2681.) Proverbs 29

August 12, 2019

Pro29 glassesProverbs 29   (NIV)

Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes
    will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
    when the wicked rule, the people groan.

A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father,
    but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.

Pr29 prodigal son

The prodigal son, you remember, wasted his father’s wealth in riotous living, breaking his father’s heart. There was rejoicing only after he came to his senses in the pigsty and then returned home. Click  HERE  to read the story again.

By justice a king gives a country stability,
    but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down.

“This was notoriously the case in this kingdom, before the passing of the Magna Charta, or great charter of liberties…I have met with cases in our ancient records where, in order to get his right, a man was obliged almost to ruin himself in presents to the king, queen, and their favourites, to get the case decided in his favour.”

–Adam Clarke

Those who flatter their neighbors
    are spreading nets for their feet.

Evildoers are snared by their own sin,
    but the righteous shout for joy and are glad.

The righteous care about justice for the poor,
    but the wicked have no such concern.

Mockers stir up a city,
    but the wise turn away anger.

“A fine motto for engraving on the walls of the Foreign Office of any nation.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

If a wise person goes to court with a fool,
    the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.

10 The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity
and seek to kill the upright.

11 Fools give full vent to their rage,
    but the wise bring calm in the end.

Pro29 speak angry

12 If a ruler listens to lies,
    all his officials become wicked.

13 The poor and the oppressor have this in common:
    The Lord gives sight to the eyes of both.

14 If a king judges the poor with fairness,
    his throne will be established forever.

15 A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom,
    but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.

Pro29 train up a child

16 When the wicked thrive, so does sin,
    but the righteous will see their downfall.

17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace;
    they will bring you the delights you desire.

18 Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint;
    but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.

“No greater calamity, therefore, can there be than the removal of the revelation…Where revelation is withdrawn from a church, the people perish in ignorance and delusion.”

–Charles Bridges

19 Servants cannot be corrected by mere words;
    though they understand, they will not respond.

20 Do you see someone who speaks in haste?
    There is more hope for a fool than for them.

Pro29 speak think

21 A servant pampered from youth
    will turn out to be insolent.

22 An angry person stirs up conflict,
    and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.

23 Pride brings a person low,
    but the lowly in spirit gain honor.

Pro29 23

24 The accomplices of thieves are their own enemies;
    they are put under oath and dare not testify.

25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

26 Many seek an audience with a ruler,
    but it is from the Lord that one gets justice.

27 The righteous detest the dishonest;
    the wicked detest the upright.

“Here is the oldest, the most rooted, the most universal quarrel in the world. It was the first fruit of the Fall (Genesis 3:15). It has continued ever since and will last to the end of the world.”

–Charles Bridges

_________________________

Music:

Verse 18 says, “Where there is no vision (= divine revelation), the people perish.”  Oh, for a clear vision of God Most High!  HERE  is Robin Mark and “Be Thou My Vision.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)  Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
Where there is no vision.    http://leadershipvoices.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Eyeglasses-Proverbs-29_18.jpg
the prodigal son.    https://mudpreacher.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/prodigal_son_in_pig-slop.jpg
Twain quote.    https://quotefancy.com/quote/42201/Mark-Twain-Never-argue-with-a-fool-onlookers-may-not-be-able-to-tell-the-difference
Speak when you’re angry.    http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/a2/e8/a3/a2e8a332643a3ca2bcf3c5bb03b10e64.jpg
Train up a child.    http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Inspirational-Images/large/Proverbs_22-6.jpg
Proverbs 29:18.     https://behealthythenwealthy.weebly.com/blog/category/goals-setting
Before you speak.   https://www.morningjoycompositions.com/2012/10/18/think-before-you-speak/
tortoise and hare.    http://christrescuemission.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/pride_prov_29-23_humble_spirit_honor.10594224_std.jpg
Chesterton quote.   https://www.azquotes.com/quote/371614
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2675.) Proverbs 28

August 2, 2019

Pr28 bold-as-a-lion

Proverbs 28  (NIV)

The wicked flee though no one pursues,
    but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

THE BOLDNESS OF A LION
by David Wilkerson

Jesus Christ has left me an inheritance and I claim it as mine. Scripture says, “The righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1). If you can accept this truth of the perfect righteousness of Christ, you will have the boldness of a lion. You will never again fear any person or look at someone else’s life and feel unworthy. You can say, “I have the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ credited to me by faith. No, it’s not mine, it’s His, but it’s accounted to me by Jesus Himself, so I may call it my own!”

