Friday, July 31, 2009

Proverbs 10:19 & 20 Watch Your Mouth! Continued…

Today’s verses, like our last study, also speak of the importance of the words that come out of our mouths.

Proverbs 10:19 & 20 (NKJV)

19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking,

But he who restrains his lips is wise.
20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
The heart of the wicked is worth little.

I love the way that the New Living Translation, which is a paraphrase Bible, renders this verse! “ Don’t talk to much, for it fosters sin. Be sensible and turn off the flow!” I think that says it pretty well. It is when we get carried away while speaking, that we (or maybe I should say, “I”) have a tendency to add things that “exaggerate” a bit. If you look at it, “exaggeration” is, in essence, lying. Often, if I keep it simple and “just the facts…” then things will come out the way they need to for me to stay on track with what the Lord would want.

As we have seen in past verses that we have studied, God wants the words that we speak to be a source of “riches” to others. This verse says, like “choice silver.”

As we saw in our last study, the words we speak spring from our “hearts,” and Biblically speaking, that means from our inner-most beings… our true selves. Those words from Jesus are just so important that I am going to repeat them here again, for they are something that needs to take root in our “hearts” so that we will be deterred from getting carried away in our speaking.

Matthew 12:34b-37 (NKJV)

34b For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Proverbs 10:18 Watch Your Mouth!

Today’s verses are about the words we allow out of our mouths…

Proverbs 10:18 (NKJV)
18 Whoever hides hatred has lying lips,
And whoever spreads slander is a fool.

The first part of this verse speaks of those that have hatred in their hearts. Many of these people try to hide this hatred when they are speaking to others, and to do this, they end up speaking lies. We need to let God clean up our hearts so that we can have a truly forgiving heart, and then we will not have “lying lips” when we speak of others.

The second part of this verse is not in contrast to the first part as many of the verses that we have studied have been. In this verse, the second part compliments, or comes at the subject of our words from a different angle. Those that have hatred or malice in their hearts, will often spread “slander” about others. The Online Dictionary gives this definition of slander: 1. Oral communication of false statements injurious to a person's reputation. 2. A false and malicious statement or report about someone.

This verse says that those that go around spreading “slander” are fools. Often, gossip is another form of “slander,” as well. We need to keep a close watch on our words! Here is what Jesus has to say about this subject.

Matthew 12:33-37 (NKJV)

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Monday, July 27, 2009

Proverbs 10:17 Be teachable…

Today’s verse contrasts between those that are teachable, and those that aren’t.

Proverbs 10:17 (NKJV)

17 He who keeps instruction is in the way of life,
But he who refuses correction goes astray.

Jewish children were supposed to be taught God’s ways from the time they are very young at the time these proverbs were written. Since this verse is based on this premise, following these Godly instructions would lead the young person into paths of blessing and life.

Conversely, those that don’t follow the instructions of their youth, are then corrected and disciplined, but refuses to accept that correction and learn from it, will end up going astray. If they continue to follow THAT pathway, as we have seen in prior verses, they will end up falling away from God and that will lead them to the opposite of abundant life. They will lead lives of pain, despair, etc. --- since THEY have CHOSEN to turn away from the God that wants to bless them. If they continue to turn their back on God and the only way to eternal life, THEY make the CHOICE to reject Heaven after this life and CHOSE to make Hell their eternal “home.”

Friday, July 24, 2009

Proverbs 10: 16 Use Money Wisely

Today’s verse is about the way we use our money.

Proverbs 10:16 (NKJV)

16 The labor of the righteous leads to life,
The wages of the wicked to sin.

We have seen in past studies that being “righteous” means to be morally upright, or without guilt or sin, and that by living a “righteous” life, we are blessed by God in many ways. The first part of today’s verse speaks of another way that God will bless us. It says that the ‘labor” or work, of the righteous will lead to life. God gives us each different types of work to do, and we are admonished to do EVERYTHING we do for the glory of God.

Some people work as mechanics, some in health professions, others as pastors, others have gifts of service… whatever God calls us to do, when we are seeking HIS righteousness first in our lives, will be blessed and lead us closer to Him. Eventually, THAT will lead us to an abundant life here. A life that is satisfying and blessed, not always with lots of money, but in peace and joy in our hearts and minds. We will also be given eternal life after we leave this one.

