Monday, April 30, 2012

Prov 20 : 26 - 27 Our conscience (and I don't mean Jiminy Cricket)

Pro 20:26  A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.
Pro 20:27  The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

I don't know which version of the Bible each of you studies in . . . personally, I think it is a good thing to use different translations, to understand the text so that the Spirit can teach us. Most of the time I begin my studies with the King James version, and then if needed, I clarify my understanding with another. That's why I sometimes list the verses, and then look at the individual words. Sometimes you can get a lot out of the meanings.

Verse 27 mentions the spirit of man -- it's also translated "breath" or "soul" in other spots. I was really intrigued by the thought of our soul, or maybe our conscience, being the candle used by the Lord. That candle can search within us, and bring things to our attention and truly bother us!  I'm not sure how it is translated in your Bible, but here's another interesting word: the word up there that is translated "parts" comes from a root that means "compartments."  Are we guilty sometimes of compartmentalizing our lives? Do we keep things in boxes? This goes in the box labeled "anyone can see."  But this goes in the box labeled "don't show to anyone else."  Hmmmm, our conscience will needle us about that box.
A little off subject, but do you remember Jiminy Cricket? He tried and tried to advise Pinocchio, but he just wouldn't listen.
We can use what our conscience tells us, and the Lord can use it, too. Matthew Henry says that our conscience can  "praise what is good, condemn what is otherwise, and judge the thoughts and intents of the heart."
But of course, we have to listen.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Proverbs 20:19-25 deception conclusion

19 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets;
    therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.
20  If one curses his father or his mother,
     his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.
21  An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning
    will not be blessed in the end.
22 Do not say, “I will repay evil”;
     wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.
23  Unequal weights are an abomination to the Lord,
    and false scales are not good.
24 A man's steps are from the Lord;
    how then can man understand his way?
25 It is a snare to say rashly, “It is holy,”
    and to reflect only after making vows.

When you read over these verses, you can see why I took a whole week to discuss deception. While there are some teachings that we didn't look at, this weeks passage discusses deceit time and time again. Today's passage mentions it in vs 23 (material deceit) and verse 25 (getting Spiritually deceived.)

Yesterday I had you look up Matthew 6:33--the verse about Seeking God First. Today in Proverbs I want to focus on verse 24. This verse is basically saying that it is entirely necessary to depend on God. We don't know what we are doing or where we are going but He does! So why do we not leave that up to Him?

When I was trying to think of an illustration for this point, I thought about the old video game, "Lemmings". Do you remember that game? These little rodents would just walk off cliffs and perish if you did not put up road blocks to stop them and help them turn back into safe territory. I found this photo and it is so good that I am going to use it to bring to close this weeks study.
Closing thought: Will you follow your peers to destruction, or your Savior to Salvation?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Proverbs 20:15-18 Deception pt 4

Ok, now that we've discussed deception, and the many types of deception that are out there, what can we do about it?

Continuing in Proverbs, our passage today is:

5 There is gold and abundance of costly stones,
     but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
16  Take a man's garment when he has put up security for a stranger,
    and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for foreigners.[d]
17  Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man,
    but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.
18  Plans are established by counsel;
    by wise guidance wage war.

OK, so what does that have to do with deception??!! Well, lets look a bit closer. While verse 17 mentions deceit, I want to focus on verse 18. And the best way to do that is to give you a direct quote from Matthew Henry's commentary on verse 18...
"The word and Spirit of God are the best counsellors in every point." 

No matter what be buy or do, no matter who we listen to, no matter what we read, we should be informed. And the very best way to do that is to seek God and His Word.

I think this passage is a must write down and memorize today (I'll let you look it up on your own)--

Matthew 6 :33

Tomorrow we will wrap up our study of deception.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Deception pt 3

If you are just joining this week, we have been discussing one of Satan's biggest power tools: Deception. Yesterday we discussed how he can get us in our pocketbook. Being unwise with our buying can lead to covetousness, greed and so many other things.

