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

3103.) Proverbs 2

March 10, 2021

Proverbs 2 (NLT)

The Benefits of Wisdom

1 My child, listen to what I say,
and treasure my commands.
2 Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
3 Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
4 Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.

Matthew 13:44 (NIV)

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord grants wisdom!
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

James 1:5 (Amplified Bible)

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.

7 He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
8 He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to him.

9 Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,
and you will find the right way to go.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will fill you with joy.

Ecclesiastes 2:26  (NLT)

God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him.

11 Wise choices will watch over you.
Understanding will keep you safe.

12 Wisdom will save you from evil people,
from those whose words are twisted.
13 These men turn from the right way
to walk down dark paths.
14 They take pleasure in doing wrong,
and they enjoy the twisted ways of evil.
15 Their actions are crooked,
and their ways are wrong.

Ps28 friends future

The right enemies help more than the wrong friends.

–from The Sayings of Chairman Moishe, by Moishe Rosen

16 Wisdom will save you from the immoral woman,
from the seductive words of the promiscuous woman.
17 She has abandoned her husband
and ignores the covenant she made before God.
18 Entering her house leads to death;
it is the road to the grave.
19 The man who visits her is doomed.
He will never reach the paths of life.

20 Follow the steps of good men instead,
and stay on the paths of the righteous.

What “good men” and women have inspired you to “stay on the paths of righteousness”? Perhaps relatives come immediately to mind, or pastors, or teachers, or co-workers, or neighbors, or camp leaders, or . . . (you get the drift!).  Why not write one of them a letter today — thanking him or her for being a godly influence in your life?

21 For only the godly will live in the land,
and those with integrity will remain in it.
22 But the wicked will be removed from the land,
and the treacherous will be uprooted.

from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary:

In fact, the righteous must leave the earth as well as the wicked; but the earth is a very different thing to them. To the wicked it is all the heaven they ever shall have; to the righteous it is the place of preparation for heaven.

attributed to Catherine of Siena:

All the road to heaven is heaven, because Christ is the Way.

_________________________

Music:

Oh, to be godly and to live with integrity! To stay on the path of righteousness! To love the Lord with all my heart and soul and mind and strength, and in so doing follow Him Who is the Way to Heaven!  HERE  Jars of Clay sings “Two Hands.”

_________________________

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:
benefits.    https://www.lifehealth.com/advisors-can-point-employees-toward-financial-flexibility/
Geocaching app.    http://braddog.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/geocaching.jpg
Show me your friends . . .     http://ariselifeskills.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/friendspredictyourfutureposter1.jpg
pen and paper.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/2-pen_and_paper.jpg?w=450

2875.) Proverbs 1

April 24, 2020

proverb: (noun) a short, pithy sentence that conveys a general truth, condensing common experience into memorable form

Proverbs 1 (New Living Translation)

The Purpose of Proverbs

1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.

King Solomon. Third king of Israel. Son of the great King David. The wisest man who ever lived.

The absolute quiet and prosperity of the reign of Solomon (the man of peace), as described in 1 Kings 4:20, would naturally be conducive to the growth of a sententious philosophy; whereas the constant wars and dangerous life of David had called forth the impassioned eloquence of the Psalms.

–Charles J. Ellicott (1819-1905)

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.

–1 Kings 4:29-34

2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.

“It is probably a safe bet to say that most people today are not much interested in wisdom. They are interested in making money and in having a good time. Some are interested in knowing something, in getting an education. Almost everyone wants to be well liked. But wisdom? The pursuit of wisdom is not a popular ideal.”

–James Montgomery Boice

3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
knowledge and discernment to the young.

5 Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
Let those with understanding receive guidance
6 by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
the words of the wise and their riddles.

7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

“But what is the fear of the LORD? It is that affectionate reverence by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to his Father’s law.”

–Charles Bridges

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “We Choose the Fear of the Lord”  sung by the Maranatha Singers.

