Kids Need Adult Involvement

When you look back over your childhood, how would you describe the manner in which your folks parented you? How did other important adults in your life treat you? Did you feel safe with them? Did they take care of your basic needs for nutrition and shelter, for cleanliness, nurture and emotional care? Did they lead you to a knowledge of your Savior? God designed parents and influential adults to meet the needs of young children and to teach them how to become responsible, morally upright adults, who are able and willing to give to and care for others in their society. Some of us had parents and teachers who did that pretty well. Others grew up in abusive or neglectful families, and we still

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 30:9

Proverbs 30:9 "That I not be full and deny You and say, "Who is the Lord?" Or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God." This marks out the boundaries of how much money and how little money a person should earn. It is quite a range, and it can expand as your love for God grows. If your pride says that you earned the money and you are the one who made you successful, then your pride and your money will be your downfall. If, however, you bring God along on each step of your financial wealth-building experience, then your earning potential is unlimited. In the United States, there are many people who are making more than they ever thought they would make. They have become

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 31:9

Proverbs 31:9 "Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of all the afflicted and needy." open your mouth It is clear from this and other passages throughout the Old Testament and New Testament that a leader must speak out against injustice. The position of leader or king is such a concentrated place of power that the temptation to use power for selfish purposes is always present. One of the great temptations is to shut your mouth about what is right when it does not directly profit or benefit you. This should not be done by the leader in position. If the leader becomes aware of an unrighteousness, then they should clearly speak about it and move to correct it. Casting the bl

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 29:9

Proverbs 29:9 "When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest." This is a fascinating proverb, spelling out why there is never any resolution in an argument with a fool. They don't want to resolve a difficulty; they only want their way. They don't want peace; they just want their way. All of us have acted like the fool before – unwilling to compromise, unwilling to consider other options, unwilling to consider that we could be wrong, unwilling to listen to a different perspective, unwilling to consider new information. We just want what we want. When we are like this, we need to abandon our selfishness and pride and begin ac

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 28:9

Proverbs 28:9 "He who turns away his ear from listening to the Law, even his prayer is an abomination." This verse is fascinating and revealing on a number of levels. One, for what it states and, second, for the thought connection to the preceding Proverb. he who turns away from listening to the Law The person who is described in this Proverb is the one who no longer respects the goals and boundaries of God. These are most easily summarized in the two great commandments and the Ten Commandments. The goal of the godly person is to love God and to love his fellow man as he loves himself. God has written the owner’s manual for life on this planet; and when we ignore what he said was the purpose

Secrets of the Lord's Prayer: Lord, Teach Me How to Forgive!

"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." (Matt. 6:12) I hope you are enjoying this series on the Secrets of the Lord's Prayer, which is Jesus' answer to the disciples' question about how to go deeper with God the Father and have a more real relationship with Him. For past articles in this series, simply click HERE. This next verse, Matthew 6:12, is so rich and so deep that we will spend several weeks plumbing the depths of what Jesus is really saying when he talks about forgiveness for ourselves and others. We will need to have lots of conversations with God about what others do against us and what we do against others. In this world, we will feel wronged. We will do

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 27:9

Proverbs 27:9 "Oil and perfume make the heart glad, so a man's counsel is sweet to his friend." oil The word oil is the Hebrew word semen which means oil, usually olive oil. It was often a perfume base or an ointment. perfume This is the Hebrew word qetoret which means incense or perfume. This word is often involved in the offering of incense to the Lord in which the smoke rises up to be a pleasant aroma to the Lord. Perfuming with dry aromas, and sprinkling with liquid aromas were a mark of honor towards guests and promoted joyful social fellowship. In other words, when a person in the ancient world wanted to make sure that a party was a great time, they would add great perfume and oil to t

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 26:9

Proverbs 26:9 "Like a thorn which falls into the hand of a drunkard, so is a proverb in the mouth of fools." Solomon is warning us not to try and sound wise when we live foolish and also to not pay attention to those who spout platitudes but are nothing but selfish blowhards in how they live. Solomon is not interested in how nice you can talk; he wants to see how you live. Do you seek to love God and others first with what you do? Then Solomon will listen to how you say life should be lived. If, however, you are just telling people to live in some way that you don't live, then Solomon is not interested and neither should we be. There is a great danger in our society that we have the great sp

