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  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on 2014-05-26 Permalink | Reply
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    (#174) The Proverbs of Solomon 25:17-Twitter This 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 25:17: “Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house, Lest he become weary of you and hate you.”

    If there ever was a cautionary warning about “social media,” this is it! It is possible to “wear out our welcome.” Facebook fans, beware. Not everyone wants to read about what your husband will have for supper, or how many messy diapers your baby has had, or how many trips you make to the store, or where you plan to grill food for company, or everything your children accomplish. The most tiresome invitation used to include, “and we have slides of our family,” but now it seems to be “friend me on Facebook!” There are many who “unfriend” those who seem to “think” with Facebook, Twitter, or on other social media. Enough is enough.

    Social media seems to have cultivated a climate that was condemned by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul: “And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some have already turned aside after Satan” (1 Timothy 5:13-15). The responsibilities of home and family should be enough to keep one busy, and avoid being “gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.” With our constant, instant communication devices, people have forgotten the self-limiting barriers that should protect our privacy. It seems that “Generation N” (Narcissists) thinks everyone should be interested in everything going on in their lives without ever asking for that information!

    The communication today is wonderful when used properly, but remember “too much familiarity breeds contempt.” Try talking to God, He does not get tired: “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 7:45 am on 2014-05-21 Permalink | Reply
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    (#171) The Proverbs of Solomon 24:27-Comfort Is Not Job One! 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ. Proverbs 24:27: “Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.” Work must come before convenience and comfort. The Garden of Eden came with a job (Genesis 2:15), having food requires work (2 Thessalonians 3:10), and this proverb emphasizes the comforts of a house depends upon how good of a job one does “outside” to earn that house! Many people have turned this completely around, for they are getting bigger and bolder houses, beyond what their parents have achieved, before establishing themselves in a career-type work. The order here taught by Wisdom should be to learn to work and earn while living with their parents so they are ready to embark upon working experiences that will help them toward their goal(s). All Old Testament prophecies of the Israelites returning to their Promised Land were fulfilled in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, however not without urging. In Ezra chapter 4, the re-building of the temple in Jerusalem stalled out, but God sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to preach plainly (Ezra 5:1). The people should not have been building their own houses and neglecting God’s House: “Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built.’ Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, ‘Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins? Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways!”’” (Haggai 1:2-5) Jesus applied this very truth to spiritual matters when: “great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it — lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.” Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple’” (Luke 14:25-33). Jesus also said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Obey the Lord first (Acts 2:38), get a job second (Ephesians 4:28), then plan some comforts (Proverbs 24:27). All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-04-10 Permalink | Reply
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    (#170) The Proverbs of Solomon 24:21-22-Can this be saved? 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 24:21-22: “My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those given to change; For their calamity will rise suddenly, And who knows the ruin those two can bring?”

    “Fear” here is used in the sense of “respect,” and since “there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1), then those who respect God’s authority will never set about to overthrow or disrespect “the authorities that exist.” This is clearly expressed in other passages, such as Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-17. “The king” who was to govern over God’s people, however, was commanded by God, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). “The king” (representing the highest authority in government) should (1) read the God-given Scriptures; (2) respect their authority by yielding to their commandments; (3) not consider himself above the law! In other words, if a “king” wants the respect of those who respect God, he must show respect to God!

    Those “given to change,” are the restless souls who feel the establishment cannot be right, any “new” way has to be better, and they, therefore, seek to “fundamentally change” whatever constitutional regulations that exist! Countries where this spark has been fanned into flames have burned their flags, ignored their constitutional laws, and been ruled by those who think themselves above the law! This is of the Devil, for this was the appeal: he made to Eve that caused the first sin (Genesis 3:1-19); in one of the temptations he made to Jesus Christ (Luke 4:1-13); behind the “cultural revolution” in the United States in the 1960’s and political upheavals since.

    Those who do not “fear the LORD” nor “fear the king” are both destroyers whose disrespect for God and His authority always produce disorder, destruction, and damnation! This is change without hope! King David said: “Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust, And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies” (Psalm 40:4). Asaph wrote: “Have respect to the covenant; For the dark places of the earth are full of the haunts of cruelty” (Psalm 74:20). Jesus illustrated the disrespect the Jews had for God by the parable of “the owner of the vineyard” (God), and the “vinedressers” (Jews) in Mark 12:1-12.

