Words of Wisdom: How Will You Be Remembered? Proverbs 10:1-7

GoodnameWords of Wisdom: How Will You Be Remembered? Proverbs 10:1-7

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son, heartache to his mother. Ill-gotten gains do not profit anyone, but righteousness rescues from death. The Lord will not let the righteous go hungry, but He denies the wicked what they crave. Idle hands make one poor, but diligent hands bring riches. The son who gathers during summer is prudent; the son who sleeps during harvest is disgraceful. Blessings are on the head of the righteous, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. The remembrance of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot. Prov 10:1-7 (HCSB)

Do you want to see your name bring a smile to others? Solomon opens his personal wise sayings by declaring it is the wise son who seeks to live right according to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. The contrast of lifestyles between the righteous and those opposed to God’s desire for them is a core theme in the proverbs.

  • The righteous person brings joy to his or her parents versus heartache because of his or her foolishness.
  • The righteous person works honestly for what they have versus seek shortcuts for selfish gains at the expense of others.
  • The righteous lead an abundant life and are always satisfied with what they have versus those who the Lord denies and as a result are never satisfied with what they have.
  • The righteous prepares for the future and invests wisely versus those who live day by day, paycheck to paycheck.
  • The thoughts, deeds and words of the righteous builds up relationships versus those who put up a good front to conceal their real selfish motives.

And, at the end of a righteous life, the real blessing is how their name lingers in the hearts and on the minds of all who were touched by their unselfish life choices, which honored the Lord. However, in stark contrast, the name of the selfish person is only remembered when someone walks by their tombstone after they are gone.

Why has Solomon’s wise words lasted for so long, for almost three thousand years beyond his days on this earth? Though history says Solomon was not perfect, he tried to live according to and under the daily influence of God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word.

How about you? How will you be remembered by friends and family long after your days in this life? How will the Lord acknowledge you on that day when you stand before Him?

Coach

(Jesus declared…) Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit. Matt 7:15-20 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Warning: The Seductress has a Sister, Proverbs 9:13-18

fools1Words of Wisdom: Warning: The Seductress has a Sister, Proverbs 9:13-18

 

 

 

The woman Folly is rowdy; she is gullible and knows nothing. She sits by the doorway of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling to those who pass by, who go straight ahead on their paths: “Whoever is inexperienced, enter here!” To the one who lacks sense, she says, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread [eaten] secretly is tasty!” But he doesn’t know that the departed spirits are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol. Prov 9:13-18 (HCSB)

As if we need any further enticements to wander from the right paths that the Lord desires for us, the Seductress “Sin” has a partner that brings her unsuspecting fools – those who lose their way – and they find “Folly” lurking at the doorways along the path. How does “Folly” entice us to enter and meet “Sin”?

Well, it is the fool who has wandered from the right paths that the Lord desires for us, and thus “Folly” merely invites the fool to participate in more foolishness, which the fool cannot resist.

No one is more susceptible than the “naive, inexperienced fool.”Without proper knowledge to make wise decisions for life, the inexperienced fool is easily swayed to enter the ways of further folly or foolishness, which plainly leads to sin, and ultimately death.

So what is your only hope? Seek daily God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom that one can find searching God’s Word. As you discover what pleases God and realize the life that the Lord provides you, you become wise to the false words of “Folly” and her evil sister “Sin” who want your life as a trophy for their wicked ways.

A wise person is also led by the Lord’s gift of the Spirit and He will guide you away from the wrong ways in life, even when many of them look right to us. Do not be fooled by what seems as easy-ways and short-cuts, because they lead to “dead-ends!” Seek the “life-ways” that the Lord has in store for you, even when the way seems more challenging. Trust in the Lord alone, and you will find life everlasting as your reward.

Coach

Summoning the crowd along with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his life? What can a man give in exchange for his life? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38 (HCSB)

 

Words of Wisdom: Remember What the Lord Wants from You, Proverbs 9:6-12

wisdom v fearWords of Wisdom: Remember What the Lord Wants from You, Proverbs 9:6-12

 

 

 

 

 

 

The one who corrects a mocker will bring dishonor on himself; the one who rebukes a wicked man will get hurt. Don’t rebuke a mocker, or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Instruct a wise man, and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man, and he will learn more. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by Wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, you are wise for your own benefit; if you mock, you alone will bear [the consequences]. Prov 9:6-12 (HCSB)

Certainly as a child of God you are sensitive to those around you who are not living their lives in ways that are pleasing to God. That is the spiritual gift of discernment. However, nowhere in God’s Word is there instruction that calls you to exalt yourself to the position of being responsible for correcting a mocker or rebuking a wicked person. Yet, like so many proclaimed Christians, you may feel empowered and compelled to volunteer to do the Lord’s work for Him. However, why would you or anyone feel it necessary to correct or rebuke anyone? Do you know God so intimately that you know what His will is for that person? Do you know what God is already doing in that person’s life to change his or her heart? So why would you feel compelled to do so anyway? Is it possible that by correcting and rebuking others you make yourself feel better about your shortcomings before the Lord? Does it make you feel superior and somehow closer to God?

Consider for a moment what the results of such actions are: Hurt feelings and bitterness by a person God has commanded you to love! How many people that you have recognized as expressing an arrogant and wicked lifestyle have you been able to change? Frankly, all you can accomplish is to stir up their wrong attitudes even more.

However, for you who desire to be God’s agent of mercy, He says in many places in the Bible that you are to reach out to fellow brothers and sisters and encourage and instruct them. A Christian under the Spirit’s direction is to always be humble and receptive to loving correction and instruction. A Christian under the Spirit’s guidance fears the Lord, and is open to getting to know God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, and appreciates a godly person’s interest in their life enough to listen to you.

Consider for yourself: Which action serves your own purpose and places you in jeopardy in your relationship with the Lord, and which action would be blessed by the Lord? Therefore, think carefully before you respond to someone. Ask yourself, are this person’s actions offending me or the Lord? Godly instruction and correction brings life, but personal inspired mocking risks judgment upon yourself, not the person you are compelled to rebuke.

And do not try to justify your actions by some holy motivation like so many self-proclaimed Christians attempt. Why? Because, who you will be mocking is not the person you think, but God, Himself, and as Paul warned: “God cannot be mocked! What you reap, you will sow” (Gal. 6:7-8) Thus, before you act, consider whether you are pleasing the Lord or yourself by the actions you are feeling compelled to do.

Coach

He said to His disciples, Offenses will certainly come, but woe to the one they come through! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ˜I repent,” you must forgive him. Luke 17:1-4 (HCSB)

 

 

Words of Wisdom: RSVP to this Dinner Banquet, Proverbs 9:1-7

banquet_invitation217x275Words of Wisdom: RSVP to this Dinner Banquet, Proverbs 9:1-7

 

 

 

 

 

Wisdom has built her house; she has carved out her seven pillars. She has prepared her meat; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her servants; she calls out from the highest points of the city: “Whoever is inexperienced, enter here!” To the one who lacks sense, she says, “Come, eat my bread, and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave inexperience behind, and you will live; pursue the way of understanding.” Prov 9:1-7 (HCSB)

Wisdom does not stand by and wait for you to come to her; she is actively doing all she can do to draw your attention. Wisdom has made herself easy to find, and even has sent out personal invitations to enter her beautiful hallways and fellowship with her at the finest table. The one requirement for her invitation is that you humbly admit that you have much to learn about life –and that you are inexperienced and are open to instruction.

