Friday, September 30, 2011

Proverbs 13: 7 - 8 All that Glitters is not Gold

The basic thought of verse 7 is that one cannot judge by mere outward appearances. It would seem to be a contradiction to believe that giving to others will make us rich, but this is only because we think of it in human terms....we are leaving out God, who will bless truly cheerful giving. Not the kind of giving that makes it seem as if the gift has been wrenched from our hand unwillingly, but the giving that is, while sacrificial, given with the prayer that God may use it for His glory, and thankfulness for His blessings -- since His generosity to us is allowing us to give.    
I know that we have all heard the saying, "All that glitters is not gold," or even "don't judge a book by its cover." Outward appearances can indeed be deceiving. A person may be thought of as well off; they may bustle about and proudly make a great show of spending like there is no tomorrow to save for, and yet if all of their obligations were paid off, they would be penniless. Another may be incredibly blessed by God in temporal wealth, but in meanness of spirit would rather live below what He has given them, and be thought of as poor. In this way, that person is a poor steward, just like the first person: he or she is even showing ingratitude to God, because the blessings are not freely and cheerfully shared. 

Verse 8 continues to speak about wealth but in a different way: if riches have their advantage, poverty has an advantage, too! The poor man doesn't have to worry about being robbed, or being required to pay a ransom! When the Hebrew nation was taken captivity to Babylon, they actually left the poor people behind: In II Kings 25:12, it says "But the captain of the guard left of the poor of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen." That simply means that they thought the poor people weren't worth the trouble, so they left them behind, to tend the land!

Real wealth, pretended wealth.....hmmm. I think I would rather be spiritually rich, wouldn't you? I mean rich in grace. That is God's biggest and best gift to us --- the grace (unmerited favor) that caused Him to send His Son to die in our place, and save us from our sins. I think to be truly rich is to have the riches of the soul, and receive His grace, then gift it again to those around us. I hope that all of you have received His greatest Gift.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Proverbs 13: 5 - 6 Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave . . .

. . . When first we practice to deceive.

That quote above is from an old tale by Sir Walter Scott. It is pretty profound --- when we deceive, or lie, it is often not a "one shot deal" for us. One lie has to be backed up by another and explained by one more, then leads to a fourth one based on the first . . . isn't it so much easier, just to tell the truth? Then we don't have to keep inventing, shoring up, explaining our lie. And how many times have you heard on the news that the police are questioning someone, and their story doesn't seem to be "consistent" with their earlier words? Often, after that, you will hear that their first story was indeed a fabrication. Hmmmm, it seems it is also actually easier to remember, when we tell the truth!!

Our first verse today says that in contrast to the righteous person who hates lies (and loves the truth), the wicked person is loathsome. In my Bible, the root of that word is actually "stink" --- did you ever stop to think of what our sin seems like to a holy God? Ouch!  It also says the wicked will come to "shame" and that word encompasses a lot of meanings: shame, blush, disappointment. In Daniel 12:2 we see that the wicked will finally awake, "some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." Have you ever stopped to think about how illogical sin is? We are told over and over again that it will not profit us, and we have even seen in our own lives (and the lives of others, too) that it ends poorly, but we choose to sin, time and time again!!

In verse 6 we read that the righteous can be secure . . . those that deal honestly in all of their ways, and deal sincerely with both God and with man. That reliance on God will keep them from the temptations of Satan, and that integrity will preserve them from "the reproaches and injuries of evil men, which shall not fasten upon them, to do them any real mischief." (Matthew Henry)

I wanted to call our attention to two verses in Psalms that seemed to fit after reading the second verse we studied today: Psalm 25:21 is a real comfort to us: "Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait on thee."  And Psalm 32:7a:  Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble . . ."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Proverbs 13: 4

OOPS---some of you saw this early when I accidentally published it early. Oh well. Sorry!!)Also, Jacque will be here the rest of the week. But I needed to hop in and say something so I posted a little tidbit for today. 

Before we start our study, I need to tell you that I have 5 Pilgrim's Progress books available for anyone that would like the first 5 takers anyway. These are in the original OLD ENGLISH text, but still a great read. I am sending one off to one of our group today, so we are going to give you an extra week for your reading assignment. If you want a copy please comment and make sure that I have a way to get back with you. Thank you. Now back to the study...

