Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Making Good choices

Proverbs 20:1-15

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1)

Wine makes people look stupid and strong alcohol makes people unable to control their temper and thinking.  It’s not very smart the let them control your life.

“The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.” (Proverbs 20:2)

Antagonizing the government is very much like teasing a lion.  When he begins to growl or roar you better start being afraid.  You have deliberately given him reason for attacking you, effectively asking for it. 

“It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling. ” (Proverbs 20:3)

To avoid a fight is a sign of maturity and wisdom.  A fool insists on stirring things up and keeping the fight going because he is too dumb to quit. 

“The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing. ” (Proverbs 20:4)

The lazy person always finds and excuse not to do what needs done.  As a result, when other people have everything they need, he has nothing of his own and has to beg other people to give him something.

“Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out. ” (Proverbs 20:5)

Most people know far more than shows publicly.  A wise person takes the trouble to bring out what others know.  Almost everybody has an idea or way of doing things that we can learn from.  Only a fool thinks he knows everything and doesn’t need to learn any more.

“Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?  The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” (Proverbs 20:6-7)

Most people will tell you that they are one of the good guys, but there are very few you really trust to do what is right.   In fact, the bigger issue they make of it the less trustworthy they usually are.   The good, honest man lives his standards, he doesn’t just talk about them.  As a result his children are blessed because people expect them to be like their father.

“A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes. ” (Proverbs 20:8)

A leader establishes the attitude of the country.  One who sets a standard of fair and honest judgment will drive out dishonesty and crime.  The cure for a growing crime rate is a change of attitude , starting with that of the leader. 

“Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” (Proverbs 20:9)

While psychology can help us change our behavior and even some of our attitudes, it can never change the instincts we inherited from our ancestors.  One of those instincts is that of disobedience toward God.  It is beyond human ability to resolve that problem.  Only God can correct it.

“Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD. ” (Proverbs 20:10)

Dishonest and deceitful business practices are an abomination to God.  He finds them disgusting and nauseating.

“Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right. ” (Proverbs 20:11)

A person’s behavior determines his reputation from the time he is a very small child.  He is judged to be a good person or a bad one based on whether he does good things or bad ones.

“The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.” (Proverbs 20:12)

The ear senses vibrations of the air or other medium and interprets it as sound.  They eye senses the various colors and shades of light and enables the brain to understand what is around us.  The mechanisms are completely different but both were designed by God for inclusion in the human body.  God is not limited to one way of doing things.

“Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread” (Proverbs 20:13)

A love for taking life easy is likely to result in a life of poverty and frustration.  Bu opening one’s eyes and paying attention, one can see opportunities to obtain the things one desires. 

“It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth. ” (Proverbs 20:14)

When he is thinking about buying something, the buyer runs it down pointing out flaws and limitations to get a better deal, but when he has obtained it he brags to his friends how good the item is to convince them how smart he was to buy it. 

“There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel. ” (Proverbs 20:15)

There are things people value highly, such as Gold or jewels.  Unfortunately many people don’t realize the value of listening to somebody who knows about life.  It is as valuable and probably more than any jewels or gold one could acquire.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Teaching to do Right

Proverbs 19:15-29

“Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.” (Proverbs 19:15)

Laziness makes a person feel tired and constantly in need of sleep.  The less they do the more tired they feel.  Because they can’t be bothered to get out and do anything they use up everything they had and end up in poverty and hunger.  Many feel obligated to see that such people have the necessities, but II Thessalonians 3:10 says, “,,,we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”  We have no right to circumvent God’s plan by feeding people who don’t want to do their share.

“He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die. ” (Proverbs 19:16)

God’s commands were given to enable people to have the best possible life.  Obeying them preserves a person’s life, while disobeying them leads to the loss of one’s life. 

“He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.” (Proverbs 19:17)

A person who takes the trouble to help those who are struggling is in effect lending the Lord the value of his help.  God always pays his bills.  It will pay off. 

“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” (Proverbs 19:18)

To chasten means to make a person aware their actions will not be tolerated.  Sometimes just a scolding is enough while other times some type of physical punishment is required.  It is important that chastening be done before the action becomes habitual.  Ecclesiastes 8:11 warns, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”  If the action is allowed to continue, eventually you will be unable to stop them.  Don’t let the fear of making him cry stop you from teaching him what is right. 

“A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.” (Proverbs 19:19)

Sooner or later a person who lets themselves fly off the handle will get into trouble because each time they get away with it they get worse.  Trying to get them out of trouble just encourages them.   Don’t waste the time.

“Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” (Proverbs 19:20)

Listen to advice and learn from it.  Eventually it will make you wise.

“There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” (Proverbs 19:21)

People are constantly coming up with new ideas and plans, but God’s principles do not change.  Unlike people, God doesn’t change his mind. 

