Monday, October 31, 2011

Proverbs 14: 10

The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy.

I once knew a man that almost committed suicide. He was college age and had partied until there was no party left in him. He was at the end. He was in his dorm room with his gun ready in hand. He looked down on his night stand and picked up a Gideon Bible. Right then and there, his heart broke and God brought him up and used him in a mighty way. He went on (and is still) a great youth worker. He's shared Christ with literally hundreds of teenagers. I just saw him a couple of months ago. He was driving a beat up car, and him and his wife were loading the trunk with something for some youth event.I watched from a distance a bit...remembering him as I first met him some 25 plus years ago. He's aged, but his countenance shows happiness.  I stopped him, told him who I was and gave him a hug for being such a man of God.

 This man's heart was at the most bitter, lowest of low spots it could be...but God was able to bring him up out of that mess to do great and mighty things!

God knows our heart like no one else. He knows our lowest lows and highest highs. I have something that  I say all the time to my children as people tend to judge me about my past. When I am in the midst of judgment, I just say to myself and my children, "God knows".  My heart is best left in His hands.

Perhaps for your quiet time today you can think of two times in your life---one being one of your lowest, most bitter, moments when you felt you just couldn't go on...and the other being a time when you felt so happy you just bubbled and couldn't contain it.
Thank God for both and share even if you would like.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

P.P. Hold up a week!

We have at least two more joining us, and maybe 4. We are taking a week off for them to catch up! Isn't this exciting?!

Keep walking that path fellow Pilgrims!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Proverbs 14 : 7 - 9 I'm outa here!

Now, before you jump to a conclusion, I'm not leaving the study! These three verses just give us three examples of foolish things --- things to avoid. I'm not saying you have to jump on your horse and race away, so let's look at all three and see what they mean.
In verse 7, Solomon warns us to leave the company of foolish people: those who don't have "lips of knowledge," those who are foolish and deceive themselves, and those who think sin is a laughing matter.

First, a foolish person may have conversation that is not profitable nor edifying. (Eph. 4:29) If that person's words are corrupt, or a bad influence on us, then we need to leave that person's company.  We can ask gently and kindly that the person "clean up" their conversation, but if they will not, then sometimes the best witness we can be is to graciously leave their company.

Second, foolish people often deceive themselves. It is important for us to understand our "way" and Solomon means our course in life --- our pathway. It's been said in many hymns and songs that we are travelers, and so we need to avoid distractions like being critical of others, and being busybodies. We should  instead observe and avoid obstacles, and stay on our path. Foolish people think they are on the right path, but they deceive themselves, like the man who built his house on sand. Another who deceived himself was the man who gave no gratitude to God for his bumper crop, but congratulated himself on his prosperity and said he'd just build bigger barns.

Lastly, there are foolish people who make light of sin, and who mock Christians for their desire to avoid it. They rush into sin, they laugh about it, and encourage others to be wicked as well. In Isaiah it even says that they "call good evil, and evil good." (Is. 5:20)  The second part of the verse says "among the righteous there is favor" and I believe that means favor in two ways: the righteous have favor with God, because they repent and ask Him to forgive --- they have favor with man, because they try not to hurt or offend, and ask forgiveness when they do.

I think it's always good to be positive instead of negative, so personally, I think I'm going to strive to have good conversation, to pay attention to my pathway, and do my best to have favor with God and with the people around me! Whoa --- that's a tall order . . . I'm awfully glad the Holy Spirit is here to help me! How about you?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Proverbs 14 : 6 Scorners and Searchers

There are a lot of examples of scorners in the Bible, alongside the examples of wise, righteous men. Let's look at our verse for today:

"A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth."

What exactly is scorn? Webster gives us some synonyms: disdain, disrespect, derision, even mocking. Do you recall when Christ allowed himself to be taken prisoner, and came before Herod? Herod was really pleased that Pilate had sent Him over --- do you know why? Herod had heard of His miracles, and hoped that he would get to see one in person! When Jesus didn't comply, he showed his scorn and mocked Christ, and sent Him back to Pilate.

