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Archive for February, 2010

verse 17: “That leaves the companion of her youth, And forgets the covenant of her God;”

In this chapter, wisdom is shown how it protects against the evil man and the adulteress. This latter half of the chapter deals with the adulteress. My Ryrie Bible had footnotes on “what kind of woman is the adulteress? She is a flatterer (v. 16); unfaithful to her husband (v. 17); may have a religious background but is backslidden (v. 17); and offers a taste of life but delivers death (vv. 18-19).”

The verse struck a chord with me in regards to our society today. We have too many marriages breaking up, and the reasons don’t hold water. This is hitting not only non-church couples, but church couples with alarming frequency. When a man and a woman enter into holy matrimony, it is a covenant agreement before God. Marriage is not easy, but it seems like divorce (giving up) is easier! That shouldn’t be. It is sad that, in the verse above, the adulteress came from a marital relationship, but left “the companion of her youth”.

Growing old ain’t for sissies. But I’d much rather grow old with my wife who I started married life with! Folks, married life has its ups and downs, but hang in there. The finish line is much more satisfying for those who stay the course with the wife/husband that they started the journey with. Better that you grow old in wisdom together, than learn the hard knocks on the road of divorce.

Have a blessed day!

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Proverbs 2:11-15

verse 11: “Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you,”

May I present the special agents who work for Wisdom, Agent Discretion and Agent Understanding. They each serve a specific purpose here.

Agent Discretion will serve as your bodyguard. Discretion will go with you, be with you at all times. Discretion will guard you from bad situations, advise you before you make a decision that could be treacherous. Discretion cannot stop you if you decide to go against the agent’s advice, but rest assured, Discretion has seen these situations before, and usually the advice this agent gives is sound. If you decide to act without consulting Agent Discretion’s cautious counsel, the outcome (more than likely) will not be good.

Agent Understanding will be your shadow. This agent will be tailing you as you go through your normal routines in the world, and will be watching over you. This agent is an experienced guardian as well, seeing how situations develop and sizing up the likely outcomes, dependent on your participation or non-participation in them. Using this valuable knowledge, this agent is also a good advance scout to keep you from straying into a bad situation.

Now, forgive my humorous personification of these two aspects of wisdom. When I first read the verse, I thought of the old phrase “Discretion is the better part of valor”, a phrase attributed to Falstaff in William Shakespeare’s King Henry the Fourth. (see http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=Discretion+is+the+better+part+of+valor&ia=ahdi). “Caution is preferable to rash bravery.” (see http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=Discretion+is+the+better+part+of+valor&ia=ahcl). If we listen to God, and seek His wisdom in matters of life here on earth, there are a lot of evil situations that we won’t wind up in…especially since we won’t be alone. (Jesus told His followers I will always be with you…for the Christian, that’s assurance of eternal counsel!)

Have a blessed day!

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Proverbs 2:7-10

verse 7: “He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,”

I have a footnote in my Ryrie Bible that states “Wisdom is God-given, not the result of mere human effort or ability (cf 1 Kings 3:ff; James 1:5).” We need to pursue wisdom, but it is God who gives it!

Maybe it’s because of the recent study I went through on the armor of God, but the word “shield” jumped out at me here. There have been several famous celebrities in the news in recent years whose formerly stellar reputations have been shattered due to one moment of bad judgment. Yes, if you seek God’s forgiveness and repent, He will forgive you. You still have to rebuild the trust others had in you, because it had been hurt. Continually walking in integrity isn’t easy, but it is well worth it.

I have a fellow church member who is an avid runner. Whenever I made it to the track, I always…always saw him there, just loping like a deer, passing me, and making his speed look easy! I sometimes thought, you know, he could afford to take a day or two off…he’s in great shape, a missed day or two wouldn’t hurt him! But then I realize why he keeps doing his routine, day after day; the continual discipline of maintaining the regimen keeps him in good shape. That’s the same way with integrity: continually walking in integrity preserves your reputation, and God Himself becomes a shield to you in protecting you as well. But you’ve got to walk the walk!

Have a blessed day!

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verses 4-5: “If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the Lord, And discover the knowledge of God.”

