Proverbial Thoughts on Mercy

Proverbs 4 23

Thoughts on the topic of mercy/steadfast love from the book of wisdom.

Mercy – I’ve always thought of mercy as that attitude which doesn’t punish when punishment is deserved.

An example might be best.

As a young boy I did something that I deserved a whoopin for, and when my dad got home, he asked me what I did, and what I deserved.

He looked down on me and said – Don’t do it again.

I deserved a whoopin. I didn’t get the whoopin. I experienced mercy, by the definition I have supplied above.
I am not convinced this is the best way to look at the topic of mercy. A quick look at Strong’s shows that this term has multiple shades of meaning, such as

  • kindness
  • goodness
  • lovingkindness
  • favour
  • covenental love.

The ESV translates this Hebrew word (חֶסֶד cheçed) as steadfast love in a few of our verses below.

3:3
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;bind them around your neck;write them on the tablet of your heart.
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;bind them around your neck;write them on the tablet of your heart.
chesed

Steadfast love and faithfulness are described as a necklace on the neck. A piece of jewelry that is worn to be seen. It is awesome that both terms are used together. How could steadfast love be described that with the term faithfulness. To be steadfast is unmovable, faithful, never giving up.

In the New Testament, there are a number of Greek words that are used to describe love. One definition of the famous agape love goes something like this.
Agape love is the love that is not reciprocal. It loves because it loves. It is a love born out of character, and not conditions. It has a raging stiffness to its approach of seeking the best of the one loved, at it’s own expense.
Steadfast love may be the equivalent.
We are not only to wear these characteristic in our life, but to bury them in our heart, so that the inner man is expressed by the outer man.
Note that we have three responsibilities.
  • Not let them forsake you
    • Funny how steadfast love could forsake one. This is one reason I feel the love described here is not quite the level of apage. I might be wrong, but nevertheless, we have a responsibility to make an environment that is hospitable to both steadfast love and faithfulness
  • Bind them on
    • Wear these in your outer expression. A quiet christian, without words and works of love and faithfulness is disobeying this precept
  • Write them in
    • Bury steadfast love and faithfulness into your thought and heart life. It is to be a basis of the inner life, which ensures hypocrisy in the believers life will be minimized.
14:22
Do they not go astray who devise evil?
Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness.

mercy.jpg

In my life, I have experienced much loving kindness.
An example of this loving kindness? I just spent ’bout four hours chatting with my daughter, just sitting and kidding around. She sat with me to chit chat. That, I consider to be a great mercy upon my life.
Do I seek this mercy in my life to increase as I become an even older fart?

Of course!

Therefore, I need to devise good for others. Devise – what a wonderful term to link with good deeds!
A simple plan that any ol’ fool can follow, if he is committed to experiencing steadfast love and faithfulness in his life.
As an aside, notice that steadfast love is linked up with faithfulness again. If that happens again, I’m going to think there is a relationship we need to consider.
16:6
By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.
OK, I did not see this coming when I chose these three verses originally. Heck, the couplet of steadfast love and faithfulness pops up again.
So what of it?
emeth

We have discussed the steadfast love above. The Hebrew term for faithfulness is the term אֶמֶת ʼemeth, with English synonyms of stability, certainty, truth, trustworthiness and of course faithfulness.

When I first come across this term, I wanted to attribute the steadfast love to God and the faithfulness as a requirement of man. I can’t see that! The faithfulness of man is not stable, certain, truthful, trustworthy. Man’s faithfulness hobbles along with spurts and grunts, seeking to please God and finding success in resting in His faithfulness only.
Both of these terms rightly belong to the God of heaven. He alone is the One who naturally exercises steadfast love and faithfulness. It is His nature.
By His characteristics of steadfast love and faithfulness, iniquity is atoned for. The cross is throughout the Word!
Be thankful for our God who is alive again, who provides the life sustaining steadfast love and faithfulness that is our hope.
He is good.
Drop me a line if you would like to discuss the goodness of God or have a testimony of His work in your life.
Be blessed.

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Proverbial Thoughts on Inheritance

Proverbs 4 23

Thoughts on the topic of inheritance from the book of wisdom

All y’all that have received an inheritance, raise your hands. I’m speaking of a physical inheritance, money, cash, coin, moolah.

Come on – I see you out there Blair.

It is a blessing to give (which I haven’t had the privilege to do yet, since I’m a still kicking) and a blessing to receive. An inheritance that is!

My wife and I have used an inheritance to invest and have found we didn’t miss the fun too much.

On the other hand, one of our siblings burned through it within a few months.

Did they have fun – you bet.