Nowadays, you may hear someone say something scornful. They may suggest that they will do or say a certain thing, if they see some sign that would be from God. Or they may ridicule portions of the Bible that they don't understand. They'll say that the verses can't possibly be true, or couldn't really have happened.

Solomon is saying here that a scorner will be unable to understand the things of God. Things in the Scripture can be very difficult for them, but for those who delight in the Word, and are willing to learn, and be enlightened, the same verses can be so very clear and plain to them. Jesus told us this in Matthew 13:11, when "He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given." Now, if they repented of their attitudes and truly changed, and wanted to learn, they would be like the others Jesus spoke of: "But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear."

When we don't understand the things that are divine, the course we should follow is to ask God to show us, and enlighten us. With prayer and study, the Scriptures will become plain to us, and be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Proverbs 14 : 5 A breath of hot air

Here's our verse today . . .

"A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies."

This verse is so simple. It kinda conjures up old movies or television shows where the person on the witness stand is definitely lying -- come on, you know you've watched them! Earlier in the plot, you saw someone do something, and now here they are telling lies about it. But wait! The wily attorney saves the day by rooting out the truth, and exposing the lies. Justice is served, and happy endings are all around.

I thought it was interesting that "utter" in the verse has a root that means "to puff, or blow with the breath" . . . not just talk, or speak. Have you ever seen someone who is caught in a lie? They huff and puff, and get really defensive, and sometimes lie more just to cover up the first one! And a false witness is sometimes a person who is a habitual liar -- one to whom lying comes "as easy as breathing." As easy as exhaling, or blowing with the breath, according to Solomon.

I guess that's another good reason for us to heed Paul's instruction in Eph 4:25  "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Proverbs 14 : 4 The principle of increasing returns

Translating that "accountant speak" above, I could say, "Giving just a little can get you a lot."

Here's the verse: "Where no oxen are, the crib is clean; but much increase is by the strength of the ox."

(Aren't they cute?)

Just as the parables spoken by Jesus made sense to his listeners, so this proverb would have made profound sense to Solomon's readers.

Here's why: Israel was primarily an agricultural society --- most of the people made their living from the crops they grew and the animals they raised. The word that is translated "crib" here could also be written as "manger" --- the feeding trough for the animals in the stable. A Hebrew farmer could relate to that, and to the fact that there was more to do than just load up the manger when the oxen were hungry, and clean it out so crud didn't grow in it after they ate. (Eww.)  That farmer would also know that other jobs must be done, like mucking out that stable (eww again) and perhaps using the dried manure for fuel, for applying to his fields, or selling it to another farmer. The oxen could also produce milk on occasion, and they were the heavy equipment of the day. When you wanted to thresh wheat, plow a field, or move a boulder, you yoked your team of oxen and got 'er done. So, in plain language, "if you don't have any oxen, you don't have to clean out the stable, but if you do have some, you can make some money and avoid starving."

Work a little, get back a lot.

Now, I think there's a pretty good lesson there for us. Let's think about it this way --- has anyone ever told you that if you are a Christian, you will be on easy street? Problems will fly out the window and money will fly in? Well, that's not what I heard, nor what I've experienced. How about you?

But, I have found that the more I work at it, trying to be like Christ would have me be, then the more I get. By working at it, I mean studying my Bible, confessing my sins, thanking Him for His blessings to me, and trying to help others. And what do I get? I think Paul said it pretty well.Check out the verses below, and see if you agree. And feel free to add something that you feel I left out, in a comment!

Colossians 1:13-14              Galatians 5:22

Monday, October 24, 2011

Proverbs 14 : 3 Okra and Hickory Switches

 "In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them."

When I began to study this verse, I looked in my Bible, and in some commentaries. I realized that there were two teachings that could come from this one verse.  Why? Well, the word "rod" in this verse means "twig" or "stem" but can also have the meaning of a "rod" that beats or (in the Olde English) smites someone.

