Category Archives: Truth

Vanishing Profits

Proverbs 21:6

The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.
A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare. (NIV)

I have worked with many dishonest people.

When I sold cell phones for a time, I worked with someone who was not afraid to stretch the truth to sell a phone.

“Of course you can set your own music as ringtones!” He would say for a device that does not play music.

“This phone will give you a signal everywhere you go!” He would say for an older device using old technology.

“You can return this anytime you want during your contract!” … Just not true after 30 days!

“I did not know you were their salesman!” He would say to the rest of us after putting a sale in his name.

Initially, he had great sales numbers. It looked like he was going to earn a great commission.

Unfortunately, most of his sales came back after customers realized they did not get what they wanted.

This meant his supposedly high commission was, in fact, quite low. Sometimes it was because the higher-ups in the company figured out he was stealing sales, and they would send the commission to those of us who earned them.

Taken Away

In Luke chapter 19, Jesus shares the parable of the minas, in which a nobleman travels and leaves his money in the care of some servants. Some grow his money while he is gone, but one simply hides it. Those who grew the money were given much responsibility, while the lazy one had everything taken away and given to the better servant.

In Matthew chapter seven, He shares that there will be many who speak and act in His name, but Jesus will tell them “I never knew you.” They are the ones who did everything for personal gain.

The reason these are all related is that in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus tells us to store up treasures in Heaven. We cannot store up treasures in Heaven if we lie through word and deed. If we do, all we think we have stored in Heaven, God will say “All the good you think you did is worthless, because it was a counterfeit.”

In this life or the next, we can lose everything through our dishonesty and selfishness.

Gracious God, forgive us of our deceitfulness and selfishness. Give us Your truth, and help us to be honest and grace-filled.


Leadership Advice

Proverbs 20:28.

“Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.” (KJV).
“Unfailing love and faithfulness protect the king; his throne is made secure through love.” (NLT).

 

Advice for Leaders:

In this Proverb, Solomon teaches us two things. First, he commends to us two virtues of a good king: mercy and truth. Secondly, he shows how the ruler who walks in mercy will ensure he is successful in his rule. And although this proverb specifically deals with a king, I believe that the universal principle behind it can be applied to anyone in a leadership position – be they a government leader, teacher, parent, employer, or pastor.

Two Leadership Virtues:

In the world today, we are experiencing a crisis of leadership. There are so many leaders that don’t lead well. How many leaders – both prominent political leaders and religious leaders – have lost their position and influence because of a lack of integrity? Too many to count. If a leader wants to lead long, finish well, and have a lasting influence, he must be a person with a virtuous character. And two of the most important virtues, Solomon tells us, are mercy and truth. In fact, in another Proverb, Solomon tells all people, not just leaders, to aspire to be people of mercy and truth: “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.” (3:3).

What does it mean for a leader to be merciful? It means that you don’t rule with harshness, cruelty or legalism. It means you are tender and gracious, and willing to forgive the mistakes of those you lead. It means you choose to lead with love, acceptance and forgiveness. And what does it mean to be truthful? It means you are faithful to your word, you keep your promises, and do what’s right. When you make mistakes (and you will make mistakes, and that’s okay), you are quick to admit it and ask for forgiveness where necessary.

Successful Leadership:

When a leader walks in truth and especially mercy (which is mentioned twice in our text), it is said that his throne will be upholden, or made secure, by mercy. In other words, his leadership will last. His character and integrity will be preserved, and his influence will outlive his life.

I know of a leader in a church once who got hurt and offended, and rather than being merciful and choosing to forgive the other leader who had hurt him, he got bitter and started lying and gossiping about that other leader. As a consequence, many people were hurt and affected by his actions. It was such a sad and terrible situation that resulted in many people walking away from the church as a result of it. It totally broke my heart. This story serves as a warning to all who would neglect the proverbial admonition to walk in mercy and truth, which is designed to protect a leader – and the people he leads.


