Friday, April 29, 2011

April 29th – Proverbs 29: The Righteous SING

“An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one can sing and be glad.” – Proverbs 29:6

I remember vaguely what it was like to be in bondage. I specifically remember being very self-conscious and always aware of what others were thinking about me. I guess when you aren’t living your life for what Jesus thinks of you that is what you focus on. I was self-conscious because I was sin conscious. I was walking around in guilt and shame for what I did in the dark and it had a profound effect on how I behaved in the light.

The Bible says that the evil man is ensnared by his sin. Literally translated this means that a wicked person is captive to his evil actions. Sin has an ability to completely consume your life, your thoughts and ultimately your behavior. Wicked people are trapped people, they are anything BUT free. I remember living with a sense that I was going to be exposed at any moment. This made me paranoid and aloof. I didn’t want to get too close to people for they might discover who I REALLY was. I was guarded with my actions and words, attempting to disguise the person I was in reality. The farthest thing from my mind was to “sing and be glad” like the righteous. In fact, righteous people’s demonstrations of freedom bothered me.

Now, righteous people on the other hand have reason to “sing and be glad”! They are right with God! They have nothing to hide and everything they had to hide has been exposed, confessed and renounced, never to torment them again! Whatever bondage or snare their sin once had over them has been destroyed. They are grateful for their freedom and it takes restraint for them to NOT rejoice and be glad… all the time! Many Christians are so dour all the time. They should realize that Joy is normal for a believer and part and parcel of the Kingdom of God:

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 14:17

I have been in bondage and I have been free. Free is better. Without a doubt, that freedom of righteousness has a bearing your ability to be demonstrative with your freedom. The Bible doesn’t say that extroverted Christians will rejoice and be glad; it says that RIGHTEOUS people do that. Again, rejoicing and singing for one’s freedom is not a character trait, it’s the response of the righteous. The righteous are free while the wicked sit in bondage. When the music starts, which one do you most resemble?

Righteous people sing and rejoice. Wicked people just sit there in chains.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 28th – Proverbs 28: Bold As A Lion!

“The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” – Proverbs 28:1

This has been one of my favorite scriptures for years. The reason being is that it’s a life verse of sorts, a reality, not just a theory. Prior to coming to the Lord, I was a scared, anxious little kid. Those who knew me when I was young will confirm this. My parents had to constantly work with me on not being a chicken. I was afraid of answering the phone, afraid of answering the door. My Mom had to go out of her way to give me opportunities to confront my fear and anxieties, MAKING me answer the phone and answer the door. If you knew me up until the time I was 17, you would say it was my personality, that I was just quiet, reclusive and anxious.

But the Bible says different.

This scripture tells us that boldness is not a personality trait, but a characteristic of righteous people! It also tells us that wicked people are cowardly and run when no one is chasing them. So according to the Bible, cowardice is not a personality trait but a characteristic of wicked people! This is an uncomfortable reality, but it is the truth! It wasn’t until I really began to seek and serve the Lord that I experienced boldness like a lion! In my sin and depravity, in my fear and anxiety I was timid. Timidity is another word for cowardice. Timidity is NOT from the Lord!

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” – ii Timothy 1:7

Many people, like me when I was a kid identified and personalized my dysfunction by saying things like, “I’m just timid” or “I’m just given to anxiety”. But as the scripture tells us, these spirits are not personality traits, they are bondage from the enemy and a sure sign we are NOT walking in righteousness! Conversely, as we turn to the Lord and are forgiven and released from the bondage of our sin, we begin to walk as righteous people walk; in BOLDNESS! Righteous people who have been forgiven of their sin and set free from the powers of hell are bold people! We’re bold before the Lord and we have nothing to hide. This makes us bold before people. It’s been said, “The man that fears God will never fear man.” This is truth!

When Jesus set me free of all my bondage and I was right before Him, I was transformed. I became BOLD. My personality didn’t change, my heart did. I went from being wicked to being righteous and as a result I went from being anxious and fearful to being “as bold as a lion”. Today I tell people about how I used to be and they have a difficult time imagining the now bold & outspoken Ryan as being timid and fearful. My transformation from a chicken to a lion is now complete.


Foolish people identify with and personalize their weakness. Wise people renounce it and are changed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27th – Proverbs 27: Wounds From A Friend?

“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” – Proverbs 27:6

This Proverb rails against popular belief and modern wisdom. We would never think of our friends as capable of wounding, but the Bible says that we are to not only expect them, but trust them! A true friend will tell you what you NEED to hear, not only what’s comfortable. When this happens, it hurts! If your friends don’t confront you and bring things to your attention, they may not be real friends!

