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Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 31:8

Proverbs 31:8 "Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate" It is incumbent upon the Christian leader to give voice to those who have no voice. There will always be plenty of people who have access and power in a society or organization. It the decidedly godly thing to do to contemplate the rights of those who don't have access or power. What are the people without power wanting people in this organization to understand, realize, come to terms with? Christian leaders can fall into the trap of always responding to those who are pressing at them. But this proverb says that godly leadership thinks through the whole of the organization, making sure that those who cannot s

Secrets of the Lord's Prayer: Ways to Bring the Kingdom of God into Your Life

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matt. 6:10) Today's article outlines specific Kingdom exercises to talk to God about on a regular basis. These exercises will allow you to partner with God to inject Kingdom qualities into your relationships, finances, and so forth so that others will experiences the Kingdom of God right now through you. Remember from last week that we are called to be God's Kingdom agents. To read last week's article, click HERE. True intimacy with God takes more than just good intentions; it takes real action. In the Lord's prayer, Jesus suggests we do something with God that is really different than we are naturally prone to do. He says that

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 30:8

Proverbs 30:8 "Keep deception and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion" This is a very interesting proverb about living life with a clear head. The word deception is the Hebrew word saw which means emptiness or vanity or falsehood. It suggests that one of the things that is possible in life is to spend our whole life pursuing what is really empty or cotton-candy like. A translation of the word in Ecclesiastes is soap bubbles. He is saying, “God, please, I don't want to spend my life doing useless things that don't amount to anything.” I watch people be captivated by hobbies or sports teams or activities which, in the grand scheme of l

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 29:8

Proverbs 29:8 "Scorners set a city aflame, but wise men turn away anger" The question is what to do with the cynic and the negative types who have never heard a proposal they can't throw cold water on. scorners set a city aflame Scorners are those people who get you to focus on your own expectations to an extraordinary degree. They keep you focused on what you had to sacrifice, what you had to give, what you want. These are people who treat everyone else as though they are second-class citizens. A city can be a flame in terms of its bitterness towards one another and its lust to have its own needs met. A fool who moves people to more selfishness will eventually destroy the potential of a tea

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 28:8

Proverbs 28:8 "He who increases his wealth by interest and usury gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor" he who increases his wealth by interest and usury It is instructive that there is, in this verse, a separation between interest and usury. The word for interest is the physical word bite when used in a literal sense. It refers to snakes and animals that bite. When used in the financial realm, it is translated interest. The biblical prescription for wealth-building is diligence, wisdom, and hard work – not charging people usurious interest. The word usury is the word multiply or abundant increase. It would suggest that this type of interest or cost of helping a friend is a strong m

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 27:8

Proverbs 27:8 "Like a bird that wanders from her nest, so is a man who wanders from his home" Everyone exists in a place, which is the nexus of the web of their relationships. This is how we tell who we are: we are so and so's daughter; we are from this national heritage; we are married to…; we have these children; we work for…; we worship this way; we live in this country; we have these friends. All of these relationships are like latitudes and longitudes that determine who and where we are. This proverb is stating the case that if we wander from that place and create relationships with those who are really not to be a part of our life, then we are in a different place and this will come wi

Marriage Secrets: Choosing Joy for a Better Marriage

"Each spouse is only a few righteous choices away from a much better marriage." This is one of the key tenets I teach in any marriage class -- this idea that if just one spouse chooses to do positive things in the marriage, it can turn the relationship around. My thought is, "Why not me?" To bring about positive change in your marriage, remind yourself, "If I keep doing what I've always done, then I will keep getting what I have always gotten." As one of the partners in the marriage, you can decide to do one of two things: Add something that you are not doing to build the marriage in a positive direction. Eliminate something you are doing that causes problems in the marriage. Sometimes the m

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 26:8

Proverbs 26:8 "Like one who binds a stone in a sling, so is he who gives honor to a fool" This has been a somewhat cryptic proverb for years because of how the Hebrew was translated. In the KJV it was translated like one who throws a stone on a stone heap, so is one who gives honor to a fool. The NASB has uncovered what is most likely the correct translation of the text. binds a stone in a sling This is the Hebrew word sarar which means to bind, to tie up, to narrow, to be in distress, to restrict. This has been taken as binding or tying a rock into a sling. Remember that a sling was one of the major weapons of the time. It was dangerous and was equal to our handgun for its ability to level

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 25:8

Proverbs 25:8 "Do not go out hastily to argue your case; otherwise what will you do in the end, when your neighbor humiliates you?" Clearly this is counsel not to respond to the emotionality of a situation and a wrong suffered. Give it some time so you can get past your immediate reaction. Abraham Lincoln, on more than one occasion, would write out his immediate response and feelings in a letter to the person. He would never send the letter, but it allowed him to get it all out. The word hastily is the idea of before you have all the facts; before you have been able to assess the situation and the real importance of contending with this person. The Hebrew word is maher which means swiftly, h

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 24:8

Proverbs 24:8 "One who plans to do evil, men will call a schemer" The word plan is the word for thinking, imagine, and devise. It does mean plan, but it can also mean daydream and fantasize. The person who is always fantasizing about evil will end up committing some form of evil. At first the only evil they commit is not accomplishing the good that they could have been doing. But eventually the lure of actually doing evil draws them outside of the boundary lines of God. We must not allow our present culture to define what is evil. For their boundaries are much further out than God's. We will never understand why many of the negative consequences flow around people until we understand where t