Did we enjoy their company. Yes we did, but not for the reasons you may think.

The funds gave her the ability to visit us, and we really enjoyed her company. At times we experienced sadness during her visit, seeing the opportunity the funds could supply being thrown away, for the sake of the here and now. But we kept that to ourselves after one initial chat, and the lack of interest seen in the discussion.

Got a dollar

An inheritance, in my mind is somewhat like found money. No work involved in procuring it, and no responsibility to any human in the way it is spent.

One other way to look at an inheritance is to not look at it.

Do not consider it to be of any use for your day to day lives. Use it to bless others, to invest for future endeavors, or simply spread the wealth with abandon.

Spending it immediately and on frivolous items seems to be a foolish effort, yet I have experienced the pull of the buck to “just have some fun”.

Golly – to just buy a brand new car – but my existing car is working just fine! Funds departing from our possession to simply have a new car smell? Kinda not smart in my mind.

How bout a boat? Nope – that has never been a temptation!!

13:22
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.
inheritance

One item wifey and I decided to do with an inheritance was to purchase a second home and use it as a rental property.

Eventually, if we manage it properly, this house may become some of my children’s wealth, that may be passed on to my children’s children.
Kinda cool if it works out.
19:14
House and wealth are inherited from fathers,
but a prudent wife is from the LORD.
Priorities
Ever notice that the Christian life is a battle of keeping good priorities? My oh my. If the house thing works out for my kids and thier kids, and yet they have poor spouses, what good is the inheritance.
20:21
An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning
will not be blessed in the end.
covetousness

During an inheritance process, time can seem to drag. Months may turn into years, and this may be a useful tool to examine your heart. At the mention of a delay, does the anger and anxious spirit rise up?

Remember that the inheritance is found money, and that if you need it to survive, you may need to consider your life choices and how you fell into such a tenuous position.
If it isn’t a survival issue, but just a simple covetousness that resides in your ol heart, that is a much bigger problem.
This delay in receiving the bucks (and the resultant covetousness) may be a bigger gift that da bucks.
Don’t ignore how the delay may be effecting you!

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Proverbial Thoughts on Wives

Proverbs 4 23Thoughts on the topic of wives from the book of wisdom.

I have to tell you that in all the ways that God has blessed my life, my wife is one of the greatest. I have mentioned her quiet and gentle demeanor in previous posts.

It is such a blessing to know she is there for me when I have a difficult day. No matter how my day goes, my wife will be there to take care of me in so may ways.

12:4
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones

She is an excellent wife and truly is the crown in my life. The term “excellent” in this verse has a connotation of power, ability, strength & force. In my life, my wife has been the quiet unassuming strength in the family. In all my bluster, energy, pipe dreams and discouragements, she has been an anchor for the family. She has become a lady that honors me with her actions words and attitudes. She has, by extension, provided a crown in my life by her faithful and steady commitment to this ol fool.

18:22He who finds a wife finds a good thing

and obtains favor from the LORD.

This verse also describes the blessed condition I walk in daily. But this verse also has some baggage that I want to share with y’all.

Years back, my wife and I were doing missionary work in the north of Quebec, and of course, went through arduous hours of learning the local tongue. (Has anyone tried to learn the french language in thier 30’s out of a book – Good luck!!!)

We eventually met a lady that helped us with learning the language. You know, I cant remember the French Bible version we were learning from, but the word “good thing” in th e verse below, was translated as “cadeaux”, which is the french term for “gift” Makes sense right?

When I repeated it back, I said “gateaux” Our friend started laughing, and when she settled, informed me that I had married a “rich, one layer cake filled with layers of cream or fruit”

It wasn’t all that untrue. She is my sweetiepie! And she is a favor that God has provided me.

19:13
A foolish son is ruin to his father,
and a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.

fightMy wife and I have had our disagreements, and I know that this is the sign of a healthy marriage. We have sometimes struggled understanding each others opinions, wants and needs.

Initially I sought to complete each “discussion” within a set time, realizing I couldn’t go to bed angry. This methodology sometimes worked, but I quickly realized that once the opinions are expressed, it is best to let the thoughts simmer in our minds until a unspecified time when some of the heat has died down and the light is a wee bit brighter.

So it is with my wife. 90% of the time, we came to a resolution quickly, but early on in our marriage, I found great wisdom in letting her “figger it out” on her own.

Endless quarreling was not a practice she would enter into unless I egged her on – to my shame. No – she needed to be quiet and consider her thoughts, what was important, and what she needed more information on. Then she and I could discuss and find resolution. (And gosh golly – sometimes we came to agreement!)

