~2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.
Salvation brings about change in a person’s life. The stealer steals no more. The curser curses no more, etc. It is not that we are “perfectly holy” at the time of salvation. It is that we acknowledge our sin and we desire to be more like Christ.
~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
The Holy Spirit convicted our hearts and our whole spiritual life goes from running with the world to being a child of the King! Our old nature wants to sin but the new nature is now “in Christ” and no longer wants to sin. There is truly a battle.
~Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Before salvation, we do not care that we sin. However, after salvation we become aware of that sin in our lives and we do not have the same desires to continue in it. The Holy Spirit convicts us and we continue to change into the image of our Lord and Saviour! Many profess Christianity but do not change. They sit in church pews and live their lives just as they did before with no convictions at all. That was the way I was prior to salvation.
~Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
~Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (1) But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (2) And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (3)
In the Bible, God gives us a wonderful recipe on how we can be blessed.
- … take counsel from the unsaved
- … hang around predominantly with unbelievers
- … hang around those who hate God
- DO delight yourself in God’s Word
- DO meditate on what you read
- You will grow spiritually and grow closer to God
- You will bear the fruit of the Spirit
- Your spiritual fruit will not wither away but will be everlasting
- What you do for the Lord will prosper
The word “thoughts” in Hebrew has a couple of meanings. One of the meanings is “plans” and many versions use it to push the prosperity agenda. However, even the word “plans” has two definitions:
makh-ash-aw-baw’, makh-ash-eh’-beth From H2803; a contrivance, that is, (concretely) a texture, machine, or (abstractly) intention, plan (whether bad, a plot; or good, advice)
KJV Usage: cunning (work), curious work, device (-sed), imagination, invented, means, purpose, thought.
“Thoughts” in today’s verse refers to the Lord’s thoughts, which we know to be good. Therefore these thoughts are seen as words of good intentions and plans (good advice). The Bible has one purpose and that is to show man why he was created:
Eccl. 12-13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Deut 6:25 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
The entire Bible is an instruction to man from God teaching us how to do just that. We must first be save before we can understand fully what God is planning for us.
1 Cor. 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Admit it, before you were saved, you didn’t care about the Bible and what it had to say. After salvation, the Holy Spirit of the living God changed you from the inside out. He began teaching you and showing you God’s will for you. The unsaved do not care about that.
Today’s verse is not about prosperity … well, in a way it does … it does teach prosperity for your spiritual life. When we stay close to God through His word, He will guide us unto all things righteous.
Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
This is the prosperity – this is what our lives should revolve around. When you seek prosperity according to the world (its riches), you can’t help but covet. The world’s riches are not what will bring you satisfaction deep down in the pit of your heart. It is doing God’s will for your life that brings joy, peace and accomplishment. Those things are what will last for all eternity. Your earthly prosperity will stay right here after you’re dead and gone.
Prov. 10:21 “The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.”
Ahhh, the lips of the righteous feed many. What a beautiful picture that is indeed. I think of kind words, encouraging words, exhorting words, comforting words, wise words, words that teach, words that preach, and uplifting words. There are so many ways we can feed another person.
But the fool does not have these words to feed. In fact, the fool is dying to have wisdom. Noah Webster has interesting definitions for the word fool.
3. In scripture, fool is often used for a wicked or depraved person; one who acts contrary to sound wisdom in his moral deportment; one who follows his own inclinations, who prefers trifling and temporary pleasures to the service of God and eternal happiness.
The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. Psa 14.
4. A weak christian; a godly person who has much remaining sin and unbelief.
O fools, and slow of heart to believe all the prophets have written. Luke 24.
So the fool does not necessarily have to be an unbeliever but can be a weak christian as well.
Haven’t you ever heard an unbeliever or a weak christian make a comment over a situation that just seemed void of wisdom? I think of new believers who come into our churches and have not grown in the Lord yet. Older christians make unwise comments about the way they dress or look or smell or whatever. The new believer is offended and never steps foot in that church again. How sad that the lips of the righteous were not the first words that new believer heard in that church. That new believer could have been feeding that babe in Christ. Instead, the fool spewed forth words which showed his foolishness. How sad is that?
As christians, we are encouraged to ask God for wisdom and He promises to give it to us liberally, nor will He reprove us for asking Him for it. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (Jam 1:5)
How are your words today? Do they feed those around you or do you show your lack of wisdom? Are you the type of person that people come to for counsel? Or do you keep going to others for counsel? God promises to give you wisdom if you ask. There are 54 occurences in 53 verses of the word wisdom in the Bible. It is an excellent study. The person who is wise is gentle and longsuffering with others, knowing that everyone must grow in grace.
Fruit of the Spirit:
Fruit of the Fool:
- Over indulgent
The wise person displays these fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). The fool displays fruit, but a totally different kind. This kind of fruit would cause anyone to die!
