Do Not Forget

Lincoln county, NM

 

[Proverbs 3:1-2 NASB]

My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commands;

For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.

To forget something can be both accidental or intentional. By definition, to forget can be either; to loose remembrance; to treat with inattention or disregard; to disregard intentionally: overlook; to give up hope or expectation of; to cease remembering or noticing; to fail to become mindful at the proper time. (Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.)

When we consider what it is that we are instructed not to forget, the importance weighed upon it makes sense. Solomon here is not just referring to the commands of a parent to perhaps do or not do something; but rather, given the context, he is speaking of the Law and Commands of God. While some instructions parents give their children may have this weight, it is so much more so when we consider the commands of God. The result of remembering the commands is long life and peace. 

As a parent, I give my children many many instructions, I cannot say that all of my rules are things they have to keep for life; like don’t try to drive the car, or don’t plug in a lamp yourself, those, among many of my rules, they will outgrow. At least I should hope so as they mature and have more years added and general common sense increases. The instruction, teaching, law, and command from God has longer lasting value to it than words from any human. The results of obedience are lasting when one chooses to obey the truths of God. 

There is great reward when a child of God chooses to obey His commands. In my own experience, I have certainly found this true. For example, Jesus commands us not to worry (Matthew 7:25-34). I myself sometimes catch my thoughts heading in the direction of worry. I will admit, it is not peaceful and it does not feel like I am lengthening my days because of it. There was one occasion it actually caused some physical distress for me. While worrying has become less and less of an issue I struggle with. I can only say that it was overcome through obeying that particular command of God not to worry. When I really took those things to mind, remembered, not forgotten, in the right time, and intentionally obeyed that instruction, I had an overwhelming sense of peace. It was not because of myself though, but rather because I took God’s words to be true in my heart, God’s word came through powerfully in my own life. 

Of course that is just one example, but I am sure many of us can testify to the blessing of truly following God’s teaching and holding it in our hearts. In the commands of God, one can find secure peace, comfort, and rest. It is a conditional choice to have that kind of peace, reliant upon each of us personally holding on to the law of the Lord. This is so practical, it isn’t some theory or abstract thought, it is a simple set of guides to follow: Obey the Law of God + Keep His commands in your heart = Length of days and Peace. 

 

 

A Simple Plea to Women

There is something I’ve been noticing as a trend, with multiple articles, blogs, and people commenting on the subject. I have seen a few writings resurfacing (one was actually about 3 years old) about the dislike and distaste for women’s ministry. I did not agree with what I was reading.

Here is where I was initially quite frustrated: the idea that women’s ministry is lacking in scripture, and second that it is focused on womanhood and not the “gospel”. 

Well, last I saw, we are to study the full counsel of God; all of Scripture. Scripture talks about Jesus Christ and His work, but there is also a great deal of instruction for how a follower of Christ ought to act. Including women as their own distinct group. God did not make gender neutral people, He did make us different, male and female. So, if God sees us each as individuals, as He made us, then we should see what His word has to say about our roles. Titus 2:3-5, 1 Peter 3, and many other passages in scripture give examples of women. (Try a quick Bible search for “women” and you’ll find God has a lot to say about them specifically. Blue Letter Bible search on “women” here.)

Many say, “We need doctrine, bible, theology.” Well, guess what, you can have that, all the time, every day, just read it. Thankfully, the Bible is available for all people, so there should be nothing stopping any of us from picking it up. How about the issue of good teaching? Well, ladies and Christians, be selective. Kay Arthur, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Elise Fitzpartick, Elizabeth George, Lenya Heitzig, are some examples I know of, and there are many others teaching the Bible. So why aren’t you studying it? You can find solid biblical teaching if you look for it, even within your local churches. If your church does a study through a book or dvd instead of their own in-house teacher, make sure you speak up and ask for material that is actually teaching the Bible. 