People today are so thin skinned. We are the generation of self-help, self-love and self-esteem. But we are in many ways losing out and unable to hear a word of correction or rebuke. The reason is that our identity is so wrapped up in our performance that if anyone would question or confront our performance in a role, we recoil. We have not derived our self-esteem from what the Lord says about us, but from what people say about us. So we manufacture situations and relationships to ONLY stroke our egos and self-esteem. We avoid people that tell us the truth like lepers. We don’t want to hear where we are losing our marriage or kids. We don’t want to hear how we should finish things or do things with excellence. When and if someone should break through our pitiful defenses and actually confront an area of weakness, we get offended and cut them off.

This is rank immaturity and as the Bible says, stupidity:

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” – Proverbs 12:1

Most Christians today surround themselves with folks that will “multiply kisses”. An enemy will only tell you what you want to hear and never what you NEED to hear. This creates a false sense of security, we skate perilously close to the edge of total ruin and our “friends” are saying “Atta boy” the whole time. It’s a terrible self-deception. I want people in my life who will cry out a warning! Yes, it may offend me for a moment, but that warning may very well save my life.

I have a buddy that I know is a friend because he’s hurt me! Several years ago, he pulled me aside and basically told me that there were some things in my life that would take me out and nullify my calling if undealt with. His warning and rebuke was painful, embarrassing and a bit discouraging. My initial response was to get angry with him and for 48 hours I seethed and muttered under my breath about how he didn’t know what he was talking about. Finally, I looked to Jesus and asked the Lord if what he said had any truth. The Lord told me that he was absolutely on point and that I had better listen to him. I repented and was delivered of the stronghold my true friend identified. It stung, but in the end, I became free from a bondage I didn’t know I had!

To this day, my respect and trust for this friend is stronger than ever.


If your “friends” only tell you nice things, they may be enemies.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 26th – Proverbs 26: Our Inmost Parts

“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts.” – Proverbs 26:22

Dave Ramsey defines gossip as: “Any complaint passed to someone not in a position to fix the problem." Gossip is talking and complaining about people not in the room or unable to affect an outcome. Gossip is destructive and not just for its immediate effect. I can’t stand people that gossip! I have come to learn over the years that gossips are cowards. ALL of them! They present themselves as agents of change or the righteous elite, burdened with principle, but in reality they are scared little people. But if you REALLY have convictions, you will have the guts to confront the issue head on! It’s called courage and gossips are in critically short supply.

Probably the most dangerous effect a gossip can have is NOT in the short term, but in the long term. The gossips’ words are like seeds. They are looking for ground to sow them into; the hearts and minds of anyone who will listen. Their words plant themselves like seeds in our inmost parts. There, in the darkness, they are cultivated over weeks, months and even years.

I had a “friend” some years ago that was a gossip. My Dad is the pastor of our church and my “friend” had an issue with authority. It didn’t matter who was in charge, they were NEVER good enough for his “righteous” standards. As the sole agent of change in our church, he saw things that needed fixing. Not having the guts to speak to the right people about the changes he wanted to see, he sidled up to me, pretending to be a friend. We would spend time together and I realized that many, many times the discussion would come back to our church, my Dad’s leadership, etc. He was never bold enough to flat out state his feelings, he would just ask questions like, “Don’t you think we should do X instead of what we’re doing?”

I was a young, naive kid in my late teens, just impressed that I had a friend in his 40’s. I didn’t catch on to his manipulative ploy for some time. As the months went on, I began to notice that I was predisposed to NOT believing the best about my Dad’s decisions. I would start an issue believing I (and my friend) was right about an issue and my Dad was wrong. I began to question things. Then one day I was reading this scripture and the Holy Spirit highlighted it to me. The words of my gossiping friend had lodged themselves in my inmost parts! The Lord showed me that in attempting to preserve our relationship I had cultivated this gossip and let it grow. It was perilously close to taking me out. I repented of allowing what I consider good (my Dad, our church) to be spoken of as evil:

“Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.” Romans 14:16

Immediately the scales came off my eyes. I saw the reality. My “friend” was little more than a cowardly snake, sidling up to me to exert influence in the church. When I confronted his behavior, his true nature was revealed. He left the church never to come back, completely severing our relationship. Why? Our connection was never about our friendship, it was his attempt to manipulate the course of a congregation!


Cowardly gossips are looking for ground to sow their evil seeds in. Don’t let it be your heart!

Monday, April 25, 2011

April 25th – Proverbs 25: Patience, Young Padawan

“Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” – Proverbs 25:15

Patience is SO underrated. Our Burger King culture has permeated every facet of our society. “Your way, right away” is the mantra of our day and age. But patience is a fruit and by-product of the Holy Spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23

A patient person thinks long term, not short term. Patience is in it for the long haul. Impatience shows you are in it for the moment. I believe patient persuasion is a lost art. We’re not talking about manipulation, but patient persistence. In the same way water in all its liquid softness can, over time, wear away the toughest stones and rocks so can a patient man break down any and every defense.

