Monday, December 26, 2016

Pride and Lovelessness

When pride comes, then comes shame;
But with the humble is wisdom.
Proverbs 11:2

Most sin brings the opposite of what it desires.  The desire to be loved is good, but seeking that love in places aside from the Lord brings loneliness.  The desire for food is good, but gluttony brings physical discomfort and unhealthiness.   Pride is characterized by having an overly inflated sense of self-value or self-importance.  While the ultimate statement of our worth and value are found only the Lord’s evaluation of us at the cross, seeking to find that value elsewhere brings only hollow shame and disgrace.  However, humility stands in stark opposition to that.  Biblical humility seeks to understand Who God is and then understands ourselves in relationship to His greatness and glory.  This alone brings us to a place of true wisdom, for there is no reason for self-glorification.  This spares us the embarrassment that comes from finding out the reality of our limitations.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Love Conquers All

Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all sins.
Proverbs 10:12

Reality TV has had a great amount of success.  It is often surrounding a great deal of intrigue, back-stabbing, and open conflict.  There is something in us that is drawn to conflict – that longs to repeat a nasty tale about someone else.  Furthermore, that same part of us will be drawn quite regularly to take any offense against us (actual or perceived) and begin a larger conflict.  Here, however, we see an important characteristic of godly love.  It is not loving to cause strife and conflict.  The word used for “strife” here shares a root with the word for brawling.  It is hatred that motivates us to cause and exacerbate discord and conflict.  Love, however, seeks to conceal the shortcomings of others.  This is not about hiding sin, or going easy on sin, but it does have very much to do with not letting the shortcomings of others destroy relationships.  As we love one another with God’s kind of love we will seek to cover the shame of the sins of our brothers and sisters – not publicize it and use it as an opportunity to cause more disagreement.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bringing forth a Well of Life

The mouth of the righteous is a well of life,
But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.
Proverbs 10:11

The picture a well of life means less in modern culture than it did at the time this proverb was written.  We may never be so far from clean fresh water that we are in the least bit of danger.  That difference is key in understanding how valuable the mouth of a righteous person has become.  Because while water may be very easy for us to come by, a person who is in right standing with God, growing with Him, and speaking words of wisdom is as difficult to come across as ever!  A well of life was rare, a fresh well was a refreshment to the thirsty, and it could mean the lively hood for an entire community.  This is a rich comparison as the person who is in right standing with God through Jesus Christ.  The person who is growing in Christ offers just these things to the world: refreshment, peace, satisfaction and the hope of life.  By contrast the wicked mouth is marked by violence.  Conflict and dishonesty are the destructive forces that cause a person and a community to starve to death.  In considering our daily speech is it most characterized by the image of a “well of life” or is it characterized by violence and conflict?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

What a Walk!

He who walks with integrity walks securely,
But he who perverts his ways will become known.
Proverbs 10:9

“Walk” in an important Bible term.  It has to Dow with a persons conduct in life as a whole.  It isn’t simply limited to our intentions or our wishes of what could be true, but it is the actual reality of how we live.  Down to the words we say, the thoughts that we think, and what we do and say when we think nobody is looking.  Once a dear friend of mine said, “I used to get a rush of adrenaline every time I was driving and saw a police car, but now I just wave when I see a police car.”  When asked what caused the change his answer was simple: “I just stopped speeding when I drive!”  Knowing that he was now obeying the law meant that he could have confidence when he saw a police car.  Often times, as believers, we walk around haunted by a guilty conscience.  We walk without security.  Sometimes this is because of real guilt and sometimes this is because of guilt which we have not brought before Christ and received His forgiveness.  Whatever the case, as the believer grows in Christlikeness, there will be an increasing reality of consistent integrity.  Words will be honest, and commitments will be honored, the right thing will be done, regardless of who is looking, and the result is a secure and confident life.  The alternative if the reality that dishonest and ungodly ways do ultimately display themselves.  Like in Edgar Allen Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart” trying to hide ungodliness only rots the life of the one hiding it and ultimately comes into full view most of the time.  

