  Weed out reading that is from fools and frauds.  Make the right choices.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Antidote to Fake

(Pro 2:6 KJV)  For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

We live in the age of Fake News.  Actually it has probably always been that way.  A previous generation came up with the idea of propaganda.  Last century the problem was Yellow Journalism.  Go back to the early church and you will find things like the Gospel of Thomas.  The difference is that the voices that used to call for truth and accuracy are now part of the Chorus of Deceit.  

Part of the problem is the vast sea of information and the hailstorm of voices.  It is hard to keep up and sort out what is fact.  We often don’t try very hard.  Do you still watch the weather for more than a general idea of what might happen?  They depend on ratings just like Saturday Night Live.  Do you listen to the pastor without having your Bible open?  Is he the kind of preacher that never makes you need your Bible?  Are you Charlie Brown and you are surrounded by footballs, each with its own Lucy?  How many times does someone need to lie to you before you get the point.

So?  The only source you can depend on is the word of God and even there you need to make sure that it is an accurate translation not a project of ego projection.  Stay alert and find the truth.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Plumbers

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

If you read on past verse 10 you find quite a list of activities that people will invite you to participate in.  The list given here would not be hard for me to resist but I don’t think this is a complete listing.  Satan is really good at getting us moving in the wrong direction with mild proposals that might generate a simple, “What can it hurt?”

It can hurt a lot.  If the people tempting us are sinners then that means that we are not.  It means that we march on the Highway of Holiness and their main desire is to get us off.  

So?  Beware.  Keep it pure.  Keep it righteous.  Develop a spiritual level.  The Bible is more familiar with the plumbline (KJV) or plumb line (NASB).

(Amo 7:7 KJV)  Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand.
Either way.  God wants us standing tall and straight. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

In the Spotlight

(Pro 31:31 KJV)  Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

I find it very freeing to accept the understanding that I am not responsible for the choices other people make.  I can influence them.  I can overrule their decisions.  That is common when dealing with children, but what about a spouse.  Here it refers to a man’s wife.  It is wonderful when you live in harmony.  God intended intimacy on all levels.  Sometimes that does not work out.  Sometimes it does.

One of the important principles is to let people shine in their moment.  When your wife, or husband, has a good moment, let them bask in it.  Let the public know and let them respond.

So?  Keep in mind that love is not about you but about others.  Help them rejoice in their special moments.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Children Anyone?

(Pro 30:17 KJV)  The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

This is a verse that causes me pain.  It isn’t my children but the children of other people.  I know them and so do you.  Perhaps you experience it.  The children are often subtle in how they belittle parents.  There are many ways to pat a parent on the head without being obvious.  With the watering down of the Bible in our churches it is getting more and more common for children to be condescending toward their parents’ faith and practice.

It is going to happen.  It may be too late to prevent it but it is never too late to begin changing what contribution you may have made.  Make sure you are genuine and faithful.  Be consistent.  Read I
Corinthians 13 and focus on things like not being provoked.  If may be that their love fails but don’t let yours.

So?  Your kids don’t have to straighten up before you die, just before they do.  Not very uplifting but sometimes it is all we have to cling to. 

Monday, August 29, 2022

Chicken and Egg Question

(Pro 29:16 KJV)  When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.

I sometimes wonder which came first, the sin or the power of the sinners.  In the case of the chicken and the egg I have an answer but with this cycle I don’t know.  And in reality it doesn’t matter.  The correlation is there and we know it.  One bit of hope that is offered here.  We will see their “fall” (4658).  If we don’t, then our children will.

It always seems like the bad times will just keep rolling.  It seems like we can do little to change what is going on.  That is probably true but God is still in charge.  He will eventually reign in the evil doers, for our sake if not just general retribution.

So?  Hang in there.  Be one of the faithful remnant.  It is called living by faith. 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Follow the Leader

(Pro 28:28 KJV)  When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.

In Sunday School some of the people were commenting on how different our society is today.  We all remembered being children and feeling free to run around the neighborhood.  I used to ride my bike all the way down town and all over without a second thought.  Not so today.  One of the differences is that the people running things seem to have sold their souls to the devil.  Not only to they deny any Christian faith but they mock those who stand up for morality.

So?  Accept the fact that it is time to keep our heads down.  Keep the children in sight and make sure the doors are locked.  Pray for a return of righteous leaders. 

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Expect the Inevitable

(Pro 27:3 KJV)  A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both.

What is it that makes this “wrath” (provocation NASB) (3708a) so hard to deal with?  Is it a problem in us?  Is it the persistence of the fool?  Is it something that no one can control?  Is it a natural response?  Perhaps it is the misused creativity.

One thing is sure.  There are certain people who like to push your buttons.  On a rock you might stub your toe if you are not paying attention.  A fool waits and watches.  

So?  Expect it.  Many times it is the same fool as last time.  Although you need to make sure that all your candy bars are locked up out of sight you still need to learn to express agape.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Being Alone with Stupid

(Pro 26:8 KJV)  As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.

One of the questions I have when interpreting the parables of Jesus is, “Did He see this or did He make it up to get across a point?”  It probably doesn’t make any difference in the point of the parable.  We run across that question in this series of Proverbs.  Did Solomon actually see someone do this or was he just being creative?  

Think about some of the stupid things you have seem people do.  Even better, think of some of the dumb actions you have demonstrated.  We are surrounded by people who refuse to think.  That would be okay if they were peasants in the middle ages and what they thought didn’t have much influence.  Today we are looking at people in positions of responsibility, leaders and a lot of voters who basically bind the stone in their sling.

So?  Don’t be one of them.  Turn your mind back on.  Read something that can get the juices flowing.  Make part of the reading the word of God.  Be careful whom you honor. 

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Unisex

(Pro 25:24 KJV)  It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.

If you look up the word “contentious” (brawling KJV) (4066) you find that it appears five times in Proverbs and four of them refer to women.  So there.  That is a good place to stop but I don’t do my word studies by the English word.  I use the number from Strong’s numbering system.  I should have quit when I was ahead.  As I looked at the other twelve times it shows up in Proverbs I notice that only once is it specifically a woman.  The rest it is either generic or refers to men.  

That wasn’t what I wanted to hear.  

