Category Archives: Animals

Come Into My Parlor

Proverbs 7:12 

“Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.”

Lieth In Wait

I can visualize the following event just like it happened yesterday even though it took place some 31 years ago. I was 7 years old and my parents and brother lived in a two story house right outside of Chattanooga, TN. Our den was located in the basement while all of our bedrooms were upstairs. The evening was coming to an end and so we started to gather up our belongings to take them upstairs. As we began cleaning, I noticed that my father was no where to be found. I didn’t give it another thought and continued to help my mom and brother.

With arms full of blankets and pillows, I made my way up the stairs and started down our hallway. Because this happened during the winter time, it was already dark outside and my arms were full so I could not turn the hallway lights on. I walked about ten feet down the hallway and stopped in my tracks. There was something that was telling me that I should not go any further and that my best bet would be to turn around slowly and go back. I quickly exited the hallway and run to find my mom who was still downstairs.

My mother began to laugh when I told her what just happened.

She explained to me that she was pretty sure that my father was hiding in one of the rooms just waiting for me to walk by so he could scare me (there was never a dull moment in the Sneed household). Sure enough, when I returned upstairs and turned on all of the lights, my father was laying on his stomach on the floor just “lying in wait”.

Her Prey

Solomon is explaining to us that the “strange women” is lying in wait for this man to come by and just like the spider, she is ready to pounce on her prey. She is out on the street, but she is lurking around each corner just waiting for her victim to arrive.

The Take-Away

How many times have we seen it or heard about it? How many times have we seen homes broken up and children being torn apart by a man that has gone off and had an affair?

In today’s society, the “strange women” is ever so prevalent in JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING! The TV, internet, radio, smartphones – she is everywhere and if we are not grounded in the Word of God, we are doomed to fall. That is why Solomon was again telling his son to make sure and keep his commandments!

Men, we must guard ourselves against sin each and every day. We must keep God’s commandments and do our best to obtain wisdom and understanding, so that we can live!

Lord, help us to guard our hearts and minds against anything evil that comes our way. Help us to always be on the lookout for things that are not according to Your Word. Help us to always seek your face each and every day!

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Shine the Torch

Proverbs 4:18-19

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.”

Submitted by Rev Ken Welford (Father of David)

Needing a Torch

Wouldn’t it be good if we never went astray? Even SatNav has a reputation for getting it wrong, and sometimes leading people astray. Recently a huge truck got stuck between two houses in a narrow English village street, simply because the driver blindly followed the directions of the SatNav.

I use a torch (flashlight) for the last short walk of the day with our dog. I need to look ahead for possible obstacles, and most recently I have been engaged in a minor ‘rescue mission’ directed towards the common toad. These silly creatures sit in the middle of our driveway/minor road waiting to be squashed by passing traffic. They have to be removed from the danger area and taken to a place of safety.

Three Things

Proverbs 4:18 speaks about “the path of the just” (or righteous) being like the shining sun – that shines brighter unto the perfect day. This is contrasted (v 19) with the way of the wicked, which is totally in the dark.

Three things stand out – the path of the just is an illuminated pathway. Illuminated by the PERFECT RAY for the sunshine of God’s love shines strongly on the pathway of God Seekers. It shows the way ahead in some detail, and reveals the PERFECT WAY. This is the way that leads in the right direction, and will eventually bring us to the right destination. Jesus is the Way to Life, and the only way to get us there intact. That leads to the PERFECT DAY, where God’s love shines so brightly that we are delivered from the possible perils of darkness, into the full sunshine of His presence.

Delivered

Going back to my toads – they seem to have little sense of direction, and sit waiting in the dark for the worst to happen. Paralyzed and unable to move to a place of safety on their own, the light of my torch picks them out, and I lift them up and place them in comparative safety away from the roadway. To them, I am perhaps savior and deliverer (although I guess they don’t know that). When we find ourselves ‘in the dark’, we too need someone to help us discover the right path. To lift us out of danger and darkness, and to set us free to live to our full potential.

Proverbs 14:12 says ‘there is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is death’. We need, not only the RIGHT WAY, but the BRIGHT WAY, illuminated by God’s love in the Lord Jesus Christ, who says ‘this is the way, walk in it’ (Isaiah 30:21).

