Archive for January, 2011

January 31.11 ethot

Proverbs 29:21 (1-27) “He who pampers his slave from childhood will in the end find him to be a son.

Here the writer is not hailing a good thing. The pampered slave grows up thinking him self to be someone he’s not. When he finds out that he has been fooled all his life it will be easy to understand why he might be the man described in v. 1.

How we raise our children is very important to how they will be (and how they will handle life) when they grow up. Every child is different and so correction is handed out as each child needs, v. 15. But the content of that correction or training is the same for each one, v. 17.

Pampering your children is not helping them in any way. Pampering is making them think they deserve more than what is fair. Pampering will also harden a child’s neck and like with a wild horse create a spirit next to impossible to break, v. 23.

Responsibility involves doing the job you have taken on to do.

Read Full Post »

Proverbs 28:13(11-28) “He who conceals his transgression will not prosper,

In these verses you’ll find a lot of wise counsel concerning how not to get rich.

We’re told it’s important to be proud but humble, v. 11; to avoid gaining anything illegally, vs. 16; that getting rich is not the primary goal of any man, vs. 19 & 20; and that the prosperous yet unmerciful will not last, v. 18.

But there is one more thing that we can actually do to insure prosperity, that we will always have enough and that is to pursue the development of character in our own lives and in the lives of others, v. 26, 13.

It is not just important for us to confess our sins to the Lord and leave it at that. Our goal is to not do those sinful things again, and again and again, v. 14. We need to clean up our own act, v. 13. Then when the Lord hears our request He will actually believe it, v. 18.

Attentiveness involves listening to what is most important with the intent to do it.

Read Full Post »

January 27.11 ethot

Proverbs 28:3(1-10) “A poor man who oppresses the lowly is like a driving rain which leaves no food.

The first poor man mentioned in this verse is the one described in v. 6 as a man who was once poor but through crooked means has now become rich. But, in his new found fortune he has forgotten everyone he new while poor.

It’s like now that he’s rich, he’s too good to associate with the poor anymore. How easily we forget where we came from! This is why the writer says that it’s better to stay poor and remember your friends than to get rich and forget who you really are, v. 6.

I think it may have more to do with a certain fear of loosing what you’ve gotten if anyone finds out how you’ve gotten it, v. 1. The thing is that like a driving rain hurts more than it helps, being rich at any cost, doesn’t seem to help anyone, not even the one who’s become rich.

Humility involves understanding how easy it is to deceive ourselves into thinking that there are things we do and don’t deserve.

Read Full Post »

Proverbs 27:23(23-27) “Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds;

Although I’ve always seen this passage as a warning to pastor of any church it really is an alert to anyone who works.

All of us will one day have to retire from whatever profession. It is then wise to make sure that your profession takes care of you as much as you take care of it. Any good plumber takes care of his equipment, his tools. If his tools are not dependable he can’t get his job done. If he doesn’t do the job he gets a bad reputation and then his carrier is over. Who will provide for him when he can’t physically work?

A pastor finds himself in that same situation. Not only should he know his Bible, he should know the people of his congregation. Without them he gets nothing done trying to do it all himself. He must learn who can do what, why and when. When he’s ready to retire that congregation will not only corporately, but also privately care for him.

Saving money for the future is not the only way to prepare for retirement.

Alertness involves being fully aware of the consequences of present actions, words, attitudes, and thoughts.

Read Full Post »

January 25.11 ethot

Proverbs 27:15 (1-22) “A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike;

Fortunately, that is not the end of the thought. The following verse tells us that trying to control her is impossible.

Back in those day like back in the days of the early years of this country the roof of a simple house was made of sod. A steady rain was a full couple of days long or more. Whereas on a regular few hours of rain the sod would absorb the water a few days would soak right through and drip into the house. That dripping would last a couple of days after the sun had come back out.

There is a reason for that woman’s contention. Apparently she has been trying to get her husbands attention for a long time and now her only pleasure seems to be nagging. Even when he does get something done for her she answers with, it’s about time.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is the wrong approach for any woman to take with her man, but that man needs to re-evaluate his motivations for marriage in the first place, v. 5. The solution for that man is to become a steady reasonable sunshine to dry up that constant dripping.

Love is giving to the basic needs of others without having as my motive personal reward.

Read Full Post »

Proverbs 27:6 (1-22) “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

From chapter 27 through 29 are found proverbs concerning what we do.

