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Archive for January, 2011

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.

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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.

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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.

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January 17.11 ethot

Proverbs 25:8 (8-20) “Do not go hastily to argue your case;

The situation or case this verse presents is that of being to quick to threaten a neighbor with a lawsuit. Some people believe the only way to get anything is to be intimidating, because everyone is out to get you or their own. Like it’s a dog-eat-dog world we live in.

The writer advises that before we open our mouths and stick our foot in it, we should find out what the real situation is, v. 8. Once we know what really is happening then we can approach our neighbor with the idea of being helpful, because if we attack without knowing the truth of the matter we’ll only draw attention to our own foolishness, v. 10.

Although the following verses talk a lot about how to talk to each other, depending on whom you’re talking to, the point remains that how we handle conflict with our neighbors is a reflection of the kind of person we are. That perception sticks to peoples’ minds and is hard to get rid of. Since, as believers, we represent the Lord in this life we should be very careful how we open our mouths.

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

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January 14.11 ethot

Proverbs 25:2 (1-7) “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.

Apparently king Hezekiah was more of a bookworm than a warrior, v. 6. As a young man in the palace he apparently discovered much of the old scriptures that were the basis of the kingdom he lived in, but which no one was following. In those books he found some of the writings of king Solomon. Chapters 25 through 29 are those writings he found.

I wondered if v. 2 was just stating that as God had gone ahead and hidden those books from the previous kings who weren’t interested in them any way, it was for him to find them. If it is a glorious thing when a person discovers the truth of the words of God, then it was to God’s glory for Him to hide them from others for the person discovering.

The question would then be why did God hide His word from those men? He hid it because they would have destroyed it given the chance. Whether by burning copies of it or questioning its trustworthiness many have tried to destroy the word of God in one way or another.

Hezekiah was one of the few honored kings of either Judah or Israel because he dedicated himself to following God’s word. If you’re looking to be honored being in the right place at the right time is not it, it’s following the word of God as best you can when and where you can.

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

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January 13.11 ethot

Proverbs 24:17 (1-34) “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,

Despite the great temptation, it is better not to rejoice, v. 18.

What this verse is showing us is this perspective of life as a game. Life is not a game! Life is an opportunity to recognize the God of this universe and what He has done for us. It is an opportunity to accept His offer of salvation from a sure death.

Once we accept that offer we remain on this earth to help others find what we have. If they refuse, it is on them and it is a shame. Some of those who will reject God’s offer will stand against us to make our lives hard, if not next to impossible.

Yet, we are not competing for souls against each other. There is no score being kept as to who will win the most and who will loose the least. There are only those whom the Lord has called out. In a sense our job is to discover who they are and who knows if one of them might not be one who thought he was our enemy, Acts 9.

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

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January 12.11 ethot

Proverbs 23:31 (20-35) “Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly;

One thing we can say about the writer of this verse is that he had personal knowledge of what the wine can do.

Verse 29 describes a person full of sorrow, depressed by their own life’s circumstances, and looking for a distraction, something that can get their minds to stop thinking about their trouble for a while. Of course the only problem with drinking to forget your troubles is that it does nothing to solve you troubles. When you sober up, your situation may have only been made worse, v. 21.

So, it is likely that the writer tried drowning his sorrows or at least tried to see if getting drunk actually helped in any way to ease or solve a person’s dilemma and discovered that drinking not only didn’t help but actually hurt. This is another argument for why the wise don’t get mixed up with alcoholic beverages.

Besides, a distraction is not what you should look for when you’re conflicted. What you should look for is solutions, implement them and move on.

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

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