“Yukon Cornelius – the greatest prospector in the North!” I fondly remember this humorous hero from the Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Yukon roamed all over the Arctic with his dog-sled team, trying to find that elusive silver strike (or gold strike, depending on when he’d change his mind!) Though never too busy to lend a hand to his new friends, Hermie and Rudolph, Yukon always got back to his determined main mission: to find the biggest silver/gold lode in the North! “WAHOO!”, he’d cry, tossing his pick-ax in the air, and checking the ice on it where it would plunk down…only to find…”nothing”. Still he kept on.

Would that we would pursue wisdom with this determination! The verses above state that. Men always pursued money in Bible times, and they do it today too. However, wisdom…the fear of the Lord….the knowledge of God…is more precious than silver (the old hymn by the same title says as much!) “…and nothing I desire compares with You.”

Have a blessed day!

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verses 28-29: “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me, Because they hated knowledge, And did not choose the fear of the Lord.”

Solomon, in this passage, is speaking of wisdom as something to be sought and followed. That even though wisdom will cry out to those in the streets to listen, that some will not. And on the day those people reap the whirlwind, wisdom will not listen to their cries then.

I see that same analogy to the invitation to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Today, in Christ-fearing churches, there is always an invitation at the end of most services; an invitation to come and know Jesus personally as your Lord and Savior. But check in Revelation: one day it will be too late. One day, the invitation will be no more. If you don’t know Jesus by that day…what a truly horrible day that would be.

Thank Jesus if you know Him today! If you don’t yet, the invitation is still open right now.

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verse 19: “So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; It takes away the life of its possessors.”

Back in the 1990’s, there was a situation comedy on the Fox television network called Roc. (For a synopsis and refresher of the series, I went to Wikipedia.org and looked under “Roc (TV show)”). The show starred Charles S. Dutton as Roc Emerson, a garbage collector who lived with his wife and relatives in Baltimore. Besides the usual family sitcom humor found in such shows, Roc also tackled social issues. One of the dominant storylines was the conflict between Roc, a morally upright citizen, and a recently arrived drug dealer named Andre (played by Clifton Powell). Their efforts against each other culminated in Andre being shot and hospitalized (Roc, although a prime suspect, was not the shooter…the shooter was discovered to be another character in the show). Andre recovers and is confronted by other characters in the show “about his continuing to trouble the community. After later expressing a measure of respect toward Roc, Andre would soon begin steps toward reformation.”–Wikipedia

Even though I didn’t watch the show every week, I remember reading an article about this storyline. I believe it was Charles S. Dutton who stated that they wanted to convey to young people watching the show that the so-called glamorous life of drug dealers wasn’t glamorous…that it often led to violence and to the violent loss of life of those involved in it. That stuck in my mind.

Among the principles most of us are taught growing up is the one about good triumphing over evil. Even when it seems that evil prospers, good will win out in the end. It may be hard to see that in today’s life, but it is true. The wicked will prosper at times, and even win a few battles. However, I found a great quote in the Holman concordance on Proverbs that relates to this: “God permits the wicked, but not forever.”–Sir Thomas Fuller. Remember, you can check out the “end of the story” in Revelation! So ask yourself today: whose side are you on?

Have a blessed day!

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Proverbs 1:17-18

verse 17: “Indeed, it is useless to spread the net In the eyes of any bird;”

Ever looked into a fishing tackle box? I remember how neat it was to look in my father’s box when I was a boy and we first went fishing. I thought it was amazing to look in all the little trays and see all the brightly-colored and oddly-shaped “things”. I remember being told that these were lures to attract the fish (didn’t understand at the time how a fish could think one of these things was something to eat!) Of course, the lures were designed to mask that dull steel hook attached to the fishing line.

The verse above seems like perfect common sense; would you walk into a trap you knew was a trap and that you could see was a trap? Of course not. The devil is the prince of deception; he’ll make sin look as appealing as apple pie. Sometimes in this old world, common sense is found to be…uncommon. You wouldn’t want to drive on an unfamiliar road without a map, correct? So don’t drive through the hidden dangers in life without the Christian’s guidebook (the Bible) to educate you!