It is time to stop your struggling. If the devil comes to you and says, “You’re no good, you have no righteousness,” you can answer, “I know I’m no good. I have no righteousness in myself but I do have the righteousness of Jesus Christ. I’ve failed God but I have an Advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ the righteous!”

When you stand before the Lord, you will not have to tremble, thinking, “What am I going to offer Him? What did I do right or wrong?” No, you will be thinking, “I have nothing in myself to offer Him because I have His righteousness — by faith.”

Does this mean Christians are not obligated to do good works? Not at all. Justification by faith and the imputed righteousness of Christ sets the soul free to walk in holiness and do good works. Good works done in slavish fear bring no glory to God — they must flow out of a loving heart. Walking in true holiness is possible only to those who have laid hold of their inheritance — Christ’s perfect righteousness — because they are no longer imprisoned by fear and condemnation.

His perfect righteousness is mine by faith and now I am free and released to serve Him as a bondservant of love. Now, by the power of the Holy Spirit promised in the New Covenant, He turns me from all iniquity and empowers me to live — boldly, like a lion! — in the righteousness He credits to me.

When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers,
    but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.

We know some of the difficulties of a large, complex, multi-leveled government! As an old Arabic curse puts it, “May God make your sheiks many.”

A ruler who oppresses the poor
    is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.

Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked,
    but those who heed it resist them.

“It is fearful to sin; more fearful to delight in sin; yet more to defend it.”

–Bishop Hall, cited in Charles Bridges

Evildoers do not understand what is right,
    but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.

Better the poor whose walk is blameless
    than the rich whose ways are perverse.

A discerning son heeds instruction,
    but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.

Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor
    amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.

9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction,
    even their prayers are detestable.

Pr28 v9

10 Whoever leads the upright along an evil path
will fall into their own trap,

    but the blameless will receive a good inheritance.

God has a way of protecting His upright, even if they seem to or actually do go astray for a time. God knows how to put the wicked in their place (his own pit) and He knows how to make sure that the blameless will inherit good. God does not leave the final word to the wicked man with his evil plans.

–David Guzik

11 The rich are wise in their own eyes;
    one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are.

12 When the righteous triumph, there is great elation;
    but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding.

13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
    but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

14 Blessed is the one who always trembles before God,
    but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.

15 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear
    is a wicked ruler over a helpless people.

16 A tyrannical ruler practices extortion,
    but one who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long reign.

17 Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder
    will seek refuge in the grave;
    let no one hold them back.

“The murderer of his brother is, in fact, his own murderer. Let justice take its course. Yet we must not cast out his soul. Visiting the condemned cell is a special exercise of mercy. While we bow to the stern justice of the great Lawgiver, joyous indeed it is to bring to the sinner under the sentence of the law the free forgiveness of the Gospel; not as annulling his sin, but showing the over-abounding of grace beyond the abounding of sin.”

–Charles Bridges

18 The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe,
    but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit.

19 Those who work their land will have abundant food,
    but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.

Pr28 the harder you work

20 A faithful person will be richly blessed,
    but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.

21 To show partiality is not good—
    yet a person will do wrong for a piece of bread.

22 The stingy are eager to get rich
    and are unaware that poverty awaits them.

“The Lord will see to it that only conscientious and compassionate people finally hold wealth in his kingdom.”

–Bruce Waltke

23 Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor
    rather than one who has a flattering tongue.

24 Whoever robs their father or mother
    and says, “It’s not wrong,”
    is partner to one who destroys.

25 The greedy stir up conflict,

“Because he makes it his great business to advance and please himself, and hateth and opposeth all that stand in his way, and despiseth other men, and is very jealous of his honour, and impatient of the least slighting, or affront, or injury, and indulgeth his own passions.”

–Matthew Poole

    but those who trust in the Lord will prosper.

“By contrast, those who trust in Yahweh can wait for their appetites to be satisfied, cause no discord, and in fact will be satisfied.”