Although there are many ways that Satan uses deception, there is only one other that we have time to touch on this week before I continue in our Proverbs study tomorrow. The one that I wish to speak about today is so important to me. I have friends that listen to false teachers, but I just cannot seem to impress enough to get out their Bible and compare the teachings.

 I know that none of us wants to get into a Theological denomination we won't go there. But there are some things that we can do when we do attend worship--no matter where we go. When you leave the service on Sunday morning, don't just 'hang up your Bible' until next Sunday. Think about what the pastor or Sunday School teacher said. Ask yourself these questions:

*Did the pastor use the Bible in his message?
*Did what he say agree with the passage?
*Is there anything that I did not understand or agree with that I can look up or ask someone about?

Finally, I want to throw out a HUGE caution about false teachers, preachers, writers, speakers. There are some very popular big name preachers and teachers that sound good. They say all the right things....almost. I am not going to get into the naming names game here, although I'd like to. I do know that I am very sad when I see good friends "like" these people on facebook, or are eagerly reading their books. And I do know that these people are power tools for Satan.

So, how do you know? Read the Word first and foremost. But for some that doesn't work. So-- seek advice! Become good friends with and Mr. Hank Hanegraff. or Forgotten Word Ministries. Both of these sites have search engines. If you are unsure of an evangelist that you enjoy, go do some research on them at these places. I especially like THIS PAGE at Forgotten Word.

In close, our Study would not be a study without opening the Bible, would it? While tomorrow we will continue in Proverbs, I would like to share these verses for you to look up today:

Romans 16:17
1 John 4:1
2 Peter 2: 1-3
1 Timothy 4:1-5

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Deception pt 2

Yesterday I asked if you would examine your life and see if there was any room for that slithery slimy Serpent to find ways to trick and deceive you. We spoke of several areas of our lives that he would attempt to use deception against us. I'd like to spend the week looking at this in a bit more detail. We will come back to Proverbs and read on in a few days.

 The first point I made yesterday, which is the obvious from the passage (verses 10,17) is buying/selling. I think each of us deals with this on a daily basis. Ads, pretty displays, blog posts with 'must have new gadgets' (oops! my toes!)...these all are about the same as a piece of ooey gooey hard to resist chocolate cake! Several times in Proverbs we are warned to be careful in our buying that we are making an informed decision. This day in age we have a great tool to help us make wise decisions about material goods. It's called--The internet. I love that I can just type anything such as recently I typed "EQ7 reviews" and found many to read. This was a big purchase and I wanted to make an informed decision--even if half my blog friends have it and love it. Often I ask friends even in small purchases. Like my recent change in thread. I've been really researching it.

Why be this detailed in even the little things? It's all about good stewardship. If we are being good steward of the money that God provides for us to use, then we won't be deceived by Satan into becoming covetous, greedy, or selfish.

In close, I'd like to leave you with the following verses to look up today:

I Corinthians 4:2-- As stewards of what God has given us, how are we to be found?

1 Timothy 5:8--What very strong warning is issued to believers here?

I Timothy 6:6-10--What can bad stewardship lead to?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Deception: pt 1 (Prov 20:10-14)

Have you ever been deceived? Of course you have! This world is run by deception. Deception is Satan's greatest tool. He's used it since Adam and Eve, and he still uses it today.

This week we are going to take a closer look at deception, and how Satan uses it against today's Christian. Today we will begin with the most basic rule of simple buying and selling. 

Read Proverbs 20: 10-14 in your Bible. Think over this passage in your mind a bit. There are several things that we can talk about here, but the one thing that I really want you to get out of it today is that we are not to believe everything that we see and hear when we are buying and selling.

Of course, this can be discussed on many levels...

* We need to be wise stewards of the money God allows us to use. Good stewardship means informed buying.

* We deal with people everyday, even in our family,  trying to 'sell' us things. My toddler even tries to 'sell' me on why he needs to go to the store and get M & M's. We need to be aware that every human is selfish. As mothers/wives it is our job to seek Christ first about even the little things in life. If you think something is a bad idea, then it probably is so don't let your teen talk you into it!

* Preachers, teachers, friends--they all try to 'sell' you their idea of what they believe. Don't take their word for it.

