Proverb-A-Day

For July 15, 2010

Proverbs 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.

Prov 28:26 He who trusts in himself is a fool,
but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe. NIV

We are studying the hindrances to happiness and come to the last one: (5) foolishness. My wife and I took a foster parent training class in which the instructor told us how to help our children accurately verbalize their feelings as a tool of addressing inappropriate behaviors. He provided a “Today I Feel” magnetic chart. We were to instruct the child place the “Today I Feel” magnetic circle over one of the 20 faces on the chart that represented various moods: happy, mad, cool, hopeful, embarrassed, sad, stressed…etc. We were then to talk with the child to help them deal with how they currently felt and to help stabilize their mood by encouraging them that we loved them, they were safe, everything would be ok, and that in a while they would feel better. Over and over the instructor repeated, “You can not trust your feelings.” Bottom line, don't rely on how you feel to be an accurate judge of who you are, your future, or in decisions you must make. To trust in our heart, our feelings, our understanding, our very small bit of knowledge and our unstable moods is foolish. God loves and secures us and everything will work out.

For July 14, 2010

Proverbs 21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.

Prov 21:2 We can justify our every deed, but God looks at our motives. TLB

The hindrances to happiness that we have looked at so far are: (1) looking in the wrong places; (2) lack of gratitude and (3) envy/jealousy. Today's proverb infers number (4) a sense of entitlement. Most of us have a voice inside that tells us: “I am entitled to more. I deserve more pay. I should get greater benefits. I'm entitled to more than what my spouse gives me. I deserve better service from my service providers, medical providers, the insurance company, and government agencies.” How much time do you spend complaining about what you lack that you think you are entitled to? YOU WILL NOT BE HAPPY WHILE FOCUSSING ON WHAT YOU DON'T HAVE THAT YOU THINK YOU ARE ENTITLED TO. “In my eyes, I'm right!” Perhaps that is true but your happiness requires that you shift your focus.

For July 13, 2010

Proverbs 27:4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?

Prov 27:4 Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
but who can stand before jealousy? NIV

We are looking at hindrances to happiness and have seen: (1) looking in the wrong places; and (2) lack of gratitude. Today's verse describes a third hindrance that generally follows ungratefulness: (3) envy. Seeds of envy exist in most people and drive us to focus on what others have that we don't. “I'm mad because they have a nice house and I don't. He has a nicer car than I. Why did she get that promotion over me?” etc., etc. That is envy and jealousy. The grammatical structure of today's proverb indicates that envy is worse than wrath, anger and fury. And here is the bottom line with envy: IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE HAPPY AND ENVIOUS AT THE SAME TIME. When we allow envy to take root and grow, it takes our mind off of the good gifts we have received from God and it overrides feelings of gratefulness. It ultimately leads to misery and depression. Again, we need to pull out our “things-to-be-grateful-for” list to expel envy.

For July 12, 2010

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

Prov 20:12 If you have good eyesight and good hearing, thank God who gave them to you. TLB

Our topic is happiness and things that keep us from being happy. The first happiness-hindrance we looked at was: looking in the wrong places. Today's verse addresses a second hindrance: a lack of gratitude. If you have not done so, you would benefit greatly by reading about the complexity of human hearing and sight. Solomon points out that both of those were included as “standard options” in the design of our bodies. Not to mention the multitude of other totally amazing organs of the human body such as the brain and heart. No computer is as complex as our brain and no pump is as efficient and long-lasting as our heart. Can you stop for a moment and be grateful for those simple things? You don't have to look far to find something to be grateful for. And hear this: IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE GRATEFUL AND UNHAPPY AT THE SAME TIME. If you are unhappy, it is because you have chosen to focus on an unhappy thing. Everyone has those kinds of things in their lives but if you want to increase your happiness, keep a list of things you have to be grateful for and focus on those when you feel those feelings of unhappiness creeping in.

For July 7, 2010

Eccl 5:10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.

Eccl 5:10 Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness! NLT

Our current subject is happiness. Steven Scott in his book on Proverbs gives this definition: “Happiness is a heartfelt joy that is consistent, persistent, and lasting.” For many people, happiness is something “out there” that they think will come to them when they get a certain thing added to their life. Many people think wealth will bring happiness. For others, it is a better job, good health, a better marriage, a nicer house. However, history is filled with plenty of examples of people who have obtained all of these things yet they still lack happiness. We are going to examine five things that keep us from being happy. The first is (1) Looking in the wrong places. It is vain to think that the pursuit of money will bring happiness because those who have much of it usually think they need just a little more to really be happy. Material things soon lose their appeal and the temporary happiness they provide soon wears off.

For July 6, 2010

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

Prov 17:22 Being cheerful keeps you healthy. It is slow death to be gloomy all the time. TEV

Today we move on to a new topic—happiness. Not long ago, media was pointing attention to a recent medical study that showed that people who are unhappy and depressed experience a higher rate of inflammation in their circulatory system. That inflammation leads to greater risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. It has also been demonstrated that happy people recover more quickly from illness and surgery than unhappy people do. While Proverb-a-day is not a medical blog, it is delightful to point out how the 3000 year-old wisdom of the scripture enlightens us on relevant health issues. What makes us happy? What keeps us from being happy? We will explore these questions in the days ahead.

For July 2, 2010

Proverbs 28:7 Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.

Prov 28:7 Young men who are wise obey the law; a son who is a member of a lawless gang is a shame to his father. TLB

To find success in reaching our goals in life, we need mentors, partners, or, using the biblical term, “counselors.” They can accelerate us toward success in matters spiritual, marital, parental, or in business. However, not everyone qualifies as an suitable partner. Summarizing past lessons, avoid those who (1) lack integrity; (2) possess a quick temper; (3) display chronic foolishness; (4) exaggerate promises; (5) use flattery; and (6) gossip and are tale bearers. The final quality we will mention is noted in today's proverb: (7) those who disrespect authority. These people disregard rules, regulations, policies, and standards that, they feel, don't apply to them. They tend to be a kingdom to themselves as if they are above the law. They excuse and even justify their behavior (which often includes being abusive behavior to people they feel are below them) because of “apparent” success at shunning ethical standards. Today's proverb warns us to not be “a companion of” those or they will lead to shame.

For July 1, 2010

Proverbs 20:19 He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.

Prov 20:19 He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets;
Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips. NKJV

“Do not associate” with the gossip, talebearer, or flatterer. We have already mentioned the flatterer so today we add the gossip and talebearer to our list of people to avoid when seeking out a counselor or partner. Pay attention to what comes out of their mouths. If the person is prone to revealing private information about others, do not follow their example or seek out their counsel. While the stories they tell may be appealing in some dark way, remember, if you pour your heart out to them seeking wisdom and counsel, your personal story will likely be the next tale they share with someone else.

For June 30, 2010

Proverbs 26:28 A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

Prov 26:28 You have to hate someone to want to hurt him with lies. Insincere talk brings nothing but ruin. TEV

In past messages, we studied how appropriate partnering with the right kind of person will accelerate us on the way toward our goals. More recently we have been looking at seven characteristics to watch out for when making the choice of a partner or counselor. Avoid those who (1) lack integrity; (2) possess a quick temper; (3) display chronic foolishness; (4) exaggerate promises; and (5) use flattery. The last time we saw how those who use flattery are often setting a trap with pleasant sounding words. Today's verse warns of ruin that will result from flattery.

For June 25, 2010

Proverbs 29:5 A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.

Prov 29:5 To flatter friends
is to lay a trap for their feet. NLT

The fifth red flag to watch for when selecting a counselor/partner is the use of flattery. You might wonder, “What is wrong with giving a complement or word of praise when someone has done well? What is the difference between praise and flattery?” Praise has to do with giving commendation for something done well; meaning a worthy word given for a worthy act. Flattery is synonymous with “smooth talk” and is more like empty words spoken to inflate someone's ego. Generally speaking, the one pouring on the flattery intends to use the ego-inflating words to disarm and deceive and ensnare his victim. Flattery is a trap to watch out for.

For June 24, 2010

Proverbs 28:19 He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.

Prov 28:19 He who cultivates his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless people and pursuits will have poverty enough. AMP

The fourth red flag to look for when choosing a partner/counselor is one who asks for little and promises much. The too-good-to-be-true alarm may go off in your conscience when you hear what they offer. Following after vain or worthless people with glamorous ideals instead of an old-fashioned work ethic leads to poverty. The slow and proven processes that involve labor are those that produce plenty.

For June 23, 2010

Proverbs 14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.

Prov 14:7 Leave the presence of a fool,
Or you will not discern words of knowledge. NASU

The third “red flag” to watch for when selecting a counselor or partner is foolishness. There are some brilliant men and women who just make dumb choices. I'm not talking about the occasional blunder, or “senior” or “blonde” moment, I'm talking about a series of foolish decisions. Some may find an attraction to that sort of person for the sake of pity but don't partner with them and follow their counsel. Their lack of discernment between right and wrong will begin to influence your own judgment.

For June 22, 2010

Proverbs 22:24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:

Prov 22:24 Make no friendship with an angry man,
And with a furious man do not go, NKJV

We are looking at the seven “red flags” to watch for among those we choose to partner with or select as a counselor. Today is number two: avoid people with a quick temper. Why? The angry person generally sets aside reason and care for others and allows their anger to be the driving force of their words and actions. Anger is a destructive force in relationships leading to many divorces and abuse of both partners and children. The warning here is to not enter into interdependent relationships with such a person. Such a relationship often has destructive and even dangerous consequences.

For June 18, 2010

Proverbs 29:24 Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.

Prov 29:24 If you assist a thief, you only hurt yourself.
You are sworn to tell the truth, but you dare not testify. NLT

Steven K. Scott, in his book on Proverbs*, notes seven “red flags” to watch out for when choosing a partner or counselor. The first is seen in today's verse. That advice sounds obvious: “Don't partner with a thief.” Ok, so I don't join forces with an armed robber, does that cover it? This is deeper than that. The Hebrew word, “ganaab,” means thief, one who breaks in, by window, steals, comes by night. It is a character issue where the person has abandoned honesty. It can range from dishonesty, cheating on a business deal, stealing a car, robbing a bank. It is simply a lack of integrity that reveals itself in varying degrees. While we all make stupid mistakes that represent the exception to our character, that is the normal conduct for the thief of today's proverb—and they don't feel guilty about it, but rationalize it. When looking for a partner or counselor, integrity should be the first thing we look for.

For June 17, 2010

Proverbs 25:19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

Prov 25:19 Like a bad tooth or a lame foot
is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble. NIV

Here is a sum of the last few days: If you have a good team of counselors, (1) purposes are fulfilled, (2) you are less risky, (3) you take on the qualities of your mentors, and (4) you will have help, and (5) you will succeed in some circumstances in which you would have otherwise failed. Today and for the next few days, we will consider some warnings for taking up with the wrong kind of partner/counselor. Have you have ever broken a tooth? Then you know what pain is because it hurts to eat with each bite. If you have ever twisted your ankle you know the struggle you have with every step you take. When you place your confidence and trust in an unfaithful partner, you will experience the kind of pain that you will be reminded of with every step of your life and in everything you sink your teeth into.

For June 16, 2010

Ecclesiastes 4:12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Eccl 4:12 And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. TLB

If you have a good team of counselors, (1) purposes are fulfilled, (2) you are less risky, (3) you take on the qualities of your mentors, and (4) you will have help. Today's word from Solomon is related to yesterday's verse but brings a strong addition. If you are adequately partnered with wise counselors, you will succeed in some circumstances in which you would have otherwise failed. If your ventures are constantly failing, perhaps your “cord” does not have enough strands in the weave to withstand the pressures of the task. If you are pursuing a vision that you are certain God led you to yet it is not prospering, seek yet another advisor. As mentioned in previous lessons, it might mean calling a pastor, calling in an expert, or seeking out a book that offers wisdom in the subject.

For June 15, 2010

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

Eccl 4:9-10
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up! NIV

If you have a good team of counselors, (1) purposes are fulfilled, (2) you are less risky, and, in time, (3) you take on the qualities of your mentors. Today's word from Solomon reveals another obvious benefit. If you have good advisors, helpers, or companions, when you fall, you will have some to help you realize that you can get up, brush off the dust, and get going again. For example, maybe you did follow the advice of a wise counselor and for some reason you suffered a fall anyway. In a way, that partner is suffering with you and will feel inclined to want to stand beside you so you won't be trapped in permanent failure. Without partners, it may become worse than a temporary set back.

For June 11, 2010

Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Prov 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will be destroyed. NKJV

We have been looking at the rewards of having a good team of counselors, partners, or mentors. We have seen two so far: (1) our purposes/dreams get fulfilled and (2) there is more safety and less risk. Today we see how that we tend to become like those we hang out with. There are long term benefits that come along with hanging out with wise people—most importantly, you become wise. Of course the converse is also true—hanging out with fools will bring you down. As one author (Jan Silvious) put it, we need to “fool-proof our lives.”

For June 10, 2010

Proverbs 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

Prov 11:14 Without wise leadership, a nation falls;
there is safety in having many advisers. NLT

Just how many counselors/partners should we consult with before making an important decision? We may tend to quit asking for counsel when we get an answer that agrees with our own opinion. While it is true that we can not forever remain in indecision because we want to ask just one more person for counsel, it is also true that we may have not asked enough people just yet. Some people's lives have been saved because they asked for a second or third medical specialist's opinion about their health and regimen of possible treatments. The main point is that without counsel, we will fail. So don't hesitate to ask the “multitude” of counselors that God leads you to and then pray for wisdom to make a well-advised choice.

For June 7, 2010

Proverbs 20:18 Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.

Prov 20:18 Make plans by seeking advice;
if you wage war, obtain guidance. NIV

Time for a pop quiz. Don't worry, it has only one question. Did you study the verse? Ok, here is your quiz: How many purposes (plans) are established (succeed) by counsel? Answer: Every one of them. Did you pass or fail? It is a simple truth that we need others to succeed. I'm sure you have heard the proverb, “Choose your battles.” Some principles are of uncompromising worth and suitable for taking to battle to defend. With others, compromise is acceptable. How do you know the difference? Obtain guidance. That is where the partner/mentor/teacher comes in. Perhaps you don't need to hire a professional advisor to tell you if the toilet paper should roll over the top or down the back, but with decisions that have high impact, obtain wise guidance.

For June 4, 2010

Proverbs 13:18 Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.

Prov 13:18 Someone who will not learn will be poor and disgraced. Anyone who listens to correction is respected. TEV

Two ill effects of refusing to take counsel are poverty and shame. The phrases, “refuseth instruction” and “will not learn,” reflect someone who is not teachable. Those who do not learn from others and do not learn from their own mistakes are caught in a repeating cycle that will lead them to embarrassment and financial loss. Earlier this week I heard a news story and read an article* about a financial product called “derivatives”. Derivatives were referred to as a very risky form of Wall Street gambling and have been revealed as the primary cause of the financial crash of 2008. However, many wise people have been sounding warnings about their risks for some time. Because many refused instruction, much poverty and shame have followed. Refuse to be unteachable. Be a diligent learner and listen to instruction.

For June 2, 2010

Proverbs 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

Prov 11:14 Where no wise guidance is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. AMP

We are talking about partnering. Have you ever read a good book that caused you to change or develop a particular habit? In a way you partnered with that author. Have you ever read an auto repair manual and then gone out and applied what you learned and fixed your car? You partnered with the author. If you can not find an appropriate counselor to help you with a specific situation, perhaps you should seek out some good books on the subject by respected authors. And by the way, don't wait until you have taken the engine apart and then put it back together to read up on what to do with all those left over parts. When we fail without “fixers” who can supplement our own knowledge of a subject, we may feel like giving up because, “After all, I did the best I could.” Maybe not. Don't be afraid to stop and ask for directions—that is the safe way. That may have saved 50% of marriages that ended in divorce and 70% of new business starts that fail in the first year.

For June 1, 2010

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

Prov 15:22 Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed. NIV

Welcome back. We have been exploring ways to improve communication and how that leads to success in achieving God's plan for our lives. Another tool that helps us to succeed is taking advantage of effective partners. Proverbs uses the word “counselors” but if we make a modern application we can look at these counselors as our partners. They are people that God places in our lives to provide needed advice, guidance, opinions, warnings, suggestions, etc. Without their help, our plans will fail or will be disappointed. The partner may be a legal partner, a pastor, friend, mentor, or even a favorite author.

For May 26, 2010

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

Prov 15:22 Plans go wrong for lack of advice;
many advisers bring success. NLT

“I did the best I could. I just can't do any better. At least I tried.” Those statements are often made by people who fell short of a goal after giving it their best. And we don't generally fault someone who has put forth their best effort. However, when considering the wisdom offered in today's proverb, sometimes that failure is a result of not seeking the advice or counsel of others. Many people prefer to “go it alone.” In other words, stopping and asking for directions is just not “their thing.” The problem with that approach is that one will achieve far less success in their endeavors, whether it is a business or a marriage, without seeking out and using the counsel of an advisor.

For May 25, 2010

Eph 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Eph 4:29 Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God's favor) to those who hear it. AMP

Before we move on from the subject of effective communication, I wish to provide a summary of where we have been by providing a daily “how did I do?” checklist from Steven Scott's book on Proverbs, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived. Concluding his chapter on “They Key That Opens Any Door” (p. 69) we have these questions: Did I (1) use “soft” answers to de-escalate tension, anger, or arguments? (2) Use cutting words to tear someone down? (3) Use encouraging words to build someone up? (4) Say the right thing at just the right time to help encourage or support someone? (5) Find ways to make knowledge acceptable? (6) Use persuasiveness rather than authority or force to make my argument? (7) Listen well before I spoke, or did I answer before I listened? (8) Communicate wisdom and fairness? You might try printing this email and reading through it with an open heart at your bed time prayers.