How about the teas, the “fluff”, the lace, and pink? Well, here is a news flash: if you are a women, you know deep down you are concerned with pretty (I am speaking generally, our definitions of “pretty” may differ, but we still like it). That’s part of the way God made us. So, what’s wrong with enjoying the beautiful while among other women? I have met a good share of ladies who will go for tea, have a ladies night out, go to concerts together, and dress up to hang out with friends; just for fun. Why not join a group of fellow believers for a few hours to fellowship, worship God, and learn together? So, If we are willing to take time with co-workers, friends, and relatives, why not our own family of God?

Hebrews 10:25 warns a believer not to forsake the assembling together: 

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging

one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25

Lastly, the point that has me the most concerned with these types of complaints about women’s ministries, is that those making the noise are not always the ones willing to dive in, join, participate, and be the catalyst to encourage women to study the Word. By not being wiling to be the change they hope for, they are doing a disservice to themselves and to anyone who listens to them. While I had once been one of those on the fence about women’s studies, I personally decided that I would not just sit, but rather investigate and be involved myself. By doing that, I realized there are women who are amazing; who love God more than anything, who cannot wait to pray for one another, to sing songs of worship, who are ready to weep with the brokenhearted, and laugh with the joys in life. The difference wasn’t the so-called fluff going away, but rather emptying myself. I realized my own pride, conceit, and indifference were in the way, and by that attitude I am afraid I discouraged some around me from jumping into women’s ministry whole hearted. Once I realized my wrong, I found that a women’s ministry does have so much to offer and was a place where God drew me to deepen my faith and strengthen my walk with Him. 

So please stop discouraging others from attending, from making the view cloudy, and muddying the waters. Do not be the one to influence someone away from what might be God’s way that He wants to work in their lives. If you are on the edge, and have been influenced by negative ideas about women’s ministry, please, go and try it yourself; drop the expectations, look through the lens of the Word of God, and then dive in. You don’t have to love glitter, just love the Lord and let His love spill out of you for your other sisters in Christ.

If and Then

Beautiful Sunset

Actions always have a result. Newton’s third law of physics states: “To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts.” Proverbs 2 shares how our choices and actions result in something great when we take action towards wisdom.

[Proverbs 2:1-22 NKJV]

“My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you,

So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding;

Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding,

If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures;

Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God.

For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;

He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;

He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints.

Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path.

When wisdom enters your heart, And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,

Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you,

To deliver you from the way of evil, From the man who speaks perverse things,

From those who leave the paths of uprightness To walk in the ways of darkness;

Who rejoice in doing evil, And delight in the perversity of the wicked;

Whose ways are crooked, And who are devious in their paths;

To deliver you from the immoral woman, From the seductress who flatters with her words,

Who forsakes the companion of her youth, And forgets the covenant of her God.

For her house leads down to death, And her paths to the dead;

None who go to her return, Nor do they regain the paths of life–

So you may walk in the way of goodness, And keep to the paths of righteousness.

For the upright will dwell in the land, And the blameless will remain in it;

But the wicked will be cut off from the earth, And the unfaithful will be uprooted from it.”

If… you receive, treasure, incline your ear, apply your heart, cry out, lift up your voice, seek, and search. These actions, while they may not require physical strength, they require determination and active engaging of the mind, heart, and soul. The wisdom, discernment, commands (from the word of God), and understanding, are described as treasures; like silver being sought out and hidden gems. Silver is incredible stuff, by the way, although I am no expert, (and mainly did research using the web) silver is awe-inspiring. So many appreciate the beauty of silver in jewelry, coinage, and ornamental things. Silver is also an extremely valuable metal in machinery, industry, musical instruments, solar panels, water purification, scientific studies, medicine, and much more. Comparing these principles of wisdom, discernment, and understanding to this, is really remarkable, and very appropriate, as it is fitting for all aspects of life.

So, what is the outcome of this active search? 
“Then you will discern the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God,” verse 5 states (NASB). When you have searched out these things and cried out for them, there is a result; discerning the fear of the Lord. To discern is to perceive, understand, and distinguish something. When you have asked for the wisdom from God, He enables you to understand what the fear of Him is and to have access to His knowledge. Knowledge can come from many sources, but we have the ability to obtain the knowledge of the One who made all things, who knows all things, and is above all things; while I love a good book, nothing can come close to the depth, richness, and expanse of the knowledge God has. His wisdom is sound, and plentiful, and without any error. 