I've just touched on these things. I just want you to open your mind today and take a look around you to see where Satan might be slithering in and working to deceive you. Think about all areas of your life, and I'll be back tomorrow to discuss it some more.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Proverbs 20 : 9 A Clean Heart

Pro 20:9  Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?

Ah, Solomon . . . he knew just how to get to the heart of the matter, didn't he? Can any of us say that we have made our own heart clean, or that we are pure from our sin?

We must daily seek forgiveness and cleansing, for we cannot accomplish it ourselves. But oh, the joy of knowing that He will hear, and forgive!
Jer 31:34b  . . . for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. 
Here are the words of a sweet old hymn that I love. I hope it is meaningful for you, too.

"Wonderful grace of Jesus, Greater than all my sin; 
How shall my tongue describe it, Where shall its praise begin? 
Taking away my burden, Setting my spirit free; 
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me. 

Wonderful grace of Jesus, Reaching to all the lost; 
By it I have been pardoned, Saved to the uttermost, 
Chains have been torn asunder, Giving me liberty; 
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me. 

Wonderful grace of Jesus, Reaching the most defiled, 
By its transforming power, Making him God's dear child, 
Purchasing peace and heaven, For all eternity; 
And the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me. 

Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus, Deeper than the mighty rolling sea, 
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain, All sufficient grace for even me, Broader than the scope of my transgressions, Greater far than all my sin and shame, 
O magnify the precious name of Jesus, 
Praise His name!"

And just in case you would like to hear it, here is that gospel song, sung by one of my fav quartets -- the Cathedrals:

Have a wonderful weekend, and a blessed Sunday!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Proverbs 20:8 Throne of Judgment

Pro 20:8  A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes.

Matthew Henry notes that this verse describes a good king --- one that sits upon his throne, but not as a throne of honor, where he will be deferred to, and rest easy, and men will make homage to him.
Instead he sits upon his throne and does the work of a ruler: he doles out justice and mercy. He makes war upon his enemies. He makes things right for those who have been injured or harmed.  He punishes those who have done wrong.  He does not delegate matters to others, but is responsible for all of his kingly duties.
Henry says, " He makes his business his delight..."   Surely this is an apt description of a good and wise king.

Is it not also an accurate description of the King of all creation? He metes out judgment to the sinners, but showers mercy to those who claim His promise of salvation. He punishes those who have willfully erred, but gives sweet comfort to those who have been hurt or afflicted.
Jer 9:24  But let the one who boasts, boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight." declares the Lord.
And we have access to this King . . . just check out Hebrews 4:16:
        Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Even more wonderful is this promise --- we can approach Him not just as a King, but as our Father:
         I John 3:1 "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
Lastly, as one of His children, I have great responsibility:
          Matthew 5:16 "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
That is always my prayer --- that my light would shine for Him.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Proverbs 20 : 7 Integrity - A Blessing for Children

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

I hope that you'll bear with me a little today.  I want to indulge in a little shameless-hubby-admiration here.  The first thing I thought of, when I read this verse, was my husband.

Years ago, when the children were all very young, he was offered a promotion in the large corporation that employed him. Discussions with his boss revealed that there would be a lot of changes in store: a move to a much larger city would be required, which would distance the kids from their grandparents, and place them into much different situations as far as playmates and cultural differences. (We lived in the country, on a large piece of land, where the kids could play safely in the pastures, woods, and even the creek. There were homeschooled kids up at our place often, and many softball games and scavenger hunts were played in the pasture.)
There were other changes in store: he found that he'd be expected to entertain many of the customers, at establishments that he usually didn't go to. And he'd be expected to look the other way if the customer wanted to spend some time with someone other than his own spouse. For all of these changes, he would receive a new title, and a significant (huge) increase in pay.
My husband didn't accept that promotion. He chose "the road less traveled" and modeled integrity for his young children to see, and for them to learn from as they grew up. They continued to enjoy and learn from their grandparents' wisdom, and to experience the country life that they now fondly look back on. They may not have had as many toys as they would have, or as fancy a wardrobe, but they smile when they talk of their hikes and games and good memories.  And me? His wife? I've always been proud of that decision, and the integrity that he showed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Proverbs 20 : 6 Worthy of Trust

Pro 20:6  Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

You might be wondering at the picture that I chose for this study . . . in the original language, the word that is translated "proclaim" means just that --- synonyms that were listed were "call out, cry out, preach, and publish."

