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Archive for December, 2010

December 31.10 ethot

Proverbs 20:1 (1-30) “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.”

In Deuteronomy 17:14-20 the Law stated 3 things the future kings of Israel should avoid. They were: multiplying horses (a standing army), multiplying wives (a harem), multiplying treasure (accumulating wealth); all 3 of these were used by earthly kings to gain power, secure alliances and appear successful. All three are also addictions.

Much later the kings mother added one more addiction for the king to avoid, drinking, Proverbs 31:1-9. I say all this because for me the best argument for why believers should avoid drinking is that the sons and daughters of the King should avoid anything that would keep them from their focus on pleasing that King.

Today we live in a world that has developed so many ways to take in fluids it’s almost comical. And, there is no longer a need to protect ourselves from contaminants in the water we drink like in Biblical times.

The real question for believers is always, what kind of kingdom do we represent; one that acts and looks like the ones of this world or one that is totally different.

Wisdom involves understanding our lives from God’s perspective.

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December 30.10 ethot

Proverbs 19:25 (1-29) “Strike a scoffer and the naïve may become shrewd, but reprove one who has understanding and he will gain knowledge.”
This verse interested me because in v. 29 we’re told that scoffers and fools will be judged. The question would naturally arise that if the only value of punishing a scoffer or a fool is to hopefully wake up the naïve, then the exercise doesn’t seem worth the effort.
A fool is a person who has already decided to reject anything that has to do with God, Psalm 14:1. A scoffer is one who has decided to become an evangelist for foolish living by making fun of believers, Proverbs 22:10, 24:9.
We can conclude between the two verses that although scoffers and fool will eventually reap what they have sown, they must not have the excuse that they weren’t warned. Plus, in the process of correcting a scoffer others will benefit or will at least understand the certain consequences of their sin or their mistake, Proverbs 21:11.
Discretion involves recognizing the effect your words and actions will have on the people around you both now and in the future.

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December 29.10 ethot

Proverbs 18:22 (1-24) “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”
The thing that is good about finding a wife is that she’s that “friend who sticks closer than a brother”, v. 24.
The implication of this verse is that a man is actually looking for a wife, although I don’t think he’s looking for just any woman. I say this because you don’t find favor with God (your Lord) by merely getting married, it’s by marrying the right one, Proverbs 8:35.
Finding a wife is finding what God called a “helper suitable for him”, Genesis 2:18. She is someone that actually fits, she will be able to help him accomplish the goals God has given him. Understand that God created them both to rule over His creation (Genesis 1:26), but she was created out of man (Genesis 2:22) especially to help him achieve that God given goal.
So, when a man (not a boy) finds a wife, that will be that suitable helper, he finds a good thing (situation).
Humility involves understanding how easy it is to deceive yourself into thinking that you don’t need any help.

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December 28.10 ethot

Proverbs 17:9 (1-28) “He who conceals a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.

I don’t know why it is that so many times the word of a fool, a complete stranger, seems to supersede years of friendship so quickly. Why are we so quick to believe whatever we hear before investigating it?

Proverbs 17:9 is a definition of gossip. Gossip has an intention whether it is to cause harm or draw attention to the importance of the gossiper, but it’s result is always to hurt others, v. 19. I venture to guess that most all gossip is done to draw attention to ones own importance, whether in a conversation with friends or to protect ones own position.

Of course there’s always an issue that is drawing everyone’s attention making someone look bad. But when the matter is cleared up only those who lied will find themselves in trouble wishing they had kept their mouths shut, v. 28.

Virtue involves establishing a moral standard I will refuse to break.

 

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December 27.10 ethot

Proverbs 17:6 (1-28) “Grandchildren are the crown of old men, and the glory of sons is their fathers.

I noticed this especially in my son-in-law who would tell every other father of his son’s athletic exploites. He was glorying in them and so was his other grandfather. Both those men are athletically inclined.

The term for grandchildren or grandfather are not found in the Bible. The term used is children’s children and a grandfather is just a father. Being a grandfather myself, this fact is significant to me because my grand children don’t cease being my responsibility because they are not mine, they are. Yet, as a grandparent my authority over them has limits.

What I think we too easily forget as grandparents is that these children are ours even when they fail to perform as expected, v. 21. Our experience in life teaches us that people go their own way in spite of how good their parents were, and it is no different with us. A fool has a grandfather, too.

Loyalty involves remembering that God is in control and has placed me where I am to demonstrate my commitment to Him through those He has called me to serve.

 

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December 24.10 ethot

Proverbs 16:1 (1-33) “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the mouth is from the Lord.

I don’t know how many times I’ve gone through the long process of preparing a sermon, only to find the Lord leading me in a different direction when I stood to speak. At other times it was a situation where I was not yet comfortable with what I had planned to say and then when I opened my mouth it all made sense.

Right know I’m faced with some difficult decisions in regards to the ministries I’m involved in, and I have turned them over to my God. But that doesn’t mean He doesn’t want me to think through what should or can’t be done. I know that as I think through these issues I need to keep my motives where they belong (v. 2) and to maintain my commitment (v. 3) to serve the Lord in what ever I, and those who work with me, decide.

I’ll ask you all to pray that the Lord will direct our steps so when we open our mouths with final decisions it will be God speaking to our amazement.

As I was on my way to the office this morning to clean I was reminded, on the radio, that there are times when it seems God is late to answer. The truth is that we’re more likely to be asking for His direction too later. Yet, God’s timing is always perfect.

Courage involves learning that my words and actions when based on the authority of Scripture please God.

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December 23.10 ethot

Proverbs 15:1 (1-33) “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

A gentle answer refers to the kind of question asked, that is an accusation has been made. When an accusation is made the first question that should come to mind is, am I guilty whether misunderstood or not?

If I am guilty of opening my mouth without thinking or defending myself when I should be apologizing, then I need to shut my mouth and listen to the accusation thoroughly. I need to recognize the probability of my error rather than that of others, v. 2.

It is not to humble myself before men that makes me wise, it is the recognition that we stand before the all seeing eyes of our Lord God that should keep us from thinking too much of ourselves, v. 3.

So my answer to any accusation is not to make me look wise, but to actually make the necessary changes in my life thereby becoming a more effective witness of God’s mercy towards us all.

Alertness is not just to danger. It involves paying attention to opportunities God presents for real change, right now.

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