Posts tagged ‘Book of Proverbs’

Proverbs 12 – Words Matter

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
~ Proverbs 12:18

I have often been this guy.  I’m not sure if I’ve actually hurt other people with my words, but many times I know that I could have said things in a better way to “bring healing” instead of causing strife.

And of course it’s always those closest to me, like my wife, who catch the brunt of it.  And its’ something that I need to be constantly reminded of.

Words matter, they carry emotion, they carry what we believe about the world, they carry what we believe about God.  When we take stabs at people we betray the anger and hurt that is in our own heart.

What anger and hurt do I have in my heart?  I need to examine it until I am aware of what it causing it so that I can become whole and bring healing to others instead of more pain


Proverbs 11 –

A false balance is an abomination to the LORD,
but a just weight is his delight.
~Proverbs 11:1

A while back my dad was buying shrimp from some shrimpers who were selling their catch roadside.  As they began to weigh his purchase he noticed that they poured an awful lot of  ice on the scales with it, thus weighing more and giving my dad less shrimp.  My dad commented on it so the guy took the ice off, and my dad happened to look down and the guy had his hand pushing down on the scale to make it weigh more.  Of course my dad got it all straight before he left, but it was a pretty crazy experience.

I have to remember this when I price jobs, I’m a contractor, because I want to give people a fair price no matter what.  When I am honest, especially when times are financially tough, I show that my faith and security is not solely in my own ability.  But I have a higher and stronger place to lean and rely on.

It seems that scripture is more concerned with how we live our lives, than with how well we live.  How well we live is relative and lends itself to comparing ourselves with others and competition.

When you treat people right and have honest dealings, you may not get rich financially, but you will have everything you need and you will have wealth in many other ways.

Proverbs 10 – Money as god

Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit,
but righteousness delivers from death.
The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry,
but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
A slack hand causes poverty,
but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
He who gathers in summer is a prudent son,
but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.
~Proverbs 10:2-5

This is a section of Proverbs meant to encourage a righteous work ethic.  It is important to remember that the Proverbs are not promises, but are everyday axioms, general truths to live by.  For the most part if you follow Proverbs you’ll live a long happy prosperous life, and if you don’t then you’ll have strife and poverty.

Of course we all know people, and see people on tv or read about them, that are crooked or immoral and seem to be prospering.  And the Bible answers this elsewhere, which I don’t feel inclined to get into here now, but suffice to say that prosperity and peace are not their final end

Although Proverbs are true for all people, regardless of their faith or non-faith, they are especially true for believers in the God of the Bible, and as believers we are called to do business in a way that reflects our faith in God.

What I mean is that once we realize that everything we have ultimately comes from God then we are free to make decisions more on a moral level, and not so much on a financial level.

When you sacrifice your beliefs for money, you are serving money as god of your life, and you are laying down your good deeds at its altar.  How can you serve two gods?  You can’t.

Make the right decision and trust in God that everything will still work out ok, even if things don’t work out the way you want or financially in your favor, you will still be blessed

Proverbs 9 – The Scoffer

Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

~Proverbs 9:7-9

I remember quite vividly several times when my parents told me things about myself I did not want to hear.  And I remember reacting immaturely to say the least.   A few days later (or in some cases… a few years) I would come around and realize what they said was true, and I would have to humble myself.

I noticed this pattern after a while; and slowly over time I began to accept reproof more quickly and easily.  I know I still have a long way to go, but at least my eyes are open to it and I suppose that is a way forward.

It seems that a wise man knows how to judge if a person is able to take feedback or criticism.  Some people seem to have an innate ability for discernment.  Still for those like me it has taken time; and trial and error to develop it.

Like any good gift discernment will grow with its use.  I may get it wrong, and when I do I hope to be wise enough to be honest with myself and learn from it.  And I’ll judge rightly as well, and over time I hope to be doing it more and more, as I grow in wisdom and discernment.

Proverbs 8 – The Greatest Sport

Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud: “To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of man. O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense.

~Proverbs 8:1-5

Wisdom is not something that will just come to you own its own.  It is something that comes only if you desire it enough to go find it.  And it is there to find.  All who look for it can find it.

It is an ongoing process, not a one time event, but more of a way of life.

If most of my days consist of work, coming home, getting on Facebook, watching TV, and minimal family involvement; and if my only excitement is an upcoming sporting event or concert; then I would question if I were earnestly desiring wisdom.