My version: The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat.

I laughed when I read this. Why?? Because it is ok to be fat! (I have the most horrible time losing weight.)

Here in America, we like food a bit too much. It is now fall and we think of apple butter and pumpkin pie; oh and don't forget the turkey! Then comes Christmas with  a nice slice of ham with sugary glaze and some cranberry orange bread.With spring comes Cadbury eggs.(Yes, I look forward to them.) After spring is summer with all it's cook outs and BBQ's. We are a plump nation to be sure.

Instead of spending so much time craving this earthly food that does nothing but cause us health problems, we should be craving the things of God. It should be our waking thought, and our last thought at night. Then we will become nicely plump--and a healthy plump at that.

Time for me to do some replacing of my physical plump with some Spiritual plump. Let's see, a good appetizer would be prayer, followed with a heaping helping of God's Word, then a luscious amount of deep prayer for dessert. Care to dine with me?


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Proverbs 13: 2 - 3 Hold Your Tongue!

Umph, mfff, nnn, huffwupff, umvpppt . . . OK, all silliness aside, how many times did you hear the phrase "hold your tongue!" when you were growing up? Well, they didn't really mean to hold it, right? Cos if you did, you would probably sound like those first words that I typed up there.  :)    I bet it was usually when you were pretty young, and someone older either wanted you to hush momentarily, or they didn't want you to go down the path you were going, in the conversation.

Carpenters have a rule that they go by --- you may have heard it. "Measure twice, and cut once." In other words, make certain of the measure; check it a second time, and only then make your cut. It might be transposed in the light of these verses, to say "Think twice, speak once." I know that if I followed that mantra myself, I'd be a lot better off!

If we fill our mouths with praise and thanksgiving, and speak often to others about our Lord, then our speech will be gracious, and edifying as in Ephesians 4:29, and again in Colossians 4:6.  Then, instead of our tongue being a fire, like in James 3:6, it will bring glory and honor to God. Matthew Henry's commentary notes that the person who "keeps a strong bridle on his tongue and a strict hand on that bridle, he keeps his soul from a great deal both of guilt and grief" and also can avoid bitterness and a poor reputation. The destruction mentioned in verse three can mean the loss of reputation, respect, or relationships. Those are all things that we should try to guard ourselves from losing, in order to be good servants of Christ.

Hmmmm . . . "Think twice, and speak once."  I think I might need to write that on a card and post it here on my desk. And another one at the sink. And another one at the mirror. If ya'll will excuse me......

Monday, September 26, 2011

Proverbs 13:1 -- Wise Sons and Daughters

Pro 13:1  A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.
Oh, boy, this is one of those that hits home, at least for me. We all are in different situations, different stations in life. Some of us have little ones running around our home and climbing into our laps, and others have grown kids who are out on their own. My situation is the latter; and I want to emphasize to you other ladies to enjoy each precious moment as it comes. Take a deep breath and slow down, and enjoy cuddling each of those special blessings that God entrusted to your care. There's a country song that admonishes us "you're gonna miss this" and I can tell you from personal experience, that is the truth!

I've gotten a little off the path, but here is why: one of our sons, though a "wise son" and a joy to us for many years, will no longer "hear instruction" from us. It is heartbreaking to realize that it's been over two years since we heard his voice. But guess what? God is an even better (the best!) parent ever, so can you imagine his heartbreak when we will not heed his instructions? He even went to the trouble of giving us an instruction manual (the Bible) but do we hunger to spend time in the Scriptures?

One of the commentaries (Henry) that I looked at said this:
Among the children of the same parents it is no new thing for some to be hopeful and others the contrary; now here we are taught to distinguish.  There is great hope of those that have a reverence for their parents, and are willing to be advised and admonished by them. He is a wise son, and is in a far way to be wiser, that hears his father's instruction, desires to hear it, regards it, and complies with it, and does not merely give it the hearing.
Our Lord gives us advice and instruction, and deals faithfully with us. I pray that I will hear, and not "merely give it the hearing" but comply with a grateful heart. Will you join me in that prayer today?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pilgrims Progress part 1

I have gone back and forth trying to decide whether to give discussion questions now or next Saturday. I think I've decided on next Saturday. I want you to be able to read the book without worrying about the questions; then you can go back and think on them. So, here's how this will work. I'll give a reading assignment this week, and questions next week for this weeks reading. Then I will give your next reading assignment at the bottom of the discussion post next week.