Light of the World

My torch offers only pretty feeble illumination on our driveway, and can only shine on one small area at a time. However, it helps me in total darkness to avoid obstacles (and particularly, stepping on toads). The light of the world brings in a mega-beam, which disperses darkness, so that we can walk continually in the light. It means that we need never stumble for we can see the way ahead, and we walk with Him to LIFE.

The old chorus puts it like this: “When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way” – this is the true essence of that light – it’s GLORY, the glory of the risen Lord Jesus.

Ken served as a Baptist Minister from 1956-1978. He was subsequently employed by The Leprosy Mission and The Far Eastern Broadcasting Association (FEBA). Although he retired in 1996 Ken continues to preach in his local Methodist circuit in the coastal town of Teignmouth in the UK.


Beware: Fierce lions in my yard

cat-2536662_1920“A man generally has two reasons for doing a thing.  One that sounds good, and a real one.”

That’s from the practical wisdom of J.P. Morgan, one of most influential bankers of the early 20th century. 

Of course, then there are those who are a bit more honest about their motivation, like Phyllis Diller:

“Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?”

On the one hand:

A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
    The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

On the other hand:

The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion out there!
    If I go outside, I might be killed!”

Why is one cautious person congratulated for being prudent while the other is vilified as a three-toed sloth?

It really all has to do with motive. 

The prudent (wise, forward-thinking) one “foresees”, meaning he’s diligently done his research and understands the probabilities (are lions endemic to this area?), and based on those probabilities, he may take his gun out with him and search the area before proceeding. 

The lazy person, by contrast, stays on the coach and opens another beer…because that’s what he really prefers to do.  Making excuses for his decision assuages his own conscience, regardless of how ridiculous those excuses seem.

In fact, humans are probably the only part of God’s creation who uses the art of rationalization, that finely tuned skill of making excuses, even deluding ourselves into thinking those excuses are true.  

Here’s interesting application: “I don’t read the Bible because I don’t understand it.”

I’m glad medical students don’t adhere to that philosophy: “I don’t read my A&P text because I don’t understand it.”  A student—a real one, that is—does something about their lack of understanding. 

And for my sake, I’m glad they do!

Proverbs 22:3,13  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Teenage bedroom–hard hat required.

kids-2030268_1920When our youngest went to Peru on a month-long mission trip right before high school, I decided I would take advantage of her absence to clean her room.  Thoroughly.  As in a full-scale geological excavation. 

I found a full laundry basket, only it was stratified with layers of clean, dirty, clean, etc. I unearthed underwear from elementary school, and (if I recall rightly) a hard, green mass under the bed reputed to be petrified Jello—lime, I think.  Continue reading


Puppaccinos and Mercy

A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. -Proverbs 12:10, KJV

Mickey loves his Puppaccino, even when he gets stuck.

I love my dogs. We even sometimes call them our “fur babies.” Sometimes I spoil them with a trip to the coffee shop that has Puppaccinos for dogs (whipped cream with dog biscuits on top). I feel bad when they do not get their regularly timed walks or step on a sharp rock or hot asphalt during those walks.

Even though I love these guys, if my wife or another human were in trouble, I would choose the human over them.

Have Mercy

Some people, however, only view animals as property, at best. Their idea of mercy on their dogs is not kicking them very hard or remembering to feed them today.

Oftentimes, these are people who tend to treat many humans similarly. Whether it is being verbally abusive, deceptive, or simply not caring, this type of person would rather record you having a problem than help you.

This thinking infects most of us in some way, ever since the beginning when Cain asked God about Abel, “Am I my brothers keeper?” In other words, “How is this my problem? What has it to do with me?”

Jesus turned this thinking on its head, most notably in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5). To be fondly and righteous means to make others’ problems our own. It means not thinking too highly of oneself, but as a servant to others. It means having compassion and showing mercy on others.

It might even mean caring about what happens to animals. (But always in regards to human life.)


Safely across to dry ground

buckley

The Mighty Wonder Buck enjoying his outing.

