Through sloth the roof sinks in

Through sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks.
(Ecclesiastes 10:18)

Some people are too lazy to fix a leaky roof– then the house falls in.
(Ecclesiastes 10:18, Contemporary English Version)

Have you ever let that project on the house go too long, and it ended up costing you more later because the problem got worse? Well apparently 3,000 years ago people did the same thing. Painfully, Solomon points out the main reason those projects don’t get finished. Sloth. Laziness (which means aversion of activity or exertion). That hole in the roof will only get bigger, the gutters will only get more full of leaves, and the leak under the sink did not get better because you put a bucket under it and shut the cabinet door!

As leaders in churches, we can also learn a thing or two from this principle. Sometimes our neglect and slothfulness can lead to a huge problem down the road. What may have been a simple repair a year ago turned into a church divided a year later.

Every Christian is to pay attention to each other “daily,” because big spiritual problems can spring up fast (Hebrews 3:12,13).

Shepherds (elders) are to watch out with diligence for the flock (Acts 20:28-29; 1 Peter 5:1-4). Wolves don’t take a day off, do they?

How did the church at Ephesus lose its first love? How did the church at Sardis slowly die? How did the church at Thyatira let in false teachers that led many astray? I think in some way the answer is the same…neglect. The strong and the wise ignored the signs that problems were arising and did not attend to them.

It would be nice to coast as a Christian, but we really don’t have that luxury. We as a culture are working toward “self-driving” vehicles, but there isn’t such a thing in God’s church. Pay attention. Get on that roof and fix that problem right away.

I know that roofs are easier to “fix” than people, but the principle still applies. A little attention now, and some hard work now, just may well save a whole new roof job down the road.

When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose,
(Acts 11:23)

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
(Hebrews 12:15)

Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations?
(Proverbs 27:23-24)

The heart of her husband trusts in her

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain (Proverbs 31:11).

Trust. The husband of the virtuous woman here in Proverbs 31 is said to have complete trust in his heart for his wife. Let’s think about what that means, and what that looks like.

Many of you have probably taken part in some training seminar or camp where they made you do the “trust fall.” It’s really difficult for a lot of us to trust that when we fall backward, that the person behind us will be there and be able to catch our fall. In order to do that, we have to give up some measure of control. We also have to assume that the person behind us will do the right thing.

The fact that this husband trusted his wife means:

  1. He didn’t have to check into all her actions, decisions and words. She didn’t need a babysitter.
  2. He didn’t make all of the decisions. Look at all of the decisions, both in her business and in her home dealings; she made lots of choices on her own without her husband having to think for her.
  3. He assumed that she was doing the right thing and he wasn’t away from her worried about how she was going to behave.
  4. His heart was at peace when it came to his wife.

Sometimes we have trust issues, because we don’t trust ourselves. When we are not at peace in our own souls, we look at others assuming that they have the same problems. We try to control others because things are out of control in our own hearts. But this husband was not that way toward his wife. He had his life, and his business and his relationship with God, and it seems that he was at peace with it. He didn’t have to overreach into her life and try to micromanage her life to appease his own troubled conscience.

So, think about this husband today, men, and consider how much he truly loved his wife to let her be her own person and make her own decisions. I do not mean that we live in our marriages as complete individuals and that we are not in union and accountable to each other. But we also must remove the desire to control and manage, and trust that others in our lives, specifically our wives, will make the right decisions.

Hebrews 6:9 – Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation

An article from Dave Ramsey about teens investing

I read an article this week from Dave Ramsey’s website entitled “How Teens Can Become Millionaires.”

A little bit of a caveat first: Our most important emphasis is for our children to invest in their eternal souls, regardless of how much money they have here on earth. Please put this article in that Biblical perspective.

That being said, the Bible is very clear in its wisdom for us to save and invest and grow the talents/opportunities/blessings that God has given us.

What blew me away, was the point in the article that if a 19 year old invested $2,000 each year for only 8 years, and then left that money alone until he was 65, that money would grow to around $2.3 million at 12% interest. That is the amazing beauty of compound interest. Boy, do I wish I had that kind of mindset at 19!

The article contrasted the 19 year old with a 27 year old who invested $2,000 a year every year until he was 65 years old. When the 27 year old turned 65 he had around $1.5 million in the bank. The 19 year old invested $16,000 over 8 years and the 27 year old invested $78,000 over 39 years. In the end, the 19 year old ended up with $800,ooo more because he started early.