So?  A major spiritual victory is when we come to the place where we apply the lesson of the Bible to ourselves rather than those around us.  On to victory. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Weed Your Garden and Its Wall

(Pro 24:31 KJV)  And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.

When I have the shutters open I can look out the window from my desk and see a stone wall that we have going across part of our property.  It has a lot in common with the kind that Proverbs is talking about.  It is built without mortar and using local rocks.  The kind of wall he is talking about was dual purpose.  The walls marked the edge of the property.  They also served as a dump for rocks gathered from the fields.  

What I never realized is that rock walls fall down by themselves.  Well, maybe not totally but they do it without human assistance.  I imagine that animals are responsible for most of what I see.  Every once in awhile I will go out and replace a rock.  

In this verse it seems that the plants are the destroyers.  If you have ever observed the world around you, somewhere you have seen grass growing out of cracks.  You may have seen trees that seem to be growing out of rocks.  Unless a human steps in to remove the living material it will eventually destroy the solid concrete.

So?  Regular maintenance is part of our spiritual walk.  Weeds can destroy solid structures just as a lack of weeding can disrupt a soul.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

At the Point

(Pro 23:12 KJV)  Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.

This is for you.  Yes, you.  Okay.  This is for me.  I am at a point in life where I am not invested in gaining new knowledge or skills.  That makes me hard to live with at times.  It also can make me a pain in the neck at church.  What does the pastor have to say that I could possibly need to hear?  Maybe a sermon on pride and arrogance would come in handy.

I gave up looking for the perfect church and found one that meets what is really important.  Part of my place is to listen and be open to what the Holy Spirit might want to say to me.  It may not correspond with the words but it can still reach the heart and mind.

So?  Get in the habit of listening with both your ears and your spirit.  If you are at church listen with your Bible open.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Gotta Have It

(Pro 22:7 KJV)  The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

The tricky point of this verse is that many people feel they borrow only because they must.  I would accept that is true in some cases but also false in some cases.  The big question comes back in what I always threw at my son, “Is it a want, or a need?”  We are not always qualified to tell the difference.

Think of things that we accept as necessary today:  Air conditioning, a car, a single family house, vacations, dishwashers.  The list can become endless.  Now ask yourself how many of them were common in your grandfathers’ time.  How about your great-grandfather?  It is amazing what people lived without in ancient times, like 1950.

So?  Make sure that what you are buying is really necessary.  Necessity won’t void the concern of this verse but might help us stay away from a lot of pain and sorrow. 

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Speed Can Kill

(Pro 21:21 KJV)  He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.

I have noticed that I tend to get a lot less in the way of speeding tickets than my wife.  That is based on one genuine difference.  She speeds and I don’t.  In reality it goes even deeper than that.  I try to be aware of the speed limits and keep checking my speedometer.  Because of that I don’t need to slow down when I see a cop car.  I don’t think she ever looks at that dial unless she is wanting to gloat about what she is getting away with.  

I realize that you can’t build a case for my “righteousness” based on such a thing but I think that the principle is part of what Solomon is going with in this verse.  I came across this line in The Screwtape Letters,

“All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.” page 50
Lewis was using it in the negative sense but the concept is worth thinking about.

So?  Keep your goal in mind when you decide how to act.

Lewis, C.S.  The Screwtape Letters.  Norwalk, Connecticut:  The Easton Press, 2002.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Determining Destiny

(Pro 20:11 KJV)  Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

I am in that grandparent stage.  It is full of delight and joy.  It is also full of concern and fear.  I watch the antics and wonder how it will work out in the long run.  My granddaughter shares an animal cookie with me.  You know the kind, fully frosted.  My grandson is unwilling to let me have one of his cheese crackers.  Has destiny been determined already?  It is basic character?  Is it just a passing fad?

We all know children that we have watched growing up and we could see the tragedy long before the parents.  I think of a slothful mother we worked with who had one goal in life, to get her son on a drug to slow him down.  The problem was not in the child but in the mother.  The one who will have a life ruined is really two.

So?  Work on your own character.  If you have grandchildren or young ones of  your own, realize that it is important how you raise them.  Blessings. 

Friday, August 19, 2022

Results May Vary

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

How often results vary.  You see that on medications and recipes.  I know that my coffee seems to come out different on different days.  Currently I am experiencing a change in my oatmeal.  I measure the same way, set the timer the same, set the stove the same and have the same attitude.  It is still coming out different.

In oatmeal that is just a curiosity.  When it comes to the important things of life there is a word here that we need to note, “keep” (8104).  This is not the casual matter of putting something on the right shelf.  You have seen the instructions to keep out of direct sunlight and away from moisture.  This is more a matter of applied guard duty.  It means staying alert.

So?  When I am making pudding an ounce of milk will not make much difference.  2% instead of non-fat will still make the desired result.  When it comes to our spiritual walk a 2% variation over a lifetime can spell disaster.  Stay alert. 

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Understand?

(Pro 18:4 KJV)  The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.

We often assume that when people speak they are trying to communicate.  I guess the big question is “What are they trying to communicate?”  We all know people who parse their words very carefully so that you get the impression they want but if you take the time you realize that it does not really mean what you thought you heard.  Even at the best of times our words can be confusing.  It is even worse when the intent is to deceive.

On the other hand, “wisdom” (2451) has clarity.  Again, you may not want to hear it.  You may deliberately not understand.  In spite of that, truth is within your grasp.

So?  As is so often the case, much of our understanding relies on our attitude.  We need to want to hear.  How often have you heard people say, “I don’t understand”?  You know they do but they don’t want to admit it.  Our responsibility is to speak truth, which means wisdom. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Let Your Meow Be Meow

(Pro 17:7 KJV)  Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.

One of the joys of grandchildren, and children I guess, is the process of language development.  Our youngest is at the stage where he substitutes sounds that are easy to say for harder words.  It is hard to tell the difference between “meow” for cat and something screeched out that represents a fire engine.  The older one is attempting to use big words even when she doesn’t know what they mean.  

With children it is fun.  If we go either way it can get embarrassing.  

