Tag Archives: Lord

Vision or Fantasy?

Proverbs 12:11

“He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.”
Uh Oh

Hmmm. This is a proverb I usually avoid. Why? Because I have been labelled as a bit of a dreamer. Some have called me a visionary. That might sound great, but visionaries are often the one’s with ideas who never seen them through to completion! Who wants that?

Vision vs Fantasies

I guess there has to be a distinction between vision and fantasy. The Bible tells us that without vision the people perish. But how do we know that we have the right vision? Vision will give you food, and abundant food, it will also involve work – work for you to do.

But what if you are chasing the wrong vision? A man-made fantasy? Then there will be no pay of any real value. It will provide no sustenance. You will spend your days chasing one fantasy after another to try and find your fill, to make your million, and all to no avail.

Leaning on Webs

What about the times when we are pretty sure we have a God given vision and yet seem to be making no progress? Does that mean we are chasing fantasy? Don’t ask me! Go back to the source – ask God.

Have you stopped trusting in Him? Have you moved the goal posts? Cherish the vision He has given you. Work at it and never stop trusting.

“Such is the destiny of all who forget God;
    so perishes the hope of the godless.
What he trusts in is fragile;
    what he relies on is a spider’s web.
 He leans on his web, but it gives way;
    he clings to it, but it does not hold.” – Job 8:13-15 (NIV, edited)

Lean on God.

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Better Fruit

Proverbs 8:18-19

“Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.”
A Tear

As I was reaching up to type these words, I wiped a tear from the table in front of me. The odd thing about it was that I had to stop and think what it was. Evidently, it had been a while since I last saw one drop.

I am sure there will be more. And really, that’s a good thing.

Tears are valuable. They teach what happiness and indulgence never can. They teach us that we are weak, that we break, and that we are incapable of fixing everything, if anything.

They tell us we’re dependent on God. And really, that’s a good thing.

A Better Fruit

To many, a fallen tear on one’s table is nothing more than a drop of water. However, to the Christian, the one who loves Wisdom, it is a glistening jewel-like seed, the fruit of which far surpasses the earnings of any other investment.

The “durable riches and righteousness” of wisdom are far better than the rarest currencies on Earth. What grows from the tears of a humble heart cannot be purchased with all the money in the world.

“Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.”

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. – Rev 21:4

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Unpredictable Women

Proverbs 5:6

“Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.”

Practical Advice

If there was ever a chapter that should be read to every son, and even daughter, it is this one. The advice that Solomon shares in these verses is what every young man should hear. Unfortunately, many young men never have a father come along side and say, “Listen, son, there are some things you need to know.”

And when it comes to today’s verse, the advice given is timeless and priceless. Women are no different today than they were in Solomon’s time, and men are just as gullible.

Unknowable

If there is one thing I have learned after 20 years with the same woman, it is that you can never figure them out – don’t even try. Once a man thinks he understands women, that’s the time to get out of his way. Disaster is about to strike.

How much more difficult is it to understand the ways of a “strange” woman? She is different, unlike what you have experienced; and that’s exciting. But the problem comes when you begin to desire stability, or faithfulness. She’s not ready for that. All she wants is to have fun.

Solomon is saying, then, “Before you get to the point of trying to understand her, it’s better that you never even go there. She’s too unpredictable.”

Unpredictable

“Her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.” In other words, she is as unpredictable as the wind. She is like a shaky foundation. You never know what path she will take, or when she will fall. Predicting her next move is useless.

Of course, the danger of an unpredictable woman is that her next move could mean destruction. She is like an untamed predator that can seem soft and cuddly one moment, but destroy you the next.

Dangerous

When I read the fifth chapter of Proverbs I am reminded of a song. Back in the early 90’s Julie Miller recorded “Angelina,” and every time I hear it I still get chills. Below are some of the lyrics. Do they not describe the “strange woman?” Do you think Solomon could have had someone like this in mind?

Should she come walking down your street, you might think: “She’s the kind of girl I’d like to meet,”
But don’t be taken in, she’ll rob you in the end,
She’s got to get control, she’s so afraid within,
Her daddy sure must have broken her heart, but she’ll get him back while you play out his part.

She’s just a lost little girl, she seems so harmless to touch,
She’s just been taught by the world, and now she’s dangerous.

– Buddy & Julie Miller

Contrast

How different is the “strange woman” from a godly woman? Consider the way the Bible describes Wisdom: “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.” – Pro. 3:17-18

Heavenly Father, help us to be parents who teach our children not only right from wrong, but godly wisdom, also. May we teach our sons to be men of God, and our daughters to be women worthy of praise. 

NOTE: I found this article about a godly grandmother. What a contrast with the “strange woman” of chapter five! “A Woman They Would Write About.”


