Category Archives: Paths of Life

Why We Do This

Psalm 49 gives some insight into why we at Proverbial Thought write (this will be a little longer than usual, but mostly scripture!):

Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world: Both low and high, rich and poor, together.

It does not matter our station in life: Our writers are different ages, genders, and nationalitites; and God’s Word is freely shared with all people.

My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. I will incline mine ear to a parable (proverb): I will open my dark saying upon the harp.

We share God’s wisdom and (hopefully) reveal the truth of sayings and teachings that may be hard to understand or apply.

Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about? They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish. This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah. Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah. Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him. Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself. He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light. Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.
Psalm 49:1‭-‬20, KJV

We teach the Truth.

We as humans are hopelessly lost and foolish, and we have both willfully and accidentally sinned, turned our backs on God and His righteousness. We are utterly unable to get back into a right relationship with Him. Not by wealth, works, or good intentions. No person has been righteous enough to even sacrifice his or her own life to save the soul of another.

But the truth is that He made a way, by coming to us through His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, to perfectly fulfill the Father’s law and will through His truly righteous life, then sacrificed Himself on a cross to bring the forgiveness of sin and save our souls, and rose to life again to guarentee we can be in relationship with Him forever. And He helps us to live for and grow more like His Son through the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.

And this is why we do this: To share this truth of His love, grace, and glory.

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“With ALL Thine Heart”

Proverbs 3:5 is probably the most famous verse in all of chapter three. As a matter of fact, one post this week has already addressed it. 

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

However, one part is worth another look, if for no other reason than to remind us once again of something we should already know. 

“All” means all.  

How often do we say we trust God, but then fall back on our own knowledge, experience, and conscience when His leading seems to conflict with our understanding? We read His commands, sense the Spirit’s leading, but then doubt Him. 

There are parts of our hearts that don’t want to yield. They will fight, kick, and scream in order to have their way. The Lord will ask us to do something, only to have a part of us reply, “But my heart disagrees.”

Verse 6 tells us that when we let the Lord have control, He will “direct” our paths. That means He will make the paths of life straight, passable, smoother, and more direct. In other words, it may be the “straight and narrow,” but it will get you where you need to go without the damage to your suspension a rutted, pothole-filled highway may bring. Yet, how often we say, “My heart is telling me to go another way,” only to find ourselves beaten, scarred, busted, and way off track by the time we reach our destination. 

Point: Your heart is like an outdated GPS that will leave with flat tires, busted shocks, and more than a few stains on the upholstery. Why not give your heart to Jesus and let Him take the wheel? 

After all, He’s already been smoothing out the road. 


The Preciousness of Wisdom

Hello, Dear Reader. I am a rarity to this blog, but I have come to share with you some truths of Wisdom which I have gleaned.

Last Summer, I found myself in a particularly tough place in regards to dating relationships. The person I was with for a period of three months was someone of immoral character and rebellion. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, so to speak, and I, being the naïve woman looking for a nice and caring fellow, fell into the trap of enticement.

During the last couple of weeks of my relationship, I was interested in reading Scripture, but it was rooted in how I wanted to prove to my parents that this person I spent time with was worth the time I had invested. I began to read through Proverbs for a short time, but once my relationship ended I began to have a bitterness fester within my heart due to some underlying problems with self-image and self-value.

I have always hated the possibility that one day I would live up to my middle name which means “bitterness,” yet that is exactly what I had become: a bitter young woman, full of rebellion against my upbringing. I spent a majority of my time during the last half of last year and the first part of this year in hate and corruption of the mind and heart, and the worst part was that I knew exactly how to remedy that pain I put myself through.

In a paper I wrote at the beginning of this semester, I stated:

“I know that God is real and loving and forgiving; I know with all certainty that He wants me to come to Him. Even so, I do not want the help that He has to offer my wounded and rotting spirit. I do not want to muster up the courage it takes to allow Him to scrape the putrid rot from my soul, just as a doctor must scrape and clean a burn victim. I do not want the comfort that He sends me through the gracious acts of others as they hold me and speak life into my heart. I do not want what I need. I want my own efforts to win over. Never have I understood so clearly how a dying man fights for his last breath – until now. I know that God is real, but I would rather trust my fingernails for security.” – The Strength of My Own Fingernails

Now, as I am recovering from this season of life, I can look at Scripture again with a refreshed mind and soul. Here is what I have learned from Proverbs 2:

Wisdom is:

  • A protector via discernment (v. 3)
  • A saving grace from wicked people (v. 12-19)
  • Something which only comes from the Lord (v. 6)
  • Something which must be sought out (v. 1-5)
  • Something which has value (v. 4)

Sterling Silver

In verse 4, Solomon refers to the value of Wisdom as being like that of the value of silver. This precious metal has been used in jewelry for thousands of years, including a piece which is now on my left ring finger. I wear a sterling silver band for several reasons, one of which to serve as a reminder that God’s Wisdom is something to be cherished. If only I had listened to the teachings of this Word and my parent’s concerns before taking my course of actions last year! I would have saved myself so much heartache and regret!

Wisdom is worth seeking out; it is a treasure to obtain. The catch is this: you must be willing to sacrifice your personal agenda in order to journey to find this treasure. It was only after I sacrificed my lifestyle and my hurt to Christ that I was able to access the Lord’s Wisdom again. If you want this treasure, it must be the only thing you seek.


