Tag Archives: New International Version

Don’t Fake It

Proverbs 10:9 

“He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.”

Walking Righteously

When I was a child I would watch my pop walking around wherever he worked, and he looked confident and like he knew where he was going. I saw many more people (my parents, my friends, my parents friends, many CEO’s of companies, male, female, etc.) looking confident and like they knew where they were going.

There are three things I learned while growing up:

  1. Many people are faking it.
  2. Many people are distracted by the worries of this world (meaning they are probably angry or self-righteous about something) which helps with looking confident or like they know where they are going.
  3. A few people have real confidence and really know where they are going, and many of them have peace.

Self-righteous, Angry, and Faking It

The problem with faking it, living angry, and being self-righteous is that … everyone knows! Most people are able to tell who is faking it, angry, or self-righteous.

These are people tend to make excuses or shift the blame.

The problem with making excuses and shifting blame to someone or something else is that the truth eventually comes to light, and it can be embarrassing when the truth comes out.

Knowing Peace

It is much better to walk a righteous – an upright – life. You can “walk surely,” or, as the NIV puts it, “The man of integrity walks securely.”

When living a morally upright life, you can have confidence in what you are doing.

When following Jesus Christ, you know exactly where you are going.

When trusting in God, you have peace.

As discussed several times earlier, Jesus Christ is our Peace, our Path, our Righteousness, and our Assurance. When we walk  in His Holy Spirit, we are covered with Him. We walk in peace and righteousness assured that our path leads to glory and everlasting life.

Gracious God, we praise You for Your greatness and great love. Thank You for peace and righteousness, for giving us Your assurance through the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Help us live in that peace. Help us walk in Your ways. Give us assurance through Your Spirit in our salvation and Your Return.

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Abundant Results

Proverbs 8:20-21

“I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.”

In the Midst

I used to work in a college textbook store. It required a balance of maintaining enough stock, having trustworthy and hardworking employees, and great customer service. It also required a watchful eye to detail and an understanding of when and how to trust people.

There were always people trying to steal textbooks to sell “back” to other stores or to us from other stores. Sometimes this included employees from stores.

I had gained the reputation of catching thieves, and my store had virtually no thefts for over a year (other than a few small general merchandise items).

Not only that, for the first time in almost 40 years in the company, my store had a perfect inventory.

That caused my superiors to wonder, because the last several times there were perfect inventories…people were covering up theft.

When I became manager, I decided immediately to document everything and double-check everything. I am in no way claiming to be perfect, and I did make some mistakes from time to time. However, when my superiors came in to test me and confirm my inventory, they were impressed with my level of documentation and confirmed the numbers.

On two different sides, theft and inventory, I was being watched and judged. It was only my committment to God and His Word that helped me maintain that order.

Following Wisdom

We all live in a world that hates truth and the things of God.

If you are a Christian, you will walk a narrow path between two groups judging every step you take: those who hate Christians and those who look for any reason you might not be a Christian (some call these the legalists).

However, if you are following Jesus (the true Wisdom of God), then you will overcome these judgements against you in this world.

If you live by what God has said, you will have life abundant.

If you follow Jesus, you will inherit everlasting life.

Jesus said “everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29, NIV)

Lord, help us to follow You. We know it will be hard. We know it will bring troubles to us in this life. We know we can only make it with your help. Give us Your strength and wisdom to live a righteous life, holy and pleasing to You.

 

071212


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.


Reduced to Nothing

Proverbs 6:26

“For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.”

I started attending church at the age of 15, and I was given an NIV Bible. The NIV puts this verse this way:

for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life.

For a while it confused me, because I read it as “the prostitute gradually turns you into a loaf of bread.” Before I saw another translation, I figured it out!

Broke and Worthless

As has been discussed for the past several days, the lure of the prostitute and foolishness leads to bad things. Not only is it dangerous because of diseases you might receive, you can find yourself practically penniless from spending so much on this habit. Not only might you lose all of your money, you may find your health in decline.

Do you know what happens to you when you can barely afford to buy a loaf of bread? You starve and either die or debase yourself publicly to get by.