_________________________

A Father’s Exhortation: Acquire Wisdom

A father teaching his son how to kayak.  Photo by Susan Sayour.

8 My child, listen when your father corrects you.
Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
9 What you learn from them will crown you with grace
and be a chain of honor around your neck.

Verses 7 – 9 may be regarded as a summary statement of the principle on which the whole book is based, and of the duty which it enjoins. The principle is that true wisdom is based on religion, and the duty is to listen to parental instruction. ‘My son,’ is the address of a teacher to his disciples, rather than of a father to his child.

–Alexander MacLaren (1826-1910, an English non-conformist minister of Scottish origin)

10 My child, if sinners entice you,
turn your back on them!
11 They may say, “Come and join us.
Let’s hide and kill someone!
Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent!
12 Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave;
let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death.
13 Think of the great things we’ll get!
We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take.
14 Come, throw in your lot with us;
we’ll all share the loot.”

15 My child, don’t go along with them!
Stay far away from their paths.
16 They rush to commit evil deeds.
They hurry to commit murder.
17 If a bird sees a trap being set,
it knows to stay away.

from Whispers of His Power, by Amy Carmichael

Proverbs 1:17 — Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.

When God is speaking to a soul, the devil always tries to spread a net to entangle him. Have you ever heard a message and found yourself thinking, “Yes, that is just the word for him. It fits him exactly. I hope he takes it to heart.” If you have, then you know one of Satan’s favorite nets. He tries to make us think of somebody else, and pass the message on to him instead of taking it for ourselves.

But surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. If you see the net, pray this prayer:  “Lord, open my ears to hear what Thou wilt say to me. Make me sincere, and give me grace to obey.”

And then, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it (John 2:5).

18 But these people set an ambush for themselves;
they are trying to get themselves killed.
19 Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money;
it robs them of life.

Wisdom Shouts in the Streets

“Wisdom calls aloud in the street . . . “

20 Wisdom shouts in the streets.
She cries out in the public square.
21 She calls to the crowds along the main street,
to those gathered in front of the city gate:

This is the first time that Wisdom, personified as a woman  (in Greek, “Sophia”), speaks in the book of Proverbs. We will hear from her again in chapters 8 and 9. This seems to me to be a metaphor only; orthodox Christianity does not condone worship of the goddess Sophia. Scripture teaches that God alone is true and holy Wisdom.

Romans 11:33 (NIV)

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!

1 Timothy 1:17 (NKJV)

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

22 “How long, you simpletons,
will you insist on being simpleminded?
How long will you mockers relish your mocking?
How long will you fools hate knowledge?
23 Come and listen to my counsel.
I’ll share my heart with you
and make you wise.

24 “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come.
I reached out to you, but you paid no attention.
25 You ignored my advice
and rejected the correction I offered.
26 So I will laugh when you are in trouble!
I will mock you when disaster overtakes you—
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone,
and anguish and distress overwhelm you.

Why do we ignore good advice?!

Here are some examples of good life advice which many of us have received and yet which many of us have had to learn the hard way!

Forgive and let go …
Read (A LOT) …
Don’t ever stop learning and growing as a person …
Save a portion of your earnings and avoid credit card debt …
Change your thinking, change your life …
Find a mentor and do what they’re doing …
Be kind to people …
Never, never, never give in …
Whatever you do, give it 100 % …

28 “When they cry for help, I will not answer.
Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me.
29 For they hated knowledge
and chose not to fear the Lord.
30 They rejected my advice
and paid no attention when I corrected them.
31 Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way,
choking on their own schemes.
32 For simpletons turn away from me—to death.
Fools are destroyed by their own complacency.
33 But all who listen to me will live in peace,
untroubled by fear of harm.”

Psalm 112:1, 7, 8 (NIV)

Praise the LORD.
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who finds great delight in his commands.

He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

His heart is secure, he will have no fear;
in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.

