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Saving Words

Proverbs 10:14

“Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.”

A Penny Saved

I am not sure where the saying “A penny saved is a penny earned” originated. For the longest I was under the impression that Benjamin Franklin coined it (coined it – now that’s funny), but evidently it originated much earlier in the 17th century. That’s OK, though. Whoever “coined” the “penny saved” idiom, if not already dead, is probably too thrifty to sue over copyright infringement.

Nevertheless, the idea of the idiom is that not spending a penny is the same as saving a penny. And when you save a penny, you grow richer in pennies by the day. Too bad pennies aren’t even worth pennies any more. But I digress.

You may be wondering what saving pennies has to do with today’s verse. Well, like pennies, or dollars, or pounds, or whatever, a wise man knows not to use up all his words. He knows there is profit in saving his wisdom for the right time.

A Penny Wasted

Even though pennies are of little value these days, they do have some value. Save enough of them and you could eventually have some money on hand. The foolish man, however, fails to recognize how things add up, so he spends his words quicker than a child’s allowance in a game room.

This sorta reminds me of what my wife tells young children when they won’t stop talking. She says, “Don’t use up all your words.” Wisdom teaches us to use our words carefully, but a fool speaks until he’s proven bankrupt.

A penny saved is a penny earned, and a watched word is wisdom stored.

A Prayer

Lord, some of us love to talk. Help us to save our words instead of spending them all in one place. 

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What Kind of Well?

Proverbs 10:11 

“The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.”

Righteous

The word righteous is probably not one that many of us would wish to use if describing ourselves. But how do we become righteous? The simple answer is that nothing on earth, and nothing we can do in our own strength, will ever make us righteous. That’s the bad news. The good news is that God provided a way to achieve righteousness.

God sent Jesus, His righteous Son, who willingly gave His life for us, the unrighteous. Although God knew that we could never achieve the righteousness He desires in us, His love for humanity was so great that He made a Way. But it came at a price.

How can we repay the debt that each of us owes to God? One answer is contained in this verse. If we accept the gift of God’s grace, then we must be changed. Our lives must increasingly reflect the life of Jesus. Our friends and family should be able to see Jesus in us, and we should be able to see them through His eyes.

Be the Well

When we speak, our mouths become like wells. The words that come from deep within should bring life to others. Therefore, our words should mark us as different.

It should be easy to tell the believer apart from those who have not accepted the gift of grace that God gave in Jesus. But sadly, many times what comes out of their mouths tells a different story. The challenge for those who have received the gift of grace is to be easily distinguishable from those who have not.


Does Your Dog Bite?

Proverbs 10:10

“He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall.”

Biting Dogs

If you have ever owned a dog, or been around them, I am sure you have heard someone say, “Does your dog bite?” The reason they ask this question is because one can never tell if a dog is safe by appearance.

One of my favorite scenes in any movie came in the Peter Sellers classic, the Pink Panther Strikes Again. In that scene Inspector Clouseau asks a hotel manager, “Does your dog bite?” The manager replies as he shakes his head, “No.” Clouseau then reaches down to pet the little dog and gets bit.

Angrily, Clouseau said, “I thought you said your dog did not bite!” The manager replied, “That is not my dog.”

Commenting on this verse, the great Matthew Henry said, “The dog that bites is not always the dog that barks.” In other words, the dog that bites is not always the one you expect.

Prating Fools and Winkers

Some fools are easy to spot (Spot – get it?). They run around acting like idiots, saying things that are obviously out of line with all wisdom, and make their true colors known. They are the barking dogs with foaming mouths. They are the wild hounds running the streets. They are the ones you know are trouble, so hopefully you stay away.

Other people are like the quite, fluffy dogs who look at you with big brown eyes, just begging to be petted. Then, just as you trust them, they explode into a white hot ball of canine terror* and rip your arm off. They are the ones who seem so friendly, so sweet, yet anything but nice.

The prating fool is someone who will come to an end by his own making. He is dangerous, but mostly to himself. But the man that “winketh” is bound for destruction, but not before he hurts the unwary who trust him.

Fakers are Biters

If there is anything I hate, it is fake concern. God hates it, too. “Winking” friends allow you to think they care about what you are going through; that they are concerned with your pain; that when the time comes they will find a way to help you through your difficulties. They may even say things like, “I’ll be praying for you, brother.”