Well, it stands to reason that you can't have a stem or twig without roots to support  and sustain it, right? I started thinking (of course, my hubby says that is dangerous, but hey, let's live dangerously) about my garden. This time of year, the okra has finally petered out, and it's time to pull it up and plow everything under until spring. That's all well and good, except that okra has some pretty strong roots! Some of those plants take every bit of strength that I have, to pull them up out of the ground.

That reminds me of a couple of verses that fit in right here . . . since this rod, or stem is pride, Prov 29:23 tells us that a man's pride will bring him low, and Heb 12:15 tells us about a root of bitterness that can spring up in our heart and needs to be uprooted. I'm thinking that both pride and bitterness can have some pretty strong roots, and just like the okra in my garden, can be very difficult to pull out! But, pull them out we must, or we'll not be able to conquer them.

The reason I added "hickory switches" to the title is for the second possible meaning of rod in this verse. Years ago, it was a common practice (a hateful one, but common) to break a hickory switch off and use it on an unruly or disobedient child. (Personally, I think that is way worse than Tonya's method she has told us about -- switches make welts! Someone told me once that he grabbed the switch from his mother's hand -- she didn't use those anymore after that.) There are a lot of verses that speak of a rod of correction, or instruction. I'm sure that you can probably call them to mind; I don't need to list them. The proud and foolish person, who uses his/her mouth in a prideful, arrogant way, will ultimately be corrected by their own words. They may also be corrected by others who they've hurt with their haughty words and attitude.

Well, either way you look at this verse, I don't think any of us want to emulate the proud or foolish person. We'd rather be like the wise person in the second half of the verse: to guard our lips and speech, and not fall into the traps of pride and arrogance. By using some discretion, or wisdom, we can avoid the pitfalls our mouths can get us in!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

P.P. Discussion Week 3

I hope that you are enjoying your journey along with Christian, and as he is doing, I hope you are learning along the way. Here are the questions for your reading assignment this past week:

1) Christian finally loses his burden! Where does this happen? What Bible verses can you think of that confirm this?

2) Did you understand what the three sleeping men were to represent, and why they had fetters, or shackles on their heels?

3) What were the names of the men who jumped over the wall and why did they turn away so easy when the path got difficult?

4)How does Christian shake the fear that Timorous and Mistrust give him with their report of danger?

5)What do the lions represent that are on the path to the Palace Beautiful and why were they put there?

6) What does the Palace Beautiful represent?


Reading assignment.

Belinda--Moody press--pp 56-65
Pam--non abridged by Spire--48-58

Stop just after Christian sees an old man at the mouth of a cave, and then Christian sings a song. This is right before he meets up with Faithful.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Proverbs 14: 2

There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse.And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

There's your lesson.
Never thought you would have a Bible Study on a nursery rhyme, did you?

Well, I will add a bit more to it. 
I do think that when someone does something crooked, evil, wrong--that every single part of their life is affected. Their family, their lifestyle, even their physical home.

When someone is trying to walk upright, the same is true. Every aspect of their life should be affected. Now, I am not going to say it is always good. Some family/friends will mock or be angry, or shun you. But life in general will be so much better if you try hard to walk upright. Your husband, your children, your grandchildren, even your physical home. 


or this:

It's your choice, you know. "If mamma ain't happy, ain't no one happy."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Proverbs 14:1

Confession time.

 Before this study, did you really take time to study Proverbs? Or did you just read through it, pick up on a verse here and there that stood out to you, and then happily skip along until you saw another verse that stood out to you? I think that all of us are guilty of that. Through our study, we have seen so many individual verses that are so important! 

Take today's verse for instance, have you ever really thought about it?

I assume that you have laid the foundation for building a wise home. 

That foundation, of course, is accepting Jesus as your Savior, and making him Lord of your life.

I am also sure that you have spent years and years building your home. 

You've added log after log of faith, love and everything it takes to make your home a happy, loving, Godly home.

Here's a word of warning:
One day you might open your big mouth:

And then once that ball starts rolling, you toss in some disrespect, some unkindness, and over all selfishness. 

It only takes a few minutes to tear down something that you've spent years trying to build--
and it all is reduced rubble.