In addition to the knowledge of God, if we act upon these “if’s” the Lord becomes our shield and guard. Those who have sought out and listened to wisdom, are protected by it. Verse 9 continues, “Then you will discern righteousness and justice.” The counsel and commands of the Lord God are black and white, we can see right from wrong within the standards of God’s word. In a way, following in the wisdom of God is like putting on glasses that enable one to see clearly. I myself am particularly bad at seeing anything without my glasses, sometimes I need someone who can see to find mine if I set them down and forgot. I need a prescription lens to see. The wisdom from God clarifies, as a lens, and gives those who have it an ability to distinguish what is just, of equity, and good. And, unlike a pair of glasses, it becomes part of our very beings; entering our hearts and pleasing our soul. God’s wisdom becomes personal, guarding you, delivering you, and keeping watch over you.

Verses 12-19 share how wisdom is able to keep one from evil doing, from wicked men, and from seductive women. All very practical and good things that Solomon goes more in depth on later in Proverbs.

“So you will walk in the way of good men and keep to the paths of righteousness.” [Prov. 1:20]

Here is the cherry on top: the conclusion of doing as instructed brings sure footing in life. The upright, the good, who follow wisdom, they are blessed. It is a good path that wisdom leads to, unlike the wicked who will face calamity. Even if you or I were the only ones following wisdom and were put off by others for it, true knowledge leads to life, goodness, and nearness to God. The opposite, the one who rejects the instruction towards wisdom, will face bad consequences and removal from the good life. 

As I ponder these verses, I sense an urging within to cry out for that discernment and to raise my voice and plead for understanding. The beauty is in not only seeking these riches, but in the fact that God will answer from His limitless wisdom, and He will give of it freely. Ask, pray, and seek discernment along with me; God will not disappoint, and He has plenty to give.

[Isaiah 55:6-7 NKJV]

“Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.

Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”

Hearing Wisdom’s Call

 Streets

Proverbs 1:20-33

Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square;

At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings:

“How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge?

Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.

Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention;

And you neglected all my counsel And did not want my reproof;

I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes,

When your dread comes like a storm And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you.

Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently but they will not find me,

Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD.

They would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof.

So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way And be satiated with their own devices.

For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them.

But he who listens to me shall live securely And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”

In the previous verses we already saw the persons who love to neglect wisdom (you can read that post, here). Now we look at the contrast with the Wise. While the sinner’s call was that of enticement, Wisdom here, calls out a warning to all who will listen. 

First, we notice wisdom is not some secret whisper, it isn’t for a select few, it is shouting in the public places, calling out in the busyness of a city square. Wisdom, while seemingly elusive, is really out there for anyone who is willing to listen. Wisdom itself is open, available, and commanding attention. 

I typically don’t like name calling,  and I reprimand my children not to call each other stupid, dummies, or say mean things to one another. Wisdom has a point to make here and in this, I would follow the example of wisdom. In the Messsgae translation, it calls these  people Idiots, Cynics and Simpletons who each don’t regard the words of wisdom. Sometimes people need to be called out for their own foolishness. Wisdom mentions 3 distinct groups of those who won’t listen to her. I like Warren Wiersbe’s explanation and would rather use his words than my own:

 “The simple are naive people who believe anything but examine nothing. They’re gullible and easily led astray. Scorners think they know everything and laugh at the things that are really important. While the simple one has a blank look on his face, the scorner wears a sneer. Fools are people who are ignorant of truth because they’re dull and stubborn. Their problem isn’t a low IQ or poor education; their problem is a lack of spiritual desire to seek and find God’s wisdom. (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Skillful. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)

We see that the failure to listen to wisdom has consequences. Calamity, dread coming like a storm, distress, anguish, and eventually death and destruction. Now, if you read this just thinking of common sense type of wisdom, that seems a bit extreme. While failure to follow practical instruction, advice, and counsel can cause physical damage, Solomon also points us back to his first instruction: The Fear of the Lord. The root cause of all of their downfall is a failure to listen, heed, desire, and receive wisdom; and ultimately to ignore the Lord. In Romans 1:21-22, Paul wrote, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…”

God is not going to force the foolish to choose Him and to follow His wisdom, He beckons, calls and invites all to listen. The wisdom found in the world, won’t lead to a happy end, but the wisdom of God brings hope, peace, and life. 