In 2004, we were in debt up to our eyeballs. Bad business debts, a second mortgage and car loans had buried us in a mountain of debt. We could barely make our minimum payments and our financial ruin was fast approaching. I called a debt management agency and they told to us to declare bankruptcy! Around that time, the Lord spoke to me. Clear as it could be, I saw a vision of our family living in a mobile home, having cut our living expenses in half. We were happy, we were content and we were out of debt. My heart exploded! I was so excited I could almost taste it! God was giving me a plan to get out of debt and get free from financial bondage. I hurried home and told my wife what I had seen.

She was less than amused.

The thought of selling our beautiful home and moving into a “trailer” was NOT what she had in mind. I explained what I had seen, shared my heart with her and tried to communicate the vision for what we could have in a just a few short years but it didn’t fly. She didn’t see it and wasn’t excited about it. So I backed off, telling her that we wouldn’t even attempt the endeavor until she was on board. I could have exerted my “right” as the “man of the house” but that would only have made a difficult situation worse.

So I did what this scripture said. I settled into a long term approach. I patiently would remind her of what it would be like to get out of debt and cut our living expenses. I extolled the virtues of contentment and living beneath our means. I took my time. I wasn’t pressuring her, but I was always there with the vision God had given me. I did this over weeks and months. In the grand scheme of things, it didn’t take long, only a year and a half of gentle persuasion. Finally, when our bills were getting the best of us again, she looked at me and basically said, “I give up! Let’s do it!” I sprang into action. The plan was laid and a couple months later, our house was sold and we were well on our way to being out of debt.


Maybe the breakthrough you need won’t happen suddenly, but only with persistent persuasion.

April 22nd – Proverbs 22: The Borrower is Servant to the Lender

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” – Proverbs 22:7

This scripture has the obvious financial meaning, but there is more to it as it applies in our everyday lives. One of the promises in scripture is:

“For the LORD your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you.” - Deuteronomy 15:6

God’s intention for His people from the beginning was that we would be blessed and have wealth. More than that, they would be a lending nation, not one who borrows. Why? Because the borrower is servant or subject to the lender! One of the New Testament commandments is:

“Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” - Romans 13:8

Many believers claim freedom from any and every man and government, yet walk around in what I call, “borrower’s bondage”. Over the years, I have had several young people come to me at a crossroads in their lives; mostly when they begin to develop a personal sense of purpose in their walk with God. Many times their parents have already developed a plan for their lives that includes their education or career. Mom or Dad, Grandma or Grandpa have distinct thoughts of where Junior should be going in life and are willing to cover the expenses, provide housing and food for the journey. But Junior wakes up one day and God is speaking to him about what he should be doing with his life and it’s different than what Mom and Dad are hearing! This is where the rub is.

Most young people are tempted to just tell Mom and Dad where to stick it, while continuing to enjoy their free room and board. This is unacceptable! They are borrowing from Mom and Dad and therefore subject to Mom and Dad’s feelings, desires and opinion for their lives. Authority comes from responsibility. It’s only when Junior takes responsibility for his own life (and room, and board!) that he has authority to make decisions about it! How different is it when these young people approach their elders with a clear vision of God’s purpose for their lives and a willing desire to take responsibility to make it happen! THAT is freedom.


We are “free” to the degree that we take responsibility.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

April 21st – Proverbs 21: Seek One Thing, Find Another!

“He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” – Proverbs 21:21

This proverb is chock full of a Kingdom principle. In our logic oriented, secular society we miss some of the most basic principles of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is an upside down Kingdom. Most things in the Kingdom operate exactly opposite to what we know of this world. For example:

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” – Matthew 16:24,25

In the Kingdom of God, if you want to save your life, you must lose it for His sake. If you want to lose it, you try and save it! This is exactly opposite to this world’s system. In the Kingdom of God, the first are last and the last first (Matthew 19:30) and in the Kingdom of God, the least are the greatest and the greatest are the least (Luke 9:48). In the same way, some of the things that we are commanded to pursue in the Kingdom produce benefits that we may not be anticipating or even expect. This passage tells us that if we will pursue righteousness and love, we will reap a benefit of life, prosperity and honor!

Think about how this applies to our lives:

Many people in their desire for prosperity pursue prosperity. In the pursuit of prosperity, with prosperity is the primary goal, sometimes other things suffer. Like integrity, righteousness and love. Prosperity is good, but righteousness is the foundation of God’s throne and therefore of greater importance. Prosperity is a blessing and benefit of righteousness. In the same way, love is who God is (I John 4:8). To forsake or lay aside love in pursuit of prosperity is unwise. But how many decisions do we make in the heat of the moment to pursue a lesser blessing like prosperity, laying aside love and even righteousness?

