Tag Archives: God

Do you really believe He is there?

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. -Proverbs 15:3 KJV

Do you actually believe that God is omniscient – knows all things – or omnipresent – everywhere?

If you struggle with secret sin, figuring no one really knows about it, then you probably do not really believe God can see everything or knows everything.

Do you really believe God is watching all the time?

If you mistreat others, steal looks at an attractive person, or conveniently overlook a transaction in your favor, then you probably do not really believe God can see everything or knows everything.

If you have constant, nagging fears and doubts, worry about what is going to happen tomorrow, or refuse to trust others because they might wrong you, then you probably do not really believe God can see everything or knows everything.

God is there.

Trust Him. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you daily, continually. Allow Him to change you, to grow you into the image of His Son. Let the Holy Spirit move in your life.

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What’s on your summer reading list?

gossip

Another insightful painting by beloved Norman Rockwell.

Bob and I were watching a really interesting TV show on the top 100 popular books.  Now, how they came up with that short list, I don’t know, and it ranged from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress to modern day novels that have influenced people in, well, other ways.

One of the neat things about this program is that it’s interactive, meaning you go online and cast your vote for your favorite book (among the short list, naturally), and you can vote once a day until the show’s finale.  Which means you can stuff the ballot box, I suppose. 

During the show, different people were interviewed on their Number One choice, and I was impressed how this divergent sampling of human effort has influenced individuals, and in some cases, greatly.

Like me.  One of John Bunyan’s other books, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, was my door to deliverance in a very real way.  But that’s another story, and anyway, I doubt that’s on the list.

The point is that words, or communication of any sort, are powerful.  That includes not only what we put out but just as importantly, what we take in.  In Proverbs chapter 15, information transfer of some sort is mentioned at least fourteen times!  And they didn’t even have social media yet!  Here’s an example of output:

“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing,
    but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.”

Most of us have probably been party to both—my hand is raised.  What we perhaps don’t emphasize enough is the personal responsibility of intake:

“Plans go wrong for lack of advice;
    many advisers bring success.”

What I choose to listen to (or read) is actually just as important as what I choose to say (or write, as it were.) We all know the damage done by slurs on social media.  But do we realize that the damage is done not only because those things are put out there, but because they are read? In other words, the reader is just as culpable as the writer.  Always.

I know that I can be quite impacted by stories, mental images both from descriptive writing and the silver screen.  It’s the way we are wired, since the word (lower case “w”) is powerful, being created so by God Himself.  Therefore, what I choose to listen to is also powerful decision.

Sometimes earplugs are a good investment. 

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Proverbs 15: 2,22 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


The Avengers ride again!

admission-2974645_1920I had a hot date last night. 

Actually, it was a little chilly in the restaurant, so Bob (gentleman that he is) had me put on his jacket.  After dinner, we went to our town’s local Century 6 for a quick game of foosball in their arcade room, then entered with several others into the Marvel Universe to watch yet the next installment of the Avengers. 

Yeah, we’re old.  No apologies.

And no spoilers here, so don’t worry if you haven’t seen it, not that I’m recommending it, (because I’m not).  I’m sure there are plenty of critiques flying around anyway so folks can do their own research if so inclined.  As with any of these flicks, there are elements both worthy and otherwise.  The take-away for me might be a little different, however—it seems like even Hollywood admits (whether or not they realize it) that when you set yourself up as God, you end up destroying life instead of giving it.

Thanos is a really bad guy, the quintessential, hyper-super-villain.  He does more than tie the damsel to the railroad tracks; he does it to the whole universe.  It’s a superb perversion of the biblical concept of life from death, since this self-proclaimed protector thinks there are too many beings for the universe to support, so his plan is to kill off about half of us, but randomly, so that it’s “fair”.  This is his divine mission, bringing more life to those who remain. (Naturally, he’s not one of the random.) 

Thankfully, if you listen closely amid all the explosions in space, there is a short conversation between this erstwhile savior and his adopted yet defected “daughter” when she says that she had been happier with her own parents, despite their poverty.  Before Thanos off’ed them along with half of her planet, that is.  His concept of life from death really just ends in death—of the soul and heart, as well as the body.