So?  Let your speech be simple.  If we try to impress we might succeed but not the way we intended. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Dangers of Riding High

(Pro 16:19 KJV)  Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

I have been catching up on a lot of the reading I should have done in college.  Among other things I am about a third of the way through The Gulag Archipelago.  This verse reflects the observations of how Communism works in a couple of ways.  It is almost like Solomon had been reading the same book.  One of my questions was who survived under the purges.  It seems that it was only those who kept there heads down and did not stand out, although even those people were often in the wrong place at the wrong time.  The second part of the verse illustrates the way in which the Soviet persecutors of one time period often ended up on the work gangs eventually.  

That is just an illustration of how life works.  We are to live humbly, not because we are afraid of political ramifications but because it is the right thing to do.

So?  Godliness is our goal, not dominance. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Laws and Principles

(Pro 15:1 KJV)  A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

This is another of those Biblical statements that we want to refer to as laws but are really principles.  Does it always work to speak softly?  I will let you answer from your experience.  Is it possible to generate anger by our words?  Obviously.

So?  We have a principle for our daily living.  It applies at home and abroad.  It will often go against the tide.  Over the long run it will make life better for everyone. 

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Sin, Seriously

(Pro 14:9 KJV)  Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.

And the word for the day is...,drum roll, please,... “sin” (817).  I didn’t expect you to like it.  I would guess that many of you have not heard this word in a long time, at least not as the Bible uses it.  This word for sin has the idea of guilt.  It refers to the residual effect of disobedience and rebellion against God.  We need to understand there are consequences both short, long term and eternal.

So?  Take sin seriously.  Don’t get into the camouflage of a hard childhood or poverty.  They exist but they won’t do for excuses when we stand before the judgement seat.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Descent

(Pro 13:6 KJV)  Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.

You would think that a “sinner” (2403b) was already in a bad way.  He is, but it is one of those conditions that can always get worse.  Notice the word “wickedness” (7564).  My first reading thought this was describing the condition of the heart but it seems to refer more to the actions produced by the lack of moral character.  Behavior based in rebellion and rejection will push the lives of the sinner even deeper into disaster.

So?  Behavior makes a difference.  We cannot bootstrap ourselves into salvation by following the law but the point of grace and regeneration is to produce lives that reflect the change. 

Friday, August 12, 2022

Half Books

(Pro 12:11 KJV)  He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.

It is too late for me to go back and delete all the “vain” (7386) activities of my life.  I am sure that many of them held promise and I might have even pursued them with a righteous motivation.  There is no shame in that.  Think of all the books that people have recommended to you and delivered nothing.  Think of how much more room you might have on your shelves if you got ride of them.  I know I have about eight feet of Bible commentaries that I never read.  In the times that I have tried them I find that they are mostly full of someone else’s opinions.  There are tidbits but it is questionable whether they were worth the investment.  At least they look good on the shelf.

What I need to do is ask myself what empty things I am using to fill my day with now.  That is the root meaning of “vain”.  I am finding that I return books to the library only half read much more often than I did when I was younger.  I like to think that is a sign of maturity.  It would be even better if I would not check them out.

So?  We face daily choices on how to invest the time we have left.  Pray for wisdom and obedience as you grow.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Coming to Terms

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

If you or your children are involved in public education you have been taught the evils of capitalism.  I am sure that there are evil capitalists but the economic philosophy is neutral.  The list of evil socialists would make the business men look like a freckle on a frog.  The problem is in the hearts of the social and economic guru.  The call here is for a part of the Biblical concept of justice that is left out of modern definitions.  Give a penny’s worth of service for a penny’s worth of purchase.  It is called under different names such as honesty, fairness, and modern terms such as transparency.  It is the bedrock of how we treat each other.  It is part of the Godly life.

So?  Maybe an even better terms is integrity.  Live that way.  Bring glory to God and yourself to eternity. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Pick Your Pole

(Pro 10:18 KJV)  He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.

Consider cause and effect.  What causes what?  One way to approach this is to say that the actions being taken here are the things that make you a “fool” (3684).  Another way is to say that the ways you can identify a fool are by observing these actions.  It is probably one of those both/and situations or one of the cycles of life that make things worse or better.

So?  A fool and a wise man are opposite poles.  Keep in mind the things that lead us to wisdom such as fear of the Lord and make sure you are at the right junction. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Stay Away from Windows

(Pro 9:18 KJV)  But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

I often wonder how people cannot “know” (3045).  Here we are talking about the wages of sin.  Because this is Proverbs we can assume that this young man is Jewish and knows at least the Ten Commandments.  The woman knows also.  And yet they do not “know”.  I think that the key is in the Hebrew word yada.  It is the word that is used for deep knowing, understanding, in a sense accepting the truth in what you know.  Look at the people claiming that burning down American cities is “mostly peaceful”.  Do they know better?  Yes.  The problem is their knowing is rooting in what they want to see, not in what they know.

So?  Don’t let your desires influence how you see truth.  You can think you are Superman all you want but I would advise not jumping out of windows even at ground level.  God knows our minds and hearts and He is not amused.  You see He also knows the law of gravity.  He wrote it.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Reading behind the Lines

(Pro 8:8 KJV)  All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.

“Righteousness” (6664) and wisdom go hand in hand.  We should keep this in mind when we pick up self-help books by pagans.  If what they have to say is of any long term use then they need to at least acknowledge the standards of the Bible even if they are not followers of Jesus.  If there foundational knowledge is connected with the Bible then it is possible that their creativity and intelligence can be of use to us.

Often it is not possible to know where an author is coming from when we begin to read.  This is where our immersion in the word is so important.  Being familiar with what God has said is the only way to judge whether someone’s hypothesis will hold water or be a sieve.

So?  Be alert.  Be discerning.  Go forth and prevail in righteousness.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Guard and Hide

(Pro 7:1 KJV)  My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.

The translations tend to make this process one of external application and internal storage.  That is a good point but I am not sure it covers all the bases.  We have two verbs, “Keep” (8104) and “lay up” (treasure NASB) (6845).  Those are legitimate translations.  Let me suggest a couple of others:  Guard and hide.  These are both internal.

If we are going to live righteous lives then we must prepare our inner man.  Straight actions require a solid foundation of truth.  This is even more true today as we find we can’t believe most of what we hear.  One reason I attend the church I do is because the pastor speaks truth.  It comes from a high view of the Bible and an internalizing.

So?  It won’t happen over night.  Remember the nights you spent cramming for a test the next day.  It may have worked for the test but as soon as you turned it in the knowledge fled.  That is not the way an upright life is lived.  Make study a part of your worship.  Guard and hide. 

