Saturday, October 10, 2015

Proverbs 4:10—19: It's very plain and simple.

Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many. I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble. Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life. Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on. For they do not sleep unless they have done evil; and their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. Proverbs 4:10—19

It's all about the VERBS, adverbs and adjectives. 
At the beginning of my study, I mentioned that Proverbs is all about the VERBS! It's action. Here we have a clear example of the action that we are to take. And we also are given warnings of which actions we are not to take! No question as to what we are to do. It's very plain and simple. 

DO: Hear. Receive. Taught. Led. Walk. Run. Take firm hold. Keep. Avoid. Turn away. Shines.
Do NOT: Let go. Enter. Walk. Travel. Eat. Drink. Know. 

But it's not JUST about the Verbs, as we need to pay close attention the adverbs and adjectives used to explain exactly what the action is. And thankfully, God in His wisdom, makes it all very plain and simple! 

DO: Hear. Receive. Taught. Led. Walk. Run. Take firm hold. Keep. Avoid. Turn away. Shines.
Do NOT: Let go. Enter. Walk. Travel. Eat. Drink. Know. 

It all begins with hearing and receiving the instruction of Wisdom! Hear with attention, interest, listen to and receive, take possession of the wisdom given. And when one hears and receives wisdom, then the other "do" actions will follow! 

It's very plain and simple. Do. Do not. And the first "do" is to have a heart that is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). For the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom! It's very plain and simple—now just DO it. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Proverbs 4:8,9: Mug Shot

Exalt her, and she will promote you; she will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you. Proverbs 4:8, 9

Exalt: esteem highly, prize
Promote: lift up
Honor: make honorable, glorify
When: enunciating the conditions under which a future action is conceived as possible
Embrace: to clasp

Place: give, put
Ornament: wreath 
Grace: favor, elegance
Crown of glory: of rank
Deliver: give, to hand safely over

In Proverbs 4:5-7 we learned that we were to put forth an "all-out effort" to get wisdom. And as we realize the true value of wisdom, wisdom "treats us right". Wisdom is the one that promotes us, and honors us, and gives us the rank of grace and glory. 

How often do we search for recognition and in searching do stupid stuff, thinking that we will be recognized. Sadly, we are given the attention—but all for the wrong reasons. It reminded me of the "Wall of Shame" posted by law enforcement agencies. Every month mug shots are posted of those caught shop lifting. And as you look at those images, you see the toll that sin has taken on the individuals. For no one looks good in mug shots, no glory, no honor, no grace. 

What does my "mug shot" look like to those around me? And more importantly what does it look like to God? Am I embracing wisdom and holding wisdom to the place of value she has? If so, my life should reflect that—my "mug shot" would be one showing glory and honor.

For my "mug shot" to reflect wisdom, my heart must be permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). For when I fear God, I'll want to highly esteem His wisdom and embrace it tightly. 

What does your "mug shot" reflect? 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Proverbs 4:5-7: All-out Effort

Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. and in all your getting, get understanding. Proverbs 4:5-7

Get: by implication to own -- attain 
Wisdom: ethical and religious
Understanding: the faculty (an ability, natural or acquired, for a particular kind of action)
Do not forget: cause to forget, to be oblivious of
Turn away: to bend away (including moral deflection)

Forsake: be remote, absent, depart
Perserve: keep, watch, guard, protect
Love: beloved like, friend, to have affection for
Keep: guard from dangers, preserve

Principal: absolute chief, the first, in place, time, order or rank
Understanding: discernment

As I read these verses, I couldn't help but picture a football game. The intense desire of the teams to "get the ball" to "get the touchdown". Offense and Defense want that ball — and all the effort is directed to getting it! Offense has the ball, and what they do with it, is key if they want to keep it and score. Defense is in an all-out effort to get that ball either by causing a fumble, interception, or taking over on downs. All-out effort is put forth in "getting". 

Do I put forth the same effort in getting Wisdom? Do I get an all-out effort to get the treasure of Wisdom? 
And once I get wisdom, what do I do with it? Do I use it, or do I hide in the locker room? Having wisdom is one thing, but using the understanding of wisdom is a different level of play. It's using wisdom to direct my life. Wisdom should be a good friend, whom I want to have beside me throughout life. No matter what comes, wisdom will be there to direct and guard me.

Wisdom should be the first and foremost thing which I desire and strive to get, and it should have first place in my life. Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord and that begins with a heart permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31MSG). 

All-out effort. First and foremost. Get Wisdom. It will change your life! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Proverbs 4:3, 4: Influence

When I was my father’s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, He also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live. Proverbs 4:3, 4

Heart: mind will, heart, from influence of 
Retain: hold, keep, hold firmly
Keep: observe = follow dictates of prudence, justice, kindness, wisdom
Commands: code of wisdom
Live: continue in life, remain alive

Influence. What makes us act, speak, think the way we do. We are all influenced by something or someone. And that influence impacts our life. 

