Saturday, October 31, 2015

Proverbs 8:10, 11: Focus and Desire

Receive my instruction, and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold; For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her. Proverbs 8:10, 11
Receive: take, seize
Instruction: discipline (of the moral nature), chastening, correction
Not: a command
Knowledge: discernment, understanding, wisdom
Choice: absolute chosen; to be chosen

Wisdom: ethical and religious; it is of inestimable worth
Desire: longing
Compared: comparable, suitable, equal

We are obsessed with money. Don't believe it? Then take a look at how much is spent on lotteries. We all would love to see that BIG Million Dollar check arrive at our front door. We all dream of having more money and all the things we'd do if we had it. 
But greater value than any amount of money or jewels or gold is Wisdom. Yet, we don't often put forth the effort into seizing wisdom as we do money. And that leads to the question, "Why not?" 

Why don't we value wisdom? Why don't we need to importance and need for wisdom? Why, when it is available, don't we seize wisdom? Why? 

It begins with our focus and desire. When something is important to us, we make the effort to get it. Soon people will start camping outside of stores to be among the first to get that one particular toy or electronic device. Many will hit the stores at Midnight just to get those things they want. No matter how tired they are, or the weather, or how crowed the stores are—nothing will prevent them from their desire. They will seize the opportunity to seize that item. 

Focus and desire—for things is strong and will motivate us to make any sacrifice necessary to seize what we want. Where exactly is the focus and desire for wisdom? From my observation, it is clearly lacking in our society as a whole. 

Focus and desire begins in the heart. And a heart that is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), will have a strong focus and desire to seize wisdom! 

Do you have a strong focus and desire for wisdom?

Friday, October 30, 2015

Proverbs 8:6-9: Lying. Is it a big deal?

Listen, for I will speak of excellent things, and from the opening of my lips will come right things; For my mouth will speak truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; nothing crooked or perverse is in them. They are all plain to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge. Proverbs 8:6-9
Excellent things: princely things—as from a commander or honorable position; excellent things
Right things: in ethical sense, uprightness, as taught in the school of wisdom

Truth: trustworthiness, faithful,
Wickedness: wrong (especially moral)
Abomination: something disgusting (morally)

Righteousness: the right (natural, moral or legal), accurate
Nothing: does not exist
Crooked: fraudulent, anything tortuous (not direct or straightforward), deceitfully indirect
Perverse: distorted, false

Plain: straightforward, correct, integrity, right, uprightness
Understands: diligently, discerns
Right: straightforward, just upright
Find: thing sought, acquire
Knowledge: discernment, understanding, wisdom

Is it really something to ignore? Or is it a big deal? 

Is there such a thing as a "white lie"?
It is ok to lie so you don't hurt a person's feelings?
Is it EVER ok to lie?
Are there circumstances that warrant lying? 

What is a lie?
a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; anintentional untruth; a speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive; convey a false impression
What does lying do? 
First off, it lays a foundation for mistrust. How can one be trusted if they lie? 
Second, it makes one question everything said thereafter. If you lied once, are you lying now? 
And lastly,  it starts a snowball effect. For when you lie once, you must maintain the lie, and that leads to additional lies. 

Justification for lying? 
Is there such a thing? Well, it's so we don't hurt someone's feelings. REALLY? Tell a lie, so that person can't trust us later? That justifies lying? 
If I tell the truth, the person won't like me? Again, REALLY? A person would like you if you lied, but not if you told the truth. And if that person won't like you if you told the truth, what does it say about that person? Is that really someone you want to like you? Someone whose relationship is based on mistrust and lying? Yeah, that's a great foundation for friendship—NOT! 

Lying. It is a big deal. It is not something to ignore. 
Wisdom does not lie. Wisdom is to be trusted. Wisdom doesn't try to flatter or smooth talk her way around issues. Wisdom is straightforward and honest! 

Perhaps if we all had hearts that were permeated with a deep sense of reverence (fear) for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), there would be a lot less lying and more honesty.
Lying is a big deal, because it is sin. That's it, period. No white lies, not justification, call it what it is—SIN. And that is a big deal to God. And if you want to live in accordance with His wisdom, lying will be a big deal to you too.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Proverbs 8:4, 5: Am I willing to listen and learn?

