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.

Sunday, December 31, 2023

A Surprising Context

(2Ch 7:14 KJV)  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

(Proverbs 31 also read)

As I was contemplating this verse this morning I spent a bit more time on the context that usual.  To be honest, I was surprised.  I have always heard this referred to as a verse for the hard times, when things are going south.  I pretty much accepted that because it fits and it works for that but imagine my shock that this was a promise given to Israel in one of their most exciting moments of spiritual triumph.  You can look it up or take my word for it.  

Solomon has just finished the temple and gone through the glory of its dedication.  At the beginning of this chapter God appears to Him and accepts the gift of a house of worship for Him.  Then suddenly He shifts gears and says that if He is ever forced to send bad times on them then....  This verse was given in good times to be tucked away for bad times.

So?  Compared to the rest of the world and the sweep of history we are still in good times.  Compared to the times I was raised in we are at a new low.  Take your pick but tuck away the promise of God and remember that the promise is based on repentance and prayer. 

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Say the Name

(Pro 30:4 KJV)  Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?

The author of this Psalm is flabbergasted.  He can’t believe that you don’t understand.  The NASB says it better here.  The KJV has “if” (3588) but this is the third most common usage, 166x, behind “because” (460x) and “when” (245x).  It is much stronger than the older translation lets on, thus “surely” is spot on.  

As we come to the end of another year it might be a good time to double down on what you know and why you know it.  Notice that the “name” (8034) of the Creator’s son is something that even the Jews were supposed to know.  We have less excuse than they did.  Jesus.  Jesus.  Jesus.

So?  Let the year end with the name of Jesus on your lips.  Let the new year begin the same way.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Get His Grip

(Pro 29:25 KJV)  The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

What does it mean to be “exalted” (7682)?  Again we see the KJV and NASB taking different reads on the message.  While the NASB says “exalted” the KJV says “safe”.  If you put them together you get the idea of being lifted above the fray.  In a world of chaos we need to have a firm grasp of Providence.

If you are worried and want to stay out of the disruptions going on all around us then there are a couple of things you can do.  Don’t go to big cities after dark.  Don’t walk down dark alleys.  Lock your doors.  You know the litany.  Then comes the big part, “trust” (982) the Lord.  God has His own way of working things out and has a divine eye’s view of what it means to be secure.  I think of the games I play with my grandchildren when they are small enough for me to dangle them.  I will hold them up just out of reach of a bouncing dog.  They squeal.  The dog barks.  I laugh.  We all have a good time.  At no time are the grandchildren in danger of being licked to death.  They may wonder but in their hearts they know grandpa will make sure they come out alive.

So?  For reasons we don’t understand God may allow us to be exposed to all kinds of bad things.  Our assurance is in the trust we have in him.  Let Him lift you above it all.  It is going to be an interesting year in the sense of the Chinese curse.  Act like you are hanging on with the awareness that it is His grip that is important. 

Thursday, December 28, 2023

The Biblical Diet

(Pro 28:25 KJV)  He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.

You got to love the KJV.  This verse is one reason that modern, fitness conscious suburbanites are not in love with the KJV.  The old English insisted on giving a literal translation.  It may have fit their culture but it offends modern minds.  To be “made fat” (KJV) (1878) is to “prosper” (NASB).  

This calls to question our modern assumptions.  I just read a book about the controversy over eating fat and it health consequences.  The general feel of the book was that we would be healthier eating fat and lard than we are with hydrogenated oils and trans fat.  I found it interesting that such an idea could be verified Biblically.  The modern phobia is not really about fat, it is about beef.

So?  Might I suggest that you consider the Bible as you contemplate your diet.  What foods are mentioned in the Bible?  Which are forbidden and which are presented in a positive light?  I am not a doctor nor do I give medical advice, but I do like to make people think.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Let Anticipation Trump Dread

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

(Proverbs 27 also read)

Are you thinking yet about New Year’s resolutions?  Maybe you don’t bother, which is a wise position to take.  Yet resolutions have the ability to remind us of things we should keep in mind and don’t.  This verse is like that.  We get so worried about what we see and hear in the headlines and the society around us.  Perhaps you are attending a church that is going woke and are concerned.  You might read this whole last part of Proverbs 1 but the verse I am reflecting on is the last one.