Saturday, August 6, 2022

For Example

(Pro 6:26 KJV)  For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.

As we look around we often would want to argue with the idea that sin ruins us financially.  All you need to do is look at the celebrities and politicians that are awash with affluence, or so it seems.  Beware of looking at the salient personalities of our world.  If you look at them you would also think that they represent the physical perfection we should strive for but wait until you see them without make-up and no photo-shopping.  Their money also does not guarantee that they will be satisfied with how things are going.

Take a moment and look at what they are going through in the gossip columns.  Would you really want to be Johnny Depp?  How about Elvis?  Would you really want children of the quality that most presidents experience?  You could make an unending list because there would always be names added to it.

So?  Count your blessings.  If that means you can live on your income then be glad.  It if means that your children are a source of satisfaction, rejoice.

Friday, August 5, 2022

World Changers

(Pro 5:20 KJV)  And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?

One of the attractions of the Jewish religion had to be their view of marriage, sex and women.  In the previous verse and this one you have a good summary.  Enjoy within boundaries that involve righteousness and concern for the other person.  If you know much about the pagan world of the past you know that women did not have a lot of security beyond what was provided by the men they came in contact with.  There were noble ideas expressed.  There were heart warming examples of love and fidelity.  They were not reinforced by popular culture.

We are returning to those days.  The days of the sexual revolution and abortion on demand have made women a commodity to be used and cast aside.  Although the Christian church seems to be following our culture in the area of divorce and abortion the cultural leaders are much more casual about their serial marriages and killing of babies.  It is considered newsworthy when it is noted that a celebrity has been married for 40 years without cheating.  It always amazed me as a middle school teacher when I would tell kids I had been married 40 years their eyes got big and all they could say was, “Wow.”

So?  We have an example to set.  We have a standard to keep.  We have a Savior who gives us the power.  Be a world changer. 

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Calibration

(Pro 4:21 KJV)  Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.

We have an immediate direction here as well as one that should have been dealt with long ago.  Today I want to look at the task for today, daily focus.  We are used to the concept of calibration.  My kids gave me a droid a few years ago.  I have not done it justice.  One of the steps I learned was necessary dealt with calibration.  You needed to get everything pointing the right direction and at the right power setting for it to work.  If you joy is crashing, and I am sure there are some that enjoy that, then just turn it on and go for it.  

I want to get beyond crashing in my spiritual life.  I don’t want the theater that comes with a life of futility and frustration.  I want to know the joy of the Lord.  That means I need to calibrate on a daily basis.  Actually it is a constant need.

So?  It is why I finally decided to start my day focused on praise and thanksgiving.  It gets me pointed in the right direction. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Disconnect Your Buttons

(Pro 3:30 KJV)  Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.

We wear our feelings on out sleeve.  We have thin skins.  We have buttons that can be pushed.  Admit it but don’t live with it.  The call for us is to rise above all that.  I think it is implied that there are times to “strive” (contend NASB) (7378) but the implication is overshadowed by the command.  

There is a attitude involved here.  We tend to look to hard and too long for justification for our response.  We are too willing to find a reason.  The spirit of this is to stop looking, shrug your shoulders and get on with life.

So?  Yes, you.  And of course, me.  This is not an expectation we have for the other guy but the standard God has for us.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Reboot

(Pro 2:5 KJV)  Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

I am finding today that I need to be reminded of the “fear” (3374) of the “Lord” (3068) [yhvh].  There are so many currents that can knock me off course.  I can find an excuse in almost anything.  Distraction is almost a spiritual gift.  This morning I had been disrupted to the point of petrification.  I worked myself back into motion and as soon as I started to write the catalyst for entropy hit again.  

What to do.  I guess I need to develop the automatic ability to reboot.  That sounds good but I have no more tendency to a reboot response than my computer does.  It needs to be a choice and it can only be developed by choosing.

So?  Time to man up and put the child aside.  I keep going believing that eventually God will either give me victory over the response or the power to get moving again.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Options

(Pro 1:3 KJV)  To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;

Be aware that you are constantly being given “instruction” (4148).  You may not even be aware of it.  We might call it “indoctrination” or “brainwashing”.  It happens every time you turn on an electronic device or open printed material.  We are being conditioned on what looks good.  We are told what foods are really nutritional.  We are made to feel guilty about having a moral position.  

Beware.

The point of Proverbs is to prepare ourselves to decide what we want to learn.  We are responsible for our character.  Yes, our parents and family gave us a start, but there come a time when we begin to make decisions on our own.  

So?  Make sure that you have a standard to measure with.  The sliding scale of society will do nothing but lead you to disaster.  It can come in this life.  It will come in eternity.  Seek wisdom.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Make-Up

(Pro 31:30 KJV)  Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

It is always a risk to assume things about people.  The “beauty” (3308) part is often obvious because we can see what a person looks like.  Even there we need to keep in mind the ability of modern technology to transform.  I remember a teacher I worked with.  If she was in a hurry getting to work she was average at best.  When she dolled herself up and was on the prowl, Wow!  She became a heart stopper.  Unfortunately her personality was even worse than average.  Beauty did not make up for that if you spent more than a few minutes with her.

I think that most celebrities could go out in public without fear of being recognized if they would simply skip the make-up.  So much of our lives is make believe.

So?  Of course we should be genuine.  We also want to be neat and clean.  I think the big thing here is that we need to be slow to form opinions about people on short acquaintance. 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Fertility

(Pro 30:16 KJV)  The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.

As I thank God each day for my grandchildren I think of friends who have been denied the joy.  I don’t think it was planned that way but sometimes babies just don’t happen.  I think we all know women who have experienced the “barren” (6115) “womb” (7358).  There are times when it is a result of sin.  A woman can become unable to conceive from sinful sexual practices which would include diseases contacted and abortions performed.  We should not assume that but it is a reality.  Some women wait until it is too late.  But it is also common that some women cannot get pregnant.  We are to mourn with them.

After years of hearing about the dangers of overpopulation the melody has changed.  The mantra now is that we are doomed by population decline.  Some are predicting the end of mankind.  As Christians we need to step back, take a deep breath, try not to laugh at them and go on with life.  Think Providence.  God is in charge.  He can close a womb.  He can open a womb.  As in so many areas that our betters try to micro-manage our lives, we need to ignore them and listen to God.

