3553.) Proverbs 12

November 30, 2022

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.    https://longwoodgardens.org/news/press/longwood-gardens%E2%80%99-spring-blooms-recognized-tulip-display-year
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.    https://www.askideas.com/60-best-laziness-quotes-and-sayings-for-inspiration/work-hard-and-become-a-leader-be-lazy-and-become-a-slave-2/
Ben Franklin.    http://stevenblair.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/ben-franklin-2.jpg

3544.) Proverbs 11

November 17, 2022

“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.

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.

He who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter: The man or woman of wisdom – those of a faithful spirit – knows there is an appropriate time to conceal a matter. There are times when love and wisdom guide to privacy.

–David Guzik

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

People need leadership and guidance. God has given systems and structures of authority, and those in leadership need to be able to give wise counsel. Bible commentator John Trapp wrote:  “One special thing the early Christians prayed for the emperor was, that God would send him Senatum fidelem, a faithful council.” 

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.

“The fruit of the righteous – that is to say his life – is not a thing fastened upon him, but it grows out of him…. Look to it more and more that your religion is real, true, natural, vital – not artificial, constrained, superficial, a thing of times, days, places, a fungus produced by excitement, a fermentation generated by meetings and stirred by oratory. We all need a religion which can live either in a wilderness, or in a crowd; a religion which will show itself in every walk of life, and in every company.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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.    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/dec/06/hsbc-bernard-madoff-lawsuit
Everything happens for a reason.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/da/b4/f7/dab4f70586ac0eb54b95fc2e96caa10f.jpg
“Loose lips sink ships” poster.    https://www.allposters.com/-sp/Loose-Lips-Sink-Ships-Posters_i16261328_.htm?upi=Q1I539GO1ZLN
Rockwell.    http://www.nrm.org/wp2016/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Gossips_web.jpg
Psalm 19:14.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/prov11-words.jpg
Miss Piggy.    https://jadensadventures.fandom.com/wiki/Miss_Piggy
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

3495.) Proverbs 10

September 9, 2022

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 (NIV)

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 (NIV)

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 (NIV)

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 (NIV)

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 (NIV)

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.   https://cmvchurch.com/no-man-has-a-good-enough-memory-to-be-a-successful-liar-%E2%80%95-abraham-lincoln/
quilt with hearts.   https://www.craftsy.com/post/valentines-day-quilt-patterns/
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.   https://freshscience.org.au/1998/610

3425.) Proverbs 9

June 3, 2022

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.

“Just as food and drink give physical life, Solomon’s teachings give spiritual life. This truth finds an even better realization in Jesus’ invitation to the banquet in the kingdom of God (Luke 14:15-24). Wisdom has done her part; now the feckless and senseless must make a decision to feast and be healed.”
–Bruce K. Waltke

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.

Prov 9 wise

In contrast to the cynic and the scoffer, the wise and good man will benefit from wisdom’s invitation. This is something of the sense of Jesus’ words, For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him (Matthew 13:12).
–David Guzik

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.   https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2016/06/03/1850-proverbs-9/#jp-carousel-38379
Notre Dame.    https://www.amazon.com/Cathedral-France-Historical-Architecture-Posters/dp/B004436SLE
grilled steak dinner.   https://www.saucemagazine.com/a/51116/the-scoop-stone-summit-steak-and-seafood-to-open-in-wentzvil
Proverbs 9:9.   https://evansthoughtsonlife.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/proverbs-9-9.jpg
Grow in Christ.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/9-growinchrist1.jpg
The Spider and the Fly.    https://jones4567.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/the-spider-and-the-fly-cover.jpg

3415.) Proverbs 8

May 20, 2022

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

Proverbs 8 (ESV)

Lady Wisdom Calls Out

Does not wisdom call?
    Does not understanding raise her voice?
On the heights beside the way,
    at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside the gates in front of the town,
    at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:

As before in the book of Proverbs, Solomon here wrote of wisdom as if she were a person – a noble, beautiful, helpful woman in contrast to the immoral woman described in Proverbs 7.