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33

How many Christians forsake the seeking of the Kingdom of God (righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost - Romans 4:17) in their pursuit of provision when we are given the promise that if we will seek FIRST the Kingdom, everything we need will be GIVEN to us!


How many bunny trails are we going down in pursuit of a passing benefit of a greater blessing?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 20th – Proverbs 20: Down Payment on a Harvest

“A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.” – Proverbs 20:4

I believe that many modern day believers completely miss the pregnant meaning if this verse because we have moved away from an agrarian society. We quickly dismiss or overlook the message hidden in the symbolism because we go to the grocery store to get our stuff, no planting needed! But this scripture contains a real key to a lifestyle of prosperity and abundance.

Lazy, or idle people don’t do the right activity that the times call for. They miss the boat. When it’s time to plant, they remain comfy and warm in their homes. The King James says that the lazy will not plant because of the adverse conditions of the cold. Winter has receded, spring is in the air, but because the conditions aren’t IDEAL, the lazy man does no work. Come the autumn, when it is time to harvest, he has nothing to eat and begins to beg of the man that does!

Yes, this applies to a farmer, but it also applies to you and me! I can’t tell you how many times I have encountered believers that are TODAY feeling the pain of their laziness YESTERDAY. They didn’t SOW YESTERDAY so now they have nothing to REAP TODAY. You don’t sow seed TODAY that you need TODAY. You sow seed TODAY that you will need TOMORROW.

How does this apply? Well, probably the most obvious application that comes to mind is our finances and it’s one that we must deal with every day. Yet this principle applies to our relationships, our marriages, our families, our callings, our beliefs, etc. If you aren’t sowing compassion and kindness into your marriage TODAY, when you need a harvest of grace and mercy TOMORROW, you will have a huge fight suffer lack. If you aren’t sowing time and energy into your kids TODAY, that great lecture you need to have with them when they make a mistake TOMORROW won’t mean so much, will it stranger err, I mean Dad.

In our finances, when we need a harvest, it’s already too late to plant the seed. That’s why it’s a wonderful thing to sow TODAY what we will need TOMORROW. Stingy believers that don’t give and hold on to all of their resources always seem to be shocked when the harvest of GENEROSITY they need isn’t there when they need it. Want abundance? Then sow liberally? We are continually reaping the benefit of what we planted YESTERDAY. Not reaping a harvest TODAY? It’s probably because you weren’t sowing YESTERDAY.

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” – II Corinthians 9:6

Wise people consider sowing TODAY down payment on a Harvest TOMORROW.

April 19th – Proverbs 19: At the END of the Day

“Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.” – Proverbs 19:20

This scripture could be translated: “If you will attentively hear advice and counsel, and take hold of correction, discipline and instruction, in your latter days, you will become wise and prudent.”

I love that we are given the long term picture of the man that hears and attends to wisdom and counsel. This is a big picture, long term promise here. Wisdom is a life long journey and an ultimate destination of the righteous. You don’t wake up one morning and glow with wisdom. Many folks may make a wise decision or two and start immediately reaping the benefits of wisdom and wise choices. But it takes a minute to BECOME wise! And by a minute, I mean a lifetime! But it’s a worthwhile pursuit!

If we will diligently give ourselves to listening and attentively applying wisdom and counsel, we’ll become wise. I think this is telling us that there is no point where you suddenly “attain” wisdom and don’t need counsel and advice any more. Wise people still ask advice and counsel because:

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22

We’re also told that if we accept and attend to, diligently applying the instruction, correction and rebuke we have received, we’ll become wise. I have received discipline and rebuke in the past and applied it in the moment. But what good is is to me if I don’t continue to apply the wisdom I have received? I’ve watched folks make a couple good choices, obviously applying wisdom, counsel and advice, only to go back and revert to their old, foolish ways. No, the Christian life is a long distance race, not a sprint. We must endure to the END to win.

“But he who stands firm to the END will be saved.” – Matthew 24:13


Given the decisions you are making TODAY, what does your END portend?

Monday, April 18, 2011

April 18th – Proverbs 18: What Does Your Mouth Invite?

“A fool's lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating.” – Proverbs 18:6

Everything foolish people do end in a mess. When they open their mouth, they provoke controversy and foment strife. If they keep talking, they invite a beating! It’s like their lips are talking, but all anyone can hear is, “Hey! I need to bleed from the face! Hit me!” The devil needs to hardly get involved in their lives as they constantly sabotage themselves. I have noticed people that would be biblically classified as fools go into great detail about how the enemy wants to take them out and how involved he supposedly is in their lives. But then you watch and realize that the enemy has been on vacation for years. They are in auto pilot self-destruct mode. The key to their total undoing is their idiot mouth! As they keep talking the problems get bigger and bigger, the strife gets more and more pronounced until all that is left is a crumpled bleeding person on the ground, fresh from a good old fashioned butt whoopin’!