Ladies, don't let this happen to you. 
It happens too often today.
Trust me, I've been there.

Better keep up that Home Owners Insurance.....
Start right here:

Today in your journal make a list of all the things that you do that are harmful to your home. 
You know, even the little things are like termites! So list them all, big and little.
Pray and ask God to help you replace the problem areas with things that build and edify. 


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Proverbs 13: 25 this verse saying that if your stomach growls that you are wicked?

Hmm, flip in your Bibles and read John 6:35. Oh, and Matthew 5:6 is a good one to read too.

I am sitting here with a big hole in my mouth, (had a molar pulled tonight), and I keep thinking how "Snickers is Satisfying". (I'm kind of hungry.) But, even though I am a HUGE chocolate fanatic, it is bad for me and I can never get enough. I guess it's kind of like the wicked in today's verse. No matter how much 'bad' you get, you just want more and more and more.

I wasn't sure if I would feel like doing my study tonight, but I am so glad that I took the time because I just love today's verse. The more we seek after the Bread of Life, the more fulfilled we become.

Drop that Snickers Bar and pick up that Bible!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Proverbs 13: 24

"Spare the rod, spoil the child". How often have we heard that? My daughter and I often discuss discipline. She has thanked me, on more than one occasion, for disciplining her when she was little. Well, actually she was 15 when she got her last swats--not exactly little. Why thank me? It goes way back to when she was just a baby. I was at my inlaws house along with the rest of the family. That was a huge family and they always hung out at MIL's house. Amy refused to leave a nick knack alone and got her hands swatted. The first time. The second time, out came the wooden spoon that I carried around and her backside got swatted. At that point, there was a huge argument among adults. None of the others believed in spanking, and I was treated like a child abuser. In fact, I really wasn't welcome anymore. Amy tells me stories of how her undisciplined cousins turned out--and then hugs me and thanks me for doing what is right.

Currently I keep wooden spoons all over the house. Why? I like to spank my baby? NO! But I do want him to grow right. We believe in our home that discipline should always be done in love, never in anger. He started 'getting spooned' at around 9 months or so. He hasn't been 'spooned' in months. It didn't take long for him to learn what no means. Oh, and why a spoon? NEVER ever use a hand. Hands are for love. Children shouldn't fear our hands. My children never fear the spoon for that matter. They respect THE SPOON. Do you get the difference?

We all believe in disciplining different ways. Just be sure that when you do discipline that you are doing it in love (just as our Heavenly Father disciplines us) and make sure that you and your husband (or since most of you are grandparents you and the child's parents) are on the same page. Oh, and one note...I have already told Amy that if I am to watch her children someday, then she must agree that I get to discipline as I see fit. Of course she agrees, since she is glad I disciplined in the first place.

Today for your personal time, I am going to give you some other verses about discipline. Read them and then answer the following questions. You don't have to answer here, but you may if you like.

Hebrews 12:11--What is a benefit of discipline?
Ephesians 6:4--What should discipline NOT do?
Proverbs 23:13-15--What is another benefit of discipline?
Proverbs 12:1--How should we except discipline?
Proverbs 20:30--What is more affected by discipline, the outside or the inside?

During your prayer time today, first pray for your family. Pray that your children are disciplining their children(or will someday) in a way that is pleasing to God. Second pray that God would discipline you as you need. This is a hard and scary thing to pray--and still mean it. So think hard about it before you say it!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Proverbs 13: 23

Guess what? Today, YOU get to teach.

Jacque (Snoodles) reminded me of something in her post Friday. One thing that I really felt led to do with this study when it first started was make it a STUDY and not a Devotional. I am hoping that through this study you are learning to get to the meat of the Word and not just read this blog post for the day and then just put your Bible aside.We enjoy giving you something to think on...but mostly we just are hoping to jump start your personal study. This week we are going to be dusting off those journals and studying!

Get your commentary handy (easily found via the internet), as well as your Bible, Journal, and plan to get your knees a bit dirty as we also focus on more prayer time. (Because I need it and I am teaching this week so that's what you get. *grin*)

So, read today's verse and tell me what do you think it means? We like comments and discussions. Don't be afraid that you might have the 'wrong' answer. Most of the time, there are not 'wrong' answers.

