Tag Archives: proverbs

Different Metal, Different Furnace

The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests the hearts. – Proverbs 17:3 NKJV

Gold or Silver

In case you were not aware, there is a difference between gold and silver (Well, duh!). Seriously, there is a difference between the two, and that fact should not be taken lightly. Gold is gold, and silver is silver. Obvious stuff, right?

Well, sometimes the obvious is profoundly important.

Gold is extremely valuable, but is soft and pliable. Silver is not as valuable per ounce, but is nevertheless a harder precious metal. Gold is highly sought after and coveted; silver is more common, but is still critically important for a wide range of applications, everything from electronics to medicine.

How one refines gold, compared with silver, is not the same. What’s more, the temperatures of the refiner’s fire is hotter for one than the other.

What R You?

When I read Proverbs 17:3 the other day, something obvious proved to be very profound: depending on how God wants us to be used, each one’s trial by fire will vary in intensity, the heat of which will determine what metal we are made of.

gold furnace

Source: The Australian

Unlike gold and silver, we are human; our qualities and usefulness change. Some days we are made of gold, while other days we are silver, but most of the time it is hard to determine which. That’s when the Refiner turns up the heat.

There is a lot to refining gold and silver. Not only is there heat involved, but various acids, too. Therefore, it should come as no surprise when God not only allows us to endure intense pressure (heat), but permits the caustic, painful situations of life to eat away the impurities within us.

God is the refiner of hearts.

Iron Man

But, you know what? Gold and silver, while both rare and beautiful, will never make good axes, swords, cannons, I-beams for skyscrapers, or bridges across raging streams.

Sometimes there are jobs that can only be done with iron.

Don’t feel special? Don’t think of yourself as gold-like? That’s OK! You’re important, too! As a matter of fact, the melting point of iron is nearly double that of gold.

You may think what you are going through right now is far tougher than anything a “golden saint” might deserve. Don’t lose hope; the fires forging you are instilling a strength that may be needed to wage war against the Enemy, support the heavy loads of many, or bridge the gap between understanding and ignorance.

Don’t curse the furnace. Let the Refiner do His work.

 

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, General Observations, Life Lessons, self-worth, Struggles and Trials

Rejoice or Mourn, but Don’t Settle

Proverbs 29:2

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

‘Ocracies

It would seem like never before in the history of man has it been possible for atheists and all those antagonistic to Christianity, the Bible, faith, or whatever, to have their voices be heard. Of course, I may be wrong and even over-exaggerating a little, but thanks to the media and easy access to the internet, angry voices condemning leaders with morals are screaming from every direction.

This proverb should not be interpreted as saying, “Christians should be in authority everywhere!” No, the idea is more along the lines of promoting wise leadership, honest leadership, or simply men and women with integrity and moral fortitude. Yet, even when and if true Christians were to assume authority, very few would have any thoughts of promoting a “theocracy.” But listen to the atheists and you’d think that the “righteous” would start hanging unbelievers tomorrow, if they could.

The fact is that at it’s founding, when the most Christians (including deists) where in authority in America, that is when they founded a constitutional republic, NOT a theocracy.

Righteous Rule

When the righteous rule, the people rejoice. Why is that? Could it be that the people are treated fairly? The righteous wouldn’t take more than they need in taxes. The righteous wouldn’t lie about issues in order to get elected. The righteous would be responsible with resources. The righteous wouldn’t seek office to obtain power, but to serve others. The righteous wouldn’t compromise his beliefs, but he would work together with his fellow man in search of the common good.

Sadly, many in our society mourn when the righteous are considered for leadership. Many recoil at the thought of a man or woman with integrity, faith, and morals. They see these potential leaders as threats – not to freedom, but to unrestrained behavior.

Wicked Rule

Why do the people mourn when the wicked rule? Because the wicked think only of themselves; they care nothing about the people under their authority.

Do we have wicked leaders, or are our leaders righteous, looking out for all of us? Do those in authority serve, or do they accumulate power in order to manipulate the masses? The answer will be different and vary in intensity wherever you go, but this much is true: there are far fewer righteous leaders than wicked ones.

The Undecided

But then there are those who can’t decide whether to rejoice or mourn. They have been treated so poorly for so long that they have come to accept wicked leadership as the norm.

If you think otherwise, just consider the following defense of President Obama by L.Z. Granderson on CNN:

“Now with president Obama, it is true, he should have been more forthright with how the Affordable Care Act was going to impact the country. But with that being said, all Americans know politicians lie. The question is: which lies can you live with? And time and time again Americans have said, “We can deal with the lies that President Obama tells us, because we believe in his heart – he has the best interests for the American people. Every president’s gonna lie to you. Every politician is gonna lie to you. The question is: which lies can you live with?” – Source

Sounds more like when the wicked rule, the people give up caring. God help us.

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Perfect Timing for a Late Post

A Little Late

As many of you may know, I have another blog called ProverbialThough.com. If you are unaware of it, I hope before today is over you will check it out.

proverbial thought pictureAnyway, I was one of several who would regularly write devotional commentary on proverbs in the book of Proverbs. Looking at a list each one of us would select passages which we would be responsible for addressing, then write and post it at the appropriate time. Unfortunately, because I was also in seminary at the time, I was often overwhelmed and sometimes missed a verse (rarely, but it happened). Proverbs 22:14 was one of those verses, however.

I was supposed to have written a post for Proverbs 22:14 in July of 2013! Better late than never, right?