Oops! You knew there was a catch! There is no room at the table for those who believe they need no instruction or refuse to listen that you may be living your life foolishly. Pride can be an obstacle to sending your RSVP. However, the wise person recognizes the need for more knowledge in their life. The wise person, the one who enters the House of Wisdom regularly to fellowship with her to consume her bread and drink her finest wine grows in wisdom because they have become a close friend of wisdom. Such a relationship leads to an abundant life.

However, for you who are arrogant and pride has become a stumbling block in your life, you remain on the outside falling prey to the predators seeking your life. These predators are greed, envy, avarice, dissensions, ambitions, lust… just to name a few that the Seductress Sin alone controls for her wicked purposes. You who are on the outside are missing out because you are so blinded by your own pride and arrogance that you even try to stop those entering the House of Wisdom by calling them fools! However, who is the fool?

The pursuit of wisdom is the greatest goal anyone can treasure in their life, but those who refuse to pursue wisdom are inviting the greatest tragedy in their life. Do not let your “selfish pride” stand in the way to abundant life! Listen to the words of Jesus directly related to invitation to this banquet invitation…

Coach

Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent out his slaves to summon those invited to the banquet, but they didn’t want to come. Again, he sent out other slaves, and said, ˜Tell those who are invited: Look, I’ve prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet” But, they paid no attention and went away, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the others seized his slaves, treated them outrageously and killed them. The king was enraged, so he sent out his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned down their city. Then he told his slaves, ˜The banquet is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore, go to where the roads exit the city and invite everyone you find to the banquet.” So those slaves went out on the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding banquet was filled with guests. But when the king came in to view the guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding. So he said to him, ˜Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?” The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants — ˜Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matt 22:1-14 (HCSB)

 

Words of Wisdom: Wisdom’s Passionate Plea for Your Life, Proverbs 8:5-21, 36

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Wisdom: Wisdom’s Passionate Plea for Your Life, Proverbs 8:5-21, 36

Learn to be shrewd, you who are inexperienced; develop common sense, you who are foolish. Listen, for I speak of noble things, and what my lips say is right. For my mouth tells the truth, and wickedness is detestable to my lips. All the words of my mouth are righteous; none of them are deceptive or perverse. All of them are clear to the perceptive, and right to those who discover knowledge. Accept my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than pure  gold. For wisdom is better than precious stones, and nothing desirable can compare with it. I, Wisdom, share a home with shrewdness and have knowledge and discretion. To  fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech. I possess good advice and competence; I have understanding and strength. It is by me that kings reign and rulers enact just law; by me, princes lead, as do nobles [and] all righteous judges. I love those who love me, and those who search for me find me. With me are riches and honor, lasting wealth and righteousness. My fruit is better than solid gold, and my harvest than pure silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, giving wealth as an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries…

For the one who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but the one who sins against me harms himself; all who hate me love death. Prov 8:5-21, 36 (HCSB)

Common sense, truth, knowledge of right and wrong, competence, shrewdness, discretion, understanding, and strength of character, honor, and justice are some of the fruits of seeking and discovering Wisdom. These characteristics are desired by everyone to one degree or another, and Wisdom makes herself known to you at every crossroads and doorway along life’s path. The question remains though: Will you find Wisdom, because to find it, you must be seeking it?

In stark contrast to Wisdom lies Wickedness, from which one can find deception and perverse thoughts, speech and deeds, greed, arrogant pride, all things evil, and the love of death. Yet, even when you are clearly made aware of the contrasting ways of Wisdom and Wickedness, you hesitate at every crossroad and doorway? Why is it so hard for you to choose life over death? What reservation remains even when you know what is right? The answer is that Wickedness is promoted by that Seductress, Sin. Her words come from within us and she perverts the truth and casts doubts about the real value of Wisdom. If you are still inexperienced and have not walked with Wisdom, you will risk being drawn to the lies of the Seductress, Sin. Her ways on the surface suit your selfish desires, your lustful spirit, and your willful wants in life, and her ways seem like shortcuts to power, prestige, and possessions. However, sooner or later, you will learn the hard way that shortcuts lead to dead-ends. You will discover on the paths of Wickedness although appearing crowded, they are lonely pathways. Everyone is pushing and shoving in the pursuit of the selfish rewards of power, prestige and possessions, and all your effort falls short of the prize. You ultimately learn the pursuit is endless and there exists no satisfaction that can be found in the promises of Wickedness.

Yet, Wisdom continues to make her ways available to you, because her desire is to reveal herself once you tire walking in the lies and treachery of Wickedness, and listening to the ­Seductress, Sin. All the fruits of Wisdom remain available to you once you turn away from Wickedness and accept the ways of Wisdom. The rewards you will find along her path are relationships that support and encourage one another, proper perspectives about your desires for power, prestige and possessions. You discover the power to overcome your most challenging obstacle, self. You discover that in supporting and encouraging others, you become exalted and receive prestige among your peers, and your heart finally learns what to value more than gold or silver, and you learn you have more than you ever wanted in your life.

What is preventing you from choosing Wisdom and genuine life? Are you tired of the pursuit of things you realize now you can never gain satisfaction? What are you waiting for?

Coach

Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith. Gal 6:7-10 (HCSB)

 

 

Words of Wisdom: Wisdom Gives Us No Excuse! Proverbs 8:1-4

WisdomWords of Wisdom: Wisdom Gives Us No Excuse! Proverbs 8:1-4

 

 

 

Doesn’t Wisdom call out? Doesn’t Understanding make her voice heard? At the heights overlooking the road, at the crossroads, she takes her stand. Beside the gates at the entry to the city, at the main entrance, she cries out: “People, I call out to you; my cry is to mankind.” Prov 8:1-4 (HCSB)

“But I didn’t know” is not an acceptable response when the Lord and you meet face to face one day. The Lord has made “wisdom” available to all and accessible everywhere that life-affecting crossroad decisions have to be made. Wisdom resides always as an option of choice with the seductress, Sin.

So before you try to claim ignorance as an excuse, think twice! Always remember that the difference between naivete, stupidity and foolishness is this:

  • To claim to be naive is when you are truly lacking the knowledge and have no understanding of what wisdom says about a choice in life.
  • To call yourself stupid indicates you knew that wisdom was available to you and you deliberately chose not to invest in it to make the right choice in your life.
  • However, foolishness is what happens when you know it is available and have asked for its advice about a life affecting decision, but you ignored the words of wisdom and chose your own way anyway, likely pleasing the lady called Sin.

The amazing fact of God’s grace is this: whether you are walking through life naive, stupid, or foolishly before Wisdom, the Lord never gives up on you. He sends Wisdom out onto all the crossroads of your life so that one day you may grasp her and accept her words as truth for your life. Why, because through acknowledging Wisdom, you may find the love of God for your life. His love is found in his patient endurance, which declares to each of us: “The Lord will never, never, never give up on you!” And, He has gone all out to offer you the life changing opportunity to know Him personally and intimately.

And, you have one other option that the Lord hopes you will choose for your life: To claim to be wise says that at every crossroad decision in your life you have learned to recognize and accept the instruction of Wisdom versus the deceptive and destructive advice of Sin.

Remember it is never too late to change your status.