“The desire of a man is his kindness: and a poor man is better than a liar.” (Proverbs 19:22)

What a person wants determines how he treats other people.  A poor man is always worth more than a liar, no matter how much the liar may have.
“The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil. ” (Proverbs 19:23)

Respect for the Lord and his power tends to make a person cautious about disobeying him.  As a result he avoids God’s judgment and is able to enjoy his life.

“A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.” (Proverbs 19:24)

A lazy man resents even having to exert himself to bring a bite of food to his mouth.   He’d rather just fold his hands and let somebody else do it for him so he doesn’t have to exert himself at all.

“Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge. ” (Proverbs 19:25)

Punishing a rebellious and stubborn person rarely changes their ways, but it makes other people think about the consequences of their actions and may deter them.   A thoughtful person will pay attention with just a warning. 

“He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach.  Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge. ” (Proverbs 19:26-27)

A person who just wastes what his father earns and refuses to have anything to do with his mother is an embarrassment to his parents, constantly shaming them.   He needs to quit paying attention to bad advice or teaching that encourages him to do wrong.  As I Corinthians 15:33 warns, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”  Despite one’s best intentions, he will be affected by listening to such advice.

“An ungodly witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity.  Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools. ” (Proverbs 19:28-29)

Ungodly people hate the idea they will be judged and think it ridiculous, and wicked people flock to wicked things like flies are drawn to honey.  They don’t understand that Judgment is designed specifically because of their attitude, and the punishment is for fools who think wickedness is fun. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Relating To Other People

Proverbs 19:1-14

“Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.  Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.  The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.” (Proverbs 19:1-3)

An honest poor man is worth more than anyone who is foolish or will not control his tongue, regardless how much they may have.  It is terrible that some people know nothing, and people who are in too much of a hurry to take time to learn things are sinning against themselves and those they may hurt along the way because they don’t know what they are doing.  A lack of careful thought prevents a person from accomplishing what he hoped but he tends to blame God for things not working rather than taking responsibility for the failure. 

“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.” (Proverbs 19:5)

A person who tells lies about other people will be punished for it, and his lies will not enable him to escape the consequences.  Many people think only serious lies are a problem but Revelation 21:8 says, “…all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”   It is not about how big the lie is but that it is a lie that matters.

“Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour.     Many will entreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.  All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? he pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him.” (Proverbs 19:4, 6-7)

People will flock to people who they thing might give them something valuable, trying to ingratiate themselves.   They all want to appear as his friend.   They avoid a poor person, on the other hand because they are afraid he might need something and they are embarrassed to have more than he does.   Even when he tries to make friends they ignore him.
“He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.” (Proverbs 19:8)

A person who learns to think things through cares about himself, and if he applies what he knows it will benefit him.
“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.” (Proverbs 19:9)

Once again we are reminded that lying will result in punishment and death, both physical and spiritual.

“Delight is not seemly for a fool; much less for a servant to have rule over princes.” (Proverbs 19:10)

A fool goes way overboard expressing his delight.  In the same way a person who isn’t qualified goes overboard showing his power when he is in charge. 

“The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” (Proverbs 19:11)

Thought makes a man hold his temper and the willingness to overlook someone else’s mistake is a mark of wisdom and maturity.

“The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass.” (Proverbs 19:12)

Knowing the government is investigating you is as unnerving as hearing a lion roar when you are out in the woods.  Having their approval is like the dew on the grass.  It is pleasant while it lasts, but it doesn’t last very long.    

“A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.   House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.” (Proverbs 19:13-14)

A foolish son destroys everything his father accomplished, sometimes to bail him out of trouble and other times they just make bad decisions.   The father would love to leave his children a home and a good inheritance but a foolish son may prevent it.   Arguments with one’s wife are like a dripping faucet, constantly intruding on one’s consciousness and destroying one’s peace.  A wife who is careful and doesn’t cause constant conflict is from the Lord.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Relating To Other People

Proverbs 18:13-24

“He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” (Proverbs 18:13)

It is stupid to make decisions without knowing the facts, and almost always results in our being embarrassed by the results.   Few decisions are so urgent that time can’t be taken to find out what is needed, and if they are, you definitely will not have time to correct things if your decision is wrong.   

“The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” (Proverbs 18:14)

A person can live with almost any physical injury or illness, as demonstrated by many who return from service in the Middle East.  Those who become depressed or suffer PTSD often find it harder to live with than those with even life threatening injuries. 
“The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.” (Proverbs 18:15)

Careful, thoughtful and wise people are constantly learning new things wherever they can. 

“A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” (Proverbs 18:16)

Gifts get people’s attention and open doors that would not otherwise be opened.  They can give great opportunities, but they can also cause a lot of trouble, especially when viewed as a bribe.

He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.” (Proverbs 18:17)

When a person presents their case they try to make it sound valid and fair, but people who live close by will check out the facts before they decide.   They don’t want to make a foolish decision they will regret later.   Being neighbors they can’t easily escape the consequences. 

“The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.” (Proverbs 18:18)

Agreeing to accept an unbiased decision, even if it is made by flipping a coin can settle an argument and prevent fighting. 

