Tag Archives: Christ Jesus

Bittersweet Testimony

Proverbs 14:10

“Each heart knows its own bitterness,
    and no one else can share its joy.”

Know Thy Self

The only person who knows your heart better than God is you. You know how it feels to be you. You know what what it feels like to hurt like you hurt. You and God are the only ones who know the depth of the bitterness contained in your own heart. Other people might have been through similar things, they might have some level of understanding but the only other person to know the full picture is God.

All by Myself

So is this proverb suggesting we should shut up shop, keeping our bitterness and joy to ourselves? I would like to suggest not. This proverb isn’t saying no one should share it’s joy, it is just making the observation that the natural state of play is that no one knows what is truly going on in someone’s heart (except God) unless we learn to share our hearts with others.

Grieving and Rejoicing Together

Romans 12:15 tells us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” This is only possible if we open our hearts to others. Now I am not saying we should share our intimate secrets with all and sundry but it is healthy to have a few trusted confidants to open our hearts to.

Extended Family

When we first found out that I had a low sperm count we had to decide whether to keep this news to ourselves or share it with our church family. When I got up and told our church I said something like this: “I tell you this now not for your pity, but so that as you grieve with us presently you will rejoice with us when we have our children.”


Never Removed

Proverbs 10:30

“The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.”
It’s About Home

One of the hardest things a person can endure is the forced expulsion from one’s home. The pain and humiliation of being forced to leave the place where your ancestors lived, where your parents played, and where you planned for the future is a terrible thing. And it is especially hard when that home is not only taken away from you, but given to your enemies.

This verse is really all about having a home. It is about staying where one’s planted. It’s about security and peace. It’s about having a place where you belong.

It’s About a Promise

This verse also has to do with a promise that was made to the children of Israel. When Solomon penned (or quilled) these words, he was familiar with the promises and warnings God had given his forefathers. I am sure he knew of the final warnings of Joshua as the Israelites settled down in Canaan…

When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you. – Joshua 23:16

The promise was that if they kept the commandments of the Lord, they could stay in their homeland. But if they decided to act like the heathen and forget who brought them there, they would be evicted. That was a promise.

It’s an Awesome Truth

But stop and think about something. Notice what is said about the righteous: they shall “never be removed.” Never being removed from somewhere tells me that you’re already there. How is that possible? It is only possible through the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ by grace through faith.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ … But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” – Ephesians 1:3; 2:4-6

The ESV translates Proverbs 10:30 this way: “The righteous will never be removed, but the wicked will not dwell in the land.”

If we are in Christ, then we are as good as there. But those without His righteousness will never have a place to call their own. They will always be strangers without a home.


Eternal Wisdom

Proverbs 9:1-5 

“Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.”

Made-Up or From Before

Many in our world today will try to tell you that truth is what you make it. Wisdom is understanding how your world works for you.

In other words, make it up as you go along! You are what you want to be!

In a sense, that last part is true. We have a tendency to get in our own way, because we do not believe we can do something we are able to do. Or we do not believe others can love us. Or we believe that God cannot forgive us for what we have done.

But we know this is not true, because the Bible tells us so. We read just a few days ago:

I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. – Proverbs 8:23

Wisdom, whom we have discussed is God and realized in Jesus Christ, was established in eternity. This means wisdom is not something we can just make work for us or discover in ourselves.

Built, Bread, and Wine

Jesus Christ proved His Godhood through the Resurrection and ascension. He has told us:

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” – John 14:2-3 KJV

“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” – Luke 22:19-20 KJV

The Moral

Jesus of Nazareth has built His house (the Church), has killed the “beasts” (sin and death), and sent out His call (the Great Commission).

To leave “simple ways,” seek understanding, turn from foolishness, and find wisdom is to find Jesus.

Father, thank You for revealing Your Son, Jesus Christ, to the world. Thank You for Your Wisdom and grace, as revealed through Your Holy Spirit. Thank you for preparing a place for us. Help us to cling tightly to our Lord, and help us to introduce Your Wisdom to the world through love, grace, forgiveness, gentleness, and humility, as Your Son did for us.

 

071912


Pay Attention!

Proverbs 5:1-2

“My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.”

Many parents have tried for just about ever to get through to their children. If our  attention begins to wander, they would yell at us “Pay attention!” If we started doing things against their wishes, we might hear them announce “Listen to me!” If we mouthed off to them, they would scold “Watch your mouth!” Solomon is doing basically the same thing.

PAY ATTENTION!