Since I only know of one person reading along with me, I am going to give the page numbers of her book. BUT I actually can reference several other publishers, so if you are reading along and your's is something different than Moody please let me know. (I am actually reading Discovery House's version).There are no chapters, so I really need to know who your book is published by. Thank you!!

Moody's--Read pages 11-26

Friday, September 23, 2011

Proverbs 12:23-28

This weekend we are going to wrap up Proverbs 12. I have done this once before, but I ask you to take your time and read over the verses three times at least. Once each day. We haven't discussed our journals in quite sometime. How are you doing in it? Are you writing down verses that you need to keep at heart? Are you working on your ACTS prayer lists everyday? Is it helping you stay focused? Or are you just buzzing through this study once a day thinking you've got your Holy Vitamin for the day?

Please, this weekend as you read these verses over. Write down some thoughts. Get out your prayer journal. Spend some serious time in prayer.

I am not even going to write my thoughts on these verses. Is it because I am in a hurry? Nope. It is 9 p.m., everyone is in bed and I have nothing but quiet time ahead of me. I just want you to let the Holy Spirit speak to you.

Enjoy your weekend. Keep your Chap Stick handy. (see Thursday's post.) Shine up your Fruit!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Proverbs 12:13-22

Do you love your lips?


* Do they get you into trouble (vs 13)
* Are they loud and complaining or boisterous or proud? Do they show your sins? (vs16)
* Are they deceiving? ( vs 17)
* Are they quick to speak without thought of what you are saying? (vs 18)
* Do they lie? (vs 19)
*Are they an abomination to the Lord? (vs 22)

Let me ask, do you know anything about Larry the Cucumber, the star of our video? He's an all around good guy who is trying to do the right thing, but often blunders. He has a good heart, loves his Lord, and does what he can to grow in Him. I wonder, are you like Larry? Do you love your lips?

*Keep you out of trouble? (vs 13)
*Satisfy you by displaying the Fruit we discussed yesterday? (vs 14)
*Keep quiet when they need to listen? (vs 15)
*Make light of the 'bad times' instead of opening our mouths to complain? (vs 16)
*Speak the truth? (vs 17)
*Take their time to speak, and when they do speak do they help others? (vs 18)
*Look forward to Glory? (vs 19)
*Do they make peace? (vs 20)
* Are they faithful to their Creator? (vs 22)

You know, lips do get chapped sometimes. Sometimes they are not easy to love. But that's ok, God provided you with chap stick. Bet you never thought of your Bible as Spiritual Chap Stick before, did you?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Proverbs 12:12

Today you get to fill in the blank. If you need help you can look up the answers in Galatians 5:22-23

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Your version may be a bit different but this was easy enough I am sure that you could fill the words in no problem. I do want to point out a common mistake when people talk about the FRUIT of the Spirit. Note that it is fruit, not FRUITS. These all go together. You cannot be loving without having patient and being joyful. You can't be kind without being gentle. You can't be a peacemaker without having self control. And on and on.

I think we all want to be these things. We all want to be good and kind and gentle and loving, am I right? Dig your roots in deep ladies. Make sure that you are producing FRUIT.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Proverbs 12: 10-11

Verse 10-- As we go along this journey of trying to become like Christ, we find that being righteous is part of every aspect of our lives...even to the detail of how we treat our animals. Now, I am not saying that we should become a group of crazy animal rights activists, but we do need to make sure that we are taking care of God's creation that He has given us.

Verse 11--I think this verse is all about focus. We have to keep our focus on the path God has laid before us. We cannot expect others to walk our path, and wondering away to pursue some other path is just plain stupid. (My translations says"lacks sense" but that pretty much translates 'stupid' to me) And, you know what? I have shaken my head at myself and said, "That was so stupid to do!" so many times!!  I need a little reminder to keep my focus where it should be.

This song always reminds me where to keep my focus...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Proverbs 12: 8-9

What are you 'known for'? Meaning, what do you have a reputation for?

