Proverbs · Wisdom

Proverbial Thoughts on Thoughts – Part D

Proverbs 4 23

Thoughts on the topic of thoughts from the book of wisdom

The book of Proverbs has much to say about the topic of our thoughts. Let’s continue considering the wisdom of Proverbs regarding our thoughts.

In our last post in the book of proverbs, we considered the thoughts of the wicked, being an abomination to the Lord, compared to the words of the pure being pleasant.

In this proverb, we are comparing a false “front” with a “hesitant” thought process.

Let’s read the verse and consider the message.

Proverbs 21:29

A wicked man puts on a bold face,
but the upright gives thought to his ways.

I referred to a false front in my introduction, since in my mind, a wicked man has no true basis for any confidence, other that a fleeting, appearance of confidence. This is a bold face, not a bold heart, not a life of confidence, but a bold face! An appearance of confidence. Make no mistake. Much of the confidence we experience amongst our peers is a manufactured confidence, a “confidence” that is based out of a fear of failure, or of desperation, or of competition with others.

As a young believer, I would exude a confidence to provide encouragement to others, and yet this often produced a separation amongst the believers. I may have shared this story before, but it is so applicable to this passage and was a great teaching lesson for my spirit

We were in a church, leading two home Bible studies and teaching a Sunday School Adult class, when my bold face fell away. It was a Tuesday night, and I was pontificating over some doctrinal item I thought all of Christianity depended on, when one of my sons came into the room and expressed a concern I would have rather kept secret.

Quickly I herded my son to his room, assured him I would discuss the issue with him after the folks leave for the night, and then returned to the study.

But something had changed.

I was no longer Saint Carl, teacher of many, knower of Bible, blah blah blah. I had become a sinner, saved by grace, just the same as the rest of the group. That few minutes of reality that my son brought to the group exposed a truth to the group that was life giving. (It is a good thing I wasn’t teaching on how to be a good and loving papa!) I had been carrying a false front, a bold face, that had slipped somewhat that night, and it was the best thing to happen for the group, and for me.

That night helped me to begin to understand that Bible knowledge is not the “be all and end all” of a teaching ministry, but that sharing a life of painful honesty is critical in the Christian life. A bold face, a proud look, a high faluting manner only separates believers and causes walls to be erected.

Since then, I have found that, though Bible truth is important for our knowledge, carrying it in pride can actually be detrimental to the ministry. People won’t relate to you, and a feeling of “us vs them” starts to develop. They may begin to think that a teacher has a different level of spirituality than they, that their secret weaknesses or sins need to be hidden in order to look good, to be accepted by the teacher, who is hiding a few secrets also. What a rat race, a game of hide and seek, a time of fear and self protection.

My dear readers, as you go about your day today, drop your proud face, your false front, and be real with just one person, with one believer that you are seeking to encourage. Show that your need of Christ is real, that your needs are real, and that as a believer, you struggle with life everyday.

But with this admonition in verse 29, note that Solomon also gives additional wisdom, that the upright gives thought to his ways. This truth provides guidance after understanding the danger of the proud face, the false front.

A person who gives thought is not a reactionary person, but one who considers his response with wisdom and understanding of the situation he finds himself in. He not only considers his response to a situation with wisdom and understanding, but also looks at his own ways, the ways of his past, that he may learn from them.

I will readily admit that my past is littered with this proud face I spoke of above. For some reason, I fall into this image of myself far too often, hurt someone I love and then have to repent of my attitude and ask for forgiveness. As I look into my past, I have found two benefits of giving thought to my ways.

  1. With every instance of pride welling up in my heart, I have also experienced a subsequent shaming, a death to the pride I nurtured, that is painful, yet necessary. This is the life of the believer, a life of repentance and returning to God and the Body of Christ.
  2. With the benefit of remembering my history, I have found that the times of pride (hopefully) have become shorter, and the repentance somewhat less grievious. Don’t get me wrong – true repentance is a poison pill for the pride of the heart. True repentance is a direct attack on the pride of the heart!

Consider your ways. Give thought to your ways.

Look to your past and be honest with yourself. Have you built walls and set up barricades to true relationship by assuming a superiority over others? Have you humbled yourself before God and others in order to prioritize relationship over self fulfillment?

Drop the false face, be honest with someone (to the point of trust you have in the person). Build a bridge to another person through a humble spirit and an open heart.

God will be in the middle of it!

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Proverbs · Wisdom

Proverbial Thoughts on Thoughts – Part C

Proverbs 4 23

Thoughts on the topic of thoughts from the book of wisdom

The book of Proverbs has much to say about the topic of our thoughts. Let’s continue considering the wisdom of Proverbs.