Coach

Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom, because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. 1 Cor 1:24-25 (HCSB)

 

 

Words of Wisdom: Wisdom’s Value at the Crossroads of Life Proverbs 7:1-12, 24-27

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Words of Wisdom: Wisdom’s Value at the Crossroads of Life  Proverbs 7:1-12, 24-27

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My son: obey my words, and treasure my commands. Keep my commands and live; protect my teachings as you would the pupil of your eye. Tie them to your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding [your] relative. She will keep you from a forbidden woman, a stranger with her flattering talk. At the window of my house I looked through my lattice. I saw among the inexperienced, I noticed among the youths, a young man lacking sense. Crossing the street near her corner, he strolled down the road to her house at twilight, in the evening, in the dark of the night. A woman came to meet him, dressed like a prostitute, having a hidden agenda. She is loud and defiant; her feet do not stay at home. Now in the street, now in the squares, she lurks at every corner…

Now, [my] sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words of my mouth. Don’t let your heart turn aside to her ways; don’t stray onto her paths. For she has brought many down to death; her victims are countless. Her house is the road to Â Sheol, descending to the chambers of death. Prov 7: 1-12, 24-27 (HCSB)

So much inference in the Proverbs is related to the role of parents to encourage and exemplify the wisdom that is the gift of God to their children. Again the threat in life is the seductress, “sin.” She lurks at every street corner and never stays at home. She is loud and defiant; she has a hidden agenda. From these traits a person who has treasured the Lord’s wisdom can recognize “sin’s” influence upon others and understand why you must avoid the seductress and not walk onto her known pathways but seek God’s ways.

“Sin’s” ways are full of people who are like the young man the parent witnessed in the streets at night who strolled naively onto her pathways. Intentionally or not, naively he does not understand that she seduces at every crossroad in life, and uses the cover of nightfall to lure the naive young man to follow her hidden and tragic agenda. And, the wise parent watches and recognizes how the young man is unable to realize the danger he was in, and they realize even more the need to enlighten and encourage their own children, so that they will have the advantage of wisdom, which will save their lives.

God’s word is clear, and a major theme echoes throughout its passages from Genesis to Revelation: God allows us choices at the crossroads in life and there are consequences for which pathway we choose. However, He has also promised us that He will give us the power and strength to make the right choices when we seek God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom found in God’s Word. But, He leaves it up to you and me to seek and make it the guide of our lives. Also, He has left plenty of instruction that points to causes and effects of choosing “sin” and her ways in your life. Why, because He wants no one to have an excuse about the life we choose to live. What is your guide when you face the crossroad decisions in your life?

Coach

Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you won’t be tempted also. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone considers himself to be something when he is nothing, he is deceiving himself. But each person should examine his own work, and then he will have a reason for boasting in himself alone, and not in respect to someone else. For each person will have to carry his own load. Gal 6:1-5 (HCSB)

 

Words of Wisdom: Listen to the Warnings About the Bear Traps, Proverbs 6:20-35

bear trapsWords of Wisdom: Listen to the Warnings About the Bear Traps, Proverbs 6:20-35

 

 

 

 

 

My son, keep your father’s command, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching. Always bind them to your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk here and there, they will guide you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; when you wake up, they will talk to you. For a commandment is a lamp, teaching is a light, and corrective instructions are the way to life. They will protect you from an evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a stranger. Don’t lust in your heart for her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyelashes. For a prostitute’s fee is only a loaf of bread, but an adulteress goes after [your] very life. Can a man embrace fire and his clothes not be burned? Can a man walk on coals without scorching his feet? Prov 6:20-35 (HCSB)

I can remember my own son telling me that he no longer wanted my advice and warnings about what to do and not to do in life. When I responded that I was trying to help him to avoid the “bear traps” in life, because I have the scars from stepping into them in my own life, he responded by saying that he would rather learn by stepping into the “bear traps” for himself. I scratched my head and my heart ached for my son because he wanted to find his own way through life without the advice of others who had blazed the way before him. This is the attitude that this passage from Proverbs is trying to teach a lesson about.

Of course, I can understand my son’s desire to make his own way in life, and certainly am proud of that sense of independence, but God desires that one should make their own unique way in life by weighing the advice of wise and godly parents and reliable friends. Likely, the same people God has placed in your life have learned their way through life choices by contemplating the advice and warnings of their parents and close friends, as well. I believe God’s Word clearly points to this practice as pleasing to God because it is a part of God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom found in God’s Word.

The evil woman in this passage is the adulteress named Sin. And, she resides within us waiting for the opportunity to stand between you and a right relationship with God – deterring you from remaining in His will, His way and His wisdom for your life. She is a temptress who knows how to seduce your “ego,” drawing you into walking in her ways, but the detour she is drawing you towards comes with a price, because clearly you cannot dance with this seductress and maintain your right relationship with your Savior too! That is made clear by the warning in the passage which declares: Can a man embrace fire and his clothes not be burned? Can a man walk on coals without scorching his feet? She was and remains too hot to handle!

The rest of the passage that is related to what is quoted today also warns about committing adultery with another man’s spouse. This is a further warning about what can happen when Sin becomes in full bloom within your heart, and you have become drawn into the seduction of a neighbor’s spouse. Such a relationship is devastating because it not only affects the two of you, but impacts everyone connected, and death is a consequence.

Life is full of “bear traps” and there are temptresses and seductresses all along the pathway to stand in the way of you living according to the perfect, pleasing and good will of the Lord for your life. If you desire to walk on your own, you will risk your life, and the lives of those you draw into your selfish, adulterous ways. However, if you will listen to godly wisdom from wise and godly parents and friends, many of the “bear traps” can be avoided.

“Bear traps” and seductresses lurk ahead in your life: how will you deal with choices about the ways you will go – your ways or God’s ways?

Coach

Then He went a little farther, fell to the ground, and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “ Abba, Father! All things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:35-36 (HCSB)

 

Words of Wisdom: Despicable, Detestable, Dishonest, Destructive Ways! Proverbs 6:12-19

110306-god-hates-god-lovesWords of Wisdom: Despicable, Detestable, Dishonest, Destructive Ways! Proverbs 6:12-19

 

A worthless person, a wicked man, who goes around speaking dishonestly, who winks his eyes, signals with his feet, and gestures with his fingers, who plots evil with perversity in his hear – he stirs up trouble constantly. Therefore calamity will strike him suddenly; he will be shattered instantly – beyond recovery.

Six things the Lord hates; in fact, seven are detestable to Him: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet eager to run to evil, a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers. Prov6:12-19 (HCSB)

Many people walk through life with a belief that in the end, God loves even the worst sinner and will forgive his or her sins and allow that person into His Eternal Kingdom. These people think that if they do enough good things in their lives, they somehow keep their life in balance between right and wrong actions. There are some who truly believe this and they deceive themselves an others by trying to justify their life’s choices by emphasizing the good deeds to cover over the behind the scenes selfish lifestyle choices that really have defined the real person that God knows.

However, the Lord never said that He desires a positive balance of good versus wicked deeds in a person’s life. You will be held accountable for all the wicked actions or attitudes or even thoughts you have exercised in this life, unless you sincerely confess your wicked ways before the Lord and turn your life over to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. Only then will the Lord smile upon your life and embrace you as one of His children. God’s grace and mercy are hard to comprehend, but available to all nonetheless.

