Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 28:2

Proverbs 28:2 "By the transgression of a land many are its princes, but by a man of understanding and knowledge, so it endures" Each sin against a people is remembered in the collective consciousness and causes people to be distrustful of that type of problem. There are collective sins where leaders abuse people. This happens in churches, in civic organizations, in business, in political parties – anywhere there is leadership over a group. If the leader is not willing to lead toward righteousness rather than selfishness, then there are offenses and new leaders spring up to pull the group back toward the righteous action that should have been taken. The word land is the idea of a group of peo

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 27:2

Proverbs 27:2 "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips" One of the ways to make yourself really obnoxious fast is to constantly be talking about how wonderful you are. It is best when others recognize that you are doing good. This is a very difficult thing at times when you feel that others are not recognizing what you have done. But if you are always boasting about what you have done, then people get tired of you. Now it is all right to tell people about things you have done and that you did a good job. But don't praise yourself. I saw one of my daughters grappling with this aspect of wisdom. I heard her say that her parents and other adults don't a

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 26:2

Proverbs 26:2 "Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, so a curse without cause does not alight" The great danger that this proverb points out is not to give too much credence to every negative thing said about you. All kinds of people will say all kinds of things about you – most of which are not true or some twisted incomplete view of what really happened. We cannot afford to respond to that or be emotionally worked up about it. In fact, in many cases it would be better to not hear it. I was talking with a woman the other day who was being critical of another person just to cover up some issues that she was dealing with. I thought how difficult it would be for the per

The "S" Word

What's all this nonsense about submission? It sounds archaic and oppressive! It's 2017, and women are CEO's of corporations and run for the office of President of the United States! All that submission stuff is obsolete! In Ephesians 4, starting with verse 17, Paul tells the Body of Christ to be "wise," to understand what the will of the Lord is, and to walk with one another soberly, in God-honoring, uplifting ways, always thanking God for all things, "submitting to one another in the fear of God..." Does that sound like oppression? No way! Just the opposite! He's saying, "Everybody, come under each other and lift each other up!" God is at the top, giving and loving and ruling over with perf

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 25:2

Proverbs 25:2 "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of Kings is to search out a matter" Spurgeon states that the following are the typical interpretations of this passage. "First of all, I will give you the common interpretation which is given to these words, and the topic which is suggested to most minds thereby, namely, that it is God’s glory to conceal much of the great truth which concerns himself and his dealings with the sons of men. “Clouds and darkness are round about him.” It is his glory that he is not seen, his glory that he is concealed; while, as for kings, it is their honor “to search out a matter.” Spurgeon, C. H. (1998). Vol. 49: Spurgeon's Sermons: Volum

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 24:2

Proverbs 24:2 "For their minds devise violence, and their lips talk of trouble" This is a very important proverb describing the thinking of those that God describes as evil. We all find ourselves tempted to give into this kind of thinking, but it will surely move us in the direction of evil and a non-satisfying life. for their minds devise violence The word violence is the Hebrew word sod which means havoc, to spoil, maltreatment, etc. What one has to see in this word is often the idea of vengeance or payback with a violent or escalating element. The evil person is the one who gives voice and place to the thoughts that come across everyone’s mind when they have been crossed: How will I make

Meekness: the Antidote to Unmet Expectations

One of the joys of being a Christian is when God the Holy Spirit prompts us to do things that we would not even think to do, but they are crucial to building a great life. A great life is great relationships (Matt. 22:37-39). Therefore, the Christian life is really one big project in building great relationships. It starts with our relationship with God, which He provided by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and continues as we learn how to build and grow the other relationships in our life God's way within our own unique context. One of the key ingredients in building great relationships is meekness or gentleness. This is the ability to defer to the other people in the rela

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 23:2

Proverbs 23:2 "And put a knife to your throat if you are a man of great appetite" This proverb is the actual command of what to do when dining with a leader when you are in the presence of luxuries and desirable things that only the very rich or powerful have available to them. Solomon uses very strong imagery. Put a knife to your throat so that if you were to swallow, you would cut your own throat. Your swallowing mechanism should be closed to the opportunities that will be available to you. One of the greatest tests of a person's character is success. It is easier to be moral and controlled when there are few other options. But when the whole world is offering itself to you and you can hav

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 22:2

Proverbs 22:2 "The rich and the poor have a common bond, the Lord is the maker of them all" This is a proverb that is easy to overlook. Solomon is speaking really to the heart of the person who is rich. The rich are not made out of different stuff than those who are poor. God is the maker of both. What He really says is also hidden under the translator’s words. The actual Hebrew words read rich and poor meet maker all The Lord. The most readable literal translation would be rich and poor meet, the Lord is the maker of both. The word maker is the word asah which is to make, to do, to produce. There is richness that can be seen in the implications of these ideas. Remember that this seems obvio

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 21:2

Proverbs 21:2 "Every man's way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts" every man's way is right in his own eyes This is a statement of the basic perspective of people "under the sun" or from their sinful or selfish position. If I didn't think it was right for me, then I wouldn't do it. This does not mean that everyone thinks their way is right in the eyes of God. All of us have a natural tendency, since Adam's fall, to live from the selfish or foolish perspective. It is this perspective that God asks parents to drive out of their children. It is the orientation to only or primarily look at a situation or choice for what we can get out of it. How do we win in this situation?