Proverbs 15:26

The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD,
but gracious words are pure.

This passage gives a link between our thoughts and our words and is a proverb that describes opposing truths. I would like to provide a few additional translations of this verse to get a wee bit of clarity.

Proverbs 15:26 (NKJV) The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD,
But the words of the pure are pleasant.

Proverbs 15:26 (RSV) The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD,
But the words of the pure are pleasant.

Proverbs 15:26 (WEB) The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.

I love spreadsheets, and this verse begs a table to compare the “root” of our actions with the “fruit” of our thoughts. Confused?

What I want to try to show is that this verse has a cause and effect action. This principle is clearly taught in the New Testament, in that fruit is the result of the type of root (tree)!

Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.

“Root” “Fruit”
Wicked thoughtsAbomination to the Lord
Words of the purePleasant

Two roots are being referred to in this verse. Let’s consider both.

Thoughts of the Wicked

Wicked thoughts (or more pointedly – the thoughts of the wicked) produce disgust to the Lord, a feeling of abhorrence within the Godhead. These thoughts are disgusting to the Lord, an abomination, a vile thing. It is not wicked words that are being described here, but the very thoughts of the wicked. Of course, as the wicked thinks, so will he speak. But Solomon is focusing on thoughts here.

Let’s remember that God is a living “person”. Please do not misunderstand – I am not trying to take away from the truth that He is the one and only living God, but we sometimes think of Him as so lofty and high (rightly so) that we sometimes forget that He experiences anger, sorrow, disappointment, joy, abhorrence ….

I need to intentionally remember this!

Words of the Pure

Words of the pure are pleasant to Him, and by extension to all that hear them. Of course, our verse strictly states that the words of the pure are pleasant words, yet if we follow the initial thought of the verse, there is an association of the Lord’s response with this last clause.

According to Matthew 12:33, we know that speaking pure words comes from a pure heart. And because our topic of this post is our thoughts, lets remember Paul’s admonition in Philippians 4:8.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

As believers, we are told not only how to think, but what to think. Notice that in this list of thought “objects” is the “positive” aspect for each category. (Truth as opposed to lies, honor as opposed to shame…) If we are to seek pure words in our communication, (in order to bring pleasantness to the Lord and all around us) then we need to train our thinking per the instructions provided by the apostle.

Think about it! To provide the Lord pleasantness is surely a calling we should join into each day.

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Proverbs · Wisdom

Proverbial Thoughts on Thoughts – Part B

Proverbs 4 23

Thoughts on the topic of thoughts from the book of wisdom

The book of Proverbs has much to say about the topic of our thoughts. Let’s continue considering Proverbs wisdom on our thoughts.

Proverbs 14:15

The simple believes everything,
but the prudent gives thought to his steps.

My momma used to say “ignorance is bliss”. It has stuck with me, along with bunches of sayings she would recite. She was a wonderful mother, but with this saying, I’m not sure she spoke the truth. (Thinking back, she would say this often to me specifically – starting to wonder if she was implying something!)

Anyhow, the Word tells us of the gullibility of the simple. They believe everything they are told, that they hear, that they come across. It implies that the simple understand the world to be their servant, that the messages provided by everyone within their life circle are positive, right and beneficial for their lives. This passage implies that critical thinking, a solid knowledge base, and a commitment to truth is of no importance to the simple.

To be “simple”, in the book of proverbs speaks of inexperience, gullibility and a lack of judgement. It is usually associated with youth, but this proverb also provides a solution to this destructive lifestyle.

Give thought to your steps!

I may be extending this passage out further than is obvious, but hear me out. My wife and I have been “planners” for the last 25 years of our married life. It started when we considered moving into the USA from the GWN. We sat down and made a 5 year plan, set intermediate goals to accomplish this target and worked to these ends.

One of our first plans included attaining citizenship in the USA. In our simplicity, we judged a five year span of effort would be sufficient to meet this goal (legally!) Golly, I don’t know if any of my readers have ploughed through dealing with the bureaucracy such as we faced, especially after 911, but without that goal we would have surely given up.

My point is that, to give thought to your steps, in my opinion, speaks of where we are going, of planning our path in the will of God and to work with an understanding of the world around us. I say “the world around us” since wifey and I planned this prior to 911, and with the knowledge we had at the time, the five year goal was still aggressive. After 911, it appeared impossible. It became apparent during one summer, that we would loose all that we worked for. Our house, our freedom to stay in the US, our church fellowship and my career. (I actually am one of a very few men that has ever been let go by a government agency – fired by a state government!)

In all that, the Lord led the way through all the fears and dangers, all the disappointments and changes, and looking back, has instilled in this family a tenacity that may not have grown without the trial.

