Wisdom’s Call

Proverbs 8:3-5

“She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.”

 The Call To All

Romans 1:18-20 (NIV) reminds us:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Wisdom cries out from … EVERYWHERE!

God wants all people to hear draw near. That is why it says “and my voice is to the sons of man.” That means every single person who has ever lived and will live.

Yet we are a foolhardy and stubborn race. Paul says soon after in the above passage that even though people knew God, they still created their own gods out of wood, stone, and metal.

Answering the Call

Stop giving in to foolishness. Turn to God. Turn to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the true Wisdom of God as revealed through the Holy Spirit.

The last part of today’s passage is to find wisdom and understanding. As has been said numerous times in the previous seven chapters and our commentary, and will be said many more times in later passages, only a fool denies God and Wisdom.

Sometimes the ways of the godly seem foolish to this world (see 1 Corinthians chapters one through three), but ask any who have followed God for years. It is better with better returns promised.

Great Lord, help us to overcome this world and its claim to wisdom. Help us see through the noise and the clutter and find You, Your Wisdom and understanding.

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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 🙂


“Cut it!”

Proverbs 8:1-2

Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.”

“Cut it! Cut it!”

The thought of losing a child is one that no parent ever wants to entertain. Having more than one die is almost unthinkable. But to have them die in front of your eyes while you’re helpless to intervene is the stuff of nightmares.

In February of 2012, in the little town of Altamont, TN, the nightmare came true. Below are excerpts from the news story written by reporter Joy Lukachick:

Calvin and Nicholas had driven their go-kart down a short, grassy slope near the side of their home on Northcutts Cove Road, according to a Tennessee Highway Patrol report. As the go-kart reached the two-lane county road — only a short way from their house — and the boys started to drive across it, an Oldsmobile was coming up a small hill in their direction. Neither the boys nor the driver of the car, a 30-year-old woman, saw each other, the report shows. The Keeners were standing outside their house and could see the car coming, said Joyce Myers, a neighbor who lives across the street. The parents began screaming, “Cut it! Cut it!” trying to get the boys to turn the wheel before reaching the road, but the boys couldn’t hear over the noise of the go-kart’s engine…

[When neighbors came to the scene] Wanda Keener was cradling her 4-year-old son, Calvin, in her arms. He was bloody and not moving. Keener’s husband, Wesley, was lying on the road next to his 11-year-old son, Nicholas, who was trapped inside the go-kart.

Wisdom Cries Out

Can you not sense a little of the helpless terror that swept over those two parents as they watched their children drive down that hill? Can you feel the pain in your throat as you imagine how hard they screamed? On a hill they cried out, but to no avail. Two young lives had no idea what was about to happen.

Yet, Wisdom stands upon the high places and cries out to us. Wisdom says “Turn! Turn!Turn from your wicked ways!” But too many can’t hear (or won’t listen) over the noise of their own entertainment.

Oh, that we would listen; oh, that we would “cut it” before it’s too late.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. – Pro. 3:6


On the Way to Hell?

Proverbs 7:24-27

“Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.”

We have reached the four final verses in a chapter of Scripture that focuses on things we would rather not think about, talk about, or otherwise air in public. Some readers may sit back rich in the knowledge that these words of wisdom apply to other fools, not them. Surely part of wisdom is recognizing when folly has invaded our minds?

Mind Invasion

Mind invasion could be a good title for of work of science fiction. The science here is seduction, but there is nothing fictional about the dangers associated with seduction. Proverbs 7 clearly states that seduction is a real and present threat to all men and women. If we do not realize this, then it is possible that we have already been seduced, not by an immoral person, but by the folly that says; “This doesn’t apply to me, I’m not vulnerable to this type of threat.”

Assessing the Risk

The first step in guarding against the threat is to acknowledge vulnerability and consider where the risk is greatest. We have to examine what we are allowing to enter out minds, and how society corrupts our thoughts. Here’s a small checklist. You will probably be able to add to it:

  • What/who are you looking at?
  • What/who are you listening to?
  • What are you reading?
  • What are watching on television, or at the movies?
  • What DVDs are sitting on your shelf?
  • Are you vulnerable to advertising images on billboards?
  • Are you tempted to click on Internet links that will take you places you know you shouldn’t go.
  • Do you really think that spending regular lunch times alone with a co-worker of the opposite sex can remain innocent forever?
  • Do you honestly believe that leaving your marriage partner for another person will not cause untold pain and hurt to numerous people?

Feel free to add to the list by commenting below. But first read Proverbs 7 again in its entirety, but linger on the final verse:

Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.


Old Tactics Still Work

Proverbs 7:21-23 

“With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.”
“The Devil Made Me Do It!”

Back in the 1960’s Flip Wilson made that saying famous. Whenever he was caught doing wrong, he would always try to shift the blame off of himself and onto the Devil. In reality, it was, as you can imagine, just an excuse. The Devil didn’t make him do anything.

However, if you were to hear it from most liars, cheats, thieves, adulterers, haters, gossipers, etc., the Devil is responsible for it all. If not the Devil, then there is always some extenuating circumstance, not personal choice, to blame. If not the Devil, somebody else is always responsible.

She Made Me Do It!”

In the book of Genesis we read of a man who blamed someone besides himself for his sin. Adam blamed his wife, Eve, for making him eat of the forbidden fruit. He said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Gen. 3:12). Did he not have a mind of his own? Did he not know any better?