–Duane A. Garrett

26 Those who trust in themselves are fools,
    but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.

I recently came across a gem from C.S. Lewis, who described that particular kind of person who trusts utterly in himself as one who “is lost in the invincible ignorance of his intellect.”

27 Those who give to the poor will lack nothing,
    but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.

28 When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding;
    but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Matt Redman and “Here For You.”  We can cheerfully be “here for God”  because in the death and resurrection of Jesus, God has proved irrevocably that he is “here for us.”  Remember that truth every day for the rest of your life!

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
bold as a lion.    http://wisdomintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/bold-as-a-lion-28-1-fav.jpg
Proverbs 9:10.   https://www.colindye.com/2012/09/19/the-beginning-of-wisdom/
God has no use for the prayers.     http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/16/ae/52/16ae5279afd9babd231a3ab5823a38d2.jpg
1 John 1:9.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/372672937889187553/
Gary Player quote.    http://www.picturequotes.com/golf-practice-quote-2-picture-quote-636719
generosity verse.   https://dailyverses.net/2017/9/30

2655.) Proverbs 27

July 5, 2019

Proverbs 27   Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Don’t boast about tomorrow,
    for you don’t know what the day may bring.

Pr27 greater barns

Luke 12:19-20   (NIV)

And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?

Will you be around tomorrow? Next week? In 6 months? Let this question prompt you to live faithfully for the Lord Jesus Christ today.

— Richard W. De Haan

Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth,
    a stranger and not your own lips.

Stone is heavy and sand a dead weight,
    but a fool’s provocation outweighs them both.

Fury is cruel and anger overwhelming,
    but who can stand up to jealousy?
Better open rebuke
    than hidden love.

Wounds from a friend are received as well-meant,
    but an enemy’s kisses are insincere.

Or as Oscar Wilde put it:  True friends stab you in the front.

A person who is full loathes a honeycomb;
    but to the hungry, any bitter thing is sweet.

Like a bird that strays from its nest
    is a man who strays from his home.

Perfume and incense make the heart glad,
    [also] friendship sweet with advice from the heart.

Pr27 friends

Friends . . .

Be slow to fall into friendship, but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.
~Socrates

My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.
~Henry Ford

An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.
~Buddha

The only way to have a friend is to be one.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friends . . . they cherish one another’s hopes.  They are kind to one another’s dreams.
~Henry David Thoreau

10 Don’t abandon a friend
    who is also a friend of your father.

Don’t enter your brother’s house on the day of your calamity —
    better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.

11 My son, become wise, and gladden my heart,
    so that I can answer my critics.

Having raised three children from birth to college graduation and beyond, I do believe that one of the great joys of parenting is enjoying your children later, when they are competent and interesting adults. How grateful I am that the Lord has been strong in my weaknesses as a mother and has brought my kids into responsible, kindly adulthood.

12 The clever see trouble coming and hide;
    the thoughtless go on and pay the penalty.

13 Seize his clothes because he guaranteed a stranger’s loan;
    take them as security for that unknown woman.

14 Whoever greets his neighbor in a loud voice at dawn
    might just as well have cursed him.

“Remember the Italian proverb elsewhere quoted: ‘He who praises you more than he was wont to do, has either deceived you, or is about to do it.’ Extravagant public professions are little to be regarded.”

–Adam Clarke

15 A leak that keeps dripping on a rainy day
    and the nagging of a wife are the same —
16 whoever can restrain her can restrain the wind
    or keep perfume on his hand from making itself known.

17 Just as iron sharpens iron,
    a person sharpens the character of his friend.

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

IRON SHARPENS IRON

The Christian life is a pilgrimage. At times the road is difficult, and we get lonely. Sometimes we may become discouraged and consider abandoning the journey. It is at such times that God will place a friend alongside us. One of God’s most precious gifts to us is friends who encourage us and lovingly challenge us to “keep going.”

According to Scripture, a friend is one who challenges you to become all that God intends. Jonathan could have succeeded his father to become the next king of Israel. But he loved his friend David, and he encouraged him to follow God’s will, even though it meant Jonathan would forfeit his own claim to the throne (1 Samuel 19:1-7).