To reiterate, this particular effort taught us to be critical thinkers also, since believing what others told us led us down wrong roads, conflicted with other messages and was simply foolish.

Always question the message being heard and filter it through the truth God has provided us through the Word of God and His Spirit. Even the Word of God needs to the compared with the Word of God and to simply believe a passage without “arguing with it” seems to be unwise in my eyes now.

As you may know, I am an engineer in my occupation, and I tend to question everything. But to question God’s Word, not in its truthfulness, but in seeking to understand it’s intended message has been a key issue for me for the last 15 years or so.

Many of my previous beliefs have undergone serious development, and some of them have had to be repented of. This is a very uncomfortable experience. Changing my thinking on any aspect of my faith changes multiple aspects of my daily life. Thankfully, as an added benefit, the general tenor of my thought life has greatly improved.

Don’t be simple. Don’t simply believe the Bible. The message is deep, complex and wonderful. Who can know the mind of the Lord? The further you dig the more wondrous Jesus becomes.

Don’t be afraid to reverently ask questions of the text, to ask God for understanding, to challenge your own thoughts in subjection to the Word of God. The prophets did. The apostles did.

Should we not seek to understand the message instead of simply “believing everything” you hear?

Consider!

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Proverbs · Wisdom

Proverbial Thoughts on Thoughts – Part A

Proverbs 4 23

Thoughts on the topic of thoughts from the book of wisdom

Somehow I fear this introduction may be a bit confusing, but if y’all think on it long enough I think all y’all may come up with the correct thought I am trying to get y’all to think about.

Ya think?

Thoughts, Ya ever think of thoughts?  I know – that is a strange question and one that may be self defeating.  This may take me down a rabbit hole that I will regret.  

So instead of getting all messed up with pondering of an ol’ man, lets consider a few verses of the good book, and see if they bring any clarity to our lives.

It turns out that the book of Proverbs has much to say about the topic of thoughts.

4:26 Ponder the path of your feet;

then all your ways will be sure

We are to consider, ponder, reflect, think on our lives. The word ponder has the meaning of “to weigh out, to balance, or to make level or smooth”.

“Ponder” is a verb – we are instructed to ponder our lives, our history. To consider our past as a teaching guide for our future.

Check out your history.

In your Christian walk, have you been a Proverbs 6 believer? You know – the type of person that does not reflect the kindness and love of God?

Proverbs 6:16-19

There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

Or have you sacrificed your own desires for the sake of others? Have you considered peace with your brother to be more important than a pet teaching, or do you refuse to listen to others? Have you sought peace with your Christian brother, the one who seems to think differently than you? Or do you seek ways to find fault, an error seeker, a self justifier?

Golly, even to love your enemy is to be a goal for the believer. Have you sought peace with your co-worker who recently hung up on you when you were chatting with him? (a bit too specific there Carl – Maybe you got some work to do there!)

Be honest, for self deception is the greatest enemy in this exercise. To what benefit is waxing over our faults? To what advantage is the ignoring of our history,

I often boast of my stability in the Christian walk I live (at least in my thoughts!) and yet this boasting is a self deception. We need to reflect on our lives, consider our walk with God, failings and all.

Painful? Most likely! Growth and maturity, or in the words of the proverb “surety of our way” does not come out of leisure and comfort!

This is a fairly heavy post and will end here. I am sure I will return to this topic a bit later, since the book of Proverbs has much to say on our thoughts.

Hope to visit again soon


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Proverbs · Wisdom

Proverbial Thoughts on Humility

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

In the midst of the daily grind, when all the voices are yelling at you about asserting yourself and taking control and being confident, the message sometimes becomes garbled. To be confident is definitely not an attribute that is to be rejected, but that the confidence needs to be in the right place.

God is our strength, and as the day starts, I look to Him for strength. I have a certain area I like to walk prior to going into the office, that is my place to ask for help during the day.

You see, I have begun a new chapter in my career, and to be honest, it scares the heck out of me. New responsibilities, new relationships, new levels of ignorance (on my part) that seem to overwhelm me.

Why am I speaking thus?

I am speaking this way, since 83.4% of my struggles are in relation to my pride in the work place. I fear failure, to the point of paralysis, and because of that my thoughts are clouded and my interactions with others are not as fruitful as possible.

Then along comes the book of Proverbs, with multitudinous volumes of instruction on proper living. The instruction that has helped me most in the past few months is the instruction on humility, and I have found that my confidence is rising as I admit my weakness, my ignorance and my inability to God first, but also to those around me .

Check out a few verses with me.

Humility

3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

What is pride if it doesn’t include the self wisdom we dabble in, the ability we have to figger things out. Don’t be self wise, but fear the Lord, and in that fearing, you and I will naturally pull away from evil

3:34 Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.