Dear Lord, for wisdom we do pray
So our words are used to feed
Those needing to see Your love
And to Your side we need to lead
There are not too many verses in Scriptures which say that the fool can actually do something “right”! This is one verse that says even a fool can do something right – and it has to do with keeping his mouth shut! Even the “spiritual” christian struggles with holding his tongue.
The Book of James has four verses dedicated to man holding his tongue:
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. (Jam 1:26)Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! (Jam 3:5)
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. (Jam 3:6)
But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. (Jam 3:8)
I know that we have all heard the verses on holding one’s tongue. We have also heard many messages on the same topic. But if the fool can be counted wise when he holds his tongue, how much more the believer? What testimony do we have if we witness to someone and that same person hears gossip or cursing coming out of the same mouth that witnessed to him?
The believer has the ability to conquer the tongue. We have the Holy Spirit residing within us. It is His fruit that we display. If we would be displaying His fruit, we would not have the need to be bridling our tongue.
The believer who has fruits of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance would not be struggling with his tongue. The believer would not be struggling with blessing God in one breath and then cursing someone in the next breath. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. (Jam 3:10)
Do not be a wise fool but we a wise christian who displays the fruit of the Spirit. It is accounted unto this fool that he is wise for holding his tongue. All the more responsibility do we have as believers to hold our own tongues.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Col 3:16)
May my words be a blessing to those
Who are filled with dismay and strife
Let my words encourage the weak
And lead them to the Fountain of Life
Prov. 12:1 “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.”Prov. 15:32 “He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.”
As I was reading Proverbs this morning, I noticed in Prov. 12:1 that the Lord says that the person who hates to be corrected is brutish. I had a mental picture of what brutish meant but found Noah Webster’s definition quite interesting.
BRU’TISH, a. Like a brute or beast; as a brutish form.
1. Insensible; stupid; as brutish men.
2. Unfeeling; savage; ferocious; brutal.
3. Gross; carnal; bestial.
4. Ignorant; uncivilized; untaught.
When we refuse spiritual correction, we are being insensible, stupid, unfeeling, carnal, ignorant and untaught! Ouch! We do not totally realize what we do when we refuse correction or “buck” against it. God knows, however. He is quite clear in His Word.
Another Proverb that hit me between the eyes was Proverb 15:32. God says that we hate our own soul if we refuse instruction. Those are not comforting words at all. These words should get the Christian stirred up.
Do we interfere with the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives by being brutish? Are we hating our own souls by refusing instruction? Why in the world would we want to be classified amongst those that are? Instead, the Lord promises knowledge and understanding if we heed instruction and reproof!
In the yielding of our hearts to the Spirit’s teaching, His fruit becomes evident in our lives. The Word builds our faith and with that faith we put forth fruits of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance!
More Like Jesus Would I BeMore like Jesus would I be, let my Savior dwell with me;
Fill my soul with peace and love—make me gentle as a dove;
More like Jesus, while I go, pilgrim in this world below;
Poor in spirit would I be; let my Savior dwell in me.
If He hears the raven’s cry, if His ever watchful eye
Marks the sparrows when they fall, surely He will hear my call:
He will teach me how to live, all my sinful thoughts forgive;
Pure in heart I still would be—let my Savior dwell in me.
More like Jesus when I pray, more like Jesus day by day,
May I rest me by His side, where the tranquil waters glide.
Born of Him through grace renewed, by His love my will subdued,
Rich in faith I still would be—let my Savior dwell in me.
Anyone with even a bit of imagination can visualize the building of a house. It is especially interesting to pull together the verses which deal with this topic. I love to see the “big picture” that God is trying to paint when He refers to our spiritual lives.
Amuse me a bit as I take you along my mental project of house building. I’ve never built a house, but I have watched many a home improvement program to know the process. One of the important factors is having a solid piece of land to lay the foundation on. There’s no sense in laying a foundation on sand – no matter how strong that foundation is, it will crack. A good solid ground, yes even a good solid Rock, will hold up the foundation. This is the starting point. A word search on the word foundation blessed my heart so much.
As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation. (Pro 10:25)Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. (Isa 28:16)
He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. (Luk 6:48)
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1Co 3:11)
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; (1Co 3:12)
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Eph 2:20)
Here we see that Christ is the Chief Corner stone (the strongest stone used in a foundation because it unites two sides) of the foundation. The apostles and prophets (the Word of God) make up the rest of the foundation. As we read through these verses, we see that the saved’s foundation is eternal because it is the foundation of Jesus Christ. The building materials reflect our spiritual homes as they are built upon the foundation (gold, silver, precious stones or wood, hay and stubble). We should take a moment here to compare this to the quality of building supplies you use in building your earthly home… do you use cheap insulation or did you go with the good stuff? When the cold winter winds blow, do you see your curtains moving and drafts coming out of all the cracks? Your house will reflect the time and money you put into building it. What about your spiritual house?
