Friday, August 24, 2012


On a personal note, the last couple of weeks have been weeks of testing.  My son-in-law had an attack of guillain-barre syndrome and has been in the hospital.  Needless to say, our normal schedules have been very abnormal and rest at a premium.  The worst is behind us, but there is quite a road of rehabilitation ahead.  We would appreciate your prayers on his behalf.  Already, God has shown up in some amazing ways.  We know He is in control and only allowing what He is going to work for good to His glory in this whole process.  My daughter and son-in-law are selfless servants of God and the support from the body of believers has been overwhelmingly supportive and loving.  We thank God for His amazing love as shown through His servants.

I finally have a few minutes to call my own, so I wanted to spend a few more moments in Proverbs with you.

Proverbs 7:1–4 “My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.”

Yes, the words are addressed from father to son, but the application is just as valid when saying father to daughter.  Through Solomon’s words to his son, Father God is impressing upon us the importance of hiding His word in our heart.  I am so thankful for the many memory verses I learned as a child.  I have also found that the more I go through the scripture and continue with my verse-by-verse studies that many verses become a part of me through the natural repetition that results from that study.  God’s law should be as dear to us as the “apple of our eye,” a reference to the pupil of the eye and a figurative phrase that speaks of something we cherish above all else.  It is often only through the ministry of the word of God through the Holy Spirit that we can find the needed strength to withstand temptation and make choices that are wise rather than foolish.  That ministry is so much more timely and effective when we have a storage vault of verses for Him to use to speak to us. 

God says that if we will keep His commandments, we will live—not just in this lifetime, but beyond it.  The Hebrew for “live” makes reference to restoring to life and making one whole, to preserving life.  When man sinned, the consequence was death—not only physical, but spiritual death.  God’s word gives us the words of life.

Deuteronomy 8:3; Psalms 119:17 “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”

Luke 4:4 “And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”

Jesus was the embodiment of the word of God.  In Him are the fulfillment of the law and the provision of our salvation.  In Him we find spiritual nourishment.  Through Him we can once again be declared righteous before God.

Matthew 5:17 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”

John 3:16–17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

John 6:35, 48 “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

2 Corinthians 5:19–21 “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

If you do not know Jesus as your Savior, I pray you will humble yourself before Him, repent of your sin and accept His precious gift of salvation.  Time is short; you are not guaranteed tomorrow.

Proverbs 27:1 “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”

James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

Saturday, August 11, 2012


I had to read a few chapters before another section of verses caught my attention in light of my purpose for this series of blogs.

Proverbs 6:16–19 “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

As noted so many times so far, our culture is one of political correctness and of not infringing on the rights of individuals to the point that they eventually infringe on the rights of others in the process.  Tolerance is preached to the nth degree. 

As Christians, we need to learn that it is OK to “hate” certain things; and God provides a list of those things that we should hate because He hates them.

Pride – I don’t think it is surprising that pride is first on the list.  I think that pride is the root of all sin.  My definition of pride:  Anything that we think, say or do that implies that we know better than God.  Anytime we act in defiance of God’s will, we are acting in pride.  It was Satan’s pride that resulted in the first sin.  It was Eve’s pride that lured her into falling for Satan’s deception—her desire to be like God instead of accepting Him as the authority in her life.  When we yield to temptation or allow ourselves to be deceived, it always goes back to the root sin of pride.

A lying tongue – Scripture is clear in declaring God to be the God of truth.  God’s faithfulness and our faith in Him is inextricably entwined with the fact that He is a God of truth.

Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”

Psalms 119:160 “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”

Lies are one of the primary tools of deceit employed by the enemy.  He is ever encouraging us to question to the truth of God’s word.  In fact, Jesus describes the devil as the father of liars.

John 8:44 “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

It is so sad to see and hear so many who profess themselves to be Christian but evidence by their words and actions that they do not believe God’s word to be true.  In these last days we need to be ever vigilant and guard our hearts against those that seek to change or twist the truth of God’s word.

Hands that she innocent blood – God is the creator of all that comprises our reality.  He created man in His image and rightfully declares that only He is the One with the authority to terminate a life.  Implied in this statement is that there are times that justify shedding blood.

