September 29, 2018
PRESSURE TESTS STRENGTH
Solomon wrote this proverb concerning the real test of strength. It’s what happens to you when you’re under pressure. Pressure exposes the true size of your strength.
Testing under pressure is also God’s method of proving the strength of our faith. As the apostle Peter wrote, “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold” (1 Pet. 1:7).
How has pressure affected the strength of your faith?
September 21, 2018
THE JOY OF GODLY CHILDREN
It’s hard to describe the joy of having children who have trusted Jesus and who follow Him faithfully. Yet, we cannot take credit. For just as our children are a gift from the Lord (Psa. 127:3), so it is God’s mercy and grace that they have become children of God. It was the Lord who enabled us to provide for our children and raise them up in His admonitions. But we could not give them a new heart. We could pray with them, read the Bible to them, take them to church, and try to give them a good example to follow, but we could not save them. Only Christ can do that. And we are so glad that He has. What indescribable joy it is to see them living for Jesus!
Now, we must pray for our children’s children . . .
January 1, 2018
The Book of Proverbs contains the God-given wisdom of Solomon. It promises to teach people “wisdom, discipline and understanding.” Wisdom has the good judgment to rightly apply knowledge and experience. Discipline has the insight to be led by wisdom rather than desire. Understanding has a deeper comprehension of knowledge, so that it is able to know and explain a thing simply.
Conveniently, the Book of Proverbs has 31 chapters, so if one reads a chapter a day, it can be read through 12 times a year. That’s 12 times closer to being wise than when the year began!
Yet, the deepest wisdom is to know Christ. As the apostle Paul wrote, “But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24).
December 31, 2017
It’s become my habit to highlight a verse from each of the four daily readings in the One Year Bible on the last day of the year. So, on this last day of 2017, I offer a prayer for all of us from each of the readings:
From Malachi, I pray that we will receive healing and the power to go out kicking up our feet like young calves.
From Revelation, I pray that we will look forward to Christ’s return and be blessed by the promises of His Word.
From Psalms, I pray that we grow in our awareness and acknowledgement of God’s “mighty acts” and “excellent greatness,” so that we are always praising the Lord.
From Proverbs, I pray that as members of His Bride, the Church, we would be be clothed in “strength and honor,” always “rejoicing in time to come.”
I pray these prayers over all of us, knowing that His Word is true, His promises sure, and His ear, always listening, ready to answer the prayers of His people.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
December 10, 2017
Listen and think before talking. The book of James, which is sometimes called the “Proverbs of the New Testament,” advises: “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).
Try listening more and talking less today. Who knows what you’ll learn.
October 30, 2017
Do you know a “talebearer?” They always know the latest gossip and rumor. They speak with a wink and a whisper. Their words never elevate your estimation of others, but always tend towards disunity and strife. Yet, their news seems irresistible to the ears, like the “tasty” morsels of Turkish Delight were to Edmund’s stomach. Their words “go down” sweet, but sour your heart towards others. If you know a talebearer, rebuke them. And if they continue, avoid them.
October 25, 2017
What does it mean to be wise in your own eyes? It means that you think your know better than the Lord. Your “wisdom” is just as good as His or anyone else’s. Ironically, this is the worse kind of foolishness. For the truly wise man admits his limited knowledge and is always teachable. But the fool is a know-it-all that will not listen to counsel. Wisdom is more than knowledge. It is more than intellect. Wisdom is the knowledge and fear of God put into practice. The one who knows and fears the Lord accepts his own insufficient wisdom. The truly wise know that they don’t know all.
October 15, 2017
Solomon answers the question, “Can we ever have too much of a good thing?” In short, his answer is, “Yes.” Instead, we should practice moderation, “eating only what we need.”
Our problem: We’re all born with a sin nature that the Bible calls the “flesh.” The flesh always wants more. It is never satisfied. God gave Adam and Eve every tree and every fruit in the garden, but one. Yet, they had to have the one. We are their children. We eat too much, drink too much, sleep too much, say too much… we desire too much, always to excess. We always want more.
Be warned. We have a self-inflicted sickness. It comes from the sin nature, which is the flesh. It has an insatiable appetite. It always drives us to excess. What we need is a new nature, one born from above. We need a new nature that is born again by the Holy Spirit, so that we have the spiritual fruit of self-control. Then, we will be able to enjoy the good things of life… in moderation, “eating only as much as we need.”
October 14, 2017
This proverb describes how to persuade “a ruler.” In modern leadership parlay, this principle is called, “leading up.” Some may think it impossible to lead a boss or supervisor. Yet, Solomon taught how to do just that.
Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs to give his son wisdom on how to live. It is filled with practical instruction. In this proverb, he taught the importance of “forbearance” and “gentleness” when it comes to leading those who have authority over us. “Forbearance” is the art of patient, self-restraint in offering advice. Solomon called this “long forbearance,” because it takes patience to gain influence as an advisor to your boss. “Gentleness” is the second attribute that Solomon prescribed. It is the art of making sure your supervisor feels no challenge, nor rebellion in you. Being gentle in your feedback, your influence grows as the leader’s trust in you grows.
True leadership is more about influence than position. You don’t have to have a title to have influence. You only need wisdom like Solomon’s, which is ours in Christ Jesus. And He would have us use this influence, in forbearance and gentleness, to lead others to hear the gospel and follow Him.
As the apostle Peter wrote, “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). When we share the gospel, we lead up, not down.
September 30, 2017
Wisdom of God through the pen of Solomon, whose name was from the Hebrew word, “Shalom” (“Peace”).
Two imperatives are given:
1) “Deliver” – Rescue those who are being carried toward death.
2) “Hold back” – Actively persuade those who are stumbling, as if intoxicated, towards their own demise.
Certainly, this instruction might be applied to the gospel ministry, wherein we are to both care for the physical needs of the poor and at the same time, proclaim the good news about Jesus to them. But the application that seems most relevant to our day is that of the young woman with an unplanned pregnancy. How can we “deliver” the unborn child from being carried to death through abortion? The child’s mother and father are being “drawn toward death” by what the culture calls an inconvenience. Yet Scripture calls us to help rescue the innocent victim of this modern insanity. However, the baby isn’t the only victim, for the mother is the one “stumbling to the slaughter.” She has come under a strong delusion that abortion isn’t murder, but only a medical procedure. The truth is, she will be wounded by this choice in body and soul for the rest of her life. She needs someone to lovingly “hold her back” from “stumbling” towards death as her best choice. Wisdom chooses life. Folly draws us toward death.