“A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.” (Proverbs 18:19)

Hurt feelings are hard to overcome, and the person whose feelings were hurt is hard to mollify and win back. 

“A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.   Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:20-21)

A person will have to live with the consequences of what he says.    If it was only empty talk, he may get pretty hungry, but if it led to something good, it may be really satisfying.  The tongue can cause a person to be killed or can cause him to be richly blessed and protected.    

“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. “ (Proverbs 18:22)

A wife or helpmeet is one who helps one both physically and emotionally.  A man who finds such a woman is blessed by God and has something worth keeping. 

“The poor useth entreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.” (Proverbs 18:23)

Poor people have to use good manners and ask nicely, but rich people can get by with being rude and abusive because they don’t need the help. 

“A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)

A friendly attitude is essential if a person is to make friends.   Nobody wants to be friends with somebody who is selfish and rude.  A close friend can be even closer that one’s own brother or sister.  Most school shootings have been by kids who avoided other people and complained that they didn’t have any friends.  Too bad someone didn’t teach them how to be friendly. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Impact Of Our Words

Proverbs 18:1-12

“Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.  A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.” (Proverbs 18:1-2)

It is his desire to learn that makes a person separate from his friends to observe and study various things.  The fool is only interested in learning what will satisfy his desires at the moment, somewhat like the cravings a pregnant woman may feel. 

“When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.” (Proverbs 18:3)

Wickedness causes people to view one with contempt.  Losing a good reputation leads to shame and loss of respect and trust. 

“The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.” (Proverbs 18:4)

Many times a person’s statement have far greater significance than is immediately appreciated.  A wise person’s statements provide and ongoing source of instruction and help. 

“It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.” (Proverbs 18:5)

When we treat wicked behavior as acceptable, helping them get by with wrong doing, or take advantage of those who do right, we encourage others to be wicked, and discourage those who try to do right.  As a result, wickedness grows.

“A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.  A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.” (Proverbs 18:6-7)

A fool constantly gets into verbal altercations, and contrary to what many believe asks for the physical beating he gets by his refusal to shut up.  I’ll never forget seeing a drunk get beaten up and while lying on the ground yelling curses and making fun of the guys who had just beat him up until finally one lost his temper and started in again.  It is the fool’s mouth that incites people to try to kill him and it is his mouth that causes him to commit to things he knows are wrong. 

“The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” (Proverbs 18:8)

The words of rumor mongers destroy reputations and relationships, and they cause emotional hurts that go the very heart of a person’s being.   They often do more damage than a physical attack would. 

“He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.” (Proverbs 18:19)

A lazy man has a lot in common with a person who just throws away what he has.  Neither of them are concerned with what is required to earn what they have. 

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.  The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.” (Proverbs 18:10-11)

The very name of God strikes terror into the hearts of those who do evil.  Righteous people turn to him for protection, and he protects them.  Rich people turn to their wealth for protection, in their pride thinking what they have will be enough.  It isn’t.

“Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.” (Proverbs 18:12)

Certain things naturally lead to others.  A haughty, proud attitude inevitably leads to destruction, because God hates and resists pride.  Humility, on the other hand shows respect for God and will be rewarded accordingly, by appropriate respect. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Think About What You Are Doing

Proverbs 17:13-22

“Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.” (Proverbs 17:13)

Exactly what it says, that a person who does those who are trying to help hi dirty will never get relief from constant trouble or emotional stress. 

“The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.” (Proverbs 17:14)

The start of a fight is similar to relieving one’s bowels, in that once it is started it is difficult to stop until it is finished.  It is a lot easier to stop before it starts.

“He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.” (Proverbs 17:15)

God is totally disgusted and repelled by people who excuse or cover for and help the wicked to get by with their crimes.  He is equally upset by those who falsely accuse innocent people.  The recent furor protests over the killing of Michael Brown and others accentuates serious problems in our entire justice system.  Lawyers, parents, and civil rights advocates who ignore or excuse crimes and try to protect them from the consequences are accessories to the crime, even if it is considered their job.  At the same time, prosecutors, investigators, and news media who wrongly charge or convict innocent people are guilty of crimes themselves.  Both groups will face God’s judgment. 

“Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?” (Proverbs 17:16)

Many parentas have learned the hard way that it is a waste of time and money to pay for an education for a person who isn’t interested in learning, and many schools and educational institutions are monuments to the truth of this statement.  Unless and interest can be developed. There is no use trying to teach. 

“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17)

A true friend is not fickle.  They don’t forget about you because your situation has changed, and adversity draws a real family closer together. 

“A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.” (Proverbs 17:18)

A person who agrees to cosign for a loan to a friend or promises to pay his bill without proper legal precautions is being stupid, allowing his emotions to override his intelligence.  While he may be honest and intend to pay it off, if something happens to him, his heirs may not honor his commitment, leaving one without recourse. 