For May 24, 2010

Proverbs 22:11 He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.

Prov 22:11 He who loves purity of heart
And has grace on his lips,
The king will be his friend. NKJV

We have been studying good communication skills and the benefits of using them; for example, success, joy, and satisfaction. Today we see that when gracious words flow from a pure heart, even those in an elevated social standing enjoy friendship with those who speak them. When our words are sincerely kind and gracious, people can detect the pureness of our heart. Virtue and purity of heart quickly lead to trust and trust is the foundation of friendship. Live consistently with a pure heart and you will attract great people as your friends.

For May 21, 2010

Proverbs 12:14 A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man's hands shall be rendered unto him.

Prov 12:14 A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth,
And the recompense of a man's hands will be rendered to him. NKJV

Yesterday we pointed out how that good communication skills yield joy for the speaker. In addition to joy, you will also receive satisfaction. Your effective words are making a positive difference in people's lives. Contrary to what some people think, “I'm gonna let them have it—I'm gonna tell them off. That will make me feel better.” Rarely does that kind of speech provide any satisfaction—only remorse and regret. But good speech yields satisfying results.

For May 20, 2010

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

Prov 15:23 A man finds joy in giving an apt reply —
and how good is a timely word! NIV

When you use effective communications, you bless others, you bless yourself, and you also find joy and fulfillment. I have had opportunity to counsel many people through the years of ministry. After such a counseling session I sometimes see the light of hope or revelation shine through the eyes of the person counseled. It is as if they are saying, “That is exactly what I needed. Thanks, I see it now!” I experience joy personally when I see that by sharing that piece of wisdom, the person is blessed. That is another benefit of using effective communication.

For May 19, 2010

Proverbs 18:20 A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.

Prov 18:20 Wise words satisfy like a good meal;
the right words bring satisfaction. NLT

Yesterday we began looking at the benefits of effectively pursuing your God-designed purpose in life. We saw how that pursuit will feed and guide others that you influence along the way. Today we see how that diligent effort will likewise create satisfaction for you as well. When you see that you have helped others along their way, it is very satisfying personally. But besides that element of satisfaction, your effectiveness (the fruit of your mouth) will come back to reward you with increase and satisfaction. When we make bad choices with our words, they tend to come back to us somehow and bite us. When we yield good “fruit of the mouth”, it comes back to us bearing satisfaction.

For May 18, 2010

Proverbs 10:21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.

Prov 10:21 The lips of the [uncompromisingly] righteous feed and guide many, but fools die for want of understanding and heart. AMP

Allow me to put the past few months of study of into a concise statement: Get a clear picture of where God wants you to be; outline a detailed plan to get there; partner with wise and godly mentors; and learn to communicate effectively. Just as lack of diligence and lack of effective communication skills produce great problems, proper application of diligence and communication will allow you to reap certain rewards. Today, we see that not only will you meet your own needs, but your achievements will feed and guide many others. Remember, a self-centered individual is one who is all wrapped up in themselves, making a very tiny package. But by pursuing your God-designed purpose in life, you will help many other people along the way.

For May 17, 2010

Proverbs 10:18 He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.

Prov 10:18 He who conceals his hatred has lying lips,
and whoever spreads slander is a fool. NIV

Today we see the eighth way to improve communication: (8) Always speak truth. Although it maybe acceptable in some social circles to justify a white lie, a little fib, creative accounting, slanted marketing, or telling one story face-to-face and another behind the back, remember this verse; they who do so are called a fool. Those who practice lying are convinced that they are outwitting someone to gain an advantage, but in the end, many people, including the one telling the lie, pay dearly. We can play along with our culture and take the subject lightly, or we can accept God's Word and count the tremendous cost (the Lake of Fire-Revelation 21:8). Always speak truth.

Here is a review of the eight ways to improve communication: (1) Make your words appealing. (2) Make your words persuasive. (3) Listen before speaking. (4) Be slow to speak. (5) Build up and never tear down, and (6) Quit while you are ahead. (7) DO share wisdom. And finally, (8) Always speak truth.

For May 14, 2010

Proverbs 10:31 The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.

Prov 10:31 The mouths of the righteous (those harmonious with God) bring forth skillful and godly Wisdom, but the perverse tongue shall be cut down [like a barren and rotten tree]. AMP

Today's Proverb, which provides communication tip number seven, sounds like a contradiction of (3) Listen before speaking, (4) Be slow to speak, and (6) Quit while you are ahead. Number (7) DO share wisdom. There is a time to listen, there is a time to hold off, and there is a time to speak few words. But when the time is right and you've got helpful wisdom to share, bring it forth. Take a look from another view—if you know some “just” or “righteous” folks, especially those who have some maturity and wisdom such as a spiritual mentor, seek them out and ask them to bring forth some wisdom into your situation. If you have wisdom to share, don't keep it to yourself. It the right timing, bring it forth.

For May 13, 2010

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.

Prov 17:28 Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace;
When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive. NKJV

Here is a review of the eight ways to improve communication: (1) Make your words appealing. (2) Make your words persuasive. (3) Listen before speaking. (4) Be slow to speak. (5) Build up and never tear down, and (6) Quit while you are ahead. Today's verse adds to number six. I almost laugh out loud every time I read this verse because it appears that Solomon uses a hint of sarcasm to make his first point. His second point is tremendous and was also covered previously. When your words are few, the value of your words naturally rises and you are more highly esteemed by others as a perceptive person of understanding.

For May 12, 2010

Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

Prov 10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent,
but he who holds his tongue is wise. NIV

We are studying eight ways to improve communication. Here is what we have studied so far: (1) Make your words appealing. (2) Make your words persuasive. (3) Listen before speaking. (4) Be slow to speak. (5) Build up and never tear down. And today, (6) Quit while you are ahead. Does this describe you? Once you start talking, the words just roll and it seems to be difficult to know how to stop. If we could just make our intended point and then shut up, we would usually be better off. But as Solomon describes it, we just keep on talking and the more we talk, we tend to say too much—we end up speaking words that we have to eat and repent of later.

For May 11, 2010

Proverbs 12:18 There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

Prov 12:18 Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal. TEV

Our subject is eight ways to improve our communication. So far we have had: (1) Make your words appealing. (2) Make your words persuasive. (3) Listen before speaking. And, (4) Be slow to speak. Today's proverb introduces (5) Build up and never tear down. Our human nature is inclined to join in with others with the kind of talk that is going on, whether it is gossip, hurtful, brutal, attacking, or cutting words. Going with the flow seems to be an innocent and natural thing to do. However, consider how innocent it would be to walk into a room with a sword and to start slicing people. There is nothing innocent about deliberately causing harm, through deeds or words. Counter the natural urge that says, “That's just how I am,” with another urge—“God says to build, not to tear down.”

For May 10, 2010

Proverbs 13:3 He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

Prov 13:3 He who guards his lips guards his life,
but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. NIV

Here the first four of the eight ways to improve our communication that we have studied: (1) Make your words appealing. (2) Make your words persuasive. (3) Listen before speaking. And, (4) Be slow to speak. In today's verse, we see Solomon encouraging us to “keep” or “guard” our mouth. In doing so, we will not “open wide our lips”, which refers to speaking before think, thereby speaking rashly. The contrasting outcomes are noted as well—life and destruction. Which do you prefer? Set a guard on your mouth today. Note how God created our mouths. Thirty-two teeth are set like iron bars holding the tongue prisoner. Carefully guard the cell to keep the prisoner in check.

For May 6, 2010

Proverbs 29:20 Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

Prov 29:20 There is more hope for a fool
than for someone who speaks without thinking. NLT

We are studying Proverb's eight ways to improve our communication. So far we have: (1) Make your words appealing. (2) Make your words persuasive. (3) Listen before speaking. And today, (4) Be slow to speak. Imagine Solomon sitting in his royal hearing chamber/courtroom. Day after day he listened to all manner of people make all manner of complaints. In the heightened tension of that emotional setting, I'm sure he witnessed a number of foolish people quickly firing off words that were passionate and emotionally motivated, yet those quick-fire words caused hurt—both to the speaker and the one they were speaking about and to. The problem with being hasty with our words is there is not enough time left to think about what we are saying, and usually that combination results in very bad consequences. The solution? Learn to be slow to speak—hold back a moment giving more thought than emotion to your choice of words and their effect on others.

For May 5, 2010

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

Prov 18:13 He who answers before listening —
that is his folly and his shame. NIV

We are studying Proverb's eight ways to improve our communication. (1) Make your words appealing. (2) Make your words persuasive. And today, (3) Listen before speaking. Do you have a habit of not allowing a person to finish a sentence? Some tend to want to jump in and finish the other person's thought not allowing them to speak. The assumption is that they know where that person is going with their words. While they may be on the right track, Solomon says it is a folly and a shame. And it is rude to cut them off. People who are skilled at counseling others are also skilled at listening.

For May 4, 2010

Proverbs 16:23 The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.

Prov 16:23 From a wise mind comes careful and persuasive speech. TLB

Yesterday we gave the first of eight ways to improve our communication. (1) Make your words appealing so that others want to listen. The Proverb of today provides the second way to improve communication: (2) Make your words persuasive. “Teach your mouth” means to instruct and utilize control over what you say. There are times to speak and times to say nothing and listen only. By limiting what we say, our carefully selected words carry more value, persuasion, and influence than those uttered from endless chatter boxes. The persuasive speech of Proverbs is not the manipulation used in high pressure sales, but carefully chosen words to clearly present compelling evidence of your point of view.

For May 3, 2010

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

Prov 15:2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing,
but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. NLT

We have looked at the power of our tongue and the effects of using it positively and negatively. For the next several days, we will look at eight specific ways to improve our communication skills. The first is to make your words appealing—in other words, speak in such a way that you make others want to listen. Some people say whatever comes to mind when it comes to mind regardless of how appropriate or accurate it is. If a waiter brings you raw eggs and frozen bacon, that is not easy to swallow. But when properly timed, planned, and prepared, they are appealing. Don't “belch out foolishness” because that is what you feel like saying. The wise person does what he must to make his words appealing.

For April 29, 2010

Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Prov 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold
In settings of silver. NKJV

I have seen a painting that depicted what Solomon was describing here. He may have had a sculpture in his castle depicting this very image. What effect does a beautiful piece of art have on one who appreciates it? The viewer stops and examines. As they study the detail, a smile stretches across their face. They take in the awe of the image considering the craftsmanship and skill that went into producing it. It takes their mind off of a dozen other things and for the time provides a glimpse of hope of how beautiful things can be. Do your words do that? You can use words to describe beauty that can draw people's attention away from their pain and provide a lifting of their mood and offer the hope of something better.

For April 28, 2010

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Prov 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. [Matt 12:37.] AMP

I clearly remember what I was doing on March 11, 2005. My wife was recovering in the hospital and we were following reports of a tense news story of a police chase occurring in Atlanta , Georgia . A prisoner named Brian Nichols was at the court house awaiting his rape trial when he overcame his (female) guard, took her weapon and shot and killed a judge and a court reporter, and wounded others and then fled the court house. He found a random person, Ashley Smith, and took her hostage in her own apartment. Ashley faced an uncertain and frightful end. However, she spoke wisely to Brian and shared her testimony of past drug addiction that almost killed her (she showed him a scar from a knife wound) and how God had changed her life. She read scriptures to him and convinced him to let her go. She wisely used the power of her tongue and saved lives—not only her own but potentially many others. She directed police to his location and a remorseful, repenting Brian Nichols was captured. Life was the power in Ashley's tongue and she used that power to save lives.

For April 27, 2010

Proverbs 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

Prov 15:4 Gentle words cause life and health; griping brings discouragement. TLB

I have mentioned that “wholesome” is literally translated as “healing” or “curative.” Healing words have the power to provide restoration and life. But note the phrase, “tree of life”. The tree is an amazing analogy to show the benefit of speaking healing words. A tree produces oxygen that is required for life. A tree produces fruit, an essential part of a healthy diet. Below the surface is a root system that draws nutrition from the environment and provides a strong anchor. You can provide people with valued essentials for living by expressing appropriate, deliberate, healing words. Or, we can choose to gripe and use vicious and perverse words that break a person's spirit. If people realized how powerful their words were, they would choose them more carefully more often.

For April 21, 2010

Proverbs 12:25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

Prov 12:25 Worry can rob you of happiness, but kind words will cheer you up. TEV

Worry is an enemy of happiness. It is an amazing thing how much benefit we can receive from hearing a positive word. The next time you see someone heavy with worry, find something cheerful to share with a smile. Recently I read a news article concerning a study that that linked inflammation in the circulatory system to depression and stress. The article also mentioned that people in strong relationships tend to have greater levels of happiness and less circulatory inflammation. And yesterday we saw how pleasant words are health to the bones (an important part of our immune system). Imagine, Solomon's words from 3000 years ago revealing medical secrets that are only now being documented in medical research.

For April 20, 2010

Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

Prov 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. NIV

Why use cutting and sarcastic words which cause hurt when we have the option of using “pleasant” words? The full definition of the Hebrew word, “no‘am” translated as pleasant is: kindness, pleasantness, delightfulness, beauty, favor. When we use such words, they have the power to produce “marpe' ” (Hebrew for health) to the bones. Marpe' means: healing, cure, health, profit, sound, healing the incurable. When we use the pleasant words, they can both heal the bones—ones physical health—and are sweet to the soul—ones emotional health. Try using some pleasant, delightful and beautiful words to heal, cure, and profit someone today.

For April 19, 2010

Proverbs 12:18 There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

Prov 12:18 Some people make cutting remarks,
but the words of the wise bring healing. NLT

Can you remember a specific incident in your childhood where a parent spoke cutting remarks of criticism to you that caused you deep hurt? What is amazing is that it doesn't matter if those words were spoken five, or fifty-five years ago, you can still recall the hurt you felt, as if those “piercings of the sword” happened last week. Parents, what does that tell you about how you speak to your children? Are you overly tough with your children with your words? Yes, firm and loving discipline is required but hatefulness is not. Did you bite your husband's head off with the sword of your tongue this morning? Did your assault your wife with a word grenade last night embedding poison shrapnel in her spirit? Since we have the power to inflict wounds or healing on the ones we love, why not choose healing?

For April 16, 2010

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

Prov 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. NIV

An important lesson in communication is how to deal with anger and angry words; your own and that which is directed to you by others. If we follow the path of least resistance (which is usually a bad choice in the long term), we will allow our anger to snowball and build up out of control, or when someone else is angry with us, to respond back in anger. That intensifies and escalates the problem and makes matters worse. But instead, we can follow the wise path by throwing water on the fire—respond with soft words instead. That tends to disarm the one showing the anger causing them to bring their tone down. However, if you have wronged someone and they are responding to your error in anger, make sure you give an appropriate apology because your soft-spoken words may be taken as condescending self righteousness.

April 15, 2010

Proverbs 16:23 The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.

Prov 16:23 Intelligent people think before they speak; what they say is then more persuasive. TEV

Let us consider this verse one more time. Notice that the wise “teacheth his mouth”. It is also put this way: they “think before they speak.” What a novel idea. For many it is the other way around. This is a very simple skill that when properly utilized can cause one to be “more persuasive” and therefore more successful in business than one who lacks that skill. Persuasive speech involves more than just words but embodies our tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions, and timing.

April 14, 2010

Proverbs 16:23 The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.

Prov 16:23 The mind of the wise instructs his mouth, and adds learning and persuasiveness to his lips. AMP

We are moving on to a different subject in Proverbs that when mastered can be a key to opening more doors than the janitor's key ring. If we can get our hands on this key we can improve every relationship that is important to us. That key is effective communication. Very intellectual people can be useless in business due to poor communication skills. A wife who truly loves her husband can be a constant source of pain to her husband due to poor communication skills. A dad can cause life-long hurt to his children and grandchildren because of poor communication skills. What we say and how we say it can have a life-changing impact on people. Why not make it a positive impact? More on this tomorrow…

April 13, 2010

Proverbs 13:19 The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.

Prov 13:19 It is pleasant to see plans develop. That is why fools refuse to give them up even when they are wrong. TLB

Our topic is using vision mapping to pursue a God-given dream/vision. To sum up the past few days, if you have been dealing with your “sick heart” due to deferred hope or expectations, either someone else has failed to fulfill a commitment, or perhaps you have not clearly mapped out that vision with achievable goals. A setback is not the same as defeat. Carefully and prayerfully analyze that vision and the plan of attack with an open heart and keep moving in the direction of the goal. Focus on keeping with the plan and celebrate every development of that vision. Those developments and accomplishments become “sweet to the soul” and supply additional motivation to move ahead.

April 12, 2010

Psalms 42:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. (also) Psalms 42:11 Psalms 43:5)

Ps 42:5 Why am I so sad?
Why am I so troubled?
I will put my hope in God,
and once again I will praise him,
my savior and my God. TEV

To confirm the message on Friday, when hope is deferred, put off, or withheld from you by your business, your employer, your spouse, or even one of your children, your sickened heart needs a lifting up. That is where turning to God as our Source of help will make a difference. When you know that the vision you are pursuing is of God, hang in there a little longer and pursue that vision some more. You know it is God's plan for your marriage to be blessed; you know it is God's plan for your children to be saved; your know God promised to supply your needs; so don't be deflated by a setback. Don't be so sad. Don't be so troubled. Put your hope in God and praise Him for the vision of the way it should be. God is the source of hope because in His timing, it is beautiful.