 I want to know:
1) If the poor have abundant food, why are they poor?
2) Why is the food swept away so easily?
3) How does this relate to our Spiritual life?

Today in your personal prayer time, go back and make your ACTS list. Don't know what that is? Read about it RIGHT HERE.

 Finally, today I want you to think about how much time you give your most humdrum, boring task. What do you hate to do more than anything else. Don't think too general here, like "go to work"; be more specific like "Wash the dishes" or perhaps if you work outside the home it is something in your job like photocopying a certain job or answering the phones. Whatever it is...have it be something you just don't like. Now, keep track of how much time you spent doing that task. Then keep track of how much time you spent with God in His Word and in Prayer. Did you give the thing that you HATE to do, more time than you give God? Is He not even worth more than something you hate??

OUCH. I am running to prop my sore feet up now....


Saturday, October 15, 2011

P.P. Discussion Week 2

"In this section of our story Christian arrives at the Wicket Gate, converses with Mr. Goodwill, and then enters. Continuing on his journey, he arrives at the Interpreter's house, where he is entertained for a while and is instructed in doctrinal truths as he is ushered into several rooms. Christian learns many lessons that are 'rare and profitable' to his soul. May God grant that the Holy Spirit will also enlighten our understanding as we visit the Interpreter's house."---taken from The Pilgrim's Progress Study Guide

1) When Christian arrived at the Wicket Gate, he knocked more than once or twice. Why do you think he knocked so many times?

2) Who is Beelzebub and what do his arrows represent?

3) Christian learned several lessons at the Interpreter's house. What did he learn from seeing the following:
      a) The dusty room swept clean
      b) The professor in a cage
      c) The courageous man who fought his way through the guarded doorway?

Today I have a discussion question for us--is there any particular room in the Interpreter's house that was profitable to YOUR soul?



In the Moody version read pp 39-55
In the non abridged, read pp 29-mid page 48.
Just to help you know you are in the right should be starting where Christian leaves the Interpreter's House, and you should stop reading just after Discretion, Piety, Charity, and Prudence leave Christian with some raisins and such to continue his journey without them.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Side Note: Crumpled Papers

I saw this joke and wanted to pass it along, because it goes so well with something I was thinking about yesterday . . .
A little girl had a dad who was a pastor. “Daddy, how do you know what to preach on Sundays?”
“God tells me,” responded the dad. 
“Then daddy, why do you crinkle up so many sheets of paper and toss them into the waste basket?” 
The writer then noted:  We are much better off saying, “I think God wants me to tell you this” rather than “thus says the Lord.” God doesn’t make mistakes; our discernment of what we think God might want us to say to someone is imperfect. (Ed Vasicek - Sermon Central). 

I hope that when you read these blog posts, and study the Proverbs in your own Bibles (you do that, don't you? I sure hope so!)  . . . where was I? Oh yes, I hope that you don't just take our word for it. We are only human beings, and we attempt to be guided by the Holy Spirit. I know that I sometimes use humor in my posts, but the intent is still the same. My prayer is still the same --- that I may be used by God to explain a passage or verse, and that the explanation may help one of you readers (and me too) to be a better follower of Christ. We are certainly not infallible, or "know it alls" and we pray and write in an attempt to bring glory to Him.
If something doesn't seem right to you, or if you read our post and still have questions, then PLEASE do one or both of these things:
  1. Pray about your question, and then search in your Bible for clues that will help.If your Bible has a concordance or study notes, utilize those to find other verses that may help.
  2. Ask us! We may not know the answer right off (or maybe we will - that would be wonderful) but we can study and try to find an answer for you.
In any event, don't just dismiss it, or think "aw, it's not that important" or let it bug you. And please remember that when we (Tonya and I) are posting here, that we are saying "this is what I believe God is saying here, after studying it over."

I'm kinda glad that we use computers now and just type our stuff there. If I had to use a typewriter or write it out by hand, I'd definitely have a mound of crinkled, crumpled papers!!  :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Proverbs 13:22 Was I mentioned in the will?