I can think of some good things that I have a reputation for...I make wonderful apple butter. MMMM....we've enjoyed that this weekend. I get requests from everybody for it. Let's see...I can teach. I love doing that, whether it be ABC's to my toddler, history to my teen, a new technique on my quilting blog, or a thought about a verse or two here. That's a good thing to have a reputation for.
 But then there is that opposite side. I wonder...what do I have a bad reputation for? Impatience. Yep...I know about that one. Worry. I have been working on that one for the last few years and was doing very well, but lately it's ugly little head seems to showing up again. I wonder what type of a reputation I have with others that I don't even notice in myself?

Vs 8--Do others praise you for using your words wisely? Or do you say what first comes to mind...and it usually isn't so nice?

Vs 9--Do you have a reputation for hard work or are you a boastful big mouth?

Since facebook has come into most of our lives I have often thought about my reputation. When I chat with all of my high school friends, what do they remember about me? I know as I chat with them, I have no clue what they are really like today. I still see them in my minds eye as a teenager and I remember what type of reputation they had. That ol' reputation just hangs around forever.

I guess we better work on making sure it's a good one!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

An Intro to Pilgrim's Progress

I do know that at least one other person is joining in on this read-along of what is one of the best Christian books written by man. If you are not joining in at this time, you can always look under the search and follow that way later. Today I will intro the book and give you ONE more week--just in case anyone else wants to join. Oh, and please, DON'T join if you are too busy. Reading the Bible and doing your daily study is much more important!

The original Pilgrim's Progress was written in 'old English' and references the King James Bible on many occasions. There are also references to political and religious circumstances of John Bunyan's day. If, during our study you have any questions at all please ask. I have two versions (the original and a modern English version) on hand and two different study guides.

The book contains no chapter divisions at all. You will have to pay close attention to starting/stopping points. If you will let me know who authored the abridged book you are using and when it is published it might be easier on me as I do have a list of some of the books in one of my study guides and it gives pages that would make good start/stop places.

As for the story itself...Christian is the main character and his story is an exciting adventure that will make as my study guide says, "Biblical truths come blasting through these pages like smart bombs hitting their targets of the mind and the heart." Charles Spurgeon himself said that this book was the most important book of his life (outside of the Bible) and read it over 100 times.

I could go on and on with examples. I am getting excited about our journey! We start next Saturday...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Proverbs 12:7 Remember This Old Hymn?

Today's verse brought this old hymn to mind:

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand....
All other ground is sinking sand.

I touched on this truth already this week, but in this world we live in today, it is something that I find encouraging to revisit. Solomon tells us that the triumph, the exaltation, the apparent getting-away-with-it-all of the wicked, is short-lived. It lasts only a little time. Remember when we were in chapter ten of Proverbs? Turn back with me to verse 25 --- As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.  (Ya gotta forgive the "passeth" and "thee" and "thou" in my notes . . . I'm partial to the King James!)  I've heard it said that a whirlwind in the desert can come upon a traveler very quickly, but it can be gone just as quickly.  It has changed the landscape a little, but really left no permanent mark.

By contrast, the righteous are portrayed as having a strong foundation; that even though death may remove us, we can have made a permanent change in the world, and in those who live in it. Our house shall stand. Our families can have a much different outcome than those who continue in sin and wickedness. I like how the tail end of Psalm 112:2 puts it: . . . the generation of the upright shall be blessed.

Isn't it wonderful how much is packed into the old hymns? Read the rest of this one:

When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood, support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound, oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.

I know that sometimes I write in a humorous fashion, and I try to do things that will get your attention and direct it toward a thought or principle . . . but I am sincere about what I write, and I hope that it helps some of us. I know that the last verse there is my hope, as well --- to be found in Him, and stand before the throne, faultless because of what Christ did for us all.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Proverbs 12: 5 - 6 Imagine That! What's the Good Word?

I thought we could look at these two verses together --- they fit together like two spoons in the kitchen drawer!

Notice the the first one has to do with our thoughts... Remember when we were kids? When a parent was lecturing us and asked us a question, we would grit our teeth and say "yes ma'am" or "no sir" as needed, but if we were still angry, we were imagining saying some very different things, weren't we?! (OK, now, am I the only one here that will own up to being rebellious?! LOL)  Well, that was just echoing inside our little heads, and even today, it doesn't matter what I THINK, it only matters what I SAY or DO......right?

