Saturday, October 17, 2015

Proverbs 6:12-15: A Good-for-Nothing

A worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth;
He winks with his eyes, he shuffles his feet, he points with his fingers;
Perversity is in his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord.
Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly; suddenly he shall be broken without remedy. Proverbs 6:12-16

Worthless: good-for-nothing, naughty, without profit
Wicked: workers of trouble, evil-doers, workers of iniquity
Walks: ways (counsels, statutes)
Perverse: fraudulent
Mouth: speech with bad qualities ascribed to it

The characteristics of a good-for-nothing person are displayed in his actions and his speech for it all flows out of a heart that is evil. His body language even shows his wickedness and good-for-nothing attitude and heart. 
A good-for-nothing. Continues to practice evil and spread strife and contention to all around him. 

A good-for-nothing. That's not what I want to be known for! And in order to keep from becoming a good-for-nothing person, I must have a heart that is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). For if the fear of God is in one's heart, than perverse things cannot take root. 

A good-for-nothing. If I don't what that characteristic, then I must listen to God and get His wisdom and apply it to my life! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Proverbs 6:6-11: Be Wise

Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? when will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep— So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man. Proverbs 6:6-11

Free stuff. I have a right to it. I deserve it. I'm entitled!  

Sadly, that is the theme heard throughout the current generations. The entitlement dilemma has created a dangerous precedent and a very lazy and selfish generation. When one doesn't have to work for something, there is no appreciation of it. There is no understanding of value. No respect is gained when just handed everything all the time. 

Hard work. Diligence. Understanding of value. Giving and gaining respect. These are characteristics of a wise person. 

Laziness. It's easy to be lazy and find excuses not to get work done. It's much more fun to spend time on Facebook, or watch TV, or............ there are many things which are a great deal more fun than work! However, God has much to say about being lazy. 

This link lists 16 verses about being lazy: 

Oh, and did you notice that none of the verses listed above, say anything good about being lazy? 

Laziness or the idea that I don't have to do anything, just be handed everything—that is a dangerous mindset. One verse that rings true is: Proverbs 16:27 "A worthless person plots trouble, and his speech is like a burning fire." An old quote says it this way, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop." Meaning if you are lazy, you will get into trouble! 

Remember Proverbs is all about the VERBS! And we are told in Proverbs 6:6 to Be Wise: become wise, act wisely. Become wise, gain wisdom and knowledge—then ACT wisely! Don't be lazy. Put that wisdom into action! 

Having a heart that is permitted with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG) is the place to start. BUT, it doesn't stop there! There is to be followthrough there is to be action! Not just head knowledge but wisdom which is put to good use. BE WISE: become wise, act wisely. 

Be lazy: act foolishly. Be wise: act wisely. The choice is yours.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Proverbs 6:1-5: Be Careful

My son, if you become surety for your friend .....maybe this translation would be easier to understand:

My ·child be careful about giving a guarantee for ·somebody else’s loan, about promising to pay what someone else owes.
You ·might get trapped by what you say; you ·might be caught by ·your own words.. My ·child, if you have done this and are under your ·neighbor’s control, here is how to ·get free. Don’t be proud. Go to your ·neighbor and ·beg to be free from your promise. Don’t ·go to sleep or ·even rest your eyes, but ·free yourself like a ·deer running from ·a hunter, like a bird flying away from a ·trapper. Proverbs 6:1-5 EXB

I'd do ANYTHING for you. I'd help you ANYWAY that I can. How often have we said those words to someone? And if that person returns asking for help, what do we do? 

This is a warning... BE may get caught in a trap, "roped into something". You want to do the "right thing" but you need to guard yourself. Helping someone is not always the RIGHT thing to do. Don't let someone guilt you into doing something that you really should do. 

If you do find yourself in a situation, what do you do? Be humble. Realize that you did make a mistake. And work on correcting it. Don't ignore it. Address it. Take care of it. 

I think this warning is also for the "friend". We shouldn't ask someone to do something for us which first, we shouldn't be involved with, and second, if we can't do it ourselves—should we be doing it? 

How often do we find ourselves in situations where helping seems right, but actually causes the person we help to not learn and grow? Do we become enablers to someone's wrong decisions? Do we become enablers to someone who doesn't want to realize the consequences of his/her choices? 
And what is our motive for helping the friend? 