    God prophesied that Israelites would become so unfaithful in their Promised Land that God would let an outside people conquer them (Deuteronomy 28). That foreign nation was described very much like the “generation” that has arisen within the United States: “a nation whose language you will not understand, a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young. And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you” (Deuteronomy 28:49-51). Change the meanings of the words in language; make them intensely resentful of “the elderly” who have paved the way to a successful nation with sacrifices and blood; make them complete consumers with no ambition to work for profit to have to give to others; and who are so short-sighted and selfish they care not about the future “until they have destroyed you;” and you have an understanding of how a country can collapse! Though Deuteronomy was not a direct prophecy of our day and time, it surely paints a portrait of how any country can be destroyed!

    “Who knows the ruin those two can bring?” This is a question some of us may be able to answer.
    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-03-12 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: appetite, , , , , miser, practical lessons,   

    (#162) The Proverbs of Solomon 23:6-8-Bar-B-Que Bait 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 23:6-8: “Do not eat the bread of a miser, Nor desire his delicacies; For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. ‘Eat and drink!’ he says to you, But his heart is not with you.  The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, And waste your pleasant words.”

    Excesses are dangerous at the dinner table (Proverbs 23:19-21). In Proverbs 23:1-3, we are warned to not let appetite overrule our good judgment, or in other words, don’t let a politician buy our vote with bar-b-que! Then, in Proverbs 23:4-5, we are warned not to irresponsibly chase after “riches” as our only goal in life, for there is much more to a good life than that! Now, in Proverbs 23:6-8, we are again warned not to listen to a “miser” encourage us to “eat and drink” his food, because he begrudges every bit of what we would enjoy. His heart is not as open as his invitation! The guest’s “pleasant words” (table talk) will be wasted because the “miser” is resenting the guest’s enjoyment.

    Contrast this hypocritical feast with the genuineness that Jesus teaches Christians to have: “Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:12-14). Jesus taught that there should be no underlying political motive for giving an invitation for a meal! “Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely” (Luke 14:1). When it says “they watched Him closely” it describes their sidelong, judgmental observations just looking for a reason to condemn Him.

    The honesty of a Christian invitation is seen that when a fellow-Christian is in wilful, deliberate sin, for which he/she refuses to repent, faithful Christians would refuse to extend social opportunity around the dinner table (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).

    As Proverbs points out, good judgment should always take precedence over appetite and social fellowship!

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-03-11 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , boundaries, , landmarks, practical lessons,   

    (#161) The Proverbs of Solomon 22:28-The Sin Of Revisionist History 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 22:28: “Do not remove the ancient landmark Which your fathers have set.”

    There is a good reason God lets older people come before younger ones: to pass along wisdom learned from experiences! The lesson from history is that we should learn from history! The term “landmark” refers to memorials, surveyor marks, or boundaries that define territory that has been established for a reason. Since the flood in Noah’s day, God has established “the boundary” for water, so that a world-wide flood will never occur again (Psalm 104:6-9). When God sent the Israelites into their Promised Land, He specified its boundaries (Numbers 34:1-15). Moses’ Law, therefore included the command to respect their “neighbor’s landmark” (Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:17), also called “the ancient landmark” (Proverbs 23:10-11). God’s wrath was upon those who disregarded those landmarks (Hosea 5:10), and His appeal was for them to “set up signposts, make landmarks” (Jeremiah 31:21). People who tear down or disregard landmarks are destined to be confused and lost.

    There is a concerted effort to tear down history’s lessons and highlights in textbooks, and teach children to disregard where they have come from. It is an alienated and foreign nation that does not respect its roots. In the United States of America, the “ancient landmark” which our “fathers have set” is the Declaration of Independence and Constitution with its Bill of Rights. Tear this down and all the good governing of the past is for nothing. Historical signposts and landmarks tell a people where they have been and where they could go.

    The history of the churches of Christ is told in the New Testament and can be traced throughout the centuries until now. All those who disregard the beginning history are confused and lost. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Romans 6:3-6).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-02-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , practical lessons, , single parenting, train up a child,   

    (#159) The Proverbs of Solomon 22:6-Well Begun, Half Done 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

    Children are not computers or robots to be programmed with perfection. God created humans with free will to make choices about their life’s activities, so when Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden had chosen to violate God’s Rules for them He asked them: “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” (Genesis 3:11). They had obviously chosen a different decision which the serpent had offered.