Our world contains a lot to “fear” (6343).  We lock our doors and have security cameras installed.  We look both ways before crossing a street.  All of that is good practice and common sense.  What we are not supposed to do is elevate that fear to a level that overcomes us.  We are to fear God, not man.  The point given here is that paying attention to God and His words will put us in a position to overcome the wrong kinds of fear.

So?  Make a resolution to pay attention to your resolutions.  Live in joy, not fear.  Live in hope, not despair.  Live in anticipation, not dread.  Look forward to the New Year.  God is there waiting for us. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Why or What

(Pro 26:25 KJV)  When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.

Solomon was a king.  He had been given the gift of wisdom by God and for a time he exhibited that gift.  One of the painful parts of that wisdom was the realization that just because people talked nice to you it did not mean they were sincere.  It also did not mean that their compliments were justified.  I think we like to believe compliments because we want them to be true.  Solomon is saying to walk carefully.

We have just celebrated Christmas.  One of the songs that I have tried to delete from my Christmas music is one entitled “I’m Getting Nothing for Christmas.”  “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” has the same weakness.  People tend to be on their best behavior because they think there will be a payoff.  We aware.  Don’t be one of them.

So?  It is a good time of year to look at how we have been acting.  Are we looking for a payoff or are we seeking to really be different.  Why is often more important that what.

Monday, December 25, 2023

The News Is Good

(Pro 25:25 KJV)  As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

What a great day to read this verse.  They say that the Thanksgiving-New Year holiday period is a time of great depression and high levels of suicide.  Why is that?  Mainly because people are refusing to hear the “good” (2896a) “news” (8052).  Or I guess they may hear it and not believe it.  Either way can be a disaster.  

The good news is that on the first Christmas, God started the process leading to the cross and the resurrection.  The manger gives us anticipation because it introduces the key player.  It points toward the cross which offers forgiveness and all the restoration that comes with it.  Following that is the resurrection which gives us hope.

So?  Merry Christmas.  If you are inclined toward being a bit down, spend some time thinking about the real meaning of this day of celebration.  Hint:  It isn’t decorations, gatherings or gifts. 

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Unexpected Prophecy

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

It seems like this should be found in book of prophecy rather than wisdom.  This does not reflect what we see in our world.  What does that say about our world?  Keep in mind that what we experience is the norm, that is why I mention prophecy.  Think about the birth of Jesus.  For most of the people in the story it was a time of joy and wonder.  To those in power it was a time of fear and desperate measures:  Herod ordered the killing of the babies.  Think about the life of Jesus.  When He raised Lazarus from the dead some of those who saw it happen went off to plan a way to kill Him.

So?  One way we can tell if leaders are evil is whether they lie about what is evil.  We need to keep the standard clear in our lives and declarations.  Merry Christmas.  Rejoice in the incarnation. 

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Moderation Is Key

(Pro 23:20 KJV)  Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:

Recently I went in for my annual physical.  I don’t know how it is for you younger people but for the elderly this has become a bit of a joke.  I can remember when the doctors took the contact seriously.  They would poke and probe, look down my throat, listen to my heart and breathing and even check my reflexes.  It was an annual exam.  Today all they do, if you let them, is test to see if you need the government to come in and take care of you.  Since I insist, the doctor runs a series of blood tests.  I have tried to get him to do more but he seems to forget between visits.

I think I have one of the more competent young doctors around.  He seems to have the knowledge.  Unfortunately he is part of the generation where everything has to be on the computer.  So, my numbers showed a bit high in LDH.  He advised I eat less meat.  We are going to check it again in six months.  Since I don’t eat much red meat anyway the advice fell of deaf ears.

So?  I am reminded that God designed my hardware.  I take this verse seriously.  It does not say, “Don’t eat meat.”  It says don’t overdo it.  That is good advice for everything we are doing in this Christmas season.  Celebrate and overdo the joy but make my doctor happy and avoid the steaks.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Prophecy To Come

(Isa 9:7 KJV)  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

(Proverbs 22 also read)

One of the elements of prophecy that people who have charts and graphs like to forget is that the same prophecy can relate to multiple events.  When the Hebrews heard this I am sure they were thinking of the next generation of kings.  The previous verse speaks about a son being given, which brings to mind Christmas.  Now we have predictions of what is still future to us.

This is an indication that the linage from David is still a thing to be reckoned with.  This verse is in support of the return of the Kingdom of David and an indication of the importance of Israel.  Don’t join the masses of people that are basking in Jew hatred.  Jesus was a Jew.  The apostles were Jews.  I don’t understand it but the day of Israel will come again.

