Category Archives: Knowledge

Perception and Reality

Proverbs 16:2

“All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.”

The Way We See It

If I have heard it said once, I have heard it said a thousand times, “perception is reality.” And if I have puked once…

What is it with man’s twisted view of reality and truth? Where do we get the idea that reality is what we perceive it to be? Is truth really relative to our own perception of the way things are? Just because a person believes something to be true doesn’t make it true, only believed.

Have you ever argued with someone who is color-blind over the color of a tie? Have you ever tried to convince someone dying of thirst that it’s not really water, but a mirage? Have you ever tried to convince a 3-year-old that germs are real and that hands need to be washed before eating? Some people think they know what they see, but they don’t.

Clean Drunks

Several years ago I was unfortunate enough to transport a bunch of college kids to a party. It was unfortunate because long before some of them ever got on the school bus they had already been drinking.

The place they were going to was up a mountain. About 5 minutes into the trip, about the third or fourth curve, one girl decided to vomit on the window, down the inside wall, and between the seats. It was all liquid, all alcohol, and all nasty. A few minutes later she felt she was ready to go party some more, for, in her eyes, she was perfectly clean. The only problem was that we (everyone on the bus) could tell she was soaked…in other words, we weighed the “spirits.”

God Sees Everything

When it comes to self-perception, reality is what God sees. He not only sees the outside, but the heart is bare before Him. As the proverb says, a man may consider himself clean, which is his own perception of reality, but the Lord knows what’s really going on.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12

It is foolish for men to try to justify their sinful, dirty actions before a holy God. It is foolish to depend on our own perception of what is right and wrong. Our eyes only want to see what makes us look good, not evil.

That is why we need God’s wisdom.

 


Hating Yourself

Proverbs 15:32

He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.”

Abused

People who have a history of abuse tend to have something else in common: they hate themselves thinking they caused the abuse they received.

It indeed is a sad way to go through life, but it is the reality many people face every day.

What is interesting and also sad is that there are people who have little to no reason to hate their lives, yet they abuse themselves. They abuse themselves with drugs, alcohol, food, lack of food, pain, and any number of other things.

The saddest of all are those who abuse themselves intellectually and spiritually, often intentionally.

Not Listening

There are some who refuse to give in to intellectual honesty. This is most often found in the realm of politics, but it can be seen everywhere. These are the people who are approached with facts, but they believe something else so strongly that they refuse to believe the evidence in front of them.

The others see the evidence of the spiritual and refuse to acknowledge it or to see its importance. It is often combined with intellectual dishonesty, but in any event it is the most dangerous.

Whether they follow a religion or are irreligious in any fashion (including within a faith-system … including Christianity and all of its facets), people will refuse to listen to the One True God.

Rebuked and Loving It

Those who listen to the God of the Universe come to understand that there is only One God (Deuteronomy 6:4), we are all messed up and in need of His saving us (Romans 3), and that Jesus is the only Way to salvation (John 14:6).

We realize that God has rebuked our sin and atoned for it through the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is only because of His great love for us that He does rebuke our sin, that He came to personally pay the price to restore the relationship.

Do not hate your soul. Hear God speaking to you, and follow Him!

Gracious God, thank You for loving us enough to call out our sin and then saving us from our sin! Help us to see Your love for us, and help us to love You more for it.


A Timely Word

Proverbs 15:23

“A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!”

In yesterday’s Proverbial Thought – “Purposes Established!”, it was discussed just how important it is to seek counsel. Today’s verse we flip to the other side of the coin and talk about when someone come to us seeking advice what is our response. Today’s verse focuses on not only giving the right advice but giving it at the appropriate time. I love the way the HCSB says our verse, “A man takes joy in giving an answer; and a timely word — how good that is!”

The book of Proverbs contains many words of advice and wisdom regarding our speech. It also gives us several reasons for our words:

It’s All About the Timing

As it was says earlier, a wise person not only knows the correct response to give but also gives it at the correct time. This wise counsel was given to us in Ecclesiastes 8:5-6:

“Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way. For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him.”

Proverbs 25:11 also tells us:

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” 

We have all either heard of stories or experienced them ourselves. The story of someone going through a hard time, having a loved one die or receiving some extremely bad news. And then it happens. Someone who is trying to console them with words tells them of their cousin’s best friend’s mother who went through the exact same thing but tells them of the horrific end that took place.

Why do we (yes, I have done this myself) think this is going to make them feel better? The timing was way off and not at all comforting to the receiver.

This reminds me Job. During the time that he was devastated by the news he had just received, three visitors came to him and basically started telling him it was all his fault. How is that for positive reenforcement!

Solomon is telling us in our verse that the proper words spoken at the proper time will be good news to both the giver of those words and the receiver.

So the next time you are going to give advice to someone, not only remember that there are right words to say but that there is also the right time to say them.


He Sees Good In Evil

Proverbs 15:3

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”

There is a big fancy word that means “God sees everything” which can also be said “God knows everything”: omniscience.

God is omniscient. He can see everything going on in the world, all that we do or do not do.

Firstly, this is a reminder God knows every time evil is taking place in this world. To avoid a big theological controversy here, we will stick with He is always within reach for those undergoing the effects of evil in this world.

Secondly, God sees how each of us truly is:

“This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.”
(Ecclesiastes 9:3, NIV)

Yes, we are all evil, especially when compared to God. It does not mean there is nothing good in us, as we were created by God.