“A fool's mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul.” – proverbs 18:7

It’s funny, it doesn’t say that the fools’ actions undoes him, it says his mouth and his lips. Why is this? The actions are preceded by speech!

“Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” – James 3:5,6

As James teaches us, the tongue is a small part of our body, but like a rudder on a ship, it has the ability to set the course of our lives. With our tongue we can set the course to blessing, prosperity and success, or we can turn the ship towards the brink and steer her over the falls.


Maybe instead of complaining about the course our life is headed on, we should go ahead and check the rudder?

Friday, April 15, 2011

April 15th – Proverbs 15: Troubling Your Family

“A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live.” – Proverbs 15:27

Over the years I have watched many people fall into this trap. What’s scary about the trap of greed is the deceptiveness of it. I have never heard anyone say, “I’m just greedy. I want to fill my bank account at any cost because I love money.” Nope, every time someone starts down the path of greed it’s ALWAYS with great intentions. Normally it sounds something like this, “If I had X amount of money, I could do great good for the Kingdom/my family/my church etc.” The Lord spoke to me several years ago and told me that I would never have to leave the Kingdom to possess the Kingdom. What I mean is that sometimes in order to possess the benefits of the Kingdom (righteousness, peace and joy) we sometimes embrace the opposite (sinfulness, anxiety and depression)! How many folks for the promise of a windfall have mortgaged homes, lost life savings and risked their financial future on gambling, stocks, businesses, causing great harm to the very people they were trying to bless??

This is what the Bible calls the deceitfulness of wealth:

“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.” – Matthew 13:22

It’s true, having some money is better than having no money. I’ve had NO money and I’ve had SOME money. I prefer SOME money and I really would like to see what A LOT of money is all about! But poverty is not God’s answer to greed. Some Christians in their earnest desire to not fall into the trap of greed have unwittingly embraced a poverty mentality. But I have to say, both are incredibly selfish. A person with a greedy mentality gathers and never gives. A person with a poverty mentality has nothing to give, period. Neither are God’s best for our lives. I believe that we all should have enough for our personal needs and enough to be a real blessing to others. In the same way that we comfort others with the comfort we receive from God, we can give and bless others with our financial resources that we receive from God. If we receive nothing from God, we have nothing to give! So blessed to be a blessing is a wonderful place to be, spiritually speaking.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” II Corinthians 1:3,4

In Webster’s dictionary, a bribe is defined as: money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust; something that serves to induce or influence.

In this context, a bribe is a gift or promise given to influence your judgment and behavior. In short, what is the cost of your convictions? Our integrity and desire for God should have NO price tag on them whatsoever.


Keep your bribe money, I’ll keep my family.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 14th – Proverbs 14: Watch Your Step!

“A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.” – Proverbs 14:15

There is a sucker born every minute. Some people will believe anything and some people can be talked into anything. There are entire segments of our economy counting on this fact. Whole million and billion dollar industries are built on this principle. The Bible says they are simple. They are willing targets or marks for con men and the disingenuous. If someone can talk you into a course of action that you KNOW is wrong due to their passionate sales pitch and you change your mind, you are simple, or seducible.

Some people, after being conned and led astray will hide behind, “I just believe the best about people”. Well, I’m sorry, that’s not faith, because faith considers the facts (Romans 4:19). REAL faith considers the facts and then believes in SPITE of facts. Take Abraham for example, the Bible says that:

“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” – Romans 4:18-21

No, being gullible or easily persuaded is a choice to be deceived. We choose NOT to believe the scripture and choose to believe people’s words instead of the fruit of their actions. Behind every bad business deal or pyramid scheme is a choice to be snowed. When we turn a blind eye to people’s actions and elevate their words above the fruit of their life, we are making a choice to be conned.

“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” – Matthew 7:16-20

Wise people carefully consider the outcome of every step they take. They think through problems and “solutions” taking the course of action that is biblical, moral and wise. You can present facts to wise people, but you can’t talk them into anything unless they are themselves convinced. If you try and rush a wise person into a decision, it’s an automatic “NO”. Why? Because to a wise person, no “opportunity” is worth the price of their peace.


Taking careful thought to our ways and prayerfully considering the steps we take in life is not “playing it safe” or “having no faith”. It’s wisdom in action.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April 13th – Proverbs 13: A Companion of Fools

“He who walks with the wise shall be wise, but a companion with fools shall be destroyed.” – Proverbs 13:20

You could translate this verse like this: “The person that walks or travels with the wise and prudent in heart will himself become a person of wisdom and understanding; but the person that keeps company with and associates with self-confident fools will himself be destroyed and suffer great personal harm.”