The fakers, the winkers, want to let you think they care, but their goal is to use you for their own gain, even if the gain they seek is their own self-edification. Shame on those who say they care only to look pious and holy! They are nothing more than biting dogs, and somebody always gets hurt.

*”White hot ball of canine terror” is a line from a great Steven Spielberg cartoon, “Family Dog.”

Blessed Memories

Proverbs 10:7

“The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.”

Memories

I am blessed with a good memory. I can remember many good experiences and happy times in my life with clarity. One of my earliest memories is of my Dad pointing out beautiful blossom on the trees as he walked me to my kindergarten one sunny morning. I would have been three or four years old at the time. I also recall the front wheel coming off my tricycle as I rode on the pavement in the cul-de-sac where we lived. It seemed like a tragedy at the time, but my Dad soon fixed it for me. These are just two memories of being blessed by my Dad’s involvement in my life. There are many more.

When I think back I find that I remember more of the good times than the bad. I cherish the good memories, and I try not to dwell on the bad ones. Even now as I sit at my desk I find myself overwhelmed by a feeling of being blessed, and the presence of God surrounding me in this blessing.

The Good and the Bad, The Temporary and the Eternal

Unfortunately, when we consider the good and the bad in society it is often the case that memories of the bad hang around more than those of the good. Challenged to name a famous German many would think instantly of Hitler, who is arguably one of the most evil men to have lived. Why would Hitler’s name come to mind instead of George Müller (born in 1805 in Halberstadt, which was then part of Prussia but is now part of Germany)? George Müller cared for thousands of orphans in a ministry based on prayer. Or how about Dietrich Bonhoeffer who stood up against the Nazis, who hanged him in 1945 just twenty-three days before they surrendered?

This verse in Proverbs is not about our memories on earth where sometimes it is easier to remember the evil that permeates our human existence, instead of our God who has already defeated evil. It is about the day when we stand before God, as every person who has ever lived must do. It is then that the just will be remembered, and the names of the wicked will be erased. So although it may seem that the wicked always prosper, be encouraged that what we see now is temporary. One day we will see through different eyes. One day all memory of the wicked will be erased. One day.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)

But the LORD turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. (Psalm 34:16 NLT)


Simple Windbags

Proverbs 9:13-15 

“A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing. For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, To call passengers who go right on their ways:”

A Tale of Two Ladies

Chapter 9 of Proverbs can simply be split into two different sections with two different titles – Lady Wisdom & Lady Folly. The first twelve  verses are spent talking about Lady Wisdom, while the remain explain the ways of Lady Folly. Both of these ladies are laying out for us an invitation; either to follow the way of wisdom or to follow the way of folly.

Lady Folly

Solomon begins verse thirteen by saying that Lady Folly is “clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.” The ESV says this verse this way – “The woman folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing”. The English word fool or folly come from the Latin word follis, which means to “bellow”. Warren Weirsbe says that the word follis also indicates that a fool is a “windbag, full of air but lacking in substance”.

How many “Lady Follies” do you know? We all know these type of people and for the most part, no one want to be around them. They are loud and obnoxious. They think they know everything and have an opinion about everything, and their way – by far – is the best way and they don’t have a problem letting you know that it is the best way.

Solomon is warning us to be on the lookout for foolish people. Their way of foolishness will lead us to destruction and death.

Compare & Contrast

When we begin to compare and contrast Lady Wisdom to Lady Folly, we begin to see just how opposite they truly are. While we see in Proverbs 9:1 that Lady Wisdom has “built her house & set her table”, we see that in comparison Lady Folly is just sitting at the door of her house. She is lazy and doesn’t seem to care.

The Invitations

Chapter 9 is giving us two completely different pictures and invitations. While both women are calling out to those who are going “straight on their way”, we can clearly see by reading the remain parts of each section (Proverbs 9:1-12 / 13-18) the results that will follow.

Clearly the way of Lady Wisdom is most promising and will lead us to have our days multiplied, and years added to your life (Proverbs 9:11). Or we can follow the invitation set before us by Lady Folly, which will lead us to the “depths of Sheol”. Lady Wisdom has promised so much and she will be able to deliver on her promises, while Lady Folly has promised much but will not be able to deliver.