And God is about life.  Always. 

In another screenplay, the concepts of Life and Death are also superbly contrasted in chapter nine of Proverbs.  In fact, they are seen as two women, both vying for our undivided attention, both calling from their respective domiciles, both with enticing offers:

Wisdom has built her house…
She has prepared a great banquet,
    mixed the wines, and set the table…
“Come, eat my food,
    and drink the wine I have mixed.

And her counterpart, Folly, has done the same:

The woman named Folly is brash.
    She is ignorant and doesn’t know it.
She sits in her doorway
    on the heights overlooking the city…

 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple.

door-3264790_1920This is a drama being played out like no other, 24/7. There is no stopping up my ears, either; will I choose Door #1, or Door #2…??  

Thanos is waiting behind one of them, so I’d better choose wisely.

Proverbs 9:1-2,5,13-14,16 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Luke, I am your…um, sister.

My husband, Bob, is a (soon-to-be emeritus) biology professor at our small local college.  He has always been so good about his availability to his students, not only with posted office hours, but also by allowing students to call our home with questions prior to the next day’s test. 

His classes are difficult; it is, after all, college.  In the study of biology, there are things so tiny, one needs to learn to use a microscope effectively, as well as learn exactly what you’re looking for, distinguishing that from all the other crud swimming around on the glass slide.

At the same time, The Prof likes to have some fun in class, and his sense of humor can’t stay in the background for long.  One year on the day of the final exam, he dressed up like Darth Vadar and came strolling down the hallway to a group of students waiting outside the classroom door.

You couldn’t miss him if you tried…

Likewise, I’m impressed with the availability and exposure of wisdom expressed in this eighth chapter of Proverbs.  I really think it’s more than mere poetic personification. 

“Listen as Wisdom calls out!
    Hear as understanding raises her voice!”

It goes on to innumerate all the v-e-r-y public access points where wisdom seeks us out: on the hill, along the highway, at the crossroads, by the town’s entrance…

“I call to you, to all of you!
    I raise my voice to all people…

The operative word is “all”.  There is no discrimination here.  Which is really quite interesting, considering this was written by a man in an extremely male-dominated society, and a Jewish man where any non-Jew was considered less than necessary.

“I love all who love me.
    Those who search will surely find me…

The end of the chapter shows a different aspect, however.  Instead of wisdom searching for me, I’m the one who is waiting and watching for wisdom—

Joyful are those who listen to me,
    watching for me daily at my gates,
    waiting for me outside my home!

All of this brings to mind a cooperative effort between the teacher (Wisdom) and the student (me).  Wisdom makes herself available; sheesh, she even gives me her home phone number!  (Prayer.)  At the same time, I have some personal responsibility.  This is, after all, “college”, and a good student is expected to grow up.

I can be confident, however, that when I put my eye to microscope, (because, let’s face it, some things I need to see in life take more than a little magnification to figure out), Wisdom will be leaning over my shoulder for correct identification, bringing things into proper focus. 

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.”

batman-1293525_1920Easy to see or situations more challenging, either way, Wisdom is available; it’s a promise from a good Teacher.  (With or without the cape.)

Proverbs 8:1,4,7,29,30;34; James 1:5 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Why We Do This

Psalm 49 gives some insight into why we at Proverbial Thought write (this will be a little longer than usual, but mostly scripture!):

Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world: Both low and high, rich and poor, together.

It does not matter our station in life: Our writers are different ages, genders, and nationalitites; and God’s Word is freely shared with all people.

My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. I will incline mine ear to a parable (proverb): I will open my dark saying upon the harp.

We share God’s wisdom and (hopefully) reveal the truth of sayings and teachings that may be hard to understand or apply.

Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about? They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish. This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah. Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah. Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him. Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself. He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light. Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.
Psalm 49:1‭-‬20, KJV

We teach the Truth.

We as humans are hopelessly lost and foolish, and we have both willfully and accidentally sinned, turned our backs on God and His righteousness. We are utterly unable to get back into a right relationship with Him. Not by wealth, works, or good intentions. No person has been righteous enough to even sacrifice his or her own life to save the soul of another.