April 9, 2010

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Prov 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. NKJV

This is a repeat of Tuesday's verse so that we may focus on another facet of this perpetual energy source called hope. What happens when that source of energy is kept back from us—“deferred”? It sickens our heart, or in other words, drains us of emotional energy and motivation. Consider for a moment your role as a provider of hope. Have you promised an employee a promotion or raise but have not followed through? Husbands, when you said “I do”, you gave your wife hope that she would have a partner with whom meaningful conversations would be a regular emotional outlet for her. Have you deferred her hope? Wives, your “I do” gave your husband hope that he would be respected, loved and loved on. Are you deferring his hope until he fulfills your need for hope? Let us give hope to someone today and make them a flourishing tree of life.

April 8, 2010

Psalms 130:7 Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
Psalms 131:3 Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.

Ps 130:7 O Israel , hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is mercy and loving-kindness, and with Him is plenteous redemption. AMP
Ps 131:3 O Israel, put your hope in the Lord—
now and always. NLT

True hope is a perpetual motion machine that keeps generating more and more fuel to reach the desired dream that is properly laid out in a vision map. Here is how it works: (1) You receive a God-given dream; (2) you create a vision map that provides step-by step, attainable goals to reach that dream; (3) you receive hope because you see that the vision is attainable; (4) that hope fuels you to achieve the first step in the vision map; (5) you receive hope because you completed a step; (6) that hope fuels you ahead to achieve the next step. Then steps (5) and (6) continue perpetually until the vision is achieved. The key to true hope is this: your hope is in the Lord who wants you to attain the vision that He imparted to your soul and that you mapped out. He will redeem all the seemingly wasted steps. Now and always, put your hope in Him! Day after drudging day.

April 7, 2010

Psalms 71:14 But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.

Ps 71:14 I will always put my hope in you;
I will praise you more and more. TEV

We will consider some companion verses to Proverbs 13:12 continuing on the subject of hope as we more deeply explore the idea of hope being a fuel to keep us in pursuit of the vision God has given. In a high school physics class, we studied the theory and history of a “perpetual motion” machine—a machine whose movements can go on forever. In theory, the device will continually produce more energy than it consumes allowing it to remain in motion indefinitely. An example would be a wheel that uses inertia, which once it began spinning, its system of weights and counter-weights would keep it spinning forever. Inventors hope to create such a device despite the fact that the laws of physics make such a device impossible. However, hope is such a device. More on that tomorrow.

April 6, 2010

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Prov 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. NKJV

For the next few days we will speak of the subject of this verse: hope. Two Hebrew words, “yahil”, and “tohelet” are used for hope and their meaning is: tarrying, confident expectation, trust. An enlarged definition is “a well-founded and confident belief that a specific vision, goal, desire, or promise will be achieved or fulfilled within a specific time.” That confident belief in a vision acts like a fuel that keeps us pursuing that vision. More on that tomorrow.

April 5, 2010

Hosea 12:10 I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.
Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

Hos 12:10 I spoke to the prophets,
gave them many visions
and told parables through them." NIV
Joel 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions. NKJV

Today's verses complement the topic from Proverbs on vision mapping. The Lord spoke through Hosea indicating that he “multiplied” or gave many visions to the people. One of the purposes of the prophet was to foretell the future based on what the people were doing right now. If the people committed iniquity, the prophet would foretell evil and devastation. If the people followed after the commandments of the Lord, the prophet would often foretell of blessings concerning the possession and fruitfulness of their land. Joel spoke similarly and added that in the days when God would pour out the Holy Ghost (now), that these visions would be given to male and female, young and old, regardless of position. Why not get a revelation of where God wants you to be and pursue that vision like a road map! It will bless you as a person, a partner, a parent, and as a professional.

March 31, 2010

Ecclesiastes 5:3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words.

Habakkuk 2:2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

Eccl 5:3 For a dream comes through much activity,
And a fool's voice is known by his many words. NKJV

Hab 2:2 And the Lord said to me, "Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others. TLB

Last time we offered the steps in vision mapping and indicated it is necessary to write out those thoughts. These verses give some strength to that idea.

March 29, 2010

Prov 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Prov 29:18 A nation without God's guidance is a nation without order. Happy is the man who keeps God's law! TEV

We began looking at this verse a week ago and each day since we have looked at companion versions as we introduced the idea of “vision mapping.” The idea is to convert your intangible thoughts into a plan of accomplishment. We already introduced steps one and two. (1) Step ONE: write out a clear dream; (2) Step TWO: make a list of intermediate goals. (3) Step THREE: create a separate sheet for each goal entitled “Steps to the Goal”. There, identify the individual tasks that must be done to achieve that goal. (4) Step FOUR: If some of those steps are complex, step four is to add an additional page called “Steps to the Task”. This allows more complicated steps to be broken down into smaller, attainable steps. (5) Step FIVE: The last step is very important. Assign proposed completion dates to each task and step. You now have a vision map that guides your progress on individually attainable tasks and steps until your dream is a living reality.

March 26, 2010

Prov 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Prov 29:18 When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild.
But whoever obeys the law is joyful. NLT

Once you have identified specific dreams (visions) of what you hope to achieve, Scott outlines five steps* of vision mapping. We will look at the first two today: (1) Write out a clear and precise description of the dream in a few sentences. It will help if you find or draw an image/picture to associate with this dream to make it easy to reflect on in your mind. (2) On a separate sheet of paper, entitled with a name for this dream, make a list of very specific intermediate goals that must be reached to fulfill that dream. By doing this your dream is converted into more clearly defined goals and you are on the road to fulfilling your dream.

March 25, 2010

Prov 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Prov 29:18 Where there is ignorance of God, crime runs wild; but what a wonderful thing it is for a nation to know and keep his laws. TLB

Many people who fall into unrestrained sin do so because they don't have a revelation of God's plan for their life. He created us in His image and designed us with a beautiful and effective purpose. If we are not accomplishing that purpose we need to get a vision/revelation of that purpose and diligently pursue it. Steven Scott (p. 37) outlines these steps to vision mapping: (1) write out a list of areas in life where improvement is needed; (2) now within those areas, make a list of your most important dreams that you would like to see fulfilled; (3) prioritize those dreams with the most important at the top of each of those lists. More tomorrow…

March 24, 2010

Prov 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Prov 29:18 Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man] — blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he. [1 Sam 3:1; Amos 8:11,12.] AMP

Vision is necessary for life itself. Without it, we perish. There are at multiple appropriate applications of this truth. Spiritually speaking, if you do not have the vision or revelation of truth, your soul shall perish (that'll preach!). But in the material application, a person who starts out in an important endeavor without a goal where he wishes to end up, he will become trapped in a lifeless routine. What do you want your marriage to look like? How do you want your career to progress? What end results to you wish to see in your parenting efforts? Have you ever written down your goals in these areas? When the goal is written down it can then be converted into a “vision map” that includes specific steps or tasks and a schedule by which you will obtain them. More tomorrow.

March 23, 2010

Prov 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Prov 29:18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
But happy is he who keeps the law. NKJV

A vision is a precise, clearly defined goal with a detailed plan and timetable for achieving that goal.* Although Thomas Edison dropped out of first grade, the patience and guidance of his mother helped him through his years of home schooling, as well as her teaching him the book of Proverbs. As an inventor and owner of 1093 patents, he developed a clear vision of the end result and then set forth a detailed plan for accomplishing that vision. John D. Rockefeller was making ten cents an hour when he developed a business plan that made him the richest man in the world. Ray Kroc was flipping hamburgers and selling milk-shake machines in a tiny restaurant in California when he developed the detailed plan to create a multi-franchise restaurant called McDonalds. Their vision provided the necessary restraints or boundaries within which they diligently devoted labor until success was achieved.

*Steven K. Scott in his book on Proverbs, “The Richest Man Who Ever Lived,” Doubleday, 2006, p. 33. Many quotes on this section will come from Scott's book.

March 22, 2010

Prov 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Prov 29:18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
but blessed is he who keeps the law. NIV

Welcome back to a new week. Some of you were off for spring break and are refreshed and ready to go. Excellent timing. This week we are going to approach a subject a little differently. We will be using the same verse from the KJV each day this week but will insert a different “modern” version as a companion as we explore a process that Thomas Edison used to inspire his inventions. The process is called, “vision mapping.”

March 18, 2010

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

Prov 16:16 How much better is wisdom than gold, and understanding than silver! TLB

We have been examining ways to move away from laziness (lack of diligence) toward diligence. This will work with any important area of your life. (1) Wake up to reality—our days here are numbered so don't waste any; (2) clearly define your desired goal so that the passion, excitement, and energy to achieve can develop; (3) partner with people who have already succeeded in that area through personal friendships or books; (4) Today's verse tells us to pursue wisdom like a buried treasure. Wisdom and understanding rather than foolishness must be the foundation of every endeavor and we must dig beneath the superficial to obtain it.

March 17 , 2010

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

Prov 15:22 Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed. NIV

Step #3 in learning to apply diligence to an area of life has to do with how you deal with what you do not know. Even the most successful people are unlearned in many areas so they partner with others who DO have the know-how where they lack it. What Solomon calls “counselors”, we might today call partners. Do you have a leaky toilet and want to save money and fix it yourself? Even if you have never done that before, you can consult with counselors/partners who can share their successes at the leak-fixing endeavor. You can even partner with a top-of-the-linen leak fixer by reading his book on the subject. This also applies to parenting, marriage, business, etc. Find someone who is doing the thing well that YOU want to do well and partner with them.

March 16 , 2010

Proverbs 6:6-8
6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

Prov 6:6-8
6 Lazy people should learn a lesson from the way ants live. 7 They have no leader, chief, or ruler, 8 but they store up their food during the summer, getting ready for winter. TEV

We are considering the question: “How can I start applying diligence to an area of my life?” Step 1 is simply to wake up and smell the reality. Step 2 is to develop a vision/goal. As further evidence of the importance of the powerful driving force that a vision has, Solomon says “consider the ant.” Three Hebrew words are provided (all are synonyms for commander) to describe what an ant lacks yet still he accomplishes his task. He lacks a commander, dictator, or chief to constantly pushing him to keep on task yet he is instinctively driven to his task by an internally encoded plan/vision. Solomon said that when that vision is internally engraved, we will find diligence to keep on task.

March 12 , 2010

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Prov 29:18 Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man] — blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he. [1 Sam 3:1; Amos 8:11,12.] AMP

Yesterday we saw the first step for getting on the road of diligence: Wake Up. Step two is to define your vision. Without a vision, you have no direction to commit to and will perish at the starting line. With a revelation of where you are going clearly set before you, you get motivation and even excited expectation about your vision. How can you be diligent about a task when you don't have a clear definition of what you want to achieve? Clearly define the vision or goal of your pursuit. See yourself in that place and develop a step by step plan to get you there.

March 11 , 2010

Proverbs 6:9-11
9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

Prov 6:9-11
9 But you-all you do is sleep. When will you wake up? 10 "Let me sleep a little longer!" Sure, just a little more! 11 And as you sleep, poverty creeps upon you like a robber and destroys you; want attacks you in full armor. TLB

When someone is ready to make a change and apply diligence to any area of their life, there are four principles laid down in Proverbs that can immediately set them on their course. The first is implied in these verses: “Wake up! Procrastinate no more!” If you are like me, perhaps you have also started on an exercise routine multiple times. Why? Because after starting it in one week, I have let the workout drop from my schedule the next week. And why is that? “I can always start later.” How many have decided to lose weight, quit smoking, get finances under control, improve their marriage, start involving themselves more in their children's lives, yet just haven't waken up to the reality that each day you put that off is a day lost? We arrived on planet earth with only so many days. Wake up and don't let one more slip by. Wake up each day and decide, “I will be diligent today.”

March 10 , 2010

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

Prov 15:19 The way of the sluggard is overgrown with thorns [it pricks, lacerates, and entangles him], but the way of the righteous is plain and raised like a highway. AMP

Today's verse describes yet another detrimental effect of laziness. The slothful man's lazy habits are a barrier between him and his path to success. He prevents his own success by the hindrances he raises up all around him. Laziness entraps and entangles him making him feel that any attempt to get out of that trap will be too painful. However, beginning tomorrow, we will move on to examine ways to develop diligence.

March 9 , 2010

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

Prov 20:4 The lazy man will not plow because of winter;
He will beg during harvest and have nothing. NKJV

In the past few days we have observed these causes of laziness: self-centeredness, arrogance, ignorance, and irresponsibility. Another truth about laziness is the spreading effect it produces. As it is true that sewing seeds in one season causes multiplying and reaping in another, so is it true that the lazy person will see the “fruits of his labor”, or lack of it, showing up later and in more ways that he expected.

March 8 , 2010

Proverbs 24:30-31
30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.

Prov 24:30-31
30 I went past the field of the sluggard,
past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment;
31 thorns had come up everywhere,
the ground was covered with weeds,
and the stone wall was in ruins. NIV

We have been looking at some of the causes of laziness and have covered: self-centeredness (“What gratifies me is more important than being diligent”; Conceit (“Working hard may be good for some, but I know what I'm doing”). Today's verse deals with two causes; he is: (1) clueless; and (2) irresponsible. He has been lazy but is clueless that as a direct result of his inaction, bad things are growing up all around him. He could choose to educate himself on how to operate a lawn mower or weed cutter but that would take effort and would make him appear as if he does not know something. Neither does he take appropriate ownership responsibility for his broken down fence. Ignorance and irresponsibility are causes of non-diligence.

March 5 , 2010

Proverbs 26:16 The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

Prov 26:16 Lazy people consider themselves smarter
than seven wise counselors. NLT

The second reason that people tend to lack diligence in certain areas is because of conceit. They think they are smarter and have learned some short cuts that others don't know about. In any event, they avoid the advice of others and for now take the path of least resistance.

March 4 , 2010

Proverbs 21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.

Prov 21:2 You may think that everything you do is right, but remember that the LORD judges your motives. TEV

Now that we have covered six consequences that result from the lack of diligence, let us look at the causes of that lack. But first consider areas in your life where you may lack diligence. You may feel that you are a diligent person because you are having success at work. But how is your marriage? How diligent are you in pursuing success in your marriage? Many successful businesses are coupled with broken marriages because of a lack of balance in the application of diligence. Let us consider why we lack diligence in some areas. The first reason is self-centeredness. Some fall into non-diligence in an area because they are convinced they are ok because they have gratified their own desires, yet they fail to honestly consider how their self-centered focus is harming others.

March 3 , 2010

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

Prov 14:23 In all labor there is profit,
But idle chatter leads only to poverty. NKJV

Summary of the consequences of non-diligence: disadvantage, someone else in charge, unsatisfied, lacking understanding, diminished wealth, and today, nothingness. Those who are diligent eventually shut up and go to work while those who lack diligence just keep talking. They tend to speak much of the things they used to do and the things they are going to do. But what are they doing now? Nothing. They are still talking and are too busy talking to make money. Hence, poverty.

March 2 , 2010

Proverbs 13:11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

Prov 13:11 Wealth [not earned but] won in haste or unjustly or from the production of things for vain or detrimental use [such riches] will dwindle away, but he who gathers little by little will increase [his riches]. AMP

We are on the fifth consequence of non-diligence: diminishing wealth. The contrast is between wealth gained by diligent effort and wealth obtained by vain winnings. Work diligently for a continual increase; pursue wealth through vain, quick, winnings, and watch your wealth decrease. A personal illustration—one Christmas an office manager bought $5 scratch-off lottery tickets for our staff. I gave mine to someone else and watched the whole group scratch their cards. There were winnings among us of around $50 from six cards. $30 investment = $50 gain. It sounded great to them. So they decided to take the $50 back to the store and purchased more cards to increase their winnings. I watched them continue this process until they had $0 left. Unfortunately this is a story that never ends for those who think non-diligence will pay off.

March 1 , 2010

Proverbs 28:19 He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.

Prov 28:19 He who works his land will have abundant food,
but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty. NIV

We are on the fourth consequence of non-diligence: lack of understanding. If one does not apply diligence in their life they will look for shortcuts to obtain the same result as the diligent and end up following after promises of wealth without work or wise investment. Can you really buy investment real estate without any money? Can you really make tons of money in stock trading without having the cash to back it up? Did you really win that all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii yet think nothing of sending the telemarketer $399 for ticket processing fees? Be wise, don't follow vanity.

February 26, 2010

Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

Prov 13:4 No matter how much a lazy person may want something, he will never get it. A hard worker will get everything he wants. TEV

We are studying the consequences of non-diligence and have seen so far: disadvantage and others in charge. Today's verse shows another contrast. The diligent are blessed with satisfaction and fulfillment while those who lack diligence suffer from endless cravings and desires that go unfulfilled.

February 25, 2010

Proverbs 12:24 The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.

Prov 12:24 Hard work will give you power; being lazy will make you a slave. TEV

Our focus is on the consequences of not being diligent as we learn from the contrasting, opposite side of these verses. Yesterday we saw how a lack of diligence places one at a disadvantage for their lack of planning. Today we see that the slacker is ruled by others. They are under tribute, made a slave, in forced labor, etc. They may think they are in charge with their choice to take it easy; however, the work they end up with generally includes a manager who makes all the minute decisions for them instructing them every step of the way. In other words, they are a slave to laziness.