It's human nature to want to toot our own horns, isn't it? I think we can see that in children, as they joyfully shout about their accomplishment, and wait expectantly for mom and dad to exult with them. Of course, we see it in adults sometimes, too, and it's not quite as cute, is it?  Being proud of reaching a goal is fine, but we often have a tendency to want to brag a little, don't we? Should we be careful of the bragging, and give God the glory for those accomplishments? After all, He gave us the gifts we used, and the strength we needed!

I thought the second half of the verse was very thought-provoking. The word "faithful" in there, is a word that is also translated "trustworthy."  Whether man or woman, a trustworthy individual is a great treasure to find, as a friend, or as a mate. I thank God for the trustworthy man that He brought into my life --- and I pray that I will also be trustworthy for him, and for my Savior.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Proverbs 20 : 5 Dive deep!

Pro 20:5  Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.

Ever heard the saying, "Still water runs deep"? Bet you didn't know that Solomon mentioned it first! I was reminded of drawing water from a well, too, by the last part of the verse.

In Bible times it was much harder to get water than it is today. Wells were considered extremely valuable, and fights (wars, really) would ensue over who owned them, or who had the right to draw water from them. Some of them were very, very deep. My study Bible notes that the well where Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman (in John chapter 4) is thought to be Jacob's well, which was measured in 1935 at about 135 feet deep.     
I think what Solomon is saying here, is that we need discernment (there's that word, again) to pull up the deep thoughts and emotions that are within a person's heart -- like trying to draw up the water from that deep well. Matthew Henry's study note on this verse gives the example of an individual who over many years and many life experiences, has built up a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. These are not usually the people who will scamper about and chatter about all that they know -- you need to draw them out. You do this by showing interest in them, by asking questions, and by thoughtfully probing (notice I did not say "prying" here) and in essence, letting down your bucket into the well.
Another place that this advice holds true is in our family relationships: have you ever thought to yourself, "I wish he (your hubby) would tell me how he feels!" Well, let's see . . . how can we let down a bucket into that well? Perhaps showing interest, and asking quiet questions (Have you had a bad day? How can I help?) and then being certain to listen, will allow us to draw out the thoughts and feelings of our spouse, and strengthen the bond of our marriage as well.
Lastly, do we need to let down a bucket, or to dive deep into another reservoir of wisdom? How about our Bible study time . . . do we need to set aside some time, ask some questions, and then listen for that still, small voice of wisdom?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Agnus Dei

This week's studies sure have given me encouragement to keep pressing on. I want to earn crowns to lay at the feet of my Savior. And when I do lay them at His feet, this is the song that I want to sing:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Proverbs 20:4--part 2--Crowns

Yesterday we took a look at the ant and the grasshopper and hopefully if you did your little homework assignment, you realized we should be storing up heavenly treasures. I also gave you a verse in Revelation about what we will do with those treasures. We will discuss that more fully in a moment, but first let's take a look at these crowns.

Earthly crowns come in all shapes and designs.

But did you know there are different types of heavenly crowns? Let's take a look at them. You will need your Bible for this lesson.

The first crown we will visit is in 2 Timothy 4: 8. This crown of ___________________________is for those who have kept the faith and longed for Christ's return.

Now turn to 1 Thessalonians 2:19. The crown of _________________________ is to all who have helped bring others to Christ.

James 1: 12 tells us that we will receive a crown of ____________________ if we endure temptation and are faithful through trials.

According to 1 Peter 5: 1-4 the crown of _____________________ is reserved for those that serve and shepherd God's people

Finally, 1 Corinthians 9:25 says that those who are self controlled and can subdue the old sinful nature will receive the ______________________________ wreath (crown.).