The shell of the house is next – putting up pillars (if that’s your design) – solid load-bearing walls, insulation, drywall, etc. We see that Wisdom’s house in Proverb 9:1 had seven pillars! The number seven in the Bible depicts completion. Creation was finished and God rested on the seventh day. There are seven days in the week. There are seven churches referenced in Revelation, etc. Seven is known as God’s perfect number – the number for completion. Wisdom has seven pillars on her house. The house is perfectly solid – it is complete.
Why would God use this application for wisdom? Everyone knows what it’s like to start a new job. Oh the feeling of insecurity we have because we don’t know all the “ins and outs” of that position just yet. Our manager can teach us the various tasks and we can take thorough notes, but until we actually perform those tasks ourselves, we do not have that warm fuzzy feeling of comfort. Each day, we become more and more experienced with the day-to-day tasks at hand. Eventually, we can perform those same tasks with our eyes closed.
This simple example can be applied to our own spiritual lives. When we are saved, we now have the foundation of our spiritual homes. The more we are in the Word of God and apply and practice His teachings in our lives, we are constructing our spiritual homes upon the foundation. If our building materials are weak, we will not weather the storms of life and the devil’s attacks – our house will be shaken. However, we can start over and rebuild using those materials which are everlasting. Those same storms can come, but this time our house will stand strong and firm!
Let’s apply wisdom in our spiritual lives and building upon Christ’s solid foundation. In so doing, we will have precious building materials in our spiritual house which will fair the storms of life.
How Firm a Foundation
By John RipponHow firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
Prov. 6:23 “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life”
Some of us who are older can recollect being spanked by our parents. (It’s a sad state of affairs today where children threaten their parents with reporting them to Social Services if they spank them!) With each spanking I received as a child, I learned that what I did was wrong – sometimes I learned quickly and other times not so quickly. But the key here is that I learned from each spanking.
So it is with our Christian walk. Instead of parents, however, we have the Word and our Heavenly Father. God has given us the Word to intruct us. I love the way Proverbs 6:23 says that the Word is a lamp and a light for us. It is not a deep dark secret with hidden messages only to be interpreted by a priest or rabbi. It is a light to the one who is seeking God’s will. We all can know what the Bible has to say without depending on another for intepretation. I find it interesting that the Holy Spirit impressed upon Peter to pen the following verses:
2 Peter 1:20-21, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (20) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (21)
It is not man’s interpretations that we should be seeking. We should be seeking the Holy Spirit’s interpretation because He wrote the Bible using men who submitted themselves to be used by Him. This is not the way I was raised as a catholic. In fact, not once was I encouraged to read the Bible from the time I could reason to the age of 25. Not once… instead I was told to listen and obey my parish priest blindly. I was told that this was true faith. Now that I am born again and can read and understand God’s Word on my own, I say that this was not true faith but sheer stupidity on my part. Only I will be accountable before God for my actions – not anyone else but me! So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. (Rom 14:12) No one can stand before me in a court of law today and give an account and take my punishment for breaking a law in the United States. No one! Why should it be different before God – the Lover of righteousness? I cannot blame my actions on anyone else.
The second thing I noticed in this Proverb was that reproofs of instruction were a way of life for the believer. Daniel Webster defines reproof as:
1. Blame expressed to the face; censure for a fault; reprehension.Those best can bear reproof, who merit praise.
He that hateth reproof is brutish. Prov 12.
2. Blame cast; censure directed to a person.
Why would God include this immediately after stating that the Word was a lamp and light to us? Clearly the Word has been given to us to teach us the right way to go. When we get off the right path and disobey that instruction, God then corrects us and sometimes must chastise us. For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. (Pro 3:12) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (Heb 12:6)
Don’t follow man’s teaching blindly – no matter who that man is. It is good to listen to good preaching but it does not remove your responsibility as a born again child of God to make sure that what you are hearing is in line with God’s Word.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2Ti 3:16) When a man (or “church”) teaches something contrary to God’s Word, you must search it out for yourself. We will each be accountable to God for what we did in life. We won’t be able to blame another when we stand before God and give an account for believing what “the church” or “the preacher” taught us. The Word was given to each of us as a lamp and a light – it is clear that this is not a case of the blind leading the blind – the blind see no light. The born again believer is no longer blind!
Therefore, God makes it quite clear that His Word shines brightly with His teachings and doctrine. For the believer, this is very encouraging because we are not left alone to our own devices. Rom 1:21-22, “But to the unsaved, you are without excuse. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (21) Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, (22) Dont’ be a fool today. Let the light of the Word shine in your heart and draw you to the cross where your burdens may be lifted!
Your Word lightens my way
No more in darkness I hide
Desperately seeking I find
Your Precious bleeding side
Prov. 9:13 “A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.”
Proverbs is such a great book – full of instruction and wisdom! Why, then, is its wise counsel not heeded? I think each of us knows someone who fits the description of the lady of Proverbs 9:13. I know I do!
I looked up clamorous in Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and I must say that it was more than what I thought it meant, which was noisy!
CLAMOROUS, a. Speaking and repeating loud words; noisy; vociferous; loud; turbulent.