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Wisdom and the Babbling Buffoon

The wise in heart will receive commands,
But a prating fool will fall.
Proverbs 10:8

I love the phrase “prating fool”.  Sadly because it so frequently describes me.  The idea is of a fool who is babbling.  In some areas of the country we might call this the fellow who is “running his mouth”. This is fascinating as our culture seems to value one who talks over the one who remains silent.  He book of proverbs has so much to say about wise speech and about controlled speech  and even about silence, but the reality that running the spigot doesn't

 Change the nature of what is coming out of the well.  Wisdom listens and seeks to understand, foolishness babbles without even having understanding as a distant goal.  As we could rightly expect, both choices have their natural consequences.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What Legacy to Leave?

The memory of the righteous is blessed,
But the name of the wicked will rot.
Proverbs 10:7

I recently visited my alma mater to find a new portion of a structure that was named for one of my favorite professors.  It is so pleasing to see those lives well spent memorialized by some fitting gesture or dedication.  While we may never have a building named after us, we certainly leave a legacy.  Every person will leave a legacy and a name behind that will be remembered by someone for something.  Will the legacy that we leave behind be a godly and positive legacy in the lives of others, or will our memory be washed away in a matter of moments after our physical death.  The way to have a valuable legacy is quite simple: to invest in eternal things.  Our chief legacy is not what we do but who we are.  What my children and grandchildren, friends and neighbors will most remember is whether or not I have loved them with the powerful and perfect love of Jesus Christ.  Did I know Him and make Him known.  The time we spend growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The time we spend in the Bible, in prayer, in fellowship with others, these are the things that determine who we are and what our legacy will be.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Power of Diligence

He who has a slack hand becomes poor,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
He who gathers in summer is a wise son;
He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.
Proverbs 10:4-5

Poverty can be caused by any number of reasons.  Unexpected events, sickness, even political upheaval can cause financial ruin and hardship.  It would be totally false to suggest that poverty is always caused by laziness.  However, it would be equally false to say that poverty is never caused by sloth.  Again, the proverbs are not guarantees, they are observations about how God designed the world to operate.  God made the world such that diligence in work brings a profitable and positive return.  The Lord may yet allow poverty to strike any one of us, but let it be a result of His greater plan to work in and though our lives as we fill up the sufferings of Christ and not because of our sinful unwillingness to redeem the time that has been given to us by His amazing grace.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Good Investments

Treasures of the wickedness profit nothing,
But righteousness delivers from death.
The LORD will not allow the righteous soul to famish,
But He casts away the desire of the wicked.
Proverbs 10:2-3

In the film The Money Pit a young couple buys their dream house, knowing that it has “a little work” to do.  Over the course of the film they find that there was much more wrong with the house than they could ever have anticipated and they are going to be bankrupted by what they thought was their best investment.  So it is with the gains made through wickedness.  They may seem to be advantageous.  A person may even go to their grave having never seen their fortunes turn.  Though we may amass great wealth apart from God that wealth will never satisfy.  A person can quite easily pour their life into the accrual of earthly goods and have lost everything in the process.  The only wise choice available to us is to place our investments of time, energy, and finance into things that are eternal: our relationship with God and in our relationships with others.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Two Invitations

Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars;
She has slaughtered her meat,
She has mixed her wine,
She has sent out her maidens,
She cries out from the highest places of the city,
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
Proverbs 9:1-4a

It is not unusual for us to have to make a choice.  Two party invitations on the same night means that a decision must be made.  How do we make this choice?  Perhaps we make a pro and con list.  We may evaluate the company at each party, the possible social obligations represented within them, and we may even evaluate the risks of attending one party over the other.  Proverbs 9 presents just such a situation.  Having described the ways of wisdom and folly in various ways the choice is placed upon the reader.  Which place will you go and abide?  Both have sent out their invitation, both have prepared their table and both have made their promises.  Which invitation will we choose to receive favorably?  This choice is presented to every single person.  Will we humbly choose the wisdom of God – accepting His perfect provision in Jesus Christ?  Or will we choose to seek our own fleshly desires and selfish satisfaction?  Each table is freely open to us and each hostess beckons us in…but choose carefully because each table has consequences that will permanently affect our lives.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
And find out knowledge and discretion…
By me kings reign,
And rulers decree justice.
By me princes rule, and nobles,
All the judges of the earth.
I love those who love me,
And those who seek me diligently will find me.
Proverbs 8:12, 15-18