“The unchaste wife moves covertly at dusk and speaks falsely; Wisdom moves publicly and speaks direct and authoritative truth.” 
–Bruce Waltke

“To you, O men, I call,
    and my cry is to the children of man.
O simple ones, learn prudence;
    O fools, learn sense.
Hear, for I will speak noble things,
    and from my lips will come what is right,
for my mouth will utter truth;
    wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are righteous;
    there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.
They are all straight to him who understands,
    and right to those who find knowledge.

When wisdom speaks, it is true. When people use lies they should not be trusted to communicate wisdom. Wisdom says of her words that there is nothing crooked or perverse in them. Because of this, the words can be understood; they are all plain to him who understands. There is clarity and a straightforward character to wisdom, one that contrasts with elaborate so-called hidden truths and mysteries.

It could be said of the Scriptures in general, they are all plain to him who understands. Of course, there are deep and occasionally complicated passages, but the fundamental truths of the Bible are plain to those who trust God and honor His word. As the American author Mark Twain was reported to have said, It’s not the parts of the Bible I can’t understand that bother me; it’s the parts that I do understand.

–David Guzik

10 Take my instruction instead of silver,
    and knowledge rather than choice gold,
11 for wisdom is better than jewels,
    and all that you may desire cannot compare with 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 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
    and I find knowledge and discretion.

13 The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.
Pride and arrogance and the way of evil
    and perverted speech I hate.
14 I have counsel and sound wisdom;
    I have insight; I have strength.

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.

15 By me kings reign,
    and rulers decree what is just;
16 by me princes rule,
    and nobles, all who govern justly.
17 I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me diligently find me.
18 Riches and honor are with me,
    enduring wealth and righteousness.
19 My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold,
    and my yield than choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
    in the paths of justice,
21 granting an inheritance to those who love me,
    and filling their treasuries.

Prov8 Godly wealth

“Paradoxically when wealth is sought it corrupts, but when wisdom is sought, edifying wealth is given (cf. 1 Kings 3:4-15).”
–Bruce Waltke

22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work,
    the first of his acts of old.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
    at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
    when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
    before the hills, I was brought forth,
26 before he had made the earth with its fields,
    or the first of the dust of the world.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there;
    when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above,
    when he established the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
    so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30  then I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his delight,
    rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
    and delighting in the children of man.

Prov8 Genesis_1-31

_________________________

Music:

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

_________________________

32 “And now, O sons, listen to me:
    blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
    and do not neglect it.
34 Blessed is the one who listens to me,
    watching daily at my gates,
    waiting beside my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life
    and obtains favor from the Lord,
36 but he who fails to find me injures himself;
    all who hate me love death.”

_________________________

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

Images courtesy of:
Lady Wisdom.    https://albertblackwell.blogspot.com/2013/08/holy-wisdom-and-liberal-arts.html
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
Genesis 1:31.   https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Genesis-1-31_Inspirational_Image/

3330.) Proverbs 7

January 21, 2022

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?

Hey, you’re pretty and I’m cute. Together we’d be Pretty Cute.

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, over 18 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.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/166281411216876545/
coffin.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/7-coffin.jpg?w=656

3317.) Proverbs 6

January 4, 2022

“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!

“Our God, while he warns us against putting up security, has taken it on himself. May his name be praised for this! He has given us his Word, his bond, yes, his blood as security for sinners, which no power of hell can shake.”

–Charles Bridges

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.

The book of Proverbs speaks a lot about the value of hard work, and for good reason. The difference between success and failure, between potential disappointed or fulfilled, is often hard work.

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:

Several times in the book of Proverbs, Solomon used this expression to give a list. Here the list is of things that the Lord hates, that are an abomination to Him. The six are first stated, and the seventh is that which results, namely, ‘he that soweth discord among the brethren’ (as I learned it from the old KJV!).

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.

Different translations label the final sin as mischief-making, or unleashing conflicts, or causing divisions for one’s own selfish ends, or troubling the peace. We may not regard it as all that bad, but the Lord says otherwise. Again I am struck by how I ought to take my understanding of what is “good” and what is “bad” from the Bible instead of from the world.

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.

Good guidance is godly wisdom, the Word of God, passed down from parent to child, from generation to generation. The word of God is living and active. When it is cherished and kept close, we benefit from its living power.

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 (NIV)

“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.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/prov6-deer.jpg
driver ant.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/6-driverant.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

3253.) Proverbs 5

October 6, 2021

Mae West:  “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.”