    Parents’ duties are summarized thusly: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:7). It is up to both parents, husband and wife, to keep God’s Word before their child, and not leave it up to grandparents, video games, school teachers, neighbors, or TV! This training should start “from childhood” (literally, “as a baby,” 2 Timothy 3:15); from mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5); under direct guidance of the father (Ephesians 6:4). The tragedy of single-parenting is that this burden often becomes too great for one to adequately, evenly achieve.

    Parents’ must individualize God’s instructions to each child, and begin them on the right way (“he should go”). Teach the child what is expected, fill each child with a hungering and thirsting for God’s Word. “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul” (Proverbs 29:17). The joy of parenting is seeing God’s Word being internalized by each child. The successful parent has placed their child’s hand in God’s Hand. God knows that even as adults, we should be like the Apostle Paul, who wrote: “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14). No child will mechanically make all the right decisions, but sin and forgiveness of sin is what life is about, and God “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

    Parents’ must realize that God does not hold them responsible for their children’s adult decisions! Even in God’s Law through Moses this was true: “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall the children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin” (Deuteronomy 24:16). David phrased it right in Psalm 34:11: “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”

    Parents are only responsible for how they start their children in life, not for the end result of their lives!

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-02-12 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: betting, , , diligent, , , , haste, hasty poverty, , , practical lessons, , raffle, sweepstake, toil, unearned government dole, ,   

    (#153) The Proverbs of Solomon 21:5-Hurry Up And Lose 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 21:5: “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”

    Work, hard work, and plenty of it is the only way to true wealth. Though God could have Created “the heavens and the earth” instantaneously, He used 6 days to establish a work ethic for humankind (Genesis 1:1-2:3). His example established the principle of daily work, which He commanded in the Law of Moses: “”Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed” (Exodus 23:12); and in the Law of Christ: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). “Steadfast” and “immovable” are the characteristics of “steady” and “sure.” The Apostle Paul obeyed God’s work ethic to support his preaching of the Gospel: “For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:9). Other proverbs emphasize this principle: “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men” (Proverbs 22:29); “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, And attend to your herds; For riches are not forever, Nor does a crown endure to all generations. When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself, And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in, The lambs will provide your clothing, And the goats the price of a field; You shall have enough goats’ milk for your food, For the food of your household, And the nourishment of your maidservants” (Proverbs 27:23-27).

    The other side of this is found in the common phrase, “haste makes waste.” ALL shortcuts, fast tracks, or quick remedies will fail. There is no gambling game, lottery, raffle, pool, sweepstake, betting, or bookmaking that substitutes for diligent, daily, hard work, either in personal satisfaction or security. “An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning Will not be blessed at the end” (Proverbs 20:21). Second generation fortunes seldom survive; most lottery winners squander their monies; those on an unearned government dole can lose it on a whim; gamblers are generally just contributing their bets to someone else’s jackpot! No one has ever thought of a scheme that betters God’s principle of satisfying work! Solomon will later say: “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, Whether he eats little or much; But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep” (Ecclesiastes 5:12). He then explains: “Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor-this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20).

    Keeping busy is the work of God which He rewards, but hastening to be rich will fail. Do you want to hurry up and lose?

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-02-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , practical lessons, , ,   

    (#148) The Proverbs of Solomon 20:25-Don’t Break Out In A Rash! 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 20:25: “It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy, And afterward to reconsider his vows.”

    The mouth can promise things that the mind later regrets. Sexual passion is a powerful accelerator for senseless promises. “For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. Because John had said to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.’ And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, ‘Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.’ And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother” (Matthew 14:3-11). Even Herod, however, felt compelled to keep his oath. Many people in the hormonal heat of a moment promise marriage and fidelity, only to forget after they “cool down,” but God doesn’t forget!

    Jephthah rashly vowed that if God would give him victory over the Ammonites, he would devote “whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me” to the LORD. His daughter, his only child, was that person, and “he carried out his vow with her which he had vowed. She knew no man” (Judges 11:29-40). Many people “bargain with God” in time of stress, only to forget their vow, but God doesn’t forget it!

    King Saul had forbidden his army to eat during the fighting against the Philistines, under the penalty of death. His son, Jonathan ate some honey, and that death penalty was suddenly forgotten by Saul (1 Samuel 14:24-31). Saul forgot his other obligations to God, too.