It is true that Eve gave the fruit to Adam, but it was Adam’s choice to listen to her offer to sin. She didn’t make him sin; he did it of his own free will. But even though she didn’t make him do it, look who was working behind the scenes – Satan. He worked through Eve, the most beautiful woman in the world (the only woman in the world) to snare Adam. Her convincing words were motivated by the Enemy.

“With her much fair speech…”

The key to today’s passage can be found in those simple words, “With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.”

If one were to only look on the surface of this passage, one might come away with the notion that this poor young man would have been just fine, had he not been forced into sin. But it must be noted that the “forcing” came after the “yielding.”

Before this young man became an animal led to slaughter, a bird caught in cage, he was free to walk away. It was only when he “yielded” that he became a sacrifice on the altar of sin. But what caused him to yield? The beautiful, promising words of a woman influenced by the Serpent.

Nothing Changes

As David Welford mention previously, “The rocks are charted.” God has warned us of the dangers. He has warned us of the consequences. There is no excuse to be dashed upon the rocks, led to the slaughter, or caught in a snare. Yet, many will play with the Serpent’s lure, and yield.

Is it any wonder why the wisdom of Proverbs is still applicable in this day and age? It shouldn’t be. The same tactics employed in Garden of Eden are still being used today. Why? Because they still work.

A Prayer

Lord, David said, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Help us, help ME, to desire the sweetness of Word over all else. When presented with any other option, may we be repulsed by the bait, and never yield. 


Caught With Candy

Proverbs 7:18-20 

“Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.”

Candy Coated

Evil and wickedness is rarely blatantly presented. Most people are able to see a bad thing for what it is when there is no pretense or disguise.

That is the trap of temptation and sin. They look so good and, well, tempting! But there is the danger. It looks so sweet, but inside it is poison.

It was only during the Twentieth Century that the term “make love” came to mean “have sex.” However, we can see in this passage that, while the term itself may not have been used, this was certainly the cover for a very long time.

“No! We were not having sex! We were making love!”

“I was not stealing from you! I was temporarily borrowing … (without permission).”

The Tell

Temptation always justifies and excuses. Whether it be through the added temptation to “get away with it” or attempting to make it right, there is always that clue that it is not right.

“No one is watching! It will be fun!” (“My husband is gone on a long journey!”)

“We are doing a good thing! See, we called it ‘love’!”

“Everyone is doing it!”

Jesus is coming! Look busy!

Beyond the sneaking around and justifying, there is often the added justification of “we will never get caught!”

When are cheating couples usually caught, though? When the spouse or the friend or the children suddenly show up earlier than expected.

Sadly, this is how many people try to approach God, and, sadder still, this is how many Christians live, as well.

“I will believe in God at the end of my life! I have plenty of time!”

“I am forgiven! I will clean my act up just before I die or just before Christ returns!”

The End Result

Everyone is caught at some point or another.

Sometimes it is being guilt-ridden. Sometimes it is friends or family. Sometimes it is the police.

Every time, God knows.

Every time, there are consequences.

Fortunately, for those who are wise, God has forgiven us trough the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ … if only we believe. This does not guarantee escape from earthly consequences, but it does mean God has saved us from eternal consequences for these actions!

Gracious Lord, help us to see past the deceptions of temptation and sin. Give us the strength and wisdom to overcome. Thank You for the ultimate victory in Jesus Christ!


Seduced to the Rocks

Proverbs 7:16-17

“I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.”

Being Seduced 

Proverbs 7 immerses the reader in the imagery of temptation, but with a clear focus on seduction. This has already been described as a spider weaving a web and trapping unsuspecting prey. Seduction could be compared with the mythological sirens of the ancient world luring seafarers to shipwreck and inevitable death. But seduction begins in many ways, not necessarily with the enchanting song of a siren. Is there any difference between temptation, attraction, chemistry, or however else we try to excuse our failure to resist? For many it will not be a prostitute in a bar or on a street corner, but a colleague at work, possibly even a fellow worshipper at church.

Innocence?

It may begin in innocence. A little voice inside says “I like this person” or “here is someone who understands me.” The Christian movie Fireproof demonstrates the process perfectly as the wife of the fire chief finds herself increasingly drawn to a doctor colleague at the hospital where she works.

Obvious

Seduction should be obvious. The trouble is that something breaks in the human mind when seduction comes along, and the capacity to think logically disappears. Seduction robs us of our natural ability to avoid danger, and the song of the sirens draws us closer and closer to the rocks. The closer you get to the rocks, the more inevitable the shipwreck becomes. The trouble is that dangerous rocks are often shrouded in mist and difficult to see.

Shipwrecked

I played on the rocks as a child. But further offshore there were hidden reefs where vessels bound for the English Channel periodically ran aground. These were rocks where seafarers lost their lives. A few years later when serving at sea myself I dreaded the thought of putting a ship aground, but thought nothing of the dangers of the dockside bars when going ashore.

You may never have entered a dockside bar. You may never have been tempted by attraction to a co-worker in your daily life, or at church. You may think that the words of Proverbs 7 are an exaggeration, and that this part of God’s Word does not apply in your case. But it does. Every word of Scripture is there for a reason. If you don’t need to draw on this wisdom now, you may need to do so in the future. If you remember nothing else remember that failure to listen to God will lead to shipwreck. Almost all shipwrecks are caused by human error. Innocence is not an excuse. The rocks are charted. You are equipped to avoid them. Go too close and you will go aground.