Oh to find grace in the eyes of the Lord, to experience grace on a daily occurrence. If you are currently not experiencing grace in your life, if life is difficult and seems to contain sandpaper pillows, consider the pride factor in your life. Grace is the environment a lowly person inhabits. A lowly person seeks not to require their own way, or to argue just for the sake of winning. No no no. A lowly person will state truth, stand on the truth, but arguing over the truth doesn’t seem to be in the lowly persons toolbox of life skills.

Quick question. When do we find Jesus arguing with His disciples or the Sanhedrin or the Pharisees or the ….. He stated truth, laid it out, made His claim and left it for all to receive or reject.

11:2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.

How ofter has wisdom come up in the past few posts. It seems to be a common refrain in my thought, that is my severe lack of wisdom in my daily life. Carl – consider attitudes of pride in your life, for where pride cometh…..

A few more verses for your reading pleasure. Consider the wisdom and grace of a humble life. So many benefits and such a proper position to be in when we consider our Maker. Would you not agree?

16:19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

18:12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.

20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

22:4 By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.

25:27 It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.

27:2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.

29:23 A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

 


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Proverbs · Wisdom

Proverbial Thoughts on Speech 1

Proverbs 4 23

Thoughts on the topic of speech from the book of wisdom

It is appropriate that, on a post dealing with the wisdom pertaining to speech, that I have two posts, seemingly misunderstanding the admonitions provided in this first post.  Nevertheless, this is one of the topics that the book of Proverbs speaks much on (pun intended!) and that although this post will deal with the wisdom of quietness, there is so much more guidance from Solomon and his co-authors that I couldn’t resist a multiple post.  So to reduce the introduction to this topic on longwindedness, let us start

Speech

Proverbs 10:19

In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

This is my favorite all time Proverb when dealing with speech.  Whether it is my first memory verse in proverbs, the pithy KJV flow of the verse, or the simple message that appeals to me is hard to decide. No matter – I like / hate this verse!

There doesn’t seem to be any qualifier to the quality of the words; it is simply a statement that covers every situation I find myself in .  Too many words are an invitation to sin.  

It is interesting that the term “multitude” in the Hebrew can be translated as greatness, and this may reflect a proud mouth, a mouth that spews boasting.  This is not definite of course, and no other translation uses this connotation, so I am stretching the meaning a bit much.  

But let me ask you a question.  

When was the last time you met a man (or woman) that spoke many words, and that didn’t, in those words, speak words of greatness, great and swelling words of pride? 

Might there be a link?  

Proverbs 13:3

He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

Proverbs 13:3 speaks on the same problem, but defines the end game.  So often in the Word, the long game is defined, the end result, that without careful consideration on life would be missed.  By this I mean, how often have you had verbal diarrhea and not once considered the result of your spouting?  

This verse speaks of two results. 

A man with restraint maintains his life.  A man with out restraint shall have destruction.  Notice that the proverb does not say he shall receive destruction.  Some of the translations I reviewed speak of destruction occurring, as in above, and some speak of the destruction coming to the one speaking.  No matter.  This is a splitting of hairs in my opinion, for what believer wants to be a vehicle for destruction?  Destruction of family, friends, possessions, possibilities…

Even the destruction of enemies.  What?  Remember that destruction, for the believer is off limits.

Matthew 5:44

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you

Out last proverb for this post is.

Proverbs 17:28

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

Solomon is speaking the same thing twice here. He is speaking of a fella that for some reason is quiest, and the perception is that he is a man of wisdom and understanding. Of course, this is an “accidental” result, since Solomon doesn’t state that he IS wise, simply that he is thought of as wise.

I will take it! My wisdom quota is sub par, and if I can gain the appearance of wisdom, simply be “shutting my mouth”, so be it.

But Carl, should not we be concerned about reality as opposed to simply the appearance. Totally agreed. It is so far better to own wisdom, than to appear to have it and fail in the pinch. (Nothing worse than clouds with no rain!)

Proverbs 17:27 He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.  

Having knowledge and appearing wise are two different things. In this culture of appearance, it might be good to remind each other that substance is preferred!

I will close with 4 verses from the New Testament Proverbs, otherwise known as the Book of James for your consideration

Jas 1:26

If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.

James 3:5

Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!

James 3:6

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.

James 3:8

But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.


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Proverbs · Wisdom

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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Proverbs · Wisdom

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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Proverbs · Wisdom

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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Proverbs · Wisdom

Proverbial Thoughts on Anger

Proverbs 4 23Thoughts 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 1One 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 2Strife 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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Proverbs · Wisdom

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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Proverbs · Wisdom

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.