The mark of biblical friends is that their friendship draws you closer to Christ. They “sharpen” you and motivate you to do what is right. True friends tell you the truth and even risk hurting your feelings because they love you and have your best interests at heart (see Proverbs 27:6, above).

Be careful in your choice of friends! Jesus chose his closest friends wisely. He did not look for perfect friends, but friends whose hearts were set to follow God. It is equally important to examine the kind of friend you are to others. As a friend, it is your duty to put the needs of others first (Proverbs 17:17). Strive to find godly friends who will challenge you to become the person God desires. When you have found them, be receptive to the way God uses them to help you become spiritually mature. Strive also to be the kind of friend that helps others become more like Christ.

18 Whoever tends the fig tree will eat its fruit,
    and he who is attentive to his master will be honored.

19 Just as water reflects the face,
    so one human heart reflects another.
20 Sh’ol and Abaddon are never satisfied,
    and human eyes are never satisfied.

Pr27 death and destruction

The Contemporary English Version puts it this way:

Death and the grave
are never satisfied,
    and neither are we.

A perfect illustration of this truth is found in a powerful short story by Leo Tolstoy. (James Joyce said it is “the greatest story that the literature of the world knows.”) Tolstoy tells of a farmer who had a lust for more and more land. Finally, he heard of cheap land among the Bashkirs.  Click  HERE  to read “How Much Land Does a Man Need?”  Or — Click  HERE  to listen to the story being read. 

When I taught 10th grade English, this story was in the textbook. At the end of the year, when I asked students which was their favorite reading, this story was frequently mentioned. I promise you, you will enjoy it!

21 The crucible [tests] silver, and the furnace [tests] gold,
    but a person [is tested] by [his reaction to] praise.

22 You can crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle,
along with the grain being crushed;
    yet his foolishness will not leave him.

23 Take care to know the condition of your flocks,
    and pay attention to your herds.
24 For wealth doesn’t last forever,
    neither does a crown through all generations.
25 When the hay has been mown, and the new grass appears,
    and the mountain greens have been gathered;
26 the lambs will provide your clothing,
    the goats will sell for enough to buy a field,
27 and there will be enough goat’s milk
    to [buy] food for you and your household
    and maintenance for your servant-girls.

Solomon wrote this with images from the world of agriculture (flocks… herds… hay… grass… lambs… goats), but the principle applies in many other areas of life. We should work hard (be diligent) to know the state of whatever God has given us management over. If you don’t know the condition of something, you can’t effectively manage or lead it.

–David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

A lot about friends and friendship today. How grateful we are that Jesus is our ever faithful friend!  HERE  is Casting Crowns and “Jesus, Friend of Sinners.”  Jesus is always good.

_________________________

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)   Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
A friend loves.   https://www.ibelieve.com/your-daily-verse/your-daily-verse-proverbs-17-17.html
greater barns.   http://jeffersonville.myworshiptimes22.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/97/2016/01/imgres-9.jpg
two boys.    http://www.coachrobertsimmons.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/filter-friends1.jpg
verse 14, morning.   https://notmyprecious.blogspot.com/2019/02/proverbs-2714.html
verse 17, iron.   https://bibleinspirations.org/as-iron-sharpens-iron-so-one-person-sharpens-another/
death and destruction.    http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3262/2635850672_736e7a8000_z.jpg
Know your flock.   http://worshipfulliving.com/2015/07/23/know-your-flock-proverbs-27/

2650.) Proverbs 26

June 28, 2019

Pr26 snow in summer

Proverbs 26   (NIV)

Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
    honor is not fitting for a fool.

“The ‘fool’ is the stupid person who is worthless and vain (just the kind of person popular culture seems to honor).”

–Allen P. Ross

2 Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow,
    an undeserved curse does not come to rest.
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
    and a rod for the backs of fools!
Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
    or you yourself will be just like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
    or he will be wise in his own eyes.

These two verses present an apparent contradiction. The first says not to answer a fool, the second says to answer him. What is the explanation? The latter part of each verse holds the key.

Do not answer a fool in such a manner that you become a fool in the process. Don’t lose your temper, or behave rudely, or speak unadvisedly.

But answer a fool. Don’t let him off with his folly altogether. Reprove and rebuke him, as his folly deserves, so that he will not be wise in his own eyes.