Of course the crowns above are not ones that we are going to march around showing off like those that wear earthly crowns do. Yesterday I had you read Revelation 4:9-11. We certainly have some work cut out for us. No time to be that lazy grasshopper, huh?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Proverbs 20: 4

The sluggard will not plow by reason of the winter; Therefore he shall beg in harvest, and have nothing. 

This verse is of course the classic story of the ant and the grasshopper. I am sure that you all know the story, and for those that don't I'll post the Disney silly symphony version at the bottom of this post. (Who doesn't love the old Silly symphony cartoons?!)

But let's think about how we can apply this to us...

I started to type out the answer...but then I thought, where is the study in that for you? So, I just erased everything that I typed, and I am encouraging you to look up the following and tell me what you think.

Matthew 6:20
Revelation 4:9-11

I would like to see your comments and then tomorrow we will discuss this in greater detail.

Here is the classic Disney cartoon. It's 8 minutes long...but my toddler enjoyed it :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Proverbs 20:3

It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife; But every fool will be quarreling. 

Oh dear another verse about quarreling. Why do these pop up so often in Proverbs?!

Actually in my home I can truly say (very thankfully!) that strife and quarreling is very minimal. I am so thankful that God has brought me to a place in my life where I (finally) don't have to deal with the stress that strife causes.

I have already shared before that when I read a verse like this my mind immediately thinks about a certain family member. In fact my birth family is all about that strife stuff. Have you heard the phrase, "If these walls could talk.."? Well the walls of my childhood home would tell horror stories. And the walls of my grandparents' home would as well. To this day I just do not understand why all the fighting? Especially from a "Christian" home. Well I do understand actually but I won't get into that here. We all know what happens when our focus is not on Christ.

I found this quote on There is no greater damage to human personality than that which is accomplished by a quarrelsome disposition.

Boy, isn't that the truth?

I would like us to read 2 Timothy 2: 24-25 and I feel that it is so important to today's topic at hand that I am going to type it out because I am afraid that you won't turn to it otherwise:

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Proverbs 20:2

The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion;
He who provokes him to anger forfeits his own life.

Solomon knew exactly what he meant when he spoke this proverb; and keeping in mind that these are proverbs, not promises, we could just move on from right here and say that this verse does not apply to us. I am fairly sure that none of us will stand before an earthly king; and if we somehow find ourselves standing before a king (or President) then I doubt that we will provoke him to anger. (Although I am sure that given the chance we would like to say a thing or two to the President.)

In all seriousness now, we are all to be submissive to those in authority over us. I think today's verse can be applied to that. I know that whether in job situations or here at home, when I have disagreed with one in authority over me, it is my job first to obey. And if I really felt like I needed to discuss my opinion with that person, then tactfully and humbly sure did get me farther than angrily with a finger pointing in the face. 

Please flip over and read Romans 13:1-7 before closing your Bible today. This passage is such a good reminder about our authorities and why we need to pray for them. 


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Have a Happy and Blessed Easter!!

I know that many of you may be too busy with church activities and family gatherings to stop by on Easter Sunday.  If, by chance, any of our readers have stopped in today, I thought I would share a little something with you on this joyous day.

George Frideric Handel is well known for his masterwork, The Messiah. Many people associate this piece with the Christmas season because so many of the songs are related to the birth of Christ. If you step back and take a bird's eye view, however, you'll see that the music actually begins with the prophecies of Christ's coming, then speaks of the miraculous virgin birth and the joyous tidings of the angels, moves forward to the life work of Jesus, and then on to the crucifixion, and the resurrection, and beyond -- the final choruses deal with verses in the book of Revelation.

The climactic Hallelujah Chorus is a triumphant song that one can imagine the angels may have sung on Easter morning:

Hallelujah! For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!
The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our God, and of His Christ!
And He shall reign forever and ever!
King of Kings, and Lord of Lords!

My prayer is that everyone who stops by today and reads this post will be drawn by the Holy Spirit and will thank Jesus for His gift of salvation -- ask Him to forgive your sins and you can begin a new life; a relationship with Him. Don't linger; don't wait.