February 24, 2010

Proverbs 21:5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

Prov 21:5 Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity,
but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. NLT

We have shared seven rewards of being diligent: advantage, control, fulfillment, sought out by greats, satisfaction, increasing success, and profitable efforts. Since the Proverbs teach powerful lessons from contrasts, let us now look at the negative consequences that will be suffered by those who lack diligence. Diligent people plan but those who are not neglect planning and tend to go with the flow, doing what feels good for the moment. That is dangerous because hasty shortcuts lead to uncharted risks that yield failure.

February 23, 2010

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

Prov 14:23 All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty. NIV

As we continue to study Proverbs, we regularly repeat a verse in order to focus the emphasis on a different element of that verse. Today's emphasis on this verse is “all”. Diligent labor invested in all areas of life yields success in some manner and if you have not achieved success in that area, more diligence may be needed therein. This applies not only to employment and careers but also other important aspects of your life such as marriage and parenting. Is your marriage less than what you wish it to be? Diligence involves creativity, vision, commitment, and good counsel—working smart. Apply those to your marriage (or parenting) and you will see the profit.

February 19, 2010

Proverbs 13:11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

Prov 13:11 Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears;
wealth from hard work grows over time. NLT

The person who works hard (diligently) is promised increase. The emphasis here is on the regular “gathering” in through labor. It speaks of consistency at a task. He that is consistent and continuous in their labor sees an increase because of that consistent putting away effort. It may be small amounts at a time but consistency at diligent effort over time produces great increase. Don't look for quick and easy money to change your life. If some people were as consistent at saving as they were at playing the lottery they would find the increase they hope for.

February 18, 2010

Proverbs 28:19 He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.

Prov 28:19 He who cultivates his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless people and pursuits will have poverty enough. AMP

Two facts are provided for the diligent in today's proverb. First, if he works his land, he will have plenty. If he remains in the field of his gifting and works smart and right, he will have plenty of provision of his material needs. The second fact for the diligent person is a warning. If you leave your field of labor to pursue vanity, poverty follows. Vanity means emptiness or outward glamour that hides inward nothingness. Don't neglect or run from your area of expertise and calling to pursue a too-good-to-be-true scheme of get-rich quick ideals. In recent years, there has been billions of dollars lost by unscrupulous and vain investments on Wall Street. Be diligent and pursue excellence in your field of calling for a sure return.

February 17, 2010

Proverbs 22:29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men

Prov 22:29 Show me a man who does a good job, and I will show you a man who is better than most and worthy of the company of kings. TEV

A person who is diligent in their labor has a kind of radiance that flows out from their work. Two comparisons come to mind. The success they have at their labors shines like a brilliant beacon of light, and that light is what people of authority and prominence are seeking out to add to their team. It is a natural attraction. I also see a likeness with aviation's “black box.” Immediately after a plane goes down, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board begin their search for the black box (which is actually bright orange) which sends out an ultrasonic pulse signal. The investigators painstakingly search out that signal. The achievements of the diligent rise up even beyond ruinous circumstances and are sought out by those in high places.

February 16, 2010

Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

Prov 13:4 Lazy people want much but get little, while the diligent are prospering. TLB

So far in our study of the diligent, we have seen that they work smartly, their work is pure and right, they gain advantage, and they rule. Today we see another delightful result of diligence: his soul is made fat. Most people lack contentment and are unsatisfied with the things they have—they always want a little or a lot more. But the person who works with diligence, his soul, his innermost being, at the root of personality and emotion, is “made fat” or prospered. When you know you have been diligent it is a very satisfying feeling—diligence prospers you.

February 15, 2010

Proverbs 12:24 The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.

Prov 12:24 The hand of the diligent will rule,
But the lazy man will be put to forced labor. NKJV

We are studying diligence. Last time we looked at the first reward of diligence—it gives you an advantage. Secondly, a diligent person “will rule”, meaning he/she will have managing, directing or controlling, responsibility. Someone has to be in charge so it might as well be a diligent person who will get things done “pure and right”. With that kind of person being in charge, they and will enhance the employees working under them, their work unit, department, and company. Are you still the lower level employee? Keep pouring yourself into your work with diligence and bear rule over your current responsibilities well. Be patient and be faithful over the few things until given more.

February 12, 2010

Proverbs 21:5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

Prov 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage,
But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty. NASU

I am reading a book on Proverbs by Steven K. Scott and he gives the following definition of diligence: “Diligence is a learnable skill that combines creative persistence, a smart-working effort rightly planned and rightly performed in a timely, efficient, and effective manner to attain a result that is pure and of the highest quality of excellence.” Applying such diligence to your work provides you an advantage over others who are not so inclined. And since most of us are in businesses where other companies are competing for the same business, would it not be better to work with an advantage rather than a disadvantage?

February 11, 2010

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

Prov 20:11 The character of even a child can be known by the way he acts-whether what he does is pure and right.TLB

Our current subject is diligence. A good working definition of the term is “working smart”. Have you ever had to dig up a leaky water line? What tool did you use, a plastic knife? Or better yet, a “spork?” While that may have made you a hard-working individual, you were certainly not a smart-working individual. Is your work “pure” and “right?” Diligent work has pureness as the goal as it sets aside impurities and mines out the purest gem possible with the resources one has to work with. Diligence does not squander time by pursuing wasteful activities but works right—it works efficiently, smart, efficient, on time to the highest standards no matter what it takes.

February 10, 2010

Proverbs 22:29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.

Prov 22:29 Do you see a man who excels in his work?
He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before unknown men. NKJV

We are starting a new topic today that we will be exploring for some time: diligence—persistent and hard-working effort in doing something. Diligence produces incredible outcomes and is a skill that can be learned by anyone. Our natural tendency is to follow the easy path, the path of least resistance. However, if we make a choice to pursue the path followed by the few, a path that involves greater resistance, it is possible to achieve amazing results in important areas of life. Stay tuned for more…

February 9, 2010

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

Prov 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
"Eat and drink!" he says to you,
But his heart is not with you. NKJV

A basic truth of life is the idea that we become what we think about. The more we think on a thing, we are more likely to act on that thought. Once we act on something more than once, it can lead to a habit. What you do habitually becomes a part of your character. Your character then, determines your destiny. We are encouraged not to think too highly of ourselves (Romans 12:3), yet neither are we to hate ourselves (Ephesians 5:29). Think about yourself as a King's kid and think royal thoughts about the high calling you have. Think about that fact that you are loved some so much that a very worthy One chose to give His life for you. With that in mind, think on the fact that you can accomplish anything through Christ (Philippians 4:13). Think on things honest, just, and pure (Phil 4:8) and you are more prone to reap those characteristics.

February 8, 2010

Proverbs 23:17 Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.

Prov 23:17 Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord all the day long. AMP

The envious heart is the subject today. We see a good example of the envious heart in Psalm 73 written by Asaph. Asaph was a singer and percussion player in King David's court worship team (1Chron 15:19). However, he got his mind off the goodness of God for a while and became envious of how others prospered and how he suffered, how their team won and his lost, how they didn't have trouble and he did. What compounded Asaph's envy making it “too painful for [him]” was that it was the foolish and wicked who had prospered. He was trying to live godly but it all seemed to be in vain. Envy is a problem of perspective. One may feel as though someone has it better than they causing them to feel bitter, but a closer analysis and an awareness of the larger picture makes a difference. Asaph said it was almost too much for him until he “went into the sanctuary of God; then [he] understood their end.” If you are envious of someone else today, refocus. You have much to be thankful for if you would but find sanctuary with God and reset your perspective. Somebody shout, “I am blessed!”

February 4, 2010

Proverbs 22:11 He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.

Prov 22:11 He who loves purity and the pure in heart and who is gracious in speech — because of the grace of his lips will he have the king for his friend. AMP

With only two more kinds of hearts to view, let’s list the heart types we have seen so far: scheming, sensual, wise, deceptive, hurting, tranquil, righteous, glad, haughty, and the fretting heart. The balance of proverbs has been to expose more negative types than positive ones as it is helpful to be able to recognize what to avoid. But today we see the pure heart. That refers to pureness physically, morally and ethically. Synonyms are clean, wholesome, and unpolluted. Integrity comes to mind. A reward of having integrity and not having ulterior motives is that your speech will be gracious and you earn the trust and friendship of people in high places.

February 3, 2010

Proverbs 19:3 The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.

Prov 19:3 Some people ruin themselves by their own stupid actions and then blame the LORD. TEV

Prov 19:3 A man's own folly ruins his life,
yet his heart rages against the LORD. NIV

Today we will look at the “fretting” heart. The Hebrew word, “za ‘aph” means to fret, be sad, angry, vexed, enraged, out of humor. I chose three versions today to paint the picture of this heart with more of the colors that God packed into that Hebrew word. The picture is clearly in view here. Someone indulges in foolish behavior; they suffer the negative consequences that follow; they get mad at God for what has happened. Have you ever been angry at God? Plenty of circumstances flow our way that are difficult to understand and our initial reaction may be to be angry at God. That is because from our limited view we can’t see how a God of justice would allow something so apparently unjust to transpire. God urges us to love and trust Him even when we don’t understand. However, that is not what is in mind in this verse. This is the blame game where one transfers the blame which rightly falls on themselves to God. Examine your anger and the source. Perhaps your own choices are the cause.

February 2, 2010

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

Prov 18:12 Before his downfall a man's heart is proud, but humility comes before honor. NIV

Taking a second day to look at this verse? I'll provide an illustration of how a proud heart leads to a downfall. Many years ago I was acquainted with a young person--we'll call him Burt. Burt was good looking, athletic, intelligent, and had a very promising future. Burt was also convinced of the same. In fact, people close to him accused him of being conceited. On more than one occasion I heard Burt answer that allegation like this: "I'm not conceited; I'm convinced!" No doubt he was. However the following principle could not be circumvented in Burt's life:

Prov 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

I spoke with Burt many years later and he shared many heartaches that they had suffered after much of what was important to him had fallen apart. I did not detect the proud heart but sensed a humble heart had replaced it.

February 1, 2010

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

Prov 18:12 Before his downfall a man's heart is proud,
but humility comes before honor. NIV

Almost every time I hear the “Star Spangled Banner” played or sung, it practically moves me to tears because I’m proud to be an American. When I see our military men and women in a parade, or driving in a convoy, or read the news of their accomplishments, I feel pride for them. When I watch my children rewarded for a great accomplishment, I feel most proud of them—I can’t stop that feeling from flowing through my heart. When I watch God demonstrate His power by performing a miracle that only He can do, I feel very proud of my God and proud to be His child. But when is pride wrong so that it brings destruction or downfall? The proud heart is the subject of this verse. Come back tomorrow for more.

For January 29, 2010

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

Prov 15:30 A cheerful look brings joy to the heart;
good news makes for good health. NLT

The heart in today’s verse is the rejoicing, cheerful, or glad heart. What we see by examining this verse is a method by which we may help someone else who has a sad, disappointed, or hurting heart, by giving them two things: A (1) cheerful smile and (2) good news. If you would like to lift up someone who is low, ask God to bring to mind a good report that they would be interested in, then turn the light on in your eyes and put on a big smile that runs all the way from your heart to your face, and share that good report. It is amazing how much good a big toothy grin can do for someone. Solomon says it provides good health. (You might check to see if you need to floss and brush first or it may have the opposite effect!) Let today be smile day!

For January 28, 2010

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

Prov 15:28 The heart of the righteous weighs its answers,
but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil. NIV

The righteous heart, the topic of today’s verse, is the goal of a man or woman who is pursuing God’s heart. What makes a heart righteous? It does not come about by our own self-driven righteousness. On my very best day, when I have performed good deeds and avoided temptation to the best of my ability, I still fall short of God’s requirement of perfection (Romans 1:23) and am equivalent to filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) in comparison to Him. However, God has the power to declare us righteous, justified, correct, and cleansed by His mercy when we humble our heart in repentance before Him. Jesus will wash, regenerate and renew us by the infilling of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5), giving us a righteous heart.

For January 27, 2010

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

Prov 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones. NIV

Today’s topic is the sound, or tranquil heart. What is the condition of your heart today? Is it tranquil or in turmoil? What makes for a peaceful heart? Is it possible to be at peace in heart even in the midst of a stormy surrounding? The answer is yes. However, it requires a good relationship with the Prince of peace (Isaiah. 9:6). Even pleasant circumstances don’t provide a true and lasting peace. Our companion verse for today describes the source of “perfect peace”:

Isa 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

By trusting in God and keeping your mind on Him, God can provide a level of peace that surpasses logical reasoning (Philippians 4:7).

For January 26, 2010

Proverbs 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

Prov 15:4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life,
but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. NIV

Our topic is the hurting heart and how to help it. We can offer a “wholesome tongue”. “Wholesome” comes from the same Hebrew word that we looked at yesterday that means “healing, cure, profit, sound.” If we offer healing words for the hurting heart, they provide a tree of life. That phrase says a lot. By contrast, healing words are not a decaying, rotting, useless dead stump, but alive. As such, the tree generates oxygen to breathe (ah, a breath of fresh air), fruit to eat, shade for comfort, roots for stability. Help the hurting heart by offering those things it has lost:  a breath of fresh air—hope of renewal; strength; comfort; and stability.

For January 25, 2010

Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

Prov 16:24 Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the mind and healing to the body. AMP

We are continuing our consideration of the hurting/grieving heart that we introduced last week from Proverbs 14:13. Although we discovered that laughter is only a temporary distraction that does not cure grief, we find that pleasant words can bring health. The primary definition of “pleasant” in Hebrew is “agreeableness” and the Hebrew word translated “health” in the KJV means “healing, cure, profit, sound.” That says a lot. If your words are spoken from the position of agreeing, understanding, and affirming the grieving heart, you may be able to lead them to soundness and health. For example, words that express this thought are in mind: “I can’t imagine the pain you must be feeling in this loss. That must be difficult.” Then help them draw out the sweet memories in their mind. More on this tomorrow.

For January 21, 2010

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

Prov 14:13 Laughter cannot mask a heavy heart. When the laughter ends, the grief remains. TLB

After reading yesterday's post again, I realized I left it sounding kind of gloomy. I didn't intend that. But guess what? Some friends wrote back with some uplifting words. So in day two on the grieving heart, let's look into Proverbs for a prescription of help for a grieving heart. Consider this verse on the subject:

Proverbs 12:25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

Prov 12:25 Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,
But a good word makes it glad. NKJV

Solomon reminds us that grief can lead to depression. As the KJV says, it makes the heart “stoop” or bow down. If you know someone who has been grieving and has been trapped in depression, perhaps you can help them through the hope we will cover in the next few days. Notice what a good word can do for the heavy heart: it makes it glad. The phrase, “maketh it glad” comes from the Hebrew word, “samah” which means to rejoice, to gladden. It is possible to help that heavy heart with a good word. We will continue on this thought on Monday.

For January 21, 2010

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

Prov 14:13 Laughter cannot mask a heavy heart. When the laughter ends, the grief remains. TLB

Note on the heart of deceit: One of our readers reminded me of another profession that is often built on deceit: the politician. He/she promotes certain ideals during a campaign and then does the opposite once in office. For many, that happens regardless of political affiliation. Thank you reader for that comment.

Today's verse is on the hurting heart. A perfect example of the hurting heart is a heart struck by grief. Personal experience has lately brought heavy grief to our family. When a family experiences the loss of a child, that hurting heart is not healed by comedy. Laughter helps for the moment, but when the laughter is gone, “the grief remains.” And don't think that a counsel of, “You need to move on with life,” can help one to not continue feeling grief. Those of you who have experienced deep loss know what I mean. And if you have not experienced the loss of a loved one, please be patient with those who have. Your prayers and understanding will help them through, but be patient if they are still grieving when you finish your prayer. Only God can heal the hurting heart and often He uses more time than well intended words.

For January 20, 2010

Proverbs 12:20 Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.

Prov 12:20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who devise evil, but for the counselors of peace there is joy. AMP

Let us take one last consideration of this verse before we move on. Let me introduce the second profession that many in it have earned a reputation for deceit.

How can you tell the difference between road-kill possum and road-kill lawyer? The possum has skid marks in front of it.

First, I'll say I work with a bunch of great lawyers who are known for integrity, so that is certainly an unfair generalization. However, I remember the continuous media coverage of the trial of a former NFL player accused of murder. I didn't follow it personally but I had some co-workers who were riveted to every report as if they were watching the first lunar landing. They all seemed to be convinced of his guilt but their consensus was that his skillful lawyer would get him out of it. Their expectation proved true. Why was that? Rather than focusing on the fact of the crime, the focus was diverted to side issues. I'm not making a judgment on the judgment because I don't know enough of the facts. However, some think of deceit as a skillful application of craft within their trade. It is time for a heart check, whatever our occupation is. Is deceit in our heart? Cleanse me oh Lord.

For January 19, 2010

Proverbs 12:20 Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.

Prov 12:20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who devise evil, but for the counselors of peace there is joy. AMP

Let us consider this verse for two more days as we consider two professions that have earned a reputation for deceit because of many notorious examples. The used car salesman (UCS) got the car in on trade. His mechanics looked it over and found some minor problems but also that the transmission was bad. The car's resale value didn't justify repairing it. They cleaned it up and put it on the lot. A prospective buyer (PB) asked about it and the salesman told of several positive features. The PB asked about the power train. The UCS mentioned that the mechanic reported that the battery, alternator, and plugs and wires had recently been replaced, leaving out information about the transmission. The PB bought the car and the next day that transmission failed leaving the buyer stranded. The buyer called the UCS and was old, sorry, but there was no warranty. This happened to my son and the deceit of the UCS (as well as the $1500 transmission repair) left a bad taste in our mouths. The evil imagination spoken of in this verse speaks is seen when people knowingly pass off a product as good (so they may profit) when it is not. The man or woman of God who is in the position of dealing must always draw on the wisdom in their heart, demonstrate integrity of heart, and consider how the evil imagination will leave a buyer hurting. A false balance is an abomination to God (Proverbs 20:23).