One of the best known fools of all time suggested that there is a separate morality that applies to those who would be the “supermen” of society.  These “supermen” are able to bend and even break the common wisdom and morality of God to achieve the best final end for the collective whole.  This idea was examined in the book Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky.  In this book a man, who thought himself to be the “superman”, violated the clear wisdom and morality of God for what seemed to be the greater good (and his own greatest good, not surprisingly).  The rest of this stunning novel displays how the foolishness of man in imagining that he could rewrite God’s wisdom to attain a better and quicker end was pride and leads only to destruction.  God’s wisdom is universally applicable.  Whether in the workplace, in church, at home, in governing nations and in governing dog kennels.  God’s wisdom is without exception and violation of His perfect character is never a “shortcut” but only ever a path to destruction.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

An Ox to the Slaughter

Immediately he went after her,
as an ox goes to the slaughter,
Or as a fool to the correction of the slaughter.
Proverbs 7:22

The sinful nature within the believer weaves a rich tapestry of deception and temptation.  Things that seems so clearly wrong and terribly can quickly become frighteningly enticing when we begin listening to the wrong sources and entertaining the arguments of evil.  Proverbs 7 is giving a clear picture of a woman who is tempting a fool to immoral sexual behavior; however, it also gives us a pattern of the way that our sin can drag us away as James wrote about in James 1:14-15:
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown, brings forth death. 

Our path to destruction begins by entertaining the arguments regardless of the fact that we know them to be in opposition to God’s character.  This is personified in the wanton woman of Proverbs 7.  She uses her volume and her feet (v. 10).  She enticed him with both religious language (v. 14), and personal flattery (v. 15).  She tempts him with sensory pleasures (v. 16-18).  She assures him that they will not be caught…it will be their little secret (v. 19-20).  It is easy to blame the temptress – but it is the man himself who chose to pass by her house at night (vss. 8-9).

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Husband's Fury

For jealousy is a husband’s fury;
Therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
He will accept no recompense,
Nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts.
Proverbs 6:34-35

Few wounds in life surpass that of marital infidelity.  Leo Tolstoy is said to have had an affair in his younger days and his wife still wrote about that event with bitterness and hurt decades later.  Human culture is at strictest odds with the character of God on this issue.  One such worldling produced the thought: “Just because I am not faithful to my wife and children does not mean that I don’t love them.”  This man could not be more mistaken.  There is no love at all for his family.  This attitude betrays the reality that this man loves only himself.  The same could be said of any who cross the lines of marital faithfulness.  They do not love their spouse, nor do the love the one to whom they are running.  They are using others for their own pleasure and advantage without the slightest concern for their well being.  How much more the wrath of the one who is the victim of such selfishness.  By God’s grace many marriages have been healed, and many have forgiven for these egregious errors.  Yet, make no mistake, the scars last for the rest of this lifetime on everybody involved.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Lord Hates...

These six things the LORD hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.
Proverbs 6:16-19

Part of any successful marriage involves finding out what your spouse hates and avoids that thing, action or behavior as much as possible.  When we look at the seven things which the Lord hates we find that they are not matters of preference but serious character issues that grow out of the sin nature of any person who is not in a right relationship with God.  Note also that it is not just actions, it is the very character of the sin nature controlling a person.  Stated in the positive we can conclude what the Lord loves – humility, honesty, the peacemaker, the heart that plans good, and one who speaks honestly and positively of others.  This special pattern of “six things…even seven…” in the Proverbs is a way of highlighting the last item on the list.  In this case the highlighted abomination before the Lord is the one who makes problems between people.  The busybody, the gossip, the one who inflames others to disagreement or conflict.  If what is on television is any indication we can say with all certainty that we has people find conflict intriguing, interesting, and even fun to watch.  The Spirit of God will always be leading the believer away from these negative things which the Lord hates to the positive attributes that bring greater peace and concord among the brethren.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Insect Industry

Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise,
Which, having no captain,
Overseer or ruler,
Providers her supplies in the summer,
And gathers her food in the harvest.