There is a promise for those who listen; they will live securely, and live free from the impending doom of evil. Even the simple-minded, scoffer, or fool has the opportunity to listen if they choose. They don’t need to face the consequences of their ways; all it takes is listening to wisdom. Can you hear it calling?

I find myself often succumbing to the news articles, advice of friends, and other sources to find information, but how often am I listening to the wisdom of God? There is a book that is full of His words, written down for all to see; it is the bible. While it may not be as exciting as a multicolored how-to book, it is much more valuable for my life and the messages contained are richer than anything else available. The wisdom of God is ready, waiting, available, able to transform lives. Let us each listen to the voice of wisdom and pay attention when God is calling to us through His Word.

Don’t Follow Them

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Don’t Follow Them

Proverbs 1:10-19

My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.

If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait for blood, Let us ambush the innocent without cause;

Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, Even whole, as those who go down to the pit;

We will find all kinds of precious wealth, We will fill our houses with spoil;

Throw in your lot with us, We shall all have one purse,”

My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path,

For their feet run to evil And they hasten to shed blood.

Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net In the sight of any bird;

But they lie in wait for their own blood; They ambush their own lives.

So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; It takes away the life of its possessors.”

Just for clarity, here is another translation of the words said by the sinners:

Proverbs 1:11-14 (NLT)

“They may say, “Come and join us. Let’s hide and kill someone! Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent!

Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave; let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death.

Think of the great things we’ll get! We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take.

Come, throw in your lot with us; we’ll all share the loot.”

If this was the enticement to go along with someone, most people would automatically say, “No way!” That doesn’t sound like an attractive occupation of their time; murder, looting, and bloodshed?!

When I first read these verses, I pictured the ‘Enticing Sinner’ kind of like Jafar from the Disney movie Aladdin. It was that caricature I had kept in my head through a bit of my childhood; that the sinner is one who is visibly dark, broody, and scary. Kind of like the false image of the very real satan, with a red cape, horns, and a long dark face. Those two images are far off from what the villains in life actually look like. I won’t go in to detail, but the Bible calls Satan’s appearance like “an angel of light.” Basically, not so recognizable as my childhood version would be. In a similar way, the “Enticing Sinner” (as I will call this person), is not always so dark, scary, and wicked in appearance as I once thought to be, although the direction they are heading is still evil.

The attraction is so clever sometimes; “Don’t you want a little more? Don’t you want spoils that should be yours? Why not just take what you don’t have? Why not speak lies about the innocent in order to get yourself ahead?” We may not agree to murder, but how many compromises have each of us made with the goal of filling ourselves up regardless of whom we injure on the way? 

Sins often don’t go alone, they like a crowd with them. So, they call for more to join, more to follow the path that goes towards evil, wickedness, and bloodshed. Unfortunately so many follow them, but the pathway is entirely wrong. Crime, sin, wickedness, theft, and all kinds of evil will face judgement, and those who pattern their lives after those things will incur the wrath of a Holy God. Some get caught, fined, jailed, and lose their reputation here on earth; but in the end, the life lived without repentance will come to destruction, and their own lives are forfeit.

Do not be willing to consent to those plans! This is wisdom. Don’t give in, don’t follow their footsteps, don’t walk in the path they are taking. Those who do such things are essentially writing their own condemnation. They ruin their own lives as well as the victims of their villainous behavior. Do not walk in that way. As black and white as this is, perhaps a little help would be in order. Don’t keep bad company, but rather keep good company. Spend time with those who do follow instruction, who are disciplined, and who follow what was shared earlier in this chapter: Fear the Lord and love instruction.

While these verses are more of an obvious warning to some, it is still an important message; a basic principle for living a life in wisdom.

Listen and Learn

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Proverbs 1:8-9

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching;

Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck.