“He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.” (Proverbs 17:19)

A person who loves fighting and constantly tries to stir up fights loves wrong doing.  It gives him and excuse to fight, either to defend himself, or to attack somebody else.  A person who tries to set himself above others is asking for trouble.  He offends those he tries to climb over. 

“He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.” (Proverbs 17:20)

A person with a rebellious attitude is never happy, and is constantly in trouble.  A person who will not control his tongue gets himself into trouble by what he says.

“He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.” (Proverbs 17:21)

Parents of a fool never get to enjoy having him as a child.  They spend all their effort trying to get him out of trouble or apologizing for what he has done.

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)

A joyful attitude makes everyone around feel better, but a gloomy depressed attitude makes everybody miserable. 

“A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.” (Proverbs 17:23)

A wicked person doesn’t care about what is right, but only about winning, so he will try to bribe people to get his way.

“Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.” (Proverbs 17:24)

A person who thinks things through can see the obvious problems in front of him, but the fool is so focused on the things in the distance, his own objectives, that he can’t see what is right in front of him.

“A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.” (Proverbs 17:25)

A foolish child is a constant emotional and financial drain on his father, a nd an embarrassment and source of regret to his mother. 

“Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity.” (Proverbs 17:20)

It is not good to punish the innocent for what the wicked have done, or to take away from those who have more to produce equity with those who have less.  It takes away the incentive to do better or to try.  Socialism is counter productive.

“He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.  Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” (Proverbs 17:27-28)

People that know what they are talking about know when to shut up, and have a good attitude.  Fools never know when to shut up, and have lousy attitudes.    If a person is smart enough to shut up, people will think he knows what he is talking about, even if he doesn’t.  If he talks too much, people will figure out he doesn’t know what he is talking about.    As the saying goes, It is better to be quiet and have people think you don’t know than to talk too much and remove any doubt.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Practical Proverbs

Proverbs 17:1-12

“Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.” (Proverbs 17:1)

One of the biggest factors affecting our health is stress.  It affects our sleep, our digestion, our emotional state, and our immune system.  Solomon repeatedly points out that an environment with minimal stress even if it means living in poverty is better than great wealth with constant turmoil and stress. 

“A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren.” (Proverbs 17:2)

Many times parents spend so much getting a child who will not do what is right out of trouble, that there is nothing left for him when they die, or they figure he has already received more than his share and leave him nothing.   Knowing their child will not take care of it they may assign an executor the child is accountable to in charge of their estate, giving him a portion of the estate or a certain amount of income because they trust him. 

“The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.” (Proverbs 17:3)

Because gold is so heavy, and melts at t rather low temperature, when it melts, it runs out the bottom of material in the furnace and can be collected in a depression in the bottom as pure gold.  Silver is similar in weight to other metals, and has a similar melting point, but is less reactive to oxygen, so when melted in a pot for a prolonged period, the other metals oxidize and rise to the surface where they can be skimmed off, leaving pure silver.   God is able to identify a pure heart attitude in a similar way. 

“A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.” (Proverbs 17:4)

People who do wrong prefer to listen to people who tell them what they are doing is okay, even when they know he lies about other things.  By listening to the stories of other people’s wicked actions and ideas, a liar is able to convince himself that his lies don’t matter. 

“Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.” (Proverbs 17:5)

God created every person on earth.  Making fun of them because they are poor is in effect saying God was not just, making some better or smarter than others.   People who are glad to see others having problems inevitably consider themselves better than the other person and their pride will be punished. 

“Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.” (Proverbs 17:6)

People’s grandchildren are usually the apple of their eyes, and they talk about them at any opportunity.  To his children, a good father is the greatest person on earth.  The present day attitude about divorce destroys a relationship that children need.

“Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.” (Proverbs 17:7)

A good vocabulary and ability to express himself makes it obvious a Person has had the opportunity to learn to make wise choices and has no excuse for foolish behavior.  In a similar fashion, lies by a person who has attained a level of prestige and respect make it appear he doesn’t deserve it. 

“A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.” (Proverbs 17:8)

Receiving a gift is like finding a jewel.  It cost you nothing but it will give pleasure no matter how it is utilized.    

“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” (Proverbs 17:9)

A person who conceals wrongdoing wants favors from the one he does it for.  A person who goes around repeating gossip causes strife and conflict, even between the best of friends.   Far too often it is done deliberately.

“A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.” (Proverbs 17:10)

There is an old joke about a man training a mule.  When asked why he just walked up and hit the mule with a club on the head, he said the first step is to get his attention.  Just a simple word will get a wise persons attention but hitting a fool over the head a hundred times may not work because he doesn’t want to listen.

“An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.” (Proverbs 17:11)

Wicked people look for an opportunity to do wrong.  Sooner or later, someone will retaliate or God will bring judgment.  As the saying goes, “what goes around, comes around.”

“Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.” (Proverbs 17:12)

It is easier to reason with an angry she bear trying to protect her cubs than it is with a fool determined to do something dumb.   Don’t waste your time trying.  They won’t listen to anything that doesn’t support their ideas.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Everything Comes Back to God

Proverbs 16:16-32

“How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!” (Proverbs 16:16)

The understanding of how things work (science),  and the ability to relate those things to daily life are worth immeasurably more than any amount of money, giving the ability to earn needed money, but also to solve problems the money cannot. 

“The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.  Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.  Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” (Proverbs 16:17-19)

Many animals will rise up on the hind legs and stand upright in order to better see danger or prey.  The upright person can see dangers and avoid the dangers of evil.  A person who takes the trouble to avoid the dangers saves his own life.  Proud people depend on their abilities to get themselves out of trouble and see no need to avoid it, and eventually get caught.  Haughty people think they are so great nothing could happen to them and walk straight into the disaster.   It is better to be humble and not consider oneself better or smarter than everyone else.  Too often that easy win is bait for a trap.

“He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.  The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.  Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.  The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.  Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:20-24)

A person who handles situations wisely and discretely will benefit from his actions, a man who trusts God will benefit greatly.  He will be considered astute and his pleasant attitude will result in him learning more, resulting in even greater blessing and satisfaction.   His attitude makes him willing and eager to learn, but it is a waste of time trying to teach someone who doesn’t want to learn.  A pleasant attitude or good manners are like a bite of honey, providing immediate pleasure, but leaving a deep down emotional benefit.

“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 16:-25)

Just because something seems like a good idea at the moment doesn’t mean you should do it.  Closer inspection may reveal it to be a trap. 

“He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.” (Proverbs 16:-26)

Anyone who works does so because of the benefits it brings to him.  Even the most altruistic person does what he does because of the satisfaction it provides.  Employers who don’t understand this have a hard time keeping good employees.

“An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.  A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.  A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.  He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.” (Proverbs 16:27-30)

People who have turned the backs on God work at stirring up trouble.  They are verbally abusive and insulting.  They deliberately spread rumors and tell lies to cause fights, even between friends.  They deliberately try to get other people involved in things that are wrong and ignore what is right to do what is not, and agitate to make the evil things happen.  The riots in Ferguson, Missouri provide a striking example.

“The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” (Proverbs 16:31)

Grey hair is an indication that a person has had experiences and may have learned valuable information, but only if the person is living a life worth emulating.  Otherwise it just means he got old.

“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” (Proverbs 16:32)

Adrenaline works like a drug on the nervous system.  Initially it reduces the sensations of pain enabling one to exert more force, whether for lifting, hitting, or running.  This also causes a loss of cognitive ability and fine motor skills, similar to alcohol or other drugs.  When a person allows his anger to take control his body releases an excessive dose of adrenaline, suspending his ability to think clearly or make careful movements.   The person who has not allowed his anger to take control retains his ability to think and to control his muscles, giving him a decided advantage, even when the one who lost his temper is a trained fighter. 

“The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:33)

There are no truly random events.  They only appear random because we do not understand all the factors involved.  They still follow the rules of science God established when he created the world. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Don’t Forget God

Proverbs 16:1-15

“The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:1)

The intellectual capacity of a person comes from God, as does the ability to speak intelligibly.  It is foolish to think we can make decisions or take actions without his power when we are dependent on him for the ability to think logically.   
“All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.  Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” (Proverbs 16:2-3)

It is natural for people to assume whatever they do is right, but God is more concerned whit the reasons or attitudes with which things are done.  By making sure what we do is in line what he wants, we can be sure he will bless our efforts.

“The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” (Proverbs 16:4)

Colossians 1:16-17 says very much the same thing.  “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”   Not only did he create them, but they exist right now because of him.  They were made for, for his pleasure, according to Revelation 4:8.  Even those who are evil serve a purpose in his plans.

“Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.” (Proverbs 16:5)

Everyone who has a proud attitude is disgusting to God.  He knows what they are really like, and they will not be able to escape his judgment, regardless how hard large a conspiracy there is to keep God from punishing them.  Revelation 19-20 describe the defeat of one such conspiracy.

“By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.” (Proverbs 16:6)

Many believe crime can be reduced by stiffer mandatory penalties.  Unfortunately such an approach often ignores mitigating circumstances, resulting in injustice and rebellion.  Careful review of the facts and matching the punishment to fit the crime is far more effective.   Teaching people to have a profound respect for God is an effective deterrent.
“When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16:7)

When we are living in a fashion that is pleasing to God, even our enemies have no reason to attack us.   We aren’t doing anything to upset them, and God will keep them from attacking.

“Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.” (Proverbs 16:8)

It is better to have a little and know you have earned it and have a right to it than to have a huge income and know you got it dishonestly and don’t deserve it.

“A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

A person can make all their plans and do what they think they should, but God determines the outcome.  Many of the motivational speakers ignore God’s role, telling people they can make it happen anyway if they just think the right way. 

“A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.” (Proverbs 16:10)

When the King allows God to direct his mouth he will not make inequitable and senseless judgments.  When he depends on his own intelligence he makes stupid decisions.  Just being in power does not make him right.