Have a blessed day!

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Proverbs 1:8-16

verse 8: “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, And do not forsake your mother’s teaching;”

In a nutshell, this sounds like the main prayer of every parent for their children! 🙂

I have a friend who grew up literally without being raised by his parents. (other relatives primarily helped raise him). Today, I know him as a good friend… he is extremely intelligent, driven, ambitious, married to a good wife, striving to be a good father to his children (and yes, he is a Christian!). He has weathered his childhood well, much better than most who would be thrown into that situation. Yet there are times I have been concerned for him during times of family and work stress; I have offered my advice when he has asked for it, and offered my ear if he ever wants to talk. There are times I feel for him, because he has no father or mother he can turn to.

I thank God that I was blessed with a father and a mother growing up. In looking back, I think they did a pretty good job raising me. 🙂 It’s always been a comfort that I take for granted that I can still go back and get their advice when needed. Children need the guidance of their parents, especially in today’s world. Parents do not need to forsake their roles, for teaching and preparing children for adulthood is still one of the most precious and trusted responsibilities that God can give you. We, as parents, need to be rooted in God’s word and teaching, in order to better give that instruction to our children.

Have a blessed day!

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Proverbs 1:7

verse 7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Remember the movie Cars that came out a few years back? (if you haven’t seen it, the following paragraphs may “spoil” it, so skip to the end if you don’t want to know the plot!)

It was the Disney-Pixar animated tale of an up-and-coming race car named Lightning McQueen and his quest to be the champion of the Piston Cup series. Along the way to the championship tie-breaker race, he gets marooned in a small town, working off a fine for inadvertently tearing up the street.

Still arrogant and self-centered, he winds up racing the town doctor and judge to a one-lap race, which to his own amazement he loses. During a break from working off the fine, he keeps constantly trying to figure out why he spun out on the 3rd turn. Doc Hudson looks on, finally driving up to try and tell “the rookie” what he did wrong. Lightning arrogantly refuses to listen; it’s not till later in the movie that Lightning discovers that Doc Hudson is really the retired Hudson Hornet, the famous racing car and 3-time Piston Cup champion. When Lightning then tries to ask him questions, Doc retorts, “oh, sure, now you want to listen to me!”

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”…it wasn’t till Lightning realized who Doc was that he respected him and wanted to learn from him…but Doc was who he was before Lightning realized that.

God was, is, and will ever be…God! He reigns…He is the Creator…He is omniscient and omnipotent. Even though He gave us free will, we won’t learn anything in our quest for wisdom until we acknowledge who He is! Then we can start.

Something to think about; have a blessed day!

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Hello, everyone! Welcome to the beginning of the study on Proverbs. This study will be much like the one I did for 1 and 2 Corinthians…we’ll read through chapter by chapter, and, with God’s guidance, I’ll share some insights on verses He points out to me. So, on with the book!

verses 5-6: “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles.”

There is one rule about “helping Daddy” that I always tell my sons: “what is the first rule when you help Daddy?” Answer: “follow instructions!” My sons are eager to help me (when they are helping me. 🙂 ) However, they are not going to know what to do or how to do it unless they receive instruction. They might know how to do something…but they might not know the best, most efficient way to do it unless they receive counsel.

Homework, for instance, can seem hard to an elementary school-age child. On several occasions, my sons couldn’t understand what was being asked in math problems. I rephrased the questions in ways they would understand, and thus explain the process of how to arrive at the answer. They grasped the concepts I explained to them, and they understood it. Up till that moment, though, those math problems were undecipherable riddles to them that made no sense.

The wisdom that Solomon had, was granted to him by God. When he ascended to the throne of his father David, Solomon knew he would need God’s help to rule the people wisely, and when God offered him any gift, he asked for wisdom. God still reigns today, and knows all. He may choose to answer a question in a different response than we expect. However the question is answered, it’s not because He doesn’t know the answer. God knows better for us than we know ourselves. Remember, Jesus also said in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given to you…” Sometimes, all you have to do to gain the answers…is to ask.

Have a blessed day!

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