Clearly pictured in the passage today is the image of those people who constantly and selfishly scheme for their purposes, and certainly are on a despicable, detestable, dishonest and destructive path. They also try to draw others to their wicked ways to help them to justify their lifestyle in opposition to what the Lord has clearly stated in right in His eyes. The passage has painted a picture of what this kind of person looks like, how their words will be twisted for their purposes, they have no value for the lives of others, and they are eager for the next scheme that suits their selfish purposes. This person believes truth is whatever they believe it to be (and are always the first to argue the relativity of truth) for their selfish aims; and, they thrive in the turmoil of others, because they seek to take advantage of others. Do you anyone who is like this? They do not have to be on “America’s Most Wanted” to fit this profile. Many people like this may even walk among us in our community, even in our own church, seeking their selfish ways by taking advantage of the unsuspecting gracious and generous spirits of the good people that reside there.

Wicked people thrive among the righteous; not among others who are just like them. So we should be alert to the thief in our midst. There are many who walk disguised as one of the righteous, but they are actually wolves seeking pray for their despicable, detestable, dishonest and destructive schemes. So stay alert and be discerning to what Jesus stated: “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit.” Matt 7:15-16 (HCSB)

Coach

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: You Should Not Have to Be Told! Proverbs 6:6-11

ant & grasshopperWords of Wisdom: You Should Not Have to Be Told! Proverbs 6:6-11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. Without leader, administrator, or ruler, it prepares its provisions in summer; it gathers its food during harvest. How long will you stay in bed, you slacker? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit. Prov 6:6-11 (HCSB)

In God’s Kingdom you are not to be idle! As you read, learn, and then accept by faith God’s will, God’s way, and God’s wisdom that is found in God’s Word, you realize that are not to be a part of God’s chosen people without a purpose. No one is saved from our former life of sin to just sit while everyone else does the work that benefits you and serves the needs of others. Missions and ministry are a part of every Christian’s life so that the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-26) can be experienced. And this fruit is the result of you and I engaging with others in this world, reflecting the imagery of being “salt and light” to them, which Christ says we are to be for God’s glory. (Matt 5:13-14)

Having said this, does God want you to also to be so wrapped up in Kingdom work that you forgo the basic needs of your life as well? God provides for your basic needs, but you have your responsibility in reaping what He has provided. God has a balanced life in view for our well-being. As a matter of fact, most of the passages on serving and sharing others provide an emphasis for us to be available and alert to opportunities of service while we are going through the normal activities of life. Serving and sharing with others for God’s Kingdom purposes is to be an ongoing lifestyle that has God’s mission as the ultimate purpose of our life, while we live out our daily life.

Also, since you are not “saved to be served, but to serve”, recognize that you are also not to be a burden on others, who likewise have their own needs that must be met. In a previous passage you are admonished to not become indebted to another. Well, if you “slacker” in your own responsibilities, even if you believe you are doing right by God by focusing upon His work alone, then you are becoming reliant and a burden upon others to feed, clothe, and shelter you and your family. According to God’s Word this attitude is in opposition to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom.

Outside of our daily opportunities to reach and touch others, you should also model this lifestyle before those close to us, especially our children and their children. Should a child become a lazy slacker who is reliant upon your resources? If the correct answer is no, then we are given the guidance from the Lord to teach our children in the correct ways of living. We are to teach or discipline them about the consequences that come from the choices they make. And, we are to help our children to learn how to make right choices by the example we show them with our own life choices.

The first thing we need to realize is this: Giving our children all their needs because we claim to love them is going against what God desires. Teaching a child how to become responsible for their own needs is a true act of love. What brings greater joy to a child when you go fishing – you catching the fish for them, or them catching their own fish?

When you teach a child correctly, according to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, then your child will have a better opportunity to trust God with their own life at the appropriate time in their life, which will bring joy to you!

Think upon the value of examining the lifestyle choices of the ant!

Coach

About brotherly love: you don’t need me to write you because you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. In fact, you are doing this toward all the brothers in the entire region of Macedonia. But we encourage you, brothers, to do so even more, to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, so that you may  walk properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone. 1 Thess 4:9-12 (HCSB)

 

Words of Wisdom: Beware of Entangling Yourself in the Obligations of Others, Proverbs 6:1-5

debt prov 6.1-5Words of Wisdom: Beware of Entangling Yourself in the Obligations of Others, Proverbs 6:1-5

 

My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor or entered into an agreement with a stranger, you have been trapped by the words of your lips – ensnared by the words of your mouth. Do this, then, my son, and free yourself, for you have put yourself in your neighbor’s power: Go, humble yourself, and plead with your neighbor. Don’t give sleep to your eyes or slumber to your eyelids. Escape like a gazelle from a hunter, like a bird from a fowler’s trap. Prov 6:1-5 (HCSB)       

This passage can be confusing because as Christians we are called to extend a helping hand where and when you can to a neighbor; however there is an added factor in this situation that puts you, your family, and your neighbor at risk. What seems like a good thing to do, the neighborly thing, can do more harm than the good intentions on the surface. The setting is you have placed yourself up as the guarantor of an agreement or contract that your neighbor has made with another person – someone you do not know anything about, but will share an obligation or debt until it is fully paid.

  1. First of all, the Bible declares you are not to be a debtor to others, because it enslaves you to that person until the debt is resolved. Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8 (HCSB)
  2. Next, your family is made a party of the commitment, because you have offered to guarantee the agreement with your resources, which may be used to care for and support your own family. Therefore, your spouse and children have unknowingly been made a part of your decision. Is it wrong to help a neighbor in a time of need by sharing what you and your family have? Certainly not! However, the caution is when you base your guarantor position upon your faith in your neighbor and not in your ability to meet the debt, if something should happen that would require you to fulfill the debt obligation. Even Jesus did not trust the hearts of men because He knew what was in their hearts. Jesus, however, would not entrust Himself to them, since He knew them all and because He did not need anyone to testify about man; for He Himself knew what was in man. John 2:24-25 (HCSB) Your role on behalf of your neighbor should be to help him or her to find a way to eliminate their debt obligation, and then to remain debt free in their life.
  3. Finally, should you stand in the place of a guarantor of the neighbor’s obligation, you take your neighbor’s place, and thus he or she now has you under their power. They no longer have any vested interest in meeting the obligation except their relationship with you. You have enabled your neighbor to not realize the consequences for their choices, because you have placed yourself in the position of assuming the consequences that they should have faced. It is far better to help your neighbor to overcome their debt, their obligations to others, so that they would honor God in their life. Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law –You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10 (HCSB)

I know your instincts are to be willing to help your neighbor, but this proverb encourages you to do so in the light of what God desires for you and your neighbor. Also, remember that the only person you should be in debt to should be God Himself. Certainly, love your neighbor, but do so in the light of God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word.

Coach

Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:29-31 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Enjoy Your Unique and Personal Relationship, Proverbs 5:15-23

MarriageWords of Wisdom: Enjoy Your Unique and Personal Relationship, Proverbs 5:15-23

 

 

 

 

 

Drink water from your own cistern, water flowing from your own well. Should your springs flow in the streets, streams of water in the public squares? They should be for you alone and not for you [to share] with strangers. Let your fountain be blessed, and take pleasure in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful fawn – let her breasts always satisfy you; be lost in her love forever. Why, my son, would you be infatuated with a forbidden woman or embrace the breast of a stranger? For a man’s ways are before the Lord’s eyes, and He considers all his paths. A wicked man’s iniquities entrap him; he is entangled in the ropes of his own sin. He will die because there is no instruction, and be lost because of his great stupidity. Prov 5:15-23 (HCSB)

This is a passage that can easily be directed to the marriage relationship between a man and his wife, and certainly the advice is one of fidelity according to God’s covenant of marriage, however in the context of the advice given so far it has a broader message. Remember in reading the Bible, one must consider the context it is written. The Middle Eastern mind enjoys using a play on words to paint a picture to try and get their real meaning across, much like the parables of Jesus. The subject so far in the advice of the father to his son in Proverbs has been related to being true to adhering to God’s wisdom, versus the seduction of sin or the wicked ways of the world. Considering this fact, read once again this passage to consider the meaning which has equal instruction for young men and young women alike.