Buckley and I enjoy terrain hiking in a tiny semi-secluded patch of the planet belonging to the college where my husband works.  It’s private land, so I’m thinking the town’s leash laws are not in effect. It’s also one of the few places I can let him range, and he loves it!

So do I.  Not only for myself, but I get such a kick out of watching him enjoy the freedom, and I marvel at the sure-footedness of this rescue pound-puppy of ours.  Not that I can say that about myself, mind you.  No, this one carries a walking stick, wears special insoles in trail running shoes (in which I walk, not run), and even then I have to pick carefully through leaves and creek beds, using that opposable thumb to grab and hoist myself up the hills.

Buckley, the barefoot creature without the opposable thumb?  Right.  He leaves me in the dust. 

I have to be especially attentive when crossing a brook.  Picking my way safely can be challenging (it’s part of the fun), and watching for slippery moss on the rocks is imperative.  If I’m not careful, I’m all wet. 

Hold that thought for a sec.

Proverbs chapter ten is largely concerned with my words, which is a pretty good indicator of what’s in my heart.  Here is a running commentary contrasting the attitude (as shown by their words) of the wise person versus the fool.  Just a sampling—

The wise are glad to be instructed,
    but babbling fools fall flat on their faces…

People with integrity walk safely,…

This isn’t just an observation, (Solomon was quite good at that), but more importantly, a warning.  It’s easy to be drawn into a foolish argument; that is, an argument that is void of the primary foundation of wisdom—

“Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.
    Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.”

Without this, the encounter can become slippery at best, treacherous at worst, causing confusion, rancor, and division (to name a few.)

Here’s another comparison—

The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain;

…but the babbling of a fool invites disaster.

Are my words giving life?  Or are my words making safe passage unattainable?

Or is it a discussion I should even enter into at this place?

When one of these conversations presents itself, the godly participant does well to stand on the shore and survey how to get across safely to the other side. 

Otherwise, you’re all wet.

Proverbs 10:8,9,11,14; 9:10 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Safe In the Rock

Proverbs 30:24, 26

“There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: … The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;”

Conies

The conies are second in the list  “four (little) things” that are exceedingly wise. But what is a coney? Is it a hot dog found on Long Island, New York? Possibly, but only if a legless wiener is capable of wisdom. These conies in this proverb seem to have a defense against being eaten with mustard – they hide in the rocks.

HyraxThe animal described here is the hyrax, or rock badger (no relation to the kind that can chew off your arm). Found in Africa and the Middle East, these cute little critters, weighing an average of 8 lbs., are scavengers which live in groups of 8 to 10 and find refuge in the cracks and crevices of rocky terrain. Though scientists say the hyrax is a close relative to the elephant (it even has tiny little tusks – how cute!), this furry little animal is practically defenseless…at least on its own.

Their Defense System

Even though hyraxes are small, weak, and incapable of fighting off a predator, they are not on the endangered species list. Why is that? The answer lies in where they make their homes – in the rocks – and how they look out for each other.

Being small and rather slow, the hyraxes in Africa are preyed upon by other animals such as wild dogs, leopards, and Egyptian cobras. However, it seems that the conies in Israel, like the ones of which Solomon spoke, have learned how to use the rocks to their advantage, along with a “system of sentries.”

 “In Israel, the rock hyrax is reportedly rarely preyed upon by terrestrial predators, as their system of sentries and their reliable refuges provide considerable protection. Hyrax remains are almost absent from the droppings of wolves in the Judean Desert.” (Wickipedia)

Is it any wonder why Solomon called the conies (hyraxes) “exceeding wise?” Knowing the danger posed by wolves and the like, the defenseless animals band together, watch over each other, and run to the rocks any time there is a threat.

Our Defense

One would have to be blind to miss the parallels here. Why do so many fools fall victim to the ravenous wolves of the world? Their bones are found scattered across the sands of time because they ventured out alone, without the watchful eyes of others, and without the defense available in the true Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ.

Why won’t more people heed the wisdom of Proverbs? Why do so many of us continue to be eaten alive by the enemy when there is a Rock in which to run and hide?

“OH! Rock of Ages, hide thou me!”