The first teacher most of us have are our parents. They are the ones who form the early years of life, and often continue on until one becomes an adult. It seems as though the principle of a father and a mother instructing their child was a point that Solomon took as fact. Later within the book of Proverbs, we will see methods and other guidelines of being the instructor. In this verse though, it is emphasized that the child be the one to take action. 

“Hear” and “Do not forsake”. These are the responsibilities of the son. Hearing, initially shows a readiness to listen, a willingness to listen. It is not a passive listening to the instruction given by the father. The other interesting word to note is “instruction.” It seems to be used interchangeably with discipline in the Bible. 

I remember from a young age being told ‘no,’ and the response I was to give was obedience. Sometimes this occurred because I had broken the rules and I was receiving correction for my behavior. Other times the instruction I was given was proactive, it was cautionary and guiding my life. Some were basics, like don’t touch a hot stove, others more moral, like not telling lies. In any circumstance, those things are valuable lessons and worth listening to. The ‘teaching’ one is to not forsake or turn away from is instruction, the law, the rules. All valuable and in many cases are given to bring a child to safety, security, and better behavior as a whole. 

As a mother myself, it is crucial for me to instruct, discipline, correct, and guide my own children. Sometimes it is basic, like look both ways before crossing a street. Often I find myself guiding my own children within the bounds of the moral guides given by Scripture. Do not steal, do not lie, do not cheat, do not murder, do not covet…these instructions are of great value.

Verse 9 describes those instructions as a ‘graceful wreath and ornaments to ones neck.’ These are descriptive of fine jewels. Matthew Henry wrote, “Those are truly valuable, and shall be valued, who value themselves more by their virtue and piety than by their worldly wealth and dignity.” (Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary, http://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/mhc/Pro/Pro_001.cfm?a=629009)

There is so much value when a person holds character above other things. Even within our entertainment, movies, and books there is a great appreciation of the person with right character. The heroes are often the most just, honorable, right, giving, kind, and loving person within a story. We prize the character of the man who lives rightly. God Himself values the person who follows instruction. 

I love when my children obey. I am sure every other parent has at some point felt the joy when their child follows instruction by themselves without having to reinforce the laws of the house. I myself had a blessed moment today when this occurred. Today was our first day of the school year. It was one I half longed for but also was slightly dreading. Getting the children back into routine, on schedule, with very distinct instructions to follow. It was in this that I had my moment of real calm and such happiness when they all willingly went to their desks, opened their books, and listened to the words to teach them. While not every day will be like this; I have been homeschooling long enough to know of the October slump, the spring fever and all the bad days that ensue, I know that the heading of instruction truly is a beautiful thing. I couldn’t help but take a few pictures while they were unaware, just to capture the graceful moment. My boys knew it was a good day, and the enjoyment was seen even on their faces.

I think of God being my Heavenly Father and the instruction He has given; and I am both gladdened and convicted. How often do I follow and take head of the instructions in the Bible? Do I follow those things closely, or do I go my own way? The wonderful thing about parents, is that Love often brings forgiveness and grace. It is the same with God our Father. He is willing to forgive, and so desirous of us to follow His Instructions. To listen and learn is graceful, beautiful, and a wonderful adornment to person who does those things. 

Oh, I do hope to wear the adornments of obedience; And to  have a crown of grace about me as I obey the instructions of God. Is this your desire too?

Meet the Fool; or Fear the Judge

[Proverbs 1:7 NASB]

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Knowledge;

Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Have you ever done something, and mid-way through, you think, “Is this really how this should be done?” All of a sudden, it falls apart, the instructions were not followed and it’s a wreck. I have had this experience, probably more times than I would like to admit. (Cooking wrecks, too much seasoning causing a terrible smell for days, fallen cakes… for a small confession on my failure to follow instructions, not to mention a speeding ticket along the way. Yikes.)

Instructions are a part of most of our lives. We learn some things early on, like how to drink from a cup, how to tie a shoe. The information grows as we do, like how to make yourself a PB&J sandwich, or teeth brushing. Instructions will get more complex, to how to drive a car, how to pay your bills, how to do a job correctly; those contain much larger consequences when not followed. Usually with those kind of examples, instructions are fairly universally followed.