I always looked at this verse as a warning about the kinds of friends I kept. Not all my friends greet me with a kiss or handshake so it’s a hard to tell who’s really my friend and who’s really my enemy.

But when we compare v. 17 with v. 6 it becomes clear that what the writer was really talking about is what kind of friend are you. Iron that sharpens iron is something done on purpose. It marks the kind of friendship where you are interested in being a part of the solution rather than be a part of the problem for your friend.

The kissing friend mentioned is the kind who is part of the problem, they’ll say everything is fine or that the problem is someone else but not you. A true friend not only wants to know the truth so they can improve themselves, they want to tell the truth to help their friend improve as well.

When you look in the mirror, do you see the kind of friend you need or the kind you want, v. 14?

Loyalty involves sticking with your friends even when you disagree.

Read Full Post »

Proverbs 26:16 (13-28) “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can give a discrete answer.

All of us at some point in time have been both incredibly lazy and initiated gossip (intentionally or not), so I don’t want to criticize anyone in particular. What the sluggard, the gossip and we have in common is our ability to excuse whatever our behavior happens to be in the moment.

But the difference between us is hopefully found in the moment. I mean that whereas a gossip and a sluggard are committed fools, we are working to change our old ways to new ways. We view work as the means to fund the ministry the Lord has placed us here to do and we understand words are the way we share the good news that there is hope for every person whatever they think of themselves.

When we see the sluggard and the gossip we see persons who may have been hurt by an individual or a system and have not been able to see a way out. Jesus can be that way out of their foolish behavior and we can be His agent.

Deference involves putting a hold on my freedom in order not to hurt God and those He has called me to serve.

Read Full Post »

Proverbs 26:4 (4-12) “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, that a fool is a person who has already made a decision to reject God’s offer of salvation. A fool is a person who has decided to accept a lie rather than the truth as presented in the Bible. Getting involved in any discussion with a fool is pointless, because they are not going to be won over. They, of course, can say the same of us.

Yet, v. 5 tells us that we should answer the fool. There are times when they are making no sense at all and everyone knows it, but there are times when they are on the verge of convincing even the elect. This is when they need to be shut up.

I was once asked, by a good friend, what do you say to a person who asks; if Jesus died for all sins why does religion matter? I tried to explain that if you can tell the person has a real interest then your answer is found in John 3:16. But, if you can tell he’s trying to make you look stupid you may not want to answer him at all, although the answer is the same. See one person is looking for an excuse to sin or to ridicule the faith and the other a clarification of the redemptive act.

Deference involves putting a hold on my freedom in order not to hurt God and those He has called me to serve.

Read Full Post »

Proverbs 25:25 (25-26:2) “Like cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a distant land.

The following 5 verses (into chapter 26) don’t describe a weary person, that is the one who is focused on his job and getting it done. Instead they describe a person who has lost control of himself to every external influence and every impulse of his body, vs. 26-28. And, through it all he justifies himself as one who is in control of the situation, v. 27.

Working alone (you’re the only believer in the area) is no easy task, it is hard to keep your focus and not listen to the distractions of the wicked, who desire only to see you fall and not get up. They will ridicule you, as being narrow minded, not strong enough to get yourself a little dirty and even boring. None of these charges have any value because our purpose, our cause is not of this world, v. 2.

When we hear of something really good happening it is like cold water to a weary soul, it refreshes and renews our resolve to keep our defenses up and not fall for weak arguments or the impulse of the moment.

Decisiveness involves maintaining our commitments in spite of the distractions of life.

Read Full Post »

Proverbs 25:22 (21-24) “For you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

I think the writer wants us to be more careful about how we look at people. We can see almost anything we want in those around us even at home. Rather than assume everyone is a potential enemy, we should better assume they are potential friends.

Back in those Biblical days when the fire in your home went out everyone would get cold and there would be no way to cook breakfast in the morning. So the women would get up early and go to their neighbor looking for help. It was the right thing to do, the thing you would want done for you, to share from your fire some hot coals. What you would do is put those coals in your neighbors fire pan and heap them on her head where she was carrying the pan.

It is not our responsibility to make our enemies feel guilty of anything. It is our responsibility to help them see the truth, that all of us having sinned fall short of God’s glory, Romans 3:23. But that there is hope that if we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf (Romans 10:9), that enemy can become my brother, in Christ.

Compassion involves seeing the hand of God in the life of others and becoming part of that solution.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »