God is wise in heart

God is wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered?” – Job 9:4

God is most wise.

God alone is wise (2 Tim. 1:17).

Rest in God’s wisdom.

Insights from Proverbs 27

iron sharpens iron

Insights from Proverbs 27 for the 27th:

Verse 17 is one of my Life verses: “As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

This verse has served me well. When I have a dilemma or strife, I seek wise counsel. I hope you have someone you can go to for direction. If not, pray that God would put someone like that to pour into your life.

Iron sharpening iron is such a vivid and accurate metaphor. I envision a blacksmith hammering away on his anvil; FORGING. Or a butcher sharpening his blades; HONING.

The purpose of course is to be sharper, more efficient, and of better use for the Maker.

The literal translation says a man sharpens “the face of his friend.” Words can do that; change a person’s actual countenance. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your mouth.

LISTEN WELL.

We influence each other; for good or for bad. Therefore, be careful who you listen to & who’s advice you let into your heart.

Insights from Proverbs 20

knocked off your high horse

Insights from Proverbs 20 for the 20th:

This is probably not going to be very popular, but it ain’t wrong either…

Verse 1 is a warning about strong drink. Solomon calls it a mocker and a brawler. Being led by the bottle is not wise. We’ve all seen (or done) things under the influence that would not have been seen (or done) had it not been for that drink! Think of all the mistakes, accidents, & fights that could be erased if alcohol were not involved.

Solomon then drops a barrage of truth-bombs:

  • Don’t provoke,
  • Don’t fight,
  • Don’t be lazy,
  • and Don’t cheat (mentioned twice!).

But also – don’t worry, Verse 9 says nobody’s perfect. Can I get an Amen?

How about this one: don’t gossip or go around blabbing! If someone begins a conversation by looking around, lowering their voice, and then saying “Well, they told me not to tell, but…” – Look out, man.

20’s modern translation = Treat yo mama with respect.

29a. If you’re young, your glory is in your strength (ambition & endurance).

29b. If you’re old, your splendor is in your gray hair (experience & wisdom).

29c. Hey, what if you are in the middle: Still strong, but also getting gray? 🙂

The last verse says every once in awhile life is going to give you a pretty solid beat down. But that’s OK; it builds character. Sure, it hurts – but it also removes evil. It knocks us off our high horse when we get too big for our britches. Haven’t you ever watched a kid who was misbehaving & thought, “You know what that kid needs? That kid needs a good… some discipline.” Come on now. Be honest. Its like that.

Like I said: not popular, but not wrong either.

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Insights from Proverbs 17

hot-n-ready

Insights from Proverbs 17 for the 17th:

Proverbs 17 has a pulse to it. It beats like the heart of one who’s wronged and who’s also been wronged. That about includes us all, doesn’t it?

Solomon draws a clear line in the sand. Anyone who: mocks the poor, listens to lies, seeks only rebellion, rewards evil for good, justifies the wicked, condemns the just, loves transgression, punishes the righteous, or hits those who stand for uprightness are obviously on the wrong side of the ethical divide.

Multiple times he mentions a wayward child causing shame & sorrow (v. 2, 21, & 25), but there is also a tender counter verse about grandchildren being a man’s crown & the father being the glory of their children (6).

We know that there are 3 BIG M’s which require our constant diligence: Our Mind, Money, & Mouth. Proverbs 17 has 7 blatant warnings about that tricky little dictator; our mouth (v. 4, 7, 9, 10, 20, & 27-28). My favorite are the last two which basically say that if you have nothing smart to say, its smart to say nothing! ZIP IT!

Let me give verse one a contemporary spin: Better is a Hot-n-Ready with no drama, than caviar & champagne with a hot mess. Man, I have like zero tolerance for those reality shows with the filthy rich just being totally ridiculous. Why is this on TV? Why not follow some people around who are actually doing good in this world? Solomon’s point is just because they have nicer stuff, doesn’t mean they have a nicer life. Mo money, mo problems.

Ever see a dam holding back all that water? Imagine seeing a little crack with water springing out: that’s the beginning of a fight. Patch it early before it all comes crashing down & floods everything (v. 14).

Ever watch Band of Brothers? That’s verse 17.

Your thoughts affect your body. Make them merry or it will literally rot you from the inside out (v. 22).

Proverbs suddenly seems awfully relevant, doesn’t it? That’s because God’s truth never changes even though our culture does.