Now that it’s put that way, can you imagine living with someone like this? Better yet, are you that someone?
Someone I know quite well is exactly like this. A dear friend of mine lives next door to someone who fits this description perfectly. These women probably have no clue that they are this way – or they probably don’t care. Solomon says that these women are not only loud but repetitious! That means they are naggers and complainers and they do it loudly! I don’t know about you but I truly do not want to be known as a clamorous woman! Nor do I think a man would want to live with one either.
Solomon goes on to say that the clamorous woman is simple and knows nothing. Why do you think he said that? I’m sure it had nothing to do with how smart she was. Noah Webster defined “simple” as being weak in intellect. In fact, the lady I personally know is quite intelligent. However, I believe Solomon means that the clamorous woman is simple in the Word of God. You can “know” an instruction but it does not mean that you have applied it to your life. Any believer who spends daily time in the Word seeking the Holy Spirit’s will is going to be convicted of sin in their lives. So, obviously, this woman does not make the Word part of her daily life. If she does, then she is most certainly quenching the Holy Spirit.
I surely feel badly for the man who is married to such a woman. I think of another Proverb, “It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.” (Pro 25:24) How sad it is when a women is so prideful that she does not allow the Holy Spirit to work in her life.
The Lord has much reward in store for the woman who can be taught. Let’s look at the flip side of Proverb 9:13 – the exact opposite “A prudent woman is quiet: she is wise, and knoweth the will of God.” Are you this woman? Or, instead, are you the Proverbs 9:13 woman? Why would you want to be known as a clamorous woman? Won’t you allow the Holy Spirit to teach you?
Help me to see myself as You do
Each wicked sin and weakness reveal
Show me in Your Word and please grow me
So my broken spirit will be healed
Prov. 3:21-23 “My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.”
The Lord warns us not to allow the Word (and Its wisdom) to depart from our eyes. Our eyes rest on millions of images throughout the course of just one day. In those millions of images, how many of them make up the Word of God? The “theme” of the ruling images will be the “theme” in which the path of your life will go, my friend.
I love Noah Webster’s definition of discretion:
1. Prudence, or knowledge and prudence; that discernment which enables a person to judge critically of what is correct and proper, united with caution; nice discernment and judgment, directed by circumspection, and primarily regarding ones own conduct. “A good man–will guide his affairs with discretion. Psa 112.”
Proverbs 3:21-23 encourages us to keep sound wisdom and discretion. Wow! When we are in the Word of God and keeping it before our eyes, we have the capability of keeping sound wisdom and discretion. If every believer exercised discretion in their own lives, they would be very quick to monitor their own conduct. How many times have we seen a Christian with no discretion? They do not monitor their own conduct. In fact, they are busy monitoring the conduct of others instead. That is not what discretion is.
The Christian who exercises sound wisdom and discretion lives by Matthew 7:3, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? The Word of God provides abundance in teaching to the one who desires growth in the Spirit. A Christian who wants to be yielding to the Spirit is one who is wise. I also think of this as the meek and quiet spirit spoken of in 1 Peter 3:4 “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” According to Noah Webster, meekness means:
1. Mild of temper; soft; gentle; not easily provoked or irritated; yielding; given to forbearance under injuries.
It is the wise Christian who practices meekness. It is the wise Christian who practices discretion. The Lord tells us that if we practice these things, we will receive grace, we will walk safely and we will not stumble. What does this mean that we will have grace to our necks? Noah says grace means?
1. Favor; good will; kindness; disposition to oblige another; as a grant made as an act of grace.
The neck turns the head in the direction the head should go. Oh my! What a beautiful picture of the saint who practices sound wisdom and discretion! Here’s what the Christian looks like:
- Sure footed
- Mild tempered
- Not easily provoked or irritated
- Doesn’t judge others before judging himself
This definitely portrays the beautiful fruit of the Spirit doesn’t it? Remember that fruit? It is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance! Won’t we strive to be alive in the Lord instead of dead? Being alive in the Lord is growing and continuing to grow in Him. If we are dead, we are not doing any growing at all… in fact, we are decomposing. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: (2Co 2:15)
Are we a sweet savour of Christ to other believers and the unsaved? Oh that we would guard our hearts, tongue and spirit against ole slewfoot and be diligent in the Word so we may be wise and discrete.
Let my eyes be fixed on You
Never losing focus or sight
May I keep Your Word in view
For in You I find my delight
Prov. 22:24, “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:”
Only twice in my spiritual life have I had to remove myself from a friendship because that person was the angry person spoken of in Prov. 22:24. Neither time was pleasant. In fact, both times caused me much grief and inner turmoil. This morning, I am saddened because I have had to do this. The sad thing is that this person will never know the pain and turmoil caused by their actions unless the Holy Spirit is allowed to work in their life.
