Archive for July, 2010

verse 14: “Where there is no guidance, the people fall, But in abundance of counselors, there is victory.”

I read this verse, and quickly thought about a recent college football coach; he had hired a renowned offensive coordinator to get some more production out of his offensive unit. The only trouble was, despite all the talent this team had, the new coordinator (who was supposed to be in charge of the offense) seemed to clash with all the veteran assistants who were under him. The assistants had been there for some years, and did things their way. Confusion set in, and the leadership of this team seemed to be floundering; without a cohesive staff where everyone was on the same page, the players seemed confused and disoriented. Ultimately, there was a “clean sweep” of the coaching staff, including the head coach. Once the new head coach was in place, he assembled a staff under him, and most importantly, made sure all were on the same page with their coaching philosophy. The team now seems to be rebounding under united leadership.

Like a mighty ship, when there is no guidance, disaster will soon follow. With the aid of all who do their jobs and offer counsel from their positions, the captain is in a much better position to steer the ship and sail through the course without incident. I think of the counselors God gives us in our lives: parents, teachers, mentors, pastors. He doesn’t want to see us flounder; the beauty of His counselors is that, when they serve and follow Him faithfully, all are on the same page. Like the song says, the anchor holds.

Have a blessed day!


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verses 9-11: “With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered. When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, And when the wicked perish, there is glad shouting. By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, But by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down.”

The toast of the town. Getting the key to the city. The talk of the town. The pride of the community. “Won’t you be my neighbor?” (with a sentimental thanks to Mister Rogers!)

All of these phrases point to the fact that, unless you are a hermit, we do live in groups with other people: communities, towns, cities, society. We have neighbors. In most cases, this is good. I grew up in a small town, where most everyone knew everybody else. There was a sense of security in knowing your neighbors, interacting with your neighbors, and being friends with them. In a way, it made your own family bigger.

Just as in your own immediate family, when things are going well for you, your community (neighbors) rejoice with you. I think of times when couples bring home a new baby from the hospital, how all the neighbors wanted to come visit and offer congratulations. I remember the times when tragedy struck, when neighbors would come by to see if they could lend a hand.

Sometimes you have those in the community, who do nothing but make trouble. I recall the old sayings I’d hear my parents say about a troublemaker: “tarred and feathered” and “being run out of town on a rail”! A wicked person’s behavior was not tolerated long.

As Christians, we need to be good neighbors. We need to reach out to our neighbors; we also need to invite them to the community we are members of, through the blood of Jesus Christ. Because one day, we’ll move away from the old neighborhood…and settle in at a new, heavenly address. Until then, be a pillar in the community for Christ; don’t be a pillar of salt.

Have a blessed day!

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Proverbs 11:1-8

verse 1: “A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, But a just weight is His delight.”

The scale: yes, that device most people have in their bathrooms, that sometimes painfully-honest thing that lets you know how much you weigh. In years past, the scales had rotary dials that would spin around and show you your weight. Most sets like that also had an adjustment knob in case the scale didn’t reset perfectly to zero (or in case someone was trying to “adjust” the scales to not weigh as heavy!) Today’s digital versions are, in most cases, electronically accurate…and also impossible to fudge the reading! 🙂 Readers of the Garfield comic strip will remember certain storylines where the talking scale would add insult to injury and make some snide comment to Garfield about his weight…usually resulting in Garfield jumping on it till his he had pounded the scale into oblivion!

The scale, like it or not, is a device to give accurate and fair readings. The Lord is honest and just…and fair. We may not always agree with His fairness; like a child saying “That’s not fair!” we tend to sometimes interpret fairness from our point of view. However, God abhors dishonesty. One of my hot-button issues with my children is “don’t ever lie to Daddy!”. God says the same thing; what’s more, God is not fooled…he has no adjustment dial! His Word is Truth.

Remember, God is fair. He is also merciful, and ready to forgive sins; all we have to do is come to Him…and be honest.

Something to think about.

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verse 23: “Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool; And so is wisdom to a man of understanding.”

Why do most people participate in sports? Any sport here: football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey, tennis, golf, track, etc. Some folks participate because it’s their job or occupation. Some participate as part of an outreach program. Others participate as teachers of not only the rules of the games, but its principles. Some participate due to the benefits of exercise. More than often, though, people participate because they have fun and enjoy it.

The verse Solomon wrote here states that “wickedness is like sport to a fool”; they do evil because they enjoy it. My Holman reference even had a statement suggesting that they look on godly people as “killjoys” (and I’ve been called worse than that!). But Solomon suggests that the opposite side of the coin is true, too: to wise people, participating in wisdom is fun as well! So if you were going to participate in an activity that would be very beneficial or very detrimental…which would you choose?

Something to think about.

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verse 22: “It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, And He adds no sorrow to it.”

One of the television programs I used to enjoy watching when I was in college was Fantasy Island, starring Ricardo Montalban. He played Mr. Roarke, the host of the island where, for a fee, the guest could live out a stated fantasy. Most of the time, when the guests did get to live out their wildest dreams, they found out that the dream wasn’t as wild as they thought or that it was wilder than they imagined…they wanted out! There was usually a moral or lesson attached to these episodes.

People tend to think that money can buy happiness. The verse above states that “it is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich.” When man attempts to gain wealth outside of God’s blessings and will, he finds out that there is a lot of headache and grief that comes along with it. God attaches no such sorrow to His blessing.