The second part of the verse, contrasts (as usual in the Hebrew form of poetry) with the first in that it is speaking of those that aren’t righteous, but lead sinful lives. It tells us that their “wages”: 1. Payment for labor or services to a worker… or 2. a recompense for worthy acts or retribution for wrongdoing, are spent on things that lead to sin in their lives, and “the wages of sin is death…”

Those that are “wicked” (1. Evil by nature and in practice. 2. Playfully malicious or mischievous 3. Severe and distressing:.4. Highly offensive; obnoxious ) spend their pay on things that lead them deeper into sin, and eventually, this will lead to their demise unless they allow God to change their ways.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Proverbs 10: 15 Wealth vs Poverty

Today’s verse discusses the attitudes of the rich and the poor.

Proverbs 10:15 (NKJV)

15 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city;
The destruction of the poor is their poverty.

The first part of the verse talks about a “strong city.” A “strong city” in Bible times was a place of refuge, protection and safety. This verse explains that a rich man usually puts his trust in his money to keep him safe and to take care of him. The problem with this is that Jesus taught us that you “can’t serve both God and mammon (money)… “ Matt 6:24 (NKJV) “ No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

It tells us in Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NIV) that, “Whoever loves money, never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is NEVER satisfied with his income.”

Matt 13:22 (NIV) tells us, “ The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful,” and 1 Tim. 6:17 (NIV) says, “ Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant, nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”

The second part of our verse warns that poverty can cause the destruction of the poor. We see this so often in the world today. Those that live in places of poverty often end up in lives of crime or consumed by drugs, because they get into the company of those that have “chosen” paths that led them into that situation.

One thing that comes to my mind, though, is that sometimes, we can be in poverty stricken places and still see people that are happy. They have an “inner wealth” that sustains them and by trusting in God as their provider, they will be able to climb out of the pit they have found themselves in. So, it is possible to be destroyed by poverty if you take it to heart and become bitter and envious instead of trusting in God to lead you to paths that will eventually bring you out of it. It all depends on what your eyes are on… is it God, or is it money?!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Proverbs 10 : 13 & 14 Wise or Foolish Lips...

Today’s verses give us some more attributes of those that are wise, and those that are foolish.

Proverbs 10: 13 & 14 (NKJV)

13 Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding,
But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding.
14 Wise people store up knowledge,
But the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.

Both of our verses today start out speaking about wisdom. Verse 13 tells us that a person that is wise and understanding, speaks wise words… wisdom is “found” on his lips, and verse 14 goes on to tell us that a wise person will “store up knowledge.” They don’t just “hear” it, they seek after it and put it into their heads, hearts and actions, so that they will remember it.

The second part of both of these verses show contrasts to the first parts. Verse 13 contrasts those who are “devoid of understanding” to those that “have understanding.” “A rod is for the back…” speaks of people who are caught and punished for doing foolish, ungodly things. All of us do these types of things at different times of our lives… especially when we are young. Hopefully these incidences become less frequent as we grow in knowledge and understanding of God and His ways.

God also tells us that “those He loves, He chastens…” when they need it, and there are several places in the Bible that speak about this principle. Just as we give our children the choices to choose between following our rules and not following them, if they will eventually NOT be safe if they don’t follow, then we will, if we are wise parents, discipline them so that they will stay on “safe paths.” God does the same for us, because He loves us even MORE than we love our own children.

The first part of verse 13, which as we saw, speaks of having wisdom on his lips, contrasts with the last part of verse 14 which tells us that people that speak foolishness are near destruction. As we have studied before, our words flow from what is in our hearts, and if they are full of ungodly things (The fool says, in his heart, there is NO God…) then each time the “foolishness” flows, it draws us closer to destruction because it draws us AWAY from God.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Proverbs 10:12 Love Covers...

Today’s verse is a very important one… one that we should all memorize. The second half of this verse is God's ultimate Will for us to know and live... just as Jesus lived it out, even to dying to cover ALL of OUR sins.

Proverbs 10:12 (NKJV)

12 Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all sins.

The online dictionary defines “hatred” as: the emotion of intense dislike; a feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action. It defines “strife” as: 1. Heated, often violent dissension; bitter conflict 2. A struggle, fight, or quarrel. 3. Contention or competition between rivals.

When people allow hatred to settle into their hearts, whether caused by a wrong done to them or a loved one, some kind of pain caused them or one they love, or any other reason, (covetousness, jealousy, etc.) sooner or later, those feelings will “bubble up” inside of them.