So?  Celebrate knowing that there is more to come. 

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Prophecy Fulfilled

(Isa 9:6 KJV)  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

(Proverbs 21 also read)

This is one of the great prophetic passages about the incarnation.  It has all these wonderful words describing what Jesus will be like.  It is doubly prophetic because it not only reminds of of Christmas but also of the place Jesus has through history and beyond.

The son is to be given to us.  If that doesn’t make you want to sing then you might want to get the wax out of your ears, and your soul.

So?  Rejoice!  Soon we will gather with family to celebrate God breaking into history in a way He had never done before.  Eventually we will rejoice in “He is risen!”  This time of year we shout, “The Savior has come!” 

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Is It a Hammer Falling?

(Psa 60:1 KJV)  O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again.

(Proverbs 20 also read)

We have a clear statement by David that he feels “rejected” (2186a) by God.  The “us” is more than the Royal We.  Things are not going well.  I understand that during times of celebration, like Christmas, many people experience feelings like this more than they would normally.  Any time we come across a discussion of depression there is the danger of taking our experience as being the norm and thus criticizing harshly.  When it comes to depression I would fall into that trap.  So I will just reflect on my experience without casting dispersion on anyone else.

I went through a long period struggling with depression.  I could sit and stare at the wall for the entire day.  In spite of that crippling mental condition I managed to get done the things that absolutely had to be done.  Because of that I don’t know that I would fit into the category of “clinical depression”, but for me it was very real.  Eventually the Lord helped me to see that I was just sunk into pity parties and needed to “walk it off”, as they say.

There are other times when we feel things are going terribly and we feel we have done something to cause it.  That is where David is.  Israel went through a regular cycle of rejecting God.  God would put up with it for a time, maybe send a prophet, but eventually He would realize that it was time to bring the hammer down.  For David that was Edom and Moab.  For you it might be the IRS or a lightening strike.  The answer was repentance and forgiveness.

So?  If the season is getting to you it may just be a pity party.  It may also be God trying to get your attention.  I can’t decide which it is for you.  I have a hard enough time with my own situation.  Be open to the things God may be trying to communicate.  It might help to talk to someone you trust to get a different perspective.  Find a way to enjoy the season. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Christmas and Prophecy

(Isa 7:14 KJV)  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

(Proverbs 19 also read)

One of the miracles about the birth of Christ is what is called The Virgin Birth.  This is a show stopper for some people, even those who claim to be Christians.  For some reason they can accept that God created the universe out of nothing and we will live forever in heaven but they have trouble with a virgin birth.  For some people thinking things through is not a daily event.

This is the Old Testament prophecy.  I personally don’t think the people Isaiah was writing to understood this as a messianic prophecy.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  It is true that the word translated “virgin” (5959) could mean “young woman”.  That is the nature of prophecy.  I think it is meant to tease and confuse at the same time.  The reason Bible believing Christians should accept the Virgin Birth is not the prophecy of Isaiah but the witness of the New Testament.  Both Matthew and Luke bear witness,

(Luk 1:27 KJV)  To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
So?  I know biology.  You know biology.  We also know God and if we can accept the awesomeness of Jesus going to the cross to pay for our sins I think the Virgin Birth is also within the range of our belief.  Merry Christmas. 

Monday, December 18, 2023

Spread the Word

(Php 2:5-7 KJV)  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

(Proverbs 18 also read)

My granddaughter gave me a hard time the other day.  I was asking her what Christmas was all about.  I know she knew.  She knew that I knew she knew, and so forth, but she was not cooperating.  Eventually I got the answer out of her after overacting my despair.  There are things that we think people know but they don’t.  Never underestimate the ignorance of the general population or the general church member.  If you need a reminder go watch some of those on-the-street interviews where they ask questions about Pearl Harbor.  I was shocked to learn that there are people who think Hawaii is just off the coast of Alaska.  Why?  Look at most maps of the US.  Because of space they put Alaska and Hawaii in their own boxes in the corner.  Make you own ignorant conclusions.

So?  We know the miracle of Christmas.  God became man and began a life as a man.  The goal was the cross and redemption but for a moment it was all warm fuzzies and joy.  Let people know.  Celebrate the reason.  Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Instrument Certification

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

There are times when keeping your eyes on the horizon is the thing to do.  A pilot who is not qualified on instrument flying needs the horizon to keep his place.  When I get car sick it is better to look at the distant spot than the back of the seat in front of me.  That is not always the best case.