So?  Pray and trust.  Rejoice in the God of creation and our salvation.  Get ready for eternity.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Comfort Zone

(Pro 29:15 KJV)  The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

One of the discomforts you should experience on a regular basis is reading something in the Word of God that clashes with what you hear from the culture around you.  We are so used to listening to pastors and teachers who are more concerned with being accepted by the academy that being in step with God.  It can be obvious, or should be obvious, when you hear from the pulpit that the Bible is not totally correct and then they set out to inform you of the sophisticated understanding.  They do this with the divinity of Christ, the physical resurrection and the sinful nature to name but a few.

They also will get you to believe that Dr. Phil knows more than Dr. Luke.  I say that knowing little of what Dr. Phil teaches but I know what Luke has to say.  One speaks from the view of TV ratings and the other speaks from the mouth of God.  This is important in the ways in which we raise our children.

So?  Dealing with a child’s self-esteem is not as vital as dealing with their sinful nature.  Get ready for a battle or just compromise and weep later. 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

It Is All in the Details

(Pro 28:27 KJV)  He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.

This is one of those places where a principle is presented that does not seem logical.  That is because it is an intersection between economics and morality.  In our modern thinking the two don’t go together.  As believers we need to get back to the concept of providence and providential.  When God gets involved He brings about results that you might not predict.  I don’t think I have ever played roulette.  I understand that the highest risk bet it to place your bet on a single number.  You have a 1% chance of winning.  Try to understand that God would have a 100% chance of winning and He could do it without violating any of the laws of nature that He put in place.

A simpler example is bowling.  A pro can on occasion achieve a perfect game.  That means that every ball he throws goes where he wants it to and when that happens the odds of all the pins going down is very high.  A slight variation in his grip or the finish on the lane can change the result.  God can compensate for that.

So?  God wants us to be generous to the genuine poor.  If we don’t know whether they deserve it then we are to err on the side of giving.  Let God work out the details. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

No Dessert Today

(Pro 27:7 KJV)  The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

I am not sure who first used the phrase “you say that like it is a bad thing” but it comes to mind as I read this phrase “sated (7649) man (5315)”.  The NASB really falls down here.  The KJV is much better with “full soul”.  In both translations it seems like a negative thing but I am not so sure.  

Notice that the man with the full soul is not even interested in the honey.  He has what he needs.  There is a time for honey and a time for no honey.  This is the kind of satisfaction that you feel after a great meal when the waitress comes up and says, “Got room for dessert, Honey?”  (When they start to call you “Honey” you know you are getting old.)  The one who is full will reply, “No, I don’t have any room.”  You could probably eat it.  It might look good.  The desire is tamped down so you are not tempted.

So?  I think that point for us is to make sure that we have a steady diet of the word and the presence of God so that the things life throws at us are on a level we can say “no” to. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Who, Me?

(Pro 26:14 KJV)  As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.

I am afraid that this morning I identified as “slothful” (sluggard NASB) (6102).  I kept waking up.  I kept being uncomfortable.  Aches and pains are part of getting older and the best cure is to get up and start moving.  But I still laid there.  I did not want to get up and move.  I had no deadlines.  There was no hurry.  So I laid there and wasted time.

I wonder if one of the issues with sluggards is that they have nothing calling them to make a difference.  I had the call of worship, but what about after that.  My rational was that I could get up later and get everything done I needed to do.  The issue is that my sloth tends to cut down on the options that God can offer me later in the day.  It is like the kid who can’t go to the movies with his friends because he still has the dishes to do.

So?  One important issue in getting on with what needs to be done is in the area of keeping options open for the future.  Something I need to think about.

Monday, July 25, 2022

More Than Troubled

(Pro 25:20 KJV)  As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.

As I pointed out a few years ago the English word “heavy" (troubled NASB) (7451a) means “evil”.  That is the correct translation and a correct translation helps us understand what is going on here.  At first this seems confusing.  We have been told that we can use music to calm a person down.  I know that singing to an upset baby can help to settle them down and bring on sleep.  That is not what this is talking about.

Music is not a cure for evil.  In itself music as a genre is neutral but can be used for good or evil.  It can manipulate or be an expression.  It is only temporary.  If a person is dealing with evil in their hearts they may calm down with the right music but what they really need is the grace of God to work in their hearts.

So?  Don’t write off music but realize that the issues of life are deeper than a simple fix. 

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Rewards Poster

(Pro 24:20 KJV)  For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.

How important is a “reward” (319) to you?  We need to get beyond our response to this idea in our atmosphere of current marketing techniques.  My memory tells me that one store has what they call a “Rewards Card”.  I am not sure what you have to do to get the rewards but I usually find that the cost is more than the benefit.  

The word used here means “end”.  It is often used in prophecy to refer to when it all comes together at the climax of time.  In this case it has to do with the final pay off.  Think both temporal and eternal.  Here the emphasis is on the expectations of those living in rebellion and sin.  In verse 14 the emphasis is on those who live upright lives.  Each has a reward.

So?  We tend to focus on what is happening today.  We forget our history and put the promises of God on a back burner.  That can be really dangerous or just a mark of trusting and moving on to other issues. 

Saturday, July 23, 2022

A Redeemer Reminder

(Pro 23:11 KJV)  For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.

It is easy to breeze over this verse but pause a moment to think about the concept of “redeemer” (1350).  Today I am thinking of how this is expanded and explained in the New Testament.  Think of the job description of Jesus.  We think of Him as our redeemer.  That goes beyond His death on the cross.  It goes to that part of the Apostles creed that mentions how He sits at the right hand of God the Father.

(Rom 8:34 KJV)  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

We also see the idea referring to the Holy Spirit.
(Joh 16:7 KJV)  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
Here the Greek word for “comforter” has the idea included of advocate.

So?  One of the things that we tend to forget is that God has promised to be with us all along the way.  People may mess with us.  Satan may attack.  The economy may fall apart and they may again start arresting Christians.  He will be with us.