Ahem. Please turn with me to Genesis 6:5.  I'll wait. Next, let's try Matthew 9:4.

Anybody besides me have some bruised toes now? How often do you stop to think that God knows every thought you have? That's what these verses say.  Now, I will admit that the verse in Genesis was referring to the sinful, natural men in the world. And the verse in Matthew was referring to the scribes --- a group of prideful schemers, jealous of the influence that Christ had on the people He ministered to. But the fact remains true; since God never changes, He still knows our thoughts. As followers of His Son, our thoughts should be influenced and shaped by our desire to honor Him.  I can't recall now who said, "A man can't be faulted for a stray thought that is's kind of like a bird that swoops down and gets tangled up in his hair for an instant, and flies away. Now, it's completely different if he allows that bird to build a nest there!"

Verse six is the one that has to do with our speech --- notice that the wicked are characterized as wanting to do mischief; in fact, more than mischief, they actually want harm to come to others. They "lie in wait for blood"....but I like the second portion of the verse, and my thought as I read this is, "I sure hope I'm like that!" You see, the "mouth" of the upright is also the "word" or the "speech" of the upright;  we don't need to be silent, but to open our mouth and speak for those who need comfort, encouragement, or justice. I hope that I am always ready to open my mouth to plead for, and witness to those who need to hear a good word.  If it is the good word of the gospel, God may even use that to deliver them.

My commentary said that we "may sometimes do a very good work with one good word."  What is a good word that you can speak to someone today?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Proverbs 12:4 Has anyone ever called you a "strong" woman?

Hi, it's Jacque again, and I'm chuckling as I type that title.

For a lot of people, the feminine side especially, there are some words that have double meanings. I'm recalling a time years ago, when a younger man confided to my husband that his wife was uncomfortable with how we conducted our marriage played out in real life.

It seems that his young wife had told him that she didn't like the fact that I deferred to my husband when making decisions. Apparently that really ruffled her pin-feathers! She had remarked to her husband (and he told my hubby) that she considered herself a "strong" woman, and she would never act that way! I guess she thought that by asking my husband what he thought, or what he would like to do, I was being a "doormat."

My husband just smiled, and said, "Actually, my wife is one of the strongest women I know." Don't you think that made me beam when he told me? I'll tell you the truth, that really cranked my tractor! For her, being strong meant that she made sure he knew what she wanted and what she thought, and in no uncertain (loud) terms! Being strong meant that he better remember that she was an equal member of the team, and her opinion was gonna be heard!

Now, I don't want to get going down a rabbit trail here. A lot is said in the Scripture about a woman's role, and that is NOT what we are studying here. I just brought up the example, because when I read this verse, I looked up "virtuous" in my commentary notes. In this verse, the Hebrew (yep, I know.....ya'll are thinking "here she goes again!") means more than just simple chastity, or prudence, or diligence. Although each of those are virtues that we should strive for, the word in this verse implies more. Barnes says "The word implies the virtue of earnestness, or strength of character."

Aha! Strength of character! That's when we have strong characteristics that are of value to others and ourselves. Personally, I would add that strength of character enables a woman to overcome resentment against others, to face hardships and obstacles with a "can-do" attitude, to work behind the scenes to help others, to hide hurt feelings, and to forgive quickly. I think this was what my husband was alluding to. It empowers her to defer to her hubby when a decision needs to be made --- notice I did not say anything about her being silent. We have discussions (vigorous, many times!) about the pros and cons of an issue; but when the decision is made, it is one that we have both been heard on, and we have together come to a resolution. At that point, he is free to make that decision and carry out actions based on it.

I kinda think that is what Solomon had in mind here. I'd much rather be a crown --- a credit, an honor --- to my husband, than the alternative.....the second half of the proverb talks about a husband who is miserable. I wonder if Solomon was speaking from personal experience?  :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Proverbs 12:2 - 3 Shelling Peas!

To me, verses two and three go together like the two little peas nestled together in the pod before you shell them out into the pan. They are formed together and just fit, just so.
To be a good woman, a happy woman, is to find favor of the Lord… to be truly happy, even though the world may frown on us. For that matter, which would you rather have smiling on you – the world, or the Lord?  Yep, me too!  By the same token, just because the world may applaud and smile at the wicked, they actually are condemned by their own wicked acts! 