Take my mention of the pilot.  You had better hope that the pilot of your flight home for Christmas is not depending on the horizon to get you their safely.  Advanced pilots are required to learn to read and trust their instruments.  The inside of your head can make you think you are flying level when you are going straight down.  This is the place of wisdom.  It anchors and establishes truth.

So?  Work on your spiritual wings.  Go for wisdom instead of trusting your “heart”.  It will prevent a lot of crashes. 

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Be Urgent Care

(Pro 16:24 KJV)  Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

I don’t remember if I ever wanted to be a doctor.  Cop, yes.  Fireman, sure.  Zorro, definitely.  Doctor, not really.  At this time in my life I would not be unhappy about having the gift of healing.  Maybe this verse is an indicator of how I could at least be an influence in that direction.  I could pay more attention to what I say to people.

It does not say it here but I think one of the ingredients in our “pleasant” (5278) “words” (561) would be sincerity.  People often have built in baloney detectors.  When people tell me I look good today they seem to forget that I have a mirror at home and I use it every morning.  If I were suddenly looking good I think I would know.  I would advise looking for something genuine to say.  It might be a challenge but God can help our insight and our attitude.

So?  Be someone’s urgent care for the day.  You will feel better.  They will feel better. 

Friday, December 15, 2023

Wait for It

(Gal 4:4 KJV)  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

(Proverbs 15 also read)

This is a good reminder that God does not run on our schedule.  That is frustrating but He unfolds history following His plans, not ours.  This past year I have seen You Tube click bait with the question of why God waited so long.  I did not bother reading theirs.  I have plenty of my own questions to ask.  

Waiting in hard.  Remember when you were a kid and you had to wait for Christmas day to open presents.  I still want to start the Christmas music early but we have a rule:  Not until after Thanksgiving dinner.  Sometimes waiting adds zest.  Sometimes it inflicts pain.

So?  Make up your mind to pray and tell God how you want things to happen but wait for Him to act.  It will come out that way anyway. 

Thursday, December 14, 2023

A Reminder of the Reason for the Season

(Psa 58:3 KJV)  The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

(Proverbs 14 also read)

I was again greeted by this verse as I began to read.  One of the problems we face that our culture is denying is the problem of evil.  The modern pagans have turned back the clock and are maintaining that the problem is society and the oppression created by the Christian framework enforced by European men.

The Bible takes a bit of a different view.  The problem is in the human heart.  Here we see a clear statement that evil starts very early in life.  That is simply a statement of the carnal nature.  What I struggle with here is that it seems that some are “wicked” (7563) from birth.  It almost seems that they have no choice.  Of course the other side of that is that some are born with a different disposition.  

So?  I don’t have any easy answers but I find this encouraging for people who are trying to do what is right.  We also know that the Holy Spirit is working hard to get through to those who started out on the wrong foot.  Pray that the Christmas spirit will move them in the right direction.  Play your Christmas music.  Proclaim “Merry Christmas”.  Be ready to give a defense of the hope that is in you.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Listen to the Cliches

(Pro 13:25 KJV)  The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want.

There is some good advice for dieters in this verse.  It does not come through as clearly in the NASB as the KJV.  Notice that the KJV tells us that it is the “soul” (5315) that you are to satisfy (7648).  We are not to eat to fill our bellies but to fill our souls.  As Americans we tend to overdo the physical input.  We tend to underdo the spiritual.  Maybe this is why we need to spend more time in fasting.

We are in the midst of the holidays.  That calls for feasting even in the Bible.  Don’t be a scrooge but focus on the fellowship that builds your soul not the sugar that dulls your mind.

So?  You know all the cliches.  Sometimes there is wisdom in a cliche.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Be the Gift the Keeps on Giving

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

This is a good reminder.  We are to apply ourselves.  My desire is not to shore up my position of power or make myself look good.  It is more a desire to be a good steward of my time and ability.  I am so blessed.  I don’t want to fall into the trap of taking God for granted.

As I write I am old and getting older.  It is easy to fall into retirement mode and figure all you have to give has been given.  Don’t you believe it.  God is keeping you around because He has something else for you to do.

So?  Look around with the right attitude and I think you will find a contribution you can make. 

Monday, December 11, 2023


(Gen 28:2 KJV)  Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother.