Should I give help? Yes or no, what is the right answer? Making the right choices begin when a heart is permeated with a deeps sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). Remember the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. And it take godly wisdom to know if helping someone is right or wrong. Be careful, a good warning for us all. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Proverbs 5:21-23: Freedom

For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. Proverbs 5:21-23
God sees and ponders the course of life each man chooses. Nothing 'gets by' the Lord!

There are many photos and videos of pets who have gotten into trouble, but give the sad "puppy dog eyes" when confronted. The pet is sitting in the middle of foam which he tore out of the sofa, or the red lipstick as colored the fur of the one who ate it, or the toilet paper is still stuck to the cat who unrolled the entire roll. They could not hide from their mischievous actions—they were captured "red handed". That is how sin is in our lives. We can become so entangled that no matter how we try to hide it, it's very evident; for sin has consequences.  

When a man sins, he becomes captured or seized by his own sins. He is entangled by the ropes of sin.  Many say that they sin because they have "freedom". However, when you look at their life, they aren't really free at all.
We want freedom to "do drugs". But we see over and over the sadness and even death that addiction and drug abuse cause.
We want freedom to "be sexually free". Yet, we continue to see the damage that "causal sex" has on relationships and self-esteem. We see the medical consequences of immoral sin as diseases increase. 
We want freedom to ...... the list continues. 

Yet, we continue to see that the freedom that sin promises is not true freedom for it comes with the ropes that entangle and trap in despair and death.

Proverbs 5:23 states it very clearly. For want of, or without discipline, chastening, correction man will die prematurely, by neglect of wise moral conduct. The abundance of his foolishness go astray morally. 

Freedom. Freedom following Wisdom. Or the false freedom that neglecting wise moral conduct offers. Which will you choose? 

When a heart is permeated by a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), then there is a  desire to hear and obey wisdom—which leads to ultimate freedom! 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Proverbs 5:7-20: How did I get here?

And say: “How I have hated instruction, and my heart despised correction! I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me! I was on the verge of total ruin, In the midst of the assembly and congregation.” Proverbs 5:12-14

Proverbs 5:7-20 discuss what happens with you throw Wisdom aside and follow after the "strange, foreign woman"—the one who leads a you away from Wisdom. In the middle of these verses we find Proverbs 5:12-14. 

Hated: despised
Instruction: discipline, chastening, correction
Heart: mind, will

Despised: abhor, treat with contempt

Correction: reproof, chiding

Obeyed: hear, absolute be obedient, "do obey"
Voice: thing said, often of advice, command, entreaty
Teachers: archer who shoots straight, aiming toward the bullseye
Inclined: especially incline (bend toward) the ear, of men (in obedience to God)
Ear: attention, listen
Instructed: to exercise in, learn

On the verge: within a little, almost
Total ruin: evil, distress, adversity
Assembly: properly company assembled together by appointment, or acting concertedly (planned or devised together)

Congregation: assembly specially convoked: for evil counsel

How did I get here? That is often the question when we find ourselves in bad situations. How did I get here? I don't belong. I am miserable. I have NO right be to here. 
How did I get here? It all begins with those hating discipline and despising correction. Once you say, "NO!" to Wisdom it is followed by disobedience, ignoring all that you've been taught.... and soon you find yourself in a situation surrounded by evil, distress, adversity asking the question: "How did I get here?" 

How did I get here? It's was based on a choice you made. A decision to treat wisdom with contempt and choose to join those that love evil. It's not by happenstance that you find yourself in the middle of people who provide evil council—rather it's PLANNED. I didn't "plan" to end up HERE! Well when you abhor Wisdom—where did you think find yourself? 

How did I get here? If you find yourself asking that question, then the first thing you need to do is turn to God and ask forgiveness. 
If you want to keep from having to ask yourself "How did I get here?" then you need to make sure that your heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). For when you fear God, you are open and willing to hear and obey His Wisdom. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Proverbs 5:1-6: Real vs Counterfeit. Can you distinguish between the two?