Something to think about.

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verse 19: “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.”

Ecclesiastes 3:7b puts it thusly: “A time to be silent, and a time to speak.”

One of the more humorous examples of this is our old pal, Bugs Bunny. In the cartoon, “Bugs and Thugs”, Bugs has accidentally gotten into the back seat of the getaway vehicle of the vertically-challenged (okay, he was short! 🙂 ) bank-robber, Rocky. Finding out that Bugs is a witness to his latest holdup, Rocky tells his henchman, Muggsy, that we got to “take this rabbit for a ride.” Bugs continues chattering like he always does, until Rocky thrusts his gun at him and tells him to “shaddup.” Even then Bugs continues to protest that, of course, he’ll shut up, does he look like the type to not shut up, etc. Of course, Bugs does shut up…after Rocky plugs his mouth with his gun and tells him to “shaddup, shutenup!”

Sometimes talking too much can lead to trouble. It can be especially true in emotional situations. Once words are spoken, especially hurtful words, you immediately wish you could grab them with your hand and pull them back. Oswald Chambers had a very appropriate quote on this (it was used in the Holman Concordance): “The great test of a man’s character is his tongue.”

Something to think about today.

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verse 17: “He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, But he who forsakes reproof goes astray.”

Back in college, when I was in the marching band, we used drill sheets that showed the various formations we would be in during the halftime performance. All band students had a number or some designation to let you know where you were in whatever particular “picture” we were forming on the field. I used to memorize my positions faster than some of my fellow band-mates; when the director would announce “go to the beginning of this tune”, we would run…not walk…to our position. It got to be a running joke that I would jump back into position first, and several band-mates (knowing they were near me) would align themselves accordingly.

Thus on the few times I was not correct in where I lined up (yes, there were a few. 🙂 ), my fellow band-mates would also be out of line, and the director could easily see the wrong picture from atop the tower overlooking the field. My friends would tease me, I would tease them back by calling them “sheep” and we’d laugh about it and get in the right formation.

I mention this particular story, because of the verse above. I saw an interesting statement on this verse in the Holman concordance, stating that, not only following discipline/correction affects us, it affects those who follow us, or whom we lead to follow us. When you stray off course, check your compass (the Bible) or allow a trusted friend (Jesus) to guide you back on course. Keep your eyes on Jesus throughout life’s journey today; you won’t go astray.

Have a blessed day!

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verse 12: “Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.”

Love and hate. Two polar opposites. One builds, one destroys.

Merriam-Webster.com defines “hate” as: “1 a : intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury b : extreme dislike or antipathy : loathing…”

I could list out a full paragraph of what hate is like; I could quote real and fictitious examples, and not even began to touch on the subject. Hate is a destroyer. At the same time, I could list and quote examples of what true love is, and not even come close to describing it in the fullest sense….except for one word: Jesus.

As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13, love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” There are times as human beings, that we can only love with Christ’s love, because we can’t love to that degree in our own humanity. These are deep concepts.

So which would you rather be? A destroyer or a builder?

Something to think about.

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Proverbs 10:9-11

verse 9: “He who walks in integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out.”

Have you ever done something wrong, thought you were safe from detection, but later worried that someone would find out? It’s kind of hard to walk through life, constantly worrying and looking over your shoulder. What’s ironic about all that is that, even if you covered your misdeed so completely that no other person knows about it….God knows.

This verse refers to those who walk in integrity, those who walk with a clear conscience. Their walk is worry-free and secure. On the other hand, “he who perverts his ways will be found out.” It’s not a matter of if, but when.

Confess your sins to Jesus today, accept His saving grace, and you too can walk securely.

Have a blessed day!

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verse 5: “He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, But he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.”

Growing up on a farm, we had a nice-sized garden. We were not farmers by trade, but my folks liked to grow their own corn, butterbeans, peas, etc. My siblings and I knew that at the right time, it would be the time to harvest the crops if we wanted to enjoy that food during winter and later on. Even though we kids are grown up now, my folks still have a small garden. Recently, my father had to be in the hospital for the period of a week due to kidney stone complications. When we went to visit them, we talked with my mother (my father was asleep). She commented that back home, most of the crop went to waste because there was no one to pick it. All the work she had put in, had to go by the wayside.

Obviously, she was more concerned with my father, and didn’t worry about the crop. They weren’t in danger of starving, and they weren’t farmers by trade. But I noted, the harvest comes at the time to pick it; it won’t wait due to other emergencies.

Solomon is talking about the wise son of a farmer, who is “at the ready” to move into action when the crops are ripe and ready to be picked. The foolish son sleeps, is not diligent and dependable, and thus the harvest spoils because he didn’t act wisely; he becomes a shame to his farmer father.

There’s another type of harvest ready today. It’s the harvest of souls out in the mission field. A familiar song comes to mind, “Lord of the Harvest” (by Paul Smith and James Newton Howard). Read the second verse below:

Time like a free wind so quickly slips away,
Too soon today is tomorrow, too soon a yesterday,
So little time for the reaping, and laborers are few,
Lift your head to the fields of white, the work that we must do.

Pray that you would be diligent for Jesus today; the harvest is ready, but the laborers are few.

Have a blessed day.

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