Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 31:3

Proverbs 31:3 "Do not give your strength to women, or your ways to that which destroys kings" Remember that the first part of this proverb is written to those who would be leaders for God. It was written by a king who calls himself Lemuel, which is "for God." He was a man who saw that God had called him to leadership and was recording the best advice he received as a child. It was from his mother and was either God-breathed from her or God-breathed in his recollection or God-breathed in the recording. But now it is inspired instructions for leadership. Verse 3 is the opening command. It is negative. Don't get disqualified right out of the gate. Do not give your strength to women. Clearly thi

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 30:3

Proverbs 30:3 "Neither have I learned wisdom, nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One" These are the stylized ways of showing humility. Our culture has largely forgotten that it is not wise or righteous to brag about yourself and the people you know. In this proverb, Agur is stating the obvious. He does not know all there is to know. He does not know all about God and His ways. While almost everyone would admit that, many in our day and age parade around like they know everything and understand God. While this single verse is not the point of this section of the Proverbs, God's Word is always instructive even in its smallest sections. We need to have a way to acknowledge that we do not a

Great Relationships, Great Kids (Part 2) Four Relationship-Building Ideas

In part 1 of this blog series, I mentioned that the single greatest influence on your children is their relationships. I would venture that the quality of their relationships will determine how well they will turn out! Our goal as parents is to be their most important relationship (after God), but it takes work and commitment on your part. Here are four relationship-building ideas to help you build a good relationship with your kids. When applied, these ideas have proven to build great, tight-knit families. Do fun things as a family weekly, quarterly, and yearly. Do fun activities together so that there is a huge pile of good memories that your children have of hanging out with you and their

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 29:3

Proverbs 29:3 "A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but he who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth" There are a number of things to notice here: the contrast between the two different objects of love; the results of the two different paths; the implied results of the two different loves which are not stated; the implications of harlotry; the contrast between two different objects of love. Solomon is contrasting the results and the affection or pursuit of a young man's fancy. He can pursue the selfish impulses that inhabit every young man and spend time with harlots – women who will meet his sexual needs and turn him into more of a fool – a man unable to resist his selfish i

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 28:3

Proverbs 28:3 "A poor man who oppresses the lowly is like a driving rain that leaves no food" poor: This is the Hebrew word rus which means poor, poverty; in many cases it means destitution – one who does not have the means to sustain life in its most basic level. There is food, water, and shelter that is missing from this person's life. oppresses: This is the Hebrew word asaq which means to oppress, defraud, gain through deceit. This word carries the idea of an abuse of power and/or some form of fraud or deception in which the one party gains while the other party loses. This “I gain while you lose” form of getting ahead is what the Bible calls stealing. No matter how clever the person does

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 27:3

Proverbs 27:3 "A stone is heavy and the sand weighty, but the provocation of a fool is heavier than both of them" It is a dangerous thing to become a man of vexation. It leads to foolishness. And when a fool is vexed, it is always worse. When selfishness, impulsiveness, and rebelliousness get angry and allow that anger to motivate them to action, it is always a disaster. We must turn our souls and our lives over to the Lord to live in the universe in which He is God and we are not; in which the laws that He has established reign rather than the laws which we would create. The proverb states that this type of anger is heavier than stone or sand. It weighs down the person and the life. It will

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 26:3

Proverbs 26:3 "A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools" The focus of this proverb is what brings about controlled positive behavior. The measures used with a horse, the measures used with a donkey, and the measures used with a fool are all harsh, constant, and demanding. The clear teaching is that if a person is selfish, impulsive, and rebellious then constant, demanding, and even harsh constraints are the only way to bring out of the fool a positive and lasting set of behaviors. There is no easy way to deal with a person who has no self-discipline. This proverb is trying to cut away the sugarcoating and give the honest truth about dealing with a foo

Flourish in These Four Relationships

Being the newest contributor to the Principles to Live By blog is an honor for me! As a pastor, husband, father, and son, I know that life is all about relationships! In fact, my personal blog is entitled Better Together. So it was a no brainer for me to accept the invite to be part of this amazing team of contributors. God made us to flourish! And as God's created handiwork, we are made to flourish with him and with others in relationship. Therefore, in order to become God's best version of ourselves, we need to be connected with others, specifically seeking to build and cling to these four important relationships in our lives: God... Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his ki

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 25:3

Proverbs 25:3 "As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, so the heart of kings is unsearchable" This is a very interesting proverb about leadership. It suggests that no one can know for certain what the soul of the leader will do for the soul is unsearchable. It is not predictable. It could also suggest that any leader is capable of that which is shocking and unexpected – both for good and for bad. This is an interesting proverb about the depth of a person and especially the depth of a leader. We can believe we will know what a leader will say or do, but it is not a sure thing until we actually ask them. This suggests that there is much more than meets the eye when we are watching a

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 24:3

Proverbs 24:3 "By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches" Notice the thought connection between this proverb and the one before it. We are not to envy the gain of those with no scruples but to instead fill our lives with the precious and pleasant riches of wisdom. The evil use people and gain through violence; the wise fill their life with precious and pleasant riches – ones not available to those who pursue violence and immorality. by wisdom a house is built This is the theme of the whole book of Proverbs. The home is a metaphor for life. Building an adequate, wealthy, and enjoyable home is

