Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 30:4

Proverbs 30:4 "Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son's name? Surely you know." This proverb is a series of questions designed to produce a growing awareness in the person reading and meditating upon these words that there is a world beyond this one, and there is a being dwelling there who wears this universe like a garment. This being we call God has a personal name. He has given that name to the Jewish people. The idea of this proverb is to remind us of the fact that we are locked in a four-plus dimensional universe which we cann

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 31:4

Proverbs 31:4 "It is not for Kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink" This is a proverb of the temptations of leadership that you would use your position of authority and power and influence to pursue lust and sexuality and/or would pursue drugs and drink. It is a tragedy when someone with influence and leadership squanders that leadership opportunity on what our society calls partying: sex and booze. This would suggest that there is a great temptation for these two vices when one gets into a position of leadership. One must guard against these seductive voices when leadership increases for the opportunity to squander your life and your leader

Living a Surrendered Life

What being a Christian is all about. "What is the greatest commandment for successful living?" The religious leaders asked Jesus this very question (or something similar in essence), and this is what he said: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matt. 22:37-39) Jesus was talking about a surrendered life -- one that is fully yielded and submitted to God. Many people don't have a clue about what Jesus requires of them when they put their faith in him. It's important for Christians to know that following Jesus is more than just going

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 29:4

Proverbs 29:4 "The king gives stability to the land by justice, but a man who takes bribes overthrows it" A leader is one who brings consistency and harmony to the area that he leads; it is not okay to have a constant revolution. It is justice or predictable patterns of behavior that bring reward and predictable patterns of behavior that bring punishment that cause or allow stability to arise. When a leader, in his leadership, allows for back doors to fairness, then the whole of the leader’s goals and accomplishments are thrown into doubt. Justice is a very sure, moral thing – an action to stop those who would violate God's moral law: the Ten Commandments. There must be a box to operate in;

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 28:4

Proverbs 28:4 "Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive with them" This proverb is about the constant struggle in a fallen world to maintain order and moral boundaries. People are not naturally good; they are naturally sinful. Therefore they will try and push against the boundaries of decency and morality that God has told us to enforce. If Christian people do nothing in their society, then the forces of wickedness will have their way and destroy the society by pushing the boundaries of decency until wrong is right and right is blamed for the ills of society. Those who forsake the law praise the wicked There are those who are in the midst of forsaking th

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 27:4

Proverbs 27:4 "Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood, but who can stand before jealousy" This is a comparison proverb to get us to take notice of the volatility of jealousy. We are most often drawn to notice anger and wrath as inappropriate reactions, but there are hundreds of other emotional reactions that can come from us. Solomon is trying to warn us that even though wrath and anger seem like big landmines to stay away from, do not underestimate the power of jealousy. The reason that jealousy needs to be noticed is that men especially can be tempted into flirting and side relationships that will make the key people in their life jealous. There is this idea that jealousy will fade with time

Three Forms of Faithfulness: Keep Blessing

In Galatians 5:22-23, God lists out different aspects of what living in His Spirit looks like. Each one of the "fruit of the Spirit" is an aspect of love, and faithfulness is a big one. In Part 1 of this series on faithfulness, I mentioned that the ideas contained in faithfulness are to stay connected, keep blessing, and provide security. When God prompts or whispers stay connected to a person or keep blessing that person or keep providing security, He is really saying "be faithful." Today, we'll look at what God is asking you to do when he whispers "keep blessing." Keep Blessing When God is asking you to "keep blessing" it is quite often the person he is also asking you to stay connected to

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 26:4

Proverbs 26:4 "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him" Fools (the selfish, impulsive, rebellious) constantly want to embroil the diligent and productive in the quandaries of their life or thought. They can invent more problems with a plan than would ever actually appear in the plan. Remember the folly of the fool is when they are doing the impulsive, selfish, rebellious thing that strikes their fancy. In the midst of this they can see and even experience great difficulties and paradoxes. The answer is almost always this: you shouldn't have been there in the first place. If you allow yourself to get sucked into the debate, then they have framed the issue and

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 25:4

Proverbs 25:4 "Take away the dross from the silver, and there comes out a vessel for the smith" This is one of a string of leadership proverbs. It approaches the idea of leadership as a valuable gift that needs to be protected and nurtured. When we move into a position of leadership, we often allow more sin, selfishness, and temptations to be a part of our life. This is the opposite of what this proverb suggests. It is the leaders who need to have the temptations removed from their life so that they can move the society forward. The orientation of this proverb is to take away the bad material – the dross – from the valuable silver. The word dross is the Hebrew word sug which means a moving b

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 24:4

Proverbs 24:4 "And by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches" The word knowledge is the key to this continuation of the proverb. Knowledge is the Hebrew word daath which means information, perception, discernment, skill. This is the controlling idea for filling one’s house with precious and pleasant riches. If one is going to fill one’s life with true riches, then one is going to need information and skill. Too often we want to gain relational, material, emotional, and/or mental wealth without any effort or practice. Life does not work this way. We know from other parts of Scripture that relational wealth is the greatest treasure that one can have in life. (Mark

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 23:4

Proverbs 23:4 "Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it" This is a crucial truth – the central aim of your life should not be to acquire money or possessions. Wealth, if God allows it to come to you, should be the by-product of doing what you were made to do. As you work diligently at the things you were wired to do, then the money you need to live will come. When people dedicate themselves to the pursuit of wealth apart from or over and above their skills and gifts, then they can expect that they will never be satisfied and that fulfillment in life will remain elusive. Do not weary yourself This is a prohibition to stop going the extra mile for the attainmen

Live. Love. Thrive.

We were never intended to live our lives apart from God. As Christians, God has not called us into a relationship with Himself, only to leave us alone to find our way through the maze of life. Prior to His departure, Jesus promised a Counselor who would guide us into truth and act as our guide and companion. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, not only empowers us to become like Jesus, but he also fills us with a supernatural ability to do great things for God (John 14:12). In West Texas there is a famous oil field known as the Yates Pool. During the Depression, this field was a sheep ranch, owned by a man named Yates. Not able to make enough money on his ranching operation, Mr

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 22:4

Proverbs 22:4 "The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor, and life" the reward We must never forget that there is a reward for living the way that God wants us to live. It pays to be righteous. We can often feel that the rewards and the payoff all go to the wicked, but nothing is further from the truth. They get the momentary pleasure of sin and the deep consequences of sin. We receive the continual feast of righteousness. I believe that we too often do not speak enough about the way of joy in the Christian life. That what we have when we follow God's principles – they far outweigh what the world has, and we have no sorrow mixed in with it. of humility The ability to

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 21:4

Proverbs 21:4 "Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked is sin" This verse has a number of interesting angles. One, it states that the internal director for those who live outside the Ten Commandments box is that they feel they are superior to others and ultimately to God's rules and God. They are first in their life. It is the light unto their path. They put themselves first and what they want. "What would satisfy me; what would make me feel even more superior to others?" is one of their constant questions. It is their guiding light. This is what is meant by the lamp of the wicked is sin. Now sin is the violation of God’s law, but its basic principle is selfishness. Sin always

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 20:4

Proverbs 20:4 "The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing" The word sluggard is the standard Hebrew word for lazy or sluggish 'asel; one who is slow, enjoys ease and not work. This proverb is fascinating because it talks about the sluggard’s unwillingness to do something a year ahead that causes him to have nothing to eat. After harvest in the fall of the year, the farmers needed to plow under the remains of the harvest so that the winter would allow the nutrients to be put back into the soil. It was essential preparation for the next year's harvest for the farmer to till or plow under the remnants of this year's harvest. The lazy person sees t

Three Forms of Faithfulness: Stay Connected

Is God Asking You to Be Faithful? One of the most interesting fruits of the Spirit is faithfulness. It is so unlike most of us, but it is completely and wholly like God. God's faithfulness is one of His most dominant qualities. God stays faithful even to hostile and undeserving people (See Ex 34:6; Ps 36:5; Rom 5:8). Each one of the fruit of the Spirit is an aspect of love, and faithfulness is surely one of the aspects of love. The ideas contained in faithfulness are to stay connected, keep blessing, and provide security. When God prompts or whispers stay connected to that person or keep blessing that person or keep providing security to that person, He is saying "be faithful." Because I rea

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 19:4

Proverbs 19:4 "Wealth adds many friends, but a poor man is separated from his friend" wealth adds many friends Every person who seeks anyone out, another person must see some benefit in the friendship. It is this benefit that is called wealth in this verse. Sometimes the wealth is social status; other times it is acceptance. Sometimes the wealth is wealth. Sometimes it is listening and attention. If another person has no benefit for another person, there will be no friendship. This means that one must increase one’s value to other people – through knowledge, skill, attitude, character, wisdom, etc. There is no such thing as a person who is worthless and cannot increase his/her value. I do fi

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 18:4

Proverbs 18:4 "The words of a man's mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook" There are three pictures of the words that a person uses. They are deep waters; they are a fountain of wisdom; and they are a bubbling brook. The way the second half of this proverb is translated is that it is a separate sentence, but it is not. It is just two more pictures of a man's words: a fountain of wisdom, a bubbling brook. In the NASB, the marginal reading shows this. What is Solomon saying? He is pointing out that the person who is perceptive can learn a lot about a person from listening to them talk. What is really going on inside of the person will bubble out through their speech

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 17:4

Proverbs 17:4 "An evildoer listens to wicked lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue" What a person pays attention to tells a lot about what that person has going on inside. an evildoer This is the Hebrew word ra which means evil, badness, distress. Remember that in the book of Proverbs this is a person who does actions that clearly go beyond the Ten Commandments: other gods, cursing, rebellion, violence and murder, adultery, stealing, lying, plotting and scheming, the taking of other people’s goods. listens This is the Hebrew word qasab which is to hear, be attentive to, heed, listen to. Paying close attention to or being obedient is part of the connotation of this word. It is n

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 16:4

Proverbs 16:4 "The Lord has made everything for its own purpose. Even the wicked for the day of evil." There is much discussion about this verse and the idea that God made some people so that they could populate hell. This verse, however, does not say that. It is best to understand the phrase "day of evil" as those times when consequences are meted out upon sinners – as in the case of the Assyrians and Babylonians attacking Israel. This verse is a verse about purpose and use. Solomon is saying that God has a purpose for everything; and everything, including the wicked, will fulfill that purpose. God has a purpose for the wicked. But no one has to be wicked. Why would God allow the wicked to

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