A Life of Peace–Proverbs 17 Part 1

One of the great gifts the lord has provided is a peaceful home.  When one lives in a home without strife, they can face anything.  When united, trials can be faced, circumstances attended to and pain and death overcome.  It is the knowledge and sense that God is in charge and he can be trusted.  But such a life requires work. 

To live a peaceful life, one needs to be content with their circumstances.  One must be willing to accept discipline and hand out discipline to their kids.  One has to seek God and not the world’s sparkly substitutes to find joy. One must be patient, humble and slow to anger.  Finally, one must be willing to teach that lesson to their family and associates to allow the continuity to flow across the home. 

The alternative is unacceptable—strife, folly, confusion and discord reign in the home. There is no safe place and no person to provide love and support. What follows are generations of nonsense and destruction. Perfectly good human beings are left without hope or a chance to live a life intended by God.  As parents and adults, we must provide the structure—So that God himself can provide the peace. 

God Bless You

 

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet     than a house full of feasting, with strife.

A prudent servant will rule over a disgraceful son     and will share the inheritance as one of the family.

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,     but the Lord tests the heart.

A wicked person listens to deceitful lips;     a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.

Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker;     whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.

Children’s children are a crown to the aged,     and parents are the pride of their children.

Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool—     how much worse lying lips to a ruler!

A bribe is seen as a charm by the one who gives it;     they think success will come at every turn.

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,     but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

10 A rebuke impresses a discerning person     more than a hundred lashes a fool.

Te Way That Seems Right to Men–Proverbs 16 Continued

Men try everything they can to create a universe that somehow matches the one God has already provided.  We plot and scheme, we berate and protest; all the while doing everything we can to reproduce the majesty and beauty of our creator.  We try to redefine life, marriage, family, success, wisdom, power and ourselves by removing God—the one eternal and real thing that exists for us.

While we relentlessly attempt to create gods that we can control, God simply continues his plan for our lives.  And for all our attempts to exclude him—we end up dead! Dead physically, but more sadly—dead spiritually.  An eternal separation from all that is good, perfect and true.  When one sees the chaos and evil that dominates our current culture, one has to remember that this is nothing compared to what awaits for eternity for those that choose to exclude God from their lives.

God wants us to choose a life with him.  He has given all that he has to make that possible.  Unfortunately, we as a people must choose his way—Not our way, to experience the eternal peace and freedom he offers.  Our way may seem right, but in the end it only leads to DEATH.

God Bless You

Kings detest wrongdoing,     for a throne is established through righteousness.

13 Kings take pleasure in honest lips;     they value the one who speaks what is right.

14 A king’s wrath is a messenger of death,     but the wise will appease it.

15 When a king’s face brightens, it means life;     his favor is like a rain cloud in spring.

16 How much better to get wisdom than gold,     to get insight rather than silver!

17 The highway of the upright avoids evil;     those who guard their ways preserve their lives.

18 Pride goes before destruction,     a haughty spirit before a fall.

19 Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed     than to share plunder with the proud.

20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,     and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.

21 The wise in heart are called discerning,     and gracious words promote instruction.

22 Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent,     but folly brings punishment to fools.

23 The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,     and their lips promote instruction.

24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,     sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

 

25 There is a way that appears to be right,     but in the end it leads to death.

 

Everyone Is the Hero of Their Own Story-Proverbs 16 Part 1

It is not a surprise, but in life, people see themselves as the hero in their lives.  Every action, every circumstance is rationalized as the best course of action.  Truth is, however, the Lord sees our lives and judges our thoughts and actions by the standard of truth and righteousness.  Even if we are blind to selfishness and evil, God is not.  He judges our actions and thoughts by the standard of Godly vs. Godless.

Whether one is a king or a slave, their hearts are either self-absorbed or selfless.  Those that are selfless are judged by kings and people as great and stand out as true heroes.  The selfish, conversely, are judged by all as destructive and offensive.  Their paths are folly and no matter the plan they make–it never brings fulfillment and often leads to chaos.  Sadly, the selfish can’t even see the stark and offensive nature of their life.  As they flaunt their riches, as they connive and cheat their way through their day—their self-deluded perception of cleverness is simply a siren or flashing light to others that they are a fraud. 

That is why we are called to die to ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Christ.  In that version—God gets the glory and we get freedom and peace.  We have no need to be the star of our show—we need only to be the humble ambassador to our heavenly Father—then, at the end, as Paul promised, “When Christ—who is our life, appears, we will also appear with him in glory!” Colossians 3:4. There, at His side, we will truly be a hero standing with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

God Bless You

 

To humans belong the plans of the heart,     but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.

All a person’s ways seem pure to them,     but motives are weighed by the Lord.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,     and he will establish your plans.

The Lord works out everything to its proper end—     even the wicked for a day of disaster.

The Lord detests all the proud of heart.     Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for;     through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way,     he causes their enemies to make peace with them.

Better a little with righteousness     than much gain with injustice.

In their hearts humans plan their course,     but the Lord establishes their steps.

10 The lips of a king speak as an oracle,     and his mouth does not betray justice.

Make a Plan AND Allow God to Lead Proverbs 15 Final

The two questions remain, Do I trust God with my future, and Do I trust him with the timing of my future? I have learned that while I rarely understand God’s plan I have to trust and follow it.  Solomon was trying to help folks understand that it is important to be proactive and decisive about life, but in the midst of that—do not try to take over God’s role as leader.  Many people say I do not need a plan—that is folly! It seems really free, but it is the epitome of Chaos. Conversely, others draft and cling to their own plan unwilling to relinquish control to God for fear he will he will screw it up…That is a direct challenge to Lordship, and God will not share.

The Wise path is to seek God, first and foremost.  In that quest, be people that are full of humility, integrity and desire to learn and grow.  God will cultivate and train that desire and grow you into the person you were created to be and prepare you for the journey he has laid out.  Truly any other course is a waste of a good life and is doomed to destruction. Jesus said it best, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and All these things will be added to You.”  Matthew 6:33

God Bless You

Folly brings joy to one who has no sense,     but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course.

22 Plans fail for lack of counsel,     but with many advisers they succeed.

23 A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—     and how good is a timely word!

24 The path of life leads upward for the prudent     to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead.

25 The Lord tears down the house of the proud,     but he sets the widow’s boundary stones in place.

26 The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked,     but gracious words are pure in his sight.

27 The greedy bring ruin to their households,     but the one who hates bribes will live.

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

29 The Lord is far from the wicked,     but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

30 Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart,     and good news gives health to the bones.

31 Whoever heeds life-giving correction     will be at home among the wise.

32 Those who disregard discipline despise themselves,     but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.

33 Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord,     and humility comes before honor.

Just Follow the Instructions-Proverbs 15 Continued

While it is difficult to explain, living a life apart from God is just harder.  The best illustration is the man that tries to build an entertainment center without the instructions.  As he gets into the job, the first part looks easy enough, but the more he moves along the sadder he becomes as there are pieces that don’t fit and in the end one is left with a mess.  Not to mention the pain, anguish and sheer frustration one experiences along the way.

God provides his word as the instructions for this amazing journey.  If we follow it, then we experience joy, peace and protection.  He provides our needs and walks with us through the dire circumstances we face.

When one fails to read or chooses to ignore his word, they experience difficulty all along the way and in the end their life is a hot mess.  They have no sustainable legacy and nothing that brings them joy.  And all along the way, like the would be craftsman—they are in pain, frustration and anguish.  Solomon said it best in Proverbs 3:5-6-“ Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your path straight.”

Follow the instructions—You will be glad you did!

God  Bless You

Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path;     the one who hates correction will die.

11 Death and Destruction lie open before the Lord—     how much more do human hearts!

12 Mockers resent correction,     so they avoid the wise.

13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful,     but heartache crushes the spirit.

14 The discerning heart seeks knowledge,     but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.

15 All the days of the oppressed are wretched,     but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.

16 Better a little with the fear of the Lord     than great wealth with turmoil.

17 Better a small serving of vegetables with love     than a fattened calf with hatred.

18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict,     but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

19 The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns,     but the path of the upright is a highway.

20 A wise son brings joy to his father,     but a foolish man despises his mother.

21 Folly brings joy to one who has no sense,     but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course.

22 Plans fail for lack of counsel,     but with many advisers they succeed.

The Stark Difference–Proverbs 15 Part 1

They are as stark in difference as night is from day—Those that seek God and those that want to run independent of him.  From the way they talk to the way they live each can be identified in seconds.  As Solomon reminds us, Those who follow God look for ways to make things better.  They use gentle words, they gladly accept discipline and training.  They seek to draw people together with their words and actions, they use their resources for things bigger than themselves.

The godless are harsh and divisive. They stir up conflict, they ignore discipline and advice. Even when giving, there is always an angle for a return on their investment.  They hate being corrected but love being right.  They are abrasive, rude and completely self-absorbed. The irony is that even when they try to act like the Godly, it simply does not play well. Their attempt is so artificial, it makes things worse. Often times they do not even realize the difference.  The question for us is which model fits our lives.  If you are seeking God, odds are good you fit the former, not the latter. In the end, only one life plays well—The life of one who seeks God and his wisdom.

God Bless You

A gentle answer turns away wrath,     but a harsh word stirs up anger.

The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,     but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,     keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

The soothing tongue is a tree of life,     but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

A fool spurns a parent’s discipline,     but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.

The house of the righteous contains great treasure,     but the income of the wicked brings ruin.

The lips of the wise spread knowledge,     but the hearts of fools are not upright.

The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked,     but the prayer of the upright pleases him.

The Lord detests the way of the wicked,     but he loves those who pursue righteousness.

10 Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path;     the one who hates correction will die.

We Are Our Own Ally or Enemy–Proverbs 14 Part 1

Some things have not changed since the dawn of mankind—chief among them is the fact our own speech and actions act to protect us or destroy us.  Men and women have undermined themselves throughout history.  It is amazing that the strength of a person’s character can be their chief source of wealth.  There are those who live simply, but their integrity and the character of their family are priceless.  While others have wealth beyond measure, yet, like the rich fool in scripture—they keep hoarding and spending until they value nothing.  Ultimately they become a slave to what they possess.

 People of integrity do not lie, cheat or steal and whether rich or poor—they make their lives about others.  They adopt the homeless, they help those less fortunate, they move families or fix cars.  They enjoy what God has blessed them with, they use their hard earned wealth to make a live for themselves and their family—but, at all times, it is clear that they own their stuff—their stuff does not own them.

 Those who lack character value nothing or no one.  Whether rich or poor—there is never enough. They feel like they deserve more and others owe them.  They use any means necessary to further their agenda—yet, no one they know nor nothing they have brings them peace or joy. They ultimately live and die alone in a crowd of millions.  They leave a shambles of a family and a heap of an empire. Like themselves—no one else values their contributions or legacy.

 We have to choose what we want to bring us joy—scripture screams—Wisdom, Integrity and character—not prestige, power or possessions.  Know that history has proven only those who look beyond themselves have a life worth living.

 God Bless You

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

Whoever fears the Lord walks uprightly, but those who despise him are devious in their ways.

A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.

Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests.

An honest witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies.

The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.

Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips.

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.

Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.

10 Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.