Thursday, July 31, 2014

Don't be worse than stupid.

Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. 

Proverbs 26:12

We've all met this guy. He is the know-it-all, the blowhard, the dude who talks uninvited about himself and won't shut up. He is a rude, self-consumed, arrogant person who is never content to have any conversation that isn't about himself. He'll tell you how he would handle your life, without you ever asking for his input.

Proverbs says such a person is hopeless. He is worse than a fool, and fools should be avoided! In fact, given a choice between a wise-acre boor like this and a fool, take the fool... you'll be better off! That's how bad self-wise people can be.

I am afraid the world is cranking these men out now by the trainload. Many people over value their personal insight. And it is detrimental to society. Self-made men draw their own blueprints, unaware of fatal design flaws. That is not a good thing. Human insight, flawed by sin, inevitably fosters serious defects into self-wise men.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

golden words

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear. 

Proverbs 25:11-12

Sometimes we need a word of encouragement, perhaps of rebuke, from a friend, a trusted mentor... someone who obviously cares. And when we get that from someone who has been there, we get a very precious gift. The priceless moments of our lives arrive with the words that come to us from people we trust.

The reason such words are treasures is because they come from a person of wisdom that we respect. And our ears are ready to receive them. Because of the wisdom of the person, and our heart's readiness, the impact has precious meaning. There is little else we can build our friendships and key relationships upon. This is the good stuff of life.


Thank you for the golden words and actions of friends and mentors. I know of key times, particularly in my youth, when such words were used by You to set my life in the direction that You provided. Those words along with Your work changed my heart. They are now priceless to me.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Relax. God's got this.

Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out. 

Proverrbs 24:19-20

I realize that I have not considered this passage enough as I think about my place in this world. Like many evangelicals I can get caught up in the fretting frenzy and paranoia over the wrong that is occurring at this moment in our society. Evangelicals were good at this 60 years ago as well! But the reality is that God knows what and who is wrong. He is the righteous judge. And even though it may seem that wicked people prosper, they do not. There is no future in mocking God.

I have God's revelation, His book, in my hands. It gives me a picture of where mankind has been. It shows me where we are going and just how God has put an end to sin's dominion through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Lamps will be put out. In the end all the wrong in this world will swirl up like candle smoke.

So, I will pray. I will proclaim the gospel. But I will not worry over the evil actions of people. God's got that.

Monday, July 28, 2014

working to be wise

Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge. 

Proverbs 23:12

It takes work to be wise. It comes from a careful commitment to receiving God's instruction and paying attention to those situations that can make one wiser. It is important and serious business. More than just education, true wisdom is a kind of obsession. The heart must drive the life toward pursuit of what is wise.

It seems that exposure is very important. A wise person makes conscious commitments to surround himself with input that increases wisdom. It must start with scriptural intake. It can include solid knowledge of the universe around him. It must also include befriending, sitting under, and learning from other wisdom mentors who commit to doing the same.

Wisdom is an obsession that requires a diligent heart that never stops being a stellar student of life. It requires a willingness to cut some input sources in favor of solid wisdom that bears the stamp of God's authority so that maturity and growth always happens. The mudane is avoided in favor of that which has eternal inpact. Amusement is replaced by thoughtful challenges. Hobbies become practical avocations that bring joy and increase capacity for productivity and praise. Knowledge brings to realization a very fulfilling experience of power and contentment in the life of a person whose heart is applied to instruction.

Friday, July 25, 2014

the reward of scripture memory

Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. 

Proverbs 22:17-18

This is a good passage encouraging the memorization of scripture, particularly of proverbs. It is good to have wisdom in our hearts and to keep it close on our lips. The best way that I know to accomplish this is to memorize it and through review keep it fresh within my thinking.

Scripture is immensely rewarding in this way. It does however require diligence. Scripture memory is the hardest part of biblical intake. But it also has the deepest power to change us. For that reason I see it not as an expenditure, but rather as an investment that yields much reward.

The net affect of such exposure is grace-filled thinking and action. Scripture memory should instill God's character in us if we dwell upon His Word. The promise here is a "pleasant" life when God's Word is ready on our lips! I take it to mean that Word saturated people are pleasant, gracious, and wise with the truth that God gives. That is the person I want to be. And knowing God's Word by heart will get me there.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

inadequate reason

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart. 

Proverbs 21:2

There is always a way that seems good... well reasoned... or wise in my own estimation. Part of the image of God in us is found in our reason and intelligence. It is amazing. But these have been affected by sin. The theological description of this part of us is to refer to "the noetic affects of the fall of man." My own way may seem right, but it not right by virtue of its own measure. It must pass divine scrutiny.

That is why some social concepts like the rule of law or representative democracy, though excellent ideas, can be warped and twisted and can actually damage humanity. It is an affect of our brokenness when good concepts get warped by evil. The Lord must set a higher standard than our broken selves can achieve or even see.

