2060.) Proverbs 12

March 24, 2017

Proverbs 12 (The Message)

If You Love Learning

1 If you love learning, you love the discipline that goes with it—
how shortsighted to refuse correction!

He who opens a school door, closes a prison.

Victor Hugo
French novelist, statesman, human rights activist
(1802 – 1885)

2 A good person basks in the delight of God,
and he wants nothing to do with devious schemers.

3 You can’t find firm footing in a swamp,
but life rooted in God stands firm.

4 A hearty wife invigorates her husband,
but a frigid woman is cancer in the bones.

happy couple:  a wife with a good heart and a husband who loves her!

Eve was not taken from Adam’s head, because she was not intended to be his ruler . . . nor from his feet either, because she was not intended to be his slave . . . but from his side, precisely, because she was intended to be his companion.

5 The thinking of principled people makes for justice;
the plots of degenerates corrupt.

6 The words of the wicked kill;
the speech of the upright saves.

7 Wicked people fall to pieces—there’s nothing to them;
the homes of good people hold together.

2 Peter 2:9 (ESV)

The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.

8 A person who talks sense is honored;
airheads are held in contempt.

9 Better to be ordinary and work for a living
than act important and starve in the process.

10 Good people are good to their animals;
the “good-hearted” bad people kick and abuse them.

Ask the beasts and they will teach you the beauty of this earth.

–St. Francis

11 The one who stays on the job has food on the table;
the witless chase whims and fancies.

12 What the wicked construct finally falls into ruin,
while the roots of the righteous give life, and more life.

Wise People Take Advice

13 The gossip of bad people gets them in trouble;
the conversation of good people keeps them out of it.

14 Well-spoken words bring satisfaction;
well-done work has its own reward.

Tulips in a couple of the one thousand acres of Longwood Gardens, PA.

Kind hearts are the garden,
Kind thoughts are the roots,
Kind words are the blossoms,
Kind deeds are the fruits.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
American poet (1807 – 1882)

15 Fools are headstrong and do what they like;
wise people take advice.

16 Fools have short fuses and explode all too quickly;
the prudent quietly shrug off insults.

Choose NOT to be offended. I was taught this some years ago by my friend Ross, and I love the idea that I can make a choice that will benefit me and honor God!

17 Truthful witness by a good person clears the air,
but liars lay down a smoke screen of deceit.

18 Rash language cuts and maims,
but there is healing in the words of the wise.

Healing Words

The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.
— Hubert H. Humphrey

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.
— Henri Nouwen

The miracles of the church seem to me to rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from afar off, but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always.
— Willa Cather

You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
— C.S. Lewis

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
— Philippians 4:8  (KJV)

19 Truth lasts;
lies are here today, gone tomorrow.

20 Evil scheming distorts the schemer;
peace-planning brings joy to the planner.

21 No evil can overwhelm a good person,
but the wicked have their hands full of it.

22 God can’t stomach liars;
he loves the company of those who keep their word.

23 Prudent people don’t flaunt their knowledge;
talkative fools broadcast their silliness.

24 The diligent find freedom in their work;
the lazy are oppressed by work.

It is possible to fail in many ways. . . while to succeed is possible only in one way.

Aristotle
Greek critic, philosopher, physicist, zoologist
(384-322 BC)

25 Worry weighs us down;
a cheerful word picks us up.

26 A good person survives misfortune,
but a wicked life invites disaster.

27 A lazy life is an empty life,
but “early to rise” gets the job done.

Early to bed, and early to rise,
Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Benjamin Franklin
author, printer, politician, scientist, inventor, diplomat
(1706-1790)

28 Good men and women travel right into life;
sin’s detours take you straight to hell.

_________________________

Music:

The Gandhi quote at the top of the page has really stayed with me, perhaps because I have had a couple deaths in my circle of friends recently: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.”

HERE  Tim McGraw sings some of the same thoughts in his “Live Like You Were Dying,” a song which won the County Music Song of the Year for 2004.