–William MacDonald

Sending a message by the hands of a fool
    is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison.
Like the useless legs of one who is lame
    is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.

Like tying a stone in a sling
    is the giving of honor to a fool.

Pr26 slingshot

A sling is useless as a weapon if a stone is tied into it, so it would be absurd to prevent the stone from leaving the sling. It is just as absurd to give honor to a fool.

Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand
    is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
10 Like an archer who wounds at random
    is one who hires a fool or any passer-by.
11 As a dog returns to its vomit,
    so fools repeat their folly.

Do you know dogs like this? We had a certain dog for a short time when my kids were little which would lick up their spit-up as well as any of its own. Oh, yuck. But I did appreciate that the floor under the kitchen table was clean at all times!

12 Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?
    There is more hope for a fool than for them.

13 A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road,
    a fierce lion roaming the streets!”
14 As a door turns on its hinges,
    so a sluggard turns on his bed.
15 A sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
    he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.
16 A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
    than seven people who answer discreetly.

17 Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears
    is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.

I grabbed a dog by its tail when I was in kindergarten. The dog turned and snapped in my face. I was afraid of dogs for many years after. So I can attest to the truth of this proverb!

18 Like a maniac shooting
    flaming arrows of death
19 is one who deceives their neighbor
    and says, “I was only joking!”

20 Without wood a fire goes out;
    without a gossip a quarrel dies down.

21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
    so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.

22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
    they go down to the inmost parts.

I am more deadly than the screaming shell of a howitzer. I win without killing. I tear down homes, break hearts, and wreck lives. I travel on the wings of the wind. No innocence is strong enough to intimidate me, no purity pure enough to daunt me. I have no regard for truth, no respect for justice, no mercy for the defenseless. My victims are as numerous as the sand of the sea, and often as innocent. I never forget and seldom forgive. My name is Gossip!

–unknown

23 Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware
    are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24 Enemies disguise themselves with their lips,
    but in their hearts they harbor deceit.
25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them,
    for seven abominations fill their hearts.
26 Their malice may be concealed by deception,
    but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it;
    if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.
28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts,
    and a flattering mouth works ruin.

“Pray for wisdom to discover the snare, for gracious principles to raise us up above vain praises, for self-denial, for the capacity to be content and even thankful without such flatteries. This will be our security.”

–Charles Bridges

_________________________

Music:

Several animals mentioned in this chapter, but dogs get double billing! So in honor of man’s best friend, I have a dog song for you!  HERE  is Kenny Rogers and “Ol’ Red.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
Like snow in summer.    http://farm2.staticflickr.com/1269/664977894_a435ca6933_z.jpg?zz=1
slingshot.    http://tereasa.com/campstore/images/stories/virtuemart/product/Wandawega%20store%20slingshot%20main%20image%20replacement.jpg
Prayer Pups.   https://prayerpups.com/comic/proverbs-2611-fool-repeats-folly/
When you run out of wood.    http://deepeningmyroots.blogspot.com/2009/05/proverbs.html

2620.) Proverbs 25

May 17, 2019

Pr 25 apples of goldProverbs 25   (NIV)

More Proverbs of Solomon

These are more proverbs of Solomon, compiled by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah:

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
    to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

“He would not be God,” said Thomas Cartwright, “if His counsels and works did not transcend human intelligence.”

As the heavens are high and the earth is deep,
    so the hearts of kings are unsearchable.

Remove the dross from the silver,
    and a silversmith can produce a vessel;
remove wicked officials from the king’s presence,
    and his throne will be established through righteousness.

Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence,
    and do not claim a place among his great men;
7 it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,”
    than for him to humiliate you before his nobles.

Pr25 walk humbly

Luke 14:8-10   (NLT)

When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited?  The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!

“Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

What you have seen with your eyes
    do not bring hastily to court,
for what will you do in the end
    if your neighbor puts you to shame?

If you take your neighbor to court,
    do not betray another’s confidence,
10 or the one who hears it may shame you
    and the charge against you will stand.

11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver
    is a ruling rightly given.

by Laurie Nelson

“Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver #2”  by Laurie Nelson

Barb and I sat at the corner table of a French restaurant in Laguna Beach, California on an August evening. It was our 25th wedding anniversary. Sublime dessert had followed exquisite meal, and our occasional glances out the large window facing the sea turned into lengthy stares as we watched the sun slide gently into the Pacific.