Secrets of the Lord's Prayer: Becoming God's Kingdom Agent

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matt. 6:10) In the article before this one, I explained how Jesus shares with the disciples how they can pray so as to have a close and intimate relationship with God like the one he has with the Father (Matt. 6:9-13). One aspect of this prayer is to address God's desire to have His kingdom appear in our world. To read the full article, click HERE. Today's article deals with the tangible expressions or realities about what the Kingdom of God looks like here and today. It is in these ways that we become Kingdom agents and answer the question, "How can the Kingdom of God come to my life today?" There are least three expressions o

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 23:8

Proverbs 23:8 "You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten, and waste your compliments" This is the end verse of three about the person who has a completely evil eye. Or as the NASB has it, a selfish man. A person who is willing to put what they want above everything else in life. Someone who is willing to harm others to accomplish what they want. This is the definition of evil intent. Solomon here wants to emphasize that the compliments or pleasant words (literal Hebrew translation) that you throw at the selfish person are completely wasted. The person actually believes that every good thing that is said about them is true, and they are only looking for an advantage in every situation to ge

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 22:8

Proverbs 22:8 "He who sows iniquity will reap vanity, and the rod of his fury will perish" sows This is the Hebrew word zara, which means to sow, scatter seed. The idea is that your life is like a field and your actions are the seeds that you are sowing in the field. Eventually you will enjoy or endure the crop that grows up based upon the seeds you have sown in the field. iniquity This is the Hebrew word awwal, which means unjust, unrighteous, contrary to what is right, to deviate, doing that which one knows is wrong. This is not a mistake but a deliberate action of rebellion against God's moral standard. It is sowing into the field of your life a crop of wickedness. Let's be clear, it is t

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 21:8

Proverbs 21:8 "The way of a guilty man is crooked, but as for the pure, his conduct is upright" way This is the Hebrew word derek, which means way, road, path, and could mean lifestyle or way of living. Solomon is saying that a person who is guilty lives differently from a person who lives within the boundaries of the Ten Commandments. guilty This is the Hebrew word waza, which means guilty, laden with guilt, bearing a burden. The idea is that this person is under the press of their actions that have been outside of God's and society's norms. It is this press that changes the way they live. crooked This is the Hebrew word hapakpak, which means crooked. The idea is that it is not straightforw

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 20:8

Proverbs 20:8 "A king who sits on the throne of justice disperses all evil with his eyes" The leader who would seek to establish a society or institution that promotes justice must be willing to shine the light of truth throughout the organization to uncover evil or wickedness. Areas of wicked conduct will inevitably crop up in organizations, and it is the responsibility of the leader to allow truth and light to penetrate that area rather than hide or cover up that behavior. It should be clearly known that the leader will not permit shenanigans to take place in the organization of any type: financial, sexual, verbal, racial, emotional, etc. And that the light of truth will examine each of th

Is your definition of balanced living in line with God's?

There are many definitions of what a balanced life is today. Some view balance from a holistic approach, such as: health + happiness + prosperity = balance; or a syncing up of the mind, body, and soul. Some believe you can achieve balance by simply having a positive outlook, focusing on good habits, and lowering stress. And you’ve probably heard the balance buzzwords, like the need to practice yoga. Breathe. Meditate. Be intentional. Promote feelings of well being. Work-life balance, and so on. While many of these things are good, they address the various parts of life, but not necessarily the whole. They exclude finding balance despite your circumstances. For the Christian, life is more tha

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 19:8

Proverbs 19:8 "He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will find good" The point of the verse is gaining or getting heart or an inner life. The word translated wisdom is really the Hebrew word heart or inner life or mind. It is translated in the Septuagint as prudence or strategic thinking. The clear idea is that one cannot be all about the external life in this world. If we are only about what our body likes or what this world has to offer and do not develop the inner life of thought, strategy, and spirituality, then we are poor even though we may be rich. If you really would seek to love your soul, then develop a deep, rich inner life and a deep, rich inner spirit

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 18:8

Proverbs 18:8 "The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body" Solomon is warning us about a kind of person who will influence you in ways that you do not see. His influence is hidden and is usually eagerly wanted. Be careful when you are in the presence of someone who always has dirt to dish on others. We need to be wary of this type of person and the information that they are peddling. We also have to be aware of its impact upon us. It goes down to the depth of our being; largely unfiltered. We also have to be on guard of becoming this kind of person ourselves. whisperer This is the Hebrew word ragan, which means to murmur, whisper,

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 17:8

Proverbs 17:8 "A bribe is a charm in the sight of its owner; wherever he turns, he prospers" bribe This is the Hebrew word sohad, which means bribe, present, gift, reward, gratuity. The Old Testament law consistently outlaws the taking of bribes. Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 16:9; Exodus 23:8; Isaiah 1:23; 5:23; Micah 3:11; Deuteronomy 27:25; Ezekiel 22:12; Psalm 26:10, Proverbs 17:23 charm This is two Hebrew words eben and hen, which literally read stone of favor. The idea is a charm or magic stone. This verse seems to be a warning of the power of bribes and gifts of influence. The idea being that the person who is wielding a gift sees that all kinds of people will do what he wants if he gives

Secrets of the Lord's Prayer: What is the Kingdom of God?

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matt. 6:10) In what is often referred to as the “Lord’s Prayer,” Jesus shares with the disciples about how they can pray so as to have a close and intimate relationship with God like the one he has with the Father (Matt. 6:9-13). One aspect of this prayer is to address God’s desire to have His kingdom appear in our world. There have been lots of books written discussing God’s kingdom, like its features, when it will come, that it will only fully be realized in the return of Jesus Christ, and so forth. Many people believe that this is what Jesus wants His followers to discuss with God, but while I share a deep desire for Christ

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