_________________________

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:
Gandhi quote.   https://chrisdelacruzofficial.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/live-as-if-you-were-to-die-tomorrow-learn-as-if-you-were-to-live-forever-mahatma-gandhi.jpg
school-apple.    http://extraordinarymomsnetwork.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/apple-school.jpg
dear friends Sonja and Johan Hinderlie.    http://lh6.ggpht.com/_wwHflP16Wm8/SlgCGi-f0OI/AAAAAAAAES8/EOHXusOYupU/s288/100_4460.jpg
St. Francis with the animals.   https://www.avemariapress.com/dynamicmedia/files/6d06008f1b02bbed0179a06cceb475f0/stfrancis.jpg
Longwood Gardens.    http://www.appraisaltrend.com/xSites/Appraisers/AppraisalTrendLLC/Content/UploadedFiles/LongwoodGardens.jpg
Attitude quote.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/e112e-17f9dc4d7329c7e3037d8beb43519eb7.jpg
bouquet of flowers.  http://myfsn-ars.flowershopnetwork.com/images/flowerdatabase/alstromeria-lilies-and-roses-everyday.365.jpg 
Work hard.    http://www.motivationpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Work-hard-and-become-a-leader.jpg
Ben Franklin.    http://stevenblair.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/ben-franklin-2.jpg

2040.) Proverbs 11

February 24, 2017

“The righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” — Proverbs 11:28

Proverbs 11 (The Message)

Without Good Direction, People Lose Their Way

1God hates cheating in the marketplace;
he loves it when business is aboveboard.

A recent example of cheating in the marketplace:  Bernard Madoff orchestrated a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme that collapsed, affecting thousands of investors.

2 The stuck-up fall flat on their faces,
but down-to-earth people stand firm.

3 The integrity of the honest keeps them on track;
the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.

4 A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart,
but a principled life can stand up to the worst.

5 Moral character makes for smooth traveling;
an evil life is a hard life.

prov11-happens-for-a-reason

6 Good character is the best insurance;
crooks get trapped in their sinful lust.

7 When the wicked die, that’s it—
the story’s over, end of hope.

8 A good person is saved from much trouble;
a bad person runs straight into it.

9 The loose tongue of the godless spreads destruction;
the common sense of the godly preserves them.

a poster from World War II

WHAT COMES OUT OF YOUR MOUTH?

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

The Bible stresses that what you say is an accurate indicator of what is in your heart. If your words bless and encourage others, they give evidence of a compassionate heart. If you often share the good news about Christ, you demonstrate a heart that is grateful for your own salvation. When others are in a crisis, do they know they will find peace and comfort in your words? Do you frequently and spontaneously offer prayers for others? Do your words and the manner in which you say them reveal a patient heart? All of these behaviors indicate a heart that is like the heart of the Father.

Or do you often regret your words? Are there people even now who are hurt or angry because of something you have said? Do you enjoy gossip? Do you tend to criticize others? Do you feel that you are not responsible for what comes out of your mouth when you are angry? Does your mouth spew grumbling and complaints? These behaviors come from a heart that is unlike God’s heart.

You may say, “Oh, but that’s just the way I am! I am always saying the wrong thing!” Yet Scripture clearly states that an abusive tongue is not under the control of the Spirit (see James 3:3-10). A sanctified mouth is a wonderful instrument for the Lord. A heart like the father’s heart will produce only pure and loving words. Without making any excuses for your words, ask the Holy Spirit to forgive you for any words that have brought harm. Then ask Him to discipline your mouth so that every word you speak is used by God to encourage and edify others.

10 When it goes well for good people, the whole town cheers;
when it goes badly for bad people, the town celebrates.

11 When right-living people bless the city, it flourishes;
evil talk turns it into a ghost town in no time.

12 Mean-spirited slander is heartless;
quiet discretion accompanies good sense.

13 A gadabout gossip can’t be trusted with a secret,
but someone of integrity won’t violate a confidence.

“Gossip” by Norman Rockwell.

14 Without good direction, people lose their way;
the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.

15 Whoever makes deals with strangers is sure to get burned;
if you keep a cool head, you’ll avoid rash bargains.

16 A woman of gentle grace gets respect,
but men of rough violence grab for loot.

A God-Shaped Life

17 When you’re kind to others, you help yourself;
when you’re cruel to others, you hurt yourself.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “We Can Be Kind”  sung by Nancy Lamott. Many times it seems that the simplest things are the things that make the difference!

_________________________

18 Bad work gets paid with a bad check;
good work gets solid pay.

19 Take your stand with God’s loyal community and live,
or chase after phantoms of evil and die.

20 God can’t stand deceivers,
but oh how he relishes integrity.

prov11-words

21 Count on this: The wicked won’t get off scot-free,
and God’s loyal people will triumph.

22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful face on an empty head.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.”