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 23:3

Proverbs 23:3 "Do not desire his delicacies, for it is deceptive food" There are two fascinating directions that this proverb could refer to. This could be an interesting study in nutrition and gluttony. Or this proverb could be a warning of the dangers of the plastic life of power, prestige, and fame. do not desire his delicacies The real warning comes against desiring the food of this ruler. What is the food of the ruler? It could be the actual food of a rich, powerful leader. Or it could be a metaphor for what the ruler lives on; the air they breathe; the food they eat in terms of what they really use to sustain themselves. In the one case it would be the actual food that should not be de

Great Relationships, Great Kids (Part 1)

The single greatest influence on your children is their relationships. In fact, I would venture that the quality of their relationships will determine how well they will turn out! If your children are around good influences, they will turn out good. If they are around bad influences, they will turn out bad. So as parents, we must ensure that the influences in our children's lives are good influences as much as possible -- that the influences that become relationships in our children's life need to be aimed toward goodness, not harm. I will develop this idea about the relationships your kids have with the various people and things in their world and how it influences them in a different blog,

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 22:3

Proverbs 22:3 "The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, but the naive go on, and are punished for it" Solomon is trying to help people see a truth that is always raising its head. In a world full of sinful, selfish people – a fallen world – stuff happens that is bad. Are you prepared for those eventualities? The more naive a person is, the less they prepare and then they will pay a heavy price. When you enter into an agreement or begin enjoying a situation – especially one that has long-term designs – one has to ask, "What are the safeguards if this whole thing goes bad?" or "What are all the ways that this could go bad?" If you are not prepared for the evil that could and will most like

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 21:3

Proverbs 21:3 "To do righteousness and justice is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice" Which is more desired by God: to obey or to repent when you do something bad? Clearly it is to obey and do the thing right the first time. One of the things that my children did not completely grasp is that saying "I'm sorry" did not fix a relational problem especially when the "I'm sorry" was said half-heartedly. I wanted my daughter to realize before she hit her sisters or tried to trick them that there was probably a positive or encouraging thing to do instead. They seemed to think that there was always "I'm sorry" as a way out of relational trouble. This is not true with God and it is not true wit

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 20:3

Proverbs 20:3 "Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, but any fool will quarrel" This passage is a continuation of the idea discussed in the previous verse (20:2): the anger of the leader. The fool is the person who just constantly needs to point out the other point of view; who needs to be right; who needs to be noticed even when it is not helpful to be right. When you do not have to cross swords or expectations with those around you, then you would be wise to avoid it even if you do not completely agree with the direction or idea or topic. There is no need inherent in any relationship – especially the relationship of leader to follower – that requires a person to come up with, poi

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 19:3

Proverbs 19:3 "The foolishness of man ruins his way and his heart rages against the Lord" Foolishness is a moral quality in the Hebraic understanding; not a level of one's mental acumen. To be a fool is to be self-focused, selfish, impulsive, rebellious. In the reference in the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament under H200, the word fool is described as someone who is morally deficient. It is the sin nature in each one of us that makes us fools. Each person has the natural tendency to see every situation from a self-focused point of view. This tendency must be overcome by wisdom, knowledge, prudence, and understanding. This verse declares the basic truth of the whole book of Proverbs.

Overcoming the Obstacles to Your Dreams (Part 2)

Overcome. That one little word whispered to my spirit during intense times of prayer, hours of soul-searching, and while watching this year's Super Bowl held more promise for me personally and for our organization, Courage Worldwide, than any word I have received in the 17 years I have been doing this. If you are also facing difficult circumstances, embarrassing situations, a recent failure, or if you are just plain tired of fighting the good fight because you have not seen the results you have hoped for, this blog is for you. During the next several weeks, I will post eight lessons I have extracted from my personal journal - lessons God has been teaching me about overcoming! I pray you will

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 18:3

Proverbs 18:3 "When a wicked man comes contempt also comes, and with dishonor comes scorn" This is an interesting lesson in people and wisdom. What God is telling us is that if you have a person who violates the Ten Commandments (wicked), they will also bring with them contempt. In other words a person who would curse, dishonor parents, murder, commit adultery, lie, steal, covet will also downgrade others. They may be joyful and full of life when you are sharing their sin, but they will bring a level of contempt into your life by their presence. This concept of linkage is a crucial understanding for wisdom. What comes with doing this or that? Many people only see the first activity or the si

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 17:3

Proverbs 17:3 "The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests hearts" Clearly the Lord will subtract certain things from your life and add other things to put you under stress and to bring to the surface what is in your heart. God wants to bring up the gunk so He can get rid of it, and He wants to refine the good stuff that is in your life. The idea that God monkeys with the blessings of your life is hard for many to believe or fathom, but clearly God will bless you in many areas and withhold blessing in another area so that you will have to trust Him. Understand that the word heart is not your emotions alone, although that is clearly a part of the idea. Heart in

Goodness - Every Relationship Needs It

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control against such things there is no law. (Gal. 5:22-23) 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 a project in building great relationships. It starts with our relationship with God 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 in our unique context

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