An Idea Borrowed

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

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Got One, Thanks

(Pro 31:20 KJV)  She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

I am not in the market for a wife.  I have one and that should be enough for the rest of my life.  If I were looking I don’t think it would occur to me that concern for the down and out would be important, but evidently it is.  I think most people would think it is a good trait but how many would put it on the list.

That should give us pause.  It reminds us that there are many qualities that we should have that are overlooked or ignored.  It might also point out some attitudes we exhibit that are worthy of praise but we had not thought of it.  I offer this not to encourage pride but a healthy awareness of how many things we do simply because the Holy Spirit is working through us.

So?  Be concerned for the poor.  Rejoice that you can give aid.  Rejoice that you want to.  One is God’s physical provision, the other is His character building. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Fill, Don’t Empty

(Psa 119:99 KJV)  I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.

(Proverbs 30 also read)

New Age philosophies have made “meditation” (7881) popular among the heathen.  Often we find true believers who discount it because of that.  This verse points out the big difference between pagan meditation and Biblical meditation:  What you meditate on.

For the world of eastern religions meditation means to empty your mind.  You have a mantra, a sound repeated over and over, which draws you out of the world by emptying your mind.  The goal is the peace of nothingness.

Christian meditation, or in this case Jewish meditation, is focusing on something profound, in this case the “testimonies” (5715), and looking into the meanings that might not be obvious at first glance.  It has the sense of reflection and study.

So?  We are called to make the truth of God ours.  That does not come by learning by rote the sayings of a guru or authority but by actually concentrating on the things that God said. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Infinity < Everlasting

(Psa 90:2 KJV)  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

(Proverbs 29 also read)

One of the attributes of God is that He is eternal.  To be honest, that is beyond our comprehension.  Science has come up with the concept of infinity.  You may be better than I am but I find infinity beyond my comprehension and the amusing part of that is infinity does not even begin to get close to eternity.

I will grant you that the term “everlasting” (5769) is sometimes used to denote things that are comprehendible but the way it is doubled and expressed here is an attempt to express the unexpressible.

So?  Would you really want a God that you could grasp in your mind?  What would that say about God?  What would it say about your mind?  What would it say about your ego?  I am comfortable with my limitations. 

Monday, August 28, 2023

What’s Missing

(Psa 85:9 KJV)  Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.

(Proverbs 28 also read)

I am sure you have heard them.  I know you will hear them again.  I speak of those people who tell you about how the Jews were under bondage to the law, how they lived with a ball and chain that kept them in fear of breaking one of the 613 commandments of the law.  Next time you hear that, read Psalm 85 and ask yourself, “What does this tell us about the Law?”  The answer will be, “Nothing.  It isn’t even implied.”  If you don’t want to read the whole thing today, you will just need to trust me.

It does talk about salvation.  I am sure you have time to read this verse.  Don’t get put off by the “fear” (3372a).  Fear of God certainly has a component of terror but it usually emphasizes a sense of awe and reverence that is generated by an awareness of the majesty and power of God.  If you look through the chapter you see words like “lovingkindness” and “forgive”, you see “mercy”, “truth” and “peace”.

So?  Yes, God has standards.  He is a holy God.  He can’t get away from what He is but keep in mind that the desire of His being is to redeem us.  That is why He had a plan, a plan to send a savior.  Rejoice. 

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Holy Moses

(Psa 90:1 KJV)  A Prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.

(Proverbs 27 also read)

Everyone knows that David wrote the Psalms and Solomon wrote Proverbs.  Everyone.  Except those who are paying attention.  Notice what the beginning of this Psalm says, “A prayer of Moses...”  I assume that statements like this at the beginning of Psalms are in the actual Hebrew.  What difference does that make?  In this case it means just what it says, Moses wrote this Psalm.

The point here is that we are only supposed to make a statement a place to take a stand if it is clearly stated in the Bible.  Thus we don’t die on the hill of “Paul wrote Hebrews” or “infant baptism”.  