This verse in Proverbs points out the person that has chosen to disregard wisdom and instructions; The Fool. Guess what “fool” means in this text…fool. Now in biblical terms, a fool is defined by this verse as well as many others. They despise wisdom and instruction. In other scriptures you can find a fool is one who loves to quarrel, who mocks, and is perverse. We will get a real, in depth look at the fool throughout Proverbs. He is talked about 59 times as “fool/fools” in this book. Also referred to as “foolish” 11 times. The wicked are talked about 84 times. In contrast, we see “wisdom” 48 times, “wise” 62 times, and “instruction” 16 times. The “righteous” are mentioned 66 times. Proverbs is all about the foolish and the wise, and what makes them different. Proverbs is written with a lot of caparison and contrast between these characters.

In this verse, we see where wisdom and instruction begin in “The fear of the Lord.” So, what is this fear? By definition, it is a reverent awe, respect, terror, and fear. (Strong’s Concordance, Strong’s Number H3374) The beginning of knowledge is knowing that the Lord God is someone to be feared, and fearing. Not so soft and fluffy, is it? But that is who God is. He spoke, and the world came into existence. He formed mankind, designed us with perfect precision. He commands the wind and waves. He is an awesomely terrifying real being. You may have heard “Baby Jesus, meek and mild” but that is not who the all powerful God is. Who terrifies you the most? Is it your dad, the police, the government? They have nothing on the Lord of all.

Picture you are driving down the road, you are speeding, running late; and all you can think is that you need to hurry. There is little regard for following the 35 mph limit, you just check your mirror, fearful. The car you just passed, was is a cop? Heart racing, adrenaline pumping…the lights flash, you know that you are caught. Sunk, saddened, angry, afraid you are going to also be fined for the broken light in the back, no seatbelt. It is not fun, and most of us know the strain that causes. But guess what, the policeman (or woman) was just doing their job. So, why picture that? Because we are all caught. We have all broken the law. Not the one set by a government, but by that awesome, holy, pure, all powerful God of the universe. Fear Him.

It is wisdom to fear the Lord. He is holy (which means without spot or blemish) and, by His own nature, He will judge the world of sin (which is a stain on all of us). No on ever had to instruct me to lie, cheat, or be selfish; and those things, by God’s law, are wrong. Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” No one is exempt. Fear Him!

[Psalm 96:13 b NASB]
For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness And the peoples in His faithfulness.

He is coming, He will judge. It is wise to understand this fact. Before a holy God all will be found guilty. Now, If I were to stop there, we’d all go to bed at night trembling, because no one will go unpunished. There is good news in this: God brings not only judgement, but grace. Yes, we are to be in awe of the Lord, to fear Him; but through Jesus Christ we can also gain forgiveness of our sins. God is holy, completely without sin, and He Himself came to earth, in total perfection and took your and my judgement. He paid the ticket, so that we wouldn’t have to. Although we deserve the punishment of God; because of Jesus offering Himself in our place, dying on the cross, and being raised up again, we can be holy. We can be right before God. (For more on this follow this link Know God)

I know this got very preachy and maybe you do not like this message, or maybe you love this message. Each of our opinions about it, won’t change the fact of it. While I myself do not have all the answers, and I am often doing things that would put me in the fool category, I can start with knowledge. Those who already do fear the Lord, be excited! We have already begun with knowledge, and are wise in the sight of the Lord. I encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 It helps us understand that the message we follow, is wisdom of God. Fear the Lord!

Seeking the Black and White

Black and White

A Study in Proverbs; Seeking Wisdom

I am no scholar, I often end up with my foot in my mouth, I don’t always think everything through, although I try. So, I am often looking for the secret to doing, saying, and thinking through things wisely. I find that when I read Proverbs, it makes so much practical sense. Of course there is Spiritual Wisdom, as it is the God given Word of Scripture; yet there are moments as I delve into the Proverbs, I think, “Wow, this is so amazingly useful for everything!” Of course, while certain aspects do seem cultural to the time period in which they were written, the principles found in the book of Proverbs have application for each person.