The Lord judges us, His children, many times by the fruits of the Spirit: are we merciful to others, do we show love and kindness? My commentary shows that “obtaineth” here is a word that carries the meaning “draw out of, to secure.”  I guess it’s kinda like we draw out of the Lord, or make obvious, His favor, and His love.   
Now, favor in the Hebrew text is a little different than what we would think, a couple of thousand years after this was written. One of the meanings of "favor" is "(be) acceptable." Hmmmm, so a good man or woman by their goodness, is acceptable. Let's keep looking, shall we? The next thing I see is that "favor" can also mean "delight" or "good pleasure." I don't know about you, but I'm seeing some light here --- that if we are good in His eyes, we bring Him delight, and good pleasure. Awesome! I believe I would rather know that my Lord is pleased, even delighted, than to have the world's applause, or lots of money!

Now, let’s check verse three.

Aha! There it is! Although worldly people can get that applause, that wealth, by deceit and wickedness, they are on slippery ground. (When you have time, check out Psalm 73:18, because it talks about just that. )  It’s just like the parable Jesus told about the man who built his home on sinking sand, isn’t it? (Don’t you love it when things come together like this?) The popularity and prosperity that is gotten by sinful means, is built on slippery sand; like when the tide is leaving and you try to walk where the waves just left. You can barely keep your footing sometimes!

Here is the comforting promise, though.  Although good folks may have only a little of worldly goods and popularity, what we have will last…..the “root of the righteous shall not be moved,” even though hard times may shake us, and we don’t know which end is up.  Our faith will keep us rooted in Christ. Our comfort and our happiness are in Him. 

Don’t even think about tearing my roots up, Satan – I’m grounded in my Lord!

I'm glad we spent some time shelling peas today . . . it's good to be reminded of His promises!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Proverbs 12:1 --- Dynamite in a Very Small Package!

It's amazing how much can be packed into one small verse, isn't it?

On first glance, you might think the first part of verse one is about education, or learning, knowledge of that kind. But the second part of the verse gives us the clue – reproof is one form of instruction, and it usually is the kind that we don’t like! You can call it counsel, you can call it admonition, or constructive criticism….no matter what you call it, we just don’t like it, do we? How hard is it sometimes to say, “I was wrong.” I know I struggle with that sometimes; do you?

It comes a little easier to me now – years ago I’d want to crawl in a hole before I’d say it; I guess now I’m much more aware of how fallible I truly am!

So, the next time someone tells you that you might have a wee little fault, or could have done something better, try very hard to smile!  (Now, now, quit grinding your teeth! The smile is supposed to be the outer wrapping for your sweet spirit, remember?!)

Of course, reproof can also come from a sermon we hear, or from the "still, small voice" speaking to our conscience, too! I always have to remind myself that a very important part of prayer is just being quiet, and waiting on Him. 

It took me a moment or two to get my mind wrapped around the part of the verse that says, "he that hateth reproof is brutish."  I checked in my fav Bible, and the word there in Hebrew is translated "brutish," or "stupid", in referring to animals, and "foolish" referring to people.  OK, that is making more sense to me now --- if we hate to be reproved, then we are similar to the animals, who cannot reason or have understanding as we can. One commentary said we would be behaving like the oxen, "who kick against the goad." Fast forward through the Word to the Lord's gentle reproof of Saul, "it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." Same meaning there....the goad, or pricks, were hard, and painful, and meant to guide the animals where they were supposed to go. Probably not where they wanted to go...they would have like to have gone back in the barn and slept! But that is what reproof is --- no matter where it comes from: the Word, our conscience, a minister, or another Christian. 

What will our response be, the next time we are reproved? Will we love instruction, or be foolish?(Please excuse me while I bandage my own bruised toes? Thanks!)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

John Bunyan

We will begin our study of Pilgrim's Progress in just a couple of weeks.
Today I will give you a bit of information about the author John Bunyan.

Bunyan was born in Elstow, England in 1628 to a poverty stricken family. 
He only attended school until he was 11,
 and was far from being a 'good boy' in his younger years. 
Around the age of 25 John sought after Christ and his life turned around.
Three years after getting baptized into the Baptist church, John Bunyan starting preaching.

