Two sources of wisdom: God or not-God

In the lips of him that hath discernment wisdom is found; But a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding (Proverbs 10:13, ASV).

By Ron Thomas — The words of this proverb are not hard to understand. Wisdom comes from only one of two sources. The source of wisdom is either from God or not-God. There are no other options. Continue reading “Two sources of wisdom: God or not-God”

Hate and love

Hatred stirreth up strifes; But love covereth all transgressions (Proverbs 10:12, ASV).

By Ron Thomas — I have come to understand we live in a society that hardly knows the meaning of the word racism, just like they hardly know the meaning of the word hate. Without giving attention to the first word, let us give attention to the second.

The word hate has broad application in Scripture; it can be associated with intense dislike, coupled with animosity to something not so intense. Continue reading “Hate and love”

A little with the Lord

Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it (Proverbs 15:16 ESV).

One of the recurring themes throughout the Proverbs is that peace, righteousness, and the fear of the Jehovah are far superior to wealth. With so much glorification of gain, this is definitely a counter-culture mindset.

It is implicit in almost every culture that those who have are more important than those who do not. Those who have fame are better than those who are unknown. Those who are rich are better than those who are poor. Those who are talented in a visible way are better than those whose talents exhibit themselves in more modest ways. Privation is seen as a character flaw and possession is seen as proof of a superior person. Continue reading “A little with the Lord”

‘A universal proverb among Christians’

Driving one Sunday morning up US Highway 45 in Tennessee, on our way to report on our work to a congregation outside of the town of Dyersburg, we passed a denominational church building with a sign posted near the right-of-way. It was simple, with three words, one on top of the other: Scripture, Tradition, Reason.

In truth, in order to reflect that group’s positions, the order ought to be reversed: reason, tradition, scripture. The denomination could not exist were it not for human reasoning and religious tradition, because its name and its teachings do not appear in Scripture in any form.

Division among people who call themselves Christians is a serious problem. Religious leaders not only justify it, but promote it. They glory in human names and creeds. They impose their doctrines and, like the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, make their followers “twice as much a child of hell as” themselves, Matthew 23.15. Continue reading “‘A universal proverb among Christians’”

Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

Each society has proverbs, pithy statements that may or may not contain some general truth. Some are more useful than others. “All that glitters is not gold” and “two wrongs don’t make a right” seem particularly useful in today’s society. One of the more popular proverbs is “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” But is that true?

Perhaps it is true in an extremely limited sense. Short periods of absence could cause one to realize how much another means to them. However, as a general rule, can we say that absence makes the heart grow fonder?

Continue reading “Absence makes the heart grow fonder?”

A proverb in the mouth of fools

Last week I began the final edit of a book for a friend. It’s a delight to read and an easy work to revise. He has the gift of words and, specifically, of writing. If I weren’t a servant of God, I’d be tempted to envy. He makes reading a joy, and learning a pleasure.

Not everyone has such a gift, and that’s a fine thing, since it’s God’s plan. But some people have what might be called an anti-gift.

Proverbs 26 enlightens the reader about the actions of fools. Among them is the use of a proverb in the mouth of fools. They are not only inept, their bad usage screeches against the ear. Continue reading “A proverb in the mouth of fools”

Goals, thoughts, behavior, self-control: Some notes on the book of Proverbs

This month I’m sending, by email, a chapter a day from the book of Proverbs to some friends who’ve requested it. It’s yet another effort to encourage Bible reading and study. I also post some links and notes of mine on each chapter, for whoever wants to delve further. Following is a translation from the Portuguese of some of those notes, a few of them expanded for this article, along with a couple new ones. Continue reading “Goals, thoughts, behavior, self-control: Some notes on the book of Proverbs”

God’s will and providence

If God answers prayers by dramatically opening doors, this proves God has revealed his individualized plan for that Christian, right? The stream of popular Christian culture pointing to Proverbs 3:5 tends to respond with a resounding yes.

Wait a moment. Every parent knows this is not necessarily so. Just reflect with me upon your own ubiquitous experiences.

Like every other parent on this planet, my wife and I strove to provide our boys with what we deemed to be the best. As they grew revealing aptitudes and interests, our resources and efforts opened doors for them to grow and develop. We intentionally and specifically entered into shaping and guiding their lives in various situations. Continue reading “God’s will and providence”

The great seducer

Satan will never leave us alone as long as we are committed to Christ. He will use whatever means at his disposal to pull as away from the Lord. He is the father of lies (John 8:44) and the master seducer (Genesis 3:1-8; Ephesians 6:11).

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12, NKJV).

 

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

In Proverbs, Solomon portrays Satan as a smooth talker. Understanding his battle plan will help us repel his attacks (James 4:7). By listening to God, we can construct a healthy environment where we can dwell with him and be safe from most of the dangers of this world (1 John 1:10). Continue reading “The great seducer”

Who deceived whom?

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30, ESV).

Linda had been a cheerleader, perky, petite and pretty. She was always surrounded by admirers; a myriad of boys would have been thrilled to have her just acknowledge them. She didn’t have to work hard at school, or on her personality. She had all she needed — pretty blue eyes and a personality as sweet as cotton candy, and perhaps as substantial.

Sarah had been the “plain Jane” in high school, quiet and competent. She rarely stood out in class, in fact worked at not standing out. But she buried her brown head in books and studied. By the time she graduated from college, she had exchanged the horn-rimmed glasses for contact lenses, but more importantly, she had begun a career in advertising, and had become an interesting person, with depth and keen perception. Continue reading “Who deceived whom?”