Deadly Lips

Proverbs 5:3-5

“For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: but her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.”

Still Relevant 

Many question the ability of a 3000 year old text to address the issues of modern life. They wonder how something written so long ago can have any relevance today. Yet, the wisdom of Proverbs came from the same Source that could see all of time in a glance.

The advice Solomon shared with his sons in these verses (and the next three) is as true today as it was back then. The siren song of a temptress can still woo a foolish, gullible man into the depths of hell.

Don’t Be Fooled

Unlike the modern intellectual who insists “perception is reality,” Solomon warns that false perception can kill. In effect he says, “Boys, don’t let a harlot fool you; she’s not what she seems.” In reality, her pucker is poison, and her “sweet nothing’s” a sword.

I’m reminded of the way Indians used to kill wolves. They would repeatedly dip a sharp knife in blood, freezing each layer, until the blade was completely covered. When a wolf smelled the blood it would find the popsicle and lick away. As its tongue became lacerated, its own blood made it lick more, until it bled to death.

In much the same way, a man’s desire for beautiful women is as natural as a wolf’s craving for blood. And because the Enemy knows our weaknesses, he places lipstick-covered blades in our path (and on our computer screens). Only wisdom can discern the danger.

Heed the Warning!

An old country song said, “If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” Sadly, that’s what many men say when captured by her spell. Translation: “Her lips are sweet; her mouth is smooth; and I will partake of her pleasures all the way to the grave.”

Oh, that men would heed this warning! Oh, that our sons would remember “favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain” (Prov. 31:30). A woman that feareth the Lord is not only worthy of praise, but she probably won’t poison, stab, and waltz you through the gates of hell.

I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman. For what has God above chosen for us? What is our inheritance from the Almighty on high? Isn’t it calamity for the wicked and misfortune for those who do evil? Doesn’t he see everything I do and every step I take?” – Job 31:1-4 NLT


Shine the Torch

Proverbs 4:18-19

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.”

Submitted by Rev Ken Welford (Father of David)

Needing a Torch

Wouldn’t it be good if we never went astray? Even SatNav has a reputation for getting it wrong, and sometimes leading people astray. Recently a huge truck got stuck between two houses in a narrow English village street, simply because the driver blindly followed the directions of the SatNav.

I use a torch (flashlight) for the last short walk of the day with our dog. I need to look ahead for possible obstacles, and most recently I have been engaged in a minor ‘rescue mission’ directed towards the common toad. These silly creatures sit in the middle of our driveway/minor road waiting to be squashed by passing traffic. They have to be removed from the danger area and taken to a place of safety.

Three Things

Proverbs 4:18 speaks about “the path of the just” (or righteous) being like the shining sun – that shines brighter unto the perfect day. This is contrasted (v 19) with the way of the wicked, which is totally in the dark.

Three things stand out – the path of the just is an illuminated pathway. Illuminated by the PERFECT RAY for the sunshine of God’s love shines strongly on the pathway of God Seekers. It shows the way ahead in some detail, and reveals the PERFECT WAY. This is the way that leads in the right direction, and will eventually bring us to the right destination. Jesus is the Way to Life, and the only way to get us there intact. That leads to the PERFECT DAY, where God’s love shines so brightly that we are delivered from the possible perils of darkness, into the full sunshine of His presence.

Delivered

Going back to my toads – they seem to have little sense of direction, and sit waiting in the dark for the worst to happen. Paralyzed and unable to move to a place of safety on their own, the light of my torch picks them out, and I lift them up and place them in comparative safety away from the roadway. To them, I am perhaps savior and deliverer (although I guess they don’t know that). When we find ourselves ‘in the dark’, we too need someone to help us discover the right path. To lift us out of danger and darkness, and to set us free to live to our full potential.

Proverbs 14:12 says ‘there is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is death’. We need, not only the RIGHT WAY, but the BRIGHT WAY, illuminated by God’s love in the Lord Jesus Christ, who says ‘this is the way, walk in it’ (Isaiah 30:21).

Light of the World

My torch offers only pretty feeble illumination on our driveway, and can only shine on one small area at a time. However, it helps me in total darkness to avoid obstacles (and particularly, stepping on toads). The light of the world brings in a mega-beam, which disperses darkness, so that we can walk continually in the light. It means that we need never stumble for we can see the way ahead, and we walk with Him to LIFE.

The old chorus puts it like this: “When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way” – this is the true essence of that light – it’s GLORY, the glory of the risen Lord Jesus.

Ken served as a Baptist Minister from 1956-1978. He was subsequently employed by The Leprosy Mission and The Far Eastern Broadcasting Association (FEBA). Although he retired in 1996 Ken continues to preach in his local Methodist circuit in the coastal town of Teignmouth in the UK.