“To you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men. O you simple ones, understand prudence, and you fools, be of an understanding heart." Proverbs 8:4, 5
Simple: needing, "open minded", deceive, flatter
Understand: consider, diligent, discern
Fools: confidence in bad sense, silly, 
Heart: mind

Wisdom is directing her attention to those who disregard wisdom and sound advice. She wants the foolish to hear and quit ignoring the advice given. 

I bought a bread mix and decided to try my parent's bread machine. I hooked it up and carefully read the instructions. I put in the ingredients and turned the machine on and waited. And waited. And waited. However, when I went to check the machine.... NOTHING had happened. Frustrating. 

I am not an expert on Bread Machines. This is the first time I've used one. But I THOUGHT I had read the directions carefully. Yet, the machine didn't work. 

Wisdom tells me two things. 1. I didn't hook the machine up right. 2. The machine is broken. 
Wisdom also tells me that before I throw the machine out, I need to check to see if I assembled the machine wrong. That is the first place to check, since I this is a new endeavor for me. I can't blame the machine, if I did something wrong. 

The same is true in other aspects of my life. Before making decisions I need to check with Wisdom. I need to know the instructions of how to proceed. And if things don't go how I think they should, I need to check back with Wisdom to see if I did something wrong. If not, then I need to continue learning from Wisdom so that I can respond appropriately and learn from the situation. 

Wisdom is wanting to teach me. Wisdom is available and ready to teach. The key is, "Am I willing to listen and learn?" The foolish one says, "No thanks, I'll do this without instruction and see where it leads me." 
There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12 
A deep sense of reverence for God will open my heart and ears to what Wisdom has to say. And it will also create a desire to put that Wisdom into practice.  Am I willing to listen and learn? Or will be foolish and ignore sound advice?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Proverbs 8:1-3: Wisdom is SHOUTING! Are you listening?

Does not wisdom cry out, and understanding lift up her voice? She takes her stand on the top of the high hill, beside the way, where the paths meet. She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city, at the entrance of the doors:
Proverbs 8:1-3
Wisdom: ethical and religious

Understanding: intelligence; by implication, discretion, reason, skillfulness

Takes her stand: station oneself for definite purpose
At the highest peak, where the travelers can see her

Cries out: verb give a ringing cry

She is at the entrance to the city, where everyone must pass by. She is making herself known. She is available. 

Wisdom is out in the open where everyone can see and have access and she is SHOUTING—HEY, LISTEN UP! 

Wisdom is SHOUTING—trying to get our attention! Perhaps today, wisdom would be using Twitter, Facebook, TV, Aps to SHOUT her message. 

No matter how loud Wisdom shouts, too often we drown out the advice with our sounds of ignorance and foolishness. Too often we turn to the "doctors" on TV, or advice from strangers with their 140 character limit on Twitter. We'd rather hear what sounds good, rather than the truth that wisdom has to offer. 

Wisdom is SHOUTING, trying to get our attention! She is easily accessible. Yet, we continue to ignore her. 
To have ears ready to hear and give my attention to wisdom, my heart must be permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). And having a reverence for God, will not only give me a desire to hear wisdom, listen to the advice wisdom gives. 

Wisdom is SHOUTING! Are you listening?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Proverbs 7:6-27: "Nothing good happens after midnight."

Devoid: lacking, has less of, failing, in want of, in need of

Understanding: the inner man, indefinite, soul, comprehending mind, affections and will

"Nothing good happens after midnight." In this passage there is a young man, who is out wandering the streets late at night. He has no wisdom, for is he did, he would not be out wandering the streets. He is an easy target for trouble. 

He is void, empty of understanding. He is were he should not be. And what does he find? Temptation. 

