Category Archives: Warnings

Hope Springs Eternal

Proverbs 14:32

The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.

The word ‘hope’ leaps out at me from the above verse, and I have had to stop and consider where my hope lies. At the time of writing I am on the opposite side of the Atlantic to home, but hoping to be back home in about thirty-six hours time. I hope that I can find some time to spend with my family this Christmas despite the intense pressure of my workload.

As Christmas approaches many people will be hoping they receive gifts they desire. In our consumer driven western society advertisements shout loudly about the things we can have. We easily forget those who have little hope. Equally, it is easy to ignore the wickedness we see plastered across our television screens be it wrong lifestyles, victims of conflict, big business acting fraudulently, dishonest politicians, etc.

Jesus told a parable about a rich man who chose to ignore the wickedness of society that left a starving diseased beggar outside his house. The beggar possessed one thing the rich man did not have. The beggar had hope. It was probably his only possession. You can read the story in Luke 16:19-31.

My worry is that we can become blind like the rich man to the extent that our possessions become more important than our hope, and the promise of eternal life in exchange for a life surrendered to our Father in Heaven. The danger increases at Christmas to the extent that we may not even notice the starving diseased beggar, whoever or whatever he or she may be.

What are you hoping for this Christmas?

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

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Peaceful, Easy Feeling or Runaway Emotions

Proverbs 14:30

A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.”

“A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.”  (NIV)

“A sound mind makes for a robust body,
but runaway emotions corrode the bones.”  (The Message)

The Eagles Had Almost No Idea

If you have listened to music by The Eagles, you have probably heard the song Peaceful Easy Feeling, which is actually a song about giving in to the wiles of a woman. The smart side is that they admit “She can’t take you any way you don’t already know how to go.” They understood our sinful nature!

The chorus is spot on, though: “‘Cause I got a peaceful easy feeling,
And I know you won’t let me down
’cause I’m already standing on the ground.”

Grounded in Christ, the One who will never let us down (though we may feel like He has at times), is the only true way to find peace.

We can see from the three different wordings above that a person at peace means more than just one part of our body. It means we are not worried. We know we are not worried when something does not trouble the mind or there are no bad dreams about life. This means on both the conscious and unconscious levels nothing “gets to us” or makes us feel guilty.

(If you listen to their song Take It Easy, you can see The Eagles still dealt with guilt and worry.)

Vitamin D Deficiency

However, when we live in sin, when we refuse to acknowledge our wrongs and continue to go on as though our sinfulness is “not really all that bad,” we will suffer.

First, we suffer, because guilt can wear us out. I remember when I was in a relationship with a young woman (you may remember my previous comments). She was nice and all, but I had known for a while that it was not a relationship that honored God. My response to God: propose marriage to her!

Over the course of the next year, I began to sleep less, get more involved with things I should not have, and saw other relationships deteriorate.

In other words, I had let my emotions get the better of me.

I wanted the sensual side of a relationship. I wanted to have a life others had. I wanted many things that in and of themselves are not bad, but they were at the wrong time with the wrong person.

It wore me out.

Is there anything in your life that you know you should not be doing? Are there people in your life you should not be spending so much time around?

Get God. Get peace. Get a handle on your emotions. Get better! Only with God!

Awesome God, thank You for offering us peace. Help us to choose You. Help us control our emotions. Heal us and give us rest, that we may spread Your healing and peace to our hurt and weary world.


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!


Planning Evil? You’re Messing Up.

Proverbs 14:22

“Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.”

 A Silly Question

Sometimes a question is so simple it shouldn’t have to be asked. A good example is when one person loses an arm in a freak juicing accident and another asks, “Are you hurt?”

Many, many years ago I was pretty good at martial arts, so I participated in tournaments from time to time. In one tournament I had made it all the way to the final round in a point-fighting competition and received a spinning heal kick to the side of my head. Down to the floor I went.

