Category Archives: wisdom
Let’s take a look at the following verse from the tenth chapter of Proverbs.
The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. – Proverbs 10:20
When we look at this verse, it is important for us to remember that there is a comparison/contrast being made. An “opposite parallelism” is being used to make a point that one thing is valuable, while another is worthless.
In this case, it is easy to notice that Solomon is contrasting “the tongue of the just” with “the heart of the wicked.” The tongue of the just person (the words that he speaks) is something beautiful and of great value, while the wicked man’s heart is just the opposite. But if we were to look a little deeper, there is more than meets the eye, or first impressions.
What is really being contrasted are the hearts of both the wicked and the just. You see, what comes out of a person’s mouth is directly related to what’s in his heart. Proverbs 16:23 says, “The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.” In the book of James (3:11) we read, “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?”
Essentially, you can tell what is in a person’s heart by what comes out of his mouth. Jesus said, “It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” – Matthew 15:11 (NLT)
Do you like to tell dirty jokes? Then there must be lust in your heart. Do you always talk hateful? Then there is hatred (and maybe murder – see Matthew 5:21-22) in your heart.
Do you ever talk about God? About Jesus? About your love for Him? If not, maybe He’s not in there.
Do you realize that your heart is on display? No, I don’t mean that your chest cavity is transparent, nor do I mean that everyone can see your bloody, beating heart muscle. That’s sick!
What I do mean to say is that there is no hiding what is in your heart; because your words, the words from your mouth, tell the whole story.
Maybe we should listen to ourselves. Maybe we should ask others to tell us what they hear. Maybe we should be like King David and pray this prayer…
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”– Psalm 19:14
The above commentary was first published in my other blog, Proverbial Thought. It can also be found in Proverbial Thought: Your Daily Word of Wisdom from Proverbs (Parson’s Porch, 2014).
One morning a few years back (in 2013), as the first elementary children entered my bus, one child said to another, “Granny said to sit down!” Evidently, Granny had been giving some instruction on the way to the bus stop.
As we started to pull away from the stop, I glanced back to my right and saw the youngest little girl standing, along with the grandmother scowling and pointing a finger from the sidewalk. “You shouldn’t be standing,” I said, “especially if your granny said not to.”
Then, after a 2-minute story of what this little kindergartner did for her birthday, I proceeded to share with the rest of the children and her what other things they shouldn’t do. Why did I do this? I don’t know, but it was certainly interesting to here their responses.
Things You Shouldn’t Do
- Don’t eat worms with syrup. No matter what, they don’t taste like spaghetti.
- “I did. They taste like chicken! And they’re slippery!”
- Don’t ever kiss a deer on the lips.
- One girl asked, “Why not?” Another answered, “Because it might want to go out on a date with you, and deer won’t fit in a car.”
- “I saw a video where a guy made a deer mad because he took its picture.”
- Never take a picture of a deer until you know it has makeup on and its hair done.
- Never take a deer, or especially a moose, out to dinner on a date.
- “Why not?” asked one girl. “Because a moose won’t fit into your car, for sure, and they won’t serve a moose at a restaurant!” said another. I said, “And a moose has no table manners and can’t use a fork,” to which a little girl replied, “that would be a mess.”
- Never, ever, lick a cheese grater.
- “Why not?”
- If a bear comes up to you and asks, “Can I scratch your back?” say, “NO!”
- “What if it wants to drive your car?”
- If you are ever walking by the water, and a fish sticks it head out of the water to talk and says, “Hey, come over here,” don’t.
- “Iffa shark eva stick it head outta da watah un say, ‘C’mere, I wanna tell you somp’n,‘ DON’T DO IT!”
Really, it is amazing how children can show practical wisdom, even when they have no experience. All some kids know is that if it ain’t natural, like a shark trying to start up a conversation, then run away.
However, as we grow older and “wiser,” the things that used to be so simple grow more complicated. We desire the forbidden pleasures Granny used to warn us about, along with every other experience a liberated mind can dream up. We date the moose and schedule tickle fests with grizzly bears.
But in a day when men and women pride themselves in experience and boast in the knowledge gained from sin, Wisdom cries out like the little old granny from the street, “Listen to me! I’m warning you!”
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” declares the Psalmist (111:10). But fools, captivated by the unnatural, politically-correct, whatever-makes-me-happy talking shark, jump into the water.
Too bad real wisdom gets left on the bus.
“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:11
Part of the Christmas story can be found in the book of Matthew, the first book in the New Testament. There, in chapter two, we read of several wise men, Magi, who followed the star till it rested over the place where the young Jesus was living.
But what most people fail to notice is that only the shepherds came to visit Jesus while he was still a baby in a manger. The Magi came later, once they were living “in the house” and Jesus was a “young child.” And, based on Herod’s decree that all male children 2 years old and younger should be killed (Matt. 2:16), Jesus could have been a toddler up and walking.
Simply put, generally every manger scene protested against by atheists is not a faithful representation of the Christmas story. How ironic is that? But I digress…
When the Magi came to Bethlehem in search of “he that is born King of the Jews” (Matt. 2:2), they brought with them three very rare and valuable gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They were not random gifts, but ones with specific political, spiritual, and practical importance; they were meant to recognize a literal, earthly, but also heavenly King.
Gold was a universally recognized precious metal, symbolic of all wealth. Frankincense was a substance primarily used as incense, but also mixed with other substances to create the holy anointing oil placed on high priests and kings. Myrrh was a substance used for things ranging all the way from cosmetics and antiseptics, to perfuming the living and embalming the dead.
