Monday, March 27, 2017

A Spiritual Assassin

As far as I know, I have only seen assassins on TV and in movies. In general, they do not value human life; they have no conscience. (Hold that thought.)

One of the most prominent themes in the first nine chapters of the Book of Proverbs is the father’s admonition for his son to obtain wisdom. One of the primary purposes of wisdom is to keep the son from the strange or foreign woman. She is strange or foreign because she is not the woman he married, or more to the point, she does not belong in his bed. She is an adulteress.

Near the end of the book of Proverbs a simple but riveting statement is made about the adulterous woman:

     This is the way of an adulterous woman: 
     She eats and wipes her mouth, 
     And says, "I have done no wrong."
     --Proverbs 30:20

Men, the adulterous woman is not a myth. She is not an ancient peril limited to the day of Solomon. She is not inconsequential. She is alive and well today and will destroy you.

Our society is becoming less and less sensitive toward sexual sin. Immoral sexual relationships are paraded in the media as normal. The conscience of our nation has been deadened so that there is no real understanding of sexual sin.

The greatest danger of the adulterous woman is the absence of a conscience. Her ability to discern right and wrong does not exist. As a result she behaves more like an animal, doing whatever it is that she instinctively desires.

She will play the role of ‘true love’ only to destroy a man afterward. What a man thinks he is doing in secret, she will expose openly if it suits her. She may or may not benefit; she does not care.

She does not care for any man; she does not care for herself. She has reduced herself to animal behavior, perhaps even, an animal mind.

She commits sin.
She goes to dinner.
She wipes her mouth as if nothing has happened.
Sex without love,
         without affection,
            without feeling,
               without conscience;
       she calmly and coldly says, “I have done nothing wrong.”

Men, open your eyes to this spiritual assassin!
She does not love; she destroys.
She destroys lives!
She destroys souls!
Avoid her at all costs.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Have You Ever Known Anyone Broken Beyond Repair?

You can see the attitude by the physical posture. Jaws clenched, body tense, eyes squeezed into a squint. If seated, they might actually stand. They will not listen to or accept what you say. They are braced for action, or more accurately, braced to reject.
  • You might see such a reaction in a teen whose father is giving her a reprimand.
  • You might see such a reaction in an employee whose boss is giving him strong correction regarding his work performance.
  • You might see such a reaction in a person who simply does not want to listen to instruction.
In the Bible this overall outward posture of rejection is sometimes referred to as a ‘stiff neck’ or a ‘hardened neck.’ Solomon, has a something to say, a warning:

     A man who hardens his neck after much reproof
     Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.
     --Proverbs 29:1

The person who receives correction over and over, but continually ‘hardens his neck’ is the person who rejects instruction, rejects correction, and rejects discipline. This person is elsewhere called the ‘scoffer.’ He is unteachable.

Ultimately, he will be broken, but still unteachable.

We must humble ourselves so that we can carry on a civil conversation with others when there is a disagreement. We must insure that we keep our hearts soft and able to accept instruction, accept correction, and accept discipline.

The warning is to each of us. ‘Harden your neck’ too often and you will become the scoffer! And you will eventually be broken beyond repair.

Be wise, be humble.

Monday, March 13, 2017

What Do You Have Planned for Tomorrow...?

One spring my wife and I decided to take the day (a Monday) and head to the Botanical Gardens. There was always something new in bloom. We planned to head out as soon as the kids were off to school, spend the morning at the gardens, and then have lunch together. We made our plan on Saturday.

We spent Sunday night in the ER with one of our daughters due to abdominal pain. Everything turned out OK, but we didn’t get to bed until 2:00 a.m. (Ugh. Adjust plans for Monday.)

We all have our own stories, some humorous, some serious, some sad. Unexpected circumstances and changed plans, sometimes turning our world upside down.

     Do not boast about tomorrow, 
     For you do not know what a day may bring forth.
                                                                   --Proverbs 27:1

We know that one by heart, right?
We have experienced it a hundred times, right?
We really do not need a proverb in the Bible for this one! Right?


It is not a proverb that discourages planning. Rather, it discourages boasting...and something else.

A person who ‘boasts’ about tomorrow, is placing his confidence in a future outcome. That future outcome is based on his/her thinking and planning. That thinking and planning is confidence in oneself.

Do we understand that!?
When a person boasts about tomorrow, he is really boasting about himself.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
                                                                                                    --James 4:13-17

There are many days with unforeseen circumstances that will affect the ‘tomorrows’ of life. Yet, for each one of us there will one day that will have an eternal tomorrow.
Plan wisely for that day.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

You Won't Take Anything With You...Except...

     Better is the poor who walks in his integrity,
     Than he who is crooked though he be rich.
     --Proverbs 28:6

Wealth is better than poverty: Material things.

Integrity is better than being crooked (perverse): Character.

When a man faces God he will not carry material things with him, only his character.

Choose wisely.

Monday, March 6, 2017

When I "Looked" Like a Child

Parents often act as referees (judges) for their children. 

“Mommy, Billy hit me!” (Four-year-old sister.)

Wisely, Mom finds Billy to hear his side of the story. Sure enough, Billy hit his sister, but she kicked him first, because he took a toy from her, because she screamed in his ear. (You get the picture. Neither one was really innocent.)

With children, the vocal one is often the one who started the problem. When they tattle on the other child, their own fault is often revealed.

Solomon advised:
     Do not go out hastily to argue your case; 
     Otherwise, what will you do in the end, 
     When your neighbor puts you to shame?
                                                 --Proverbs 25:8

Have you ever approached a friend and (with a cloudy disposition) immediately began telling him/her how you were mistreated by a co-worker or boss or friend? You expected your friend to listen and accept every word, side with you, and then verbally acknowledge the injustice you had experienced. You expected them to 'cloud up' with you.

So, what happens when the other person tells ‘their side of the story’? Do you still appear to  have been so mistreated, so innocent?

Solomon continues his advice in the next two verses:
     Argue your case with your neighbor, 
        And do not reveal the secret of another,
     Lest he who hears it reproach you, 
        And the evil report about you not pass away.

The simple lesson is to apply self control. It is true that life is full of injustices, but sometimes we are not completely innocent.

Sometimes “I” am the cause of the problem...
Sometimes “I” misspeak...
Sometimes "I" do something questionable...
Sometimes "I" forget something...
     ...and "I" start the chain reaction of injustices.

Before jumping to conclusions and ‘arguing your case’ with others, go to the person involved and try to work it out. Otherwise the truth of the situation might be revealed to your friends and you might be partly to blame! 

A little self-restraint along with a measure of wisdom might keep you from looking like a four-year-old child.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

It Just Doesn't Fit

     Like snow in summer and like rain in harvest,
     So honor is not fitting for a fool.
     --Proverbs 26:1

The word ‘fool’ in this verse means ‘stupid’ or ‘dull.’ The root idea is associated with ‘fatness.’ Used in a negative sense it refers to the folly of a person who is inactive due to their heaviness. So, there is a connection to laziness.

We live in a society in which many folks think that everyone deserves a reward. They want to make sure no one is left out, that no one’s ego is bruised.

While that is a very kind attitude, it is completely unrealistic. It is an attitude that actually works against self-discipline, destroys a good work ethic, and diminishes the true meaning of honor. It promotes ‘foolish’ behavior; it even promotes laziness.

I didn’t make this stuff up; God said it!
   Snow and summer - No fit.
   Rain and harvest - No fit.
   Honor and a lazy fool - No fit.

Be wise.