I’ll tell you, if there is one thing that we have done that has drawn the ire of Christians over the years, it is stick to the wisdom of this proverb. I don’t quite understand why many believers feel like they have the grace or ability to ignore this scripture or expect a different result, but they do and to their great personal peril. There is something about the company you keep that speaks volumes about you. What you tolerate and excuse in the company you keep ultimately catches up with you. Foolish people do foolish things and if you are a companion of one, you might be around to see them reap what they sow!

This was illustrated very clearly to me in an experience I had when I was a teenager.

I had a friend growing up as a kid. We were inseparable and did everything together. When we were both in our late teenage years, I had a profound encounter with the Lord that changed my life forever and I got really serious about the Lord. Over the weeks and months following, I suddenly had little in common with my best buddy, but we tried to stick it out and hang out whenever we could. He loved the Lord, but wasn’t going hard after God. Several months later, a mutual friend came to visit and we spent the weekend together with him. We all got in the car to go somewhere and my once best buddy was showing off at the wheel. He began racing up and down a little country road, trying to get air over a hill. I begged and pleaded with him from the back seat to knock it off and drive safely. He laughed me off and did the jump again, accelerating as fast as he could. We hit the jump, flew into the air and completely missed the road, crashing into a tree and totaling the car!

We emerged from the wreck a little bumped and bruised but I walked away resolved to stick to this verse! I saw that simply associating with people of questionable character could cost me my life! Trust me; you DO NOT want to be there when your idiot friends reap the consequences of their foolish behavior!

“Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." – I Corinthians 15:33


Good can rub off on you. Stupid can too.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April 12th – Proverbs 12: Fill Your Mouth, Fill Your Life

“An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk, but a righteous man escapes trouble. From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.” – Proverbs 12:13,14

The tongue can be our greatest friend or worst enemy. To the wicked, what they say gets them into trouble. Time and time again, I have seen wicked people ensnare themselves with the words of their mouth. From gossip and slander to lying and cursing, the tongue or mouth of the wicked can wreak havoc. Likewise, it’s the gracious words coming from the lips of righteous people that deliver him from death and fill his life with good things!

What we say with our mouths is important! Now, what we say will never ultimately trump what we do, but what we say steers the course of our lives!

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

We have the ability to prophesy and bring forth life or death based on what we say. Understandably, wicked people prophesy and speak death; therefore their lives are “trapped” due to this sinful talk.

Righteous people escape trouble and in fact their lives are filled with good things due to their words. This proverb tells us that our words can produce a benefit to our lives in the same way that our actions can. Our actions make us what we we are, but it’s our words that set the course!

“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” – James 3:3-5


Watch what you say!

April 11th – Proverbs 11: How to THRIVE

“Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” – Proverbs 11:28

Trusting in wealth or riches is a classic blunder of foolish people. Having money in the bank, some savings or investments is wonderful, trust me, it beats the alternative. I have had NO money and I have had SOME money, trust me, SOME money is better! (We’re working on having LOTS of money!) Yet our trust or sense of security should never come from the acquisition of wealth or material possessions (even gold, you Glenn Beck freaks!). Our trust and hope can ONLY be truly found in the Lord.

Governments shake and the nations and cities of this world are in turmoil. Financial markets crash and even real estate markets crash! One of the biggest “gods” of our culture is housing and real estate. It’s been touted as the ultimate wealth building tool of progressive American culture. SO much so that many folks were tricked into taking high risk “sucker” loans from predatory lenders to achieve the American dream. What a nightmare that turned out to be! I do think that real estate is a generally good investment, but rights now it’s down so much people are losing their shirt right and left! Real estate, once thought to be the “unshakable” investment vehicle for Americans is shaken to the core.

For example: in 2000, my wife and I bought a cute 3 bed, 2.5 bath house in Woodstock for $124,000. We struggled making the payments and after 6 years happily unloaded the home to move into something smaller and more manageable for our income. We were able to sell the house for $165,000 and pay off some bad business debt in the process. I just looked online and some of the homes next door to our house are selling for $109,000! Thank God that our trust and security was not in something as shakable as a real estate market! This is the classic blunder of the foolish, to put their trust and security into a vehicle that shakes.

But the righteous do it differently.

This proverb says that the righteous will THRIVE like a green leaf. It’s interesting to note that a leaf is simply part of a much greater tree. The trees roots sink deep into the earth, protecting it against the weather and seeking out nutrients in the soil and moisture from the ground water. The trunk is the support for the tree and the branches proceed from the trunk. The little leaf just hangs there, COMPLETELY supported by the rest of the tree. For the righteous, the secret to prosperity and security is found in this picture. God is our source and our security. Our only job is to hang out and look pretty while He (the tree) does the heavy lifting.