Proverbs 5 (NLT)

Avoid Immoral Women

John Edwards and Rielle Hunter

After repeated denials that he was involved in an extramarital relationship, former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards confirmed that he indeed did have an affair with Rielle Hunter, while his wife, Elizabeth, was battling cancer. And another lie:  he denied that Hunter’s baby girl was his child; she is.

1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
listen carefully to my wise counsel.
2 Then you will show discernment,
and your lips will express what you’ve learned.
3 For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey,
and her mouth is smoother than oil.
4 But in the end she is as bitter as poison,
as dangerous as a double-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.
6 For she cares nothing about the path to life.
She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.

Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky

On January 26, 1998, President Clinton claimed “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky” in a nationally televised White House news conference. But he had.

7 So now, my sons, listen to me.
Never stray from what I am about to say:
8 Stay away from her!
Don’t go near the door of her house!
9 If you do, you will lose your honor
and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.
10 Strangers will consume your wealth,
and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
11 In the end you will groan in anguish
when disease consumes your body.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
13 Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?
Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
and now I must face public disgrace.”

15 Drink water from your own well—
share your love only with your wife.
16 Why spill the water of your springs in the streets,
having sex with just anyone?
17 You should reserve it for yourselves.
Never share it with strangers.

Dr. and Mrs. Billy Graham

“I am so grateful to the Lord that He gave me Ruth, and especially for these last few years we’ve had in the mountains together. We’ve rekindled the romance of our youth, and my love for her continued to grow deeper every day. I will miss her terribly, and look forward even more to the day I can join her in Heaven.”

– Billy Graham, June 14, 2007, the day Ruth died

18 Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.
Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts satisfy you always.
May you always be captivated by her love.
20 Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman,
or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

“The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behavior. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame.”

Tiger Woods apologized to the world and returned to therapy.

21 For the Lord sees clearly what a man does,
examining every path he takes.
22 An evil man is held captive by his own sins;
they are ropes that catch and hold him.
23 He will die for lack of self-control;
he will be lost because of his great foolishness.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  George Jones sings the poignant song  “Choices.”

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Mae West.   http://symonsez.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/maewest.jpg
John Edwards.   http://www.celebitchy.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/john-edwards-header.jpg
Bill Clinton.    http://img.timeinc.net/time/magazine/archive/covers/1998/1101980202_400.jpg
Billy Graham.    http://thescroogereport.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/grahams-2003.jpg
Tiger Woods.    https://www.ricosyfamosos.org/index.php/tag/tiger-woods/


3251.) Proverbs 4

October 4, 2021

Proverbs 4 (New Living Translation)

A Father’s Wise Advice

1 My children, listen when your father corrects you.
Pay attention and learn good judgment,
2 for I am giving you good guidance.
Don’t turn away from my instructions.
3 For I, too, was once my father’s son,
tenderly loved as my mother’s only child.

My father, Jasper Riskedahl, was a wonderful teacher of biblical truth and a gracious model of the godly life to me.

4 My father taught me,
“Take my words to heart.
Follow my commands, and you will live.
5 Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
Love her, and she will guard you.
7 Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
8 If you prize wisdom, she will make you great.
Embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will place a lovely wreath on your head;
she will present you with a beautiful crown.”

_________________________

Music:

HERE  The Mormon Tabernacle choir sings “Faith of Our Fathers.”

  1. Faith of our fathers, living still,
    In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;
    Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy
    Whene’er we hear that glorious Word!
    Refrain:
    Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
    We will be true to thee till death.
  2. Faith of our fathers, we will strive
    To win all nations unto thee;
    And through the truth that comes from God,
    We all shall then be truly free.
  3. Faith of our fathers, we will love
    Both friend and foe in all our strife;
    And preach thee, too, as love knows how
    By kindly words and virtuous life.

–Frederick W. Faber, 1814-1863

_________________________

10 My child, listen to me and do as I say,
and you will have a long, good life.
11 I will teach you wisdom’s ways
and lead you in straight paths.

12 When you walk, you won’t be held back;
when you run, you won’t stumble.
13
Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go.
Guard them, for they are the key to life.