Even though God is fully aware of how evil every single one of us is, he still loves us. He wants to see all the good in us there can be.

Therefore, He came to us, as a baby. That baby grew to become a man, and after a few decades of a perfect life He died on a cross to erase our guilt and rebuild the relationship lost due to our sin.

All we must do is believe this and let Him change our hearts through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father.

Then, one glorious day, we will stand before God. All He will see when He looks at us is the perfection of Jesus Christ! He will see good where once there was evil.

Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us in our rebellion, of which You are fully aware. You know every evil deed and thought we have, yet You came to get us anyway. Thank You, Lord.


The Evil Dead

Proverbs 14:19

‘Evil men will bow down in the presence of the good,
    and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.’

Slim Consolation

The Bible is full of good honest people asking the question, “Why do bad people prosper, and good people suffer?” This is a question that still haunts us now. The song writer Josh Garrels quips in his song ‘Farther Along’ – ‘Tempted and tried, I wonder why the good man dies, bad man thrives and Jesus cries cus He loves them both.’ The Bible also tells us that the bad, or evil will get their comeuppance. But when we are seeing the evil thrive very close to home while we also struggle to live the way we’d like, not to mention all our brothers and sisters all over the world facing persecution for Christ, this can be hard to swallow. This verse may provide some comfort in the thought that one day things will be made right, but what about now?

The Inconvenient Truth

Romans 11 verse 14 tells us that one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, whether they want to or not! One day you may be falling to your knees in worship while the person next to you is having an uncomfortable moment of realisation and regret. What will you think in that moment? Will you be glad that the evil are finally about to get their just desserts? Or will you be wishing you had done more to help people see Jesus in this life so they are not surprised in the next?


Knowledge Looks Good On You

Proverbs 14:18

“The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.”

Making a Deal

When I was young, there was a very popular game show on television called Let’s Make a Deal. One of the most popular aspects of that show was the opportunity given to contestants to choose their prize. They could choose between what they were initially given, or take a risk and exchange it for something else…usually behind “curtain number 1.”

More often than not, the contestants would choose to take the risk – and it was a risk – and surrender what was in hand (even though they may have not know what that was, either) for whatever was hidden behind one of several curtains.

And, more often than not, as far as I can remember, the contestants usually ended up with something pretty silly, like a lifetime supply of toothpicks. On the other hand, there were those who made bank. “You just won a brand new car!

For those who wanted to take a risk and play the game, the outcome was still better than having never played at all.

But let’s just imagine if the “simple” person in this proverb was on a similar game show. What might we see?

“Let’s Get a Crown!” 

Imagine the simple man of this verse traveling to Hollywood to compete on Let’s Get a Crown!. Imagine him being selected from the crowd and being asked to “come on down” to the front to stand with the host.

After being selected as a contestant, Mr. Simple is given a small prize – a gilded toilet bowl plunger. Then, after a laugh, the game show host offers Mr. Simple a few curtains from which to choose, noting that behind each is a prize far more grand than the one already in his possession.

Host: “Sir, all you have to do is trade that gilded plunger for one of those curtains, and I guarantee, regardless of your choice, the prize will be far more valuable. Which do you want to choose?”

Mr. Simple: “Well, Bob, I think I’ll just keep my plunger.”

Host: “What? You could trade that plunger in for a chance at much greater things! Surely you’d rather walk out of here with a prize to be proud of, wouldn’t you?”

Mr. Simple: “Nah. I have what I have. It’ll do. I’m not leaving empty-handed, so why ask for anything more?”

Choose to Learn

We could approach Proverbs 14:18 from several different directions, but the one I would like to take is that of one who settles with ignorance rather than striving for knowledge.

Consider the word inherit in the first part of this proverb. It is in the “perfect tense,” which means the inheriting of folly is a completed action – it’s done.

The word crowned in the second part is different; it’s in the “imperfect tense.” In other words, it’s an on-going thing, not something that is finished.

The simple – the foolish – are content with what they know and are content in their ignorance.

However, the prudent understand the value of learning and are not content with the gilded plunger of ignorance! They are ever expanding the substance of their inheritance and continue to add to their estate and wear a crown to prove it…

…much like those who come here to learn a little more about God’s Word.

Knowledge looks good on you 🙂 


Bittersweet Testimony

Proverbs 14:10

“Each heart knows its own bitterness,
    and no one else can share its joy.”

Know Thy Self

The only person who knows your heart better than God is you. You know how it feels to be you. You know what what it feels like to hurt like you hurt. You and God are the only ones who know the depth of the bitterness contained in your own heart. Other people might have been through similar things, they might have some level of understanding but the only other person to know the full picture is God.

All by Myself

So is this proverb suggesting we should shut up shop, keeping our bitterness and joy to ourselves? I would like to suggest not. This proverb isn’t saying no one should share it’s joy, it is just making the observation that the natural state of play is that no one knows what is truly going on in someone’s heart (except God) unless we learn to share our hearts with others.

Grieving and Rejoicing Together

Romans 12:15 tells us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” This is only possible if we open our hearts to others. Now I am not saying we should share our intimate secrets with all and sundry but it is healthy to have a few trusted confidants to open our hearts to.

Extended Family

When we first found out that I had a low sperm count we had to decide whether to keep this news to ourselves or share it with our church family. When I got up and told our church I said something like this: “I tell you this now not for your pity, but so that as you grieve with us presently you will rejoice with us when we have our children.”