Think Before You Promise

Proverbs 20:25

“It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.”
“It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one’s vows.” – NIV

Bad Deals

Have you ever made a bad deal? For instance, have you ever committed to an agreement thinking you were going to make a profit, only to find out later that you lost money? If you have been in that position, when did you figure out you were on the losing end of the deal?

Some people sign contracts and then once the job has begun try to renegotiate every little detail. Others will agree to do a project of some sort, agree on a price, but in the end haggle over the agreed amount. One person I know was promised a certain amount for a job, but then when it was completed, the person for which he worked decided to pay him less. He was told, “I have been thinking about what I promised, but now I don’t think the job was worth that much.”

Bad Vows

There are people who treat God the same way. The make promises, but then, when the real cost is figured, try to renegotiate.

For example, a businessman might say, “God, if you bless my investment, I will give you fifty percent of the profit.” He may even call a meeting with his staff and proclaim, “I am dedicating fifty percent of my business to the Lord!” But then, later that evening, he sits down and starts planning for the future and realizes he could have used that extra money. The next day he goes into the office and says, “You know, I think I promised God too much.”

Solomon says that we fall into a “trap” when we make rash vows or promises unto God. It is our responsibility to think about these things beforehand, not afterwards. Once we make a vow to God, we are wise to keep it.

“A man who makes a vow to the LORD or makes a pledge under oath must never break it. He must do exactly what he said he would do.” – Numbers 30:2 NLT


Weighty Truth

Proverbs 20:10

“Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.”
“Differing weights and differing measures— the LORD detests them both.” (NIV)

Flattering Scales

I know some people who hate being weighed. They cringe at the thought of stepping on scales. So, to  make things a little easier, they find ways to make adjustments.

Believe it or not, some people (and you know who you are) adjust their bathroom scales to show less than their actual weight. In other words, some people, after stepping out of the shower, would prefer that their scales lie.

They like being flattered, not fattened.

Lying Scales

Balance à tabac

Balance à tabac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This proverb has to do with scales, but here they are called “diverse weights, and diverse measures.” They were used back in the old days for determining the value or authenticity of an item.

For example, if someone said he had an ounce of pure gold, a standardized ounce of pure gold, when set on the other side of the scale, should balance out. If something was off then the scales would tip.

Many times dishonest merchants would cheat their customers by using “diverse” weights, or weights that said they weighed a certain amount, but didn’t. God hates lying, even when it involves weights.

Heavy Truth

Sometimes the truth may seem too heavy to bear. It may be disappointing to know how much we actually weigh. Those who have flattering scales in their bathrooms are often brought back to reality when they have to visit a doctor – their scales don’t lie.

What is wrong with a little scale tampering every now and then? The problem is that a lying scale leads people to believe a lie is the truth. With God there is no room for error or falsehood. Jesus is the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life.

There is no coming to God by way of a faulty scale.


Understanding Our Need

Proverbs 19:8

He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.”

Understanding Ourselves

Our world likes to teach us that we must dig down deep inside of ourselves to find the truth of ourselves. They tell us it will help us find peace and freedom.

I tend to agree.

… just not for the reasons they claim.

Their claim is that we will find the good inside of us, the things that will bring us happiness, joy, and peace as we discover our true selves.

That is where I disagree.

While we may have good inside of us (God did create us, after all), if we dig down deep we find even more that we are not so good.

We are selfish, dishonest, angry, blasphemous individuals.

Being Honest with Ourselves

If we could be honest with ourselves, we would understand that there is no way we could find good in and of ourselves.

The only way to find good in ourselves is to get wisdom.

As has been said many times during our adventures through Proverbs (one time that comes immediately to mind is my commentary on Proverbs 3:18), Jesus is the Wisdom of God. Jesus is the only good we can find in ourselves when we believe in Him.

Getting a hold of Jesus, putting our faith in the truth of His life, death, and resurrection, shows that I love my soul.

Do you love your soul?

Wise Lord, reveal Your wisdom to us. Create in us a desire to seek You through bringing us all to understanding ourselves. Help us to live within that understanding and wisdom.