I don’t believe Prov. 22:24 is telling us to stop a friendship with someone because they have gotten angry every once in a while. However, I do believe that the Lord is speaking of people who have that constant and consistent display of anger and bad attitude. We all know people like this. Nothing ever goes their way – they see the bad in most everything – their mouths get them into much trouble and their words show exactly where their hearts are.
…for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. (Mat 12:34b) But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. (Mat 15:18) A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. (Luk 6:45)
God is clear when He tells us that we are not to make friends with an angry person. Why do you think that is? Haven’t you ever been around “Mr. Negativity” for a few hours and started thinking or feeling the same way? I know I have. It is far worse being around someone who is constantly angry and cannot control their temper. Friendship is a close relationship with someone – more than just a casual acquaintance. A friendship involves sometimes daily contact and interaction.
It is a sad state of affairs when you cannot even speak to this person because their angry outbursts take over. It is like a childish temper tantrum. Nor will this person accept admonition – they do not want to see their sin. In fact, in their eyes, they see you as the “bad guy”! They are quick to call you self-righteous for bringing their sin to light. No matter how much Scripture you give this person, their venom continues to spew forth.
One thing I have learned, this person is not a happy person. You become who you hang out with. We preach this to our children – our parents preached it to us. The Lord admonishes us in Prov. 22:24 not to hang out with an angry person. We must heed this warning from the Lord. Otherwise, we will become just like them. How can we be a help to others if we allow ourselves to be sucked into a life of anger and discontentment? We sin against God when we display anger and discontentment. This does not display His Spirit in our lives – whose fruit we should be displaying.
An angry person also is very prideful – they cannot be taught or admonished because they do no wrong in their eyes. But the Lord has much to say about the prideful. I found it interesting that in these two verses in Proverbs, both referenced wisdom coming from the lowly and well advised. The angry person doesn’t follow this route at all. When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. (Pro 11:2) Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom. (Pro 13:10)
As I heal my broken heart over this cessation of fellowship, I find great comfort in knowing that I’m being obedient to my Heavenly Father. Daily must we put to death the natural man and the pain that this natural man brings. Daily must we set our sights on the Lord, His Word and go with confidence that He will bring us through each trial.
Although my heart is broken
You’ve reminded me that You
Are always there for comfort
With much mercy given too
Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. (Pro 14:1)
How I love Noah Webster’s definition of the word build:
1. To construct, rest or depend on as a foundation;
The wise woman of Proverb 14:1 constructed her home which rested and depended upon the Foundation. This verse was not speaking of us actually constructing and building our own houses in the physical sense. This verse says that the wise woman here was constructing her house on the foundation of the Lord. This woman knew full well that this foundation would never move. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Tim. 2:19)
Ah, God’s foundation stands sure, ladies. His foundation does not move. His foundation does not crumble under the pressures of the world. His foundation won’t even form a slight crack – it is Perfect! What comfort for the wise woman.
2 Tim. 2:19 goes on to say that the Lord knows those that are His!! I don’t know about you, but I’m doing an alleluiah dance here! God knows me! If I am building my house on His foundation, I will be leading my household to Him and He will know them as well.
2 Tim. 2:19 does not stop there either. The Lord tells us that we must depart from sin since the Father knows us. We must be sinning less and less in our spiritual walks – not staying the same – not going backward – but walking forward and sinning less. Yes, we’re going to stumble – yes we’re going to sin, but the key is not to remain in that condition. Did David remain in his sinful condition? Did Peter? God gave us examples in His Word so that we could learn and grow from their experiences. Both these men repented of their sin and moved forward doing great things for God. Are you sinning just as much today as your yesterdays? If so, why? You should be examining yourselves, ladies. We ought not to be this way.
Notice the last half of Prov. 14:1, “…but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” Have you ever watched someone pluck a chicken? It’s not done all at once. It’s an arduous process at best, feather by feather. The chicken’s skin doesn’t appear all at once – but bit by bit, the skin is exposed. I also thought of the blood that comes out of the pore that bore the feather. The process of plucking does not go without causing pain or shedding blood. God is so Awesome, ladies. He puts a word like plucketh into a verse so that we can glean from the visual picture it portrays! Each time the foolish woman tears down her home bit by bit, she is causing pain and shedding blood – maybe not in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense.
What do you suppose the foolish woman is doing to pluck her home down with her own hands? Noah Webster defines the foolish as:
5. In scripture, wicked; sinful; acting without regard to the divine law and glory, or to one’s own eternal happiness.
Soooo, this foolish woman does not care for the spiritual matters of her household. I was thinking of only an unsaved woman before I meditated on this a bit more. I changed my thinking – I believe this could also be referring to a woman who is saved but not looking well to the spiritual and physical needs of her family. Her actions and testimony tear down this house.