For January 15, 2010

Proverbs 12:20 Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.

Prov 12:20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who devise evil, but for the counselors of peace there is joy. AMP

I am repeating yesterday's verse concerning the deceptive heart. Through the day yesterday I could not get this verse off my heart. It applies to all of us, and yes, ME too! Have you ever sold a car? I have. We put an ad in the paper and put a sign in the window hoping to stir someone's interest. The discussion with our family goes something like this: “I hate that piece of junk, trash of a car. We've simply got to get a new one. I don't know how many more miles it will last. I can't park it on our concrete driveway due to the oil leak.” We are content with that description as we try to justify our desire for something new.

Then the phone rings. The family hears your side of the conversation. “Yes, I still have the car, you're in luck. Oh, yes, it has been a good car for us. Mileage? Yeah it is a little high in the mileage, but it has been reliable. Yeah, the air conditioner puts out cold air, the heater works. The radio works. Yes, it is a good car. Yes you can come tonight and see it.”

Are we talking about two different cars here? No. We are talking about a deceitful heart. Did we tell a lie? No. But did we tell all the relevant truth? No. If we can't have success in our business without practicing deceit, we are in the wrong business. More to come.

For January 14, 2010

Proverbs 12:20 Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.

Prov 12:20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who devise evil, but for the counselors of peace there is joy. AMP

Today we look at the deceptive heart. So far we have studied the scheming heart, the cunning heart, and the wise heart. The deceptive heart is related to the first two. Synonyms are treachery, craftiness, misleading, illusory, unreliable, and unrepresentative. Those with a deceptive heart may not be guilty of lying, but of presenting facts in such a manner as to make one think that A, B, C, and D, should naturally be followed by X. Check your heart. Do you paint the facts in such a way to make someone look bad while you are leaving out valuable information that would change the story and the conclusions entirely?

For January 13, 2010

Proverbs 10:8 The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.

Prov 10:8 The wise in heart will receive commands,
But a prating fool will fall. NKJV

Another type of heart that should be the goal that we all search for is the wise heart. As we have discovered previously, the heart can be a receptacle for God's Word. So those who continually receive God's commandments into their heart are called wise in heart. Those who make deposits of wisdom into their heart are wise in heart. We learn more about the wise heart by contrasting it with the prating fool. Prating means to talk excessively uttering empty or foolish words. The wise heart is not empty or shallow but is filled deep with words of substance and meaning

For January 12, 2010

Proverbs 7:9-10
9 In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:
10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.

Prov 7:9-10
9 It was at twilight, in the evening,
as deep darkness fell.
10 The woman approached him,
seductively dressed and sly of heart. NLT

The subtle, sly, cunning, seductive heart is related to the scheming heart discussed yesterday, yet the heart in today's verses has advanced into a specialty in the area of scheming—seductive scheming. Many verses in Proverbs deal with this kind of heart and it can be found in both men and women; however this verse identifies a woman. Notice her attire matches her heart—she is dressed seductively—she looks the part of a harlot. What is inside is reflected on the outside. The condition of the heart can be reflected in the clothing we wear. This is a matter of personal holiness because if a love for God is firmly planted in the heart, pleasing God will be reflected even through our choices of apparel. Because a man looks on the outward appearance and a man can lust in his heart by what he sees, a woman with a pure heart will avoid leading a man down the path of lust. She won't dismiss his feelings with the excuse, “If he lusts, that's his problem!” She will see that the condition of her own heart is behind her attire and have the motto: “Modest is hottest!”

For January 11, 2010

Proverbs 6:18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

Prov 6:18 a heart that plots evil,
feet that race to do wrong, NLT

For the next several days, we will look at different kinds of hearts identified in Proverbs. Today we see the scheming heart. We may readily identify this kind of heart in the habitual criminal who as he plots the next crime or scheme of deception. However, although it may not get the attention of public law enforcement agents, evil plotting is the basis of the flirtatious/seductive conduct in a romantic affair. Evil plotting is seen in the workplace when a colleague deliberately withholds important information from his rival coworker hoping to come out with some advantage. If you see a relationship gone sour, there has likely been some evil scheming involved. Proverbs 6:16 says this is one of the things God hates. Check your heart for wicked imaginations.

For January 8, 2010

Prov 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart ; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Prov 3:5 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. AMP

The more you hide God's wisdom in your heart, the skill of trusting in Him becomes that much easier and natural. Then when faced with a choice between God's way and your way, your own insight will pale in the face of God's way. At such times your faith helps you make the leap into God's faithful hands and doing things His way. Our best vision is hindsight, but God has the perspective of both hindsight and foresight at all times. Trust Him with that decision today.

For January 6, 2010

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

1 Sam 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel,"Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." NKJV

Your heart represents your whole inner self that God continually sees and knows. When I used to teach history, math, and science subjects to high school and middle school students, I was always impressed by students who I would see demonstrating interest and diligent study habits. As their teacher, watching this made me want them to succeed and earn a good grade. Imagine Jesus as your teacher who is constantly watching your inner, secret self. “The LORD looketh on the heart.” He sees your habits and your interest and diligence to His kingdom and His Word. And believe it, He wants you to succeed in life and “earn a good grade.” That is why He left you the answer key, the Bible.

For January 5, 2010

Prov 6:21 Bind them continually upon thine heart , and tie them about thy neck.

Prov 6:21 Take to heart all of their advice; keep in mind everything they tell you. TLB

To bind wisdom continually in your heart means you must make it a regular habit. Don't be content to get the Word of God into you heart only once or twice a year. This being a new year, make an effort right from the beginning to apply yourself to three things continually: (1) read God's Word, (2) attend a truth-proclaiming church, and (3) listen to recorded sermons. I think I just heard someone say, “Yeah, right. Me, listen to sermons?” Try the sermon links at: http://www.moreword.com/sermons.php. You will be surprised how much you will enjoy continually putting God's wisdom into your heart. It will boost your faith and your knowledge of God's Word. A modern application of “tie them about thy neck” could be done with your MP3 player loaded with preaching as you jog or run the treadmill.

For January 4, 2010

Prov 4:4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

Prov 4:4 he taught me and said,
"Lay hold of my words with all your heart;
keep my commands and you will live. NIV

Welcome to the new year and welcome back to Proverb-a-day. For those of you who have been with us from the beginning, we are close to celebrating a year of daily Proverbs (on February 9). May you be wiser this year as you walk the way of Proverbs.

In my December 18 message, my last post on the subject of the heart, I stated a motto to live by. I want to restate it here in this new year: “Open heart, insert wisdom.” Once you have put wisdom (God's Word) into your heart, retain it there. How can you accomplish that? By taking it in regularly in a sizable quantity, and by meditating on it. That simple process will assist you in finding a fulfilling life.

For December 24, 2009

Matthew 12:42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

Matt 12:42 The queen of Sheba will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen. NLT

In the most compelling evidence yet, we see Jesus in Proverbs as well as a symbolic reenactment of the birth of Jesus. The Queen of Sheba, a very wise person herself (2 Chron 9:1), had read a least a portion of The Book of Proverbs (2 Chron 9:5) and traveled a long way to meet the author to behold his glory, his wisdom, and his kingdom. This wise woman brought gifts of gold, spices, and precious stones (2 Chron 9:1) to Solomon.

Compare that to:

Matt 2:1-2, 11
1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem ,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Jesus said that one wiser than Solomon was present among them yet His own received Him not (as in Luke 2:7 where no room was found for Him).

This Christmas, seek out the presence of the wisest One of all. Seek His wisdom, seek His glory, and above all, seek first His kingdom. You will find no greater Christmas present than the presence of Christ. Become overshadowed by the Holy Ghost (Luke 1:35, Acts 2:4, 38).

For December 23, 2009

Mark 6:2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?

Mark 6:2 And on the Sabbath He began to teach in the synagogue; and many who listened to Him were utterly astonished, saying, Where did this Man acquire all this? What is the wisdom [the broad and full intelligence which has been] given to Him? What mighty works and exhibitions of power are wrought by His hands! AMP

We are honoring Christmas by celebrating Jesus through proverbs. I find it interesting that the word “proverb” as found in Proverbs 1:6 is translated from the Hebrew word “mashal”, which can also be translated as “parable.” Matthew 13:34 tells us Jesus always used parables in teaching. And when Jesus went about teaching, He astonished people by the wisdom of His parables and the power of His hands. I don't know about you but this Christmas I am ready to leap in joyous celebration of the fact that my life is in His powerful hands and is governed by His ever-wise Word.

For December 22, 2009

1 Cor 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God .

1 Cor 1:24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. NLT

Yesterday I declared our purpose this week was to find Jesus in the Proverbs in honor of Christmas yet I did not offer any verses in Proverbs. As today's verse indicates, everywhere “wisdom” is stated in the Book, there is Jesus. Christ is the wisdom of God. That confirms John 1:1 that tells that Jesus is the Word and Jesus is God and God's Word is nothing but wisdom.

For December 21, 2009

Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Mark 1:21-22
21 And they went into Capernaum ; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.
22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

Luke 2:52 Jesus grew both in body and in wisdom, gaining favor with God and men. TEV

Mark 1:21-22
Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum . When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law. NLT

For the next four days, I would like to depart from our study on the heart and honor the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. First I must state that you will not find the Christmas story in the Book of Proverbs—it is not a prophetic book like many others that give predictions about Jesus (for example, Genesis, Psalms, Isaiah, Daniel, Micah, and Zechariah), and it does not predict the birth of Jesus. However since the primary subject of the book is wisdom, we will seek Jesus in the Book of Proverbs in this manner. New Testament writers found many references to Jesus throughout the Old Testament.

For December 18, 2009

Prov 4:21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.

Prov 4:21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart; NIV

Verse 20 begins, “My son, attend to my words.” Once again here the heart is shown as a receptacle of words of wisdom. When your earthly father or Heavenly Father give you words of wisdom, don't allow them to depart from you by showing a stubborn or rebellious attitude. Instead, here is the motto to operate by: Open heart, insert wisdom.

For December 17, 2009

Prov 3:3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:

Prov 3:3 Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart. NLT.

Our heart is described as a place where things may be written down for future remembrance and use. Certain things are to be written there so that we may have permanent access to them. However, it is not like a safe deposit box where valuables are stored but not easily accessible. It is more like a notepad that you keep in a pocket or purse and can readily access as needed. Your heart is then a deep storage place for godly values or characteristics like mercy and truth. Get your pen ready to write these in your heart and don't forget what you have written!

For December 16, 2009

Prov 2:2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

Prov 2:2 Making your ear attentive to skillful and godly Wisdom and inclining and directing your heart and mind to understanding [applying all your powers to the quest for it]; AMP

Yesterday we began a new study on the topic of the heart. Since our heart is the center of our emotional and reasoning capabilities, we must, with conscious effort, apply, incline, and direct the focus of our heart toward applying wisdom. When you read the wisdom of Proverbs, approach it with an open heart as if you are walking into a dark room with a flashlight in a directed pursuit of something. Search for understanding “applying all your powers to the quest.”

For December 15, 2009

Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Prov 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life. NKJV

We move to a new topic today—the heart. It is an important topic in scripture as the word appears 830 times, with 81 of those being in the Book of Proverbs. The Hebrew word is “leb” and the Greek word is “kardia.” The summary of the definitions of these words points to the innermost center of the natural condition of man as well as the center of the rational-spiritual nature of man. It is the thought center, the center of feelings, affections and conscience. It is the seat of love as well as hatred. Both natural and spiritual life pulses from the heart. That is why Solomon said to “Diligently keep it!”

For December 11, 2009

Proverbs 2:7-8
7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.

Prov 2:7-8
7 He hides away sound and godly Wisdom and stores it for the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with Him); He is a shield to those who walk uprightly and in integrity,
8 That He may guard the paths of justice; yes, He preserves the way of His saints. [1 Sam 2:9; Ps 66:8,9.] AMP

Yesterday we looked at the first promise for those who regularly use God’s Wisdom Tools: an internal change as God “lays up” or “hides away” wisdom in us. The second promise complements the first. The internal change is accompanied by external protection. The latter part of verse 7 above tells us that God promises to be a buckler (a shield) to users of His wisdom. You WILL be attacked by the enemy but God is there to protect and defend you, to keep you on His path, and to preserve your way. Think on that and take comfort in these promises today.

For December 10, 2009

Proverbs 2:6-7
6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.

Prov 2:6-7
6 For the Lord gives skillful and godly Wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He hides away sound and godly Wisdom and stores it for the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with Him); He is a shield to those who walk uprightly and in integrity, AMP

Verses 6-9 list three promises that are for those who faithfully utilized the wisdom tools God provided. The first is the promise of an internal change. I’d like to ask a question of those of you who have been studying the Book of Proverbs with us since we started in February 2009. Have you noticed a change in the way you think? When you have decisions to make or have encounters in various relationships, do any of the proverbs enter into you reasoning process? I must emphasize that this is not an overnight change. However, the constant ingesting of God’s wisdom makes an internal change that stores up wisdom, knowledge and understanding within the reasoning centers of our mind. Keep it up!

For December 8, 2009

Proverbs 2:5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

Prov 2:5 Then you will understand the fear of the LORD,
And find the knowledge of God. NKJV

Ok, so you now have picked up the tools God laid out for you in the Wisdom Tool Box. There could be a label on this tool box: "Wisdom Tools: Wisdom for Dummies." Here they are again: (1) God’s Word; (2) open ear and heart; (3) prayer; and (4) consistency. If you will use these tools regularly, then verse five tells us two things that will happen to you: you will understand what it means to fear God and you will know God. Close encounters with God by God’s people almost always began with this statement: “Fear not.” As we draw closer to God we get a healthy fear or respect for Him, His holiness, and His justice that never leave us. Yet at the same time, we are getting to know Him better and although the respect does not leave, the terror transforms into intimacy as you get to know Him better. Summary: I fear Him, yet I know and love Him.

For December 7, 2009

Proverbs 2:4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

Prov 2:4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure, NIV

We have been looking at the tools that God provided to us for digging out wisdom and have so far looked at three: (1) God’s Word; (2) open ear and heart; (3) prayer. Today we look at the fourth and final tool—(4) consistency. The words seek and search indicate much more than an occasional glance for something. Those words bring to mind the effort of first responders following an earth quake or hurricane and they are diligently and carefully digging through rubble for signs of life. For you to find the silver nugget of wisdom in the situation you find yourself in today, be diligent and patient. Your word from God today is: keep on listening to God; go a little farther; don’t give up yet.

For December 4, 2009

James 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

James 4:2 You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. NIV
James 1:5 If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it. TLB

Today we will look deeper at the wisdom tool of prayer. We are taking a proverb from the Book of James today. James says that people do all sorts of things to obtain what they don’t have: they lust, kill, fight and war. But if what you are seeking is wisdom, the method is simple: ask God. You don’t have it because you don’t ask for it. Have you ever prayed for wisdom? I became a serious student of the Book of Proverbs (and 1 Corinthians 12:8 where the gift of wisdom is mentioned) when I was in my teens and started praying that God would give me the gift of wisdom. That request is on my daily prayer list and has been for thirty years. When you ask God for wisdom, He likes that request (see 1 Chronicles 1:10 for King Solomon’s prayer) and He gives it liberally to those who ask.

For December 3, 2009

Proverbs 2:3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

Prov 2:3 Yes, if you cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, AMP

Our current topic is the four wisdom tools the Lord provided for digging out nuggets of wisdom in our day-to-day living. Today’s tool is prayer. Notice here how we are to cry out and lift our voice for knowledge/insight and understanding. Did you know that you can grow wiser by keeping a daily discipline of prayer? God speaks wisdom to us when we pray. Ok, let me hit you between the eyes again. This is Thursday. Add up the number of minutes/hours you have spent in prayer this week and see how that number compares to time devoted to non-essentials. Take time to pray today!

Wisdom tools discussed so far: (1) God’s Word, the Bible; (2) Inner desire that opens our ears and hearts; and (3) prayer.

For December 2, 2009

Proverbs 2:2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

Prov 2:2 Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding. NLT

The first tool for digging for wisdom is God's Word. The second tool is desire. Notice how through a properly set desire, two of our body parts are continually placed in reception mode: our ears and our heart. Our ears are to be “tuned in” to listen to God. In a crowded room, your child may call out “Mom!” or maybe even begin to cry. Mom recognizes the voice of her child because she is constantly tuned in to receive it. Set your ear to be sensitive to God's voice. Then what we receive by the ear, we store in the heart. The heart must also be set to “open” mode to catch what arrived in the ear, otherwise it may come into one ear and then exit through the other. The ear and heart are set through desire.