19:14
House and wealth are inherited from fathers,
but a prudent wife is from the LORD.

When we got hitched, we were so poor.  How poor were you Carl?

Well let me tell you.LaChoy  We ate popcorn for supper, bunches of LaChoy canned food – (It was given to us!) and plenty of spaghetti. To this day, I can’t think of eating LaChoy, but it kept us alive and kicking so I’m thankful for the gift we were given.

During this time, my wife became a coupon girl. She eventually rose to the status of “Coupon Queen” amongst her friends, and though some of them may have meant it in a derogatory manner, my wife did all she could to keep the wolf from the door. To this day, although not as poor, she still is on the constant hunt for deals, sales, bargains and savings. She is prudent with the funds I supply her, and it has translated to other areas of our lives. I may chat with you on that topic in another post, since this one is getting a bit wordy!!

5:15-19
Drink water from your own cistern,
flowing water from your own well.
Should your springs be scat
streams of water in the streets?
Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.

This last set of verses has always piqued my interest, since many of you know that I was an alcoholic.

Understand my piquedness? (Don’t think that is a word – but I wanna use it, so try to understand)

Drop me a line if you would like to discuss how the proverbs are so practical, how they are such a mirror to life or if you just want to chat.


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Proverbial Thoughts on Anger

Proverbs 4 23

Thoughts on the topic of anger from the book of wisdom.

Anger – it makes me so mad!
I struggle with what my wife calls “simmering anger” I’m sure you know what I mean. Something will tick me off, but I won’t admit it as a problem, will not deal with it, and simply “bury it”
Next thing you know, something else ticks me off. But it isn’t a big issue, so I just ignore it, try to forget about it.
Soon, one more thing ticks me off. (Seems like I git ticked off a bunch, eh?) About this time, I’m starting to feel a bit stressed, but not willing to admit the source of the stress. The latest issue easily looses focus in my mind, because I don’t want to face the issue, even though it may be completely insignificant.
At last, the straw that broke the camels back arrives in some minor irritant in my life, and I let it all out. Simmer simmer simmer BOIL – EXPLODE!
anger 1

One day, my car wouldn’t start and I exploded. Entering the house, I hurled my keys across the table, without realizing my 3 year old son was sitting at the end of it. Thankfully, the keys slid past him and dented the wall instead of my son. (God protects His fool again!)

Anger – such a monster, but why? I heard a fella once teach that anger is the result of unmet expectations.
You get that? If that premise is true, we fuel our own anger problem. Of course some anger is beneficial, even required, but that righteous anger is not considered in this post. This post simply deals with selfish, me centered, gimme gimme anger!
An example

hot tempered man

I am the type of fella that likes to schedule his day, setting aside a couple hours for this, and a couple hours for that. If the “this” gets in the way of the “that”, I git ticked off. But I created the schedule, assigned the time for both “this” and “that”, and yet, I simmer.
Another example.
I expect, (without communicating my expectations), that certain tasks need to be completed within a certain time. Not done? A bit more simmering in the belly.
One more example.
Got a buddy who doesn’t call me when I hope he will. Blow my stack!
Let’s take a few minutes to consider what the Scriptures teach regarding a wrathful, angry man.

Activities of an angry man

15:18
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
29:22
A man of wrath stirs up strife,
and one given to anger causes much transgression.
anger 2

Strife is the work of an angry man.

He isn’t happy with his life, and he finds satisfaction in spreading strife, or division among those he associates with. This type of man eventually becomes lonely, which only fuels the anger, that unmet expectation of love and kindness we all look for.
This unmet expectation of love results in greater anger, and further loneliness and abandonment. The greater the wrath, the greater the suffering. It is a vicious spiral of destruction that only the angry man can stop. Friends and family will suffer when they seek to rescue him, without success.
19:19
A man of great wrath will pay the penalty,
for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.
A fools wrath is heavy, a burden to himself and to those around him. A dead weight, a heaviness and a ballast to the good life.
27:3
A stone is heavy, and sand is weighty,
but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.
Let’s consider the alternative
One of my wife’s favorite verse is Proverbs 15:1, and she has plenty of practice using this wisdom with her stubborn ol hubby
15:1
A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
She has often provided a soft answer to speak to me of bigger things Her quietness of spirit is deafening at times!

15:18
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.

If you are an angry man inside, the only one who can help you is YOU. Do not blame God for this condition, for if you claim the Christ as Lord, He has provided the Spirit of God, and one of the fruits of the Spirit is Self-Control. Anger does not have ultimate power over a believer.

