Thursday, December 17, 2015

Proverbs 13:2-6 Lazy. Diligent.

A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, but the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence. He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction. The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich. A righteous man hates lying, but a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame. Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but wickedness overthrows the sinner. Proverbs 13:2-6

Lazy man desires nothing. No motivation. No passion. Little effort produces little reward. 

The soul of the diligent—shall be made rich! The drive, the passion, the motivation—the excitement and anticipation! 

Sadly, our culture has created a victim mentality that enforces a "I deserve ............", "You owe me." Rather than a mentality of pride in our work and effort. 

The soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence. All you have to do to know that is true, is look at the news. Reports of crime fill the news. And the majority of those who commit the crimes are lazy and want things for which they have done nothing to earn. 

There are many areas in which we can become lazy—physical (work, exercise), emotional (caring for others), and spiritual (Bible study, church). Each area produces its own rewards. 

Am I lazy? That's a question which we need to ask ourselves daily. For laziness can creep in slowly as we make excuses. And soon, we'd become accustomed to expertly others to do it all for us. 

Am I lazy? To answer that question truthfully, I must search my heart. If my heart is really permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), then I'll see any areas in which laziness has a hold. 

Lazy. Diligent. Two opposites each with their own outcome. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Proverbs 13:1 Absurd and Inadequate

A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. Proverbs 13:1
Wise: ethically and religiously
Instruction: discipline, correction
Scoffer: have in derision; mockery, something absurdly or offensively inadequate or unfitting
Listen: to hear intelligently; often with implication of attention, obedience
rebuke: to chide, reprimand,  stern disapproval of

None of us like to be told that was are doing wrong. It's partly pride, but mostly we simply don't want to have to change what we are doing. We are content doing as we went. 

Yet, a wise person will accept discipline and correction for a wise person wants to grow and change for the better. When one chooses to ignore wisdom—they are in all intents and purposes telling God that His ways are absurd and inadequate. Um, ok. Not sure I'd want to say that to Almighty God—and I don't "directly", yet I do when I choose ignore wisdom. 

Absurd and inadequate. Those are two words I would not associate with Wisdom. However, when I choose to ignore Wisdom my actions are saying just that—"Wisdom is absurd!" 

Absurd and inadequate. Wisdom is neither of those things. Wisdom provides the knowledge, know-how, and ability to put wisdom into practice. 

Yet, how often so I hear wisdom and decide that in this particular situation wisdom is absurd and inadequate? 

Wisdom will only sound absurd and inadequate, when I change my focus from God to me. For when my heart is permitted with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), then I'll realize that wisdom is anything but absurd and inadequate. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Proverbs 12:24-28 Encouragement from God!

The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor. Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man’s precious possession. In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death. Proverbs 12:24-28
Good word makes it glad.
Good: an agreeable, pleasant to the higher nature
Word: saying, utterance, sentence, as a section of a discourse
Glad: cheer up, make joyful, be make merry

Choose his friends carefully.
Friend: companion, an associate, neighbor
Choose: the righteous searches out, and is a guide to, his friend

I think Proverbs 12:25 and 26 go hand in hand. A good word makes us glad; choose friends carefully. Friends are usually the ones that have a good word for us! It's important to have godly friends to help put things in perspective. 

Good, agreeable—but not just a word to make one feel good, or what a person "wants" to hear. Rather, this "good" is from the perspective of "higher nature", think of it as "encouragement from God." Now how cool is that? That you can be used to share encouragement from God! Now that is an awesome responsibility and privilege. 

As I look back, I can't say that "I chose my friends." Rather, God in His gracious and unique ways introduced me to people who became my friends. I'm so very thankful for those people in my life who encourage, sharpen, and help keep me thinking godly. 

If I want to share encouragement from God, and be a godly friend to others, my heart must be permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). For when I am fearing and respecting and loving God, I can then, be used share encouragement from God! 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Proverbs 12:21-23 Honor in Communication

No grave trouble will overtake the righteous, but the wicked shall be filled with evil. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight. A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims foolishness. Proverbs 12:21-23
Lying: deceitful, falsehood, untruth, sham
Abomination: something disgusting
Lord: God of deity, Yahweh
Truthfully: steadfastness, fidelity, faithfulness, trust
Delight: goodwill, good pleasure

Prudent: a shrewd (in a good sense) or sensible man
Conceals: overwhelms, is full, securely hidden
Heart: knowledge
Fools: stupid fellow, dullard
Foolishness: folly, (from the word "evil", meaning to be perverse)

Lying lips disgust the Eternal, but those who act faithfully delight Him. Proverbs 12:22
(VOICE)The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy. Proverbs 12:22
(NIV)Lying lips are extremely disgusting to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight. Proverbs 12:22 (AMP)

Smart people keep quiet about what they know, but stupid people advertise their ignorance. Proverbs 12:23 (GNT)
A clever man is careful in revealing what he knows, but a fool betrays his incompetence. Proverbs 12:23 (VOICE)
Prudent people don’t flaunt their knowledge; talkative fools broadcast their silliness. Proverbs 12:23 (MSG)

As I read these verses, I kept thinking that verse 23 should precede vs 22. If you don't talk a lot, you won't lie. Simple right? 
Although that is true. When I looked back at the verses, I realized one very important detail—where the Lord fits, and where I fit. 

Vs 22 clearly states that Lying is an abomination to the Lord. Lying is disgusting to God. He abhors it. 
vs. 23 shares the impact of talking on those around us. When we talk too much, we get ourselves into trouble. 

Vs 22: God directed.
Vs 23: People directed. 

If I guard against lying, I will THINK before speaking, and therefore I am more opt to keep my mouth shut! 
Lying is deceitful. It damages trust. It causes doubt. And it is disgusting to God! 
Too often we try to justify lying. We don't want to hurt someone's feelings, or we want to get out of trouble, or the lie makes us sound "better." 
No matter why we want to lie—it's sin. Period. No justification or reason makes lying "ok". 

"Smart people keep quiet." (Proverbs 12:22; GNT)
You don't have to tell everything you know. Often, it's better to remain quiet, than to share all the wisdom you have (or think you have). We've all been in situations where someone starts talking, and you soon realize that the person talking has NO knowledge about the subject, yet they can't stop talking — even if it is pure nonsense. Just because you KNOW something, doesn't mean to share that knowledge. Often it's better to be quiet and listen. 

We all like communicating. Phones aren't just for talking anymore, now there is texting, emails, Twitter, Facebook, integral, Pinterest..... the list goes on and on. No matter HOW you are communicating, the importance is WHAT you are communicating! 

Are my words TRUE? Are they KIND? Are they NECESSARY? Are they BENEFICIAL? Are they PURPOSEFUL? 
In order to have my communication truthful and appropriate, my heart must be permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). For when I am fearing and respecting God, I'll want to honor Him in my communication.