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 20:2

Proverbs 20:2 "The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; he who provokes him to anger forfeits his own life" The idea is that the leader of any venture has a plan and an expectation; and the person who blocks, interrupts, redirects, or cancels that expectation of the leader will provoke the wrath of the leader. Anger is the reaction to unmet expectations. It is not the only reaction, but it is a major reaction to unmet expectations. Every leader has a preferred future – a vision of how things would be in a perfect world. It is these future pictures that form the expectation and battle plan of the leader. Do not get in the way of that or you will be seen as a mutineer. You will be

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 19:2

Proverbs 19:2 "Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, and he who hurries his footsteps errs" This verse gives a good definition of hurry: proceeding without adequate knowledge. No matter how fast or slow you are going, if you don't have the right knowledge then you are hurrying. On the other hand, no matter how fast you are going, it is not hurry if you have adequate knowledge. The quest then is for the proper knowledge. Usually in every endeavor there are certain bits of knowledge that must be obtained. Without those bits of raw data or information, it is unwise to move forward. In order to move a project or decision along, one must move along the acquisition of this cruc

Seeking Common Ground for Community

I go to church on weekends, a small group on Wednesdays, and to Bridges on Thursdays, and I see a bunch of people I know and love and that like and enjoy each other. To be a part of a healthy community is such a beautiful thing. Then, I foolishly turn on the radio or the TV and learn that I must be in a bubble, because everyone out there hates each other. Of course, I am exaggerating, but that's how it feels. In our small-group study on Wednesdays in Loomis, which you are welcome to join by-the-way, we are going through Acts. It seems to me that with the presence of the Holy Spirit also came a great sense of unity, acceptance, service, and generosity, AND that that community grew because it

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 18:2

Proverbs 18:2 "A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind" The word fool is the Hebrew word kesil which means dull or obstinate – not in their intellectual gifts but in their moral and volitional gifts. This is the selfish, rebellious, and impulsive proud person. There are three words used in Proverbs for fool: kesil, ewil, and nabal. Each of these words emphasizes a slightly different character trait of the same type of person. Kesil emphasizes the obstinate rebellious person who makes consistently wrong choices. Ewil is the word which emphasizes that this person does not respect moral boundaries, only his/her own wants. Nabal focuses on the anger and meann

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 17:2

Proverbs 17:2 "A servant who acts wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully,and will share in the inheritance among brothers" acts wisely: The word wisely is the Hebrew word sakal which is a synonym for understanding but includes the idea of understanding the reasons for events and not just distinguishing between. It can also be thought of as having insight and comprehension. The proverb states that the person who is just an employee can find positions of authority and prosperity if they learn how to act with insight and comprehension. All leaders, owners, and directors are looking for sharp people who are really loyal that will grow their business under them. This proverb screams that

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 16:2

Proverbs 16:2 "All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives." This is one of the numerous passages in Proverbs and through the Scriptures that speak of Judgment Day. There will be a judgment day for every person who has ever lived. It is this sure judgment that allows for the scales to be balanced properly in the end. There will be some things that will not be settled until then. You will see some who are evil prosper while some who are righteous suffer. Don't despair. God will not be mocked whatsoever a man sows that will he also reap. Everything we ever think, say, do – every attitude and every motive – is being permanently recorded for evaluation at th

What Rules and Rituals Should You Teach Your Kids? (Part 1)

One of the hidden secrets to wise parenting is to instruct your children through rituals. A ritual is a system that informs us about how we are to behave in certain situations. Everyone lives based upon systems that they picked up from their parents or developed over time. If you have the right system (ritual), then you will be successful at that part of life. Rituals tell us what to do and what not to do, and they eliminate so much anger and rebellion during the teen years if used consistently and correctly. Parents don't often think about this but they need to instill into a child all the systems for healthy and successful living. Here is how we go to bed. Here is what we do when we wake u

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 15:2

Proverbs 15:2 "The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable. But the mouth of fools spouts folly." Notice that the mouth of the fool gushes forth with selfishness, anger, hatred, criticalness, and impulsiveness. This is very normal for each person to let their sin nature show. When sin grabs you, this is what comes out of your mouth. You become a fountain for selfishness. A great question is: Would you want to deal with you the way you are acting? Answer: No!!! When you are trying to persuade someone that your expectation is the valid one, then you will need to be much wiser. You must figure out a way to make it a win for them. If your words make it a win for you and a loss for them, th

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 14:2

Proverbs 14:2 "He who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is devious in his ways despises Him" There is something motivating righteousness. People don't stay within the guidelines of God's morality without a reason. That reason is a mixture of positive and negative reasons called the fear of the Lord. It is a shame that we no longer teach the fear of the Lord in our churches or our culture. And as a result, no one has the proper incentive to stay within the boundaries of morality and decency. What is this cryptic motivator called the fear of the Lord? It is positive in that it is reverence and awe and delight in the Lord. It is the realization that God exists, is great, and i

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 13:2

Proverbs 13:2 "From the fruit of a man's mouth he enjoys good, but the desire of the treacherous is violence" Solomon noticed that it is not essentially a man's talent or ability that causes him to prosper but his people skills. That is what this nugget on wisdom tells us. You can have tremendous abilities, talents, and gifts; but if you are a jerk, you will not succeed. We must all learn how to talk to other people in a positive and constructive way. It is what you say that causes people to want to be around you. One of the studies that consistently strikes me was done a number of years ago. Engineering firms were asked to rate what were the causes for engineers to be hired, retain their jo

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