Genesis 9:6 “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”

A heart that devises wicked imaginations – It is always amazing to me as I study scripture and history just how wicked the imagination of man can be.  Sadly, scripture records that this has been true since the earliest times and characterized the culture before the flood.  The prophet Jeremiah declares that the wickedness of the heart of man is beyond understanding.

Genesis 6:5 “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

To invest one’s time and energy in plotting wicked schemes is an act of direct rebellion against the authority of God, and He hates it.  We should hate it too and should not be hesitant to stand up and speak out against it.

Feet that are swift in running to mischief – Those who are swift in running to mischief are usually putting into action the plans of their own or others that are devising wicked imaginations.  We usually think of mischief in the terms of naughty, not wicked.  In the original language it is referencing evil.  I believe that history abounds with the actions of evil men; but I also believe that as the times gets closer for the Lord’s return, wickedness will once again grow to mirror the times of Noah described in Genesis 6 above.  To act in direct defiance to God almost always causes bad things to happen to “good” people.  Instead of blaming those responsible, for some reason we want to blame God.  All pain and suffering is rooted in sin and its consequences.  It is only by the grace of God that any of us find deliverance through His Son.

A false witness that speaks lies – This hateful thing is very similar to “a lying tongue.”  This type of lie, however, seems to be especially hateful to God.  It is this type of lie that is evidenced in gossip and that results in a court system that is more about winning than it is about providing real justice.  It always hurts the innocent and encourages evil doers. 

Paul was careful to warn Timothy that there would be many who would follow the seductive teachings and doctrines of devils.  There will be many who will speak lies because their consciences have been seared.

1 Timothy 4:1–2 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron….”

I think that specifically explains why false witnesses are so prevalent today.  We are on the fast track to an amoral culture and the destruction of the conscience.  In America, the elections to determine the leaders of our government are rife with shameless lies.  The mindset is one of the ends justifies the means and winning at all costs.  They are all hungry for personal power and influence with little regard for the constitution and what’s best for the people of this country.  The root of all these lies—we have rejected God and His principles.

He that sows discord among the brethren – I think this hateful thing is specifically directed toward those that sow discord among people of faith in God.  God’s people are to be set apart from the world.  Both Israel and the church were established to promote the truth of the word of God and to example the benefits of living in obedience and faith before Him.  The enemy is well aware that to destroy the unity of God’s people weakens the effectiveness of their testimony.  Jesus specifically declared that His disciples would be evident to the world around them by their love for one another.

John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

The lack of love and unity on display in the professing church today due to those that sow discord among its ranks is certainly weakening the effectiveness of the testimony of the gospel of Christ.  It dishonors the name of God and empowers the effectiveness of the attack of the enemy.  Why would anyone heed the testimony of the gospel when they see that the people of God are no different—and sometimes even worse—than those that follow false gods?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Proverbs 4:23–27 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”

As I began to think about this section of verses, it stood out to me that it takes work to guard one’s heart—especially in this day of a continual flow of visual media.  Interesting to me was that the Hebrew for the word “issues” included the idea of boundaries.  That made sense to me.  It is through the purposes determined in our heart that we establish the boundaries that directly affect our actions.  The prophet Daniel provides a good example of this truth.

Daniel 1:8 “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”

The word “froward” is another word for perverse or willfully wicked; so a “froward mouth and perverse lips” would make reference to evil speaking of any kind.  The Lord is telling us that we need to determine in our heart not to lie, gossip, use God’s name in vain, etc.—to put it far from us.

I think that the admonition to focus on where we are going and what we are doing is again an admonition to avoid temptation.  If we have purposed in our heart to obey God and focus on doing those things that please Him, we can avoid the temptation to sin that results from allowing our eyes to stray and encounter the things of the world that appeal to our sin nature.  The Hebrew for “ponder” includes the idea of weighing our thoughts.  If we “ponder the path of our feet,” we are carefully considering the consequences of our steps and where they might lead us.

The Father warns us not to deviate from the path of obedience to God.  This is the truth that is so beautifully illustrated in John Bunyan’s book, Pilgrims Progress.  The path of obedience is one that provides protection from the consequences of sin and leads to eternal blessing.

(to be continued...)