Category Archives: Paths of Life

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.

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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.


Looking Down One’s Nose

Proverbs 30:13  

There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.
They look proudly around, casting disdainful glances. (NLT)

I remember driving one of my children to a soccer tournament at a private school. Leaving the road there was a long private driveway leading up to the school where parents of children belonging to the school were directed to a tarmacked/asphalted area close to the playing fields to park their Range Rovers, Mercedes and BMWs. Those of us from the state schools were pointed in the direction of an un-surfaced car park at the rear of the school. During the tournament the parents of the private school kids stuck out a mile. They were easily recognizable by the way they dressed, the way they spoke, and to be honest – the names of their children. They did not mix with the rest of us, and most of the state school parents concluded that these people were looking proudly around, casting disdainful glances at us. Consequently, much pleasure was derived from the fact that our team won the tournament.

Pride and arrogance are often attributed to the wealthy and those who consider themselves to belong to a superior social class. On this occasion that is just how it seemed, but in hindsight I would say that we state school parents also had an attitude problem. Just as we felt we were being judged, we also judged. And that is the danger with lofty eyes. Any human being can fall into the trap of looking down on others. Jesus had strong words for the religious leaders of His day on this subject in Matthew 23. There is always danger in considering ourselves better than someone else, and that is surely why such a warning is included in Proverbs.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing
 by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
 by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! (Philippians 2: 1-8 NIV)


Which Side?

Proverbs 29:27

“An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.”

Vampires, and humans, and wolfs! Oh, my!

Twilight is/was a very popular series of books that were turned into various movies over the years – maybe you’ve seen them.

To summarize in as little words as possible, the story is about the “love” between a human female (Bella) and a male vampire (Edward), and a werewolf guy (Jacob) who comes in later to steal the human from the vampire, because the wolfman loves the human, too. You may have seen T-shirts and posters with “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob” on them. Whoever is on the side of Jacob wants Bella and Jacob together. Whoever wears the “Team Edward” shirt desires the opposite.

http://cdn.blogosfere.it/pellicolerovinate/images/Twilight-Eclipse-2056.jpg

Edward (left), Bella (center), Jacob (right)

Sadly, these two sides are both wicked because they not only focus on the good of witchcraft and darkness, but they support the sinful and erotic love between a human and a beast…or a human and a soulless being. Neither side supports a moral lifestyle or legitimate love.

Those who are not on “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob,” but oppose Twilight from a Biblical perspective – because of the immoral lifestyle and values that come with it – find it difficult to understand those who enjoy the Twilight franchise. Serious fans of Twilight often gush about how it is just a sweet love story, or that it’s just fiction, and get annoyed with those who “don’t get it.” Maybe Proverbs 29:27 explains why.

Still, the fact still remains that there are serious problems with evil being portrayed as righteousness.

Either way, we have a book full of laws  – and reasons for those laws – that helps guide us in the way we should live. That should be where we look to find answers when being questioned about which “side” to take.

God’s Word is always valid and just; people are not.

 

*Check out Katie Marie’s at Shutterelf and tell her Proverbial Thought sent you 😉


Wisdom over Harlots

Proverbs 29:3

Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father,     but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth. (NIV)

The second half of today’s verse probably does not need much explanation.

Getting prostitutes is not the best way to spend money.

For starters, they can be expensive up front. If they are not expensive up front, and even if they are, they could be even more expensive later.

You may need to also pay for:

  • Divorce
  • Counseling
  • Medical needs
  • Medication for said needs
  • Reputation
  • and much, much more!

Your wealth could be squandered very quickly with prostitutes.

A Happy Father

Wisdom is always the better choice.

It could make you rich, if you are wise with money, but there is no guarantee of that.

It will usually keep you out of trouble (though wicked people often find a way to bring you trouble!)

It is probably true with most parents, but I know when I made wise decisions those were the times my father was the most proud of me.

The satisfaction I think we should all strive for, though, is higher than that.

Solomon became king of Israel at a very young age, and God gave him the chance to ask for anything he wanted. Solomon asked for wisdom.

How did God respond? 1 Kings 3:10 tells us:

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.

How amazing would it be to know our Heavenly Father, the God, Creator, and Savior of all creation, was happy with us?

Heavenly Father, give your servants discerning hearts to govern our lives and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours, but You?