This passage essentially starts with Solomon saying, “Pay attention to the wisdom I have shared with you!” He knows how easily we can be distracted by the pretty, fun, and new things in this world. He sternly warns his son (and God, therefore, warns us) to pay attention to wisdom of those who have come before.

Listen to me!

He continues, “Listen to what I have learned.” If only Solomon’s children had listened to him! It was the actions of his children which led to the split in the Kingdom of Israel.

God calls us to listen to His word and His people. There is wisdom and experience there. All we have to do is listen (and act on what we hear). We can know how to interact with God and others.

Watch your mouth!

“This way you will know when to bite your tongue and when to speak.” James told us, “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.” (James 3:2, NIV) With the wisdom of God and the understanding gained from those with experience, we can learn when and how to control what we say and how we act.

The most perfect example, naturally, was our Lord Jesus Christ. He always seemed to have just the right thing to say, but he also knew when to be silent, such as when on trial for His life (Matthew 26:57-68).

The Perfect Man

Has has been said time and again on this blog and through Proverbs, seek wisdom and understanding. This is achieved through knowing Jesus Christ, the Perfect Man who makes all things perfect in His time.

Allow Him to make you perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. Listen to your teachers, pastors, and other church leaders. Read your Bible. Pray to God daily, every moment as you are able. Allow His love and grace to change you, to move through you and into others. Seek true wisdom and understanding with every fiber of your being.

Abba, Father, Lord, Savior, and Friend, give us You and grow that passion for You, that we may know You, Your wisdom and understanding, and love. Grow in us a passion to show that love, and give us the wisdom to know when and how to share it the most effectively.


Don’t Fear the Fear

Proverbs 3:25-26

“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”

 

Things happen in this life that we cannot and do not expect. Quite frankly, it can be scary when the unexpected happens.

  • How should you respond at the moment your car is wrecked?
  • How should you respond when you lose your job?
  • How should you respond when a burglar or mugger attacks?
  • How should you respond when you or a loved one is shipped out for military duty?
  • How should you respond when your mother/father/brother/sister/child suddenly gets sick?
  • What about when they suddenly die?
  • How should you respond when God calls you to something new?

These are all very scary, even terrifying moments.

But we were told not to be afraid of that fear.

Fear can be healthy when it is meant to warn us of danger or when we begin walking down the wrong path.

But the moment we fear will quickly pass. Perhaps it will not pass as quickly as we like, but it will pass.

The Lord has promised to be with us, to guide us, and to give us peace.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
John 14:27

“I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
Matthew 28:20

Even to the end of the world.

No matter your view on the end of the world, Christ has promised to return. He will return, and the world as we know it will not exist, anymore.

Before He does, this world will only get worse. Violence, ignorance, hatred, selfishness, and any other form of evil you can imagine will only increase.

Just as in the past, the Lord will deal with all wickedness, and He will deal with this wicked world.

Until then, we must not be afraid of the fear we will feel, for He is with us. Always.

Mighty God, thank You for Your mercy. Thank You for Your promises. Help us remember those promises when the unexpected happens. Prepare our hearts to help prepare this world for Your return.


Good to Repeat

Proverbs 3:18

“She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.”

I feel like I keep repeating myself, but it seems that that is a good thing. How many times did God tell the Israelites to repent? How many times did John the Baptist and Jesus tell people to repent? How many times did Jesus say “follow me”?

Answer in all cases: A lot.

Humans seem to need a lot of repeating to hear and then retain truth, to retain wisdom. Yet, the question remains …

How do we lay hold of wisdom?

Is it not interesting how God has told us in the Bible?

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Revelation 2:7

“To him that overcometh …”

How do we overcome?

“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Jesus is the one who has overcome troubles, trials, pain, sin, and death. Only in Him can we overcome.

Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
1 John 5:5

Get wisdom, the Wisdom of God – Jesus Christ. Daily seek out the Lord, and you will overcome this world. Then will you have the tree of life. Then will you find happiness and joy.

Dear Lord, give us more of You. Help us to seek You and take hold daily that we might have life, that we may have You. Give us a passion for You.


Get Wisdom

Proverbs 3:13-14

“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.”

The Point

This is the whole point: Wisdom is the highest thing to pursue.

Before you hunt me down for blasphemy or heresy, I must repeat something quoted earlier:

Anything but the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is the true wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).

The best, most worthy, most desirable thing we could ever hope to attain in this life or the next is the Wisdom of God: Jesus Christ.

God has given us the opportunity to draw close and hear His voice. God has welcomed us as friends into His home. God has made a way for us to finally reach out and take His hand.

When we understand that God came to us in the person of Jesus Christ and that we can intimately walk with Him, how can we not be blessed, be happy?