So?  Stick with what the Bible says.  It will be more than enough to make your day, or get you into hot water at church.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Access Not Denied

(Psa 86:15 KJV)  But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

(Proverbs 26 also read)

I am pulling out this verse because it is the one place in the chapter where the Hebrew for the family of words translated “gracious” (2587) comes across the same in the NASB and KJV.  In the KJV it is usually translated “mercy” and another Hebrew word can be “gracious.”  I focus on this because this is a very un-Old Testament Psalm.  It repeatedly refers to this idea of the grace of God.  This family of words include the noun used when it says that “Noah found grace.

Grace is not a new idea in the New Testament.  There are problems with language and translation but you find that the idea of the undeserved action on God in salvation is consistent through the entire Bible.  What the New Testament brings us is the one time sacrifice of the Perfect Lamb of God so that we don’t need to go to the temple and follow ritual any more.  Remember that at the moment of the crucifixion the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was torn in two.

So?  We have access to the Almighty because of the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus.  Rejoice. 

Friday, August 25, 2023

Who, Me?

(Psa 79:9 KJV)  Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake.

(Proverbs 25 also read)

At last.  I have been reading the Psalms of Aseph since Chapter 73.  I may have missed it but in all of the laments and cries for God’s help the one thing I was missing was a cry of repentance.  In the previous verse, for the first time, I saw him talking about the sins of his forefathers, but I was missing the personal confession.

At last, here we get to the core of the problem.  Israel has been invaded.  The temple has been destroyed and Jerusalem decimated.  In verse 2 it talks about the godly ones being fed to the birds.  If I remember the comments of the prophets, the general theme is that there were no godly ones, or if there were, they were a definite minority.  Aseph seemed to be missing the point of God’s wrath.

So?  I know we are not Israel.  I know we do not live in ancient times.  At the same time I wonder how long God is willing to wait for us to acknowledge our sin, as individuals and as a nation, before His wrath starts marching.  Think of the second line of the Battle Hymn of the Republic,  “He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored...”  Pray for yourself, your family and your country. 

Thursday, August 24, 2023

In with the Old, in with the New

(Psa 84:12 KJV)  O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

(Proverbs 24 also read)

One of the great joys of reading through the entire Bible is the balance it gives in understanding God and how He works with us.  For years I have listened to preachers and theologians talk about how the Old Testament is based on the law and works while the New Testament is all about grace.  I have heard Paul quoted as he warns against the law.  I see what Paul says.  I am aware of the danger he is warning against.  My problem is that the interpretation put on his words does not fit in with what I am reading in the Old Testament.

Here is just one example.  Notice that the sons of Korah, who wrote this Psalm, did not say, “Blessed is the man who perfectly obeys the law.”  That would be what we are lead to expect.  No.  We are “blessed” (835) when we “trust” (982) in God.  No Jew would say that it is not important to live a life of righteousness.  The previous verse points out we are to walk uprightly or with integrity.  The previous verse also talks about the grace of God and here we have the idea of trust or faith.  

So?  Get used to it.  The Bible is not a theological tract designed to agree with traditions of our modern elders.  It is the word of God to be read, wrestled with and followed.  As the old song says, “Trust and obey.” 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Cost of Living

(Pro 23:20 KJV)  Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
(Pro 23:21 KJV)  For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

I am not even a light drinker, unless this refers to coffee, however, I have been known to be a glutton.  So, ouch.  The question that came to my mind today was whether this was given on the level of the Ten Commandments, sin, or whether it is a principle that will make our lives better.  If I were just looking at verse 20 I could lean toward the sin category but when I look at verse 21 it sounds like good advice for a successful life.