Each week I see people excited about LSU or the Saints playing, and I cant help but wonder if those guys were half as much into scripture or seeking wisdom then we would have theologians galore.

When I pursue wisdom, I find something better than money and wealth.  If I hunt for wisdom I obtain something more valuable than entertainment or sports.  When I am desperate for wisdom I possess life.

Proverbs 6 – Ants

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.  Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.

How long will you lie there, O sluggard?

When will you arise from your sleep?

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.

~ Proverbs 6:6-11

In America today we are very fortunate to have very few people who would quality for absolute poverty, since anyone can get almost all of our basic human needs for free if they so choose.  More difficult than making money is the learning how to not waste it.

What people spend their money on says a lot about their character.  If you want to see whats most important in a person’s life go look at their check book.  Go look at where their money goes, whatever gets the most  money is probably the most important thing to that person.

An employee came to me; his family was on the brink of homelessness, and he made no qualms about making me feel guilty if I didnt help him financially.  And of course I did, but I also made a chart of his spending habits.  Both he and his wife smoke and drink alcohol.  I charted out his smoking($10 per day for the two of them) to be $3650 a year.  They spent $7300 a year on drinking ($20 per day on whiskey).  Together that’s $10,950!  He could buy a nice used car for that, or better in a year or two he could put a down payment on a house!

When I showed him this his jaw was on the floor.  I also knew they were getting food stamps, and had no bills outside of rent and utilities.  So the guy really had no excuse for being poor except for the fact that they spent all their money on luxuries while they neglected their necessities.

Most of us are not as extreme as this guy, but I wonder how much non-essential stuff we waste our money on.  Cellphones with Internet and data plans, satellite tv or cable, netflix, smokes, alcohol, fast food, coffee, etc.  All that stuff adds up to be quite expensive at the end of the year.  Imagine at the end of 10 years… imagine if all that money and not only saved but was invested it in a mutual fund earning interest.  That coffee that cost a few dollars every day may be costing over $100,000 by the time you retire… whoa!  Would you give up coffee for a house?

“How long will you lie there, O’ sluggard” scripture says to me.  I cant give to the needy if I’m giving to line the pockets of entrepreneurs.  I cant support my Church, or that orphanage in Africa, or cancer center for children in Nicaragua, or whatever if I dont watch over my finances.

There are people out there a lot smarter than me thinking up new ways everyday to get my money.  It’s up to me to spend it wisely.  And when I do I bring honor to God.  It shows that I value what I’ve been given.

By choosing to spend and save my money wisely I show Christian character, but wasting it and indulging at the expense of others, my family, my own retirement, my kid’s college savings, etc, I show that I am growing in the fruit of the Spirit.

Proverbs 5 – whack-a-mole

Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress? For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his paths. The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.

~Proverbs 5:20-23

“Everywhere I look something reminds me of her” ~ Frank Drevin, The Naked Gun

One of the challenging things of our times is to stay sexually pure.  If you gain and pursue discipline in this area early on then you have less trouble controlling yourself later in life

Of course at anytime in history it would have been a challenge, look at the great people in Biblical history, Abraham, Jacob, , Sampson, David, Solomon, etc, these men had sexual issues that needed to be worked out.

When I first became a Christian, back in 1997, I decided I wasnt going to date anyone until I was ready.  What was the point if I wasnt ready?  Why sit at the banquet table if I know I cant touch the food?

I figured I needed to decide on my career; and start making enough money to, at the very least, rent an apartment and pay my own bills.

I also wanted to grow and mature spiritually before I invited a woman into my life.  I wanted to know how to live this life successfully for God.

Since then I have met many men who had embraced disciple at an early age and the battle wasnt so bad for them.  They kept their lives under control and remained that way until the got married.

I think one of the great dangers is being over-confident.  It’s almost like Satan allows you to gain a few victories to get you to let down your guard… and then comes the snare!  In 1652 Thomas Brooks discusses that in his book, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices.  And I must say that I have to admire those old timey puritan dudes.   They knew how to live holy, and nip sin in the bud.  And that’s the only way to deal with it.

So no matter what your age, if you’ve messed up or not, or how many times, we all need to do the same; play whack-a-mole with sexual sin.  Do it as fast and as hard as you can and you will save yourself a world of pain later on.