(Proverbs 11 also read)

Jacob was sent off to marry a cousin.  If you are reading fast and your stomach is growling, you might miss this little point.  In the culture of the day it was considered optimal to marry a cousin.  It should make you think twice about your jokes involving West Virginia.  The reason for this that I heard was that the human genome was not so corrupt in those days, which made the problem of interbreeding less.  In addition to that, you knew the genetic background of your cousin and you might not know that about some young lady that caught your eye on the street.

So?  That standard does not apply today but it helps a bit to understand the culture of the people in the Bible. 

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Getting What You Deserve

(Psa 56:1 KJV)  To the chief Musician upon Jonathelemrechokim, Michtam of David, when the Philistines took him in Gath. Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.

(Proverbs 10 also read)

This Psalm spoke to me today.  As I read through it I found different versions of being “swallowed” (trampled NASB) (7602b).  I had no fear of physical danger.  The attacks were all verbal but they cut deep.  Maybe I was just being oversensitive.  Maybe I misinterpreted what I was hearing.  What makes these things cut deep is my conviction that I deserve to be talked to this way.

This is where God being “merciful” (gracious NASB) (2603a) is so important.  Eventually I turn to Him and allow Him to interpret what I am hearing.  Through His filter I am able to separate the hostility from the facts.  Usually there are few facts involved and there is little I can do except take the admonition of Jesus and turn the other cheek.

And of course there are the few things that are valid.  Those need to be considered and I can do that when God helps me to respond in love instead of react in pain.

So?  We will be attacked.  Usually it is mostly undeserved.  Turn to Him and let Him help you sort it out and get on to positive living. 

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Call on the Name

(Psa 54:1 KJV)  To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David, when the Ziphims came and said to Saul, Doth not David hide himself with us? Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.

(Proverbs 9 also read)

Yes, this is the Old Testament.  Did David believe the law was of God?  I would say yes.  Later he will talk about offering a sacrifice but it is a sacrifice of thanks.  Even the Jews immersed in the law knew that salvation came from God, or at least the ones who were paying attention.  I will not make any claims for the masses that are seeking the widest gate to go through.

Remember the words of Paul,

(Rom 10:13 KJV)  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
So?  God is waiting for us to call upon Him.  Whether the name is Yahweh, Emmanuel or Jesus, He is waiting.  If you have not already made the call this could be a Christmas to remember. 

Friday, December 8, 2023

Leave a Rock

(Pro 8:24 KJV)  When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.

Who or what is Wisdom?  It is not clear.  Sometimes it seems to personify principles and laws of physics.  Other times it seems to point to Jesus.  We know that Jesus was involved in the creation.  We know He still holds it all together.  That is part of the awesome nature of God that blows my mind.  Every atom is maintained in its orbit by the decree of God.  As science finds ever smaller particles it remains true:  God is the divine Administrator of all creation.

So?  With that being true, why do people have trouble believing in the virgin birth?  Why are they not overcome with the miracle that the world is trying to drown with commercialism and material desires?  Focus on the miracle.  Declare the miracle.  Wish people a Merry Christmas.  If they say “Happy Holidays” look confused and ask them what holidays they mean.  As apologist Melissa Dougherty says, “Leave a rock in their shoe”. 

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Time for Renewal

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

Sorry ladies.  If you get hung up on the cultural use of the masculine pronoun then you will need to deal with it here.  The “children” (1121) (sons NASB) of the KJV is actually the Hebrew word [ben] which means “son”.  The modern translations are more accurate in the basic meaning but the old KJV is more politically correct in using the word “children”.  In the plural, that is the understanding.

If you are sensitive, it is also Solomon who is speaking.  He is speaking as a father, for us a spiritual father, and he is saying, “Listen up.”  That is good advice for us in the Christmas season.  It is good to us to listen.  Start with your music.  Go ahead with the Christmas music but when the carols come up pay attention to the words.  There is a boatload of spiritual truth in the traditional songs of Christmas.  Our culture is working hard to dilute and exclude that truth but if you listen, it is still there.

So?  Let Christmas be a time of renewal.  The ingredients are there.  Listen wisely.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Season of the Smooth

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

In my daily reading this verse comes up for the sixth day of the month.  What do you do with this during the Christmas season?  I guess the advice about wicked women is always on target except I don’t run into many like that and if I did they would not be trying to tempt me.  Perhaps the warning about “flattery” (2513b) (smooth NASB) is a good target.  