Need I really say more?

Dear Lord, thank you for Your love and coming to save us. Thank You that You have made a way for us. Thank You for giving us Yourself and inviting us in. Give us more of You. Help us understand You more.


The Good Life

Proverbs 3:1-2

“My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.”

The Lord’s Prosperity

The last entry I wrote on 2:16-19 mentioned people preaching a message other than Christ. One of those mentioned was “wealth and health,” which some have called a “Prosperity Gospel”. Something quite interesting about this passage is that some translations of the Bible mention long life and “prosperity.”  The Message puts it this way:

They’ll help you live a long, long time, a long life lived full and well.

Honestly, I like the way the KJV and others put it “For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” Let us look at what remembering the Lord’s commands means:

Peace:

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

Long life (which I think the NIV does a spectacular job of explaining clearly):

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
1 John 5:20, NIV

Keeping wisdom in our hearts – keeping the Lord Jesus in our hearts is the only way to peace and a good life. Jesus is the only good life.

Lord Jesus, dwell in our hearts. Remind us always of Your love and grace, and help us to share You with our world. Bless us, Lord, with all of You.


Simple Definition

Proverbs 2:10-11

“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:”

What is wisdom?

As has been discussed several times since we began this trek through Proverbs, wisdom is found only through God. Wisdom is the understanding of something and comes from knowledge.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 KJV

We should not worry about anything, but thank God that He is in control. With this understanding, we will be able to live wisely in a world full of corruption, hatred, and stupidity. Even when we make mistakes or sin, we can know that God is in control. This gives us a peace in our circumstances that we cannot explain, but we can understand that God is with us and watching over us.

With this wisdom and understanding, we can discern better what is within God’s will for our lives. This is how we are preserved and kept. It does not necessarily mean we are kept from physical, financial, or emotional harm, but it does mean we have the peace and assurance that our standing with God is good through the power of Jesus Christ.

Remember the Source

Merciful Lord, give us Your wisdom and understanding to know that You are watching over us and have it all in Your hands. You told us that if we just ask, You will give it to us. In the powerful name of Jesus the Christ, grant us our desire: wisdom and understanding of You, that we may have peace and assurance, that we may share Your love with the world.


The Journey Begins Again!

Proverbs 1:1-7

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; (2) To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; (3) To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; (4) To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. (5) A wise [man] will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: (6) To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

Welcome!

Welcome to the first day of the third run of Proverbial Thought. Our 7th anniversary!!

Seven years ago, on this day, we started out on an ambitious project: write daily thoughts and commentary about every proverb in the Book of Proverbs. It took us almost two years to make it all the way through. We are now going to re-post updated versions of those daily thoughts, but with one major change – they will post morning AND evening every day!

Our prayer is that every day, morning and evening, you will come here and find helpful and encouraging wisdom from God’s Word.

The Introduction and Purpose

As the above verses point out, the author of Proverbs was the son of King David, Solomon. According to the Bible, Solomon was the wisest man in the world, and “men of all nations came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom” (1 Kings 4:34 NIV). Of all the teachers in the world, we could learn from no better. Not even the lonely, grey-bearded gurus secluded on snowy, hard-to-reach mountain tops are wiser.

In verses 2-4 Solomon outlines the purpose of the book: know wisdom. Solomon knew that all the knowledge in the world was worth very little without wisdom. What is wisdom? Wisdom is the ability to take something learned and be able to apply that knowledge in a useful, profitable, and healthy way. It’s the ability to make sound judgments and right choices. It is what is needed in order to not act like a fool, even though one seems to know everything.

Don’t be a Fool

It is no coincidence that the official first day of this blog was planned for April 1st, April Fools Day. Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Fools deny there is a God (Psalm 14:1). However, Solomon believed. As a matter of fact, it was from God that Solomon received his wisdom (1 Kings 3:12). He should have known better than anyone, then, that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. But the ultimate wisdom is not found in the words of men, nor in the Proverbs, alone. Wisdom is found in a Person.

Many men and women will try to seek God through earthly, man-centered wisdom, but to no avail. The Wisdom that leads to God, the Wisdom that “stretches out [His] hand” (Prov. 1:24), is none other than Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says that God made Jesus “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” for us. He took what was “foolishness” in the world’s eyes (Christ crucified) and turned it into the only Way (1 Cor. 1:23-24). All the wisdom of the Proverbs can be found in Him.

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. … It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” – 1Cr 1:22-24, 30-31 NIV

On this first day of April – the first day of this devotional (the third time through) – seek Wisdom – seek Jesus.

Don’t be a fool; be wise!