Recently we went to a buffet that my grandchildren refer to as “the restaurant where kids get to pick what they eat.”  That usually means bowls of mandarin oranges, pasta, red jello and ice cream.  It is a place I avoid because I am a glutton and sometimes know my limits.  I did notice that my fellow gluttons seemed to be a bit on the lower level of the socio-economic scale.  That is not just because of the quality of the food.  I have been to the buffets in Las Vegas that cost an arm and a leg and although it is expensive I have the feeling that many of the people their also can’t afford to be paying that much.  

But they do and in the long term it will keep them in the lower socio-economic group.

So?  Sometimes the Bible just gives good advice.  Will we go to hell for going to an all-you-can-eat place?  I doubt it but the pattern might say a lot about our overall wealth picture.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Repentance and Awe

(Psa 78:35-6 KJV)  And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.  Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues.

(Proverbs 22 also read)

What a story of grace and rejection.  It is about the constant love of God and His desire to forgive and restore in the face of a constant chorus of rebellion, complaining and disobedience.  On the one side I find it very encouraging.  God, in a figurative way, bends over backwards to bless and carry His people.  In the first verse we see how they had a moment of clarity.  They remembered.  They probably worshiped.  But then you have the second verse where they went back to their old ways.  

I am encouraged because I know the compassion of God.  I am humbled because I am reminded to remember all the ways in which God has blessed my life.  Can I find things I don’t like?  Of course, but generally they are examples of my failure.  I rejoice that I am constantly reminded of the gift of His Son, the cross, the resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

So?  I want to live in repentance and awe.  I don’t want to be rebellious and taking God for granted.  I am grateful for a daily worship that reminds me of these things. 

Monday, August 21, 2023

Think for Yourself

(Pro 21:12 KJV)  The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.

The “righteous” (6662).  According to many traditional theologians such a person does not exist.  I have heard that all my life.  They love to quote Paul,

(Rom 3:10 KJV)  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
In their haste to be accepted by other traditional theologians they neglect to state that Paul’s quotation is not very accurate and, indeed, is in reference to the fact that we are all born with a sinful nature, not that no one can live a righteous life.  These theologians seem to turn off their memory when they read verses like this or descriptions of Noah and Zechariah.  

So?  Don’t let the traditions of men trump your reading of the Bible.  We are born sinful.  We were all sinners.  Now we are saints.  Live like it.  God is on our side. 

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Never too Late

(Pro 20:7 KJV)  The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.

Notice the verb that connects the “righteous” (6662) and the “integrity” (8537):  “walks” (1980).  We like to focus on the powerful theological concepts and we do so at the risk of losing the key action.  A result is that we lose our children.  As I approach the great leap into eternity I focus on the real marks of success.  God has blessed me in so many ways but the blessing that makes the struggles worth while is knowing that my children walk with the Lord and do so in a way that applies their righteousness to their walk.  

What makes the difference is our daily application of those sterling qualities.  What makes the difference today is how we applied them in the past.  There are no short cuts.  I look at my circle of friends and see parents with aching hearts because their children are not measuring up.  The parents need to understand that they cannot do anything about the past but they can start living for the future.

So?  Our children are our greatest treasure.  If they are on the right road, rejoice and don’t desert the paths you are walking.  If they are wayward then believe that your present choices will effect them.  Walk holy and leave the rest up to God. 

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Hear, Here

(Pro 19:20 KJV)  Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

Once again the KJV gets the point.  Where the NASB has “the rest of your days” the KJV says, “In thy latter end”, which is the literal translation.  I am getting old.  I want to get to the point where I can start being a dispenser rather than a gatherer.  At what point am I allowed to be the wise guy at the head of the table?

Probably never.  There is a real sense in which this reminds us that we are preparing for the end.  Think of it as nutrition.  If we get to the point where we think we have eaten enough and stop, the end is a few days away.  Probably one of the great bits of wisdom we should have gathered by the time you get to my age is the understanding that we are to listen.

So?  You never know when God is going to pass some wisdom your way.  It may not even be understood as wisdom by the person who presents it but that is where the Holy Spirit comes in.  Never stop listening. 