Twilight descended on the bay, and Barb said she had a gift for us. She handed me a packet of envelopes wrapped in a silver ribbon. On the top envelope she had written Thanks, and inside was a white card on which she had written something about our relationship over the years for which she wanted to thank me (“for the maps you make to help me find my way”). I read it, and we talked about it for a minute or two. “Your turn,” she said. I thought of something to thank her for (“for following me to new cities and new jobs that were my idea”), wrote it on the back of the card, gave it to her, and we talked about that for another few minutes.

The second envelope said I Appreciate. Same procedure—open, read (“that your feet are on the ground; your sense of perspective”), talk . . . my turn (“your vision that goes beyond common sense”). Then followed Early Memories, Joys, Shocks, Fun Times, another Thanks, another I Appreciate . . . 25 envelopes in all, 25 cards, 50 words aptly spoken . . . some of them with such a lump in my throat that they could scarcely, I’m sure, be heard across our small table. Every word was positive, affirming, genuine, loving . . . apples of gold in a setting of silver.

Years have passed. More anniversary dinners and gifts have been shared. The one we remember, however, is the one in Laguna where we recalled good times and spoke words of appreciation and thanks to one another. No gift has ever meant more to me.

The world is full of shouting. There is a surplus of criticism and sarcasm. Even good relationships strong enough to bear harsh words will benefit from times in which we speak tenderly to one another. Find opportunities to express gratitude. Take a moment to recall together a fun experience you shared. Intentionally . . . thoughtfully . . . offer occasional words of affirmation or appreciation. You are giving apples of gold.

–Dr. Michael A. Halleen

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Music:

Psalm 19:14 (KJV)

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Philippians 4:8   (KJV)

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.

HERE  is Fernando Ortega and “Let the words of my mouth.”

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12 Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
    is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.

13 Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time
    is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him;
    he refreshes the spirit of his master.
14 Like clouds and wind without rain
    is one who boasts of gifts never given.

15 Through patience a ruler can be persuaded,
    and a gentle tongue can break a bone.

16 If you find honey, eat just enough—
    too much of it, and you will vomit.
17 Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house—
    too much of you, and they will hate you.

“Blessed be God, there is no need of this caution and reserve in our approach to him. Once acquainted with the way of access, there is no wall of separation. Our earthly friend may be pressed too far; kindness may be worn out by frequent use. But never can we come to our heavenly Friend unseasonably.”

–Charles Bridges

18 Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow
    is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor.
19 Like a broken tooth or a lame foot
    is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble.
20 Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day,
    or like vinegar poured on a wound,
    is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.

 Some people and their actions are especially troublesome. They bring discomfort (like leaving one without a garment in cold weather) and constant agitation (like vinegar on soda).

21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
    if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
    and the Lord will reward you.

Pr25 Romans 12.21

“Burning coals on his head” — Commentators debate if this is a good things or a harsh thing, if this is something good in the eyes of your enemy or not. Most likely refers to a burning conviction that our kindness places on our enemy. Or, some think it refers to the practice of lending coals from a fire to help a neighbor start his or her own—an appreciated act of kindness. Either way, we can destroy our enemy by making him our friend, and the Lord will reward you.

–David Guzik

23 Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain
    is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look.

24 Better to live on a corner of the roof
    than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

Clearly, a difficult husband is similarly trying.

25 Like cold water to a weary soul
    is good news from a distant land.

The gospel is God’s good news from a far country—heaven.  Like cold water to a thirsty soul, the gospel is refreshing and thirst quenching.

–William MacDonald

26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted well
    are the righteous who give way to the wicked.

27 It is not good to eat too much honey,
    nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep.

28 Like a city whose walls are broken through
    is a person who lacks self-control.

“Certainly the noblest conquests are gained or lost over ourselves. The first outbreak of anger resulted in murder. A king’s lack of watchfulness about lust resulted in adultery.”