According to Matthew 2:11, the Magi fell down before Jesus, which would have been an appropriate response when in the presence of royalty (and these men knew the difference). But the wise men did more than fall prostrate before royalty, they “worshiped him.” This young king was more than just “King of the Jews,” but the long-promised Messiah, and they offered their gift to the Son of God.
Are You Wise?
As long as I can remember there have been sermons preached during and before Christmas entitled, “Wise Men Still Seek Him.” The sermons focus primarily on the seeking leading up to Christmas, but rarely, if ever, on the gifts given after the celebration is over. But today is different.
Today, I am going to ask you to consider three gifts we should give, now that the birthday celebration is over.
- Gold. Gold represented wealth. In your worship of the King, will you give Him your wealth? In reality, God owns everything, including everything He loans unto you. But with your heart, are you willing to lay everything that is most valuable to you at His feet?
- Frankincense. Frankincense represented worship. Would you be willing to fall down before Jesus, or do you hold back some of your Frankincense in reserve? Are there idols in your life – people or things – for which you reserve a little of that anointing oil, making those things lords of your life? Would you be willing to make Jesus Lord of all? Will you worship him without reservation?
- Myrrh. Myrrh was symbolic of the beauty of life, from beginning to end. Would you give to Jesus everything that makes you happy? Everything that brings you hope? Everything that is sweet-smelling? Everything that hides your faults and failures, disguising your true self? Would you give Jesus your life? He can do more with it than you can do on your own.
For several days after Christmas people will stand in line to return and/or exchange unwanted gifts. Many will trade what others gave them for something they want more. Others will just ask for a refund or in-store credit.
Rest assured that when you give your gifts to Jesus, he will not return them, exchange them, or re-gift them next year. But will you, once you realize what you’ve given, want to take something back?
Don’t wait for a New Year’s resolution. Now that Christmas is over, be like the Magi and leave everything at Jesus’ feet, then “depart…another way.”
Once you give Jesus those three gifts, you’ll never be the same.
“There’s such a broad ignorance or contempt for constitutional principles among the American people that any politician who bore truth, faith and allegiance to the Constitution would commit political suicide.” – Walter E. Williams, Is It Permissible? 2005
My friends, we are going to disagree on different things, and whether or not Justice Brett Kavanaugh should be on the Supreme Court of the United States is probably one of them. Some (well, a few) people I highly respect think voting for Judge Kavanaugh to be confirmed is insane, and that we should at the very least be doing an additional FBI background check into the allegations of rape as presented by Dr. Dianne Ford.
Then, there are others like myself who think it’s insane to believe that the whole fiasco being spread across the airwaves and social media is an example of the worst Washington, D.C. has to offer those who are pro-life, support traditional definitions of marriage, and did not vote for Hillary Clinton in the last presidential election.
However, one thing has been an integral part of both testimonies: ALCOHOL.
Let me go on record, if I haven’t already, by stating that I do not believe it is biblical to categorically claim that consuming beverage alcohol is a sin; there is no scripture that says it is, only those of which some may attempt squeeze out an implication (they eisegete rather than exegete). However, there is plenty of scripture that clearly spells out the dangers of unwise consumption and abuse of alcohol, all of which is sinful and destructive.
For just a moment, would somebody stop praising Dr. Ford for being a brave victim while I back away while I temporarily back away from defending the qualifications of Judge Kavanaugh? Why were these people allowed to publicly consume alcohol when they were teenagers? Why did Kavanaugh’s upper-crust high school yearbook glorify teenage drunkenness like it was a right of passage? Where were all the adults when all these supposed drinking parties took place?
Who drives their 15-year-old daughter to a party where alcohol is going to be consumed and then does nothing about it when she comes home smelling like booze?
What is so wonderful about teenagers knowing the names of drinking games?
And, Judge Kavanaugh, you were proud to remain a virgin until marriage, but nowhere in your study of Scripture was it obvious that drunkenness could lead to situations in which you might find yourself asking, “What did I do last night?”
Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has conflicts? Who has complaints? Who has wounds for no reason? Who has red eyes?  Those who linger over wine; those who go looking for mixed wine.  Don’t gaze at wine because it is red, because it gleams in the cup and goes down smoothly.  In the end it bites like a snake and stings like a viper.  Your eyes will see strange things, and you will say absurd things.  You’ll be like someone sleeping out at sea or lying down on the top of a ship’s mast.  “They struck me, but I feel no pain! They beat me, but I didn’t know it! When will I wake up? I’ll look for another drink.” [Pro 23:29-35 CSB]
Guilty or not, the elephant in the room is the foolishness of those who think alcohol played no part in this. It did – big time. And the footprints are trackable through the ruined lives who abused the stuff.
This morning (Sunday) I am beginning a new sermon series through the book of James. It will be a verse-by-verse expository series and one that I’m excited about.
If everything goes well I will be posting recordings of the sermons on my “Sermon Archive” page. I’d like to post them on the same day they’re preached, but editing takes a little time, so give it a day or two (like Monday or Tuesday) before expecting to see them.
One of the main themes – if not THE main theme – in James is the idea of enduring while having our faith tested. So many people get discouraged when their faith is tried by circumstances, yet James reminds us to “count it all joy” (James 1:2).
Another reason James writes is to offer practical instruction on displaying a living faith through what we do. James argues that “faith without works is dead,” meaning that a living faith does something.
So, in this upcoming series of sermons, as I try to exegete the letter of James to those “scattered abroad,” I hope you will be encouraged to keep your faith as you work it out for others to see.
If you don’t regularly attend a church, and if you’re a little skeptical of the big TV-type ministries, I would encourage you to visit the website of the church where I pastor. Go to http://www.SouthSoddyBaptist.org. It’s not a big website, but it’s growing in content – simple, basic stuff meant to encourage and keep things real.
Have a great Lord’s Day!