He is risen --- and He is reaching out to you!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

Many of us will be marking this day with Good Friday services and observances. This is the day that we meditate; we pray; we marvel at the gift of God's love. This God in human flesh, who never, ever sinned, loved us so much that he gave Himself to buy our salvation.

He was humiliated and tormented by the tiny, sin-wracked beings that He created and loved. They spat upon Him, lashed Him, and placed Him on the cross.

He could have called ten thousand angels . . . but He did not. Please listen to the words (if you prefer, you can click to begin, and then look away. Just absorb the music and the words -- don't be distracted by the pictures or by the singers) of these wonderful songs. Consider them reverently and pray, if you will. He died for me, and He died for you. Yes, this is just part of the wonderful story -- but I am in tears as I write. Amazing, wondrous love.

Yes, He was the Lamb that was worthy . . .

I'll have a Sunday post this week -- a reminder of the second (and the best) part of the story!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Proverbs 20 : 1 Tears in a bottle

Pro 20:1  Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

When I was about twelve, I won a writing contest for the local chapter of the Women's Christian Temperance Union . . . you don't hear much about them any more, but they were started in the 1870's by a group of women concerned about the ways that alcohol consumption was ravaging society and families in particular.  I guess that was one of the things that propelled my interest in writing, speaking, and all of the other crazy things I have done in this life that God has gifted me with. (Some would attribute it more to the fact that I was a "ham" but I prefer to think of myself as being concerned enough to get involved, and if needed, to lead. LOL)  Sorry for the digression.

In that prize-winning speech, I referred to alcohol as "tears in a bottle." I was being pretty melodramatic, and to tell you the truth, I think that may be why the elderly ladies chose my essay.  There is an element of truth in the phrase, however, since the abuse of alcohol has damaged lives, marriages, families, and more.

I would prefer not to start down a rabbit trail, (although if y'all would like to discuss it, I'm up for it) about whether or not any alcohol is permitted to the Christian. I think that you will find sincere, decent folks on all sides of the issue. Some will be "tee-totallers" and not touch a drop. Some will have small amounts, ever mindful to not take too much. Both sides will pull verses from the Bible to support their beliefs.

I think, though, that it's fairly simple to see what Solomon was saying here. He starts off by stating that wine is a "mocker" --- wine lies to the drinker, and promises false courage, pleasure, social acceptance. But does it last? Nope. He tells us about strong drink --- many people react to "hard" liquor by raging; they become tough, hard people that they would not be if they were sober. Solomon then says the person who allows himself to be deceived by these substances is not wise. Well, that makes sense, doesn't it? He's been advising us to be discerning, to be wise and prudent, and to gain knowledge. Kinda hard to do those things when you're tipsy.

And in case you're wondering . . . I don't.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Proverbs 19 : 27 - 29 False Teachers

Pro 19:27  Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.
Pro 19:28  An ungodly witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity.
Pro 19:29  Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.

Just don't listen to 'em!!

Ever been told that before?  In these verses, Solomon is drawing a line in the sand . . . he has told us to pay attention to wisdom, to seek instruction from God and from mature, wise, godly folk. Now he is saying to avoid false teachers, and those who would give an ungodly or false witness. Those who would have nothing but scorn for wisdom and true knowledge.

Hmmm. And how does a Christian know if a person is a false teacher? Scripture tells us this can be difficult --- it even tells us that Satan can masquerade as an angel!  Well, even if you are a new Christian, the best way to detect a false teacher or an ungodly witness is to know the truth. Let's face it, if you have a real dollar bill in one hand, and a counterfeit in the other, you are more likely to be able to ferret out the small differences, right? So if you want to be able to spot a counterfeit, you should study the "real deal."  If you "correctly handle the word of truth" (II Tim. 2:15) and make a careful study of the Bible you should be able to identify false doctrine.
There are a couple of questions that can help us out:
            1. What does this person say about Jesus?
            2. Does this person preach the gospel?
            3. Does this person exhibit character traits that glorify God?
In other words, Jesus and His work of redemption are of the utmost importance, so if the teacher denies any of the Scriptures' teachings about Christ, you know it's just not right. And just as importantly, no one has a right to change the message of the gospel - Christ's birth, life, death, and resurrection.  And thirdly, Jesus told us to beware of false teachers, and how to know them:
Mat 7:15  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Mat 7:16  Ye shall know them by their fruits. . .
So, do you see kindness, patience, and purity in the teacher, or do you see greed, rebellion, or pride in them?
It's vitally important to be thoroughly familiar with the truth, so that we can then recognize a counterfeit. Then we can, as Jesus counseled the apostles, "be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Proverbs 19 : 26 That Prodigal Child