14 Don’t do as the wicked do,
and don’t follow the path of evildoers.
15 Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way.
Turn away and keep moving.
16 For evil people can’t sleep until they’ve done their evil deed for the day.
They can’t rest until they’ve caused someone to stumble.
17 They eat the food of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence!

18 The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.

Philippians 2:15-16 (NIV)

You shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.

19 But the way of the wicked is like total darkness.
They have no idea what they are stumbling over.

20 My child, pay attention to what I say.
Listen carefully to my words.
21 Don’t lose sight of them.
Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
22 for they bring life to those who find them,
and healing to their whole body.

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

23 Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.

24 Avoid all perverse talk;
stay away from corrupt speech.

25 Look straight ahead,
and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26
Mark out a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path.
27 Don’t get sidetracked;
keep your feet from following evil.

Mount St. Helens

Proverbs 4:25-27 —

Let your eyes look directly forward,

and your gaze be straight before you.

Ponder the path of your feet;

then all your ways will be sure.

Do not swerve to the right or to the left;

turn your foot away from evil.

Prospects for climbing Mount St. Helens were not encouraging. Rain was falling in torrents and the mountain we had come so far to climb couldn’t even be seen. Hoping that the weather would improve by morning, we pitched our tents and crawled into our sleeping bags.

When morning arrived, the weather, although somewhat improved, was far from ideal. Clouds still hid the mountain and a fine drizzle of rain was falling. We showed little enthusiasm as we strapped on our crampons and roped up for the climb.

Five hours later, our previous lack of enthusiasm had turned to gloom. The rain was still falling, visibility was poor, and the snow slope was becoming increasingly steep.

Another hour of dogged perseverance, however, brought us above the clouds and into dazzling sunshine. Wave upon wave of fleece appeared to cover the universe, with the summits of Mount Adams and Mount Rainier the only visible land masses. The discomfort which we had suffered seemed a small price to pay for the magnificent sight spread before us.

How often in the spiritual realm are mountaintop experiences preceded by periods of discouragement? Indeed, the spiritual mountaintop experiences are often the direct result of persevering in the face of discouraging circumstances—of taking one’s stand in the face of ridicule; of staying unruffled when unfairly criticized; or of remaining steadfast in prayer for a loved one who does not recognize God’s claim upon his life. Only those who toil to the summit will see the view! Only those who bear the cross will receive the blessing!

–Dr. Onas Cudley Scandrette, in Stones of Remembrance

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Proverbs 4:18-19.    https://akfreedomfighters.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/proverbs-4-18-19.jpg
boy running.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/1bc4c-jackson_running.jpg
shining stars.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/4-shining-stars.jpg
heart and tree.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/hearttree.jpg
Mount St. Helens.    http://images.reserve123.com/product/8708-2.jpg

3194.) Proverbs 3

July 15, 2021

calligraphy by Timothy Botts

Proverbs 3 (New Living Translation)

Trusting in the Lord

1 My child, never forget the things I have taught you.
Store my commands in your heart.

We note that this obedience is one of the heart. Our goal in obedience is not mere outward conformity to God’s will, but a heart that loves and obeys Him.

2 If you do this, you will live many years,
and your life will be satisfying.
3 Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.
4 Then you will find favor with both God and people,
and you will earn a good reputation.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.

“The word translated ‘trust’ in verse 5 means ‘to lie helpless, facedown.’ It pictures a servant waiting for the master’s command in readiness to obey, or a defeated soldier yielding himself to the conquering general.”

–Warren W. Wiersbe

6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

“The Sure Path”  Proverbs 3:5-6 “VerseVisions” by Mark Lawrence

One of the most frequently asked questions among believers is, “How can I know the will of God?” In principle, Solomon gave a wonderful answer in Proverbs 3:5-6. When we:

· Decide to put our trust in the Lord.

· Decide to not trust in our own understanding, but give attention and priority to God’s revealed word.

· Decide to acknowledge and honor God in all that we do.

When we do those things, we can trust that God will direct our paths. We can go forward in peace, believing that through His word, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, through the counsel of others, through godly common sense, and through life circumstances, God will direct our paths. We will walk along our way of life and come to see that we have been on the path God intended all along.

–David Guzik

7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
8 Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.