Consider this final proverb, and the wisdom it communicates

Proverbs 16:32
Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

Rule your own spirit, and find victory greater than world domination.

Thanks for joining me at Considering the Bible. I hope you find encouragement in these blog posts. If you do, I would be honored if you shared the post with a friend.

Thanks again, and have a wonderful day in the Lord.


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Proverbial Thoughts on Gossip

Proverbs 4 23
Enter a caption

Thoughts on the topic of gossip from the book It reminds me of a story I heard many years of wisdom

Gossip

Did you hear what I heard about….
What a trap to fall into – the curiosity that gives us the drive to learn and grow, becomes the fuel to find out dirt on our brother or sister. Eventually the little tidbit of information on a brother or sister becomes a monster, ending in the inevitable character assassination of a man who could not defend himself.
It reminds me of a story I heard many years back.
A story of a man convicted of gossiping went to his priest to ask for forgiveness and penance. The father instructed him to take a pillow of feathers to all he had gossiped with and place one feather on each of his friends doorsteps. After doing so, he returned to inform the father he had done his penance. The father told him to retrieve the feathers. Impossible he said.
Gossip is such a “light” sin, and yet it spreads with such freedom.
Take a few minutes to consider what the Proverbs have to say about this commonly ignored, and even less discussed sin that destroys peoples lives.

Proverbs 11:13
Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets,
but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

Proverbs 17:9
Whoever covers an offense seeks love,
but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
Did you get that? Keep certain things covered!

dirty laundry

My mamma used to say that we shouldn’t air the neighbors dirty laundry. Of course, at the age of 5, I was confused about why she would even think about their laundry, but now I get it.

…Love covers a multitude of sins…

I wanna be careful here.

I don’t think this is referring to simply ignoring the sins of others. To love a brother or sister is to forgive them, (if the sin is against you), or to discuss the sin with a brother or sister (if it is against someone else).

To discuss a sin with someone other than with the wrongdoer is gossip, slander and character defamation. Don’t do it.

Easy for you to say Carl!

Yes it is easy for me to say, and I fully admit the gossip bug is a powerful influence if I walk in the wrong spirit!

Proverbs 25:23
The north wind brings forth rain,
and a backbiting tongue, angry looks.
I am thinking the north wind, in the Israeli mind, always brought rain from the north. A backbiting tongue will also bring angry looks (eventually).
How often have you found out of a gossip actively telling stories (true or false) about you or a loved one? My initial response is always with anger when I see the culprit.
Is it natural? Of course.
Is it right? Of course not, since as a Christian, we need to exercise forgiveness. Notice that the term I use is “exercise”.
Does it sometimes hurt? To my self pride – sure.
Does it make me weary? Sometimes, since it seems so unfair, if I get my eyes off the Master.
Can I forgive quickly? How are those forgiveness muscles doing Carl?
Remember the old saying – If you don’t use ’em (you know – your forgiveness muscles!) you may loose ’em.
That would be a shame!
Gossip
Thanks for dropping by.
Drop a line if you get a chance, and have a good day in the Lord.

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Proverbial Thoughts on Alcohol

Proverbs 4 23

Thoughts on the topic of alcohol from the book of wisdom

As many who follow this blog may know, I was a teenage alcoholic and drug user, rescued from a life of drunkenness and waste by the loving sacrifice and grace of the Lord Jesus.
When I became a believer, the addiction/habit/sin fell from me since I had hope and a greater goal in life. When I eventually started reading Proverbs, the verses below made so much sense.
I was a passionate teetotaler, judging all that imbibed. The Bible clearly stated, as I read certain passages, that drinking was sin. It is for me.
In my journeys, there have been gracious believers that have been patient with this ol fool, seeking to instruct me in the finer points of Christian living.
When I drink, I abuse the drink. Some believers drink to the glory of God – no abuse of the bottle, but thankful for the blessing. I can’t understand it, but I also can’t take away the freedom of another believer in an area that is not necessarily sin for them.
With all that said, find a few verses below from the book of wisdom.

Proverbs 20:1

Wine makes you mean, beer makes you quarrelsome— a staggering drunk is not much fun.

This verse became my linchpin of belief and a club to hammer those who could control their alcohol consumption.

Proverbs 23:19-21

Oh listen, dear child—become wise; point your life in the right direction. Don’t drink too much wine and get drunk; don’t eat too much food and get fat. Drunks and gluttons will end up on skid row, in a stupor and dressed in rags.

I glossed over this verse early on in my journey, not reading the “too much” qualifier. My logic was – Why drink at all if the drunkenness is possible? How much is too much? I assumed all had the same weakness I had.