So the invitation is for you today! Which path are you going to follow? Are you going to follow after wisdom or folly? The choice should be obvious, even to the “simple and those lacking sense”!

The more we fear the Lord, the easier our decision becomes!

Lord, help me to fear you each and every day. The more love and admiration I have for you, the more I will want to follow the invitation of wisdom and not of folly. Lord, help me to live a life intentionally focused on You and You alone!


Seek and Find

Proverbs 8:17

“I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”

The Simplicity of Wisdom

This verse appears to require little explanation. Perhaps we should consider it a blessing that there is such simplicity in wisdom. There is also wisdom in simplicity. It makes it easy when something isn’t difficult to understand. Put simply, “God loves those who love Him.” While Scripture teaches and Jesus demonstrates that God offers His love to this fallen world unconditionally, God’s love has to be received, and it has to be reciprocated.

How to Love?

When as a teenager I found myself falling in love with my wife all I wanted to do was spend time alone with her. This was difficult for much of the year because I was serving at sea. The long absences made our time together even more precious. When I was home on leave and Marilyn wasn’t at work we spent as much time in each other’s company as we could. The longer I spent with Marilyn the deeper my love for her became; to the point that we knew we wanted to spend our lives together. We were married on 14 April 1979.

Progressing from Honeymoon

For our honeymoon Marilyn and I spent a week in the beautiful island of Guernsey, where I grew up. Walking together one day through the quaint streets of St Peter Port I was suddenly and completely overwhelmed with love for my wife. It was an incredible experience, a unique honeymoon blessing.

Every honeymoon has to end, but love between marriage partners should continue to grow. As love grows it changes. If it does not then there is a risk it may fail. After thirty-three years of marriage our love is very different to how it was during those carefree days of youth.

Equally, it is essential that our relationship with God progresses from the honeymoon period when we first came to know Him. It is vital that our love for God grows and develops, strengthening our relationship with Him. It doesn’t matter how far we have traveled on our faith journey. Regardless of how much we think we have grown, we still need to be overwhelmed by God’s love every day. But in addition to us receiving love from God, I truly believe that Proverbs 8:17 is stating that God desires to be overwhelmed by our love for Him.

How can we show God that we love Him? The answer is the second part of the verse:

Those that seek me early shall find me.

Why early? Because setting aside distractions and committing to spending time alone with God early each day shows that our love for Him is more important to us than anything else in our lives. Perhaps only then will we realize how important we are to Him. The Father of Jesus loves us very much.

 

7/10


PET Scan Musings

At this moment I am sitting in a dimly-lit room, my feet up in a recliner, a curtain surrounding me to lend privacy, with my iPhone 7 in my hands.

There’s a noticeable, but calming mechanical noise … maybe it’s electrical … in the background. Maybe it’s the AC system? Regardless, it’s relaxing, especially considering the surroundings.

A few moments ago a technician inserted an IV into my right arm, then he injected a radioactive substance into my vein. After that, while sitting here, I drank about 16 ounces of a “contrast.” In a little less than an hour from now, once all the stuff inside me filters through my body, I’ll receive a PET CT scan to determine whether or not I’ve got cancer. More specifically, whether or not the mass (lymph node) in my chest above my heart is malignant.

What does one think about during times like these? Do I worry, think about what may or may not happen, or write about my experience in real time? I choose the latter.

Why?

Because I believe that God is real. I believe that there are times when we believers in Jesus Christ need to be transparent, letting our experiences and how we handle them be a testimony to others of the grace of God on our lives.

There’s an old cliche that goes, “I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know Who holds tomorrow.” It’s in the uncertain moments like these that Christians need to shine, not only voicing the cliche, but demonstrating a genuine hope and trust in Christ.

This afternoon I will receive a diagnosis from the surgeon scheduled to review the tests. I’m not scared. Honestly, I am barely nervous. God has me in the palm of His hand, and nothing about to happen will change the plans He has for me.

If it’s cancer, so be it. If it’s not, then great! Nevertheless, I am not alone…not in this dark little room, the CT chamber, or anywhere the Lord leads me. And the promise He gives to me is the same for you, if your faith is in Him – “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

Those are my thoughts at this time. I’ll update you, later, with the results.

Anthony

UPDATE: No cancer 🙂