For December 1, 2009

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Hos 4:6 My people are doomed because they do not acknowledge me. You priests have refused to acknowledge me and have rejected my teaching, and so I reject you and will not acknowledge your sons as my priests. TEV
Ps 119:11 Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You. AMP

Yesterday we briefly introduced the topic of wisdom tools. The Lord has provided a tool box with some handy tools that we may use for obtaining, digging, extracting, and receiving wisdom. Yesterday's proverb mentioned that wisdom is found in the Word of God. That's too simple, right? However, just because we have it available does not mean we pick up that tool and use it. Let me hit you between the eyes—how many chapters have you read in the Bible so far this week? The point is, people are destroyed for lack of knowledge of God and for forgetting or rejecting His teaching. This is not a guilt trip we are going on today but an acknowledgement that God put an amazing tool of wisdom in our hands and told us to hide it/lay it up in our hearts. It is a treasure and God says “Take all you want.” Ok, now go pick up that Bible and dig!

For November 30, 2009

Proverbs 2:1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;

Prov 2:1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you, NIV

We will be moving ahead in the study of Proverbs into chapter 2 where Solomon gives four tools for obtaining wisdom. We will expound more on this tomorrow, but the first tool for obtaining deep wisdom is God's word. We must move ourselves into a position of openness of mind to receive His words. When we do so, we can receive the wisdom He speaks.

For November 25, 2009

Deuteronomy 8:10 When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.
1 Chronicles 16:34 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Deut 8:10 You will have all you want to eat, and you will give thanks to the LORD your God for the fertile land that he has given you. TEV
1 Chron 16:34 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;


His love and his kindness go on forever. TLB

We go outside of the Book of Proverbs again for today's proverb. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S. and families from the wealthiest to the poorest will be celebrating through great feasts. I love the turkey my wife makes and the turkey dressing my mother-in-law makes. Vegetables and desserts will be plenteous. We will fill ourselves with food and then with family fellowship. But when you are sitting about and are full of the goodness of the day, remember, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God. Our God is to be praised for the bounty He has provided. O give thanks unto the LORD for He is good.

Recap of reasons to be thankful: long life; a glad heart that feasts continually regardless; riches from the Lord; a prudent wife; children; a heart that craves wisdom; and the bountiful food He provides.

NOTES: The next Proverb-a-day will be Monday, November 30. Have a blessed holiday. And sorry we missed yesterday. I had computer and network difficulties.

For November 23, 2009

Proverbs 8:32-35
32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.
34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.

Prov 8:32-35
32 "Now then, my sons, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not ignore it.
34 Blessed is the man who listens to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
35 For whoever finds me finds life
and receives favor from the LORD. NIV

We are studying the Book of Proverbs for things for which we can be thankful. This one requires some deeper level of thinking so put on your concentration cap.

We want to learn who is talking and also pay attention to the words, “blessed” and “favor” above. When you go back to verse one you will see that “Lady Wisdom”, whom we have identified from previous Proverbs, is doing the talking. We are blessed and receive favor when when we listen, obey, do not ignore, watch and wait for wisdom.

So what is noted here as a reason to be thankful? It is simple. For those of you who listen to, obey, and do not ignore wisdom, you find life and obtain favor of the Lord. You know who you are. You make it a point to find wisdom; you are diligent about seeking wisdom in every situation God brings your way; and when you see that wisdom, you do not refuse it but obey it. If that describes you, be thankful. There are plenty of people who could care less about wisdom and make it a practice to ignore it all the time. So if you are a wisdom seeker, that is a quality that gives you more abundant life and causes you to find the favor of God.

Recap of reasons to be thankful: long life; a glad heart that feasts continually regardless; riches from the Lord; a prudent wife; children; and a heart that craves wisdom.

For November 20, 2009

Proverbs 20:7 The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.

Prov 20:7 The righteous man walks in his integrity; blessed (happy, fortunate, enviable) are his children after him. AMP

How many of you are thankful for your kids? We are blessed to have them, and if we walk in integrity before them, they pick up what we demonstrate and pattern that in their lives and are then blessed after us. We do not control the personality, destiny, or choices of our children, but we can be a strong influence on them. My lovely wife and I have given birth to four, and then have helped raise eight foster children. Oh what love we have for them. We are learning to count each day that they are with us a blessing. Yes, depending on their age and stage of life they may cause you headaches, but believe it, their time living under your care is only temporary so count them as a blessing as a VERY valuable commodity. Give them love, security, and most of all, time.

Recap of reasons to be thankful: long life; a glad heart that feasts continually regardless; riches from the Lord; a prudent wife; and children.

For November 19, 2009

Proverbs 19:14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.

Prov 19:14 Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth,
but only the Lord can give an understanding wife. NLT

If you are married, have you given thanks for your wife lately? Specifically, this verse mentions the prudent wife. From the Hebrew Lexicon, prudent means circumspect, understanding, insightful, one who gives attention or ponders, acts wisely. If this describes your wife, add her to your thankful list. You have found a good thing (Prov 18:22).

Recap of reasons to be thankful: long life; a glad heart that feasts continually regardless; riches from the Lord; a prudent wife.

For November 18, 2009

Proverbs 15:15 All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
Proverbs 10:22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

Prov 15:15 All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances]. AMP
Prov 10:22 The blessing of the LORD brings wealth,
and he adds no trouble to it. NIV

We are looking at reasons to be thankful. #1 from Monday was long life. I had computer troubles yesterday so I missed getting the message out, so today, I present #2 and #3.

#2 a continual feast. If you are blessed with a glad heart, you can live in a feast all the time regardless of the gloom and doom that may surround you.

#3 wealth. If you are blessed with wealth, give honor to the Lord for that blessing as He is the source. And you can tell the person whom God has blessed because they are givers. Those who are preoccupied with getting and hoarding are the ones with “added sorrow.”

For November 16, 2009

Prov 9:10-11
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
11 For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.

Prov 9:10-11
10 The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning (the chief and choice part) of Wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight and understanding.
11 For by me [Wisdom from God] your days shall be multiplied, and the years of your life shall be increased. AM
P

To coincide with the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving, we will turn to themes of thanksgiving for the next couple of weeks. It is interesting to note that while the book of Psalms is full of expressions of thanksgiving and worship toward God, those words and ideas are not found in the Book of Proverbs. However, Proverbs does identify reasons to be thankful by identifying the blessings that God pours on His people. See if you can find some reasons to be thankful as we study some of the blessings of the Lord He wants to give His children.

Blessing #1: In today's verse, long life is identified as a blessing of from God given to those who apply wise choices through life.

For November 13, 2009

Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Heb 12:11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it's painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. NLT

We come to our final proverb on the subject of reproof. The writer of Hebrews reveals a gem of truth that can encourage us the next time we receive reproof. Whether the reproof comes from a parent, pastor, teacher, employer, friend, family member, or even a circumstance, remember that the moment of sharp painfulness will pass. Not only will the pain pass, but if you accept the wisdom that comes through the reproof, there will be a harvest of righteousness that will grow from that point of pain. Oh yes, and don't get mad at the mailman (the one who delivers the message).

Monday we will turn to themes of Thanksgiving.

For November 12, 2009

Proverbs 15:32 He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

Prov 15:32 He who refuses and ignores instruction and correction despises himself, but he who heeds reproof gets understanding. AMP

We are almost finished with the topic of reproof and then we will move to the subject of thankfulness in anticipation of Thanksgiving Day (for our U.S. subscribers). Today and tomorrow we look at the final entries of the subject of gaining wisdom from reproof. Notice how that the disregard for instruction and reproof has a negative impact on a person's feeling of worth—it leads to despising oneself. Here the proverb reveals that when a person refuses to follow the instruction and gain the wisdom that accompanies reproof, that very rejection of wisdom can lead to depression. The cure? Study the circumstance that caused the depression and ask the Lord if he has a lesson in wisdom for you to learn from it. Hearing reproof gets you understanding.

For November 11, 2009

Matthew 13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Matt 13:15 For this people's heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them. NIV

Today's proverb comes from Jesus. We have been looking at wisdom that we can gain through reproof—reproof given directly to us through superiors or friends or indirectly through circumstances. Jesus' words in today's proverb direct us to self-examine our heart concerning how we receive the wisdom offered through reproof and rebuke. God allows us to hear and see things through which He intends for us to gain understanding and then change our hearts and actions. How sensitive are you to God's voice? Are you a ready listener with a teachable spirit, or hard hearted and calloused so that you “see without seeing and hear without hearing?” It's examination time.

For November 10, 2009

2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

2 Tim 3:16-17
16 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action),
17 So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work. AMP

Today's proverb comes from the New Testament letter of Paul to his young partner in ministry, Timothy. Paul reminds him of the excellent source of wisdom that comes from the reproof and correction that the scripture provides. When you read the Word of God, pray that God opens your mind and heart to receive the correction presented. It is easier for us to read some reproof in the Word and immediately apply it to someone else that it would be good for. It is like the sort of person who comes to church with a pitch fork in hand. When the reproof from the preached Word lands at their feet, they quickly pitch it on to someone else thinking they don't need correction themselves. Take it for yourself and be the better and wiser for it.

For November 9, 2009

Psalms 119:33-40
33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
35 Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.
36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.
38 Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.
39 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.
40 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

Ps 119:33-40
A Prayer for Understanding
33 Teach me, LORD, the meaning of your laws,
and I will obey them at all times.
34 Explain your law to me, and I will obey it;
I will keep it with all my heart.
35 Keep me obedient to your commandments,
because in them I find happiness.
36 Give me the desire to obey your laws rather than to get rich. 37 Keep me from paying attention to what is worthless;be good to me, as you have promised. 38 Keep your promise to me, your servant — the promise you make to those who obey you. 39 Save me from the insults I fear;how wonderful are your judgments! 40 I want to obey your commands;give me new life, for you are righteous. TEV

Today’s proverb comes from Psalms. While on the subject of reproof, we see that we can receive direct reproof from the Word of God—the Bible. We can find happiness in following God’s commandments on life.

For November 6, 2009

Proverbs 1:30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.

Prov 1:30 They rejected my advice
and paid no attention when I corrected them. NLT

Reproof and correction are not easy to take, but when they come to us from the mouth of the wise, we are better for it. As we mentioned previously about these verses we are looking at in Proverbs 1, Wisdom is personified as a woman. Lady Wisdom speaks boldly to us through many different sources and circumstances yet her wisdom goes rejected by many; especially when that wisdom comes to us in the form of rebuke, correction and reproof. Reproof deflates the ego and often hits like an attack on our worth. Soil must be broken up before it is useful to the farmer; clay must be pounded and squished before it transforms into the image the potter intended. But are we not made better for taking wise criticism and letting it transform us into the image of Jesus Christ?

For November 5, 2009

Proverbs 1:25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:

Prov 1:25 And you treated as nothing all my counsel and would accept none of my reproof, AMP

Here again we see that wisdom is providing reproof. We will comment more on this after tomorrow's verse.

For November 1, 2009

Proverbs 1:23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

Prov 1:23 Turn at my rebuke;
Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you. NKJV

I have repeated Friday's verse here because of a secondary application that I wish to make from that verse. Wisdom is telling us that if we would turn at reproof, we would be filled with the Spirit. I have closed many sermons with that verse encouraging people to repent and God would fill them with His Spirit. That is a hard fact of scripture that continues to be fulfilled on a regular basis. In fact in church last night (at Liberty Tabernacle, Greenwood , IN , Pastor Brian Lane ) God filled 28 people with the Holy Ghost in an amazing demonstration of that principle. Bro. Felix Crowder preached and instructed the people to repent and then worship and receive. We saw how the Word of God rebuked and reproved sin and prepared the heart to receive the Spirit. Two young that I was praying with were filled with the Spirit shortly after laying hands on them. When their hearts were ready, the Spirit fell quickly. That happened all over the building last night. I'm still rejoicing!

For October 30, 2009

Proverbs 1:23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

Prov 1:23 Turn at my rebuke;
Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you. NKJV

We will observe a trend presented in Proverbs that reveals Lady Wisdom's method of conveying her message. She often shows up bearing wisdom through reproof. We will see more examples of this next week. For now we will simply say that reproof is a reprimand, a caution, and counsel.

For October 29, 2009

Proverbs 1:33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

Prov 1:33 But whoso hearkens to me [Wisdom] shall dwell securely and in confident trust and shall be quiet, without fear or dread of evil. AMP

In contrast to the past two days, today's Proverb reveals the fruit of taking heed to wisdom. There is no need to fear any evil, for if you are obeying the word of Wisdom, you are walking down the path the Creator established for you. And if so, you are for God and God is for you. And if God be for you, who can be against you? (Romans 8:31) That means it does not matter what evil comes against you because you have God for you and He is all you need to overcome EVERY evil.

For October 28, 2009

Proverbs 1:24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;

Proverbs 1:31-32
31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

Prov 1:24 I have been calling you, inviting you to come, but you would not listen. You paid no attention to me. TEV

Prov 1:31-32
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them; NIV

Part two of yesterday's Proverb: Because the foolish person has shunned Wisdom and insisted on doing things his way, he must live with the results (eat the fruit) of having his way. And the way of foolish self-centeredness is destructive and deadly.

For October 27, 2009

Proverbs 1:24, 26-28
24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:

Prov 1:24, 26-28
24 But since you rejected me when I called
and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand,
26 I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you — 27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
28 "Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. NIV

In today's verses, we are listening to wisdom as it speaks, personified as a lady. This is called anthropomorphism, ascribing human characteristics to an inanimate object. Another example—we might say of a turbulent river, “That's an angry river.” Wisdom here is speaking like a person—a woman—and she says, “When you reject me, I will reject you.” When we reject wise choices long enough, our poor choices will ultimately cause disaster and destruction in our life like a “whirlwind” or tornado. And in the back of our mind, we will hear Wisdom saying in mockery, “I told you so.”

For October 26, 2009

Proverbs 1:22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?

Prov 1:22 "How long, you simpletons,
will you insist on being simpleminded?
How long will you mockers relish your mocking?
How long will you fools hate knowledge? NL
T

There are three types of people named in this verse who consistently reject the wisdom god offers them. (1) The simple, or naïve ones who lack discernment skills and will instead follow the easiest path that offers “too good to be true” pie in the sky promises. (2) The scorner/mocker is the skeptic who would just rather argue and debate. And (3), the fool, who just misuses, rejects, and hates truth (knowledge). Fortunately the Book of Proverbs provides help to the reader so we may avoid those destructive paths.

For October 23, 2009

Proverbs 1:24-25
24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:

Prov 1:24-25
24 I have called you so often, but still you won't come. I have pleaded, but all in vain. 25 For you have spurned my counsel and reproof. TLB

Yesterday we mentioned that God places many learning opportunities (wisdom) before us through daily living, His Word, and through creation. Yet there is a group of folks who hear wisdom and reject it. It is not that they don't have knowledge to do the right things; it is just that they refuse, won't regard it, and want nothing of it. Don't reject the nuggets of wisdom that God offers today!

For October 22, 2009

Proverbs 1:20-21
20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:
21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,

Prov 1:20-21
20 Wisdom cries aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the markets;
21 She cries at the head of the noisy intersections [in the chief gathering places]; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: AMP

We have just concluded the topic of counseling, considering the qualities of a good counselor as well as the sort of person who does not benefit from good counsel. But for those who do heed good counsel, a world of wisdom opens up to them. That is our new focus—wisdom. Wisdom has several meanings in Proverbs but we can sum it up as: being skilled in godly living and having a keen mind. Proverbs introduces wisdom metaphorically as a person. If we will but listen to her, Wisdom is easily available and is trying to shout out her lessons to us through our daily living, through God's word, and even through creation. Let's listen and become wise.

For October 21, 2009

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

Prov 17:2 A wise servant will rule over a disgraceful son,
and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers. NIV

For October 20, 2009

Proverbs 29:19 A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.

Prov 29:19 A slave will not be instructed by words alone;
For though he understands, there will be no response. NASU

Often when the word “servant” appears in the KJV, it is translated “slave” in other versions. That is helpful to note here. Paul referred to believers as “Christ's slave” (1 Cor 7:22). The idea of servant-hood or slavery is that the mind and body of the slave is subjected to the service of the one who has purchased them. (Are you a servant of Christ or of self?) A person who is a servant or slave to themselves (self-centered, self-serving, unconcerned about the needs of others) is in mind in this Proverb. He may understand what someone tells him, but if it does not appear to serve him, he will simply ignore it and not respond. Words alone do him no good.

For October 19, 2009

Proverbs 29:9 If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.

Prov 29:9 If a wise man has an argument with a foolish man, the fool only rages or laughs, and there is no rest. AMP

Have you ever provided sound advice to someone only for them to fly off the handle in anger? They are angry because you are telling them the truth and they know it, yet they don't want to receive truth. Or on the opposite end of the scale, they look at you in disbelief that you would suggest something so preposterous as doing the right thing. Just remember what this verse calls such a person: “a foolish man.” And there is no rest arguing with such a person.

For October 15, 2009

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

Prov 19:19 A short-tempered man must bear his own penalty; you can't do much to help him. If you try once you must try a dozen times! TLB

The goal of a counselor is that the counsel will “stick” with the one counseled and that permanent and positive life change will occur. Solomon presents what looks like a situation with little hope—that of trying to help people with a bad temper. Rather than being willing to have a heart change that would ultimately change their circumstances, they prefer to vent anger about the situation. We must remember that the New Testament gives hope to the hopeless through the indwelling of the Holy Ghost that makes “all things new” and “old things”, as in attitudes and lifestyles, can “pass away.”

For October 14, 2009

Proverbs 18:2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.

Prov 18:2 A fool has no delight in understanding,
But in expressing his own heart. NKJV

The truth of this scripture is played out by those who come wanting to talk, but not to listen for advice on how to change their lives to improve their situation. They want to talk because they want to tell someone their woes. His delight is in talking not in listening. Counseling this sort of individual is usually unfruitful.