The secret to thriving is in what you are connected to, not what you possess.

Friday, April 8, 2011

April 8th – Proverbs 8: A Ballad To Lady Wisdom

This is an amazing passage of scripture, extolling the virtues of “lady wisdom”. If you have never thought of wisdom and understanding as feminine, look how many times the scriptures use the feminine to describe them! Normally when we think of wisdom and understanding, the picture of a long, gray bearded man may fill our minds. In our culture, wisdom is almost always recognized and celebrated in the masculine form.

But the ladies Wisdom and understanding, as this passage declares, were here from the very beginning:

"The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began.” – Proverbs 8:22-23

Before the man (Adam) there was wisdom and understanding! It was through wisdom and understanding the world and all its creatures were made!

“I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth. Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.” – Proverbs 8:27-31

We never think about God needing a helper to create the world, but here it is, in scripture! Wisdom and understanding were there by His side, assisting in the creation of all things as the first helper. So if God, the omnipotent and omnipresent one needed the assistance of wisdom and understanding in His work, how much more do we need their help! And if we will call out to them, become friends with them and make them our family, they will help us too!

But to me, the scariest of all descriptions of wisdom is this one:

“For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD.” – Proverbs 8:35

Wait a minute; if I find wisdom I receive favor from the Lord?? Sounds eerily familiar to this passage:

“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.” – Proverbs 18:22

Creepy. Could my wife be God’s gift of lady wisdom to my life?? Hmm, wisdom and wives have MUCH in common… too much to be a coincidence.



April 7th – Proverbs 7: SO. MUCH. ADULTERY!

“Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," and call understanding your kinsman; they will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words.” – Proverbs 7:4-5

Has anyone else noticed how much talk there is of adultery in the first nine chapters of Proverbs?? If it was any other manuscript than the Bible I would say it’s a little too much. But since it’s the Bible, God obviously has something to teach us.

As this scripture says, its wisdom and understanding that will keep us from the adulteress. We’re called to become close personal friends with wisdom and understanding. We’re supposed to call out to wisdom and tell her (notice the feminine form of wisdom) that she is our sister and call understanding a close family member! Apparently when you’re in the same family as wisdom and understanding you are protected from the horror of the adulteress and her lies. Keeping family like this will keep you away from the terrible results of lying with her:

“Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.” – Proverbs 7:26-27

So I was thinking about this, if calling understanding your kinsman and wisdom your sister leads to a life free from the terrible result of adultery, what is the effect of running with other spirits? So the opposite of wisdom as declared by Proverbs is foolishness. Then the opposite of understanding must be ignorance? So run with wisdom and understanding and stay away from adultery, run with foolishness and ignorance and fall right into her trap?

Also of note, in proverbs foolishness is always used in the masculine, wisdom in the feminine. Do you think that God is trying to tell us something??


Who do you call your family?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April 6th – Proverbs 6: A Lamp, A Light & the Way of Life

“For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life” – Proverbs 6:23

The commandments and teaching that the writer of this proverb is talking about here is:

“My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;” – Proverbs 6:20

Good parents INSTRUCT their kids. They teach them and command them in the way of life. They don’t manage their destruction by observing their progress or lack thereof, they direct their progress and in many cases must correct, instruct and rebuke. This is the kind of teaching that lights your way. So many people are walking in profound darkness, not knowing what makes them stumble. Maybe it’s because they either are forsaking the commands and teaching of their parents or never received them! I for one received some wonderful light and truth from my parents. I can honestly say that it has illuminated my path and shed light on my ways.

I have an older brother that has forsaken our parent’s instruction and guess what? Everything this proverb says would happen has happened. No lamp, no light and no way to life! Beyond that, there’s another benefit to this teaching and instruction. The proverb says that they will:

“To keep you from the evil woman, From the smooth tongue of the adulteress.” – Proverbs 6:24

The adulteress is a terrible judgment and the just payment for forsaking the way of life. I have heard many people that have fallen into her lap treat the affair as it was an accident, like they got hit by a tornado! Nothing could be further from the truth! It takes great effort to fall into sin like this. You have to make a series of bad choices, starting with the forsaking of the teaching your parents gave you. It’s no accident. It’s a deliberate forsaking of the path of life and a commitment to sin.


Father DOES know best.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April 5th – Proverbs 5: One of the Best Scriptures in the Bible

“May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love.” – Proverbs 5:18,19

I love the Bible. This is one of those scriptures that I have taken as a life verse. This is explicit instruction from God to enjoy my wife sexually. You just can’t tell me that the Lord is not amazing. Included in his Holy Writ are instructions to rock the sack with your wife and enjoy her breasts! Come on!