It is the giving season.  It is the time when individuals and organizations hit us up for gifts and contributions.  It is a time for discernment.  A good early New Year’s resolution might be to ignore anything nice someone says to you.  That might be a bit cynical.  Or not.  

So?  Let the gift giving of Christmas remind you of the Gift of God.  Let that spirit shape what you give, how much you give and to whom you give.  Merry Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Good Is Not Historical

(Psa 5:4 KJV)  For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.

(Proverbs 5 also read)

It slips under our radar but this statement about the character of God sets Him totally apart from the pagan gods of history and today.  Picture all the stories you heard about the Greek gods.  They were always coming to earth and messing with people.  It could be the antics of pan or rape on innocent girls.  It was often brutal and unfeeling.  The God of the Bible rejects that.  

If you thought about the rituals surrounding the gods of Canaan and Egypt you would see orgies and torture.  Evil abounded.  You see much of the same types of things in modern Islam.  

This verse declares that God has no use for that kind of behavior.

So?  Rejoice.  God is holy and righteous.  He extends that toward us. 

Monday, December 4, 2023

Degrees of Deception

(Pro 4:24 KJV)  Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

Sometimes we tend to think that if we are telling a little, white lie that it doesn’t count.  If it is in the category of commenting on your wife’s new hair cut then we might have grounds for our opinion but that is not what we usually mean.  The whole concept of deceit is to get away with it.  The bigger the lie the harder to deceive.  

The point is that we are to embrace truth and truth is really not very flexible.  It may not be popular.  It may be hard to express.  It may hurt feelings.  It is still a matter of being true or not.  Perhaps this is why we are so often advised to remain silent or at least think long before we speak.

So?  Don’t even make excuses for yourself that you would make for others.  Abide by God’s expectations. 

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Righteous Dreams

(Pro 3:24 KJV)  When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.

The news of the day continues to be dark and worrisome.  It is good to be alert and lock your doors.  At the same time this is a reminder that we need to keep in front of us.  God is still on the throne and He has His eye on us.  It does not really matter if you take this as a literal promise or a general principle.  If the government gestapo is sent out to round up Christians they may not be able to find your address or you might not be on their list.  If they do come for you, God promises to be with you.

I think of the Old Testament history of Israel.  They were invaded.  They were hauled away into captivity.  Keep in mind that was after many warnings and chances to repent.  I have often wondered if God directed the deportation crews around the farms and homes of the devout and righteous.  

So?  Sleep well.  Fear not.  Keep your doors locked and get your heater serviced as specified.  Be glad you don’t have to boil your water or slaughter your own cows. 

Saturday, December 2, 2023

The Big If

(Pro 2:1 KJV)  My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;

Notice the third word in this verse, “if”.  This is where you need to start on the promises of God.  I think most people want to start in verse 5 or verse 9 where it says, “Then.”  It does not work that way.  Too often we want the ice cream at the end while ignoring the vegetables on the plate.  There are conditions to the promises of God.  I know you don’t like it.  Theologians will get spiritual hernias trying to lift you over the conditions, but they are there.

Yes, grace is a gift.  It is a gift because you can’t earn it.  You can’t save yourself.  You can’t make providential changes in your daily life.  You can’t.  At the same time there are expectations that God has of you.  So read it again.  Don’t go straight to the promises.  They are glorious.  Ask yourself, “What does God expect of me?”

So?  The Bible is full of if/then statements.  They are not there to tell you how helpless you are.  They are there to lead you on the path of righteousness. 

Friday, December 1, 2023

Spread the Merry

(Pro 1:24 KJV)  Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;

It is Advent season.  In its attempt to muzzle the message of Emmanuel the secular world has been working overtime to remove Jesus from the Christmas story.  That is a tragedy but there is still enough evidence around to point people to the incarnation and thus to the crucifixion.  The cradle is just the first chapter leading to the cross.  The words in the carols that used to be sung everywhere for an entire month involved Joy to the World and a solution that extended “far as the curse if found.”

What is tragic is the situation in this verse:  rejection of truth.  The message of redemption is still out there but people don’t want to hear it.  We cannot make decisions for them.  What we can do is keep the message in front of them.  Get into playing and singing the hymns of the incarnation and using the words.  Do your part to give the world around you a chance.  After that it is between them and God.

So?  Merry Christmas.  Spread the reason for the Merry.