The Painful Truth

Proverbs 19:1

Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and a fool. (NLT)

Perverting the Course of Justice

A former senior politician is currently serving a prison sentence in the UK. He is a wealthy man, and a man who was so driven by ambition that when clocked by a speed camera for the umpteenth time he persuaded his wife to tell the authorities that she was driving. She duly complied and took the points on her licence so that her husband could keep his. Some years later she discovered that her husband’s dishonesty extended to matters of the bedroom, and she leaked his past misdemeanor to the press, claiming that she perverted the course of justice only because of marital coercion. The jury did not accept her defense, and she was also imprisoned, but only after many months of her former husband denying the charges. He eventually admitted that he had been driving. He will still have his wealth when released from prison, but his integrity is in tatters and will be difficult to rebuild.

The Challenge

The challenge to be honest in all things is one that most of us face daily in a variety of situations. I remember being given too much change in a restaurant. It was 1976. I was home on leave and taking a holiday in my childhood home of Guernsey. I was also running out of funds, and a week or two away from payday. I knew when the waitress handed me my change that there were two brand new £5 notes stuck together. I got halfway to the door, but as much as I wanted that other £5 I could not bring myself to knowingly take what wasn’t mine. I turned around and went back to the waitress. When I explained that she had given me too much change she was overwhelmed. She told me that if I had not returned that £5 note it would have been deducted from her wages. I wanted to feel good about myself, but I couldn’t because I knew that I had wanted to leave the restaurant without returning what wasn’t mine.

Dishonesty Hurts

In both the above examples it is evident that dishonesty has consequences. It hurts us when we are dishonest, and it hurts others. There can be no differentiation between dishonest acts and dishonest words. Dishonesty hurts. Likewise, there is never any wisdom attached to dishonesty. Dishonesty almost always catches up with the dishonest. Ask a certain British politician and his wife.

Jesus once said to the Pharisees: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 NIV


Perverted Justice

Proverbs 17:23

“A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.”
“The wicked accept bribes in secret to pervert the course of justice.” -NIV

What “They” Do

Bribes are bad, especially when truth and justice is perverted. That is the main point of this proverb. The wicked man takes a bribe in order to keep justice from going forward.

We’ve seen the movies, read the books, and may have even experienced the results in real life. We are all familiar with what the bad guys typically do. They take money to keep from testifying at a trial. They are given a little off the top to collect a little more from a debtor. They are paid to tell a lie in order to get another bad guy acquitted of a crime. That’s what bad guys do.

Image result for termite damage"I once knew of a pest control company that was bribed to give clearance letters. Builders who wanted to save a few hundred dollars would give fifty to the owner of the company, and in turn he would give the builder a letter stating the new property had been pre-treated for termites. Justice was perverted because the new houses were sold with no protection from termites, and when they did come, the homeowner was usually convinced to pay a large sum to the same pest control company for a termite treatment.

These were bad guys, and that’s what they do.

What “We” Do

What many fail to recognize is the wickedness in their own hearts. It is so easy to judge others, but it is very hard to judge ourselves.

Have you ever given someone money for doing a small job, but then asked the person to not report the money on his tax return? Have you ever said, “If we do this ‘under the table,’ you won’t have to report it, and we’ll both be better off“? If you did, the law was skirted, and justice was perverted. Now who’s the bad guy?

Lord, help us to do what is right at all times, even when doing what is right cost us a little more. Help us to desire justice, not pervert it. 


The Business of Truth

Proverbs 16:13

Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.”

Today’s Kings

As David said yesterday, (as far as I know) I have never met an earthly king. At least, I have never met a national royal.

It would appear that a new royalty has arisen in our world. These are the people who make people move, change the course of fortunes and of societies.

The kings and queens of today are those who move the most money: the CEO’s of large corporations and companies.

This new royalty requires one thing to thrive in the world of business: information

The information they desire will help in deciding which product to release, which service to offer, and which way to brand their new product and/or service.

The people who work for them and they want around them are the people who give them the most honest and truthful information.

If you give them bad information for the simple desire to look good in their eyes, you will be the one they remove from their sight first!