After 6 years of preaching ministry, John was arrested for not conforming to the rules set down by the Church of England. He spent 12 years in prison, but used the time to read, write, and tell other inmates about Christ.
Between 1672-1675 John returned to preaching before being imprisoned again in 1676. 
This is when he wrote The Pilgrim's Progress.

In 1688 at the age of 60, John Bunyan traveled to Reading to help bring peace between a father and son.
On his way back to London, Bunyan traveled by horseback in the rain and caught a fever. He spent his final hours comforting those around him. I'll leave you with his last words:

"Weep not for me, but for yourselves. I go to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will, through the mediation of His Blessed Son, receive me, though a sinner, where I hope we ere long shall meet to sing the new song, and remain everlasting happy, world without end". 


Friday, September 9, 2011

Proverbs 11:30-31

When I was a child and teen both my church and Kansas City Youth for Christ offered classes on how to win other people to Christ. As part of the classes we had to go out and go door to door knocking on the door and try to win souls. Guess how well it did? Terrible. For one I was nervous as can be. And those people weren't open to listening. They usually slammed the door in my face. No....this method did not work for me at all. It was actually very discouraging because I knew ultimately my job is to win souls to Christ..and I knew there is no way that it was going to happen this way!

Fast forward about 25 years. Several years ago a book/study called Becoming a Contagious Christian became very popular among churches. This study worked for me! It taught that the best way to win others to Christ is to let them see your life. Let them see how much better life is for you with Christ in it. Make them see by watching you that they need Christ. I can handle that much better.

Of course there is a flip side. There are always people watching and waiting for us to mess up. This is why we need to be so careful to try our best to live wisely. In other words...we need to practice what we preach. Will we mess up? Yes, but 'they' are watching to see how we handle that too.

God didn't call all of us to be Bible Thumpers. But He did say that we are to win souls.(vs 30)
 Take heart! You will be rewarded. And your enemies? Their punishment will be even greater than your reward. (vs 31)


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Proverbs 11: 29

The wind. Do you like it? I don't at all. Well, except for one that blows in a good thunderstorm. But for the most part wind is annoying. I have always had ear problems and that wind whipping around my ears just annoys me to no end. I could go on about it's annoyances to me. But lets think about the characteristics of wind.

What does it look like?
Smell like?
Taste like?
hmmm---we've pretty much come up empty here.

Stirring up trouble within your family (personal family or church family) will leave you with...NOTHING but an annoyance.

As for the second half of the verse...the 'fool' talked about here is the person who refuses to accept Christ. Please take a few moments to read Revelation 20:1-6. If these verses confuse you, please feel free to ask questions. But, basically it is just how our verse in Proverbs says, "The foolish will be servant to the wisehearted."

I am not trying to start a discussion on the end times (maybe someday!); however this is a good illustration of what the author of Proverbs is trying to say to us.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Proverbs 11:28

Do you watch Iron Chef? I, for one, really just do not like tv. But I allow Seth to watch some mom-approved shows of an evening. One show that Seth loves is Iron Chef. I was watching the judging part a couple of nights ago and it reminded me of our study of Proverbs. Those judges took little bites, savoring each piece. This episode happened to be about some kind of fish from Hawaii. The judges would take a bite, move it around in their mouths, purposefully finding each and every taste, spice, and finally would savor and enjoy the meat. Then they would discuss the bite. What did they taste; what did they feel?

This is the same as we are doing in this study of Proverbs. I love that we are taking little savory bites. I hope that you are taking the time to take each verse apart. Look for all the different 'spices' so to speak. Ultimately look for the meat. Chew on it, savor it, gain strength from it.

What is the meat of verse 28?

Can't view the photo? It is the remnants of a large fire. Everything is gone.
Except one lone flowering plant. She is beautiful and all dressed in pink. 
I think her name might be Righteousness.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Proverbs 11: 27

Google. A word that has become a common word around the world. Even this blog is powered by Google. But where did it all start? As a search engine. A little tool used so that people could easily find what they are looking for. A little tool that has literally changed the world. Think about many times a day do you use something "powered by Google"?