Friday, August 18, 2023

Missing the Point

(Psa 77:11 KJV)  I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.

(Proverbs 18 also read)

This sounds like a great way to meditate and worship.  I find that one of the mental actions I can follow is to remember the blessings of God in the past.  Sometimes the trips down memory lane bring to mind forgotten adventures with God.  It can be refreshing.

But that is not what is happening here.  The author of this Psalm is living in a time of desperation.  It isn’t as clear in this Psalm as the previous one but it seems the nation is in ruins.  He is calling on God, which he should do but there is still one element that is missing.  He still is not even hinting that Israel has been blatant in its sin and living in open depravity.  He wants the payoff without the investment.  

So?  That is not a good pattern for him or for us.  One of the important attitudes we must have is repentance and confession of need.  It does not mean you have fallen into sin.  That need not be, but there does need to be an attitude that acknowledges we are the sinners and He is the redeemer. 

Thursday, August 17, 2023

The Blame Game

(Pro 17:21 KJV)  He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.

One of the questions I have about wayward children is, “Heredity or environment?”  Sometimes I ask in humor.  Other times, I am really puzzled.  This verse seems to imply that a “fool” (3684 and 5036) is born a fool and is destined to break the heart of his father.  I don’t know if that is a comfort or a fear.  It tells us that sometimes there is nothing we can do about the decisions our children make.

At the same time there are other places where it indicates that there is some hope for fools.  Again the question is how much can you as a parent do about it.  So much of people’s destiny is in their own hands.  There are so many people you can do nothing for.  Their children may be hungry, you give them some money and they go to Disneyland.

So?  All we can do is our best.  If we have done so then it is out of our hands.  We also need to find that balance between being cavalier and being obsessive.  Easy to say.  Hard to do.  I am glad that God sees our hearts. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

A Day for Why

(Psa 74:1 KJV)  Maschil of Asaph. O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture?

(Proverbs 16 also read)

As I read through this Psalm I kept looking for a word of hope, something to lift me up.  I didn’t find it.  There are two main summaries you could give for this chapter:  The temple is destroyed and why don’t you do something, God?  It is clear that this is a summary of the situation just before Ezra and Nehemiah return to work on the temple and Jerusalem.

What I saw totally lacking was any acknowledgment of sin or shortcoming on the part of the writer and Israel.  It is as if he had never heard any of the prophets and their calls to repentance.  For him it is an issue of God getting on the stick.  I wonder how often we get like that.  How often do we ignore the clear call of the Holy Spirit to repentance and renewal?  Sources of that message are all around us.

So?  Do a little spiritualizing here.  Are you feeling rejected today?  Are you being smoked?  Yes?  Then maybe it is time to consider your attitude.  No?  Then rejoice in the God of your salvation because this Psalm doesn’t have much to say to you today. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Clock Work

(Psa 73:27 KJV)  For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.

(Proverbs 15 also read)

This is a Psalm that requires a full reading.  If you pick isolated verses you can either go away with a rose colored window to the world or depressing fatalism.  One of the lessons that came through to me was that we are not creatures of time alone.  Yes, we are currently locked to the clock.  We can’t undo or forecast.  At the same time we need to be constantly reminded that this is not all there is.

This verse is the second part of a formula for eternity.  Verse 24 reminds us of the glory waiting for the faithful.  This verse reminds us of the disaster waiting for those who are “unfaithful” (2181) for those who are sensitive or “go a whoring” as the KJV translates so literally.

So?  Heaven or hell?  Another reminder that the choice is real and this chapter also reminds us of how many choose the path of destruction. 

Monday, August 14, 2023

Getting the Buck Started

(Pro 14:34 KJV)  Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

Being faithful to the calling of God “exalts” (7311) a “nation” (1471).  I have a friend who would discount this as having any meaning for us today because it was written to Israel.  The problem with that is the Hebrew word for “nation” is [goy] which is used to refer to Gentiles.  He has a theological system which demands that understanding.  In my world this is a principle, not necessarily a law, that says countries that practice righteousness benefit from that.