Too often temptation finds us when we are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yet, even if we are exactly where we are to be, doing what we are to be doing.... Satan still temps us. What should we do when we find ourselves being tempted to sin? Is there a way out? Is it really possible to "pass by the harlot, and ignore the temptation." 
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God isfaithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Pastor Nathan Osborne, III shared what to do when temptation comes.
"Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7
  • 1. Pray out loud. (Draw near, submit to God.) Talk to God. Tell Him what is happening. Tell Him you are being tempted and need His help. Cry out to God! 
  • 2. Quote Scripture out loud. (Resist the devil.) Any Scripture. God's Word. (This is one reason why memorizing Bible verses is important!)
  • 3. Change your position. (Devil will flee.) Leave the room. Turn off the computer, phone, tablet, TV, music, etc. Get up and MOVE. Get away from the area of temptation! 
Too often we place ourselves in the position to be tempted. We go searching for something to replace wisdom. We listen to the flattering words and smooth talking. We justify in our minds that we deserve to feel good. We have earned it. We have freedom to enjoy. 

Sadly, we learn too late that after giving into temptation we are still empty, and left searching for something to fill the void. The smooth talking just doesn't sound to good anymore, for we have learned the truth—no matter how good it sounds, it is sin. 

"Nothing good happens after midnight." And nothing good happens when we ignore wisdom and go searching for something else. A heart is permeated with a deep sense reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), is the strongest foundation for resisting temptation. That's where the desire to submit to God and resist the devil begins. 

"Nothing good happens after midnight." Yet, even in the darkness of temptation, God is still there and willing to help you resist the temptation. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Proverbs 7:4, 5: Inner Circle

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your nearest kin, That they may keep you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words. Proverbs 7: 4, 5

Wisdom: ethical and religious
Sister: figurative of intimate connection
Understanding: the object of knowledge
Nearest kin: intimate friend

Keep: preserve, protect
Immoral: A primitive root; to turn aside; hence to be a foreigner, stranger, profane
Seductress: something strange, i.e. unexpected calamity -- strange; harlot
Fatters: smooth talker
Words: speech

Who is in my inner circle? Who do I allow into my thoughts? Who do I spend time with getting to know? Whose company do I enjoy? Who do I allow to give me advice? 

In Proverbs 7:4, 5 there are two choices. Wisdom and the Flatterer. Wisdom gives sound honest advice. The Flatterer simply says what we want to hear, and offers wrong and misleading advice. 

Who is in my inner circle? Wisdom and understanding should be! However, since we all like to hear good things, the easy way out, and things that make us feel good—too often we exchange Wisdom for the Flatterer. 

Remember, Proverbs is all about the VERBS. If I want wisdom to remain in my inner circle, so that wisdom can help me make the right decisions in life, and bring the joys that God has planned—I must remember the VERBS. I must not only "say" but "DO". I can't just say, "Wisdom you are in my inner circle." And then ignore the advice, wise counsel and instruction wisdom gives me. 

Who is in my inner circle? Who am I listening to? Who is giving me advice? 
If my heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God, then I will not only "say", but I will allow Wisdom to be in my inner circle. 

Who is in your inner circle? Who are you listening to? Who is giving you advice? 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Proverbs 7:3: Make a Conspiracy!

Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 7:3
Bind: make a conspiracy, join together
Write: record, engrave
Tablet: stone tablet, table
Heart: memory

Make a conspiracy! Although this is usually a negative, unlawful, treasonous act. The idea is that I am committing to any concurrence in action; combination inbringing about a given result. Wisdom and I have committed, banded together, you have a plan to carry out—together! 

Wisdom, instruction, and knowledge need to not only be joined together on my hands—in action, but engraved in my memory!  Remember, Proverbs 7:1, 2—"in my mind". Wisdom needs to be solid and "etched in stone" in my memories.

Wisdom. Instruction. Knowledge. Get to know them. Conspire with them! Commit to them! Just think what could happen if I daily conspired with wisdom, instruction, and knowledge! WOW! 

As I conspire with wisdom, instruction, and knowledge, it will be engraved on my memory! Awesome. 

When my heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), then I'll have a strong desire to conspire with wisdom, instruction, and knowledge!

Make a conspiracy with wisdom!