[Proverbs 1:1-7 NASB]

“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding,

To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity;

To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion,

A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,

To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

So who wrote it all? Short answer: King Solomon.

Solomon was born into royalty. In 2 Samuel 12:24, we find out something interesting about this prince. It says “The Lord loved him.” That’s our first introduction to this person. He was the son of David, who was also given a nickname, “A man after God’s own heart.” Those are some impressive distinctions. While I would love to go into a history of David and Solomon, there are many good scholars and theologians who have already done this and I would encourage you to find that out.

I would like to mention one thing about Solomon though. He had an encounter with the true God at a young age. It was in a dream that God spoke to him and told him to ask for anything from God Himself. Solomon could have asked for anything it seems, but what he requested was wisdom. Here were his words, “So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” [1Kings 3:9 NASB] God was pleased with this request, and on top of it gave Solomon riches and might…Under the condition that Solomon was to walk in the ways of God and His commandments. Sweet deal, right? (You can read the rest of this story in 1 Kings 3.)

So keep in mind, as you look at the book of Proverbs, the wisdom shared is not just wisdom coming from man; it is the wisdom of God. With that comes weight; if a scraggly looking person, with no known abilities, connections to you, or authority, told you, “Don’t cross the street.” You might look at them strangely and cross anyway. On the other hand, if you saw a person of reputation, with a uniform on, having authority, who said the same thing, you would more likely listen. These words in the book of Proverbs, don’t come from a man, they don’t come from a nobody, they are breathed by God Himself. The all knowing, all powerful, never failing God. So, while some things may seem simple, do not take the words of proverbs lightly.

Why Proverbs? Well, because they are words that will increase learning, give instruction, direction, knowledge, and understanding. I love the verse above that says, “To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, Justice, and equity.” I believe there are absolutes, and we all seek a sense of justice, holding everything to an absolute standard. Proverbs makes life a lot less complex, it is black and white, right and wrong. I like that. Of course I may face situations that are a little more grey; like what to wear, eat, or drink; yet the truth is, Proverbs bring wisdom to many circumstances in life.

So, this is the first post on Proverbs. I hope to go through the whole book, all 31 chapters, bit by bit. (Although no doubt it will take me some time…if I am able to complete it at all.)

Thanks for reading.

Trouble: Will It Refine You? (Part 3)

Trouble: Will you let it refine you?

1 Peter 1:6-9 “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”

According to Scripture, pain has a purpose in our lives. Three years ago, while in the throng of a trial, it all made very little made sense. As I have now grown as a result of that pain, I see how it has benefitted myself in ways I could never have imagined. Continue reading

Trouble: Be Prepared (Part 2)

Red Alert! Red Alert! A warning goes out, your heart skips a beat, and you hold your loved ones closer. You’ve rushed about doing what you can, now you just hold on, waiting for whatever turmoil it may be to pass. Trouble Strikes.

When the weather forecast issues and alert for a storm, hurricane, tornado, or even extreme fire danger, we take heed. Things are tied down, shutters are closed up, emergency preparedness is in effect and we brace ourselves for the outcome. Unfortunately there are some who ignore the warnings and are caught off guard, often facing the tragedy unprepared. In some cases, even the prepared face devastating loss. When I was a young girl, I remember a hurricane warning and the scramble to get everything taken came of before the brunt of the storm hit. After the things in the yard were tied down, the windows covered, I recall being inside the living room and looking outside. I think the power went out because I remember the darkness. Then watching the strength of the wind blowing the trees outside, the pounding of the rain on the roof, and the sound of thunder amidst the howls of the storm. Yet, I remember going to sleep, or at least waking up the next day. We made it through that storm with minor damage, and things went back to normal. We were prepared.

Some say the only two certain things in life are death and taxes. While this may be so, death is the only thing certain. For a Christian, we do not live without hope, we know that death has been overcome already. For those who believe that Jesus Christ died to take your punishment and give you life, death is not the most dreaded thing. But what about the other trials in our lives? If you knew they were coming, how would you prepare for it?Rainbow in the Mountains Continue reading