The Way to Go

Proverbs 4:11-12

“I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.”

A Way Walked

The first part of this passage is fairly simple to understand. In a moment of recollection, Solomon is reminding his children that he has given them good instruction; that he has led them.The best teachers are those who can say, “I have been down that road.” Sure, it is easy to give directions, but how much more valuable is the instruction when the teacher can relay first-hand experience?

As a bus driver, I drive the same route every day. I could draw a map that would be as accurate as one printed. But the difference between my map and an image from a satellite would be my knowledge of hazards unique to the vehicle. Unlike automobiles, 40 foot buses aren’t able to straighten some curves, or go under some bridges. Maps don’t usually show those things; but experience will.

Solomon is telling his children, as God is telling us, that the way ahead will be much easier if we listen to those who have gone before.

A Parental Challange

One interesting thing to note is where Solomon says “I have taught thee…” A deeper look at the word taught will show that it also means “to throw, to shoot.” Let this be a reminder – children are ours for a purpose.

In Psalm 127:5 David refers to children as “arrows” in a quiver. Arrows are worthless unless they are used. Arrows are worthless unless they are sharp, straight, and designed for a specific target. Children are to be considered tools with a mission, and we are to train them and keep them until we launch them toward their goals.

Straight, or Not?

Another interesting thing to consider is the word “straightened.” At first glance, we might consider the word here to mean the same as implied in the phrases “straight and narrow,” or “straight as an arrow.” Why, then, does Solomon say “thy steps shall not be straightened?” Does he want them to encounter curves along the way?

Actually, the word here is yatsar (Strong’s H3334), which can mean “to bind, be distressed, be in distress, be cramped, be narrow.” In reality, Solomon is saying that if one follows wise instruction, the way ahead will be less stressful, less binding, less depressing.

Thinking about this, I am immediately reminded of a particular place on the path through Rock City (a tourist attraction near Chattanooga, TN). It is called “fat man’s squeeze.” Seriously, if you are over 250 pounds, you might not make it through this narrow passage between two huge walls of rock. Yet, if you follow the signs along the way, you will be led to a different way around this “squeeze.”

If we would just follow wise counsel, the chances are much better that we will reach our goals, instead of stumbling or getting stuck along the way.


Couch Talk

Proverbs 3:31-32

“Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.”

Preface

Let me preface what I am about to write by saying that it is pleasure to study verses of Scripture which would normally be overlooked in casual reading. When I first selected this passage, I only did so based on the calendar. Only when it came time to write did it become clear there was much more to these verses that met the eye.

I can only scratch the surface, today. However, I would challenge each reader, as with the other texts, to study them for yourself. The greatest riches of heaven are not usually handed over, they are wrestled from the Word. Dig, my friends, and you will be amazed at what you find.

The Oppressor

Solomon recognized that there is always the temptation to envy those in power. If honest, few would deny that they, at some point, secretly wished they could be ruler of the world. And in most cases, the wish would not be to become the most benevolent ruler in history, but a dictator.

But we should ask ourselves, what is it about the “oppressor” that we want? Power? Influence? Riches? Fame? The ability to manipulate others in order to have things our way? Why would anyone who seeks God’s will want those things?

Froward

The “froward” man could also be called “wicked” (NLT), “devious” (ESV), or “perverse” (NIV). The word here describes a man who turns away from God to do his own thing. This type of man, the oppressor, or “man of violence” (ESV), the Lord abhors. Again, why would a God-follower want to be like him?

Do you want to be happy? “Blessed (happy) is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful,” says King David (Psalm 1:1). Don’t choose the ways of the oppressor if you want to experience joy and peace.

What is it, then, that Solomon offers as an option? What can the righteous experience that the wicked cannot?

His Secret

The word translated “secret” (verse 32) comes from a word that means a couch cushion, or a triclinium (see Gesenius’s Lexicon). What is that, you ask? A triclinium was a three-sided couch on which the Greeks and Romans reclined when sharing a meal, or conducting casual conversation. It was a place symbolic of friendship, family, and intimacy. God is sickened by the perverse man, but the righteous is accepted at His personal table.

Don’t be like the man who turns from God; but be like the man who runs to Him. The result may not be the aquisition of wealth, power, and fame; but something far, far more valuable: secret, private communion with the Lord. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the almighty” – Psalm 91:1

What on earth could compare to hearing God say, “Come here, son, recline next to me. I want to share some things with you; things meant only for you, and no one else.” The “righteous” have that privilege, not the “oppressor.”

Dear Lord, keep me focused on you, not the things of others. I long to hear you speak in a still, small voice, “Come close, my child, I have a secret for you.” Cover me in the shadow of your wings.