Friday, July 22, 2022

When Comes the Pay Off

(Pro 22:6 KJV)  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

This is one of those verses that are often quoted but rarely lived up to.  It is also one of those areas that we cannot see the relevant facts.  I think of a pastor I knew.  He was an awesome communicator of the word.  He seemed to drip with wisdom.  His children are not people I would want my children to have anything to do with.  We see this kind of thing all around us.  My grandfather was a Pilgrim Holiness preacher and evangelist.  He was so “called” that he refused to hear the cries of his children.  I am sure that everywhere he went he was praised and looked up to.  His children were a mess.  There are things in people’s lives that we just can’t see.

I have trouble with this because I can see all kinds of things in my life but my children have turned out better than I would have any right to hope for.  Did I do a better job?  Obviously.  Is that to my credit as an awesome, perfect parent.  You don’t have to know me to shake your head vigorously.  Yet there is still that promise that if we are faithful in our training we will see results.

So?  Sometimes the results don’t come until after we are dead.  That means the promise is real even if the product does not appear on our schedule.  Be faithful.  God always is. 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Topics of Conversation

(Pro 21:20 KJV)  There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.

It seems that everyone is worried about the economy.  In one sense that is nothing new.  I remember reading a book 35 years ago that forecast all the doomsday scenarios that you are hearing today.  In another sense it is looking more iffy all the time.  As believers there are certain things that we should bring to the discussion.

We need to keep in mind that our starting point is prayer and trust.  It is not a place we come to when everything else fails.  It should be a daily discipline to remind ourselves of who God is and what He promises.  It should be part of our regular prayer life.  It is like the gas in your car.  If you wait until you run out it is too late.

The second is good stewardship.  The point being made in this verse is that we are to be savers not spenders.  Today people stockpile precious medals.  They did it in those days too but they also made sure that they had a supply of oil on hand.  It was used for everything from cooking to anointing.  Yes, God loves a cheerful giver but I also think He thinks highly of a careful spender.

So?  There will be discussions.  It happens every time you go out to shop.  You have something to share that the next shopper may not have considered.  Share it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

2+2=5

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

Are you familiar with the mathematical problem that goes 2+2=5?  I believe it comes from the book 1984.  I am in the first few chapters of the book and have not come across it yet but the central concept of Communism is that truth is whatever the government tells you it is.  In this verse the question is brought up in regard to honesty in business.  If you are reading 1984 or are into certain government proclamations then the point needs to be extended to the rest of life.

Truth is truth.  Truth does not change.  It does not vary based on what special group is the target of the action.  Bible believing Christians cannot allow themselves to be brainwashed into believing that certain people are more deserving than others just because the government and popular opinion says so.

So?  We serve a God who is not considerate of face, or as it is interpreted, is not partial.  Give a fair deal.  It makes a difference in eternity. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Poor Thinking

(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.

Keeping our mind engaged is always vital if you are going to follow Jesus and serve the living God.  This is true in regard to the “poor” (7326).  On the surface it seems obvious.  After all, we are constantly asked to donate and help those less fortunate than ourselves.  You will notice that this verse does not take that approach.  While it doesn’t say the attitude of the people that know him is a good thing, it also does not condemn them.

If you do a simple search on this Hebrew word for poor you find that both sides of the coin are dealt with.  In some cases they are poor because they are lazy.  At other places it does not seem to be their fault.  As so many teachings of the Bible it must be applied with the individual in mind and the circumstances considered.

So?  If you are at the lower end of the economic scale try to keep your attitude in check.  If you are higher up, the same.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Wicked and Attitude

(Pro 18:3 KJV)  When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.

We are here looking at one of the basic differences between the Christian world view and that of your garden variety pagan.  We are not allowed to get carried away against people who differ from us.  Here the difference has to do with behavior.  It isn’t about superficial things like skin color or extrovert/introvert.  

You don’t need to go very far to find someone who is living in blatant sin.  We are to disagree with them.  We are to witness to them.  The one thing that Christians cannot do is have “contempt” (937).  This is expressed many ways in the Bible from God telling us that vengeance is His prerogative to Jesus answering about the greatest commandment with the call to love our neighbor as our self.  

So?  This is not a call to retire from public life.  It is a call to speak up without lashing out.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Grander Than Children

(Pro 17:6 KJV)  Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.

I was 70 when my first grandchild appeared on the scene.  I am not saying that I had given up but I was approaching being resigned to my fate.  I must say it has been worth the wait but I am not sure I have the energy to keep it up.  Chasing toddlers around the couch wears an old man out.  There are times when naps are important for all members of the family.

My heart goes out to friends who have no grandchildren.  It is a hole they may never really be aware of.  At other times my heart goes out to friends who do have grandchildren.  I see the disaster looming on the horizon as they are not raised the way their parents were raised.  I am still rejoicing to be with my children’s children.  I am pleased at what I see.  For instance, I went by to return the cat I had been watching when they were out of town for two weeks.  My granddaughter had been having one of those days and was spending the rest of the day in her room.  I did not see her because it was more important to teach her consequences than to indulge an old man.  I was glad to see that the next generation was being raised right.

So?  Enjoy them when you can.  Support your children as they step up to the plate in preparing the future.  Blessings. 

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Focused Pride

(Pro 16:18 KJV)  Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

I think that we sometimes get proud for all the right reasons.  They are right because they are Biblical in isolation.  We are to be holy.  We are to live upright lives.  We are to be moral and honest.  And we are.  That is something to celebrate and be glad in.  So where is the problem?

We start to turn our focus away from the reality that we are nothing without the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.  We have nothing to say if all we can say is “live long and prosper.”  That is a wonderful thought but it misses that fact that God is the one holding the universe together.  In our pride we get real good at mouthing that and still believing in our hearts that it is because of something we have done.  

I recently was doing an organ recital with another old guy.  We were looking at how hard some have it and how blessed we are.  I shared that the temptation is to believe that I am healthier because I am more righteous.  That may be true because God gives us living patterns for a reason but it is pride to assume it is really from our discipline and effort.

So?  Rejoice in what God does for us and through us.  It might be a good idea to write a note to yourself that you could read every morning to remind you that it is all because of Him. 

Friday, July 15, 2022

More Than Rodney

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

I am reminded that I tend to get too casual about my attitude toward God.  We are quick to point out that “fear” (3374) can mean reverence, awe and respect.  We get comfortable with that and forget how Isaiah responded when he saw the Lord seated on His throne.  He figured he was going to die.  Maybe it would be better if we could catch a little of that side of awe.  Perhaps instead of standing overlooking the Grand Canyon and being awed by its beauty we need to step up to the edge, lean over and look straight down.  That brings different meaning to awesome.