Planting a Vineyard

Proverbs 31:10,16 

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies….
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

P1010626 copyMy wife is blessed with many gifts, talents, and abilities, but growing or sustaining green things is not one of them. While there is little chance that Marilyn would consider buying a field and planting a vineyard, the fruit of her hands is evident in many other ways. For a start, there are the five children she has raised, and two grandchildren she also pours out her love upon. Then there are the other lives she has touched in so many different ways. Most of the time folk wouldn’t even know that Marilyn is there because she prefers to work away quietly in the background. You won’t find Marilyn up on the stage at church, but you will see her serving coffee and tea in the lobby to welcome people to the morning service, and she is often busy behind the scenes in the church kitchen, or producing cakes in huge quantities for church events, and as gifts to people she loves. And she is the same outside of home and church.

The fruit of Marilyn’s hands is evident in my life too. I cannot place a value on her loving support over nearly thirty-five years of marriage. If I consider the investment Marilyn has made in being a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, then it could be compared to a field. Marilyn has taken that field and transformed it, and through the fruit of her hands she has benefited the lives of many. Without knowing it she has set an example. Without deliberately seeking to demonstrate the love of God through her life, she has done just that. Quietly, effectively, and always without seeking acknowledgment or praise.

Who can find such a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.


Misplaced and Unsuited

Proverbs 30:21-23

21 For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear:
22 For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat;
23 For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress. (KJV)

21 Under three things the earth trembles; under four it cannot bear up:
22 a slave when he becomes king, and a fool when he is filled with food;
23 an unloved woman when she gets a husband, and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress. (ESV)

Out of Place

There are some things that simply should not be.

A liberal should not lead a conservative gathering. A coffee shop should not try to serve gourmet three-course meals. An atheist should not lead a religious meeting.

These would be out of place, and it would lead to problems.

The Bible tells us some things out of place are:

  1. A servant or slave who becomes a king. He may wish to exact revenge on those who were wealthy, and he may become a tyrant.
  2. A fool who is full. This is the person who is easily addicted to things. When combined with power, this is a truly dangerous person.
  3. An unloved woman who gets married. This is a woman who does not know how to love or be loved. She is controlling (through emotions, physical actions, and/or psychological manipulation), contentious, and/or quarrelsome (such as Proverbs 19:13 , 21:9, 25:24, and 27:15).
  4. A servant who replaces her master. This is the person who gains undeserved influence over others, and can easily lead others down wrong paths.

Some simple truths

The point of all of this is that it is not good for something or someone to be out of place.

A person who cannot handle confrontation or difficult decisions should not be in leadership.

A person with unresolved emotional issues should not offer counsel to others.

A person who does not understand matters of faith should not lead ministries.

A person who is prideful, arrogant, and selfish is unsuited to lead others in charity.

The good news is that our loving Lord can redeem all of us who struggle in any of these areas! May we turn to Him to change our minds, hearts, and lives to do mighty things for His glory!

Great Lord, grant us Your wisdom and understanding. Help us to overcome our selfish and arrogant ways, and change our hearts and minds. Redeem our lives to Your glory!


Amazing!

Proverbs 30:20

Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.
Equally amazing is how an adulterous woman can satisfy her sexual appetites, shrug her shoulders, and then say, “What’s wrong with that?” (NLT Life Application Study Bible).

No-one seems to know much about Agur, the writer/compiler of Proverbs 30. One thing that we do know is that Agur was not a scientist (Proverbs 30:18-19). When Agur watched eagles in the sky and snakes on the rocks he was amazed by their movements. Agur couldn’t understand how a ship could be navigated across the ocean without GPS, and he wasn’t too sure about matters of romance either. But all of these mysteries paled into insignificance when Agur considered how people could do something that crossed the boundaries of behavior laid down by God and then ask, “What did I do wrong?” Although Agur used an adulterous woman as an example, the same principle applies to many other scenarios and situations, as it has since the day that Adam and Eve shared forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

If Agur lived today he could read books or watch television documentaries to gain an understanding of eagles and snakes, ocean navigation techniques, and love. But Agur would have been absolutely stunned to discover that adultery and the like have become completely acceptable to so much of society. As it was in the days of Noah, so it is now. Men and women do as they please, eat and then wipe their mouths and ask, “What did I do wrong?” We see it in our politicians, in our workplaces, in our churches, and even in our families. And no-one is amazed anymore. Now that is amazing, especially when history records the rise and fall of societies, and the reasons that they fall.

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. (Matthew 24:37-43 NIV)


Beyond Me

Proverbs 30:18-19

“There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.”

Too Wonderful?

In this modern age, there are a lot of wonders to behold. The majority of those wonders consist of man-made technologies that capture and hold our attention only as long as they are new. Once the newness is gone and another gadget or upgrade hit the market (which is about every thirty seconds), the “wonderful” suddenly becomes boring and old.

Is there anything in this world that is made by man that is “too wonderful” to understand? For some people, the answer would be “yes.” For example, I will probably never understand how a person can manage to play a whole symphony on a horn with just three valves, much less how a rocket gets to the moon and back. But anything that is made by man can be understood by man, duplicated, and marketed. And once something is fully understood, the awe is gone.

Yes, Too Wonderful!

However, there are some things, no matter how much we learn, that will still be “too wonderful,” so much so that it will elude the wisest men alive (or ever lived). Not even the writer of this proverb could figure these things out.

Some things seem simple on the surface, but wind up far more complicated and intricate once we begin to examine them more closely. But even when we figure out the mechanics of some things, we later realize that there is a “way” about them that defies explanation: the way of a soaring eagle; the grace of a serpent moving across a rock; how a little boat survives in the midst of the sea; how ugly men attract beautiful women (Seriously!).

There are some things that are just beyond me, and I’m glad.