Searching. Everyone is searching for something. And I am not talking about googling here. People are searching for love, happiness, riches, and knowledge.

The above is a photo of the Greatest Search Engine known to man.
Just think of how it could change the world if everyone used the Bible for their search engine?
Oh, lets forget about everyone...that won't happen and we know it.
But how much would it change the world if just the Christians used the Bible as their search engine?

Today as you are going about your daily tasks, make it a good day.
Become more "Powered by God" and less "Powered by Google."


Monday, September 5, 2011

Proverbs 11: 24 - 26 Giving or Grabbing

Hello everybody! I hope you are enjoying a restful holiday weekend! My daughter told me that I was too long-winded on these posts, so I'm going to try to keep it to a minimum, but still give us something to think about. Ready?

Are your hands giving hands, or grabbing hands?

I realize that I have over-simplified things, but it kind of boils down to this. These three verses all speak about virtually the same thing, and promise us spiritual, emotional, and perhaps even material bounty. We are looking at a person who scatters, and a person who waters -- these are terms for giving. Giving freely and fully, whether offerings or kindly acts, is compared to refreshing dew and showers on a thirsty land. These offerings and kindnesses often come back to us and bless us, and we also feel happy because we have given cheerfully . . . see, we get "watered," too!  By contrast, the person in these verses who "withholds" is sure to be disliked, and "tends to poverty" --- this can be poverty because they are not paying just debts, not providing what is necessary for the family, or it can be a poverty of the soul. We forfeit the blessing of God and the joy of giving when we are not gracious and generous to others.

The commentary I read said "God blesses the giving hand, and makes it a getting hand." Remember in the Gospel of Luke, Christ says, " Give, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."  (Luke 6:38)

In today's language, I guess Solomon would have admonished his son to "Pay it forward!"  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think......

Friday, September 2, 2011

Proverbs 11:23 Whaddya mean, I'm not righteous??

Hi ya'll! Tonya had a rough night with a little one, so I'm filling in for her....

I don't mean to be irreverent here, as I type that title above the post.... I'm wondering if some of us were thinking that, when we read this verse:

Pro 11:23  The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.

Does that mean that if we have a thought or desire pop into our head that isn't "good," that we're not righteous? Wow, if that were the case --- that sends a shudder up my spine; how about you?

That is not what Solomon is saying here, though. Let's take this verse apart, like a mechanic working on a car, and then see if we can put it back together, shall we? (And we'll cross our fingers that we have no parts left over when we're done! I just hate it when that happens when we are repairing our vehicles! LOL)

Ahem. I digress.  Alright, the part that is bothering us is the part that says, "only good," right?  But if we back up to "desire" it is actually a Hebrew word meaning "delight" --- that's the key! Do we delight in the good things that happen to those around us? Do we desire that those around us have the good, the pleasant in life? Are we wishing hurt to anyone, or are we delighted when God shows mercy and favor to others? I think we are on the right track here, because the root of the word "good" in the verse has these meanings: better, bountiful, ease, merry, joyful, pleasant, and more.

Turn over the coin --- the delight, or expectation of the wicked?  The wicked want God to move and force their passions and revenge on others, to even remove those that are an obstacle to them. They want to take advantage of the troubles that other people have, and they desire that those folks should have even more troubles!

Let's keep this verse in our hearts this weekend, maybe even put it on a card on the fridge?

Psalm 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 
Let's try to desire the best for others --- let's strive to be like the righteous, not the wicked!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Proverbs 11:22

Isn't that pretty? What you don't think so? 
How about this one:

There, not even one of you can say that one is pretty.

I looked up the commentary on this one and I really love the way Matthew Henry describes this verse, 

"It is lamented that beauty should be so abused as it is by those that have not modesty with it. It seems ill-bestowed upon them; it is quite misplaced, as a jewel in a swine’s snout, with which he roots in the dunghill. If beauty be not guarded by virtue, the virtue is exposed by the beauty. It may be applied to all other bodily endowments and accomplishments; it is a pity that those should have them who have not discretion to use them well."

Did you get that picture in your mind? A woman who does not live her life with discretion might have outward beauty, but the beauty is wasted...kind of like a pig digging in a pile of doo doo with his nose ornament.

Beauty is not so beautiful when you've got that big nose ring sticking out for all to see.