“A just weight and balance are the Lord's: all the weights of the bag are his work.” (Proverbs 16:11)

God made it possible for man to accurately measure and weigh things.   A fair and honest way of doing business are his intention. 
“It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.  Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.  The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.  In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.“ (Proverbs 16:12-15)

A government depends on the trust of its citizens to stay in power.   Destroying that trust by wrong doing is a hateful thing to any wise leader.    As a result they value those who can be trusted to tell the truth, even when it is not pleasant.  Because of its power, wise people do not defy the government but try to negotiate with it.  Having governmental approval can be a great blessing and their opposition can be fatal. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

What Are You Learning?

Proverbs 15:16-33

“Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.   Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.” (Proverbs 15:16-17)

It is better to have respect for god and a clear conscience than to be a multi-millionaire and live with the problems resulting from a guilty conscience or God’s judgment.  It is better to have nothing but some roadside plants to eat than to have a whole beef in the stall ready to butcher and live in an atmosphere of hate and animosity.  

“A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.” (Proverbs 15:18)

An angry attitude leads to actions and words that antagonize other people.  A person who doesn’t allow his anger to flare out of control does and says things that mollify other people instead of stirring them up.

“The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.” (Proverbs 15:19)

A lazy persons sees nothing but problems that will prevent his success.  The man who is focused on what is right and good sees ways around the problems and believes he can succeed.

“A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.” (Proverbs 15:20)

A wise thoughtful child makes his parents proud.  A foolish or wicked child rejects what his parents try toteach him because of a lack of respect, then embarrasses them by his foolish and evil behavior, implying they were lousy parents.

“Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.” (Proverbs 15:21)

A person who is too dumb to think about the consequences thinks acting stupid and doing dangerous things is funny.  A person who thinks things through can walk confidently, without fear of something bad happening.

“Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.” (Proverbs 15:22)

Without consideration of what is required, plans are likely to fail.  By getting plenty of information, success can be insured.

“A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” (Proverbs 15:23)

The words a person uses affect his attitude and that of the people around him.  The right words at the right time can have a tremendous impact for good.

“The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.” (Proverbs 15:24)

The wise person lives trying to do better, so that he doesn’t face judgment in hell.

“The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow.” (Proverbs 15:25)

Pride is one of the things God hates.  He will destroy the things a person is proud of.  He will provide for and help people who have nothing to be proud about.

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

God hates the thoughts of a wicked person because thy govern his actions,  Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...”   A pure heart produces good pleasant words.  In Luke 6:45, Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”  His words demonstrate what a person really is.

“He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.” (Proverbs 15:27)

Paul told Timothy, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows,” in I Timothy 6:10.   A covetous, materialistic attitude leads to problems for the family.  A person who will not accept bribes or favors escapes judgment.

“The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.” (Proverbs 15:28)

A righteous person thinks about what they say to avoid causing hurt feelings and misunderstandings.  The wicked don’t care whether what they say is right and say all kinds of wicked things.

“The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.” (Proverbs 15:29)

In Psalm 66:18-9, David said, ”If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.”  The wicked person is focused on evil things, and that focus breaks any connection with God.   His sin is blocking his signal.  The righteous, on the other hand has a clear signal.

“The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat.” (Proverbs 15:30)

The look of pleasure in the eyes of little child when he receives a special gift gives the giver great satisfaction, and a compliment can make a person feel like a million dollars.

“The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.  He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.  The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.” (Proverbs 15:31-33)

A person who listens to advice and correction is a person will live with wise people.  a person who will not listen to others doesn’t value his own life very much, but people who will take the advice learn how to have a better life.  Respect for God is the basis for learning and wisdom.   Before one can earn great honor, he be humble enough to learn what is required to get it.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Problem Is The Attitude, Not The Circumstances

Proverbs 15:1-15

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

How we respond to others affects their attitude toward us.  A calm polite response to a comment often alleviates the tension and defuses a situation.  An angry, belligerent or rude response nearly always aggravates the situation, infuriating the person. 

“The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.” (Proverbs 15:2)

Wise people use what they know to make logical and intelligent decisions, but fools ignore or pervert the facts, depending on sheer volume of arguments to prevent logical analysis.   Political ads provide a great example.

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)

God is omnipresent and omniscient.  That just means he is everywhere and knows everything.  He sees every good action, and every bad one, and it is not possible to fool him.  Galatians 6:7 warns, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  What a person has done will be remembered and rewarded accordingly.
“A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4)

A conciliatory and encouraging tongue gives a great sense of wellbeing and peace, but one that is out of control destroys peace and confidence, leaving one depressed and upset.

“A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.” (Proverbs 15:5)

Only a fool thinks his parents are stupid and ignores what they try to teach him.  Smart people listen to what other’s advice and suggestions. 

“In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.” (Proverbs 15:6)

Righteous or good people have a lot of valuable things, but the things a wicked person accumulates cause him a lot of trouble. 