With God

God does not remove us from His sight for spreading lies, at least not until the end of history! Yet, He still desires righteousness and truth.

The evidence of this is found in the first explicitly written laws found in the Bible:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

Truth and righteousness are found in confessing the truth of who God is and allowing Him to lift you to His standards.

Righteous God, give us Your righteousness. Help us through Your Holy Spirit to speak truth and live with integrity.


Don’t Try to Hide

Proverbs 15:11

“Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?”

“Full-Body Scanners”

Not long ago airports around the world introduced the use of “full-body scanners.” These machines have the ability to expose what is beneath a person’s clothing, with expose being the operative word.

Airline passengers used to be subject, in extreme cases, to strip searches. When deemed necessary  a security person might ask a potential passenger to undress in order to prove no form of weaponry was present, such as a knife or hand gun. Now, with the use of this new technology, all people boarding aircraft are forced to walk through a scanner that shows a naked picture (in black and white) to security personnel.

1117-AIMAGING-TSA-screenings-airports-Patdowns_full_600Many men and women object to the use of the “full-body scanner,” and for good reason. Ordinary, law-abiding folk are being forced into virtual strip searches and they don’t like it. In some cases security personnel have actually kept the nude images, which adds to the degrading sleaziness of the whole matter. Even though “full-body scanners” may prove useful, normal people enjoy their privacy and don’t like getting naked in front of strangers.

God Sees All

Privacy is the last thing we should expect with God. As a matter of fact, even the deepest, darkest secrets we keep are fully exposed to His ever-watchful, all-seeing eye.

Anyone can avoid being exposed by a “full-body scanner” by staying away from airports. But when it comes to God, there is nowhere anyone can hide, not even hell.

Today’s proverb states that the “hell and destruction” (sheol and abaddon), the place of the dead and hell itself, are in full view of the Lord. Not even the most advanced microwave scanner can peer beyond this realm into the world of the dead, but God can see every corner of the abyss. Solomon says, “If hell is fully exposed before God, what make you think you can keep anything from Him?”

Don’t Lie to God

Sometimes people walking into airports may forget they brought a little item like a pocket knife. They try to hide it and deny they are carrying anything prohibited, but then the scanner shows the truth. What follows is not pleasant. How much more should we be honest with our Creator?

Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned,” yet so many want to deny it. They think they can hide the lust, hatred, greed, and envy. They think a thick coat can cover their bitterness and betrayal. What they fail to realize is that God can see beneath the human shell and straight into the heart.

My advice? Before you take that final flight into the great beyond, admit what you are carrying, hand it over, and accept the free ticket to eternal life. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Otherwise, the place where violators go is far worse than anything airport security can dish out.


Delivering or Deceiving?

Proverbs 14:25

A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.”

Oh, So Sweet

There is a terrible crime that has arisen within the Church. It first reared its evil head, oh, about 2000 years ago.

You see there have always been people who have twisted the message of the Cross to serve their own desires, whether that be for money, fame, or truly wicked schemes.

Paul once wrote, “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Galatians 1:7b, NIV)

Perhaps you have seen this today? If you are not sure, here are some examples of perverted gospels that can be found within organizations that call themselves churches:

No Sweet-Talk?

While some of these things are based on some truth, none of them are necessarily true.

Just before the reference above, Paul said “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all.” (Galatians 1:6-7a, NIV)

The truth is that the Gospel of Christ – while having some pretty sweet promises of God’s love, grace, and forgiveness, and everlasting life – is a message that convicts us of our sin and leads to repentance. It tells us that there is only One True God, and we can not get to God on our own, so He came for us. It tells us that the life of a believer will be difficult (John 16:33). It tells us God provides what we need (Matthew 6).

A deceitful witness will tell you what you want to hear or make you believe what he wants you to hear, and it will only end badly for both of you.

A true witness will tell you how much you need a Savior, how much You need a God full of love, mercy, and grace.

Merciful Father, thank You for the truth that is Your Son. Help us to believe His gospel and be a faithful witness to the world for the Gospel. Help us not to be deceived nor to deceive; rather move through us to save those who are deceived!