–Charles Bridges

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New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
Proverbs 25:11.   http://gotfruitblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/proverbs-25-11-20090314.png
Micah 6:8.   http://catholicpittsburgh.org/images/Micah6-8.gif
Nelson.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/pr25-nelson.jpg
hospitality.   https://jenniferdukeslee.com/a-place-at-the-table-how-to-do-simple-hospitality/hospitality/
Romans 12:21.   https://www.pinterest.ch/pin/168603579771824865/
self control.  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Character-Education-Self-Control-Lesson-and-Printables-2976537

2575.) Proverbs 24

March 15, 2019

Pr24 Ephesians 4-32

Proverbs 24   (NRSV)

Do not envy the wicked,
nor desire to be with them;
for their minds devise violence,
and their lips talk of mischief.

By wisdom a house is built,
and by understanding it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled
with all precious and pleasant riches.

Pr24 library

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”

–Jorge Luis Borges

Wise warriors are mightier than strong ones,
and those who have knowledge than those who have strength;
for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
Wisdom is too high for fools;
in the gate they do not open their mouths.

Whoever plans to do evil
will be called a mischief-maker.
The devising of folly is sin,
and the scoffer is an abomination to all.

10 If you faint in the day of adversity,
your strength being small;
11 if you hold back from rescuing those taken away to death,
those who go staggering to the slaughter;
12 if you say, “Look, we did not know this”—
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it?
And will he not repay all according to their deeds?

Pr24 take a stand

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a time of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality.”

–Dante

13 My child, eat honey, for it is good,
and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul;
if you find it, you will find a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.

15 Do not lie in wait like an outlaw against the home of the righteous;
do no violence to the place where the righteous live;
16 for though they fall seven times, they will rise again;
but the wicked are overthrown by calamity.

Pr24 falling down

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

–Winston Churchill

17 Do not rejoice when your enemies fall,
and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble,
18 or else the Lord will see it and be displeased,
and turn away his anger from them.

19 Do not fret because of evildoers.
Do not envy the wicked;
20 for the evil have no future;
the lamp of the wicked will go out.

21 My child, fear the Lord and the king,
and do not disobey either of them;
22 for disaster comes from them suddenly,
and who knows the ruin that both can bring?

Further Sayings of the Wise

23     These also are sayings of the wise:

Partiality in judging is not good.
24 Whoever says to the wicked, “You are innocent,”
will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations;
25 but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight,
and a good blessing will come upon them.
26 One who gives an honest answer
gives a kiss on the lips.

Pr24 the_kiss

“We kiss and I feel like a millionaire.”

–Ali Harris

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Music:

HERE  is Faith Hill and “This Kiss.”

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27 Prepare your work outside,
get everything ready for you in the field;
and after that build your house.

28 Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause,
and do not deceive with your lips.
29 Do not say, “I will do to others as they have done to me;
I will pay them back for what they have done.”

30 I passed by the field of one who was lazy,
by the vineyard of a stupid person;
31 and see, it was all overgrown with thorns;
the ground was covered with nettles,
and its stone wall was broken down.
32 Then I saw and considered it;
I looked and received instruction.
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
34 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want, like an armed warrior.

Pr24 ant-n-grasshopper“Idleness brings want.”

–Aesop

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New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)    New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Ephesians 4:32.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/ephesians4-32.png
library.    http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/the-best-places-to-be-if-you-love-books
take a stand.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/takestand_web.jpg
Failure isn’t falling down.   http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd5/lilmissmontana/scripture/Proverbs/ajustmanfallethseventimesandrisesagainProverbstwentyfoursixteen.gif
The Kiss, Times Square, 1945.    http://eintech.blogspot.com/2012/11/world-famous-photographs.html#.XHl94LpKiUk
the ant and the grasshopper.    http://jokeapart.files.wordpress.com/2007/07/ant-n-grasshopper.png

2555.) Proverbs 23

February 15, 2019

Proverbs 23   (NIV)

When you sit to dine with a ruler,
note well what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to gluttony.
Do not crave his delicacies,
for that food is deceptive.

“It is a shame for a saint to be a slave to his palate. Isaac loved venison too, too well.”

–John Trapp

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

Riches do not consist in the possession of treasures, but in the use made of them.

–Napoleon Bonaparte

He who multiplies riches, multiplies cares.

–Benjamin Franklin

Riches have wings.