Wives and mothers are responsible for setting the “tone” in our homes. What kind of tone are you setting in your home? Does your family know you love the Lord? Is it evident in your walk with Him? Do they see you in the Word? Do your actions show that you are in the Word? If not, you’re quenching the Holy Spirit and not bearing His fruit. Don’t be like the foolish woman. Take heed from this warning in Proverbs. Don’t pluck your home down with your own hands! Instead, be like the wise woman whose home is built on the Foundation of Christ and her goal is to keep adding to that foundation with her words, her testimony and her love 😀
Let my actions build my home
Let them not be foolish but wise
May I glorify You in all my ways
So your Name will be lifted high!
Once again, Noah Webster’s definition of certain words just shed light and give much more meaning to what we are reading. His definition of “troubleth” is:
1. To agitate; to disturb; to put into confused motion.
Are you someone who “brings trouble” to his house? Do you bring agitation and disturbance into your home? Do you bring confusion into your home?
The fool does all these things. I found it quite poignant that Solomon would add the rest of the verse – “shall inherit the wind”! Have you ever seen the cartoon where someone turned on an occilating fan in an office where the desk was filled with paper? What a catastrophe that produced! It’s like a hurricane hit the office! I believe this is what Solomon was trying to portray here. I think of the contentious woman who is never happy with her circumstances and is always complaining. She troubleth her own house and creates a whirl wind of trouble. She reaps what she sows.
On the other hand, the Christian who is wise is quite the opposite. The wise person’s home is peaceful. True peace can only be had when we are truly born-again and are displaying the fruit of the Spirit. Noah’s definition of wise is:
1. Properly, having knowledge; hence, having the power of discerning and judging correctly, or of discriminating between what is true and what is false; between what is fit and proper, and what is improper; as a wise prince; a wise magistrate. Solomon was deemed the wisest man. But a man may be speculatively and not practically wise. Hence,2. Discrete and judicious in the use or applications of knowledge; choosing laudable ends, and the best means to accomplish them. This is to be practically wise. Gen 41.
Does the fool display such wisdom? Of course not. The fool is busy doing the opposite and turning on that occilating fan in their homes which produces nothing but chaos. There’s no peace in that home. It is not to say that a born-again Christian cannot be a fool. We have all done foolish things at one time or another. But the believer should be growing – moving forward in the Lord – seeking to better himself and becoming more Christ-like.
The fool will always be the servant of the wise one. The fool will always be in subjection to the wise Christian because the fool won’t have Scriptures to cling to or refer to – the fool won’t even be interested in applying Scriptures to their circumstances so that they may grow. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (1 Pet 2:2) The fool is worse than a newborn baby – at least the newborn baby desires to drink and does so to survive. The fool is not interested in growing and it is evident in their childish behavior.
Are you the foolish Christian today or the wise Christian? Better yet, are you the unsaved fool? The Word says that the scenario of the unsaved fool who will not listen to the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be likened to the Christian witness casting his pearls (the Gospel) to swine (the unsaved). Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. (Mat 7:6) Instead, the unsaved fool thinks he is spiritually OK – the unsaved fool goes to church, knows the scriptures, does the motions but their actions speak louder than words. They are the hypocrites that Jesus speaks of.
James’ account below is also quite the eye opener and we should examine oursleves if we are guilty of being the person he speaks of:
James 3:13- 18, “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. (13) But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. (14) This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. (15)For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (16) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (17) And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. (18)
I can see now why Jesus would tell Peter: But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Mat 16:23)
May the words I speak
Be clean and pure
Not just in my eyes
But foremost in Yours
Prov. 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”Prov. 8:13 “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”
The usual meaning for “pride” is a high regard of one’s self (self esteem). But Noah Webster defines pride further:
2. Insolence; rude treatment of others; insolent exultation.
This prideful person cannot be encouraged toward righteousness. This prideful person cannot be reasoned with. In fact, Prov. 16:18 says that this prideful person will be destroyed by his actions. That prideful person also has a haughty spirit which means that in addition to their pride, they have contempt for others. What a miserable life indeed.
The Christian who is growing in Christ and displaying the fruit of the Spirit will hate evil, pride and arrogancy, according to Prov. 8:13. God goes on to say in this same verse that He hates the froward mouth. Noah defines forward as:
… not willing to yield or comply with what is required; unyielding; ungovernable; disobedient; as a froward child.
These two verses on pride do not paint a pretty picture, do they?
How miserable a prideful person must be! There surely can’t be any peace in this person’s life. I have known a few people in my life time who are living examples of these two verses. To be honest with you, they do not see themselves this way. But the Word of God is truth and we are told that this prideful person will fall. The prideful person is always right in their own eyes. They do not see their mistakes – they only see their own good. They don’t look to the Word for their direction because they are not able to be governed by the Word. In fact, the Word says that a froward heart departs from God (His Word). A froward heart shall depart from me: …(Psa 101:4a) Is it any wonder that they can’t be governed? Is it any wonder that you can’t plead with them to change their ways using the Word of God?
