Monthly Archives: September 2018

Wisdom, Women, Wine and Woes

Proverbs 20-24; Solomon continues to speak of Wisdom, beyond just knowledge and facts, but the proper implementing of what is known = wisdom. There is a constant contrast in the Proverbs between the Wicked and the Righteous – the wicked scoff at wisdom or life teachings and lessons,; whereas the righteous learn from and pursue understating of life and our Creator God through the wisdom insights about life. In Christianity I have found that many people/believers know  plenty “about” the scriptures, but lack the understanding of the relevancy to life, more specifically their own life.  Foolishness seems to be the dominant characteristic of the unredeemed. You and I have been accosted by people who think they know better than anyone else or the facts. “There is a way that seems right unto man, but the end thereof is death.” Wisdom, the great desire of Solomon and the gift from Jehovah; Solomon as we find in Ecclesiastics has the ability to TEST all that the world has to offer and measure it against the knowledge and wisdom of God. In the end Solomon says that all is vanity – the truth is fear God and live Holy, that is what really matters.

Solomon uses almost a “barb” sometimes in these Proverbs to expose the wily desires and destruction of the wayward woman or wife. Two time Solomon talks about a “contentious woman/wife.” I wonder at this point how much Solomon was exposed to the inordinate wishes of His some 1000 women? Scripture indicates that he entered into many of these “marriages” for political reasons and alliances with neighboring lands. But Solomon speaks of the “temptress” who seeks to have a love affair with men, only to enact their downfall. Speaking of which – even this year there have been many men brought low because of the temptress tactics – both politically and spiritually. I wonder sometimes about the motivation and desires of the #metoomovement? I do understand and support the equality of women – I am a complementarian; we are all equal before God [Gal. 3:28], however God in His wisdom has outlined and identified the specific roles for men and women, especially within the Church body.

Moving on, the Wine topic. Scripture tells that Kings were not to drink “strong drink/wine” but the bible does not prohibit drinking of wine – only the excess of wine. I know this is a hot topic for most believers with a conservative position on the Bible; but let the scripture speak not the wiles of often misguided clergy. It is obvious to all of us that a drunken man/woman is obnoxious and usually a vagabond of sorts. Solomon ties the lazy or sluggard to one who has a lifestyle of drinking; especially in Proverbs 23:29-35. We live today as in the past in a cultural society that does not know or adhere to a “balance life,” but rather swings from one extreme to another. I personally do not drink – I know what it does to me [experiences from my youthful/rebellious days] and have chosen not to drink at all. I hold to what Apostle Paul said – he would refrain from his liberty if it would cause a brother to stumble.

The last W is woes – the sorrows for living out of the will of God. The unredeemed bring upon themselves by their choices a condition of consequences for their actions. I hear too often when things go wrong in life, the first place ridicule and blame is put is on God in Heaven. I know that God is long-suffering and compassionate; but I also know He is just. While there is forgiveness with the Lord – we are not to expect that the actions we put in motion will be wiped away. The Wicked will have woe, the Christian will also have woes, if they disobey the Word of the Lord and Wisdom.

So in life we are accountable for our actions; yes we have a battle with the flesh – but the Word of God, a pure Heart and a righteously motivated life God will bless. I cannot blame the Heavenly Father for my own rejection of His Word. God loves all, not all loves God. Yet He is willing that none should perish. His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Simple enough, yet so many stumble over what God has written.

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Life Application

Beginning in Proverbs 19, the topic changes from contrasting a wicked/worldly life and a righteous/godly life to how to live out the God-honoring life. When preaching I always have to remember that it is one thing to share knowledge of the scriptures; quite another to give instruction on How to Apply the scriptures to our daily living. Knowledge in and of itself does not make life change. Wisdom the application of the knowledge is the vehicle to make life transformation. Just because I know about God doesn’t mean I fear or revere Him as My God. God’s Law given to Israel/Jews became a system of rules and regulations rather than a code of conduct for living. The Jews/Pharisees/Scribes missed the “Spirit or intent” of the Law and made keeping the Law the litmus test for righteousness. In the culture of society today we have a dual threat to holy living. First, the thought of “consumerism” – the idea that life exist for us to have pleasure without any accountability. Secondly, the ideological thought that a person/people “have entitlement” or in other words that they are owed a living or the expectations that they deserve whatever without any expectation of working or earning on their part the necessities of life. In American philosophy it is held that for every person there is the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Happiness is now not just to be pursued – be an expectation that the “life of happiness” is an entitlement that should be provided to them by others without any obligation on their part to achieve such status.