A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

The title today is decidedly tongue-in-cheek, ya'll . . . What do you imagine when the words "inheritance" and "will" and "bequeath" come to mind?  Do you recall old movies of families seated around a room, while a stern-faced lawyer reads the will?  Do some of the spoofs pop into your head? Where the prodigal child is left out/left in the will, despite protests from the rest of the clan? All of these are amusing, but I'm pretty sure that Solomon wasn't ONLY talking about material wealth here!

To be sure, a prudent, cautious person (with discernment, remember that from earlier this week?) will try to be a good steward of what God has loaned to him, and may be able to leave some to his children's children.  (There are times when that can be a blessing, and other times, not so much.)  Not saying he is a miser; noooooo, that is not a positive thing! But that it is wise to be careful --- to make sure NOT to use every bit of what one has, and if possible, to train one's children to be careful stewards, as well.

I believe an even more important implication of this verse is for wealth that is not the material kind. You can't hold it in your hand, or stick it in your pocket, or put it in an earthly bank (or in a big safe, and dive in and swim, like Scrooge McDuck). I'm sorry, I just got carried away there with the analogy! Ahem. Now, by being an example to his children, and to their children, of a faithful servant of God, a man (or a woman, yes) can pass on a much more important inheritance to them.  By "talking the talk" AND "walking the walk" that is, by honoring the Lord with our life, conversation, and money, we will secure this inheritance for those who come after us. Even if we don't bequeath them a lot of worldly riches --- our prayers, instructions, and the example of our daily life will be the best things we could "will" to them, and the promises of the covenant will be shown to be real and true. Check out Psalm103:17-18 . . . Solomon's father, David, talked about the same thing there! And Jesus addressed this, too!  Matt 6:20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, . . . 

I wasn't sure how to explain the second half of the verse, but Henry's commentary says:  God, in his providence, often brings into. . . (the righteous) hands that (wealth) which wicked people had laid up for themselves.

Lord, please help me to pay more attention to laying up my treasures in heaven!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Proverbs 13: 21 Payback time

How many times have you heard someone say, "Payback time!"?

Sometimes it is with an ironic "see-I-told-you-so" smile, and sometimes in the movies you might see someone say it with a snarl.  Solomon is very matter of fact here:

"Evil pursueth sinners, but to the righteous, good shall be repaid."

Ya'll know me by now --- I love to pull apart the verses and see what the words really meant to Solomon (or someone of his time who would read his proverbs) . . .

Evil -- affliction, calamity, destruction

Pursueth -- run after

Sinner -- a more intense root here than usual: a guilty criminal, an offender

Righteous -- just, lawful, righteous

Good -- bountiful, abundant good

Repaid -- give, recompense, prosper

It may not be a picture of God that we are altogether happy with, but I believe this means that yes, calamity and destruction will run after a sinner. God is holy, right? Right. And God never changes, His character is the same, and He is faithful, right? Right. The gift of His Son on the cross does what? It pays the debt for our sins . . . the sinner in this verse is someone who willfully chooses to reject God's gift, and (figuratively speaking) thumb his nose at any consequences that may befall him. Uh-huh.
Like I said, this is not a picture of God that we hear about now-a-days.  A wrathful God.  A God who is distressed by sin.  But wait a minute --- what is on the flip side of that coin? Payback time!

The righteous will receive their payback; maybe not now, maybe not when it makes "sense" to us with our mortal minds, but it will come. Matthew Henry's commentary puts it beautifully: "They shall be abundantly recompensed for all the good they have done, and all the ill they have suffered, in this world; so that, though many have been losers for their righteousness, they shall not be losers by it."   
There it is again -- abundant, bountiful payback! Keep me going, Lord!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Proverbs 13:16 - 20 Elevator buttons

I'm guessing that when ya'll look at the title today, ya'll think I'm daft. Crazy. Gone bonkers. Well, you might be right, but let's see what these verses have to say to all of us today.