So I must purpose to not just do what I see as right. I must follow what God sets out as right. And that knowledge is plain in scripture. It is trustworthy. It is good. And it will not fail me like my own reason often has done.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

on purpose

The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. 

Proverbs 20:5

Why is it important to know the purposes of a person's heart? When you know what drives them, you know them. The heart will worship and want something. It is always doing this. Always. When we know that, we know what is directing the life of the person. Purpose is important.

But we are collecting shallow relationships these days. We talk less directly with one another. We post our thoughts to the world in fascinating 140 character snippets glimpses of the purposes in our hearts. Sometimes those purposes are clear. And other times they are covered up like Instagram filters over photos.

Deep friendships take time, because purpose is brought up from a deep, cold well. It takes time for the bucket and rope to be lowered down to pull up the water of purpose. It is work to do so. But it is worth the investment because people are the most valuable commodity on this planet because they last forever. So I will purposes to know people at their heart's purpose, and to let myself be known in that way.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

God's sense makes sense.

Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good. 

Proverbs 19:8

Searching for God's wisdom is a lifestyle. It is a commitment to living in the pursuit of God's revealed truth. And I believe, as this proverbs teaches, that it is the very best thing for me. It goes against my culture. It goes against any selfish way of approaching my wants. It promises unfathomably great reward.

Ultimately, I do want to be known as a man who has lived for what is good and best. I want to have the wisdom of God lead my life. And this will come by making the Word of God my main input. It must rule over all influences in my life so that God's sense makes sense of all else in my life.


You wisdom reigns. It is right, and good, and will bless me. Of that I am convinced. I am lost without Your light. So lead me to keep Your understanding in all my ways.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Strong Tower

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. 

Proverbs 18:10

There is safety

in Your name

as I praise

Your eternal fame

The tower strong

sheltering home

is in the God

Whose Praise I know

From the heights

I look around

at fields of grace

where Your love abounds

Everlasting God

I'm secure in You

set safely there

Your will to do.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

hearts of silver and gold

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts. 

Proverbs 17:3

Adversity and difficulty are God's tools to bring the brilliance of the gold and silver out of our lives. He refines us. He knows what it takes to get the very best out of our hearts. And so... "the tested genuineness of your faith -- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire -- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7).

One reason life is hard is so God may be praised. And that is enough. It keeps my life in perspective. I may not know what I will suffer, but thanks to God's Word, the why is not as important. The result is gold in my life for the glory of God.

Real faith is tested. My life is purposed by God and must be refined from time to time. That is the perspective from the flaming crucible. This is the work of God!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

God, death, & hell

Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD; how much more the hearts of the children of man! 

Proverbs 15:11

A wise person considers that God knows even the souls that have died, even those who now are in hell. Sheol (the grave or realm of the dead) and Abaddon (the tormentous destiny of the wicked dead) are places God knows openly. What lies beyond our lives as mystery to us is clearly plain to God. Wisdom perceives and believes, and trusts God in this.

Yet, the point of this proverb is more than that God knows what lies beyond life. The point is God's breadth of understanding of humanity. He knows the dead and the living. He intimately knows each person's heart. He knows me... even my hidden thoughts which no human has ever shared.

It could be argued that death and hell exist because God knows our thoughts. Our hearts often are the deepest evidence of our depravity. But Proverbs invites us to know God's wisdom and be blessed, even as it provides commentary on the results of our wicked ways. There is then a grace given as God knows our hearts. By holding to His Word and trusting God through Christ in believing the gospel, I can be spared the worst consequences of death.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

a worldwide vision for humanity

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. 

Proverbs 14:34

I refuse to confuse the kingdom of God with human politics. I don't for one minute believe that God ONLY wants to bless America. ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH ARE BLESSED IN CHRIST! I have heard verses such as this one misused all my life to insist that America has some special destiny given by God.

The reality is that God wants all people everywhere to repent. Righteousness could exalt China, or North Korea, or Iran, or Venezuela. God wants to bless Cuba! God wants to see Palestinians and Israelis alike live in His righteousness. The goal for all of this is the glory of God in obedience to the gospel! Politics and national boundaries are hindrances to this.

No flags wave over God's wisdom. Not nation can claim exclusivity. God rules all the nations. No one ethnic group or national leader can claim to be the sole recipient of God's blessing. Righteousness exalts God an any people who will trust Him. Sin is the universal enemy of that worldwide vision for humanity. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

walking with the wise

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. 

Proverbs 13:20

Relationships set the tone for your life in many ways. The call to "walk with the wise" is an important one that should be heeded. There are many benefits to choosing the right friends for input into your life.

I want to have wise, God-fearing friends, but I also want to be able to reach those who do not know God. That means that the wise ways of God should help me reach those who need Him. The input that I get from Christian relationships should inform and assist me in reaching those in non-Christian contexts if I am truly "walking with the wise".

When I walk with the wise, I will be wise. When I look to God's Word to inform my relationships, I will invest relational time with other Christians. And in God's wisdom we will help one another live for God's glory.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. 