Here is the chart from that article:

That’s the lesson to burn into our young men and women right now. Start early! Don’t blow all that hard earned income on fancy clothes, restaurants and miscellaneous stuff that you can live without.

Here is the wisdom from Solomon (from God) on this subject:

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
(Proverbs 6:6-11)


The Proverbs 31 Husband

I’m looking at Proverbs 31 today with a perspective not on the virtuous woman but on the husband who loved and supported her. Take some time to read through the chapter and learn about the man who was married to this wonderful woman. What kind of man was he?

He was a husband who has been taught and come to understand the precious value of a woman who fears God and walks with Him.

The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:
(Proverbs 31:1)

Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
(Proverbs 31:10)

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
(Proverbs 31:30)

He was a husband who “safely trusted” in his wife. As a husband, he did not hold her back or discourage her from expressing her talents and pursuing her dreams. This man fanned the flames of encouragement. She knew he trusted her. It was clear that he supported her and was her biggest fan. He took leadership in the home among his children; those kids saw their father praising and lifting up their mother. The kids followed suit by imitating their father in praising their mother.

The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.
(Proverbs 31:11)

Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
(Proverbs 31:23)

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.”
(Proverbs 31:28-29)

In verses 28-29, the husband is comparing his wife to other women, but notice how he is doing it. He doesn’t point out how other women are doing things she isn’t or that they are doing it better. He lifts her up on a pedestal and makes her the queen of the castle with his words.

Look at the verbs connected to the virtuous woman. She seeks, works, brings, rises, provides, considers, buys, plants, girds, strengthens, perceives, stretches, holds, extends, reaches, is not afraid, makes, supplies, opens her mouth with kindness (vs. 12-27). As this godly wife was doing all these things, her husband trusted her, supported her and praised her.

Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31:31)

She may not be sitting in the gates with her husband and the other leaders/officials of the land, but her influence is truly felt there. Her own works praise her in the gates.

How do we talk to and about our wives? Do our children see an example of a man who rises up and calls her blessed? When we are “in the gates” are we lifting up our wives in praise? Do our wives know and fully understand that our hearts safely trust in them?

Some principles for making a wise decision

Today we will consider some principles for making wise decisions. We make decisions (tons) of them on a daily basis. Some are pretty insignificant, like which coffee mug to use this morning. Others have generational impact, in other words, this decision will affect your great-grandchildren. The Bible is full of teaching and advice on how to make good decisions, we cannot even scratch the scratch of the surface in today’s post. Hopefully, however, we can consider just a few basic principles to keep our feet on solid ground and our heads out of the clouds when making decisions.

Some principles for making a wise decision

Did I come to God first and ask Him for wisdom (James 1:5)? There are many examples of people in Scripture who did not consult God first, and it really turned out poorly (Joshua 9:14; Isaiah 30:1-2). Those examples are given to us so that we can keep from repeating history! God promised, and He does not ever break a promise, that He would liberally pour out wisdom upon us if we ask!

Have I consulted His word? His word is designed to give us prudence, the discernment to make sound decisions (Proverbs 1:1-4). Are there clear commands from God on this matter? What consistent Biblical principles can I draw from to help shed light on this matter? Can I find examples of people in Scripture who were in a similar situation? Is this conclusion / choice I am making consistent with Biblical wisdom?

What is the advice of the godly, wise people around me who love me (Proverbs 1:5)? There are many times when the godly, wise men and women around you will speak with one voice on a matter. Take those words seriously.

If you feel like you have to hide your decisions/course of action from the wise godly people around you, then ask yourself “Why is that?” We had better have a really good Biblical reason for not taking the advice of several godly people who surround us.

There are other times when you will get a wide array of advice, sometimes very different advice, and it will all come from very wise and godly people. So we have to go back to #1 and pray for wisdom to discern. Sometimes well-meaning Christians will all say “this is what God wants you to do,” but the problem with that is they may all have several different answers. In this specific instance, I’m not talking about matters of doctrine and sin, I’m talking about things like career choices, education choices, purchasing decisions, relationship advice, etc. Folks have lots of advice, that is why we must do a LOT of praying and searching Scripture for discernment.