I chose this block of verses to talk about altogether, because in one way or another, they all relate to one thing: discernment. Webster says that discernment is synonymous with wisdom, insight, and perception. Alrighty, let's check out these verses . . .

It isn't always the case, but usually a person's conduct reflects their character. Solomon notes here that a wise person makes his or her moves cautiously, moving ahead carefully.  (Hmmm, sounds like using discernment, right?) The wise person realizes that his character is revealed by the words he speaks and the deeds he does. A foolish person shows his lack of discernment and knowledge to everyone around him, by his rash and foolish words and actions.

Next, in verse 17, we see two types of messengers: one, who either is lazy or is downright scheming, will fall into trouble. The other, who uses his discernment to be a faithful and loyal messenger, may be able to bring blessings of healing and peace to those that he serves. In verse 18, poverty and shame are revealed as the final destination of those who think they are too good, or too smart, to listen to instruction. Long-lasting honor will come to those who area able to discern their own need for instruction from those who have wisdom.  

Verse 19 reveals that accomplishing an objective or goal brings joy to a wise person. By contrast, accomplishing something as simple as turning away from evil is distasteful to the foolish. They would rather keep on spinning around in their sin, like a ship going down in a whirlpool, and nothing would seem better to them, than to take others down with them.  Only those who walk with wise men will be safe from these foolish people.

Yep, folks, this is where the rubber meets the road. One of the most important areas in which we need to use our discernment is in our choices of friends. There is an old saying that goes like this: "Your friends are like the buttons on an elevator: they can either take you up or take you down." (Now you know why I chose that title up there!) When we choose our companions, we will find that some of them love the Lord, and seek His wisdom, and some of them just "want to do their own thing."  When we want advice, we often seek out our friends --- so here's hoping that our friends are "UP" elevator buttons!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Proverbs 13:15 Between a rock and a hard place...

"Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard."

When you hear the word hard, what do you think of?


Or maybe diamonds?

Those are, after all, one of the hardest substances known to man.

Or, when you think of "hard" do you think of "difficult"?

Well, I bet you didn't think of the root of this word in the old Hebrew text --- I know I didn't! The root means "permanent" . . . One commentary that I read said that it refers to hard, stony ground, like a long-dried up river bed. That's in direct contrast to the verse before, where, as Tonya told us, there is a fountain available to us!

Now, what makes the difference here? Well, those who have "good understanding" don't have as much to worry about --- they're going to be obtaining that understanding from studying and following the Word. As an example of good understanding, the Israelites, because they had and kept the statutes of the Lord, were accepted by others (found favor with them) as a wise and understanding people.
It's the "transgressors" that have a hard time here . . . they're between a rock and a hard place: between their sin and the barren, dry life apart from God.  How blessed to enjoy the Fountain of life, with joy, strength, and refreshment available to us!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pilgrims Progress discussion #1

I hope that you enjoyed reading the first section of Pilgrims Progress. Don't forget, I have books available if you need one. Here are a few thought questions for the first section (no need to answer them here, but feel free to ask questions or discuss):

1) The "man clothed in rags" was able to know there is a Creator from natural revelation, but an understanding of who God is and his plan of salvation could only be found in the book the man was holding. What do you think is the name of the book he was reading and why was it necessary?

2) What does the burden on his back represent? (Psalm 38:4, Isaiah 64:6, Hebrew 2:2)

3) When the man clothed in rags shared his distress with his wife and children, what was their reaction? Have you ever noticed that when the Gospel is shared, either people are convicted or the gospel has an opposite effect and their heart is hardened?

4)"Evangelists" can be anyone that shows others how to turn to God. Was there someone in your life that helped you in this way?

5) What is more important to Obstinate than leaving the City of Destruction?

6) A pliable person is an individual that is easily persuaded to believe whomever he is associated with at the time. He is caught up in promises and hopes but has no perseverance. How did Pliable exhibit these characteristics?

7) What does the Slough of Despond represent?

8) Who is Help?

9) What are the "steps" that Christian could have taken to keep from falling into the slough?

10) What type of reception did Pliable get upon his return home?