This is also a profound protection verse. The key to walking in holiness and purity isn’t, as many people have opined, abstinence from sinful behavior, like adultery. But this is our mindset in the cerebral west. We will study the dark side, learn the behaviors to that God abhors and then avoid them as best we can. The only problem is that this mentality actually attracts us to sin! Making something a law doesn’t help us to avoid sin; it actually produces a desire for that sin in our flesh

The Bible says,

“But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead.” – Romans 7:8

God’s remedy is so much simpler. I call it “Grace Empowered Holiness”. God doesn’t expect us to abstain from sex to stay sexually pure; He calls us to enjoy sex as He intended, with our wife! Not only to partake in sex, but to enjoy it immensely, under the covenant we have with our mate. We called to have a blessed wife, to rejoice in the wife of our youth and to be satisfied with her physical body. The person that obeys this scripture will be blessed and satisfied with what he does have and won’t be biting his lip trying to resist the temptation of what he doesn’t have! The husband that is sexually satisfied, enraptured and captivated with his wife is not open to temptation!


I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go obey the word today!

Monday, April 4, 2011

April 4th – Proverbs 4: The Path of the Righteous

“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.” – Proverbs 4:18,19

One of the glowing benefits of righteousness is an illuminated path. This means simply that we are given clarity in exchange for walking righteously. Clarity of vision and a clear path ahead are invaluable in dark days. But the wicked have no such hope. The wicked, in a dark time walk a path that is in “deep” darkness. They are stumbling, falling and plodding along, but have no idea what makes them stumble. The path of the righteous is not only bright, it gets brighter! The closer we walk with God the clearer our way gets. The farther we go along the oath, the more crystal clear our way becomes. This is an amazing promise and an even better reality.

Think about it, is this your reality? Are things getting clearer and clearer? Is your destiny coming into focus? I remember early on in my walk with God that I had a very basic desire to serve God and people, but not a lot of clarity in the details. As the years have progressed and as I have been faithful in doing the little I knew I could do, more clarity has come. My role, my gifts and my calling have crystallized. I see today with infinitely more clarity than I did 10 years ago and I expect to report the same ten years from now! This is a principle of the Kingdom; be faithful with little and you get more! (Luke 16:10)

The brightness of your path is an indication of your walk.

If your path is bright and getting brighter, then you are walking in righteousness. If it’s getting darker and darker, you may need to turn and repent! Think about it, when was the last time you saw with clarity? When was the last time you had vision of the path in front of you? If it’s been some time, think about it; what happened and how did you lose that perspective? Most likely, life got complicated with other things and other interests. Jesus called them “thorns” that choke out fruitfulness. (Mark 4:7) I would encourage you to let the fire of God come and burn away everything that chokes out fruitfulness and steals your vision!


How bright = how right.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April 1st – Proverbs 1: The Price of Foolishness

“For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm." – Proverbs 1:22-33

When you breakdown this passage in the Hebrew, it could have been easily translated like this: “The backsliding of the simple, seducible man will completely and utterly destroy him and the careless ease and false security of the fool will cause him to perish; but whosoever hears and understands wisdom can abide, rest and stay forever in the place of refuge, at peace and with no anxiety or fear of bad things to come.”

It’s interesting to note that it’s the backsliding of the simple/seducible man that kills him. It’s not the sin that takes us out; it’s the inability or unwillingness to repent. God is NOT intimidated with our sin! He came and died for it so we could live above it. Waywardness is what happens to simple, seducible people. Think on that, are you seducible? What’s your price? At what point will you backslide or reject the Lord? For Peter it was the opinions and the fear of men (Luke 22:60). For others it’s the fear of financial loss. Jesus was NOT seducible. The enemy offered him ALL the wealth and the Kingdoms of the world and Jesus didn’t budge (Matthew 4:9). We’ve got to understand that the door to death is compromise, and then we must close the door to whatever would cause us to be wayward in our faith.

It’s equally interesting to note that the complacency or false sense of security of foolish people is what will destroy them. Again, it’s not their sin and it’s not their lack. It is the sinner’s unwillingness to seek the remedy to their sin and lack. Complacent fools are destroyed, but the Bible is full of repentant fools whose lives are transformed! Peter did in fact deny the Lord, but afterward, He turned towards the Lord, repented and God transformed Him into a pillar of the church! Foolish people are often confident and secure in their stupidity and it’s this false sense of security that will ultimately destroy their lives.

Take a certain idiot celebrity in the news recently: he’s been bragging about his highly dangerous & illegal drug use and rampant, casual sex with prostitutes porn stars, even starting a circus tour to tout his “winning” ways. On this #LOSING path he will bust hell wide open and it will be any day now sooner, rather than later. The wise man would quickly turn and repent, the foolish person will continue to be confident and falsely secure in his sin. One of these men has a future, another does not.


Never let Charlie Sheen some drug addicted Hollywood idiot tell you what #WINNING is.