_________________________

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.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/1-proverbs-color.jpg?w=450
King Solomon.     https://i1.wp.com/ourhealingmoments.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/1-king_solomon.jpg
Sayour.    https://www.lensburyclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/father-and-son-kayak.jpg
sparrow caught in a net.      https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/1-sparrow.jpg?w=450
wisdom calling in the street.    http://www.tlchrist.info/wisdom.jpg
some good advice.   https://www.gcurley.info/news/2016/11/respecting-rebuking-the-saints/some-good-advice/

2860.) Proverbs 7

April 3, 2020

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, some sixteen 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.sendscraps.com/img-2299.html
coffin.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/7-coffin.jpg?w=656

2731.) Proverbs 31

October 7, 2019

Prov31 model

Proverbs 3  (NLT)

The Sayings of King Lemuel

The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him.

Mama warns her son the king not to succumb to the wiles of women who would sap his strength:

O my son, O son of my womb,
    O son of my vows,
do not waste your strength on women,
    on those who ruin kings.

Mama reminds him to avoid wine and strong drink so that he will not rule unwisely:

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine.
    Rulers should not crave alcohol.
For if they drink, they may forget the law
    and not give justice to the oppressed.
Alcohol is for the dying,
    and wine for those in bitter distress.
Let them drink to forget their poverty
    and remember their troubles no more.

Mama insists that it is his responsibility to give justice to the poor and oppressed:

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
    ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
    and see that they get justice.

A Wife of Noble Character

Prov31 Rubies 2

I dedicate this passage today to ALL the women who have showed me joyful, godly femininity. You have been wonderful models to me of what a Proverbs 31 woman can be. Thank you and much love to you today and every day!

10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
    She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her,
    and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.

Throughout the book of Proverbs, wives have been the object of both praise and judgment. In 19:14, a good wife is described as coming from the Lord. She is instrumental in training children and youth. Her contributions to the family are of the greatest importance. But wives can also be the object of judgment. They can nag (21:9); they can be quarrelsome (21:19). But worst of all, they can be unfaithful (7:19).

–Frank Johnson

13 She finds wool and flax
    and busily spins it.
14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
    and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.

–Franz Schubert

16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
    with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She is energetic and strong,
    a hard worker.
18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
    her lamp burns late into the night.

19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
    her fingers twisting fiber.
20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
    and opens her arms to the needy.
21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
    for everyone has warm clothes.

There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.

–Homer

22 She makes her own bedspreads.
    She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
    where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24 She makes belted linen garments
    and sashes to sell to the merchants.

Try praising your wife, even if it does frighten her at first.

–Billy Sunday

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
    and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
    and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
    and suffers nothing from laziness.

“I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest — blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband’s life as fully as he is mine.”

–Charlotte Bronte, in her novel Jane Eyre

28 Her children stand and bless her.

Author and preacher Tony Campolo said that when his wife, Peggy, was at home full time with their children and someone would ask, “And what is it that you do, my dear?” she would respond, “I am socializing two Homo sapiens into the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might be instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia that God willed from the beginning of creation.”

    Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
    but you surpass them all!”

Genesis 2:21-24   (NIV)

So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening.  Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.

“At last!” the man exclaimed.

“This one is bone from my bone,
    and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
    because she was taken from ‘man.’”

This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
    Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

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Music:

HERE  is a tender true story and a song, about a 95-year-old man who remembers his wife of 75 years, “Sweet Lorraine.”

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New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved

Images courtesy of:
Victoria’s Secret.   https://thefulltimegirl.com/2012/08/25/fashion-friday-8-24/proverbs31/
Rubies.   https://believers4ever.com/2012/01/rubies/
Luther.   https://izquotes.com/quote/martin-luther/let-the-wife-make-the-husband-glad-to-come-home-and-let-him-make-her-sorry-to-see-him-leave-115943
Elliot.   https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/109775309644360593/