    Solomon later will state that rash vows before God that are not kept make one a fool, and God has “no pleasure in fools.” The time to avoid this sin is by thinking through the responsibility involved, before such vows are made. “Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool’s voice is known by his many words. When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed- Better not to vow than to vow and not pay” (Ecclesiastes 5:2-7).

    Repenting, and being “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) is a commitment. Don’t break out in a rash, but obey this Gospel “from the heart” (Romans 6:17).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • Glenda Williams 7:28 pm on 2014-02-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , practical lessons,   

    We were on Interstate 10 last Thursday afternoon… 

    We were on Interstate 10 last Thursday afternoon in Alabama heading toward Pensacola and home. Traffic was backed up 15 miles due to the ice storm in the area. We learned part of the interstate was not open for us to get home. We decided to call a friend in the area and ask if they had a bed we could sleep on. We made the call, and after a little greeting I revealed our plight. I asked, “Do you have a bed we could sleep on tonight?” My friend’s first reaction was, “Oh my,” and then she started offering an excuse. (More …)

     
    • J. Randal Matheny 9:48 am on 2015-04-14 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t remember reading this when you posted it. How sad your story! Thanks for the good lesson.

  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-01-22 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , class warfare, , , , luxury, practical lessons, princes, , , zero sum   

    (#140) The Proverbs of Solomon 19:10-Robbing Hoods 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 19:10: “Luxury is not fitting for a fool, Much less for a servant to rule over princes.”

    “Luxury” describes the pampered life one would expect in someone who has the power of office, but may have little regard for God. Jesus contrasted the Prophet John the Baptist who preached God’s Word to “those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury [but] are in kings’ courts” (Luke 7:25). “A fool” disregards God’s Word and Way, for “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26), thus “a fool” living in “luxury” is unexpected or unintended.

    The same can be said for “a servant” to have “rule over princes,” it upsets the natural order. Of the four things that are disturbing on earth, one is “a servant when he reigns” (Proverbs 30:21-23). Solomon later will say such a condition is “folly” (ridiculous): “I have seen servants on horses, While princes walk on the ground like servants” (Ecclesiastes 10:7). Revolution can overturn the order in society, and there are consequences that must be faced. “Class Warfare” seems to always have existed, and is based upon false arguments: (1) zero sum philosophy=the amount of natural resources and wealth are fixed, so no one may become rich without taking away that wealth from someone else. This motivates the “poor” to resent the “rich” and feel they are being left out of a “fair and equal” distribution of wealth. Solomon said there is wealth for everyone blessed by God: “As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor-this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19). There is no limit as to whom or how much God will bless. (2) envy and covetousness=lusting for what the “haves” have without doing their work to achieve it. When those who “have not” train their eyes on what others “have,” desiring to obtain it by evil means, we have an example of what God calls “covetousness,” which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Jesus said, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). Satisfaction with what we “have” comes from trusting God to be in charge: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

    When the “poor” are encouraged to covet what the “rich” have, they become “robbing hoods,” whether or not they are members of a political party, labor union, man-made religion, or underworld brotherhood!

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-01-17 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , practical lessons, ,   

    (#139) The Proverbs of Solomon 19:9-To Tell The Truth About Lies 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 19:9: “A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who speaks lies shall perish.”

    Bearing “false witness” is the same as a “lie.” This is not the same as someone who misunderstands, isn’t sure, or otherwise is innocently ignorant of the facts. A “false witness” (liar) is stating as fact that which is intended to avoid the truth about someone or something. Since it is “Satan who deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9), God hates “a false witness who speaks lies” (Proverbs 6:19), and so should every righteous person (Psalm 119:104-“Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way;” Psalm 119:163-“I hate and abhor lying, But I love Your law”). Since we cannot know everything, as God does, we must rely upon witnesses to give us facts upon which to make our decisions. As we sift through human statements, God’s witness is always right, best, and objective. Other proverbs uphold this: “A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who speaks lies will not escape” (Proverbs 19:5); “A disreputable witness scorns justice, And the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity” (Proverbs 19:28); “A man who bears false witness against his neighbor Is like a club, a sword, and a sharp arrow” (Proverbs 25:18).