Fidelity or remaining completely faithful to your committed relationship with God and His will, His ways, and His wisdom according to His Word is in view here. Just as there is a marriage covenant in which there is a commitment to fidelity and faithfulness, the covenant that God offers all His chosen children requires your unadulterated faithfulness. God desires a personal relationship with you and you alone. It is a relationship that is very personal because in God’s eyes you have been uniquely made by Him for His purposes. And, one of those purposes is to discover God’s love for you. Thus, you are warned here to not try and have a relationship with Him while being receptive to other relationships that will come between you and God. And do not think you can have it both ways because God is omniscient and He is aware of all your comings and goings in life. He knows when you have been unfaithful to Him. And God issues this warning through the words of a father who knows: “A wicked man’s iniquities entrap him; he is entangled in the ropes of his own sin. He will die because there is no instruction, and be lost because of his great stupidity.”

Stupidity is knowing where to go to make the right choices in life and knowing there are consequences for making wrong choices, but you still ignore the advice and go your own way anyway. And turning from God once you know Him and His ways for you is very STUPID!

Thankfully, God knows the struggle you face within yourself and He offers you Himself through His Spirit and a personal relationship with His Son, Christ Jesus, to help you to remain faithful and true to His will, His ways, and His wisdom according to His Word for you. All He asks is that you seek to be faithful only to Him, just as you should be 100% faithful to your spouse in marriage! Remember, adultery means you have placed an obstacle between you and the one you have committed to love above all others. Adultery is losing your focus upon what God has intended for your life, and the consequences are dire indeed, even death if you fail to continue on that path of destruction. Thankfully God is a gracious and loving God and will forgive and forget our sins, if you will seek Him and turn away from any wrong relationship of adultery you have found yourself entangled.

Coach

Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled, because God will judge immoral people and adulterers. Heb 13:4 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Run from the Seduction of Sin, Proverbs 5:1-14

Run-from-GodWords of Wisdom: Run from the Seduction of Sin, Proverbs 5:1-14

 

 

 

 

My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen closely to my understanding so that [you] may maintain discretion and your lips safeguard knowledge. Though the lips of the forbidden woman drip honey and her words are smoother than oil, in the end she’s as bitter as wormwood and as sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps head straight for Sheol. She doesn’t consider the path of life; she doesn’t know that her ways are unstable. So now, [my] sons, listen to me, and don’t turn away from the words of my mouth. Keep your way far from her. Don’t go near the door of her house. Otherwise, you will give up your vitality to others and your years to someone cruel; strangers will drain your resources, and your earnings will end up in a foreigner’s house. At the end of your life, you will lament when your physical body has been consumed, and you will say, “How I hated discipline, and how my heart despised correction. I didn’t obey my teachers or listen closely to my mentors. I was on the verge of complete ruin before the entire community.” Prov 5:1-14 (HCSB)

When someone first reads this passage you may see it as a warning to young men to stay away from evil women. However, in the language and writings of the time that the proverbs were written, and in many circles in the Middle East still today, proverbs are written in imagery that portray the real meaning, like a parable that Jesus spoke with in the New Testament. In this passage, the illicit, seductive woman represents “sin” in our lives. And, “sin” is an action or attitude that neglects God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. The moment we cease paying attention to the instructions we receive from God, our heavenly Father, we expose ourselves to the sultry, seductive draw of “sin.” She (sin) is like the provocative woman who draws the attention of the young man. She says the right things to catch our attention. She has the body language that says, “Embrace me!” The images in the passage of lips of honey and her words flowing smoother than oil, means her message is easily accepted into our mind and heart, if we do not stay alert. However, unless we are disciplined and anchored in the ways that please God, the right path of life, she will drag us down to death, which means quite frankly “separation from God and His gift of abundant, eternal life.” Therefore, do not even place yourself near her! Stay away from even the seductive vision or ear-shot of her tantalizing words that could easily draw you to the ways of “sin.” In fact, the Bible says, “Run away! Do not even look back!”

Have you ever considered the costs of sin in your life? Sin cripples you physically, financially, emotionally and certainly spiritually, because you must sin more and more in the search of the satisfaction that can never be realized in a world of sin. Sin is a more deadly addiction than drugs, alcohol, sex, money, or the applause of others. Sin wants all that and more! You will exhaust your strength physically, financially, emotionally, and certainly spiritually. But sadly, once you are drawn into the embrace of sin’s hold on you, it will be too late for you before you realize the cost of surrendering to her seduction, and the only thing you will have left is the dread of remorse of a wasted life and the reality of death that you face.

Finally, this message is paternally written, as a father to a son, but the images could be exchanged to have a maternal message of equal value. So young ladies, beware as well. Both young men and women can be seduced into embracing sin when you choose to drift away from God’s will, God’s ways and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word for your life. This message is over 3,000 years old, but is as relevant today as it was in Ancient Israel.

Coach

Consider the parable Jesus shared about this matter when He shared the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. ˜Son,” Abraham said, ˜remember that during your life you received your good things, just as Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here, while you are in agony. Besides all this, a great chasm has been fixed between us and you, so that those who want to pass over from here to you cannot; neither can those from there cross over to us.” Luke 16:25-26 (HCSB) [Read the whole passage to realize the message’s full warning about the consequences of choices you have in your life.]

 

Words of Wisdom: Be Totally Committed, Proverbs 4:20-27

prov-4_23Words of Wisdom: Be Totally Committed, Proverbs 4:20-27

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My son, pay attention to my words; listen closely to my sayings. Don’t lose sight of them; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health to one’s whole body. Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life. Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly, and don’t let your lips talk deviously. Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead. Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established. Don’t turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil. Prov 4:20-27 (HCSB)

Many people can talk the talk, but are they able to walk the walk to back up what they committed to do? Your words have no value unless you have totally committed to back them up by all you believe and are focused upon in your life.

In this passage, you are encouraged, even urged to live according to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s Wisdom found in God’s Word, because if you not only listen but also totally commit to living your life guided by them, you will be blessed. In God’s Word you can discover the formula for living life to its fullest and discover health for your body. Further, the total commitment specified means going beyond just listening and acknowledging the words. The words should be securely placed into your heart, as well as your mind. The words of your mouth should constantly witness to your commitment, and your eyes should reveal a vision that is guided by a life totally committed to pleasing God by following His Wisdom for your life. Likewise, with that total commitment, you should filter all your choices in life by His Wisdom, and then commit totally to your decision, never floundering in indecision. Nor should you be swayed by others from the choice you have made. When God is behind your decision, you have chosen rightly, and any other path would be in opposition to what God has intended for you to do.

Finally, fathers (and mothers) are to be not only the models of this lifestyle, but also the encouragers and mentors for their sons (and daughters). Therefore, as a father (or mother) your total commitment to live according to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s Wisdom found in God’s Word not only serves a healthy benefit for your life, but also will impact the future life and health of your children as well. This definitely defies the old adage that many parents espouse: “Do as I say, not as I do!” Fact: Your children will mirror you long before they listen to your advice. Thus, your best form of instruction is a life well-lived before them, guiding them by example of word and deed.

Does your life testify to the instruction you would want for your children?