For October 13, 2009

Proverbs 10:17 He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.

Prov 10:17 People who listen when they are corrected will live, but those who will not admit that they are wrong are in danger. TEV

Let us summarize some qualities of a good counselor that we have looked in the past several days. A good counselor: (1) is godly; (2) uses good timing; (3) pays close attention; (4) is objective; (5) is understanding; (6) is honest, and; (7) demonstrates God's love.

But is good counsel always heeded? Is there a guarantee that because the counselor applies all these good methods that the one they counsel will follow that good advice? Today's verse reveals the answer: No. Some will still refuse to be helped. A person must be willing to be helped in order to receive help.

For October 12, 2009

Proverbs 27:9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.

Prov 27:9 The heartfelt counsel of a friend
is as sweet as perfume and incense. NLT

Hearty or heartfelt counsel refers to words that come from the heart of the counselor. This is a quality of a good counselor-he displays the love of God through his counseling. If you are in a position to counsel others, pray that God's love will shine through you in addition to God's wisdom. If so, your words will leave a lingering affect like a sweet fragrance.

For October 8, 2009

Proverbs 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

Proverbs 15:4 Gentle words cause life and health; griping brings discouragement. TLB

Proverbs has enough wisdom to offer that it can teach the teacher, counsel the counselor and advise the adviser. If you are offering counsel, understand that truth can hurt. Your words can penetrate like a knife so use that knife in a wholesome, skilful, and gentle way like a surgeon who causes healing rather than gangster who causes hurt.

For October 8, 2009

Proverbs 25:26 A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.

Prov 25:26 Like a muddied fountain and a polluted spring is a righteous man who yields, falls down, and compromises his integrity before the wicked. AMP

We have been talking about qualities of a good counselor. Today's proverb has multiple levels of application but one of them is that the counselor, the “righteous man,” will not become polluted by his counselee who has done wickedly. We are there to help them and not be overcome by their deeds of sin. Don't compromise your counsel or integrity by allowing a wicked influence or intimidation alter your judgment. Speak truth. Stay on the Word. Don't be lured by an error. Much more can be said here.

For October 7, 2009

Proverbs 28:23 He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.

Prov 28:23 In the end, people appreciate honest criticism
far more than flattery. NLT

Nothing more need be said.

For October 6, 2009

Proverbs 24:23-26
23 These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.
24 He that saith unto the wicked, Thou are righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:
25 But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.
26 Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.

Prov 24:23-26
23 Further Sayings of the Wise
These things also belong to the wise:
It is not good to show partiality in judgment.
24 He who says to the wicked, "You are righteous,"
Him the people will curse;
Nations will abhor him.
25 But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight,
And a good blessing will come upon them.
26 He who gives a right answer kisses the lips. NKJV

What better way can you help someone than by speaking the truth? Telling the wicked that he is righteous does not help him. What benefit would it be to the patient if the doctor does not tell him the truth about his serious condition? If there is wickedness, rebuke it. In other words, find the right tools to honestly and without partiality help the person deal with their problem. Meekness and love are two “tools” found in the New Testament for dealing with such.

For October 2, 2009

Proverbs 27:19 As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.

Prov 27:19 As in water face reflects face,
So a man's heart reveals the man. NKJV

Another quality of a good counselor is being able to imagine yourself in the position of the one to whom you are offering advice. Pat, pious, platitudes and clichés do little good to bring people out of despairing situations but reveal a lack of concern on the part of the counselor. But real face to face and heart to heart understanding of the counselor helps him, through his own soul-searching, to pull from life experience meaningful advice rather than uncaring judgment.

For October 1, 2009

Proverbs 18:17 He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.
Proverbs 26:23 Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.

Prov 18:17 The first to present his case seems right,
till another comes forward and questions him. NIV
Prov 26:23 Burning lips [uttering insincere words of love] and a wicked heart are like an earthen vessel covered with the scum thrown off from molten silver [making it appear to be solid silver]. AMP

A fair counselor will listen patiently as the first party presents his side of the dispute but will reserve making a judgment until he listens to both sides of the issue. The second verse reminds us that people will often paint their testimony with creative colors and strokes making their side (at first view) to appear favorable—as pretty as a silver-plated pottery vessel. But a close examination of both sides may reveal evidence of clay mud and silver scum. If we truly want to help someone, we need to view the full picture and not just one biased perspective.

For September 30, 2009

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

Prov 18:13 Spouting off before listening to the facts
is both shameful and foolish. NLT

When it comes to the serious, complex issues of life, God is the only one who can answer you before you ask (Matt 6:8 …your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him). But for us humans with limited knowledge, when we are trying to help someone, take the time to listen before speaking. Leave out all the assumptions until you have heard them out.

For September 29, 2009

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

Prov 15:28 The heart of the righteous studies how to answer,
But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil. NKJV

You will know that you have found a good Proverbs-class counselor if they give you time to open your heart and listen to you intently, with eye contact. They will not keep interrupting you except to ask clarifying questions. You see, they are truly more interested in listening to you than to their own voice and they are “studying to answer”.

For September 28, 2009

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

Prov 15:23 A man finds joy in giving an apt reply —
and how good is a timely word! NIV

Last week we were discussing qualities of a good advisor—those counselors who are more beneficial than some others. One thing that makes advice more useful is when it is provided at the right time. Being able to discern when something should be said and when it should be withheld is a gift not everyone has. They wait until the person is ready to receive with an open mind, or they ask questions that lead the person to discover the answer on their own.

For September 23, 2009

Proverbs 25:9 Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another:

Prov 25:9 Argue your cause with your neighbor himself; discover not and disclose not another's secret, [Matt 18:15.] AMP

More on yesterday's topic—keeping confidence with other people's secrets. When someone shares personal information with you along with the request, “Please don't share this with anyone…”, we ought to respect the wishes of the one we are counseling. However, there may be situations where the information you learn concerns someone's safety and appropriate person's of authority may need to be contacted, but personal, and reputation damaging information should be kept a secret otherwise. Consider how you would feel if it were the skeletons in your closet that were being exhibited to the world.

NOTE: There will be no Proverb-a-day verses on Sept 24 and 25. Service will resume Sept 28.

For September 22, 2009

Proverbs 11:13 A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

Prov 11:13 No one who gossips can be trusted with a secret, but you can put confidence in someone who is trustworthy. TEV

Another quality of a good counselor is that he has a “faithful spirit” or is “trustworthy” when it comes to information shared with him. We dealt with this when discussing wrong uses of the tongue but it comes into consideration again in this topic as well. If you are one who counsels with people and want to be most effective, show respect for those you counsel by burying the private and maybe scandalous information shared with you. If you need someone to pour your heart out to, seek one known for being able to keep confidence.

For September 21, 2009

Proverbs 4:18-19
18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

Prov 4:18-19
18 The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know what makes them stumble. NIV

Last week (9/17) we suggested that it is beneficial to seek after advice from specific individuals, such as a pastor, church elder, or trusted friend. This week we begin looking at qualities that make some counselors better than others. In today's Proverb, we see that a godly person is one of those. There is something about the persistent righteous choices of that person that shines a revealing light in the path way of hurting people.

For September 18, 2009

Proverbs 13:10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
Proverbs 19:20 Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

Prov 13:10 Pride only breeds quarrels,
but wisdom is found in those who take advice. NIV
Prov 19:20 Hear counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, that you may be wise in the time to come. AMP

Pursuing good counsel allows us to gain wisdom, and, after all, true wisdom is God's perspective. There are many times when I tell the Lord, “Lord, I'd like you to sit down next to me and let us have a talk about such-and-such. I need your opinion.” There are at least three ways we can have that kind of talk: (1) read what the Bible has to say on the subject; (2) pray in the Spirit; (3) listen to godly counsel. If you seek, you will find.

For September 17, 2009

Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.
Proverbs 20:18 Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.

Prov 15:22 Plans go wrong for lack of advice;
many advisers bring success. NLT

Prov 20:18 Plans succeed through good counsel;
don't go to war without wise advice. NLT

What are your plans? Have you got a big decision to make? Are you pondering a decision concerning an important relationship (a mate or business partner)? Are you struggling with a career move or thinking of resettling in a new location? Maybe someone has “declared war” on you and you need to know how to proceed. If you ask counsel of “many advisers” and not just the opinion of one peer, the Lord says your plans will be established (successful). Consider asking seasoned advisors like your pastor, an elder in the church, a parent or grand parent, as well as a trustworthy friend.

For September 16, 2009

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Prov 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. NIV
Eph 3:20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. NLT

Consider today a day to provide a hearty word of counsel to someone who feels hopeless. You may run into someone today who has a “sick” or crushed heart. Hopelessness causes great heaviness because the hopeless person can't imagine anything better coming their way. The good news is that God can do abundantly more than we can imagine. Look up! There is hope!

For September 15, 2009

Proverbs 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

Prov 11:14 For lack of guidance a nation falls,
but many advisers make victory sure. NIV

A wide variety of opinions can provide a larger perspective, allowing a more complete picture of the situation before us. Leaning on the insight of others allows us to learn the lessons they learned through the school of hard knocks. That means a few less bruises on our head and more victories on our score card.

For September 14, 2009

Proverbs 12:18 There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.
Proverbs 12:25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

Prov 12:18 Some people like to make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise soothe and heal. TLB
Prov 12:25 Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,
But a good word makes it glad. NKJV

We will see in the days ahead that the Proverbs reveal at least four positive benefits of good counsel. The first is that it helps heal and relieve worry. Do you know someone who is depressed? Bring them a good word and it soothes and heals depression as it turns it into gladness. Are you depressed yourself? Open your sensitivity to find the good word that the Lord will bring to you today for your relief.

For September 11, 2009

Proverbs 12:20 Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.

Prov 12:20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
But counselors of peace have joy. NKJV

The Hebrew word translated “counselors” in this verse is a different word than the one used in Proverbs 1:5 that we defined yesterday. Today's verse uses the word “yaats” which means “sharing direct, objective information.” While listening is a major role in counseling, effective counseling also involves a direct attack of the issues with an objective point of view. To do that, one must lift themselves above the emotions of the issue and “tell it like it is,” as an objective third person might see it, yet in the spirit of meekness and with love. These “counselors of peace” can effectively help people find peace of mind and they themselves have joy as a result.

For September 10, 2009

Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

Prov 1:5 These proverbs can even add to the knowledge of wise men and give guidance to the educated, TEV

The Hebrew word translated “counsel” here has at its root, “chabal” which means “to bind or to pledge” and is used in rope-pulling as is steering or directing a ship. Think of the wise counselor as one who literally pulls others along into a course correction. And note that this proverb indicates that it takes a “man of understanding” to benefit from wise counsel. Not everyone receives and is helped by counsel, but keep pulling!

For September 9, 2009

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

Prov 15:22 Where there is no counsel, purposes are frustrated, but with many counselors they are accomplished. AMP

Today we dive into a new topic in Proverbs that can be introduced with this question: How well do you listen to advice? A truly wise person is one who knows that he does not have all the answers for living and that he needs to develop a team of a “multitude of counselors” to help us through. Come again for more!

For September 8, 2009

Proverbs 22:29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.

Prov 22:29 Do you see a man skilled in his work?
He will serve before kings;
he will not serve before obscure men. NIV

This is our last verse on the topic of the topic, “What kind of worker are you?” Since July 24th we have been studying our work ethic. We have looked at the lazy worker, the deceiver, the greedy, the diligent, and the thoughtful worker. (Check the archives at www.moreword.com/proverbs.php for a review.) Today's verse speaks of the diligent, or as the NIV translates it, the “skilled” worker. Are you skillful in your work? And are you making yourself a more valuable employee by doing anything to increase your skill? Take a class, read a book, ask questions. Can you improve your skill in any way?

For September 3, 2009

Proverbs 28:15-16
15 As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.
16 The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.

Prov 28:15-16
15 A wicked ruler is as dangerous to the poor as a lion or bear attacking them.
16 Only a stupid prince will oppress his people, but a king will have a long reign if he hates dishonesty and bribes. TLB

What kind of a boss are you? Focus on the underlying principles of leadership presented in these verses and learn from the contrast. Does your staff have an unhealthy fear of you? Look for signs of intimidation in them. Do you create terror in them through raised voice and “getting onto” them? You lack understanding then. On the flipside, a boss who demonstrates understanding of his employees resists the temptation to “cloud up and rain all over them.”

For September 2, 2009

Proverbs 27:23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.

Prov 27:23 Look after your sheep and cattle as carefully as you can, TEV

A principle that can be garnered from this Proverb is that the thoughtful employer knows well the condition of his employees and doesn't cover his eyes to what is going on on the production floor. He pays attention to them and “looks after his sheep,” tending to their needs.

For September 1, 2009

Proverbs 12:10 A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

Prov 12:10 A righteous man regards the life of his animal,
But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. NKJV

We move forward in our study of qualities of a good worker. We've been looking at qualities of the diligent and have seen that he is disciplined, alert, valuable, has good ideas, and is promised blessings. Today we consider another good quality: thoughtfulness. Even the “life of his beast” is important to this business owner. Consider the parallel of the relationship between ancient land owner and his work animal (or that of many today in 3rd world communities) and that of the employer and employee in today's urban work culture. Are you the boss over others in your work unit? A good employer cares for the needs of his workers and treats them well.

For August 31, 2009

Proverbs 13:4, 19
4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
19 The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.

Prov 13:4, 19
4 Lazy people want much but get little, while the diligent are prospering.
19 It is pleasant to see plans develop. That is why fools refuse to give them up even when they are wrong. TLB

There is an inner satisfaction to those who are diligent about their business because they likely complete many of the tasks that they set out to do. They meet the deadline, they cross of “to-do list” items, and they are satisfied in such an accomplishment. There is no guilt there because the job is well done.

For August 28, 2009

Proverbs 12:24 The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.

Prov 12:24 The hand of the diligent will rule,
But the lazy man will be put to forced labor. NKJV

The diligent worker is more likely to be promoted over the lazy worker.

For August 27, 2009

Proverbs 12:11 He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.

Prov 12:11 He who works his land will have abundant food,
but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment. NIV

There is a promise of provision for the diligent. Here is a promise to pray and to claim today!

For August 26, 2009

Proverbs 21:5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

Prov 21:5 Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty. TLB

The diligent employee is a thinker. Innovation is his goal and he is steady (consistent) in applying that to his work. As a result of his consistent diligence and innovation, it leads to prosperity. Much can be said for patient consistency.

For August 25, 2009

Proverbs 12:27 The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.

Prov 12:27 The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting,
But diligence is man's precious possession. NKJV

If you are diligent, you are a precious or valuable asset to your employer. The interview committee sought long and far to find you and your boss is probably grateful to have you on the team.

For August 24, 2009

Proverbs 10:4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

Prov 10:4 Lazy hands make a man poor,
but diligent hands bring wealth. NIV

Our subject for the past several days has been our work ethic. We began studying wrong work habits, such as laziness, deception and greed. Today begin looking at right work habits starting with diligence. The Hebrew word, “charuwts” (khaw-roots') means properly, incised or incisive; a trench (as dug), gold (as mined), a threshing-sledge (having sharp teeth); (figuratively) determination; also eager.* Some synonyms are: keen, perceptive, insightful, sharp, penetrating, razor sharp. What a great description of a good work ethic. If you have the time, meditate on those in terms of how you do your job—a dug trench which precisely channels the flow of valuable resources; mined gold—a precious commodity derived from raw materials; and a sharp sledge that can get the job done efficiently. Congratulations, you have been voted Employee of the month!

*(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

For August 21, 2009

Proverbs 28:20 A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.

Prov 28:20 The trustworthy person will get a rich reward,
but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble. NLT

In yesterday's proverb, words from Jesus, we saw how the greedy person is selfish. He measures his life by the stuff he hoards in his barns and is driven with a selfish drive. In today's verse, we see how that empty pursuit only leads him to trouble. Often such a person ends up with loneliness, emptiness, broken relationships, disappointed children, enemies, drug abuse, etc. And nothing in his “stuff barns” makes him feel any better. Again, we see from these contrasts the kind of work ethic that is favored by God. Instead of hoarding, open your stuff barns and share your blessings with others in need. And there are plenty of those around these days.

Next week we will move on from the negative contrasts and begin examining the kind of employee everyone wants.

For August 20, 2009

Luke 12:15-20
15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

Luke 12:15-20
15 And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."
16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' 18 So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul,"Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."' 20 But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' NKJV

For August 19, 2009

Proverbs 23:4-5
4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

Prov 23:4-5
4 Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
have the wisdom to show restraint.
5 Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
for they will surely sprout wings
and fly off to the sky like an eagle. NIV

More advice for the greedy business person. Don’t allow the accumulation of wealth to be the focus of life. It is certain that money has wings—it rapidly flies away like a frightened flock of birds.

For August 18, 2009

Proverbs 11:28 He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.

Prov 11:28 Whoever trusts in his riches will fall,
but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. NIV
Eccl 5:10 He who loves money shall never have enough. The foolishness of thinking that wealth brings happiness! TLB

A characteristic of the greedy person is that he seeks wealth with a religious passion thinking that he will find satisfaction from it. But it is like chasing soap bubbles; when it is in his hands, it never seems to be enough to truly satisfy. Only the pursuit of righteousness through Jesus Christ will produce the flourishing and thriving of his soul.

For August 17, 2009

Proverbs 28:22 He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.