Perfect Timing

Now, even though the post for Proverbs 22:14 was just written, it couldn’t have been written at a better time. You see, the whole idea behind the writing of Proverbial Thought was to look at the wisdom of each proverb and apply personal application based on how we as the writers had seen the wisdom played out in real life. And because each one of the writers came from different walks of life and different parts of the world, there was a more diverse pool of experience to draw from.

The reason this post was timely is because had I written it back in 2013 I would have had no idea what a real pit meant for killing looked like. I don’t know what I would have used from my experience to try to relate the truth of this particular passage, but I certainly would not have been able to compare it to an actual place in Africa.

So, just like so many other things in life, it was no coincidence that I did not write a post for Proverbs 22:14 until now – God knew what was best.

Check It Out

So, why not click on the link below and go check out this brand new post – 3 years late – on Proverbial Thought? And while you are there make sure you subscribe and leave a comment or two.

Oh, and share it 🙂

Click here to read “Sleeping In the Pit”

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Some Choose the Thorny Path

 Wise Solomon

It never fails to amaze me how people get themselves into trouble. But if the truth be known, many of those who end up getting hurt, whether it be physically or emotionally, chose the wrong path. Wise King Solomon put it this way…

There are thorns and snares on the path of the crooked; the one who guards himself stays far from them. – Proverbs 22:5 HCSB

Below are two stories about two different paths. Both contain dogs, but only one has a happy ending.

Whose Fault?

People who drink and drive should expect problems down the road. People who use illegal drugs should expect problems, also. Why is it, then, when these people get caught, harassed, or arrested by law enforcement, they blame the whole thing on the police?

Recently a man’s dog was shot and killed. After seeing his owner arrested for mouthing off to machine gun-toting policemen who had surrounded the house of a criminal, the 80 pound Rottweiler decided to attack. What was the arresting officer supposed to do but defend himself? Yet, the community where this happened is calling for the policeman to be punished. Why? Because a fool who couldn’t keep his foolish mouth shut forgot to restrain his killer dog?

Taking a Different Path

The above story reminds me of something that happened to me years ago. One night our German Shepherd was acting like a stranger was close by. There had been some suspicious activity down the street already, so I took my shotgun (we lived out in the county) and walked with my dog through the shadows around our house over toward the street.

Just before we came out of the shadows, I saw six policemen with M-16 assault rifles walking in my direction. Little did I know they were looking for a criminal who had just shot at another policeman.

My heart nearly stopped. “Oh God…please don’t let them see me…for the love of all that’s holy, dog, pleeeeezzzzz don’t bark…”

The dog stayed silent… We both survived.

I quietly took a different path.

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Filed under animals, Life Lessons, wisdom

A Proverbial Reminder

Some of you may be new, so it would be good for me to remind everyone that this is not the only blog I publish. The other one I regularly publish is Proverbial Thought (Proverbialthought.com).

I would encourage you to check it out and consider it something to add to your quite time – at least from time to time. Go to the site and read the “About” page for a clear explanation of the site.

Here’s the link to the blog…Proverbial Thought: Your Daily Word of Wisdom from Proverbs.

proverbial thought picture

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22 Years With the “Good Thing”

It has been twenty-two years since Valerie and I said, “I do.” I’m glad I did.

Since then we have had our share of good days and bad days, great days and hellacious ones. Yet, through it all, we’ve stayed together in a holy union, a relationship bound together by the Holy Spirit. Even through the worst of times our love for each other has grown, making every day a “good” day.

When God said, “It is not good that man should be alone,” I think He was thinking of me more than Adam. He knew that I would have been a pitiful mess apart from the “good thing” He allowed me to find (Prov. 18:22).

We are not as young as we used to be, which should be obvious. We don’t move as quickly, and when we do move it’s often with pain. Yet, our hearts are still young. That is why people who are truly in love can always find Proverbs 5:18 applicable: “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.”

This morning, before we got out of bed, Valerie asked me, “Would you do it again, especially knowing what you know now?” I immediately replied with a “Yes!” Oh, I could hear the regrets in her question, and I knew exactly what she was talking about. But when I started to address the question the bigger picture of God’s providence and grace came into view.

I said, “Yes, I would do it again, but I would do some things differently after the fact.” Yet, when she asked what I would do differently, hardly anything would come to mind.

“Well, first of all, I would…wait…” You see, even when I look back on the things we did wrong I see the mighty, sovereign hand of God at work. Where would I be had I not made those mistakes? Where would I be had I not been young and foolish? If we had done everything perfectly, where would we be today? Oh, I’m not advocating screwing up, but it has been through our brokenness, our failures, and our mistakes that God has been able to work in the lives of others.

Had we done everything perfectly, the only people we would be able to minister to would be perfect people; we wouldn’t have been able to understand anyone else. Our heavenly Father knew this; that’s why He let us fall…into His arms of grace.

So, yes, even 22 years in, I’d do it all over again. The only things I do wish I could have done differently is pray more often for wisdom, spend more time in God’s Word, and save when the times were good.

Happy anniversary, Valerie. You’re the best “good thing” ever!

wedding picture two

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Filed under Defining Marriage, Life Lessons, Relationships and Family

Proverbial Reminder

If you are new to this blog, then you may not know about my other blog, Proverbial Thought.

proverbial thought pictureSeveral years ago I called upon several trusted friends from two continents and started a daily devotional which addressed every proverb in the book of Proverbs. After 2 years we completed the task, and now I am in the process of re-posting it all.

Why not check it out? Nearly every morning I re-post an entry. You could even use it as part of your daily “quiet time.”

Today’s post (December 9) deals with the dangers of bringing up the past. Fortunately, there’s nothing wrong with bringing up the good stuff 😉

God bless, and have a wonderful day!

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