Coach

Pay careful attention, then, to how you  walk –not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. And don’t get drunk with wine, which [leads to] reckless actions, but be filled with the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music to the Lord in your heart, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ. Eph 5:15-21 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Choose Carefully, God’s Ways or the World’s Ways! Proverbs 4:10-19

Proverbs 4 Choosing Right from WrongWords of Wisdom: Choose Carefully, God’s Ways or the World’s Ways! Proverbs 4:10-19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen, my son. Accept my words, and you will live many years. I am teaching you the way of wisdom; I am guiding you on straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction; don’t let go. Guard it, for it is your life. Don’t set foot on the path of the wicked; don’t proceed in the way of evil ones. Avoid it; don’t travel on it. Turn away from it, and pass it by. For they can’t sleep unless they have done what is evil; they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble. They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, shining brighter and brighter until midday. But the way of the wicked is like the darkest gloom; they don’t know what makes them stumble. Prov 4:10-19 (HCSB)

The Bible is clear: Life is about making choices and then realizing the consequences that come from making those choices. When God created you and me, He gave us a free will to make the choices necessary in life. When you choose rightly, there is life and light upon the ways you have chosen. When you bypass God’s many warnings about choosing the ways of the World, then you will likely discover nothing but grief, troubles and darkness – even death!

The Bible refers to making the wrong choice as turning to evil ways or the ways of the wicked. Both are synonymous with seeking ways that are not God’s ways for you. The Bible also points to Satan or the Devil as the villain who exists to deceive you away from the right ways that God has for you. However, understand carefully, the Bible clearly states that God has given you the power of choice, and you will only choose wrong because you have decided to do so, on your own. The “deceiver” – or Satan – is merely a creation to give an excuse for our self-centered decisions that oppose going in the ways that God desires for you. This rebellious decision is what is called “SIN!”And, it is nothing more than when “Self Is Noticed” and the “Savior Is Neglected.”

If only you will invest time in the Wisdom of God that is found in His Word. As you invest in His wisdom, you will realize that God’s Will is that you discover the light and life found following God’s Ways. Jesus pointed to this fact during His life, and His words are recorded as God’s encouragement and testimony to the love that He has for you.

As you read this passage and others like it in God’s Word, how many times in your life have you found yourself choosing between God’s ways and the World’s ways? What was the outcome of your decision? Did you always choose the right ways to follow? Or, were there times, for some reason, you chose the world’s ways?

How do you know when you have chosen the right ways? First, there will be no hesitation in your decision. Next, no one will be hurt along the ways that God has intended for you. Thus, if you have to offend or turn your back on someone by taking your chosen path, you likely have taken the wrong path to follow. And, thirdly, if the way seems uncertain and you feel uncomfortable, causing you to stumble, you are definitely on the wrong path. God will never take you down a path that will cause you to stumble or to be a stumbling block for others.

Begin today, filtering your choices in life by seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word.

Coach

 [Ananias testified to Paul at his conversion] ˜The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of His voice. For you will be a witness for Him to all people of what you have seen and heard. And now, why delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins by calling on His name.” Acts 22:14-16 (HCSB)

 

Words of Wisdom: Father to Son Responsibility, Proverbs 4:1-9

Fathers and sonsWords of Wisdom: Father to Son Responsibility, Proverbs 4:1-9

Listen, [my] sons, to a father’s discipline, and pay attention so that you may gain understanding, for I am giving you good instruction. Don’t abandon my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender and precious to my mother, he taught me and said: Your heart must hold on to my words. Keep my commands and live. Get wisdom, get understanding; don’t forget or turn away from the words of my mouth. Don’t abandon wisdom, and she will watch over you; love her, and she will guard you. Wisdom is supreme – so get wisdom. And whatever else you get, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; if you embrace her, she will honor you. She will place a garland of grace on your head; she will give you a crown of beauty. Prov 4:1-9 (HCSB)

What our country needs today is more fathers involved and engaged in their families. Sons need strong role models to guide them as they grow and mature in the important stages of their life. However, many families today are being forced to develop without a father who is active in the daily lives of their children. And, the mothers who are left to raise the children are overwhelmed and are ill-equipped to provide the father’s role to their children, and the results are children who grow up without the solid foundation of parental support that God intended from the beginning of time.

Isn’t it important to note that long before governments and nations were established, God ordained marriage and the raising of families as the foundation of society. Even the earliest nations were nothing more than extended families supporting one another for common good and security. However, as government and religious institutions were established the pressure for power, prestige, and pleasure received from those man-made institutions became far more important than maintaining God’s intended role of parents in the family setting, which offer the benefits of proper power, prestige, and pleasure that the family relationship offers. Instead, men sacrificed their parental roles and the benefits that came in the family and they pursued what is perceived as greater power, prestige, and pleasure that can be sought climbing social and secular ladders. The applause of men became more important than the applause of their wives and children. And, to add to that reality, in recent years there has been the movement that promotes that women should not be left out of this definition of true success, and the family itself has been further crippled with the children losing out from almost any consistent parental guidance and support. The mothers and fathers for their selfish designs have shuffled their responsibilities onto the shoulders of schools and churches and other social activities.

Fathers, you have a responsibility designed and established by God to be the role model for your sons (and daughters) to promote God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom found in God’s Word. Our children desire and deserve the applause of their fathers. And fathers, your applause should come from the eager response of your children seeking to receive your approval for what they do and say and achieve.

America, what has made us so strong for so many decades was our agricultural family base, where multi-generations lived together on the farm supporting and encouraging each other; everyone sharing for the common good and security of the family members. However, as America prospered and we became more successful as an industrial society and families moved into the cities for the “so-called better life” and thus the family structure suffered. Add the information age we are in, and now we find our children engaged in social networks like they are. Why? The answer is simpler than we realize: Our children need approval and guidance and they are seeking it from social network connections, because their parents are too busy in their own lives. Let us be reminded what God has to say about this: When I was a son with my father, tender and precious to my mother, he taught me and said: Your heart must hold on to my words. Keep my commands and live. Get wisdom, get understanding; don’t forget or turn away from the words of my mouth. Don’t abandon wisdom, and she will watch over you; love her, and she will guard you.

Coach

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with a promise that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land. And fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Eph 6:1-4 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Right Relationship Attitudes and Actions, Proverbs 3:27-35

proverbs3_25-26Words of Wisdom: Right Relationship Attitudes and Actions, Proverbs 3:27-35

 

 

 

 

When it is in your power, don’t withhold good from the one to whom it is due.

Don’t say to your neighbor, “Go away! Comeback later. I’ll give it tomorrow”— when it is there with you. Don’t plan any harm against your neighbor, for he trusts you and lives near you.

Don’t accuse anyone without cause, when he has done you no harm.

Don’t envy a violent man or choose any of his ways; for the devious are detestable to the Lord, but He is a friend to the upright.

The Lord’s curse is on the household of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the righteous; He mocks those who mock, but gives grace to the humble.