11) As Christian moves forward on his journey he meets Mr. Worldly Wiseman from the town of Carnal Policy. What belief system do this man and the town he is from represent?

12) Against what three things does Evangelist warn Christian about Mr. Wordly Wiseman?

For next weeks assignment if you are reading Moody's version then read pp 27-38;If  you are reading the unabridged version by Spire then read pgs 17-30.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Proverbs 13: 13-14

Have you ever been near a water fountain on a blistery, hot summer day? Just standing near it makes one feel cooler--whether the water touches you or not. Fountains are REFRESHING.

I just love watching large fountains, with the water spraying up into the air. It is amazing how POWERFUL water is.

One can just sit and lose themselves in thought, watching the water dance and listening to the sounds of it spraying in the air, then splashing to the ground and back again. Fountains are very SOOTHING.

One cannot help but want to dance in the water. I have observed many fountains over the years. Always, always, always, when people stop to look they have to reach down and feel the water. They have to touch it, test it, and I cannot ever remember a time that it didn't bring smiles and laughter. Fountains are JOYful places.

Verse 14 says the Word of God is the fountain of life!
In it you will find REFRESHMENT when you thirst, you will find the POWER you need to get through the day, it will SOOTHE you when you are feeling down, and will give you the utmost JOY.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Proverbs 13:12

Have you ever wanted or missed something so badly that your heart just pined for it? Often a pining heart leads to depression....and more importantly we forget the here and now.

As Christians, we are to look forward to Christ coming again, in fact according to Revelation 16:15, we are not only to be watching, but we are supposed to be packed and ready!

Today's verse reminds us that, although we are to be ready for our Savior, we have other tasks in the here and now. We cannot focus all of our attentions to pining for the day for Christ to come back and get us. We need to work on rearing our families, showing them the way to Christ. We need to be examples to those around us, letting Christs Light show through us in our day to day wanderings. We need to be searching the Scriptures, soaking up knowledge to stay on the straight and narrow.

 On the other hand, that day will come that our hopeful watching will be fulfilled and it will be so much more than we could ever imagine.

Keep climbing Pilgrims, focus on the trails end, but watch your footing along the way!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Proverbs 13: 11

I don't think any of us have ever tried to rob a bank or tried to swindle money away from people. I mean, if you want to get a bit of extra money--how about cheating just a little bit on your tax return? Or, how about insurance companies? I used to know a lady that was an artist at getting disability or getting injured in a shopping place--for the money. I wonder if she was ever caught? One thing for sure...when someone illegally obtains money, they just keep doing it. Why? Because it doesn't last.

As I look at this verse again, I am reminded of today's children. So many are given whatever they want. And therefore, everything is disposable to them. If they aren't careful and it what! Go buy another. This is truly very sad. What happened to the time when kids were taught to mow yards in the summer and shovel driveways in the winter? I remember working hard for money--and I made it last and increase!

Hard work always pays.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Proverbs 13:10


Pride can get a person into a heap of trouble. This particular verse brings up just one consequence of pride--Contention.

When was the last time you got into an argument with someone? What could have stopped that argument in it's tracks?

Let's look outside ourselves...perhaps in your church, school, or community. Is there something that is being argued? What is the root of that argument? Perhaps a change but one side is too proud of their past and 'how we've always done things' to allow room for change?

No matter the age--from toddler to adult; no matter the group involved, from siblings to Senators...contention ALWAYS begins with pride.

The opposite of pride--humility.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Proverbs 13:9

Is your light rejoicing? When people look at you do they see it just beam? Of course, the light that should be beaming is the LIGHT of Christ.

Did you know that you can take light into darkness, but darkness cannot be taken into light? This is true whether it be physical man made light, or the Light of Christ. Think about that for a moment...

This verse reminds us that our Lamp burns eternal...from here until Glory! You have all heard this song...but give it a listen this morning and may your Lamp shine brightly all week!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


There is one person that is awaiting the arrival of her book (and should have it today); so we are waiting just one more week to move onto the discussion.

Pam--in your copy read Page 1 to the middle of Page 17.