It’s a shame that Christians act this way. It drags the Lord’s name in the mud and paints a horrible picture to the unsaved world. My heart breaks when a believer won’t heed the counsel of God’s Word. The Lord puts us together to help one another. We’ve all been through various sins in our lives, various trials, and various scenarios. As the Lord “grows” us through each of these, we are to take that knowledge and help someone else. Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (2 Cor 1:4)
It is the Word (Jesus) who will heal us and forgive us of all our unrighteousness. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1Jo 1:9) Let’s be the testimony for Christ that we should be and leave pride behind. We must recognize our sin, confess and forsake it, learn from it, and help someone else to be reconciled with God through sharing our experience. That is truly the way God wants believers to be. The Word convicts, heals and challenges us toward righteousness.
Thank You for giving to us
Access to Living Water
It’s Cleansing and refreshing
Grounding us like an anchor
Discretion does not seem to be practiced much today. The opposite of discretion is uncontrolled restraint/lack of self restraint. Oh how true of modern-day society. Even today’s Christian does not practice self restraint. They over indulge in food, etc. but most importantly, they do not over indulge in the Word of God. If they did, there would be revival in our land, but sadly there is no revival.
Every believer should be saying, “Let revival start with me!” One cannot be forgiving or merciful if that person does not have discretion. We can be self indulgent in our own feelings – we won’t let go of a sin committed against us, for example. We toy with it and harbor resentment to the point of becoming bitter toward a person. Proverb 19:11 says that the discrete person postpones his anger and passes over a transgression. An indiscrete person will be quick to get angry and will point out another’s sin without so much as praying about it or reading God’s Word before acting.
The discrete Christian is a wise Christian. The discrete Christian is a forgiving Christian. The discrete Christian is a Christian who is controlled by the Holy Spirit. How can we be spiritually revived if we cling on to the works of the flesh? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (Joh 6:63) We must yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit. We must allow ourselves to be taught by Him. That is His job. He leads us to be more Christ-like so that Christ may be glorified through us.
Let me be yielded to Your will
As You teach me in Your Word
Guide and direct me in the way
So I can be pleasing to You Lord
Prov. 9:9 “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”Prov. 15:32 “He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.”
Receiving instruction or correction is never easy – for anyone! But what we do with the instruction is what distinguishes between the wise and the foolish person. I can recall receiving instruction early in my Christian walk. I remember thinking “How dare she say that to me! Who does she think she is, super Christian or something?” How ashamed I am today for even having those thoughts. All this sweet precious sister wanted to do was to help me to grow in the Lord. I, on the other hand, let the devil stir up resentment and I allowed pride to rear its ugly head in my life. Praise God for giving me a patient spiritual mother who loved me and wanted to see me grow in Him!
Receiving correction and instruction is like exercising a muscle actually. The more we open our hearts to receiving correction and instruction, the easier it becomes – we become stronger in the faith, we gain understanding and we become wiser. Each time we are corrected, the “pill” becomes easier to swallow and we receive the instruction with a more thankful spirit.
On the other hand, the Lord tells us that if we refuse instruction we despise our own soul! The Holy Spirit’s jobs are to teach us and to glorify Jesus Christ. John 16:13-14, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (13) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.(14) Who better to teach us than the One who wrote the Scriptures (2 Pet. 1:21)? As He teaches us and we grow, we become more Christ-like and we bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We teach our children the Word of God and its instructions, don’t we? We teach our children to be good citizens, don’t we? The Holy Spirit wants to do the same for us.
How can we bear the fruit of the Spirit if we refuse instruction? How is it in your home with your children? If our children refuse our instruction, do they become better and more well behaved? If we don’t instruct them to do right, what will they learn? They’ll learn what the world has to offer. It’s the same with our own spiritual lives. If we do not receive instruction, either from the Word, the Pastor, or a dear friend, we become like our undisciplined children. Do we really want to be this way? I would hope not. Speaking from experience, it takes more energy out of me to fight the Holy Spirit and His instructions than it does for me to simply submit and grow in Him.
Let’s be like the wise man of Prov. 9:9 and receive instruction so we can become wiser in the Lord. It is then that the precious fruit of the Spirit becomes evident in our lives. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (Gal 5:22) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Gal 5:23) Do we really think that a person who refuses instruction from God would display these same fruit? It’s something to think about the next time a dear brother/sister in Christ comes to us and tries to correct us.
I always think of this Psalm when something offends me: Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psa 119:165) If we love the Lord and His Word, will we be offended when we are instructed? No, in fact we are promised great peace! Thank You, Lord!
Oh may I always love Your Word
And live by It with each day
May I be open to instruction
So You can guide me along my way
Prov. 17:22 “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
Have you ever been around a Christian who just simply was a pleasure to be around? Their laugh was contagious, their smile brightened your day and their whole demeanor glorified the Lord, Jesus Christ.
We always like being around someone like this don’t we? It seems that all our problems temporarily disappear and, for a time, we’ve entered their field of joy. No wonder Solomon stated that this merry person was like a good medicine. So many times I have visited a brother or sister in Christ with the sole purpose of encouraging them. Yet, it was I who was encouraged by spending time with that dear, merry saint!