The wise will inherit honor, but He holds up fools to dishonor. Proverbs 3:27-35 (HCSB)

When you walk according to the wisdom of the Lord, the Lord guides you through what are right relationship attitudes and actions when dealing with others in your life. In this passage, the others are not family members but those who should be your friend because they are your neighbor, or those who live near you and you should interact with daily. The Lord places upon us certain proper responsibilities to help us build right relationships for our benefit and for His kingdom purposes. And, the Lord declares that whenever it is in our power or ability to make it happen we are to avoid wrong behavior towards our neighbors, such as:

  • Don’t withhold good to those neighbors who have done nothing wrong to you to warrant such behavior. Remember how the Lord has dealt with you and has not withheld good towards you, unless you chose to act in a manner that was wrong in the eyes of the Lord. However, remember that He also never remembers wrong once you have confessed your wrong and sought to return to a right relationship with the Lord. Can you do the same with your neighbor, as well?
  • Don’t delay doing right for your neighbor when he or she comes to you and it is in your power or ability to help him or her. When you put off a neighbor, when it is possible to help him or her at that time, you are deceiving him or her. The Lord wants us to deal rightly with all people even when it may be inconvenient and interrupt our immediate plans. Why? Do you go to the Lord seeking help and does He put you off because He is doing something else, or does He respond in the proper time and in the proper way? We should respond likewise.
  • Don’t plan any harm against your neighbor. You are to be building positive relationships with all your neighbors, not destroying relationships. You are to be building bridges of friendship, pleasing the Lord. Jesus plainly said we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
  • Don’t falsely accuse your neighbor of wrong doing. You should always strive to act and speak fairly and honestly with all your neighbors. Would you be pleased if your neighbors spoke falsely against you? If so, how would you feel? Jesus had false accusations thrown at Him, but did He use that as an excuse to do likewise? Well, neither should you.
  • Don’t envy an evil man who may seem to have it all. Don’t seek his advice thinking his ways may be better ways. You are to deal rightly with him, but not accept his ways as being right for you. The Lord will be his or her judge and deal with him or her in His just time and manner. Don’t risk your relationship with the Lord.

In all our relationships, the Lord blesses the righteous. Are you one of His righteous by the manner you deal with others? Are you humble enough to respond rightly to anyone who the Lord places before you as one of your neighbors? If so, the Lord is pleased. Don’t be like the fool who knew better but did wrong anyway, because God honors the wise, and they are the ones who seek daily to live according to His will, His ways, according to the wisdom of His Word.

Coach

One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked Him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” This is the most important, Jesus answered: Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, The Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:28-31 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Wisdom = Competence + Discretion + Confidence, Proverbs 3:21-26

proverbs3_21-22

Words of Wisdom: Wisdom = Competence + Discretion + Confidence, Proverbs 3:21-26

 

 

 

 

Maintain [your] competence and discretion. My son, don’t lose sight of them. They will be life for you and adornment for your neck. Then you will go safely on your way; your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; you will lie down, and your sleep will be pleasant. Don’t fear sudden danger or the ruin of the wicked when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from a snare. Prov 3:21-26 (HCSB)

Those who are truly wise share common traits: You are competent, discrete, and confident in all you think, say or do in life. Being competent comes from not only knowing everything one should know about any particular discipline, but also wisdom means you know how to properly and rightly how and when to utilize the knowledge you have. Seeking God’s gift of wisdom means you want more than just knowledge but the proper understanding in how to apply that knowledge in the practical, everyday relationships and situations in life for the benefit of everyone (family, friends, acquaintances, enemies and even strangers), not just yourself.

Further, in addition to competence, one who has sought the wisdom that comes from God understands the value of discretion. Proper use of wisdom is more than just knowing how to do something properly but in the right manner, at the right time, and for the right purpose. Discretion means not taking advantage of others or using what you know how to do just because you can. A discrete person considers the implications of using the knowledge they have as it may affect others. When God’s wisdom is the filter, relationships are more important than revelations of knowledge.

Finally, in addition to competence and discretion, one who has sought the wisdom that comes from God has an unshakable confidence about his or her life. Not only does a wise person know how and when to use their knowledge but they also have the confidence to use their knowledge, even when it may be dangerous to do so. When God is the source of one’s wisdom there is no fear or reservation in using their wisdom for the right purposes, in the right manner, according to God’s will and ways. There will be times that God uses the wise to be his agents to challenge the wrongs in this world, and that can come with a price, but when a person has competence, discretion, and confidence that person is a formidable force, because first of all he or she knows that his or her source of wisdom is a gift from God. There is nothing that a truly wise person cannot handle because it is God who guides and directs all that person’s actions and attitudes.

Is this the kind of child of God you desire to be? Then, first of all, seek to know God’s will, God’s way, and the wisdom that is found in God’s Word every day. As you invest yourself in this quest you will discover you are becoming more and more competent, discrete, and confident as you mature in Christ. In dealing with all the issues in life, Christ said to us: “…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the other things in life will be given to you.” This was said in the light of all the fears and anxieties that we should not allow to overcome our daily lives. Therefore, seek God first, and He will give you the wisdom, which equals the competence, discretion and confidence needed to overcome your fears and anxieties.

Coach

This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: they don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you – you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, ˜What will we eat?” or ˜What will we drink?” or ˜What will we wear?” For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matt 6:25-34 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Wisdom is God’s Gift to Happiness, Proverbs 3:13-18

WisdomWords of Wisdom: Wisdom is God’s Gift to Happiness, Proverbs 3:13-18

 

 

 

Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding, for she is more profitable than silver, and her revenue is better than gold. She is more precious than jewels; nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left, riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant, and all her paths, peaceful. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her, and those who hold on to her are happy. Prov 3:13-18 (HCSB)

There are plenty of people who know things. Trivia experts are those who know facts and figures, dates and events, however they don’t know when to get out of the rain. They don’t necessarily have common sense, or proper understanding of how to use the knowledge they have learned. From a teacher’s perspective, teaching students “stuff” is not really teaching. The responsibility of a teacher, such as the greatest teacher, Jesus, is to help your students gain the right understanding about applying the knowledge they have received in a correct manner. The result of learning the proper application and relevance of knowledge is defined as “wisdom.” From wisdom comes the ability to make right decisions in life, which results in finding contentment and happiness.

Likewise, what is more valuable to receive: the blessing of wealth, or receive the wisdom of making wealth? We can spend the wealth we have and find ourselves as poor as we started, or we can have the wisdom to spend wisely and to make more wealth to replace or increase our abundance. Which would you choose?

This is why in this proverb the point is made that wisdom is more valuable than silver, gold or precious jewels. With wisdom we understand how to live rightly in the world pleasing God and thus being blessed with a prosperous life, not always measured in dollars and cents, but in satisfaction, personally and relationally. With wisdom one recognizes the value of seeking peace in their life, which means there is the absence of conflict with others that are in your life – that is more valuable than all the riches in the world. Peace also relationally refers to knowing the benefit of feeling no guilt before others or God.
Wisdom is God’s gift for those who are willing to seek after her (wisdom) seeking its benefits, of which the greatest benefit “happiness” in one’s life.

Is that what you seek? If so, then begin by getting to know God and seeking His will, His ways, and the wisdom of His Word…and learn its value lies not in monetary or property values, but in relational values of peace and happiness, and the other blessings will come.

Coach

In love He (God) predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him for the administration of the days of fulfillment to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him. Eph. 1:4-10 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: A Convenient Memory is Not An Excuse, Proverbs 3:1-8

Prov 3Words of Wisdom: A Convenient Memory is Not An Excuse, Proverbs 3:1-8

 

 

 

 

 

My son, don’t forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commands; for they will bring you many days, a full life, and well-being. Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will find favor and high regard in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. Don’t consider yourself to be wise; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones. Prov 3:1-8 (HCSB)

Ignorance is not an excuse in our legal system, nor is having a convenient memory! And for those who try to use the Apostle Paul’s arguments about not being saved by the law (Galatians 3:10, et al), this is clearly about listening to and living out life using the Lord’s will, the Lord’s ways, and certainly the Lord’s wisdom that is found in the Lord’s Word. In other words, when in doubt refer back to the manual of living right in this life, which is pleasing to the Lord. In essence: The Bible. What we learn should not be stored just in our minds as if it is a bunch of facts to be used in life, but in our heart so that it affects our lifestyle choices.