–King Solomon

Do not eat the food of a stingy man,
do not crave his delicacies;
for he is the kind of man
who is always thinking about the cost.
“Eat and drink,” he says to you,
but his heart is not with you.
You will vomit up the little you have eaten
and will have wasted your compliments.

Do not speak to a fool,
for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.

To profit from good advice requires more wisdom than to give it.
– Wilson Mizner

A leader must have the courage to act against an expert’s advice.
– James Callaghan

“Be yourself” is about the worst advice you can give to some people.
– J B Priestley

Unruly ambition is deaf, not only to the advice of friends, but to the counsels and monitions of reason itself.
– Sir Roger L’Estrange

When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.
– Erma Bombeck

10 Do not move an ancient boundary stone
or encroach on the fields of the fatherless,
11 for their Defender is strong;
he will take up their case against you.

Do not remove the ancient landmark: Literally, the ancient landmark was normally a stone marker for a property line. Moving the landmark was a way to make your field bigger and to steal from your neighbor. Symbolically, the ancient landmark was a tradition or custom from ancestors.

–David Guzik

12 Apply your heart to instruction
and your ears to words of knowledge.

“There is no easy way to gain instruction. It requires discipline and application. Disregard the ads that promise it in ‘three easy lessons.'”

–William MacDonald

13 Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.
14 Punish him with the rod
and save his soul from death.

15 My son, if your heart is wise,
then my heart will be glad;
16 my inmost being will rejoice
when your lips speak what is right.

3 John 1:4  (ESV)

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

17 Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
18 There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.

19 Listen, my son, and be wise,
and keep your heart on the right path.
20 Do not join those who drink too much wine
or gorge themselves on meat,
21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor,
and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

22 Listen to your father, who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.

23 Buy the truth and do not sell it;
get wisdom, discipline and understanding.
24 The father of a righteous man has great joy;
he who has a wise son delights in him.
25 May your father and mother be glad;
may she who gave you birth rejoice!

26 My son, give me your heart
and let your eyes keep to my ways,
27 for a prostitute is a deep pit
and a wayward wife is a narrow well.
28 Like a bandit she lies in wait,
and multiplies the unfaithful among men.

Quick.  Give me 10 men, off the top of your head, who you know or who have been in the news in a negative light because of illicit affairs.

Now, isn’t it telling that coming up with that list is so easy to do?

Who says the Bible is old and out-dated?

29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaints?
Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?

30 Those who linger over wine,
who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.
31 Do not gaze at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup,
when it goes down smoothly!
32 In the end it bites like a snake
and poisons like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange sights
and your mind imagine confusing things.
34 You will be like one sleeping on the high seas,
lying on top of the rigging.
35 “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt!
They beat me, but I don’t feel it!
When will I wake up
so I can find another drink?”

Yet there is hope in Jesus for the drunkard and drug addict. “Is anything too hard for the Lord? May his name be praised for a full deliverance from the enslavement to sin—to all sins and to every individual sin—and even from the chains of this giant sin. The drunkard becomes sober, the unclean holy, the glutton temperate. The love of Christ overpowers the love of sin.”

–Charles Bridges

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Music:

Don’t those last few verses sound like song you have heard on the country music station?! Here’s Johnny Cash singing Kris Kristoffersen’s classic “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” Can’t say the lyrics are particularly edifying but they prove the point of the last few verses of this chapter of Proverbs, and it’s Johnny Cash! Click  HERE  to listen!

Or you may prefer something more edifying.  HERE  is Pat Barrett and “Hymn of the Holy Spirit,” asking for divine guidance in all of life.

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New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
My child, listen . . .    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/508343876661102242/
wealth delusion.     https://apmgoldbulliondealers.com/precious-metals-blog
advice.    http://www.funnyjunksite.com/pictures/funny-advice-pictures/always-listen-to-good-advice/
boundary line.   https://minutemansignsinc.com/shop/square-boundary-marking-posted-sign/
Listen to your father . . .   http://oneyearbibleimages.com/proverbs23_22.jpg
Men in the news for sexual misconduct.    https://www.necn.com/entertainment/entertainment-news/The-Powerful-Men-Accused-of-Sexual-Harassment-452785093.html
drunk.   http://smartsayingsfortoday.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/drunk-with-wine-bottle.jpg