“The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.” (Proverbs 15:7)

Wise people have something worthwhile to share, the fool just wants to talk and has nothing of value to say.  It is a waste of time to listen to him.

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.   The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.” (Proverbs 15:8-9)

God is sickened by the attitude of the wicked and despises the things they do.  Even their sacrifices are insincere, just trying to buy him off, and he hates them.  People that love God practice the standards he has set.  John 14:23-24 says, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.”  A person’s actions show whether he loves God or not.   He is thrilled just listening to those who love him,  They don’t need to give him anything to get his attention.

“Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.” (Proverbs 15:10)

People who deliberately do wrong resent being told about it.  They ignore the fact that the end result of not listening will be their own death. 

“Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?” (Proverbs 15:11)

God even knows every detail of what goes on in hell and the bottomless pit where the angels that rebelled are kept and what they are thinking.  It is pretty foolish to think he doesn’t know what we are thinking. 

“A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.” (Proverbs 15:12)

A person who thinks he is better and smarter than other people resents those who point out their mistakes, and will not ask others for advice, no matter how well they are qualified.   

“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” (Proverbs 15:13)

A cheerful attitude results in a smiling, cheerful face.  A sad attitude results in depression.

“The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.” (Proverbs 15:14)

Thoughtful and intelligent people are always looking to learn something, but foolish people devote all their attention to frivolous and foolish things. 

“All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” (Proverbs 15:15)

People who feel sorry for themselves never have good days, but people who have a positive happy attitude enjoy every day. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sin Doesn’t Pay in The Long Term

Proverbs 14:22-35

“Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.” (Proverbs 14:22)

We have been told repeatedly that god will destroy those who persist in doing evil.  People who deliberately plan how to take advantage or otherwise do evil to get ahead are making a serious and costly mistake, bringing God’s judgment on themselves.  Those who plan good things will make be empowered to make good decisions and experience God’s blessings.

“In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.” (Proverbs 14:23)

Every kind of physical work accomplishes something of benefit, but talking accomplishes very little without physical action.   The subjects may be important, but the words will accomplish nothing by themselves.
“The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.” (Proverbs 14:24)

The wise man’s belongings are a trophy signifying his wisdom.  The foolish person has nothing to show for his efforts but foolishness.  What is the value of the world’s largest chain of beer tabs or a collection of losing lottery tickets?  Even if it makes it into the guiness book of world records, it just shows how foolish a person has been.

“A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.” (Proverbs 14:24)

A witness who tells the truth sets innocent people free.  Some people set out to make people believe something that is false without actually lying, by leaving out information or making a play on words.  They are intentionally trying to deceive and are effectively lying even though technically they didn’t lie. 

“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” (Proverbs  14:26-27)

Respect for the Lord and his moral standards gives one confidence and a sense of value, so that even one’s descendants have something to cling to when they are struggling.  It produces a sense of wellbeing and direction that enables one to avoid the temptations that lead to death.

“In the multitude of people is the king's honour: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince.” (Proverbs 14:28)

The power and respect a leader or ruler has earned is shown by the size of his following, but if he loses too many of his followers he will lose his position. 

“He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.” (Proverbs 14:29)

A person who doesn’t lose his temper easily is a person who thinks things through.  A person who gets angry easily isn’t concerned with what is right or good.  By his quick anger he encourages people not to think things through.

“A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30)

A contented heart or attitude makes for a happy and satisfactory life.  Envy of what others have destroys happiness and eats away at one’s pleasure like bone cancer eats away the bones, making a person more and more miserable.  I Timothy 6:8 advises, “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”

“He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.” (Proverbs 14:31)

A person who takes advantage of the poor implies implies God favors some more than others and doesn’t treat everyone fairly.   A person who respects God is considerate of the poor or less fortunate.  Literally, a person’s attitude toward god can be seen by the way he treats other people. 

“The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.” (Proverbs 14:32)

The wicked person lives in denial that his actions deserve judgment.  As a result , the farther into sin he goes the harder it becomes to admit he is wrong and make changes.  The righteous has hope for after his death and consequently little reason to fear it because he faces his faults honestly and deals with them. 

“Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.” (Proverbs 14:33)

Wisdom sits quietly in the heart of people who really understand, waiting until it is needed.   Fools can’t wait to make their stupidity known.

“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34)

A strong and Godly moral code brings respect to any nation.   A reputation for dishonesty, and immorality is and embarrassment to any people, causing them to be distrusted by other cultures.  At one time the United States was the most respected nation in the world, but as we have allowed our moral standards to slide, we have lost that respect. 

“The king's favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.” (Proverbs 14:35)

An employer or ruler will honor and help an employee or representative who does his job well, but he will be angry and fire or imprison those who embarrass him by not doing their job properly.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Fun and Laughter Don’t Fix The Problems

Proverbs 14:11-21

“The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.   There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:11-12)

As we’ve been told repeatedly, God will destroy those who persist in doing evil, and will protect and bless those who do right, both in this earthly life, and in eternity.   There are various lifestyles that appeal to people and don’t seem particularly bad, but the result of those choices is the same as for deliberately doing what is considered evil.  Man’s conscience is perverted and cannot be trusted.

“Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.” (Proverbs 14:13)

Comedy and partying may temporarily distract on from their problems, but they do not resolve them.  They continue to grow unobserved until one day they can no longer be pushed out of sight.  Frequently, by the time fun no longer covers them, they have become so severe as to seem impossible to resolve, especially to people who have always avoided dealing with their problems.  Like comedian Robin Williams, suicide may be chosen as a way out. 

“The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.” (Proberbs 14:14)

A person with a selfish or rebellious attitude will always experience the consequences of their attitude, even when they do not practice it.  They will never be satisfied with the result.  The good person, on the other hand, can look back with no regrets and be satisfied with what he has accomplished. 

“The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.  A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.  He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.   The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.” (Proverbs 14:15-18)

Those who don’t think things through are like little child, believing everything they are told.  Thoughtful people are more cautious, alert for possible dangers.   When he senses danger, the wise man avoids the situation, but the fool is confident he can bluff his way through and get by with it, counting on gall and people’s aversion to confrontation to let him get by with it.  A person who depends on anger to get by, constantly flying off the handle is stupid, and a person who is rude or cruel and deceitful earns the hatred of those around him.    People who don’t think things through make foolish decisions but the careful learn as they go.  Even among animals, the most intelligent are cautious and aware of things around them.   

“The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.” (Proverbs 14:19)

Many criminals think of themselves as smarter than those who obey the law, but they still find themselves forced to yield to the demands of those who enforce it, seeking the law’s help for protection from their own enemies.   Even the most powerful dictator is forced to consider the good in his land.  Failure to appease them eventually results in being overthrown.

“The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.  He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.” (Proverbs 14:21)

Poor people are often ignored or spurned, even by their own neighbors, because they have little to offer that most people want.  People flock to the rich in hopes of getting something from him, no matter what he is like.    It is sin to look down on or be rude to our neighbor, no matter how poor he may be.   God will bless those who consider the plight of poor people.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Your Decisions Reflect Your Attitude

Proverbs 14:1-10

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” (Proverbs 14:1)

Working as a plumber, it was shocking to see how many homes had holes kicked in the walls or broken fixtures.  People simply didn’t take care of what they owned, allowing it to deteriorate and lose its value.  In a fit of anger some deliberately broke windows or sheetrock walls.  Others sold their furniture and appliances to get drugs or alcohol, or the newest fashion clothing or game console.  Eventually they were forced to move because their house was no longer livable. 

Many times the people next door had no more income, and had older, and less expensive homes, but because they took care of it and worked to improve it, had very nice homes.  Foolish people don’t appreciate what they have, and fritter it away or lose it. 

“He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.” (Proverbs 14:2)

A man who maintains a high moral character demonstrates a deep respect for God.   A person who deliberately does things he knows are wrong demonstrates his disdain and lack of respect toward God.  A person’s lifestyle shows whether they respect God or not.

“In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.” (Proverbs 14:3)

Foolish people take pride in using their mouth like a club to get their way.  In doing so they offend a lot of people and frequently end up in fights.  Wise people are more careful in what they say, with the result they don’t make nearly as many enemies.  Giving people a piece of your mind may cost more than you can afford.

“Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.” (Proverbs 14:4)

It’s a lot easier to keep the barn clean if you don’t have any oxen or horses, but using them enables one to accomplish far more than he could do without one.  In the same way, keeping a spotless house is easier without a husband or children, and keeping a workshop clean is easier without any employees, but one is limited in what they can do as a result.  Their help is worth far more than what the extra cleaning requires. 

“A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.” (Proverbs 14:5)

An honest person does not intentionally lie.  A liar lies.  That’s what liars do.  It is silly to assume a person who has deliberately lied about one thing will not lie about something else.  A woman who marries a man who was unfaithful to his first wife and lied about it is silly to not expect him to do the same thing to her.  People are foolish to expect a politician who lies about his qualifications and beliefs to be honest when he is elected.    

“A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.” (Proverbs 14:6)

A person who thinks other people are dumb doesn’t learn even when he goes to school to get and education.  People who understand there are things they need to know find it easy to learn.  The person’s attitude has more effect on what they will learn than their actual intelligence.  As any good teacher can tell you, it is far easier to teach a mentally challenged child who has a good attitude than it is to teach a very bright child who is convinced he already knows everything about the subject. 

“Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.  The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.  Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.” (Proverbs 14:7-9)

When you realize somebody is foolish, don’t keep hanging around them.  Smart people think about what they are doing, but fools tell themselves it doesn’t matter what they do, deceiving themselves.  They think it is funny to do wrong, but good people earn people’s respect.

“The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.” (Proverbs 14:10)

You know your own feelings, and nobody else can tell you how to feel or force you to change your feelings.  Changes in your feelings have to come from within, by changing attitudes and thoughts.