When wisdom influences then the result is positive. However, in order for wisdom to be able to influence, the words, and code of wisdom must be known and held onto firmly. For what we don't know can't influence us. 

Influence. Impact. Predominance. What will control my thoughts, my actions, my attitude, my motives? If I want wisdom to have the greatest influence, then I had better grasp it and hold firmly to wisdom.

The only way for a heart to truly be influenced by wisdom, is of it to be permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). For a heart that respects and fears God, will be ready to hear and be influenced by wisdom.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Proverbs 4:1, 2: It's been given.

Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding; For I give you good doctrine: do not forsake my law. Proverbs 4:1, 2

Hear: hear with attention, interest, listen to
Instruction: chastening, correction
Give attention: cause to hearken, give heed, incline, to prick up the ears
Know: absolute have knowledge, be wise
Understanding: the object of knowledge, discernment

Good: (ethical), right, of God
Doctrine: teaching, object, as thing taught
Forsake: fail to follow, obey advice, instruction, wisdom, reproof
Law: direction, instruction

What was the last gift you received? We all enjoy receiving gifts. Some are thoughtful gifts. Some are funny or gag gifts which make us laugh. Some gifts are for special occasions/holidays. Some are spur of the moment, just because gifts. 
No matter the reason for the gift, we take the gift, open it and respond. 

We are give a very precious gift—wisdom, sound solid instruction. How we respond to that gift speaks a lot about us and our desires. If we accept the gift and treasure it, putting it to good use and obey it—our lives will be filled with peaceful refreshment (Proverbs 3:8). 

Accept the gift—it's been given. Yet, only when my heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), will I hear and accept what is given. For when I have a fear and respect for God, I will want to accept His instruction and wisdom and obey the truth. 

It's been given. Will you accept it?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Proverbs 3:31-35: There is a choice to be made.

Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways; For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, but His secret counsel is with the upright. The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the just. Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble. The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the legacy of fools. Proverbs 3:31-35

Envy: a feeling of discontent or covetousness withregard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc.
Oppressor: one who is or promotes violence and wrong
Choose: man's choice
None: all, the whole
Ways: of moral action and character

Perverse: to turn aside, depart, devious, crooked
Abomination: something disgusting; ethical sense to God and His people
Counsel: circle of familiar friends
Upright: straightforward, just, well-pleased, righteous

Wicked: one guilty of crime, deserving punishment
Just: just, righteous, in conduct and character

Scorns: open or unqualified contempt; disdain
Grace: favor, acceptance
Humble: lowly

Wise: ethically and religiously
Inherit: have or get as a possession
Glory: honor, dignity of position
Shame: personal dishonor, disgrace
Legacy: lift up, exalt, promotion
Fools: stupid fellow

There is a choice to be made.
Choose one who is and/or promoted violence. Choose be in the company of the devious and those who are disgusting (to God). Choose to dwell with those who are guilty crime and deserve punishment. Choose those who are contempt. Choose to leave a legacy be known for being a fool. 

There is a choice to be made.
Choose to be among the circle of the just and well-pleased before God. Choose to live in a home filled with righteous conduct and character. Choose to live in humility before God. Choose to be wise ethically and religiously and enjoy the possession of honor. 

There is a choice to be made. And to make the right choice, my heart must be permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). 
What choice will you make today? 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Proverbs 3:27-30: Simple Clear Instructions

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,” when you have it with you. Do not devise evil against your neighbor, for he dwells by you for safety’s sake. Do not strive with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm. Proverbs 3:27-30

These verses give clear instructions on how wisdom is to be put into action. Simple. Concise. And to the point. 

Do good. Don't delay. Be kind. Treat your neighbor well. 

I remember growing up, we all knew our neighbors. We spent time riding bikes, and playing in the neighborhood. We knew how lived in each home and they knew us (so we had to be good since they'd tell our parents, lol)

It's harder to get to know our neighbors today. No one wants to be friendly, because they might be asked to do something. Everyone wants to stay to themselves and "mind their own business". 

Do not withhold good from whom it is due—we all can show kindness to others. Sometimes it's a "Good morning", or a wave. Other times it's helping out in bigger ways—maybe moving a trash can or helping mow, or weed..... the list really is endless. 

We often will help those living on the other side of the World, through a donation (which isn't bad), but there  is no personal connection. Perhaps we all need to take time to meet our neighbors and show some true kindness. 

If my heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), then it should show forth in my actions. Proverbs 3:27-30 list some very specific ways to put wisdom into practice. Do good. Don't delay. Be kind. Treat your neighbor well. Simple clear instructions.