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Insights from Proverbs 15 & 16

Insights from Proverbs 15 & 16 for the 15th & the 16th:

Reading over chapters 15 & 16, I kept thinking… well, #1. I can’t summarize this and do it justice and #3. I would be robbing people by doing so. But also #2: Why don’t they use Proverbs for like… I don’t know: job training, or a requirement for graduation in High School, or part of the citizenship process? I know that’s far-fetched, but if people actually knew these verses and applied them – our country would be safer, smarter, and more compassionate.

Its just basic steps on How to be a Hero and not a Villain.

If we took Proverbs to heart, we would be a nation of more wise co-workers, students, and parents. A nation of more compassionate leaders, laborers, and decision-makers. A nation of more better human beings. I know that is not proper English, but you know what I mean; We would all be more better.

I do want to point out a couple of verses:

“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.” – 15:3

This verse gives me deep peace.

“A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” – 16:9

I have this verse written on a Post-It on my computer. I read it every single day.

“Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” – 16:18

A constant reminder to Check yo’self before you Wreck yo’self.

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” – 16:24

Words have the power to heal or hurt, how are you using yours?

“The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness.” – 16:31

That’s right; as one who is getting more & more gray hair every day: I CLAIM THIS VERSE IN JESUS NAME!

🙂

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Insights from Proverbs 3

Pr3

Insights from Proverbs 3 for the 3rd:

First off, this is one of the greatest Proverbs! I mean, Solomon starts with a whopper of a guarantee to the one who reads & applies God’s Word: “long life and peace.”  Anyone else want some of that? Solomon can say this with absolute confidence because God’s ways are always the best way: Do you know them? Do you believe them?

Mercy & Truth should like a necklace you wouldn’t leave the house without; The ultimate accessory! Write them on your heart! Meaning: make everything that comes into or out of your heart pass through Mercy and Truth. Solomon guarantees that this will earn you points with man and it pleases/glorifies God. (That’s what I call a twofer.)

Then there’s the slam-dunk of verse 5-6:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

This is like the Mona Lisa of verses. Its the Sistine Chapel. Memorize it.

7 and 8 are also primo: Solomon says don’t think you’re smarter than you actually are. Then he gives a jab-uppercut combo: Fear God and Flee evil. This will heal you & strengthen you. Think about it:

  • Robbing a bank = doing jail time.
  • Helping the needy = serving someone who needs comforted.
  • Which will heal/strengthen you, which will hurt/weaken you?

Your stuff can honor God (v. 9). Is it? Are your possessions being used to honor God? Ever thought of that before? Solomon also says to tithe your firstfruits then your pantry will be filled (security) and your wine will flow (celebration).

Next is a toughie (v. 11): don’t get mad at God when He corrects you. He does it because He loves you. If He didn’t care, He wouldn’t bother. God doesn’t just care about you, He “delights” in you. (That’s a nice little thought to remember.)

Want happiness? (v.13) Find wisdom, not just knowledge (facts). We’ve all known book-smart people who have done boneheaded things by not applying their facts. Solomon calls wisdom a treasure greater than silver, gold, & rubies. Bonus: If you have wisdom you also will have a longer life. For instance, you might say “Hey, swimming with sharks may not be the wisest thing to do.” Thereby, you may live longer than someone who says, “Cool, they’re gonna let me swim with sharks! What could go wrong?”

Wisdom also gets the image of a “tree of life.” (v. 18) I could camp out on that thought: tree = growth, fruit, roots, shade, support, etc.! In fact, God used considerable wisdom in making this rock we live on (v. 19).

Again & again Solomon attributes niceties to those who seek & apply wisdom: they will be life to your soul, grace to your neck, help you walk safely, & help you sleep sweetly. Wisdom will keep you unafraid that God won’t let anything grab your foot and trip you up (v. 26).

Then out of nowhere Solomon has a non sequitur about being a good neighbor (v. 27). It’s like a machine gun of neighborly advice: If you can help someone, do it. Don’t lie & say you don’t have something that you do have (to lend). Don’t devise evil against your neighbor. Mind your own business. Don’t go around picking fights (v. 30).

Solomon ends this Proverb with a warning against ignoring wisdom: The person who does not seek God and follow His Ways is an abomination & perverse. He will be cursed & scorned. However (silver lining), God blesses the just & gives grace to the humble. The wise get glory & the fools get shame.

Which are you?

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