You know, I almost chickened out on this one. Yep, I almost asked Tonya to take this, so I could jump back in when this verse was past. Ah, but I realized that there are other verses that say much the same thing, and I need to address this and not stare past it.

You see, I have a prodigal child. My Mister and I do. And we know all about what Solomon is outlining here. And he hasn't covered the half of it.

Here is verse 26:
He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach.
The first thing I want us to notice is that the verb that is translated "wasteth" in the King James, is actually a root that means to be "burly," powerful, strong -- the implication (so my study Bible says) is that to waste here means to ravage, to destroy.
And "chaseth" is translated "drive away" in other places.  Pretty strong words, aye?  They bring up some very vivid images. In my mind's eye I see my hubby, head in hands, asking why his buddy of twenty plus years is rejecting him. In my mind, I hear again my son's voice, telling me on the phone to "stop trying" to contact him. He has definitely tried to drive us away.  And he has made us feel ashamed, though without cause, because others reflect on us, his parents, as having not taught him better, or being in some way to blame . . .  We can see it in their eyes, when they ask if we've heard from him.

Yes, there have been tears and sleepless nights. There have been bittersweet times leafing through photo albums. There have been many, many prayers uttered, and those will continue without ceasing.

But wait ---

--- how many times have I rejected my Lord? Ignored His instruction?

How many times have I told my Savior to stop speaking to me about that certain sin that I don't want to give up? That person that I need to ask to forgive me? That gift that I held back, when I knew He was asking me to give?

Has He cried over me? Yes, He did.  Worse, have I brought shame on His name? Yes, I have.   I see that I am indeed a prodigal child, and I am in need of His love and forgiveness. I am so thankful that all I need to do is to ask:

1Jo 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Proverbs 19 : 25 A Ripple Effect

Are you like me, and you're dusting off the knees of your pants from last week's study with Tonya? She gave us a lot to think about, and a lot to pray about, too.

This week we're starting off with a lesson that could be illustrated by our throwing a pebble into a pond . . . it can be a very tiny pebble, but we will still see ripples spreading out from the place the stone hit the water, right? I imagine all of us have done that; when you were small you may have been with an adult and skipped stones on a pond, or dropped a rock or stick over the side of a wooden pier. Even a tiny pebble dropped into a puddle will have the same effect --- those ripples keep growing and growing.

Pro 19:25  Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.

Here is where the pebble hits the pond -- the punishment of scorners, those who despise wisdom and laugh at instruction, is a means of good to others.  The reproof of wise men will be a means of good to themselves and to others.  Some people have hardened their hearts and will not listen to reproof or instruction, though it is for their benefit. Even if they themselves will not respond to the chastisement, others may see their plight and "clean up their act" before it is too late. In Deuteronomy, God (through Moses) was giving the law to the children of Israel, and telling them the penalty for false witnesses in a trial, saying, "And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you." (Deu 19:20)
In other words, the punishment was to be a warning to others; as the ripples spread out, they would see and not follow the same path.

The second part of the verse is this: the reproof of wise men will always be a means of good to themselves and to others. Solomon must have felt it was pretty obvious -- you don't need to smite the wise man; just a "word to the wise" should be sufficient. And it usually is. Once the wise man (or woman) has been told, he or she will take the reproof to heart, and listen, and learn, and increase in understanding and wisdom. There could be two kinds of ripples here: others can see how the wise person accepts and profits by reproof, and also the wise person can be a gracious instructor of others.