My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding,
That you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge.
For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil;
But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of hell.
Lest you ponder her path of life—her ways are unstable; you do not know them. Proverbs 5:1-6

Pay attention: cause to hearken, give heed, prick the ears
Wisdom: ethical and religious
Lend your ear:  especially incline the ear, of men (in obedience to God)
Understanding: the object of knowledge

That you may preserve: observe = follow dictates of (prudence, justice, kindness, wisdom)
Discretion: power of devising, purpose
Keep: guard with fidelity (strict observance of promises, duties, faithful, loyal)
Knowledge: discernment, understanding, wisdom

Lips: language (babbling)
Immoral woman: stranger, not of the family, harlot
Mouth: speech
Smoother than oil: figurative of mouth uttering smooth, flattering words

But in the end: the future, later
Bitter: angry, discontented
Wormwood: to curse; regarded as poisonous, hemlock
Two-edged: mouth
Sword: instrument of war; of grievous end of dealings with strange women

Go down: to descend, to go downwards
Death: state of death or place of death
Steps: course of life
Lay hold: keep the path to it, grasp
Hell: Hades or the world of the dead

Lest: might readily acquire
Ponder: weigh (mentally)
Life: appetite, way of living
Ways: course of action, or life, track
Unstable: to waver
Know: discriminate, distinguish, recognize

Did you know that when learning to distinguish between real and counterfeit money, the people study the real thing? They get to know the real money so well, that if they see something amiss, they instantly know the fake. 

The same is true with Wisdom. We are to pay attention so closely to true wisdom, that when we hear the babbling or random advise, although it may sound amazing, we will recognize it as fake. And notice that we are NOT to ponder the sweet sounding words of strangers (sinners). For although they should amazing, they will lead to death. 

Difference between real and counterfeit wisdom, is recognized when one practices pondering true Wisdom—God's wisdom. That begins with a heart that is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Act 9:31 MSG), and continues as one studies God's Word and applies it daily. 

Real vs Counterfeit. Can you distinguish between the two?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Proverbs 4:20-27: Practice Pondering. Execute being Established.

My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil. Proverbs 4:20-27

Give attention: cause to hearken, give heed, incline, mark well, regard, prick up the ears
Incline: incline the ear, of men (in obedience to God)

Depart: vanish
Keep: retain, of store up
Midst: center, middle
Heart: memory, mind

Find: thing sought
Health: a healing, profit

Keep: watch, guard
Diligence: act of guarding, (as a guard watches a prisoner)
Issues: the source
Life: sources (origin and direction) of life

Put away: turn off, be removed
Deceitful: fraudulent
Mouth: speech, bad qualities ascribed to it
Perverse: deviation, crookedness
Lips: speech, babbling
Far: remove

Eyes: mental and spiritual faculties, acts and states
Look: regard, show regard to, purpose
Straight ahead: right on, straightforward
Eyelids: gaze
Right: to be straight or even
Before: verb of motion, to go in front of oneself, i.e. straightforward

Ponder: make level, smooth, weigh (mentally)
Path: course of action, or life
Feet: journey
Ways: manner moral action and character
Established: in moral sense, be directed aright, direct, faithfulness

Turn: decline, pervert
Remove: behead, eave undone, be without
Foot: journey, to walk along
Evil: ethically bad, wicked; distress, misery, calamity, grievous, to make (or be) good for nothing

As I read Proverbs 4:20-27, it made be think of a Dad giving advise to his son just as he ventures out for the first time on his own. Pure wisdom from someone who has been there.... done that, and found it to be worth it! 

I think out of all the VERBS in this passage, the ones in Proverbs 4:26 were the ones I wanted to highlight here. Ponder. Be established. 
Ponder, make smooth, weigh mentally —think about it, consider it thoroughly. 

I like that word, as it describes what I do before making a decision. I research and research and study, and ask people, then do more research... then think about it, and do more research... I mentally try to think through all aspects of the decision and the results of making that decision. 
The question becomes, do I give that same diligence to my life in general and take Wisdom (true God-given wisdom) into account? Do I practice pondering? 

The next verb: Be established. Direct. Faithful. I think of being set in cement. Firm in moral action and character. Faithful to following God's standards in all I do and say. Faithful to obedience. Do I execute being established? 

Practice Pondering. Execute being Established. Both begin with a heart that is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). For God and His wisdom are what I'm to be pondering and what is used to establish my standards for living.