Industry is a regular theme of the Proverbs because it is a central theme of godly wisdom.  A dear friend once told me, “I think that much of the problem with the world today is that we no longer talk about the story of the ant and the grasshopper.”  This fable contrasts the ant who works to store up for the winter, and the grasshopper who chooses leisure all summer long.  The ant survives the winter and depending upon the source, the grasshopper is either reduced to beg from the ant or simply dies.  Rest and leisure are never condemned in scripture.  In fact, we find them regularly commanded for Israel in the Sabbaths and the Feasts.  Laziness, however, is universally condemned.  Physical laziness and spiritual laziness alike defy the very character of our God.  God designed humanity for constructive and sweet labor in every sphere, and any form of sloth flies in the face of all that He is and all that He has created us to be.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Co-Signing Risks

My son, if you become surety for your friend,
If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
You are snared by the words of your mouth;
You are taken by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my son deliver yourself;
For you have come into the hand of your friend:
Go and humble yourself;
Plead with your friend.
Give no sleep to your eyes,
Nor slumber to your eyelids.
Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Proverbs 6:1-5

It would be an oversimplification of the message of Scripture to say that debt is always sin.  However, the reality of the financial burden of debt is a clear and regular message of the word of God.  It is so enticing to help another believer by cosigning on a loan, or taking financial responsibility for them.  This, however, is contrary to godly wisdom.  Giving and lending generously and responsibly is the clear character of the mature believer, but “giving” out of what a person does not have is not generosity, nor is it helping, it is simply pride.  This pride brings a special kind of pain and destruction.  It places undue tension between the borrower and the co-signer, and can ultimately result in great loss on the part of one who pledged what he did not have in order to appear the hero rather than prayerfully waiting upon God to provide what is truly needed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Amazing Wisdom of Marriage

Drink water from your own cistern
And running water from your own well.
Should your fountains be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
Let them be only your own,
And not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice with the wife of your youth.
As a loving deer in a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be enraptured with her love.
For why should you, my son,
Be enraptured by an immoral woman,
And be embraced in the arms of a seductress?
Proverbs 5:15-20

Marital fidelity is a constant theme in scripture.  Perhaps because sexual temptation is such a ready temptation to people of all ages.  These verses clash violently with the tide of human thought.  We think of love as a feeling, we use phrases like “fell out of love” and imagine that we might be justified in our selfish and self-satisfying thoughts and actions because the wind of fancy and emotion blew us in another direction.  Yet Scripture is clear: love is a choice and a commitment.  This is the love that God has shown humanity in Jesus Christ who died for us while we were yet sinners and enemies of God (Romans 5:1-8).  It is this love and commitment that is meant to permeate the marriage relationship (Ephesians 5:22-33).  This love is only found in, and supplied endlessly by, the vital relationship of the believer with Jesus Christ.  Anything less than that is sin and sin as always brings only waste, division, destruction and, ultimately, death.  When Christ’s love is at the center of the marriage there is the full display of all of the joy and happiness that marriage was always meant to bring.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Keeping the Heart

Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.
Proverbs 4:23

The world is enamored with the idea of self-help.  Book after book is written to help with this addiction, that pain, to bring success in this area of life or to improve ones ability in one arena or another.  Yet the word of God speaks clearly.  The external actions and behaviors are mere results of the state of the heart.  Jesus put this same concept clearly in Mark 7:20-23: “And He said, ‘What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, and evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a man.’”  The central concern for every believer must be the spiritual state.  From that place come the patterns of the mouth (Prov. 4:24), the eyes (4:25), and the feet (4:26).  With our spiritual gaze fixed upon Christ Jesus the external choices practically make themselves as we submit ourselves to the true Physician of our souls.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


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.
Proverbs 3:31-32

History overflows with personalities who gained great power and wealth by forcibly subjugating others to do their will.  This dirty struggle for power mars great kingdoms and local businesses alike.  It can lead to a sort of sad despair in thinking that an honest person may simply not be able to get ahead in the world.  It may even seem attractive to take on worldly ways of living and grasping after power as part of the same dirty system.  The injunction of Scripture, however, is quite clear.  While the oppressor may have much to envy the one who knows the living God has nothing to envy.  Those short term gains bring only sorrow and trouble to those who make them and history is littered with the evidence of what results from power abused, as well as the example of those who walk in wisdom and inherit glory (Proverbs 3:35).  