Lying there on the floor, I experienced the strangest sensation: I saw blue. When the referee came over to me and knelt down she asked, “Are you OK?” I said, “Uh…no…I see blue.” I thought to myself, “What a funny question to ask someone who just got kicked in the head!” However, I did recover in the allotted time and actually won the fight (yay me!).

Aren’t They Messing Up?

This proverb asks a question about foolish people that “devise” or plan evil: “Do they not err?” In other words, is it not so that those who devise evil plans are always messing up? Of course! What a silly question!

Well, it’s not too silly, or more people would learn from their mistakes. It sorta reminds me of villains on crime dramas; don’t they know the hero always wins?

Have you ever watched the Road Runner and Coyote cartoons? Correct me if I am wrong, but you could have asked the question of this proverb every time Wile E. Coyote placed an order in to ACME. His evil plans NEVER worked.

The Hero Will Win

Do they not err? Aren’t they messing up win they plan their evil, rascally schemes? Yes, because the Hero will win. It may not be in this life, but all those who devise evil will suffer. They will lose.

Those who devise good are going to be the ones that are OK. Mercy and truth will be theirs. And what’s more, when the Hero wins, they will be on the winning side, too.


Cross and Conniving

Proverbs 14:17

17 He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.

Customer Crossing

I have over ten years experience in retail customer service. There are always those customers who can find something to complain about no matter where they go (can I get an “Amen!” from my compatriots?!).

Firstly, it can be rather frustrating for all of the employees. When those employees get upset and angry, sometimes they do things not very nice. Some examples include giving faulty merchandise, doing something disgusting to their food, or giving bad advice. Sometimes, because these employees acted out their frustrations, they end up losing their jobs.

Secondly, these customers who are so easily angered do not realize the hidden punishment they could receive from those irate employees. If they could have just calmly stated the problem and waited for response, most problems between employees and customers could easily be avoided.

In both cases, someone is acting foolishly. Unfortunately, it is almost always the customer. (Is everyone out there listening?)

Conniving Customers

What is truly telling of the nature of our world is that some (maybe even many) of these customers get so angry on purpose. People have come to learn that if they throw a big enough fit, complain to just the right person, they can get so many things discounted or even free.

What some of those fail to realize or fully appreciate is how much others come to hate them. These people are not just “abusing the system,” but they are using people to get what they want. Nobody likes being used.

Churchianity

How often do we as Christians do this to each other?

There are complaints about what color the carpeting/walls/flowers/hymnals (if there are any, anymore!) are.

There are fights over how to reach out to people in the community (which is a big turn-off to people in the community).

There are floaters who never find a church-home, because they do not like something or are not getting something at every church they attend and then bad-mouth those churches.

What we are really saying is that we are better than everyone else (or most people). What we are really saying is that God needs to do everything we say and serve our every whim. What we are really saying is that God is not enough … even as we sing He is.

Gracious God, forgive us for always stabbing each other in the back and looking for freebies. Help us to live out Your command in John 13 to love each other, to sacrifice ourselves and our needs to each other for Your glory. Help us to love all people.


The Thinker

Proverbs 14:16

“A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.”

Warnings

As has been said many times on Proverbial Thought, the book of Proverbs is a book of warnings. Solomon, the wisest man to have ever lived, has penned warning after warning to help guide and direct us in the our lives.

The ThinkerThe Thinker

One of Auguste Rodin’s most famous sculptures is The Thinker, a piece originally conceived to be part of another work. The Thinker was part of a commission by the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris to sculpt a monumental door based on The Divine Comedy of Dante. Each of the statues in the piece represented one of the main characters in the epic poem.

Wikipedia describes the statue of The Thinker as the following:

“It depicts a man in sober meditation battling with a powerful internal struggle.”

Today’s verse reminds me of this statue. Here is why, and please stay with me. The name God is never mentioned in this verse. I thought of this statue because I believe that this verse is saying that a wise man is one who thinks before he encounters evil and is afraid of the consequences of his actions and therefore departs, or gets away from evil.