These strong feelings, will eventually cause conflict of some sort. Sometimes, this is deep within one’s own body, as stress compounds like cortisol pour into the system. These compounds will erode the natural, God-given immune system that was created to help us fight off diseases.

The following is taken from a website about Stress Management:

Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (like those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects, such as:
*Impaired cognitive performance
*Suppressed thyroid function
*Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia

*Decreased bone density
*Decrease in muscle tissue

blood pressure
immunity and inflammatory responses
in the body, slowed wound healing,
and other health consequences

*Increased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, the development of , higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems!

Another thing that a continued, “simmering hatred” often does is to manifest outward problems, most typically anger issues, in a person’s life. They have anger that they just can’t seem to control, and that can come out in self-destructive behavior, as well as in violent displays and acts toward others.

Hatred is a sin! Jesus makes that clear in his teachings in Matt. 5:21 & 22:
Murder Begins in the Heart

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

The second part of this verse is the “cure” for these problems. It states: “love covers all sins.” When we are “born again” by asking Jesus to forgive our sins (that would lead us to eternal death), and to come and live within us with His Holy Spirit (leading us into God’s kingdom and eternal life), than that “renewed spirit” is one that God helps to grow into a forgiving, loving spirit as we grow and become more like Him.

This most often DOESN’T happen overnight… it often takes some time. Praying for the person or problem will allow God to work in our lives, give us self-control, and show us things that can change the “hatred” in our own hurting hearts. Once we reach a place of forgiveness, then the seed of love can grow. Here is what Jesus has to say on this subject in Luke 6: 27-36 :

Love Your Enemies
27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Proverbs 10 : 10 & 11 Speak Righteously

Today, we will look at two verses that have to do with the proper use of our mouth, or the words we speak.

Proverbs 10: 10 & 11 (NKJV)

10 He who winks with the eye causes trouble,
But a prating fool will fall.
11 The mouth of the righteous is a well of life,
But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.

The first part of verse 10 speaks to us about those that “wink with the eye.” This is often a technique that people use to show that what they are speaking of at the time, is NOT what is really in their hearts. It tends to denote that there is a “lie” in their words, and this will always cause trouble sooner or later.

The second part of this verse again uses the words “a prating fool will fall,” and as we saw when this phrase was used in verse 8 of this chapter, a couple of studies ago, this part of the verse tells us that foolish people speak of only empty, foolish or trivial things that help no one. These people will ultimately fail or “fall.”

The first part of verse 11 points out that those that speak “righteous” words… words that are morally upright, and without sin, are people that bring “life” to others. Anytime we speak Godly wisdom, or the “Word,” we are passing around the “living water” spoken of by Jesus, who is known as “The Word.” John 7:38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

The second part of Proverbs 10:6 is the same as the second part of verse 11. As we saw then, the violence spoken of through a person’s lips will eventually overwhelm them. These people will follow the lead of their lips, because out of the hearts of men, come their words, and death is the eventual result of a violent, sinful life.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Proverbs 10: 9 Walk With Integrity...

Today, we will look at verse 9 of Chapter 10.

Proverbs 10: 9 (NKJV)

9 He who walks with integrity walks securely,
But he who perverts his ways will become known.

The Online Dictionary defines “integrity” as: steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code, or honesty. It defines the word “securely” as: 1. Free from danger or attack: 2. Free from risk of loss; safe: 3. Free from fear, anxiety, or doubt. 4. Not likely to fail or give way; stable:.5. Reliable; dependable: 6. Assured; certain:

So the first part of verse 9 tells us that those who walk according to a strict moral code and with honesty, will walk in safety. They can be free from fear because they are not going to fail in God’s eyes. They can be assured that the “Maker” of that code, God, is reliable and can be depended upon to keep them on a path that will lead them to safety… in Heaven sooner or later.

The Online Dictionary defines the word "perverts" as: 1. To cause to turn away from what is right, proper, or good; to corrupt. 2. To bring to a bad or worse condition; debase. 3. To put to a wrong or improper use; to misuse. 4. To interpret incorrectly; misconstrue or distort:
So, the second part of the verse warns that those who do these evil, “perverted” things, will eventually be found out and punished… if not in this life, then when they ultimately face God, for He says “vengeance is Mine…”