Prov 28:22 Trying to get rich quick is evil and leads to poverty. TLB

We have been looking at work ethic and today we come to the greedy. This is most relevant for our day as greed is behind our world’s current (and past) financial troubles. These next few days will parallel the financial news of recent months. Get rich quick schemes don’t work but lead to loss and poverty.

For August 14, 2009

Proverbs 25:19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.
Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Prov 25:19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble
Is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint. NKJV
Eph 4:28 If anyone is stealing he must stop it and begin using those hands of his for honest work so he can give to others in need. TLB

A few days ago, we introduced the employee who is a deceiver. He earns deceptive wages, he gambles his money away and he troubles his house. Yesterday's verse described how deception may have an initial “sweet taste” but afterwards it is more like gravel in the mouth. Today we see how he lacks loyalty and can not be depended upon. Would your employer describe you as dependable? Let us examine the deceiver and do the opposite. Steal no more and work honestly.

For August 13, 2009

Proverbs 20:17 Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

Prov 20:17 Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man,
but he ends up with a mouth full of gravel. NIV

For August 12, 2009

Proverbs 13:11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.
Proverbs 15:27 He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.

Prov 13:11 Wealth [not earned but] won in haste or unjustly or from the production of things for vain or detrimental use [such riches] will dwindle away, but he who gathers little by little will increase [his riches]. AMP
Prov 15:27 Try to make a profit dishonestly, and you get your family in trouble. Don't take bribes and you will live longer. TEV

The employee who is a deceiver gains temporary wealth through dishonest means but loses it. He brings trouble to his house. These verses describe the habits of the gambler.

For August 7, 2009

Please see the Administrative Note below.

Proverbs 11:18 The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.

Prov 11:18 The wicked man earns deceptive wages,
but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward. NIV

The topic for the past few weeks has been the proper work ethic as seen mostly through the contrasting bad examples. We will see more examples in the days ahead like this one today. The employee or businessperson who works in deception may show gain in the short term, but the certain reward comes only by sowing righteousness. Don't follow the deceiver who says, “No one will ever catch us. Besides everyone does it anyway and this company owes it to me. Besides they can afford it.” Sow right acts and reap certain rewards.

ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE:
There will be no Proverb-a-day or Daily Bible Study for the first part of next week. Our family is moving this weekend and will require a few days to get reconnected and back online with our daily messages. We will see you again some time next week.

For August 6, 2009

Proverbs 6:10-11
10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

Prov 6:10-11
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest —
11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man. NIV

The second word of advice for the lazy employee is one of warning. If you continue in your quest for sleep, sleep, and more sleep, it leads to poverty and want.

For August 5, 2009

Proverbs 6:6-8
6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

Prov 6:6-8
6 Lazy people should learn a lesson from the way ants live. 7 They have no leader, chief, or ruler, 8 but they store up their food during the summer, getting ready for winter. TEV

Today and tomorrow's verses offer advice, an object lesson, a practical life example for the sluggard in all of us. Watch the ant and learn. They work hard when no boss is around. They take initiative. They plan ahead. They take action when opportunities arise, and prepare for hard times.

Here is a review of the six characteristics of the sluggard: He has trouble getting started; he is restless—plans and never implements; he dreams but never works on the dream; he is costly to his employer through waste and slow production; he is defensive; he is a quitter; and, he creates self-delusional excuses. Watch out for these in your own work ethic and take action when they start to rise. As a representative of the Lord Jesus, doing our job well with excellence should be a top priority.

For August 4, 2009

Proverbs 22:13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.

Prov 22:13 The lazy man says, "There is a lion outside!
I shall be slain in the streets!" NKJV

The sixth characteristic of the lazy employee is that he creates self-delusional excuses. His level of excuses moved beyond, “I'm not feeling well,” or “I'm having some personal family issues,” to “there is a lion in the street and I'll be eaten!” Next week it might be, “I think I saw a T-Rex in the woods,” or “Somebody predicted that an asteroid may fall.” Outlandish, unbelievable, delusional arguments keep the lazy man away from work.

For August 3, 2009

Proverbs 12:27 The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.

Prov 12:27 Lazy people don't even cook the game they catch,
but the diligent make use of everything they find. NLT

What is that old saying? “…teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”—well, not necessarily so. The lazy fisherman thinks it is too much trouble to clean and cook the catch. The lazy hunter would rather take a nap than prepare the game he killed. The fifth symptom/characteristic of a lazy employee is that he is a quitter. If he even starts a task, he is not likely to complete it.

For July 31, 2009

Proverbs 26:16 The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

Prov 26:16 The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes
Than seven men who can answer sensibly. NKJV

The fourth symptom/characteristic of a lazy employee is that they are defensive. While they can’t seem to muster enough energy to do a job well, they sure come to life when trying to defend themselves when confronted by a supervisor. It is usually at those times when the sluggard reveals through his defensiveness how he sees himself as wiser than the rest of the employees.

For July 30, 2009

Proverbs 18:9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.

Prov 18:9 A lazy person is as bad as someone who is destructive. TEV

The third characteristic of the lazy employee: he is costly to his employer through waste and slow production.

For July 29, 2009

Proverbs 21:25 The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.

Prov 21:25 The sluggard's craving will be the death of him,
because his hands refuse to work. NIV

More on yesterday's symptom of the lazy employee—he dreams but never works on the dream.

For July 28, 2009

Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

Prov 13:4 Lazy people want much but get little,
but those who work hard will prosper. NLT

Today and tomorrow we see the second symptom of the lazy worker: he is restless; he plans but never implements.

For July 27, 2009

Proverbs 6:9-10
9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

Prov 6:9-10
9 But you-all you do is sleep. When will you wake up? 10 "Let me sleep a little longer!" Sure, just a little more! TLB

The subject we are considering is our work ethic, the wrong kind—laziness. We can learn right behaviors by contrasting them against the wrong. In the next several days, we will look at six symptoms of a lazy worker. Hopefully you will NOT recognize yourself in these. If you do, don’t simply laugh it off with the avoidance response: “That’s just me. Take it or leave it.” Unfortunately, this is the kind of employee nobody wants, so as a friend of mine says, “create value for yourself” as an employee by making yourself more useful and therefore more desirable. The first symptom of the lazy worker is: he has trouble getting started. Just a little more sleep pleeeeezzzzzzzzz. Uh oh, does your habit of hitting the snooze button on the alarm make you habitually late?

For July 24, 2009

Proverbs 24:30-34
30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.
32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.
33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
34 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.
Colossians 3:23-24
23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Prov 24:30-31
30 I walked by the field of a lazy person,
the vineyard of one with no common sense.
31 I saw that it was overgrown with nettles.
It was covered with weeds,
and its walls were broken down.
32 Then, as I looked and thought about it,
I learned this lesson:
33 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
34 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
scarcity will attack you like an armed robber. NLT
Col 3:23-24
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. NIV

Today we graduate to a new study in Proverbs—our work ethic. What kind of employee are you? If you are a child of God, do you represent your Father well in the workplace? Unfortunately it is true that some of the employees who are cheating their employer and ripping off their customers Monday through Friday are at church on Sunday and Wednesday fitting in among the worshippers. The Proverbs teach a work ethic based on integrity, honesty, honor, and reliability. Let us learn and apply that ethic. (Ouch, I’ve preached myself under conviction!) In the above verses, you saw the contrast between the sluggard (lazy) employee and the diligent worker. Remember your real boss is not Foreman Frank or Vice President Vicky, but Judge Jesus, so do Him a good job!

For July 23, 2009

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

Prov 19:5 A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he who breathes out lies shall not escape. [Ex 23:1; Deut 19:16-19; Prov 6:19; 21:28.] AMP

For July 22, 2009

Proverbs 6:18-19
18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Prov 6:18-19
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. NIV

Today's proverb is the second part of yesterday's verse which started out listing seven things which the Lord hates. On this list of seven another form of lying finds its place: a witness who lies. This has to do with a judicial setting where a witness is to tell nothing but the whole truth concerning the accused. And quite fittingly, what results from making false accusations is sowing discord among brothers. “These things the LORD hates.”

For July 21, 2009

Proverbs 6:16-17
16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

Prov 6:16-17
16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood, NIV

The subject we have been considering is evil uses of the tongue. Something that is detestable and hated by God is a lying tongue. Have you ever thought about the sin of lying as being in the same category as killing innocent people?

For July 20, 2009

Rom 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

Rom 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. NKJV

The tendency of the natural man/woman is to lash out at our persecutors but that is not the way of the child of God. Bless and pray for those who persecute you. That’s the HIGHway—that’s God’s way.

As I explained on Friday, today’s verse is not from the Book of Proverbs but completes our consideration of the subtopic of profanity under the more general category of evil uses of the tongue. Tomorrow begins the final subtopic in this category: lies.

For July 17, 2009

Eph 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Eph 5:3-4
3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

Eph 4:29 Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God's favor) to those who hear it. AMP

Eph 5:3-4
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. NIV

The verses today and Monday are the last on the subject of cursing/foul language. And these last two entries are going to be the first two Proverb-a-day messages I've sent that don't include a verse from Proverbs. Before we move off topic, I felt it beneficial to cover a few parallel passages from the New Testament.

For July 16, 2009

Proverbs 30:11 There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.

James 3:9-10
9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing . My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

Prov 30:11 There are people who curse their fathers and do not show their appreciation for their mothers. TEV

James 3:9-10
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. NIV

Since June 22, we have been focusing on verses from Proverbs that deal with evil uses of the tongue and have been on the specific topic of profanity since July 10. Much is said throughout the Word on this subject, which is why we are providing companion verses from other books of the Bible. It is apparent that the Lord would like us to get this very practical directive: Clean up the vocabulary! Use words to edify not destroy. Men are made in God’s image so we should not curse them.

For July 15, 2009

Prov 20:20 Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.

Eccl 10:20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

Lev 24:15 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin.

Prov 20:20 If a man curses his father or mother,
his lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness. NIV

Eccl 10:20 Do not curse the king, even in your thought;
Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom;
For a bird of the air may carry your voice,
And a bird in flight may tell the matter.
NKJV

Lev 24:15 "Then you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. NKJV

For July 14, 2009

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Prov 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit. NKJV

Among the powerful lessons taught about the tongue in Proverbs is the practical revelation that, depending on our choice of words, we either add life or take life from those to whom we speak. Consider the words you have spoken today. How do you think the people you spoke with were affected by your words? Did you add life or deflate life?

For July 13, 2009

Proverbs 30:14 There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.
Rom 3:14 [Concerning the unrighteousness,] Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

Prov 30:14There is a generation whose teeth are like swords,
And whose fangs are like knives,
To devour the poor from off the earth,
And the needy from among men. NKJV
Rom 3:14 [Concerning the unrighteous,] their speech is filled with bitter curses. TEV

For July 10, 2009

Proverbs 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
Ps 59:12 For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak.

Prov 15:4 A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit. NASU
Ps 59:12 For the sin of their mouths and the words of their lips, let them even be trapped and taken in their pride, and for the cursing and lying which they utter. AMP

Another evil use of the tongue: perversion, profanity, cursing. For the next few days, we will cover these topics of the tongue. For people who are not given to using profanity, having to listen to others curse excessively “crushes the spirit.” Perhaps some of you were raised by a parent who constantly used profanity or you have worked with someone given to cursing. It wears you down and makes you feel like you are covered with filth. The accompanying verse in Psalm refers to cursing as a sin of the mouth.

For July 9, 2009

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

Prov 27:2 Let other people praise you — even strangers; never do it yourself. TEV

Another verse related to this evil use of the tongue: boasting. People quickly grow tired when someone continually lifts themselves up. A humble heart seeks to lift others not self, and what we give to others has a way of coming back to us.

For July 8, 2009

Please see administrative note below.

Proverbs 25:14 Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.

Prov 25:14 Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give. NIV

Administrative Note:
I will be switching to a new mail server next week, courtesy of moreword.com. The new mailing address for Proverb-a-day will be proverbs@moreword.com. You probably do not need to do anything to continue to receive the daily messages.

To aid in the transition and to confirm that you will continue to receive Proverb-a-day after the transition, for the rest of this week, you should receive two identical Proverb-a-day messages, one from the current account, proverbs@bluemarble.net, and one from the new account, proverbs@moreword.com. Then beginning on Monday of next week, emails will only be sent from the new account. Due to junk filters that many people use, you may need to add proverbs@moreword.com to your “safe senders” list to make sure you receive the daily emails from the new account. If you do not receive two Proverbs email messages today, Thursday and Friday, you will likely need to do that. I will send you a personal message if I receive a bounce back message on the new account.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Be wise,

Blessings 2u,
Anthony Warner
Proverb-a-Day

For July 7, 2009

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

Prov 18:13 He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him. NKJV

Another evil use of the tongue is boasting as we see in today's and the next two days' Proverbs.

For July 6, 2009

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

Proverbs 17:5 If you make fun of poor people, you insult the God who made them. You will be punished if you take pleasure in someone's misfortune. TEV

Continuing this week on the topic of evil uses of the tongue, we find mocking on that list. Notice how that mocking/making fun of people is called a reproach or insult to God. Why? Because the target of our mockery is a human being created in the image of God.

For July 2, 2009

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

Prov 17:27-28
27 He who has knowledge spares his words,
And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.
28 Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace;
When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.
NKJV

Another wise use of the tongue in Anthony’s version: Don’t talk so much! Learn to shut up.

For July 1, 2009

Proverbs 22:24-25
24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:
25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

Prov 22:24-25
24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man,
do not associate with one easily angered,
25 or you may learn his ways
and get yourself ensnared.
NIV

Yesterday’s Proverb instructed us to use our lips to help stop strife early. Another wise response to angry people is to not pursue friendships with them because we tend to become more like those we associate closely with.

For June 30, 2009

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

Prov 17:14 The beginning of strife is as when water first trickles [from a crack in a dam]; therefore stop contention before it becomes worse and quarreling breaks out. AMP

While on the subject of angry words, the wisdom of Proverbs tells how to handle them—leave off or abandon the fight before it goes too far. Some people don't seem to know when it is time to “shut up”, but the wise stop “before it be meddled with.”

For June 29, 2009

Proverbs 29:22 An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.

Prov 29:22 People with quick tempers cause a lot of quarreling and trouble. TEV

Evil uses of the tongue: anger, strife, flaring temper, quarreling

NOTE:
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For June 26, 2009

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

Prov 18:6-7
6 When some fool starts an argument, he is asking for a beating. 7 When a fool speaks, he is ruining himself; he gets caught in the trap of his own words. TEV

We have been looking at verses in Proverbs which contrast uses of the tongue. We have already covered positive uses of the tongue (advice, exhortation, encouragement, and witnessing), and some of the evil uses of the tongue (flattery, slander, tale bearing and gossip). Today we begin with verses which portray another evil use of the tongue: arguments, strife, and angry words. Again, the arguing type is called a fool.

For June 25, 2009

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

Prov 17:9 He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. NIV

Repeating a matter that should be kept quiet can have serious consequences. Love keeps the mouth shut. Of course there are times when it is appropriate and even necessary to share the details of an “offense” with an authority figure for the sake of preserving or removing someone from danger, but who we tell is important. We should not tell it to anyone just for the satisfaction of being the one who shares a juicy story, but we should share it with a person who has the power to correct the situation and for that purpose. My former pastor, Tom Meadows, used to say, “It is better to bury a stink than to spread it.” Perhaps we need to handle the tale with a shovel rather than a megaphone.

 

For June 24, 2009

Proverbs 10:18 He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
Proverbs 11:13 A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

Prov 10:18 Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, And whoever spreads slander is a fool. NKJV
Prov 11:13 He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy and faithful in spirit keeps the matter hidden. AMP

We see more evil uses of the tongue in today's Proverbs: lies, slander, talebearing, gossip. Here are some helpful definitions.

Slander: a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report
Talebearing: spreading malicious stories or gossip
Malicious: deliberately harmful
Gossip: spreading intimate or private rumors or facts

Just because information may be truthful does not mean it should be repeated. Watch your words. If you repeat things that are harmful to a person's character or reputation or are of a private nature, the Word of God calls you a fool. It is better to say nothing (demonstrating a faithful spirit) than to say something unnecessarily that may be harmful to others and be counted a fool. Consider how you would feel if the roles were switched and you were the subject of that malicious conversation.

For June 23, 2009

Proverbs 26:24-25

24 He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;

25 When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.

Proverbs 26:28 A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

Prov 26:24-26 A man with hate in his heart may sound pleasant enough, but don't believe him; for he is cursing you in his heart. Though he pretends to be so kind, his hatred will finally come to light for all to see.

Prov 26:28 Flattery is a form of hatred and wounds cruelly.

TLB

Today's verse concerns an evil use of the tongue: flattery.

For June 22, 2009

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

Matthew 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

James 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

Prov 15:2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. NLT

Matt 12:36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. NIV

James 3:8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. NKJV

We are turning the corner on uses of the tongue. We have looked at verses that discuss good uses of the tongue, such as wise counsel, reproof, encouragement, and witnessing. For the next several days we will be looking at evil uses of the tongue. Today we add references from the New Testament as companions to the Proverb as we consider a tongue that “belches” foolishness.

 

For June 19, 2009

Proverbs 13:14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

Prov 13:14 The teachings of the wise are a fountain of life; they will help you escape when your life is in danger. TEV

This verse can have a dual application, practical and spiritual. A good use of the tongue is to teach lessons of life that warn people to avoid sinful, dangerous paths. Also, if we share the way salvation with those who are lost without God, you may be responsible for leading them from hell to heaven.