Is this a decision I should be making right now (Genesis 25:29-34)? When we are really stressed, tired, and highly emotional, it is not a time to make huge life-changing decisions. Take some time to sleep and recover before you make those big choices. For example, you are really stressed and tired, and you are driving home from work. The tire goes flat. So, in your frustration, you decide to have it towed to the dealership and get a loan for a new car. A simple tire repair turned into a 5 year loan. This is just a made up example, but I hope you can see the point.

How will this decision affect others (1 Corinthians 8:12; 10:32-33)? We do not live in a vacuum; our decisions have direct impact on those around us. Esau’s wives were a grief of mind to his parents. Simeon and Levi’s anger and thirst for vengeance brought shame to their father Jacob. The 1st century Christians also faced this when it came to eating of certain meats and keeping of certain holy days. Their decisions had the power to cause another to stumble and sin. What they decided to do could either draw someone closer to God or make it far more challenging for another to obey God. How will this decision affect my influence upon others for Christ? What will this decision do to my loved ones? Who is looking up to me…how will this influence them?

Does this decision glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31)? Am I making a choice that will bring glory to God or more attention and glory to me? Am I seeking the praise of God or the praise and attention of men?

Hopefully these principles help. It is not all-inclusive, and many of you will have much better ideas. Please share them with me. Thanks!

The Tongue of the Wise Promotes Health

There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health (Proverbs 12:18).

The focus for this week has been complaining. Words as we all know, have incredible weight and influence. The above proverb provides a great contrast. A stab wound doesn’t promote health, does it? My words can be a sword thrust through someone or I can promote health. Our words at work and school today can promote health: healthy attitudes, healthy dialogue, healthy teamwork, etc. Or, our complaining and criticizing words will just bring everyone down in the dumps.

Here are a couple of examples:

10 of the 12 spies sent by Moses to look over the land of Canaan brought back a bad report. They were faithless and their words discouraged the hearts of the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 1:28). Caleb, one of the 2 faithful spies, said decades later that the discouraging words of those 10 spies “made the heart of the people melt” (Joshua 14:8).

In contrast, consider King Hezekiah. When surrounded by the powerful army of Assyria, Hezekiah took his stand in faith with God. Not only did he prepare the people militarily, he spoke words of faith and encouragement to the people and directed their hearts to God’s power. “And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah” (2 Chronicles 32:6-8).

See the contrast? I think we all, that means me too, sometimes lose sight of how powerful and influential our speech can be. That’s probably why there is so much in Scripture about our words and their power. Hezekiah strengthened his people while the 10 spies made the hearts of Israel melt into discouragement.

The Tongue of the Wise Promotes Health

I found an interesting passage in Isaiah where the Messiah (Jesus) is speaking in the 1st person about what He is coming to do. In that section there is this statement:

The Lord has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary (Isaiah 50:4).

Jesus, the Messiah, has the tongue of the learned (educated, trained, wise). He knows how to speak a word in season (at the right time) to him who is weary (considering the audience and what is appropriate).

May the Lord give us this same tongue today! Let us train and educate our tongues and hearts. Consider what would be the right thing to say, not what would be the easy thing, or sarcastic thing or funny thing to say.

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones (Proverbs 16:24).

Past articles that might be helpful to you in connection to this topic:


In the multitude of counselors

Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety (Proverbs 11:14).

Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established (Proverbs 15:22).

For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety (Proverbs 24:6).

You can tell a lot about a person by looking at who he chooses to advise him.  In each of the above proverbs, you can see the value of having a “multitude of counselors.” Without them, the people fail and plans go awry (off course). With a multitude of counselors, there is safety and your plans are established. You can wage “your own war,” when you have that group of godly advisers around you.

In the multitude of COUNSELORS

As fathers, this is something we have to emphasize constantly to our sons and daughters. The people who advise you are going to directly impact the course of your life. Who are their friends? What kinds of people advise those friends? Who is my son or daughter seeking to date or court? What types of people advise that potential spouse?

Most importantly, Jesus is our Counselor (Isaiah 9:6-7), and the Word of God is to be our counselor (Psalm 119:24). As fathers, we lead the way in how we seek advice. We pattern this behavior for our kids. Do we go first to God and His word for advice? Are our children familiar with the sound of these words, “Let’s go to God and pray about this.” Or, “Let’s see what God’s word has to say about this.”