Proverbs 12:26

Neighborliness is a fruit of the gospel. The gospel is about the righteousness of Christ applied in the lives of His followers. That righteousness reaches out to guide others around us and to love them with God's love. That would then mean that Christians care for their neighbors. We must love the people all around us. If we don't, who will?

This simple proverb warns us that fallen, sinfilled people will not have righteous motives in their attempts at neighborliness. Ultimately they may lead others astray. It is the gospel at work in believers that lights up our communities with hope, real care, and meaningful love. Nothing else will do that.

Christians must let the gospel bridge the distance in our neighborhoods. We can see Christ bring people together. We can care because righteousness is our guide. We can serve our community with the love of Christ, starting with the people right next door. If we don't, who will?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

With the humble is wisdom.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. 

Proverbs 11:2

Wisdom is not


it isn't proud

it doesn't brag

in what it has.

Wisdom is quiet

meekly humble

pointing to God

Who supplies insight

that always lasts.

Wisdom is not 


It isn't loud,

arrogant, or cocky;

it isn't brash.

Wisdom is humble

seeking God

finding in His Word

some ways to submit

to a greater plan.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hard work is wise.

A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. 

Proverbs 10:4

My dad was fond of saying a modern day version of this proverb: "a little hard work never hurt anybody." And he lived it. He worked physically demanding jobs, loading freight and driving trucks, until his back was a mess. But I never really heard him complain much about providing for his home in this way. It was a diligence that fed, clothed, and housed us all.

I'm glad that I learned the value of daily diligence from my dad. He taught me a form of God-honoring discipline. I have never expected that anybody would just give me anything. I do not think that the world owes me a living. I must work hard and God will then provide.

Work existed before sin entered this world. Adam tended a garden with his hands in an unfallen creation. Only after he disobeyed God did work become difficult to do by the sweat of his brow. God had always intended that diligent hands work for His glory. Work is thus a good thing.

Monday, July 7, 2014

wise man getting wiser still

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. 

Proverbs 9:9

I want to be a person that embodies this truth. I don't consider myself wise. I am learning still. And I always want to learn more. I want to learn more about God and what He has made. I want to learn from life and really live it. I want to do right, learn, and love all of it!

God must be the source and substance of my studies. He will help me to love and to learn true wisdom. He will give me the grace to learn and to grow in His wisdom. He will make me wise and righteous.

I believe that if I every stop learning I will stop living. I also believe that since God is infinite and I am not, that eternity will consist of the joys of learning still more about Him, His ways, and His created universe. The wisdom I seek now is an everlasting pursuit!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

wisdom at my gates

Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. 

Proverbs 8:33-34

The wisdom that the LORD gives is so precious that it is worth waiting for. The effort that it takes to apply ourselves to wisdom pays off in the truth that God gives. It applies directly to our lives. And that diligence is necessary to attain wisdom.

The word picture employed here is one of diligent readiness. We search for wisdom. We watch for it daily at the gates of our hearts. We wait in order to let it have entrance to our inner thoughts and musings... to the secret parts of us. We delight to let God's wisdom into our hearts.

That diligent watchfulness is best applied to an approach to scripture. Looking into the pages of the Bible daily keeps an open door for wisdom to enter. The only way that I know to have wisdom rule my life with that kind of freedom is to open the door every morning by opening my Bible and thoughfully consuming God's message. Wisdom... you are welcome into my heart's home! Enter in... live there... become my closest companion!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wisdom is readily available.

keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 

Proverbs 7:2-3

This is what the invitation to wisdom looks like. It calls us to actively pursue God's wisdom. It asks us to personally commit with intentional actions. If we keep God's commands we find life. But they must be readily before us, in our hearts and on our minds.

Today, we have access to God's Word like never before. I have Bibles everywhere... printed books on the shelf, and digital editions on every computerized device that is in my hands. I even have audio versions to listen to with easy access. I am swimming in Bibles but occassionally still close to drowning in my self-centeredness! There is no excuse not to hear God's words of wisdom and "write them on the tablet of my heart."


May I be a wise steward of the tremendous resources that You give. Fill me with Your wisdom as I seek to fill my days with Your Word. Keep me in it so that my life may be blessed and be a blessing to others.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

wisdom: a constant companion

When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. 

Proverbs 6:22

Wisdom from God will provide a constant presence, if I will let it. The admonition in Proverbs is to apply myself to wisdom. It will always be there. It will lead my walk. In whatever direction I look, in a life informed by scripture, I will see the path to take.

Wisdom is a guard. I can rest at ease with wisdom as my guard. I may still face difficulties, but wisdom will guard me from the dangerous painful consequences of my solo choice... if I will choose God's wisdom over mine.

And wisdom will be my companion. Every day, if I will awaken and open the pages of scripture, I will hear God's voice... very directly, without any guessing or resorting to mystical vagaries. The words of wisdom God gives are the conversation of my life.