Neh. 8:10b says that the joy of the LORD is our strength. In the world’s eyes, this dear saint’s circumstances were glum at best, but the Lord provides joy and peace to that merry heart. How? Through His Word! And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phi 4:7) The person whose heart and mind are focused on Christ, won’t be worrying – won’t be depressed – won’t be anxious. Instead, this person knows that the Lord will take care of all the details no matter what. That kind of faith brings such peace – and peace brings joy. There’s nothing better than to know that a problem is being taken care of and you no longer have to fret over it.
Solomon was also quick to point out in the same sentence that the person with a “broken spirit” dries the bones. This person wears his emotions on his face. His countenance clearly tells you what is wrong in his life. The sorrows of the mind “drieth the bones” – in other words, this person’s demeanor consumes the very marrow of his being. It’s not superficial but goes way down deep into the heart of the person. He does not have a merry heart – he is joyless. I see this person walking with stooped shoulders as though the weight of the world is upon him. He has no confidence or faith in his God. He does not seek to find the solution but wallows in self pity. Rather than remove himself from the fires around him, he sticks around. Rather than go to the Source where healing can be found, he remains in his circumstances.
So, are we as quick to be around such a person? Many times, this joyless person blames his circumstances on everyone else but himself – never searching God’s Word for encouragement, let alone for healing.
I would rather be known as a Christian who has helped cheer another and brought healing into their lives than a Christian who has brought a frown upon people’s faces by my demeanor and actions.
Testimonies of a merry heart
Are like a ripple on still water
Touching many lives along the way
Sharing peace through stormy weather
Prov. 15:28, “The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.”Prov. 16:23, “The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.”
How much do you study God’s Word in the course of a month, a week, a day? Is studying God’s Word the last thing you do? Reading is wonderful, but studying will open your eyes to the sin in your life. Maybe that is why not too many dive into the Word like they do other areas of the daily Christian walk. Solomon’s wisdom is compared to no other man that has ever lived. He asked God for wisdom and he received it. If Solomon didn’t use this wisdom to continue in righteousness, how much less will we if we don’t study the Word?
We have three books dedicated to his writings inspired of God. God doesn’t command us to study just to have head knowledge. He wants us to study so that we don’t need to be ashamed when someone confronts us with day-to-day life trials. we have the Word to stand on for defense! Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2Ti 2:15)
God wants to give us wisdom. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (Jam 1:5) He gave it to Solomon, why not to us? Solomon didn’t have the Bible like we do today. We have God’s Word to turn to any time we want yet we do not take the opportunity to study and seek wisdom. How sad is that?
When you encounter battles with those prickly people, do you have God’s Word to feed them with? Do you have verses committed to memory? Do you know where to turn in your Bible to defend your stand? Do you at least know the verse’s “address” so you can turn to it? The believer has everything we need at our fingertips to use in the battle of everyday life. The Marine would not go to battle without his rifle, would he? Why do we go to spiritual battle without our Sword?
Amuse me for just a moment as I make an analogy. The Marine has to memorize a creed about his rifle. Ask any Marine today to recite it and he’ll be able to do so without even batting an eye. I posted it here because there’s quite a lesson to be learned from it:
My Rifle (The Creed of a United States Marine)
This is my rifle.
There are many like it, but this one is MINE.
My rifle is my best friend. It is my life.
I must master it as I must master my life.
My rifle without me is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless.
I must fire my rifle true.
I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me.
I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will…
My rifle and myself know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire,
the noise of our bursts, nor the smoke we make.
We know it is the hits that count. We will hit…
My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life.
Thus, I will learn it as a brother.
I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories, its sights, and its barrel.
I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage.
I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready.
We will become part of each other. We will…
Before God I swear this creed.
My rifle and myself are the defenders of my country.
We are the masters of our enemy.
We are the saviors of my life.
So be it, until there is no enemy, but PEACE.
— Maj Gen WH Rupertus
Can you substitute the references to the Marine’s rifle with your own Bible? Ouch! Granted, the Bible is not useless on its own because it is the Word of God. However, if man does not pick it up and read it and use it, he cannot glean from it. Our Bible does not have any weaknesses but the rifles does as pointed out in this creed. However, everything else is quite compatible. I am not trying to ‘spiritualize’ the Marine’s creed for his rifle. What I am trying to do is to point out the zeal the Marine has for his rifle and learning everything about it to survive the battlefield. How much more should the believer have zeal for his Bible and learning everything about it to survive spiritual battles?
The Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Ps. 119:105). It is our Sword (Heb. 4:12) and our Guide (Ps. 32:8).
Why not equip yourself, Christian? In so doing, you will not battle to find an answer when a situation arises. You won’t have to learn to control your tongue because you will have already built up your defenses to fight off the flesh!
You have fully equipped us for battle
None of us lacks a tool for this trade
The Word guides and directs us daily
Shining brightly and never will fade.