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Blessed Houses

Proverbs 3:33

“The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.”

A few months ago I came across a TV show entitled “Million Dollar Rooms” – yes, you read that correctly – Million Dollar ROOMS! Not million dollar homes – but rooms! It is a show that takes you on a magical ride into people’s homes who have spent at least one million dollars on one (1) room in their house. We are talking unreal rooms.

For instance, one show took us into a home where millions of dollars were spent on a 40 foot water fall in the foyer accompanied by a mist machine and a full light and laser show. Another was a bathroom, where the owner was obsessed with gold. Everything in his bathroom was made of gold. The walls of his very large, walk-in shower was made out of gold bars. Unbelievable!

In the fall of 2011, I had the opportunity to go on a missions trip to Panama City, Panama, and help to take the gospel to four different Indian tribes. What I saw there was also unbelievable!

What I saw there were structures that were patched together with anything and everything. I saw huts that had not walls and homes where you would had to climb up a ladder into the house so the snakes would not be able to crawl into your home. Unbelievable!

When I read Proverbs 3:33, I could not help but think of these two drastic pictures. When we think of being blessed, most of the time we think of being blessed with money – however, I saw this verse in action when I was in Panama. It does not matter what our physical house looks like – whether million dollar homes or small little huts – God has promised to “bless the dwelling of the righteous”.

This verse comes down to what is inside, not our homes, but in our hearts. Are we wicked people who refused to follow God’s law and are cursed or are we a righteous people who seek to please God in everything we do and who are blessed?

The buildings we live in have nothing to do with if we are truly blessed or not. It is a decision that we must make every day to follow hard after a God who has done so much for us. It is a decision to keep our eyes fixed on HIM and HIM alone and to follow Him every step of the way.

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:15 (ESV)

Lord, give me the dedication of Daniel (Daniel 1:8) to make my home a place where we will serve You. Help me to choose you today and every day that you give me breath to tell others of your glory and your love.

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Ornamental Wisdom

Proverbs 1:8-9

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they [shall be] an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.

Parents

It is interesting that verse eight of Proverbs 1 includes reference to both a father and a mother. Not one or the other, but both. Solomon in his wisdom knew that balance was required, and that a family requires two parents to provide guidance and instruction to children. This is what God intended from the beginning (Genesis 2:24).

Going to school in the 1960s just one of my classmates did not have two parents. The reason he grew up with only a father was that his mother died giving birth to his sister. Fast forward to now and many children can rely on only one parent, even in Christian circles. While many single parents do a magnificent job, it was not God’s intention for a family to consist of one parent.

Ornament of Grace

Although verse eight appears to be directed at the young, there is a significant challenge to parents in verse nine. Initially any new parent is likely to be more overwhelmed by the gift of the child, rather than by the challenge of parenting that lies ahead. The challenge and the responsibilities are clearly defined in the prose of these verses. The instruction of a father and the law of a mother are to be an ornament of grace around the head of a child and chains around his neck.

The Hebrew word used for grace also translates as kindness and beauty, something precious to be attached like an ornament or a necklace. And that is a challenge. Do we consistently parent with grace, with kindness? Can our children respect us sufficiently to learn from our instruction? It is important that they can and do.

What do your children see in you?


Rejoicing or Hiding

Proverbs 28:12
When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.”

Most people in our world understand what this verse is saying.

There are people in Third World countries who hide from terrorists, tyrants, and warlords who steal from, maim, kill, or worse the people in their nations or allow others to do so.

We have the past century of history with the likes of Hitler, Stalin and Lenin, and Kim, who have ruled over their empires, nations, or blocs with the iron fist of communism, suppressing freedoms and dissent from the status quo.

When someone comes along who helps relieve or end the suffering of the average person, the average person wants to celebrate.

… Or in the Workplace …

When you work with a horrible boss, it becomes easier to just duck your head down and get your work done. You hide in your work to avoid confrontation. Or you quit.

When your boss is a joy to work with, you enjoy going to work.

… Or at Home …

When you have a spouse that complains about everything or is abusive, you might hide in your work, hide with your friends, or hide in a hobby.

When you have a spouse who is loving and caring, you enjoy being with your spouse.

… Or at Church …

When your church is less of a family and more of a gossip-factory or, strangely, a pep-rally of moralism or “your best life now”, you may find that you want to hide behind a smile than confess your short-comings, failures, and sins.

When your church is a family that holds you accountable to God’s Word with love and compassion, you rejoice in the freedom offered through Christ’s sacrifice and forgiveness. You rejoice in the family of God.

Lord, give us strength and wisdom when we face wickedness in power, and help us to find support and strength through Your children in the Church.


Get Out!

Proverbs 25:17

“Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour’s house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.”

“Let’s Go to Bed…”

My mom and dad used to have some friends that we visited a lot. One time, after staying late watching television (we didn’t have one at the time), the man of the house stretched…yawned…then said to his wife:

“Honey, let’s go to bed so these people can go home.”

What a nice way to tell your friends to leave! Talk about shifting the blame, huh? It’s like saying: “These nice people feel obligated to stay here because we are awake. They must be tired of our company by now, so why not give them a way out?” In reality, it was a humorous way of telling someone “go home.”

Lingering Guests

Every once in a while people lose the ability to determine when a party is over. Some people, because of a host’s hospitality, feel they are more wanted, more part of the family, than they actually are. These people for get that the host has limited resources, both in food and patience.