But the truth is that He made a way, by coming to us through His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, to perfectly fulfill the Father’s law and will through His truly righteous life, then sacrificed Himself on a cross to bring the forgiveness of sin and save our souls, and rose to life again to guarentee we can be in relationship with Him forever. And He helps us to live for and grow more like His Son through the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.

And this is why we do this: To share this truth of His love, grace, and glory.


Getting Past Fake News

How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? ̶̶  Proverbs 1:22

It is because of verses like Proverbs 1:22 that some have questioned my publishing name: a simple man of God. In truth, this title simply means cutting through the fluff to keep the truth of God clutter free in life and teaching.

That hits at a major problem in the world today. Many people keep things simplified without due diligence.

The result of this is what is now colloquially called “fake news.” But it is not a problem on one side of any debate. “Fake news” can be found practically everywhere: politics, business, and religion – even within churches.

Why is this?

Because people like having their voices heard, getting their 15 minutes of fame. They like being able to call others out for their faults, and being the first to do it.

Unfortunately, this often comes at the expense of the full truth. In the name of expediency and “justice”, people will – willingly and unwillingly – scorn knowledge and people on the wings of rumors and half-truths. Then others want to help by spreading this propaganda and “news” without reading (or often caring about) the details.

This results in misinformation, mistrust, forced apologies, and broken relationships. This results in further division and “they said” and “at least we’re not like them.”

A Major Result – Fake Faith

And what does this lead to?

This same attitude of simple expediency affects our understanding of the Bible and God.

Fake faith sneaks in. We all “know” what we believe, because we have seen the memes and Facebook posts of credible people. We have read the popular books and watched the latest faith-based films.

Now, we believe in the god created by society instead of as revealed in the Bible, and we believe things that feel good and “feel right” instead of what is right and good.

Now we have people who believe they are Christians because of A, B, and C, who can not give “a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15), other than to say “Because it has worked for me.” And it is okay to believe there are other ways to eternal life, if it even exists.

If Jesus truly is “the way, the truth, and the life” and “no one comes to the Father except” by Him (John 14:6), then the worst fake news out there is spread by christians who are not sure what they believe, but “know it is true.”

Therefore, we must pray for God’s truth to be revealed in and through us. Instead, may we “have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths” (1 Timothy 4:7), and read God’s Word for ourselves and with sound doctrine and with others of faith that we “may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).


You Don’t Want God Laughing At You

“I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh” – Proverbs 1:26

This morning I was reading through chapter one and got all the way to verse 26. I may go back and look at some other verses later, but this one really stood out to me today.

Can you imagine God laughing at somebody in trouble? Actually, I can imagine someone saying, “That’s not a very Christian thing to do!”  (FYI, that’s a typical “gotcha” zinger atheists – both real and pretend –  love to throw at believers)

But what we see in this verse is exactly that – God laughs at people in trouble.

However, it’s not just any people; it’s those who follow after other gods when He doesn’t seem to meet their needs. Consider what God told the children of Isreal in Gilead:

Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation. – Judges 10:14

While the above passage doesn’t mention God laughing, it does show Him essentially saying, “Hey, I told you so! Now, go on with your bad self and see if your little “g’s” are all you thought they were.”

But the Lord does laugh at those who want to “break the bands” of objective truth and live their own lives without Him…

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision (mock, deride, ridicule).” – Psalm 2:4

It’s worth thinking about. God wouldn’t offer a way of deliverance if He didn’t love and care for us. But when we brush off his help like dandruff off our shoulder (I’m bald, so I don’t have that problem), don’t you think it breaks His heart?

That’s why, I believe, you see so many people crying out to God for deliverance, yet get no response. What’s it gonna take to convince us those other gods are the real failures? How many more times will I hear someone say, “I don’t believe in God anymore…I prayed to Him when I really needed Him, but nothing happened”?

I just shake my head.

That’s what God does: He shakes his head, put’s his hand on his forehead, and says, ‘Oh Myself.'”

Yeah, I know, it’s not funny. But sometimes you’ve just got to laugh at the insanity of it all.

God does.