    “A false witness shall perish, But the man who hears him will speak endlessly” (Proverbs 21:28). And the tragedy is many will hear the man who speaks endlessly on a subject about which he has been sorely misinformed. “Evolution” is one of these subjects based entirely upon “false witness,” as there is no scientific fact, no passage of Scripture, and no common sense known to mankind that establishes any, or all, of the “lie.” “Global Warming” (now, “Climate Change”) is another subject about which only “false witnesses” are sure, while weather scientists and observers demonstrate that, for many decades, there is no “global warming” directly caused by humans (or occurring at all!). And God’s decree in Scripture (Genesis 8:22) continues to be obeyed throughout His Earth, regardless of media propaganda contrariwise. Since Satan is “the accuser of our brethren” (Revelation 12:10), then “gossip” about fellow humans is bearing “false witness” not based upon fact or our personal knowledge.

    Jesus Christ was crucified by “false witnesses.” “Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree. Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying, ‘We heard Him say, “I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.”’ But not even then did their testimony agree” (Mark 14:55-59). Jesus never said that of the “temple made with hands” but spoke “of the temple of His body” (John 2:19-22).

    There is so much “false witness” being passed around, established truth centers around Jesus Christ, Who said, “for this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). Everyone who follows Jesus Christ will be truthful with him/herself, and with others, because “no lie is of the truth” (1 John 2:21).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-01-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , blame God, extreme sports, , guardian angels, practical lessons, , reckless, tempted,   

    (#138) The Proverbs of Solomon 19:3-Hey Ya’ll, Watch ‘Chis’ 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 19:3: “The foolishness of a man twists his way, And his heart frets against the LORD.”

    In our day of Extreme “Sports,” and irresponsible behavior, the Devil’s Doctrine seems to be what a lot of people use to get themselves into terrible situations, only to blame God for their stupid decisions! When the Devil tempted Jesus Christ, he perverted a Scripture to make it seem to teach that whatever reckless decision one makes, God will send a “guardian angel” to save a person from their own choices! “Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: “He shall give His angels charge over you,” and, “In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone”'” (Matthew 4:5-6). In this, he quoted from Psalm 91:11-12, leaving out a crucial phrase, and teaching falsely that God has angels to “guard” us from our own recklessness! Jesus Christ replied by showing that the plain teaching of God’s Word on that subject came from Deuteronomy 6:16: “Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, “You shall not tempt the LORD your God”'” (Matthew 4:7). Jesus was emphasizing that humans should not put God in that situation by hurling ourselves into circumstances we should have avoided by obeying God!

    Job’s friends, and Job, had wrestled with the question: Why do bad things happen to good people? In God’s response, He said to Job: “Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me: ‘Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?’” (Job 40:7-8) God was saying, “Man up, and take responsibility for your own life, and quit blaming Me for your ignorance or weaknesses!” People seem to think they can live their lives without thinking of God or how His Word would bring Wisdom into their decisions, and then they want to curse God, blaming Him because their lives are in wreck and ruin. That’s like a driver under the influence who kills people and destroys property, who would sue the car maker because he/she did it using a car! How useless (and ignorant!) is it to blame our Maker because we have thrown away what could have otherwise been a good life because we didn’t listen to our Maker’s instructions? Jesus’ lament over the Israelites says it all: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37)

    How reckless is it to continue to live without Jesus Christ? “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-01-13 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cross-examination, , , practical lessons, , ,   

    (#135) The Proverbs of Solomon 18:17-Who’s On, First? 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 18:17: “The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him.”

    The sympathetic ear is what this Proverb is all about. In every dispute or trouble, there is always a “first side,” that is, the one we hear first. The problem comes when we are prone to form an opinion before hearing the “other side.” We need to remember that all forms of media are presenting their “first side:” movies, books, TV news, magazines, and papers.

    The second part of the proverb shows that cross-examination, or further examination of the facts, can change the whole perspective. Other corresponding proverbs say: “A faithful witness does not lie, But a false witness will utter lies” (Proverbs 14:5); “Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, For would you deceive with your lips?” (Proverbs 24:28) Because there often is a mixture of faithful and false witnesses, we need to be most careful in our cross-examination. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

    This possibility of wrong-sidedness shows the peril of quick judgments. “He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own Is like one who takes a dog by the ears” (Proverbs 26:17). Getting involved in “a quarrel” before we understand “both sides,” is like controlling a dog by holding its ears – it may work for a while, but sooner or later, we must let go, and then what?

    We will get “bitten” by the arguments in the quarrel when we don’t know what we’re getting into.

    Why not wait until the “neighbor comes and examines” what we’ve been told?