Even those of us with close, intimate friends have times when we want to be alone. Good friends recognize this and are careful not to wear out their welcome. Selfish friends invite themselves over to ever family dinner, every game night, every outing, and never seem to get the message. When someone suggests going to bed so they can leave, they just say, “No problem, I’ll sleep on the couch.”

Loving others requires us to respect them, so be a good guest and a respectful friend. 


Listen to Father

Proverbs 23:22

“Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.”

Many young people never experience the comfort and security of a strong father who provides and a caring mother who doctors wounded knees. Therefore, I am thankful that God blessed me with a father and mother who loved me and took care of me. However, countless children are blessed with loving parents, but never realize it until it’s too late.

Every new generation of youth complains that parents are stuck in the past, uncool, and not with it. What makes it worse is that today’s culture promotes closing the ear to one’s father and despising one’s mother. Forget what’s own children’s cable networks, even Disney movies promote the individuality and independence of boys and girls over the wise instruction of parents. Heck, the plot lines in most Disney movies are centered around a broken family.

Culturally, parental advice is considered a joke, a hindrance, and is even treated with disdain. How sad for us all.

Why should we listen to our parents? 

Parents aren’t perfect, that is for sure. As a parent with over 20 years of experience, I know for a fact that my advice can be flawed. So, what, then, makes my advice worth “hearkening” unto? Well…

  • I have seen a lot more, done a lot more, hurt a lot more, hurt others a lot more, and regretted a lot more than my children have.
  • I have stepped in pits, taken wrong turns, been bitten by dogs that weren’t supposed to bite, and picked up a snake by the tail.
  • I know what it like to love, what it is like to be loved, and what it is like to throw love away. I can give reason why one should question the old adage, “It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.” I mean, really?
  • I have held jobs, lost jobs, created jobs, and fired people from their jobs. I know the value of work, how to get work, and what to do to keep work.
  • I know what boys are thinking.

When we don’t listen to our parents or respect their opinions it is like saying we know that there are mines in the field, but we’ll figure out where they are on our own. Sheer foolishness.

When it comes to our mothers,…

Why shouldn’t we despise them when they get old? Why shouldn’t we get tired of their health problems, their stories, their complaints, and their warnings? Well…

  • For starters, she had you. You weren’t aborted.
  • More than likely she could have told your father, “No!”
  • For all your sleepless nights studying, partying, or hurting, she spent ten times that worrying.
  • You owe her. No amount of money, no matter how nice the nursing home is, can ever repay the pain of child birth.
  • Even though you owe her, she’ll never expect you to pay it back – because you can’t.

Only fools despise wisdom which can be gained without the pain of earning it.


Watch Your Mouth or Get Your Lights Turned Out

Proverbs 20:20

“Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.”

My Daddy Used to Say

My father has been mentioned before, but I am going to talk about him again. You see, my dad had a very simple way with words – he said what he meant and he meant what he said. I rarely heard him raise his voice, and I didn’t want to.

One of the things my father used to say was based on the stand-up comedy of Bill Cosby (before he became infamous). He would tell me, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.” But unlike modern children who never hear talk like that, I believed him.  And believe me, he was very capable.

Respect

Once I said something disrespectful to my mother and quickly regretted it. Another time, when doing some martial arts sparring, I struck my dad a little too hard in the jaw (doing the “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” routine). That was a big mistake.

I loved my daddy. He was my best friend and my hero. But my dad was quick to remind me that he was my father. He expected and demanded respect for both my mother and himself, and I gave it. I would have never considered “cursing” either one of them.

Cursing

When we look closer at the word “curseth,” we see that the meaning has more to do with making little of, or showing contempt for one’s parents, which is more than simply hurling bad words. Cursing one’s parents is showing utter disrespect.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where children think they have the right to fire off obscenities and make demands of their parents, like parents were meant to be their slaves. And what makes it worse, many laws encourage this type of “cursing” by punishing parents who exercise any discipline.

Consequences

Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” The “cursing” that Solomon mentions, then, is seed which will one day reap a harvest of darkness.

Irony can be a wonderful tool, and Solomon uses it beautifully in this proverb. Just take a moment and think about it: the cursing children wouldn’t even exist without the parents they deem so invaluable, so who needs a progeny with no predecessors?

Our Father in heaven brought us into this world, and He can surely take us out.


Security Deposit

Proverbs 20:16

16 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.
16 Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners. (NLT)

The straightforward meaning is that you cannot trust everyone. If someone asks for money, you should ask for collateral to ensure you get your money back. It is just like a bank asking for a down payment, or a business asking for a deposit on a service or product.

Getting into an Apartment Home

Apartment buildings have a standard practice of taking a security deposit from incoming tenants. This is to help cover any costs the tenant may incur by leaving early, damaging property, or breaking the law on the premises.

The poorer the credit of a prospective tenant, the higher the security deposit may be.

With great credit, a tenant is able to move in with little to no security deposit as a sign of trust and respect.

Getting into Our Heavenly Home

Thanks to a little act committed by Adam and Eve, we all fall into the same group. Our credit with God is very poor, and we have proven ourselves untrustworthy time and again.. To go home with God requires a security deposit so large that we could never pay it.

Therefore, God paid it for us.

Jesus became a Man. He built up the trust and credit by doing something no one else could: He lived perfectly according to God’s will and laws.

He paid our deposit by sacrificing Himself on a cross and rising from the dead three days later.

Jesus paid it all, for each of us.

All we must do is accept.

Lord, thank You for the cross and paying the cost we could not. Help us to live by Your example for Your glory through the help of the Holy Spirit.