As a pastor for some 20 plus years; there has been at times a disconnect between what people hear, say they believe and what the practice. If we say we believe something from scripture and don’t practice it then we really don’t believe what we say we believe. James tells us to be “doers of the word, not hearers only – deceiving ourselves.” If we believe scripture it becomes part of our living, and find application in our daily life – this is called conviction.

Again the believer in Jesus Christ is admonished to “walk in the Spirit” and they will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. The difference between believing scripture and living scripture is the space between our heads and our hearts.

Often living out our faith causes many conflicts, in our minds and in the world that sees us. In the world you will have persecution, but know that I have overcome the world. Jesus also said, if they listen to My words, they will listen to yours. As we live out our faith openly before the worldly and carnal, there will be and should be times of struggle and mind reasoning on whether we will be true to our profession of certain behaviors and beliefs. If our aim is to live successfully in this world, we will compromise on what our heart AND head tell us is right – I have said over and over to my congregation that salvation and Lordship of Jesus Christ has to mean more than a destination change. Salvation has to be more that just missing Hell, or the guilt for all our wrongs doings and sins. We must be prepared to live out the scripture according to the Holy Spirit within us. Yes it will mean that we are out of step with the rest of the world – in fact scripture warns us “Woe unto you when all the world approves of you.”

We are not to be of the world, yet we find our ministry and living IN the world. What a contrast and conflict – How do I live in the world without letting the world adversely affect me? It is difficult – walking by the Spirit, putting our daily lives in the control of Jesus – stay in the scripture, pray constantly, fellowship with other believers, attach to a bible believing God-Honoring church. Oh, I just gave you application of LIFE APPLICATION!

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The Upright and the Wicked

In Proverbs 10-18 we find the heading of the chapters identifying a continuing contrast between the righteous and the wicked. We could state this as the Lost and the Saved, but that wouldn’t hold true. I know believers that at times act like the lost and Lost acting more godly than believers. A better way might be the Worldly and the Godly. In our current culture, which has been identified as pro-Christian [I think it’s more pre-Christian again] the world is upside down. In almost every instance or life situation we find that there is a right and wrong that has been diluted – making people think that much of life [if not all] is full of gray areas. The moral, ethical, educational, gender, wealth, poor, social justice, marriage, divorce, abortion, right to bear arms and anything else we could talk about has become a battle field. In a bible study recently I asked the question is there right and wrong? Or do we really live in a gray area where every subject is up to the discretion of the individual? Solomon is very clear in distinguishing the practices of the wicked [worldly] and those of the Upright. Reading through these chapters an overarching theme is present – that of the mouth and lips. Over and over again Solomon relates the good or bad through the words echoed from the mouths of the person. It seems that Solomon is trying to make sure that we understand that what “comes out of a man” is what defiles him; indicating the condition of the heart.

I have found today’s cultural society is mind-blowing. I hear and see things that are both appalling and unbelievable. How depraved we are as people. I keep coming back to the verse in Judges 21:24 – “there was no King in the land, and every man did that which is right in his own eyes.”  Is it too late? Have we fallen into the abyss of wickedness everywhere, where there is no hope? Is this the last days? Are we to expect the imminent return of Jesus? All these questions come to me as a Pastor. Honestly, we are in the last days. Are we beyond hope? I would say no on an individual basis, but I cannot say that about the corruption of our nation, church and world.

There is the struggle with people and with me – do we become pessimistic or should we try to remain optimistic? When we read the Proverbs and the daily life scenarios presented – we have to keep in mind there is still choices to be made everyday by us. We can choose to love the Lord God and obey His precepts and Word, or we can reject Him and live for ourselves – knowing that judgement will be incurred.