On top of that, we can pattern for our children how to seek out godly advice. When we are making big decisions in life, or are struggling with trials, do our kids see us looking for wise, godly counselors to help lead us through those times? How about the words, “Let’s call brother Smith, he has a lot of godly wisdom in this area.” Or, “Let’s have the elders of the church pray about this and see what they have to say.”

We, along with our children, need those counselors. Someone else can help us see reason when we are not being reasonable. That godly friend can be objective when we are all emotional and irrational. Wise counselors can help shine light on dark places and guide us in the right way.

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm (Proverbs 13:20).

Favor from the Lord

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD (Proverbs 18:22).

Take time to be thankful for the good relationships, especially if you are married to a godly and loving wife.

When we are thankful for each other, we see each other in a very different light. Even when we are fussing with each other, if we keep in mind how thankful we are for each other, it helps to deal with that disagreement and tension in a better way.

Let’s take a piece of paper and physically write down all the reasons why we are thankful for our wives. We do this for our kids sometimes when they are complaining and fussing, we make them write down good things about each other. Big people need to do the same sometimes.

House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD (Proverbs 19:14).

His hunger urges him on

A worker’s appetite works for him, for his hunger urges him on (Proverbs 16:26).

Dads, don’t give your children everything. Allow them to “get hungry” as the above proverb advises. By hungry, I mean a strong desire to achieve some goal. We go to work because we are hungry; we want to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. Money is put in a piggy bank or Mason jar because we are saving for a special thing, like a vacation or some extra luxury.

Children need to get that lesson early and often. We as parents love to make our children’s world better than our own. The opportunities that we were not afforded we desire to give to them. That is natural, and can be good at times, but too much of it can create some really spoiled and unappreciative kids.

If they want a new phone, make them save for it, dads. Don’t just hand them a new smartphone. It’s called a job, kids. Get one. “Save your own money and pay for it.” Are they really going to appreciate things if everything is handed to them on a silver platter?

His hunger urges him on

We have such an entitlement driven society, and part of that is encouraged by how our government is run. But parents are also to blame. It is tempting to think that our children are “suffering” by doing without, but they will survive if they don’t get the latest toy or gadget.

Have you ever watched your children save for something over time? Did you notice the joy, fulfillment and self-esteem that came when they finally purchased the item for which they were saving? There is no dollar value you can affix to that life lesson. If your children haven’t experienced the value of saving and being hungry for a goal, then it is time to start, dads. By taking away all hunger you deprive your children of some valuable character building.

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied (Proverbs 13:4).

Then You Will Understand

My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path. (Proverbs 2:1-9)

When I studied under another minister, Steve, he instructed me in a host of topics. He gave me lots of answers and teaching from God’s word. But one of the things he taught me that helped me the most was when he didn’t answer my question. He wanted me to find the answer on my own.

I remember the day that I walked across the hallway into his office and said, “Hey Steve, why did Jesus always seem to tell people not to tell anyone after He did a miracle?” He replied, “I’m not telling you…go study it some more and come back to me.” Frustrated and impatient, I went back to my office and begin digging some more. More reading. More searching. Then the light went on…and I yelled across the hallway, “I think I figured it out!” I went back into his office and discussed it with him, and I could see him beaming. He wanted me to find the answer on my own. Steve wanted to instill confidence in God’s word that truth is there if I am willing to dig for it. He was right.

Then You Will Understand

He was directing me to God’s wisdom, not to his own wisdom. A powerful lesson for me that day, indeed. Have the confidence in God’s wisdom that the answers are there, you just have to dig awhile. That old adage of “Give a man a fish, or teach a man to fish,” is true in this context as well.

Solomon most certainly did have “words” and “commands” for his son, but the goal was to train his son to seek for God’s wisdom. Do you see those words in the above passage like “incline,” “apply,” “cry out,” “lift up your voice,” “seek,” and “search”? What is he teaching his son?

Fathers and grandfathers, meditate upon this today. There are many times we will give answers, wisdom, advice and teaching. Let us also instruct them on how to find the answers for themselves. Don’t cripple your child by always giving him or her the answers.

Something I often say to people when I am teaching them is, “The truth never suffers from investigation.”