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • TFRStaff 8:20 am on 2014-01-12 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , practical lessons, , ,   

    PRACTICAL FOR LIVING! 

    One evening, as I was leaving our seasonal Winter Shelter, one of the guests asked me of my perspective on religion as compared to certain practices he had observed. Part of my response to him was that religion — as it is expressed in the Scriptures — is not merely ritual, but is practical. It relates to accepting God’s authority for life, good living and helping to meet the needs of others. The questioner then responded, “You are doing that.”

    Someone has said, “A person’s most useful asset is not a head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love, an ear ready to listen and a hand willing to help others.” [original source unknown]

    The fact that living a life pleasing to God is more than ritualistic observance is made clear through various passages of Scripture. For example, in response to a questioner seeking to justify himself (Luke 10:29), Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan. (Luke 10:30-35) The priest and the Levite appear to have been too focused on their ceremonial cleanness to help one who had A REAL NEED. To press the point we read. . .

    “(36) Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” (37) He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “YOU GO, AND DO LIKEWISE.”” (Luke 10:36-37 ESV)

    On another occasion, when Jesus’ disciples were accused of plucking heads of grain while walking through a grainfield on the Sabbath, Jesus reminded the
    faultfinders of David and his men having eaten the bread that was only lawful for the priests to eat. That bread was there was to MEET THE NEED at the time. (Mark 2:23-26) By the time of Jesus’ walk on earth, the “doctrines” of work on the Sabbath had been meticulously defined by the teachers of the law. However, in addressing the practicality, Jesus went on to state. . .

    “(27) And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”” (Mark 2:27 ESV)

    There are a number of other places Jesus addressed what was done on the Sabbath when He Himself was accused of healing on the Sabbath. In those cases Jesus drew attention to what His accusers were willing to do when it came to their own personal property (i.e. Matthew 12:11-12), exposing more interest in themselves than in being willing to reach out to meet the REAL NEEDS around them.

    Perhaps one of the most concise and clearest statements comes from James where we read. . .

    “(27) RELIGION THAT IS PURE AND UNDEFILED BEFORE GOD, THE FATHER, IS THIS: TO VISIT ORPHANS AND WIDOWS IN THEIR AFFLICTION, AND TO KEEP ONESELF UNSTAINED FROM THE WORLD.” (James 1:27 ESV)

    Living a “religious” life before God and man is both practical and holy. Purity of life is an issue to be taken very seriously. However, our interaction with others and willingness to MEET REAL NEEDS is also of extreme importance. Are we not glad we have a Heavenly Father aware of and willing to provide for both our spiritual and physical needs? May we be mindful of that with regard to others as we live through each day God provides.

    Have a great day PUTTING THE ASSETS OF HEART, EAR, AND HAND TO WORK TO THE GLORY OF GOD! – Carl Hanson

    (“teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Church of Christ in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, located at 230 A Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Come visit us if in the area. http://www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org)

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  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-01-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , name of the LORD, , practical lessons, , , , ,   

    (#133) The Proverbs of Solomon 18:10-11-Do You Have Social or Spiritual Security? 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 18:10-11: “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. 11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, And like a high wall in his own esteem.”

    Soon out of the Garden of Eden, “men began to call on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 4:26); Abraham “built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 12:8); David offered sacrifices and “blessed the people in the name of the LORD” (1 Chronicles 16:2), who repeated his confidence: “Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8); Jesus Christ was welcomed into Jerusalem with people saying: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’” (Mark 11:9); and even today, Peter “commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48). “The name of the LORD” has always been the authority figure for the Bible. David summarized its power when he sang: “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2). The Israelites generally refused to flee to God, however, as Jesus lamented: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34). The Gospel of Jesus Christ reveals that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

    The tendency of mankind seems to be, when trouble arises, to hide behind “a high wall” of “wealth.”  This is forbidden in the New Testament. Jesus warned, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:24). “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). It is sad, indeed, as an economy weakens, to see people flock to a “give-away government,” Lottery chances to be rich, or crime, trying to become rich quickly. Why flee to the security of “wealth,” when Wisdom has declared: “Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23:5). “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city; The destruction of the poor is their poverty” (Proverbs 10:15).

    With the uncertainty of money’s value, and the haughtiness of those who think they are rich, and seeing how economies can be sucked dry by covetous leeches, why flee to “wealth” for security, when “the name of the LORD” is always dependable? “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
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