Daily life is difficult when all things seem to be in order – Life becomes a daily battle of the Spirit and the Flesh when two worlds collide that of righteousness and wickedness. Wisdom and discernment is absolutely required to keep from falling into the wiles of the Wicked – i.e. Satanic forces.

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Proverbs Parenting

Last week was more of an introduction to Proverbs, written by King Solomon the heir of King David to the throne of united Israel. King Solomon is known for his many wives and concubines, his myriad of chariots and horses, the “Solomon mines” myth or reality story; our focus is on his Wisdom. At the request of God, Solomon was asked to request one gift or wish – He asked for Wisdom and God granted him the “wisest man ever” title with all the luxuries and wealth besides.

Where did he get the ability to know how/what to ask for? In Proverbs 4 we find that his father had been teaching and instructing him in the understanding of Wisdom. So when we wonder how Solomon knew to ask for wisdom rather than some other “human desire”, we find that he was following his father David’s advice.

Being a Proverbs Parent is difficult, especially in today’s cultural environment. There is a tendency to give way too much credence to youth and their ideas, than to give them the hard-earned and learned sage wisdom of living. Children of all ages do not need “friendly parenting” they need a strong loving and disciplining parent. I can already hear some saying “oh hear we go someone who is out of touch with reality is going to tell me how to raise my children.” Nope I’m going to let God’s Word do that. I remember growing up and hearing about a well-known author on parenting – Dr. Spock ring a bell? When i think of how many parents followed his advice [he wasn’t married and didn’t even have children when he wrote his parenting book]; how many bought into the ill-advice he promoted? We got plenty of Dr. Spock parented kids running around out of control as adults!  The christian environment has been trying to offset such teaching with things from James Dobson and others – Parenting By Grace.

Parenting is the hardest job anyone can do; and the results are eternal. I know as a pastor so many broken and dysfunctional families in and out of the church. Often I hear parents talk and say “I took them to Church, they attended the youth group, or went to Youth Camps” “I don’t know why they are they way they are – I’ve done everything!” Hummm, not to guilt trip parents but the youth minister, camps and weekly church activities do not suffice if they are not reinforced at home!

There is such a contrast between a “home schooled child” and a church schooled child.” Parents must talk about life with their children. I know it’s embarrassing; better to learn from you than from the kids at school. I grew up in a disciplining home; I did fear getting in trouble because I knew the consequences if I did. We wonder why children are rebellious, uncontrollable and flat out brats? Someone told me one time if you don’t like what your kids are acting like – look in the mirror! Ouch! Parenting with “I’m counting to three!; you’re going grounded and I will put you in time out – doesn’t work. Children need instruction from their parents; they need examples from their parents. Proverbs is a great book for self-reflection. The book is filled with adult topics of discussion for families.

There are warnings after warnings of what happens to rebellious, sensual, godless living. Life has repercussions – so does sin! We talk to our children about everything except the very topics they need to hear from parents not liberal teachers and street lawyers. The “Living for Me” attitude is catastrophic for the person and society. Immorality is not benign; pornography is not harmless – it is an opioid of addiction. Proverbs 6 is a great warning to both men and women about their sexual prowess. The sanctity of marriage is real – divorce is terrible and damaging to lives – Tell your children “Don’t Go There!” There could be volumes written on the attraction of beauty. Sensual living has its moment; but it also has its scars and disgrace.

I know this may sound like ranting and raving – but our society and our global are filled with the debasing of women, children and the homosexual agenda that promotes itself as “Born that way”  – “It’s how God made me” LGBTQA has been around a lot longer than just this generation. Remember the evil cities that were destroyed because of defiled men? It saddens me to think that my grandchildren are growing up in a world that has so inundated us with their ideological heresy that my grandchildren think that “alternate lifestyles” is a right. Proverbs gives every mom and dad the topics of discussions for their children. Talk about these topics from the vantage point of God, our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Solomon isn’t the only one who can ask for wisdom and get – James 1:5 we can have it too!

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