Perhaps a good way to measure how righteousness is measured is to look at how blessed a country is.  A formula is impossible because the issue is too complex but we can certainly look at the place we live and ask ourselves, “Are we being lifted up or dragged down?”

So?  We always place our trust in God.  He places His calling on us.  We are to be salt and light.  If we are concerned about our country then our first responsibility is to season and shine.  That starts in our inner person.  It does not stop there but our houses need to be in order before we can expect revival and renewal for our country.  Think about it. 

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Buck Passing

(Pro 13:1 KJV)  A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

So what do you do if you don’t have a father or the one you have does not give “instruction” (discipline NASB) (4148) to you?  Notice that the emphasis here is not on the father but on the son.  At both ends of the spectrum the point is that you take what is offered and consider it carefully.  Some people will never learn a lesson no matter how hard you try to pass it on.  Others will get it quickly.  Usually the difference is in the attitude of the listener.

So?  Be a good listener.  Be a good rebuker.  The difference in the results is on the individual.  Don’t fall into the trap of making excuses because of surroundings. 

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Net Gain

(Pro 12:12 KJV)  The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.

It always amazes me how easily people fall into the traps of materialism.  I think the NASB is going for this when they talk about “booty” (4685b) when the KJV gives a more literal “net”.  We are attracted to the seeming rewards of going for the gold.  We like the trappings.  Every once in awhile I am trapped into watching one of the old movies that would star people like Fred Astaire and were filmed in black and white.  I look at all the suits and gowns, tails and heels and high ceilings.  I realize that my entire house would fit into some of the entryways they have in their apartments.  I want some.

That is the net that traps us.  In the final analysis we tend to go for what is in our heart to seek.  We can “seek first His kingdom” or we can serve mammon.  All of our little decisions are based on that and the end result is we are either caught in the net or, turning to Jesus, we yield “righteousness” (6662).

So?  Start making decisions based on your goal and heart desires.  Righteousness is an option.  So is the net.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Time to Apply

(Pro 11:17 KJV)  The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.

There are many times when I wish I knew more Hebrew.  Maybe someday I will do something about it.  Today I was struggling with the word translated “merciful” (2617a) and how it had an interplay with “good”.  In the process I focused on the word “does” (1580) and noticed that it is a deeper word in Hebrew than English.  

In the KJV it is only translated this way a couple of times.  In both translations the most common translation is “weaned”.  The word has the idea of bringing to maturity.  From that my mind makes the jump that merciful behavior and decisions allow us to grow in our spiritual maturity.  Which comes first?  That is a pointless question because we are directed to be merciful.

So?  There is a time for theological nit picking and a time for obedience.  The first is on occasion and the second is always. 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Double Vision

(1Sa 16:7 KJV)  But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

(Proverbs 10 also read)

This is a well known passage.  It is a word of caution for us.  We cannot look at the heart of another human being.  We have a hard enough time with our own hearts.  God sees clearly and totally.  That much I have heard spoken about regularly.

This morning as I was contemplating this example of God’s power it occurred to me that there was another aspect of this that I had never heard mentioned.  With us it is either/or and we acknowledge that we only have one choice.  With God it is both/and.  You see?  God sees the heart, granted.  That does not mean He does not see the “outward” (5869).  It does not even imply it but that fact seems to elude us.  

So?  The life of righteousness is the extension of the inner cleansing.  We do not see that so much in this verse but if you follow the life of David you see how fallible he is but you also see how his heart keeps pulling him back toward the Lord.  It is that quality that God could see.  Let it be in me also.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Bigger Than

(Psa 64:1 KJV)  To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.