You could also get caught doing something illegal (which prostitution is in most areas), and then you find you are in jail/prison.

Broken and Lost

On a purely spiritual level, beware of false preachers and teachers; beware of twisted and false teachings.

Prosperity gospel-, “Name-It-and-Claim-It”-, and Personality-centered messages/churches generally convince you to spend all of your money and/or give all of your money to the one speaking.

There are churches, denominations, and other organizations with teachings that sound great and biblical; yet, if you pay attention, you would find they are taken out of context (biblically and/or spiritually … there can be a difference) or, worse, twisted to serve an ungodly purpose.

If you do not end up broke and worthless in this life, the ultimate result may very well be that you have lost everlasting life.

Do not give your soul – your life – to another. Steer clear of the prostitutes, on the streets or in religion, by knowing the dangers they pose. Seek God and His path in all things.

Dear Lord, help us to stay away from the allure of the prostitute and adulteress. Help us keep our hearts, minds, and souls safe and pure. Reveal your love and grace to us all the more, that anything and anyone else is not as desirable.


A Wicked Heart

Proverbs 6:18a

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations…”

Personal Wickedness

When I was younger, way back in high school and before going to church, I heard stories of fantastic crimes, near-perfect crimes, and comic book villians. It inspired me to devise all manner of crimes (sneaking a candy bar from the store, sneaking small amounts of change from my mom’s purse, sneaking a can or two of soda pop from my teacher’s stash under his desk, etcetera) to test my mettle and intelligence.

Hollywood Wickedness

Movies seem to have caught that itch, as well. War movies to come out of Hollywood used to hide much of the true horror of battles. In the past few decades war movies have gotten progressively more gory, and now we also have movies such as the Saw series, the Hostel series, and all manner of violently gory horror and action films.

There is also a rise in movies in which the villain is the “hero” of the movie. They are written in such a way that we, the audience, sympathize with and even cheer for people committing crimes and being all-around bad (though sometimes with endearing moments).

We were warned … a lot …

Paul warned Timothy, and therefore us, that this would happen:

1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds,who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.
2 Timothy 3:1-8, NIV

In other words, society will decide to do their own thing and call good things bad and bad things good, and we will glorify sin and desire all things ungodly (sound at all familiar to anyone?).

And we were warned in Isaiah:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah 5:20

Lord, give us the wisdom to see past deception and a desire for truth and goodness. Help us to not focus on our own desires, selfishness, and violence. Help us to focus on Your will, Your love, Your grace, and You. Be our light and our life.


Making Plans

Proverbs 6:6-8

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”

In this world …

As Anthony pointed out yesterday, there is a lot of practical advice for everyday life found in Proverbs.

My wife and I work in schools. This means we have summers off from work. We have a couple of options when the summer comes:

  1. One or both of us can find summer jobs to cover expenses.
  2. We can set aside some of each paycheck to help cover expenses for the two to three months we do not work.

Especially with all of the economic concerns in our world today, it is a good idea to save up the money needed in case a summer job cannot be found. Doing this, however, requires discipline and a plan. It is not always easy to remember or even want to set money aside.

There are unexpected expenses that arise. A friend might call and say it is a great day to go out and do something. That new phone/car/movie might come out that everyone (including you and me) just has to have. These can make saving money hard, but we can learn from our friend the ant how wise it is to plan and implement those plans well.

In the next …

This passage is also a good reminder of what comes after this life. There are many who plan on waiting until the last moment of life to make any meaningful change in their lives and/or to follow God.

One problem with this is that we never know when we might die. A few are able to know their end is near and can make a conscious change, but most people are caught unaware through accidents, violence, wars, and sudden terminal illnesses.

The next problem is that we never know when Christ will return. He even warned us:

1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Matthew 25:1-13

Showing discipline and actively preparing for whatever may come not only helps us in this life, it prepares us for the next.

Loving Lord, grant us the patience and discipline we need to have full and wise lives. Grant us the wisdom to prepare for unforseen circumstances as well as expected, and help is remain faithful until Your return!


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.