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I Just Don't Like That Guy

Do not strive with a man without cause,
If he has done you no harm.
Proverbs 3:30

“I just don’t like him…”  These words have passed my lips more times than I am comfortable admitting.  It is a false “get out of jail free card” when I am threatened by someone or feel ill at ease around someone.  Because of the presence of Sin in our lives we will often find ourselves unable to be naturally at peace with those around us. Often times this occurs for no discernible reason.  These situations are either a blessing or a curse.  They are a curse if we allow ourselves to hide in our prideful self-delusion.  Should we choose to unjustly strive with those people in our lives.  This is especially the case  when they have done us no real wrong.  Yet they are the greatest blessing if we allow ourselves to honestly look to the reality that we feel threatened or uneasy and place our need before the Lord.  The striving that comes forth from sin only brings greater light to the fact that I am trying to find my peace, comfort and confidence in myself rather than the Lord Who alone makes me worthy to stand before Him.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Wisdom that Always Was

The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding He established the heavens;
By His knowledge the depths were broken up,
And clouds drop down the dew.
Proverbs 3:19-20

In the 1984 film The Gods Must be Crazy a native tribe is exposed to western technology for the first time in the form of a cola bottle.  This comedy follows a group of people trying to figure out the purpose of this strange glass creation.  The villagers find many uses for the bottle and ultimately wind up fighting over it and decide to return it to “the gods” whom they presumed gave the strange item.  While the villagers came up with many creative ideas they were not familiar with the purpose for which the cola bottle was created, and thus they misused it.  We can often mistakenly make the same false conclusion about the very world in which we live.  When the Lord created the world it was created in accord with His infinite wisdom and purpose.  Thus for humanity it is impossible to “create” wisdom or “make” wisdom, but only discover the wisdom of the Creator God who alone is fully wise.  Fortunately the Lord has chosen to reveal Himself, and His wisdom, in the words of the Bible.  When we read and apply the word of God we are truly tapping into the wisdom that formed the heavens and the earth with a word.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Value of Wisdom

Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding;
For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver and her gain than fine gold.
Proverbs 3:13-14

In the musical Fiddler on Roof the main character Tevye muses in a song what he would do if he were a rich man.  It can be fun to play the “If I were a rich man” game from time to time.  Yet there is something more valuable by far.  Godly wisdom is something that is freely available for all who would approach God and ask (James 1:5) and its worth far exceeds any monetary blessing that we could find.  Of all of the wonderful things which wealth and riches can provide, it is entirely incapable of providing real fulfillment and a right relationship with God.  Godly wisdom has the power to bring satisfaction and happiness that are of far greater value.  While this reality may be rather commonplace in our culture – even to the point of sounding cliché – we find that the practice of valuing true wisdom and standing in humility before the Lord is far more difficult in practice.  Have you ever spent time dreaming what your life would look like if you were abundantly wealthy in the application of Godly wisdom?  Perhaps that would be worth dreaming about!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Discipline vs Punishment

My Son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor detest His correction;
For whom the Lord loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
Proverbs 3:11-12

It easy to confuse punishment and discipline.  These words are often used interchangeably and yet they have very different meanings.  The point of similarity is that they are both responses to inappropriate or unjust behavior.   The difference is in the goal of the response.  Punishment is related to the idea of justice.  We are looking for a suitable and just punishment to fit the crime.  The Biblical principle of “and eye for an eye” gives us a clear understanding of this principle.  This commandment was given because humanity does not want justice when wronged…we want vengeance.  This commandment limits and defines just punishments as never exceeding the nature and extent of the initial transgression.  Discipline is different.  It is not dealing primarily with justice but with the betterment of the one being disciplined.  Discipline can be negative in terms of unfavorable conditions placed upon a person, but the goal is not that justice be served – the desired result is that the behavior not be repeated.  Discipline can be positive in terms of applying a habit or action that will bring about the best good for the object – such as imposing a bedtime upon a child who needs to sleep whether they feel like it or not.  This is the nature of the Lord’s care of all who are related to Him through the person and work of Jesus Christ.  He disciplines us and corrects us because He loves us.  This may not always be pleasant, but it is always for the very best.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Folly of Greed