(Proverbs 9 also read)

Yesterday I found myself slowing sinking into the Sloth of Despond.  I would imagine most of us have been there whether we admit it or not.  The cause can be physical, emotional or spiritual.  One major ingredient is a lack of confidence in the working of Providence.  I almost said “trust”, but that really isn’t it.  We trust God.  What we lack is a sense of confidence.

We are overcome by “fear” (dread NASB) (6343).  I think dread is better than fear because fear has a more active role while dread is like a slow sapping of our enthusiasm for life.  Dread is more long range.  It is produced by the leisure to think and worry.  It is the way in which the coffee in your cup gets slowly cooler.  At first it is less hot.  Then it is cooler.  Eventually it become tepid which we call cold.

God is better than an insulated mug.  He is like that little device you can put under your cup on your desk.  It plugs in and keeps the contents hot.  

So?  Keep plugged in.  When the Sloth starts to seep through the seams it is time to start worshiping and reminding yourself that, in the words of the Veggie Tales song, “God is bigger than the boogie man....” 

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Be a Joy

(Pro 8:31 KJV)  Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.

In the past six months I had a discussion with someone about why God created, with the emphasis on creating man.  Here is one indicator.  He “delights” (8191) in mankind.  The Hebrew is actually a noun.  We are His delight, or some would say we were before sin entered the world.  Notice, however, that the word is plural.  I guess Adam and Eve would be plural but I think this refers to even the time after the Fall.

God “delights” in us.  One indication of this is the promise of Jesus that He would send the Holy Spirit to abide with us.  The picture is to tabernacle or camp out with us.  We are created in His image and there is something about us that generates very positive feedback for the Father.

So?  I want to do what I can to provide that delight to Him.  It is the least I can do. 

Monday, August 7, 2023

Heart Warnings

(Pro 7:25 KJV)  Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.

The word translated “heart” (3820) here is the most common Hebrew word for this but it is much deeper than you might think.  In our common modern usage we tend to think of the heart as the center of our emotions and feelings.  We would use the term “follow your heart” and in this case mean exactly what Solomon is warning us against.  

The heart in this sense is easily manipulated.  It is subject to change for reasons that could lead to disaster.  I don’t think we can or should turn off our emotions but they are dangerous when it comes to guidance.  

So?  Make sure that you have a solid foundation.  Don’t ignore the law just because we are under grace.  It is there to help you know right from wrong, something your heart often ignores. 

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Dear Abby

(Pro 6:24 KJV)  To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.

As you read through Proverbs you find that Solomon gives a lot of advice about marriage and dealing with women.  In one way you would think he was an authority.  He did have the legendary 1000 wives.  Actually only 600 were wives and the rest were concubines.  In another way you would wonder if he had anything to tell you.  It would be like getting advice on thrift from the richest playboy in the world.  Yet the advice is still there.

This brings us to the concept of the inspiration of scripture.  Could Solomon give advice about something he was a failure in?  On one level the response would be, “Are you kidding me?”  On the other level the answer is “Yes.”  The difference is that we read Solomon’s advice with an awareness of what the rest of the Bible tells us.  We read it with an active mind and a sensitive heart.  We read it, trusting that the Holy Spirit can lead us to truth.

So?  Keep your mind active.  Engage the text.  You will find answers that you can depend on. 

Saturday, August 5, 2023

A Tall Cool One

(Psa 63:1 KJV)  A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

(Proverbs 5 also read)

What a beautiful word picture to greet me as I stare out the window into the pre-dawn darkness and see it is already 78 degrees.  I live in the hill country of Texas and I think it has a lot in common with much of Israel.  It is hot.  It is dry.  It is forbidding.  I have also driven across the deserts of the West.  The terrain between Barstow and Las Vegas is some of the most desolate you will find in America.  

This verse reminds me of leaving a pit stop with the air conditioning blasting and a large, cold drink in my hand.  Outside it is deadly.  Inside it is quite comfortable.  I hesitate to call it glorious because that seems to take the glory David is talking about and make it common.

This is a picture of our lives.  We live in a world that is “dry” (6723) and “weary” (5889).  You don’t have to look too far outside the oasis God gives us to see it.  Times are desperate.  Culture is decayed.  Even the church has lost its way.  Yet we live in the spotlight of God’s love.

So?  Look around you and admit the chaos.  Look inside you and sense the peace that comes from having what Jesus called the flow of living water.  Take a drink and rejoice. 

Friday, August 4, 2023

Deliberate Focus

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

Many homes have somewhere in the house where a Bible verse, or part of a verse, is displayed in some fashion.  For the most part we never look at it or think about what it says.  It does not do any good to dress like the Amish if you don’t look in the mirror and remind yourself of why you are dressing that way.  It doesn’t do any good to carry your Bible to church if you are not going to open it and hold the preacher accountable.

We must deliberately focus.

I have pictures of my grandchildren all over the place.  It is not a decorative device.  It is so that I can be reminded of why I must set the example.  Sure, I get warm fuzzies looking at their smiling faces.  I really like the serious looks.  That is all good but I need to remember why I have these pictures and not the ones that came in the frames.

So?  Focus.  Pay attention.  Find ways to remind yourself to wake up and meditate on the roses.  It has eternal importance. 

Thursday, August 3, 2023


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

Here in the middle of a discussion of wisdom is a reminder about creation, about the power of God and that He was here at the beginning.  God has a way of sneaking up on us and dumping a reminder of big truths.  How refreshing.

We need constant reminders.  We get so caught up in our schedules, the news and all the concerns of the world around us that we lose a bit of perspective.  Well, at least I do.  It is good once in awhile to pull over to the side of the road and look both ways.  I don’t care if you are in the mountains or in the dessert.  You could even be on a back road in Vietnam with 12 foot walls of bamboo on both sides.  I have been in all of them.  I little pause, a moment to look around and a hot line to heaven will remind you of who is in charge.

So?  It is kind of awesome to realize that you know the One who made all this.  It is humbling to think that He loved us enough to send Jesus to suffer and die for us.  Rejoice.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Two Step

(Pro 2:20 KJV)  That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.

We have the “good” (2896a) and the “righteous” (6662).  Are these different levels or just synonyms?  Is it possible to be generally good and not be righteous?  I think it may be.  Our communities are full of good people who have not turned their lives over to Jesus.  You can go to a park and see people investing in their children.  You watch firefighters risking their lives for their fellow citizens.  Acts of heroism and general responsibility are common, yet the number who would claim Jesus as Lord is low.

We should be open to good examples wherever we find them.  We should be free to praise people who do right and give our approval.  At the same time we are called to go that extra step and live on the next level.  

So?  While you approve of good behavior realize that we are called to kneel at the feet of the righteous one.  Doing good things will not save us.  Only the blood of the Perfect Lamb of God can do that.  Then we can go on being good. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

A Time to Be Noisy

(Pro 1:20 KJV)  Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:

This verse seems to conflict with other advice.  We are told about a soft answer.  We are warned against anger and quick responses.  We are urged to be courteous and polite.  All very true but there is also a time to speak out.  We are so used to taking a back seat in public.  We allow the hate mongers to have the floor and walk out saying, “God is in charge.”  There is a time for that but I am wondering if that time is past.  We need to start warning people that the bridge is out up ahead.

This goes double in the church.  Has your pastor started to sound like a CNN anchor?  Does he spout pop-psychology rather than serious scripture?  Is he making excuses for the harshness of the Gospel?  I have friends who have been confronted with that.  They went about it Biblically.  They went to the pastor.  They took others.  They went to the church.  And they were shown the door.  

So?  It didn’t work.  That is not on them.  They were faithful.  Keep in mind the rich young ruler who walked away when Jesus told him the truth.  There are times when all we can do is say, “Duck”.