So?  Don’t make God do His Rodney Dangerfield impersonation.  He demands respect. 

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Yes, Another Decision

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

Do you really want to “understand” (995)?  We often say we do but the problem is not ability.  The problem is desire.  It is so much easier to just drift.  I was recently praying for the children of friends and one of the thoughts that came to my mind was how so many people today want to be comfortable and think that will happen if they keep their heads down and stay off the radar.  I am sure there is a time for that.  I am aware I cannot know what is going on in their hearts and minds.  I also know how the human heart works.

God seems to tell us He will direct our paths.  The problem is being willing to listen.  I am sure you have had people ask you for advice and then they ignore everything you told them.  I guess they don’t want to listen.

So?  As so often happens, the ball is in our court.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

A Time for Hate

(Pro 13:5 KJV)  A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.

Again we see the Bible condemning lies.  It is so easy to rationalize stretching the truth.  We are surrounded by deception and a culture that is moving toward evil.  We keep seeing the boundaries of righteousness pushed back and mocked.  Think of the perversions being pushed in schools and entertainment.  Who would have thought?

I guess we should be thinking.  We should be watching.  We should be holding truth up as a measuring stick and proclaiming it with out last breath.

So?  We need to move beyond being uncomfortable.  We need to stop being silent.  When we see something that is not right we need to speak the truth by speaking. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Victims Unaware

(Pro 12:10 KJV)  A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

How many times have you been approached to help with a struggle that someone else is going through?  Sometimes it seems daily.  It is a great marketing technique.  In this day of internet advertising and algorithms we are the prey of many people who want to take advantage of our kindness and generosity.  Be aware that many of these appeals are fronts for totally different operations.  I can remember when the Red Cross used a tragedy to raise money and very little of what was raised went to the presented need.  

Have you ever observed that the people who are the first to ask for help are often the least deserving?  This puts a responsibility on us.  We are to care and give.  That is obvious.  We are to do so with our baloney meters going full blast.  I only have so much extra income.  If I give it out I want to make sure that I am actually helping someone not just making life easy for a shyster.

So?  Give with your brain engaged.  Don’t support evil. 

Monday, July 11, 2022

Payoffs

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

I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about being “recompensed” (rewarded NASB) (7999a) at the end of life or even tomorrow.  I would venture to guess that the average person who rejects Jesus would be in the same situation.  Maybe he should be thinking about such things.  It does not do much good to come to Jesus to gain eternal life if you are not also willing to repent of your sins and seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.  I would imagine it would also not do much good just wanting to avoid Hell.

I will accept that some people are scared into salvation by the images of hell.  I would also guess that most of those so scared are unscared pretty quickly and write off their profession of faith as a moment of weakness.  Sad but true.

So?  There will be rewards.  That is a promise.  Some will be in this life.  Some will be in eternity but they will be. 

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Slow Atrophy

(Pro 10:17 KJV)  He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.

As a teenager I sat under some of the finest preaching you could ask for.  The theology was sound.  The Bible was explained.  The pastor was a genius at communication.  That was in the day when churches still had evening services.  At it’s height this church was so enthused that you had to get to the evening service early if you wanted a seat.  It was a time of glory and gospel.  

As I look back at the kids I sat in the pew with I am discouraged at how many of them have walked away from the faith.  I am not talking about leaving the church.  There is more than one church around, or at least there used to be.  I am talking about turning your back on everything that at one time you claimed and testified to.  What happened?

I think the key is in this verse.  They did not “keepeth” (heed NASB) (8104) the truth that was being presented.  Did they listen?  Yes.  He was a good preacher.  To get the point you need to put together the “keep” of the KJV with the “heed” of the NASB.  Another good translation is to “guard”.  This is the word that you see in the Shema,

(Deu 6:4 KJV)  Hear (8104), O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
It has the idea of listening and making central to your thinking.

So?  Backsliding is not a matter of making a decision to not believe.  It is a repeated choice to keep pushing God and His teachings to a secondary place in your life.  It is like those cool bell bottoms you use to wear on a regular basis.  When fashion changed they got pushed to the back of the closet.  One day you came in and realized your mother had thrown them out. 

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Have a Cookie

(Pro 9:17 KJV)  Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

As I read this verse I think about how good that bit of cake was that I sneaked when no one else was looking.  It is possible that one reason it tasted so good was that the quantity was small and my taste buds were not satiated.  But there is a more spiritual dimension.  There is something in us that feels victorious when we get away with something.  Picture the feeling when you go to a yard sale and see some tarnished do-dad that you can see is made of sterling silver.  You get it for pennies.  They are happy.  You are delirious.  I imagine a thief gets the same rush.

But the thief will feel different later.  There is another verse in Proverbs that reminds us of this,

(Pro 20:17 KJV)  Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.
So?  Often we know we are doing wrong and do it anyway.  Other times the awareness does not come until later.  I would guess that sometimes we only know if we have messed up at a later time.  That will be the time for confession, forgiveness and restitution.

Friday, July 8, 2022

True Stories

(Pro 8:7 KJV)  For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

“Truth” (571) is under attack by our culture and the fifth column has moved into the church to undermine the faith.  I was listening to a sermon at the request of a friend.  I would not have normally bothered because the man preaching was reported to have said that the church does not believe in the inerrancy of scripture.  If you don’t believe the Bible is the truth then what do you have to preach about?  True to form he talked down the apologists of the past who had used reason and evidence to support believing in Jesus.  His attack was focused on the fact that people today are not impressed by the evidence.  They want to hear your story.

How nice.  Truth does not matter, only your experience and the warm feelings it generates.  What he failed to point out is that if you are impressed by my story today you will also be impressed by someone else’s story tomorrow.  It is what secular advertising and infomercials are counting on.  

So?  Having a story is great.  Being able to communicate it is wonderful.  Having a solid foundation underneath is even more important.  Seek truth and apply it.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Passive or Active

(Pro 7:27 LB)  If you want to find the road to hell, look for her house.

The Living Bible stood out to me this morning.  It always amazes me how casually some people take the concept of Hell.  What is even more unsettling is that some seem to be actively seeking it.  That is what this verse is about.