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 25:9

Proverbs 25:9 "Argue your case with your neighbor, and do not reveal the secret of another." This proverb is very hard to live out, but it represents wisdom at a level few can understand. There will be situations in which you are right and you know you are right, and the only way to prove it is to tell something that you know that no one else knows. But to tell violates a confidence; it breaks a trust; it saves your skin but exposes someone else. You put someone else in the crosshairs in order to save your own. God says, through the lips of Solomon, that you must prove your point without the information that is secret. You cannot expose the secret of another for selfish reasons. I would add

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 24:9

Proverbs 24:9 "The devising of folly is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to men." the devising of folly is sin This is an important distinction that is being made here. First observation is that to sit down and plan out how to be more selfish, impulsive, and rebellious is sin in and of itself. It does not become sin when it is acted upon. Doing the planning is sin. This is an important distinction because many people do not believe that the plotting of evil is sin, let alone plotting just a little rebellion and self-focused indulgence. What God is talking about here is when you spend considerable time plotting ways to get back at another person or when you plan how you are going to get

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 23:9

Proverbs 23:9 "Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words." There are clearly people who you should not tell your wise plans to – those who are confirmed in their selfishness, impulsiveness, rebelliousness, cynical nature, and greed. Remember the essence of wisdom is finding and moving forward with a triple-win decision in which God wins, others win, and you win. The essence of being a fool is being self-focused. The wins in a wisdom scenario are usually less spectacular and intensely pleasurable than going just for a personal victory that the fool wants. So this causes the fool to disregard the wise solution because it is not a big enough win for the

4 Vital Reasons to Be Still

Psalm 46:10 powerfully proclaims, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." I remember the first time I was encouraged to practice the wisdom of this verse. It was the summer of 1986, while I was preparing for a summer missions project to the former Soviet Union. I was in New York and the project leads asked us to spend 30 minutes practicing the discipline of being still. Not praying. Not problem solving. Not dreaming. Just being still before God. Almost 30 years later, I still remember the awkwardness I experienced at Kings College in New York that afternoon, as I tried to get my mind and body to be still. The Hebrew definition

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 20:9

Proverbs 20:9 "Who can say, "I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin”?" There are four ideas that could be implied here: One, that it is impossible to ever completely cleanse yourself after you have committed acts of selfishness and sin. Second, that a person cannot be completely free of the corrupting influence of selfishness and sin. Three, only God can cleanse a person of their sin as a grace gift. Four, the impact of a person's selfishness and sin echo for a very long time. One of the things that we must face about ourselves is that we sin. Everything we do is tainted with the stain of selfishness. Also we must admit that the impact of that selfishness lingers long after its init

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 19:9

Proverbs 19:9 "A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will perish." The kernels of truth that are contained in this proverb are so crucial to maintaining equilibrium in a sinful world where it looks like evil, selfishness, and sin triumph. The people who lie are often those who look like they are making the most progress. The skilled liar who can tell people what they want to hear makes fantastic progress at the beginning, and it seems that the honest person is left in the dust. One can be tempted to give up a righteous position and adopt the "whatever works" approach of the immoral person. Don't do it, Solomon tells us. There is a punishment coming for the liar. They

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 18:9

Proverbs 18:9 "He also who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys." The word slack is the Hebrew word rapeh and means to sink down, a weakening of the hands, even a dropping or less than full force. Solomon is telling us a correlation that we would not readily make. The one who gives a minimal effort is related to the person who destroys because destruction will result from giving less than the best. There is a family resemblance between minimal effort and being a destroyer. In other words, doing a half-hearted job – doing only what will get you by but not what should be done – ends up being destructive. Notice that the proverb says that the person who is slack is brother to the

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 17:9

Proverbs 17:9 "He who conceals a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends." This should be the theme verse of every newly married couple. If couples would just realize that they do not score points when they bring up wrongs, grievances, or mistakes that the other person commits. They are really cutting off their nose to spite their face. This is like stabbing yourself in the leg just to show it that you are the boss of your legs. No one wants to be reminded when they did something dumb or wicked. We want it to go away. If someone keeps bringing up our wrongs, mistakes, or miscues, we will not be able to trust them or draw them close to ourselves. This

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 16:9

Proverbs 16:9 "The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." It is clear that while we can and should plan, everything that we plan will not go according to our plans. We must realize that at any time God can intervene and move our lives in a direction that is completely different from our hopes, dreams, or plans. We get the most frustrated when we do not take into account that God can change our plans at any time. He can overrule even the best laid plans. It is wise if we take this sovereignty that God possesses into account when we plan. The Scripture says that we should roll our plans to the Lord or pray them through completely with Him. The two most practical questions

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