Loyalty, faithfulness, and learning to trust are three attributes we should all aspire to have. They all refer to relationship development. And they reflect the summary of all of God’s commands and the highest teaching point the Lord has made to us, and even stated by Him through Moses and then later plainly by His own Son, Jesus: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.” Matt 22:37-40 (HCSB) And out of that love flows the strength and desire to be loyal, faithful, and to be trusting of others in our lives, and certainly in our relationship with the Lord Himself. That is what FAITH is all about!

Our relationship with the Lord should keep us to remain humble and to exalt Him as the Lord and Master of our life, and reveal a life that realizes that “I cannot go it alone!” and that I need to surrender myself to the wisdom that only the Lord offers to guide me in all my life decisions. He alone knows the way I should go and knows what is best for me in this life and beyond, and only those friends and family members who acknowledge and seek Him can I place my confidence in. Yet, as the Lord loves all, so do I love everyone that the Lord places before me in this lifetime, and I pray all will come to know the wondrous relationship that comes from knowing Him and placing one’s faith in His will, His ways, and His wisdom that is found in His Word.

If your desire is to be healed and placed upon the right path in your life, strengthened in all you do, then begin by trusting in Him and turning from all other ways and certainly your own understanding, which leads to certain destruction. Open His Word today and begin to know Him and open not only your mind but your heart to the love He has for you. If you do, you will never turn away again. You will never have a need for an excuse again…

Coach

He (Christ) said, Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed! Luke 11:28 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: The Wisdom of Heeding God’s Wisdom. Proverbs 1:20-33

proverbs-123_2820_1024x768Words of Wisdom: The Wisdom of Heeding God’s Wisdom, Proverbs 1:20-33

Wisdom calls out in the street; she raises her voice in the public squares. She cries out above the commotion; she speaks at the entrance of the city gates: “How long, foolish ones, will you love ignorance? [How long] will [you] mockers enjoy mocking and [you] fools hate knowledge? If you turn to my discipline, then I will pour out my spirit on you and teach you my words. Since I called out and you refused, extended my hand and no one paid attention, since you neglected all my counsel and did not accept my correction, I, in turn, will laugh at your calamity. I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when trouble and stress overcome you. Then they will call me, but I won’t answer; they will search for me, but won’t find me. Because they hated knowledge, didn’t choose to fear the LORD, were not interested in my counsel, and rejected all my correction, they will eat the fruit of their way and be glutted with their own schemes. For the waywardness of the inexperienced will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. But whoever listens to me will live securely and be free from the fear of danger.”• Prov 1:20-33 (HCSB)

The news media loves to capture the indiscretions of powerful people. In fact, the media is like a hungry wolf that has tasted the blood of their victim and they are relentless until their prey is consumed. And why can the media continue in such a selfish, non-compassionate manner? It is because people feel empowered when the famous tumble off their perch, because that makes their lives which are full of mistakes more excusable.

On the other side, what causes anyone, especially the supposedly powerful and influential people to risk it all by not heeding the sound wisdom that establishes what are the right and wrong choices in life? Why would they feel they can pick and choose what is acceptable wisdom for their life and discard the rest? Why would anyone think they are different or more special than all the other people created by God?

God is a compassionate God, but also one who understands the importance of choices in the lives of His people. When we accept the wisdom He provides before us and we use it to guide our lives, He blesses us in so many ways. He promises to provide, protect and to preserve our lives in good and bad times when we accept His will, His ways, and certainly the wisdom of His Word. However, He clearly states that for those who choose disobey His will, His ways, and the wisdom of His Word, then He will sadly but steadfastly allow the disobedient to face the consequences of their choices.

Therefore, what happens when we walk alone in this world? Sooner or later, we become the prey of others who very likely are just like us. Sooner or later, we will find that there are others more desperate than you who will lead us astray, but our inexperience and own greed, also our sense of survival will allow us to follow the path they lead us onto, until it is too late.

However, unlike the rich, powerful, and famous who fall from their self-exalted heights and become fodder for the news media frenzy until the next story preempts their story and they become yesterday’s news. For all the other people, those like you and me, we just become another statistic in this world because we too decided to try and go through life guided by our own will, ways, and wisdom, but our fall goes hardly noticed, except by us and God.

As for you, how is your life going? Is what you doing on your own working for you? If you have not surrendered to the wisdom of the Lord as your guide, you are like the man who chose to build his house on a foundation of sand, and when the first sign of storms arise your house will be exposed for what is was based upon. Or, have chosen wisely to build your house on the solid foundation of the Rock (God’s Word) so you can weather any of the storms of life?

Why would God go through so much trouble to point out the risks of not living under His wisdom? Is it for His sake or your sake? Think about it!

SELAH (pause a moment and contemplate about it)…

Coach

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but [only] the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, ˜Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?” Then I will announce to them, ˜I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!” Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!”• Matt 7:21-27 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Be Alert to Receiving and Accepting Parental Advice, Proverbs 1:8-9

fathers guiding handWords of Wisdom: Be Alert to Receiving and Accepting Parental Advice, Proverbs 1:8-9

 

 

 

 

 

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching, for they will be garland of grace on your head and a gold chain around your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9

Not all parents are the greatest sources of reliable wisdom, and sadly some are seemingly not genuinely concerned about their children today. However, the one thing that all parents offer their children when they do offer advice is experience. Their actions and attitudes may seem selfish and they may even appear to be uninvolved in their child’s daily life, but God instills in all parents the innate concern for their children. Therefore, there will come a time when a father and/or mother will stop and share advice with their child, and in those times the child must not turn a deaf ear to their words! Their advice will be from the heart and from their personal experiences. All parents innately do not want their children to make the same mistakes as they have made. So listen and learn from their advice about life choices.

In Proverbs, many of the wise sayings are between King Solomon and his many children, especially his sons who were to become his heir apparent on the throne of Israel. Now, understand that Solomon was no saint and as he got older his vanity was his downfall. However, when he did stop his self-serving activities to speak to his children, his advice did come from the heart. His advice came from his experiences in his life.

For parents, do not stop giving advice and instruction to your children. Repeatedly in the Bible there are many illustrations of the role of a father and mother nurturing and guiding their children in right ways. Even godly parents can be frustrated with their children as they get older, but never relinquish your responsibility and God-given role of raising up your children. Parents should help their children to walk in life aware of right and wrong ways, and the consequences of making wrong choices.

Parents, before you know it, all your children will become grown and out on their own, and yet they will always remain your children until you die. Always remain available in their lives, no matter how young or old they are, and be ready to offer the advice they will need even when they are adults. Children innately will listen to their parents, even if they appear deaf as you are sharing your advice and experience.

Children, remain alert to receiving and accepting parental advice because most of the time your parents are God’s agent of grace trying to demonstrate not only their love and concern for you, but God’s discipline and instruction, as well. Even when your mother or father does not appear to be the most godly individuals in your life, they are God’s agents none the less. Listen and learn from their advice.

Coach

Then Jesus replied, I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He is doing, and He will show Him greater works than these so that you will be amazed. John 5:19-20 (HCSB)