For some reason I was thinking about Hell a few days ago.  I think I was on the topic of literal versus figurative and the conflicting images of a lake of fire and a dark place came to me.  One of my theories is that God’s curses are passive, not necessarily active.  That means that we face tragedy when He withdraws His protection.  Think about the disasters that might have struck your life if you guardian angel was off on vacation.

So?  Even if the pictures are figuratively, Hell is a place of great misery because the presence of God has been withdrawn.  Mark it as a place to avoid. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Choices

(Pro 6:25 KJV)  Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.

We have all kinds of sayings that are designed to get this point across.   Two that come to mind are “beauty is only skin deep” and “don’t judge a book by its cover”.  This is another one of those truths that we know in our heads but don’t want to believe in our hearts.  We need to transfer the knowledge to our hearts.

We are so easy to deceive.  From spouses to breakfast cereal we are convinced that we have to have certain brands and packaging.  It has been pointed out that the marketing of pet foods is to please the human not the beast.  Part of the problem is awareness.  Part of that problem is not wanting to know.  

So?  Understand that reading the nutritional labels of life has consequences in the body fat of eternity.  It is a decision that only you can make for you. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Not Agape

(Pro 5:19 KJV)  Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

If you read through Proverbs on a monthly basis you come across this reminder regularly.  We need to keep in mind that God invented human sexuality.  We could have reproduced in many ways.  All you need to do to see the variety is take a class in zoology or even botany.  Picture getting pregnant because a bee landed on you.  God had more in mind for us.

Don’t you like the idea of being “ravished” (exhilarated NASB) (7686)?  My marginal readings say it literally means intoxicated.  It is more subtle than that.  The root of the word is to wander.  It means that you are so excited about each other that you forget where you are or where you are going.

So?  This is not agape love.  It is eros, as in erotic.  It was God’s idea and like all of God’s ideas there is a time and a place.  In this case within marriage.  Enjoy.  That is the word from God, not me. 

Monday, July 4, 2022

Make It Complete

(Pro 4:20 KJV)  My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.

I have been listening to some apologists on the internet.  For the most part they are a needed voice.  Each is different and has a different approach but they serve a purpose.  One point that I keep hearing is that we are saved by grace, not works.  That is true.  It is also incomplete.  All through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation you also have an emphasis like you find in this verse.  It is important that we make choices that take us in the right direction.  

God did not send Jesus to earth so He could send more people to Hell.  He also did not send Him to encourage perverted living.  God sent Jesus to pay the price.  We are called to respond in faith but also in obedience.  

So?  Pay attention.  Don’t rest on your laurels or the laurels of Jesus.  Trust but act.  The key point is not what role obedience plays but that you be obedient. 

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Not So Obvious

(Pro 3:29 KJV)  Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.

It would seem to me that some things are so obvious that they don’t need to be said.  This is one of them.  Who, if they are concerned enough to read the Bible, would go out and look for ways to “devise evil against” (harm NASB) (7463a) a neighbor?  And yet here it is.

Think of other things that we accept as obvious.  Think of the Ten Commandments.  Think of the Golden Rule.  What we forget is that they are obvious because our culture has accepted these Biblical standards as the norm.  Keep in mind that in the days of Proverbs most of the cultural groups around Israel were throwing their first born babies into a furnace.  They considered it normal.

So?   Get into the word to develop your sense of right and wrong.  You are not born with it. 

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Dig

(Pro 2:4 KJV)  If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

This is a good beginning bit of advice for Bible Study.  The part that reaches out to me today is the idea of looking for “hidden treasures” (4301).  One way in which this term is used involves things that have been stored away in vaults and secret places.  Picture yourself as the heir of a rich aunt and being forced to check every seam, every box, every book cover looking for hidden wealth.  That is the picture we have of finding wisdom.

So?  Start digging.  While it is true that some wealth is on top of the ground the biggest deposits require focused effort.

Friday, July 1, 2022

In Other Words

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

I decided this month to pull my old Living Bible off the shelf and read Proverbs from its perspective.  I like the Living Bible.  I have no use for the New Living Translation, or whatever it is called.  One reason is a lack of pretense.  The Living Bible on its title page declares “Paraphrased”.  It does not make any claim to be a “translation” like so many of the modern opinion translations do.  It is called honesty.

I enjoyed reading verse 2,

(Prov 1:2 LB) He wrote them to teach his people how to live - how to act in every circumstance,
The Bible is not really written as a history book or a theology text.  It is a How To book.  It contains history and theology.  It even contains advice on health, but it is primarily God speaking to His people about how they should live.

So?  Let the Bible speak to you.  It doesn’t hurt to refer to some of the modern loose translations as long as you keep coming back to something like the KJV or NASB to get a more accurate understanding.  On to a new month.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Giving

(Pro 30:15 KJV)  The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough:

I am sure that everyone who believes that tithing is part of the legalism of the Old Testament loves this verse.  They use it to repudiate calls to “give” (3051).  In so doing they become the “daughters” (1323).  The issue here is not the giving or the call for giving.  The issue is the self-centeredness of the transaction.  I think it is safe to assume that these young women were not know for their generosity.  They were probably the last ones to come to work day or to contribute to the food bank.  They are not the people you would come to when you are down on your luck.

These are the people who complain that the A/C is not cold enough when they put nothing in the offering.  I am reminded of the woman who said she would be glad to give to the Easter offering but she would take it out of her tithe.  The double whammy on this is she was not tithing.

So?  Be a giver. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Versed in Memory

(Pro 29:12 KJV)  If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.

We are moving toward the midterm elections.  This will involve political offices from school boards to the Senate.  We need to understand that the values of the leaders will be applied to that which they lead.  It is not always clear how to apply this.  It might help to realize that the issue here is honesty not whether taxes should be raised.  It is time to put our roots down into the word of God so we can understand truth and pray that our memories would be accurate and long.

This also applies to church elections.  Some churches give the people in the pews a say in how things go.  If you are a part of such a congregation you need to apply the same standards.  It may not be a Biblical issue if your pastor or church board allows coffee and shorts in the sanctuary.  It is an issue if they reject the divinity of Christ or the inspiration of the Bible.

So?  Get those brains turned on before it becomes illegal.  I guess this is also a recommendation that we be honest ourselves.