On the other hand, a person who does not think at all of the consequences just plows ahead no matter what it may cost him. He exemplifies the old saying: “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” The ESV says our verse this way, “One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.”

Count the Cost

When faced with evil, do you jump in with both feet before even thinking about what it may cost you? Or are you like the wise man, and ponder what would happen if you gave into the evil.

Solomon is telling us that we would be very wise to “think before we act”!

Next time you are faced with evil, stop and think about that it may cost you! Sin breaks our fellowship with God and when we really stop and think about what the results from that would cost us, I think you would agree with me that we would gladly depart from evil.

Lord, I pray that we would stop and think! In times of temptation and trials, help us to be cautious and turn from evil and back to you. I thank you for your grace and forgiveness for those times when I don’t think and plunder recklessly into evil. Thank you for your loving mercy toward me!


Playing God

Proverbs 14:12

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death”

Marco Polo

Growing up, I played a lot of “Marco Polo” during the summer at my grandparent’s pool. If you are not familiar with the game, let me explain. It is a game that you play in water. One person is “Marco” and everyone else is “Polo”. The person that is “Marco” must keep their eyes closed while they swim around in the pool. They would call out “Marco” and everyone else must answer “Polo” and the one that is “Marco” has to listen to where the voices come from and try to swim and tag the “Polos”. Got it?

Well, one day, my brother and I were out in our neighborhood playing with a group of friends when someone suggested we play “Marco Polo”. I had never played outside of water before and was very interested in how the game would unfold. We decided to play in between my parent’s brick/concrete home and my neighbor’s brick/concrete home. It was a very small area with a downward slope toward my neighbor’s house.

The group of kids that were playing were all older than me, so you can guess who got to be “Marco” first. You guest it…me! Instead of us just keeping our eyes closed, the game rules were that the “Marco” had to wear a paper grocery bag over their heads. I took the bag and placed it over my head and quickly removed it and looked straight at my brother and said, “If I go down the slope and straight to the neighbor’s house, you better yell at me and stop me”.

You might be able to finish the story from here, but I will continue. The game was only a few minutes old when I just knew that I heard a voice straight ahead of me. Instead of trying to be aware of my surroundings, I just took off running toward the voice. I did not even think about the fact that I was running down the slope and straight toward my neighbor’s house.

The voice was right in front of me and then it happened. I ran straight into the neighbor’s house.  I then heard my brother call out, “Jason, watch out for the wall”.

Needless to say, a trip to the doctor’s office and the diagnosis of a concussion kept me from playing anymore “Marco Polo” that day.

Playing God

Why did I tell you the story about me playing “Marco Polo”? Because I just knew that the voice that I was hearing was coming from straight in front of me and that I was heading in the right direction. Was I? No, but I thought I was.

What happened? Remember how I told you that where we were playing was a small area between two homes? Well, what I did not take into consideration was in a small area between two concrete homes, there was going to be an echo. My friends were all calling out “Polo” and the echoes were bouncing off the walls and coming straight at me.

This verse reminds me of the day I got my concussion. I thought that I was heading in the right direction. I thought that I heard voices right in front of me. I thought, and that was the problem. We think that we know better and that our way is the best way and we just know for sure that “the voice is coming from this direction”! What does it come down to? We are playing God, and we think we know what is best for our lives.

Solomon is warning us to make sure that we do not try to do things our way, but depend upon God for everything. He is telling us if we decide to take things into our own hands that death will be the result.

My brother yelled at me after I hit the concrete wall. Solomon is yelling out to us before we experience death and trying to tell us to listen and follow what God wants for us because it is so much better than our plans or ideas for our lives.

Lord, help us to listen to You. Keep our eyes focused on You and may our hearts be soft enough that when You begin to talk and move us that we would hear Your voice and heed Your words.