–Miss Piggy

23 The desires of good people lead straight to the best,
but wicked ambition ends in angry frustration.

24 The world of the generous gets larger and larger;
the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.

“The Miser” by Tsaritsa Maria Fyodorovna (mother of Tsar Nicholas II), 1890.

The Miser

A miser once dreamed he had given away
Some bread to the beggar he’d met in the day.
He woke with a start and solemnly swore
That as long as he lived he would slumber no more.

25 The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;
those who help others are helped.

26 Curses on those who drive a hard bargain!
Blessings on all who play fair and square!

27 The one who seeks good finds delight;
the student of evil becomes evil.

28 A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump;
a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.

29 Exploit or abuse your family, and end up with a fistful of air;
common sense tells you it’s a stupid way to live.

30 A good life is a fruit-bearing tree;
a violent life destroys souls.

prov11-ripe-fruit

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

31 If good people barely make it,
what’s in store for the bad!

_________________________

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:
green tree.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/tree3.jpg
Bernie Madoff.    http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2009/12/12/alg_bernard_madoff.jpg
Everything happens for a reason.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/da/b4/f7/dab4f70586ac0eb54b95fc2e96caa10f.jpg
“Loose lips sink ships” poster.    http://www.3quarksdaily.com/.a/6a00d8341c562c53ef010536d16a83970b-800wi
Rockwell.    http://www.nrm.org/wp2016/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Gossips_web.jpg
Psalm 19:14.   http://www.idyllwildpines.org/Community/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/heart.jpg
Miss Piggy.    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/100/296745849_ec37dced32_o.gif
Fyodorovna.    http://01varvara.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/maria-fyodorovna-the-miser-1890-e1268345929496.jpg
fruit and verse 30.    https://t3.ftcdn.net/jpg/00/89/00/02/240_F_89000280_eied5nOCJmGU1hx5QfCIGHQSkuwSrdcL.jpg

1895.) Proverbs 10

August 5, 2016

Prov10 rich

Proverbs 10 (The Message)

The Wise Sayings of Solomon

An Honest Life Is Immortal

1 Wise son, glad father; stupid son, sad mother.

2 Ill-gotten gain gets you nowhere;
an honest life is immortal.

3 God won’t starve an honest soul,
but he frustrates the appetites of the wicked.

Psalm 37:25 (New International Version)

I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.

4 Sloth makes you poor;
diligence brings wealth.

5 Make hay while the sun shines—that’s smart;
go fishing during harvest—that’s stupid.

6 Blessings accrue on a good and honest life,

but the mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse.

7 A good and honest life is a blessed memorial;
a wicked life leaves a rotten stench.

8 A wise heart takes orders;
an empty head will come unglued.

9 Honesty lives confident and carefree,
but Shifty is sure to be exposed.

Reflections on telling the truth and lying:

Who lies for you will lie against you.
~Bosnian Proverb

No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.
~Abraham Lincoln

Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one less rascal in the world.
~Thomas Carlyle

A lie will easily get you out of a scrape, and yet, strangely and beautifully, rapture possesses you when you have taken the scrape and left out the lie.
~Charles Edward Montague

Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.
~Thomas Jefferson

10 An evasive eye is a sign of trouble ahead,
but an open, face-to-face meeting results in peace.

11 The mouth of a good person is a deep, life-giving well,
but the mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse.

12 Hatred starts fights,
but love pulls a quilt over the bickering.

Prov10 quilt

1 Peter 4:8 (New International Version)

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

13 You’ll find wisdom on the lips of a person of insight,
but the shortsighted needs a slap in the face.

14 The wise accumulate knowledge—a true treasure;
know-it-alls talk too much—a sheer waste.

The Road to Life Is a Disciplined Life

15 The wealth of the rich is their bastion;
the poverty of the indigent is their ruin.

16 The wage of a good person is exuberant life;
an evil person ends up with nothing but sin.

Prov10 righteous life

17 The road to life is a disciplined life;
ignore correction and you’re lost for good.

18 Liars secretly hoard hatred;
fools openly spread slander.

19 The more talk, the less truth;
the wise measure their words.

20 The speech of a good person is worth waiting for;
the blabber of the wicked is worthless.

21 The talk of a good person is rich fare for many,
but chatterboxes die of an empty heart.

Fear-of-God Expands Your Life

22 God’s blessing makes life rich;
nothing we do can improve on God.

_________________________

Music:

HERE,  The Oslo Gospel Choir sings about how rich life is in  “The Power of Your Love.”  Lyrics below.

Lord I come to You
Let my heart be changed, renewed
Flowing from the grace
That I’ve found in You
Lord I’ve come to know
The weaknesses I see in me
Will be stripped away
By the Power of Your love

Hold me close
Let Your love surround me
Bring me near
Draw me to Your side
And as I wait
I’ll rise up like an eagle
And I will soar with You
Your spirit leads me on
In the Power of Your love

Lord unveil my eyes
Let me see you face to face
The knowledge of Your love
As you live in me
Lord renew my mind
As Your will unfolds in my life
In living every day
In the Power of Your love

Hold me close
Let Your love surround me
Bring me near
Draw me to Your side
And as I wait
I’ll rise up like the eagle
And I will soar with You
Your Spirit leads me on
In the power of Your love

_________________________

23 An empty-head thinks mischief is fun,
but a mindful person relishes wisdom.

24 The nightmares of the wicked come true;
what the good people desire, they get.

1 John 5:14-15 (New International Version)

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

25 When the storm is over, there’s nothing left of the wicked;
good people, firm on their rock foundation, aren’t even fazed.

26 A lazy employee will give you nothing but trouble;
it’s vinegar in the mouth, smoke in the eyes.

27 The Fear-of-God expands your life;
a wicked life is a puny life.

28 The aspirations of good people end in celebration;
the ambitions of bad people crash.

Job 8:11-13 (New International Version)

Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh?
Can reeds thrive without water?

While still growing and uncut,
they wither more quickly than grass.

Such is the destiny of all who forget God;
so perishes the hope of the godless.

29 God is solid backing to a well-lived life,
but he calls into question a shabby performance.

30 Good people last—they can’t be moved;
the wicked are here today, gone tomorrow.

31 A good person’s mouth is a clear fountain of wisdom;
a foul mouth is a stagnant swamp.

32 The speech of a good person clears the air;
the words of the wicked pollute it.

Not like the picture above!  Like the words below!

Psalm 19:14 (New International Version)

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

_________________________

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:
It is the blessing of the Lord . . .    http://grucc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/proverbs-10_22.jpg
boy eating bread.    http://www.britsattheirbest.com/images/ii_bread_boy.gif
crown and verse 6.   http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i317/glorifing/Bible%20Scripture/proverbs10_6crop.gif
Pinocchio.   http://eurohero.wikispaces.com/file/view/pinocchio.jpg/94456428/pinocchio.jpg
quilt with hearts.    http://cdn3.craftsy.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Screen-Shot-2014-01-29-at-8.47.19-AM.png
The labour of the righteous.   https://01.img.society6.com/society6/img/zuQFup7yxFGbKD5L-Du6LiHrb4A/w_700/artwork/~artwork/s6-0004/asset_14/419869_twbJVKYeIK/~~/proverbs-1016-prints.jpg
butterfly and verse 19.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/prov10-19s.jpg
painting of the face of Jesus by Ju Chul Kim, 2006.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/ohmygod0019.jpg
papyrus plant.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Papyrus_plant.jpg
air pollution.    http://www.urbansprout.co.za/files/images/air%20pollution_0.jpg

1850.) Proverbs 9

June 3, 2016

Prov9 v10
Proverbs 9 (The Message)

King Solomon asked for and received true, godly wisdom. In Proverbs 9, he personifies wisdom as a liberal hostess, a queen, in a lovely house to which she invites her pupils to a wonderful banquet. We can see two references here — one to Christ’s incarnation, when he built for himself a human body (John 2:19), and another to his work in forming the Church, which is his mystical body (1 Peter 2:5).

The Polish author Witold Gombrowicz wrote: “Foolishness is a twin sister of wisdom.” I doubt if Solomon would agree.

Lady Wisdom Gives a Dinner Party

1-6 Lady Wisdom has built and furnished her home;
it’s supported by seven hewn timbers.

The word “church” in English means both a group of believers and the building in which they meet.  As our chapter talks about the former, here is one of the latter:  Notre Dame de Paris, completed around 1345,  is widely considered to be one of the world’s finest examples of French Gothic architecture.

Ephesians 2:19-22 (NIV)

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

The banquet meal is ready to be served: lamb roasted,
wine poured out, table set with silver and flowers.
Having dismissed her serving maids,
Lady Wisdom goes to town, stands in a prominent place,
and invites everyone within sound of her voice:
“Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on?
Come with me, oh come, have dinner with me!
I’ve prepared a wonderful spread—fresh-baked bread,
roast lamb, carefully selected wines.
Leave your impoverished confusion and live!
Walk up the street to a life with meaning.”

Prov9 feast meal

Isaiah 25:6   (NLT)

In Jerusalem, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat.

7-12 If you reason with an arrogant cynic, you’ll get slapped in the face;
confront bad behavior and get a kick in the shins.
So don’t waste your time on a scoffer;
all you’ll get for your pains is abuse.
But if you correct those who care about life,
that’s different—they’ll love you for it!
Save your breath for the wise—they’ll be wiser for it;
tell good people what you know—they’ll profit from it.
Skilled living gets its start in the Fear-of-God,
insight into life from knowing a Holy God.
It’s through me, Lady Wisdom, that your life deepens,
and the years of your life ripen.
Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life;
mock life and life will mock you.

1 John 5:20 (NIV)

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

_________________________

Music:

Peter says, To Him be glory!  Paul says, He is the true God!  What do we say?

“My Savior, My God,”  by Aaron Shust,  HERE.  This song was awarded Song of the Year at the 2007 Annual GMA Dove Awards in Nashville.

_________________________

Madame Whore Calls Out, Too

In contrast to wisdom, the picture of folly is of a foolish woman, a harlot, who entices people into her house to their doom. Sophocles said: “Foolishness is indeed the sister of wickedness.” It seems Solomon would agree.

13-18 Then there’s this other woman, Madame Whore—
brazen, empty-headed, frivolous.
She sits on the front porch
of her house on Main Street,
And as people walk by minding
their own business, calls out,
“Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on?
Steal off with me, I’ll show you a good time!
No one will ever know—I’ll give you the time of your life.”
But they don’t know about all the skeletons in her closet,
that all her guests end up in hell.

The Spider and the Fly
a cautionary tale by Mary Howitt, 1821.

(When I think of Madame Whore, she has distinctly arachnid characteristics!)

“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I’ve a many curious things to shew when you are there.”
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?'” said the Spider to the Fly.
“There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I’ll snugly tuck you in!”
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “for I’ve often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!”

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, ” Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I’ve always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome — will you please to take a slice?”
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “kind Sir, that cannot be,
I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!”

“Sweet creature!” said the Spider, “you’re witty and you’re wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I’ve a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you’ll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you ‘re pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I’ll call another day.”

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
“Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple — there’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond  bright, but mine are dull as lead!”

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue,
Thinking of her crested head — poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour — but she ne’er came out again!

And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

_________________________

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:
flower and verse 10.   http://ourdailyblossom.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/110117-590×393.jpg
Notre Dame.    http://www.essential-architecture.com/IMAGES2/NotreDameDeParis.jpg
grilled tenderloin dinner.   https://www.ste-michelle.com/files/brands_cms/FlexibleImage/5143/RecipeRecipe_grilled-beef-tenderloin.jpg
Grow in Christ.    http://media.photobucket.com/image/Christ/nlbrown1/Religous/GrowinChrist.jpg
The Spider and the Fly.    http://www.stackingbooks.com/temp//wp-content/uploads/2013/03/The-Spider-and-the-fly-Cover.jpg

1842.) Proverbs 8

May 24, 2016

In this Greek icon, Lady Wisdom is presented with her three daughters, Faith, Hope, and Love.

Proverbs 8 (The Message)

Lady Wisdom Calls Out

1-11 Do you hear Lady Wisdom calling? Can you hear Madame Insight raising her voice?
She’s taken her stand at First and Main,
at the busiest intersection.
Right in the city square
where the traffic is thickest, she shouts,
“You—I’m talking to all of you,
everyone out here on the streets!
Listen, you idiots—learn good sense!
You blockheads—shape up!
Don’t miss a word of this—I’m telling you how to live well,
I’m telling you how to live at your best.
My mouth chews and savors and relishes truth—
I can’t stand the taste of evil!
You’ll only hear true and right words from my mouth;
not one syllable will be twisted or skewed.
You’ll recognize this as true—you with open minds;
truth-ready minds will see it at once.
Prefer my life-disciplines over chasing after money,
and God-knowledge over a lucrative career.
For Wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth;
nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her.

from Whistling in the Dark:  An ABC Theologized
by Frederick Buechner

In the Book of Proverbs, Wisdom is a woman.  “The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,” she says (Proverbs 8:22).  She was there when he made the heaven, the sea, the earth.  It was as if he needed a woman’s imagination to help him make them, a woman’s eye to tell him if he’d made them right, a woman’s spirit to measure their beauty by.  “I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always,” she says (Proverbs 8:30), as if it was her joy in what he was creating that made creation bearable, and that’s why he created her first.

Wisdom is a matter not only of the mind but of the intuition and heart, like a woman’s wisdom.  It is born out of suffering as a woman bears a child.  It shows a way through the darkness the way a woman stands at the window holding a lamp.  “Her ways are ways of pleasantness,” says Solomon, then adding, just in case there should be any lingering question as to her gender, “and all her paths are peace” (Proverbs 3:17).

12-21 “I am Lady Wisdom, and I live next to Sanity;
Knowledge and Discretion live just down the street.
The Fear-of-God means hating Evil,
whose ways I hate with a passion—
pride and arrogance and crooked talk.
Good counsel and common sense are my characteristics;
I am both Insight and the Virtue to live it out.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Proverbs 8:14 — Counsel is Mine and sound wisdom:  I am understanding; I have strength.

Job 28:23 — God understandeth the way thereof and He knoweth the place thereof.

God understands. There are no ways and no places that He does not understand.

Have you ever thought what a tremendous difference it would make to our lives if this were not true? Imagine the feelings of a soldier if he had good reason to doubt that his commanding officer understood the situation. We are soldiers. Our Commander understands. His understanding is infinite (Psalm 147:5). Though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident (Psalm 27:3).

Because of His infinite understanding, God knows that we want to be sure that the One who says He understands has been through the mill Himself. And so we have this wonderful touch of His special understanding in Proverbs 8, where it is clear that the speaker is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. I am Understanding. I, the man of Sorrows acquainted with grief, I who was tempted in all points just as you are, I am Understanding.

It is restful to be understood, to be with one who never misjudges. Let us rest in his presence today.

With my help, leaders rule,
and lawmakers legislate fairly;
With my help, governors govern,
along with all in legitimate authority.
I love those who love me;
those who look for me find me.
Wealth and Glory accompany me—
also substantial Honor and a Good Name.
My benefits are worth more than a big salary, even a very big salary;
the returns on me exceed any imaginable bonus.
You can find me on Righteous Road—that’s where I walk—
at the intersection of Justice Avenue,
Handing out life to those who love me,
filling their arms with life—armloads of life!

Though described as with God, wisdom is not asserted to be God. Such a presentation is consistent with personification, a literary metaphor in which a thing or an abstraction is represented as a person. (Common examples of personification in our ordinary lives include Mr. Clean, Aunt Jemima, the Jolly Green Giant, etc.) So “Lady Wisdom”  is not the female side of God, nor is she a feminine deity in her own right. Instead she praises God; she calls people to heed her teachings and so to find life. Wisdom shows the character of God, and God will give wisdom to all who learn from the Proverbs.

22-31 “God sovereignly made me—the first, the basic—
before he did anything else.
I was brought into being a long time ago,
well before Earth got its start.
I arrived on the scene before Ocean,
yes, even before Springs and Rivers and Lakes.
Before Mountains were sculpted and Hills took shape,
I was already there, newborn;
Long before God stretched out Earth’s Horizons,
and tended to the minute details of Soil and Weather,
And set Sky firmly in place,
I was there.
When he mapped and gave borders to wild Ocean,
built the vast vault of Heaven,
and installed the fountains that fed Ocean,
When he drew a boundary for Sea,
posted a sign that said no trespassing,
And then staked out Earth’s Foundations,
I was right there with him, making sure everything fit.
Day after day I was there, with my joyful applause,
always enjoying his company,
Delighted with the world of things and creatures,
happily celebrating the human family.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  Hillsong sings  “God Is Great.”  The whole earth sings to the glory of the Creator!

_________________________

32-36 “So, my dear friends, listen carefully;
those who embrace these my ways are most blessed.

“Mother Jeanne Nursing Her Baby” painted by Mary Cassatt, 1907

Luke 11:27-28 (ESV)

As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said,  “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

Mark a life of discipline and live wisely;
don’t squander your precious life.
Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me,
awake and ready for me each morning,
alert and responsive as I start my day’s work.
When you find me, you find life, real life,
to say nothing of God’s good pleasure.
But if you wrong me, you damage your very soul;
when you reject me, you’re flirting with death.”

_________________________

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:
Lady Wisdom.    http://hindsfoot.org/xsophia3.jpg
painting by Arthur Douet.    http://www.arthurdouet.com/gallery/goddess_463x600.jpg
“He Cares” by Valeria Jean Marcus.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/9-he_cares.jpg?w=450
Aunt Jemima.    http://darwen.us/darrell/blographics/080325d.jpg
Cassatt.    http://www.wikiart.org/en/mary-cassatt/mother-jeanne-nursing-her-baby-1908?utm_source=returned&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=referral

1730.) Proverbs 7

December 18, 2015

William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 is one of my favorite reflections on true love. It draws a very different picture from what we read in Proverbs 7.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.  Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
____________

Proverbs 7 (The Message)

Dressed to Seduce

1-5 Dear friend, do what I tell you; treasure my careful instructions.
Do what I say and you’ll live well.
My teaching is as precious as your eyesight—guard it!
Write it out on the back of your hands;
etch it on the chambers of your heart.
Talk to Wisdom as to a sister.
Treat Insight as your companion.
They’ll be with you to fend off the Temptress—
that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seductress.

6-12 As I stood at the window of my house
looking out through the shutters,
Watching the mindless crowd stroll by,
I spotted a young man without any sense
Arriving at the corner of the street where she lived,
then turning up the path to her house.
It was dusk, the evening coming on,
the darkness thickening into night.
Just then, a woman met him—
she’d been lying in wait for him, dressed to seduce him.

Dressed for success . . .

Brazen and brash she was,
restless and roaming, never at home,
Walking the streets, loitering in the mall,
hanging out at every corner in town.

13-20 She threw her arms around him and kissed him,
boldly took his arm and said,
“I’ve got all the makings for a feast—
today I made my offerings, my vows are all paid,
So now I’ve come to find you,
hoping to catch sight of your face—and here you are!
I’ve spread fresh, clean sheets on my bed,
colorful imported linens.
My bed is aromatic with spices
and exotic fragrances.
Come, let’s make love all night,
spend the night in ecstatic lovemaking!

Other (shorter) pick-up lines:

I have a cat who would really like to meet you.

Do you have any raisins?  No?  How about a date?

If you were a new hamburger at McDonald’s, you would be McGorgeous.

Well, here I am.  What were your other two wishes?

Does my breath smell OK?

My husband’s not home; he’s away on business,
and he won’t be back for a month.”

Dear Hubby,

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” —
So stay away a little longer!

21-23 Soon she has him eating out of her hand,
bewitched by her honeyed speech.
Before you know it, he’s trotting behind her,
like a calf led to the butcher shop,
Like a stag lured into ambush
and then shot with an arrow,
Like a bird flying into a net
not knowing that its flying life is over.

24-27 So, friends, listen to me,
take these words of mine most seriously.
Don’t fool around with a woman like that;
don’t even stroll through her neighborhood.
Countless victims come under her spell;
she’s the death of many a poor man.
She runs a halfway house to hell,
fits you out with a shroud and a coffin.

a build-it-yourself coffin kit!

_________________________

Music:

True love is quite different from what this chapter describes!

This song was one of “our” songs when David and I first started to realize that we were going to be more than just friends. Now, almost twelve years after we were married (during a Saturday night worship service at Christ Our Shepherd Lutheran Church in Peachtree City, Georgia), being with David still “Feels Like Home to Me.” Sung  HERE  by Chantal Kreviazuk.

_________________________

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:
William Shakespeare.    http://karinshah.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/shakespeare1.jpg
harlot.    http://elementoffire.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/harlot.jpg
girl at bar.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/7-girl-at-bar.jpg
Bye-bye.    http://img1.funscrape.com/en/bye/9.gif
coffin.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/7-coffin.jpg?w=656

1680.) Proverbs 6

October 9, 2015

“I love ants!  Do they have uncles?  Ha-ha!”     (Elmo, on Sesame Street)

Proverbs 6 (The Message)

Like a Deer from the Hunter

Prov6 deer

1-5 Dear friend, if you’ve gone into hock with your neighbor or locked yourself into a deal with a stranger,
If you’ve impulsively promised the shirt off your back
and now find yourself shivering out in the cold,
Friend, don’t waste a minute, get yourself out of that mess.
You’re in that man’s clutches!
Go, put on a long face; act desperate.
Don’t procrastinate—
there’s no time to lose.
Run like a deer from the hunter,
fly like a bird from the trapper!

A Lesson from the Ant

6-11 You lazy fool, look at an ant.
Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two.
Nobody has to tell it what to do.
All summer it stores up food;
at harvest it stockpiles provisions.
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
poverty your permanent house guest!

Scripture tells us to consider the ways of the ant and be wise.

When my family and I lived in Nigeria, we were often attacked by driver ants, little black meat eaters.  If you stood in one place after a heavy rain and they were nearby, they might move up your leg and start their dinner.  You would pick them off and quickly go somewhere else.  Sometimes they would move into your house en masse.  You might just move out and let them clean out all the scraps of meat lying in corners and wait until they left.  One night they moved into my biology lab at school and cleaned out (literally) the white rats awaiting dissection.

Ants work together.  They cooperate.  One ant is insignificant, but an army of them can accomplish a great task.  They also plan.  They prepare ahead of time for the dry season when no food is available, and look ahead to the harvest.  They are self-starters.  They initiate and need no one to tell them what to do.

What great lessons we can learn when we ponder God’s work in little creatures.  By applying them we avoid unprofitable independence and sloth.

—Dr. James H. Kraakevik, in Stones of Remembrance

Always Cooking Up Something Nasty

12-15 Riffraff and rascals
talk out of both sides of their mouths.
They wink at each other, they shuffle their feet,
they cross their fingers behind their backs.
Their perverse minds are always cooking up something nasty,
always stirring up trouble.
Catastrophe is just around the corner for them,
a total smashup, their lives ruined beyond repair.

Seven Things God Hates

Prov6 John 3.16

16-19 Here are six things God hates,
and one more that he loathes with a passion:
eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent,
a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
a mouth that lies under oath,
a troublemaker in the family.

Warning on Adultery

_________________________

Music:

Alan Jackson, from Newnan, Georgia (my hometown for 10 years), is one of the big names in current country music. HERE  he sings  “She Just Started Liking Cheatin’ Songs.”

_________________________

20-23 Good friend, follow your father’s good advice;
don’t wander off from your mother’s teachings.
Wrap yourself in them from head to foot;
wear them like a scarf around your neck.
Wherever you walk, they’ll guide you;
whenever you rest, they’ll guard you;
when you wake up, they’ll tell you what’s next.
For sound advice is a beacon,
good teaching is a light,
moral discipline is a life path.

Deuteronomy 5:18 (New International Version)

“You shall not commit adultery.”

24-35 They’ll protect you from wanton women,
from the seductive talk of some temptress.
Don’t lustfully fantasize on her beauty,
nor be taken in by her bedroom eyes.

Model Claudia Lynx has  (beautiful)  sultry bedroom eyes.

You can buy an hour with a whore for a loaf of bread,
but a wanton woman may well eat you alive.
Can you build a fire in your lap
and not burn your pants?
Can you walk barefoot on hot coals
and not get blisters?
It’s the same when you have sex with your neighbor’s wife:
Touch her and you’ll pay for it. No excuses.
Hunger is no excuse
for a thief to steal;
When he’s caught he has to pay it back,
even if he has to put his whole house in hock.

Adultery is a brainless act,
soul-destroying, self-destructive;

Expect a bloody nose, a black eye,
and a reputation ruined for good.

For jealousy detonates rage in a cheated husband;
wild for revenge, he won’t make allowances.
Nothing you say or pay will make it all right;
neither bribes nor reason will satisfy him.

_________________________

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:
ants carrying food.    http://freshread.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/ants-3.jpg
deer.    http://www.iowasportsman.com/images/userphotos/2111USMC.jpg
driver ant.    http://www.butterfly-designs.com/butterflies/images/driverant2.jpg
John 3:16.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/46/93/05/469305d9675ef334f571343fd93b8baf.jpg
Claudia Lynx.    https://pp.vk.me/c11503/u105211982/a_121a4aa9.jpg
lipstick on his collar.    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2550/3684211748_1407aff5ed.jpg