___________________________

Music:

In 1887, just following an evangelistic meeting held by Dwight L. Moody, a young man stood to share his story in an after-service testimony meeting. As he was speaking, it became clear to many that he knew little about the Bible or acceptable Christian doctrine. His closing lines, however, spoke volumes to seasoned and new believers alike:  “I’m not quite sure. But I’m going to trust, and I’m going to obey.”

Daniel Towner was at that meeting. He wrote the words down and gave them to his friend John H. Sammis, who put them to verse. Then Towner wrote the music, and soon the hymn “Trust and Obey” became a favorite.

HERE  it is sung by Kaoma Chende, times 4!

___________________________

9 Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the best part of everything you produce.
10 Then he will fill your barns with grain,
and your vats will overflow with good wine.

11 My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t be upset when he corrects you.
12 For the Lord corrects those he loves,
just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.

“Sometimes He chastens because we have rebelled and need to repent; other times He chastens to keep us from sinning and to prepare us for His special blessing. No matter how much the experience hurts us, it will never harm us, because God always chastens in love.”

–Warren W. Wiersbe

13 Joyful is the person who finds wisdom,
the one who gains understanding.
14 For wisdom is more profitable than silver,
and her wages are better than gold.

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." --John 14:6

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” –John 14:6

15 Wisdom is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 She offers you long life in her right hand,
and riches and honor in her left.
17 She will guide you down delightful paths;
all her ways are satisfying.
18 Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
happy are those who hold her tightly.

“Alluding most manifestly to the tree so called which God in the beginning planted in the garden of Paradise, by eating the fruit of which all the wastes of nature might have been continually repaired, so as to prevent death for ever.”

–Adam Clarke

19 By wisdom the Lord founded the earth;
by understanding he created the heavens.
20 By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth,

Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park

and the dew settles beneath the night sky.

“The west wind after sunset brings enough moisture of the sea with it that during the night it falls in rich dew (cf. Song of Solomon 5:2). In Canaan’s almost rainless summer the land was dependent on this moisture for life, and so dew was more impressive to Orientals than to Westerners who, having a more abundant amount of rainfall, have less dependence on dew.”

–Bruce Waltke

21 My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment.
Hang on to them,
22
for they will refresh your soul.
They are like jewels on a necklace.
23
They keep you safe on your way,
and your feet will not stumble.

Prov3 commonsense

Reflections on common sense:

“It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense.”
–Robert Green Ingersoll

“Common sense is very uncommon.”
–Horace Greeley

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.”
–Thomas Alva Edison

“Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds.  A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.”
–William James

24 You can go to bed without fear;
you will lie down and sleep soundly.
25 You need not be afraid of sudden disaster
or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
26 for the Lord is your security.
He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.

27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it
when it’s in your power to help them.

2 Corinthians 8:14 (NIV)

At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality.

28 If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say,
“Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”

Just do it, with gladness! The good we should do should be done promptly, while opportunity still exists. If we leave it to tomorrow, it may never happen – and the opportunity to demonstrate Christ-likeness has passed.

29 Don’t plot harm against your neighbor,
for those who live nearby trust you.
30 Don’t pick a fight without reason,
when no one has done you harm.

Ephesians 4:32 (Amplified Bible)

And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted) . . .

31 Don’t envy violent people
or copy their ways.
32 Such wicked people are detestable to the Lord,
but he offers his friendship to the godly.

33 The Lord curses the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the upright.

34 The Lord mocks the mockers
but is gracious to the humble.

Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

35 The wise inherit honor,
but fools are put to shame!

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Botts.    http://www.prestoimages.net/graphics03/5592_pd73498full.jpg
Lawrence.   https://66assuranceway.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/3-lawrence.jpg
silos.    http://rfiles.rsbowman.us/Images/Scriptures/Proverbs/Proverbs3_9_10.jpg
wisdom quote.    http://www.quotescover.com/wp-content/uploads/Wisdom-is-found-only-in__quotes-by-Johann-Wolfgang-von-Goethe-84.png
Old Faithful.   https://www.travelpulse.com/news/destinations/reopen-plan-set-for-services-at-yellowstone-national-park.html
common sense.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/3-commonsense.jpg
heart.     http://seviminsayfasi.blogspot.com/2007/12/biz-geldik.html
humility.    https://thebibleguyblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/humility.jpg