Honor the LORD with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine. 
Proverbs 3:9-10

Western culture had delighted in the telling and the retelling of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge.  He has become the standard archetype for a miserly person.  So deeply did this story grab the popular imagination that it has been presented and represented in nearly every available medium.  The message of a person who holds his possessions as his God is grotesque and sorry in its ultimate end.  However, this personification of greed can be a detriment as well.  We can easily salve our conscience when we think that we are, at least, not so bad off as Mr. Scrooge.  Yet, the thrust of a life of Godly wisdom sees things more clearly yet.  Possessions and wealth are simply a window into the soul and spiritual life of a person.  Again, the proverbs are not promises, but godly observations.  If a person is in a right relationship to wealth and possessions than the Lord is likely to entrust them with more possessions.  This same principle is brought out in 2 Corinthians 9.  It is a matter of the character of God.  He loves His children far to much to let greed destroy us, but He is able (though by no means obligated) to bless those who use their wealth wisely; that is, to His ultimate glory and honor.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Humble Wisdom

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.
Proverbs 3:7-8

A recent popular song presented us with a conundrum.  The subject of the song was said to be beautiful because she did not know that she was beautiful.  One comedian quipped that if she discovered that she was beautiful then she would cease to be beautiful, at which point she would learn that she was not beautiful and in so doing become beautiful again.  He termed this music “Mobius strip pop.”  Humorous as this joke was it points out a real dilemma in humility and wisdom.  It is the very act of believing that we are wise in and of ourselves that brings pride and foolishness into our hearts.  True wisdom finds humility as its only fertile ground.  We cannot be wise in any real way unless we understand that God and God alone is the only one who possesses all knowledge and the Jesus Christ, alone, is Himself The Exclusive Truth.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Wisdom of Faith

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him.
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Familiar verses.  These are some of the first verses that were ever shared with me when I first began to walk with Christ in earnest.  So many times I have revisited these verses, each time they become clearer, each time the application grows more vivid.  Think of how all encompassing these words are.  The only wise path available to humanity is a trust that is placed in the Lord - His character, plan and provision.  A complete and whole-hearted trust from the seat of the intellect, will and emotion.  The other side is equally challenging.  We spend most of our lives attempting to lean upon our own understanding.  Making our own judgments and drawing our own conclusions.  But this verse is challenging us to have a greater humility.  We are not to try to solve our problems and plan our ways by our own means and resources, but to submit ourselves fully to what His word has revealed to us and submit all of our choices to what He has revealed in His word and by His Spirit.  The last statement is the most terrifying.  Should we choose this life of faith, He will direct our paths.  This may mean that the path He chooses for us may lead away from what we think we want – but it will bring us to the place of having what we really need: a closer walk with Him.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Wisdom - Saving Lives

My son, do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;
For length of days and long life
And peace they will add to you.
Proverbs 3:1-2

I could not count the time that wisdom has saved my life.  Wisdom was what let me know when to cross the street safely.  Wisdom is what taught me to use a harness when climbing over a 40 foot drop.  Wisdom is what taught me to tread carefully when my wife tells me that nothing is wrong when something clearly is wrong.  These verses are not a guarantee that every person who learns and applies wisdom will have peace and long life.  It is a guarantee that apart from God’s wisdom there is no hope for peace and long life.  The three above examples are rather obvious, but the principle is firm.  It is the sad reality of my life that almost every problem I have is one that I have made for myself by my own pride and foolishness.  When we take responsibility for our failures and shortcomings in wisdom and change our mind, deciding instead to make wise choices things shockingly move much smoother for us.  This is, of course, only truly possible as we walk in the moment by moment fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ.