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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Proverbs 9:1-6

Proverbs 9:1-6 (KJV) 1 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:
2 She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.
3 She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,
4 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
5 Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.
6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Proverbs 9:1-6 (NIV) 1 Wisdom has built her house;
she has set up its seven pillars.
2 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
she has also set her table.
3 She has sent out her servants, and she calls
from the highest point of the city,
4 “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
5 “Come, eat my food
and drink the wine I have mixed.
6 Leave your simple ways and you will live;
walk in the way of insight.”

Proverbs 9:1-6 (NLT) 1 Wisdom has built her house;
she has carved its seven columns.
2 She has prepared a great banquet,
mixed the wines, and set the table.
3 She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come.
She calls out from the heights overlooking the city.
4 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple.
To those who lack good judgment, she says,
5 “Come, eat my food,
and drink the wine I have mixed.
6 Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live;
learn to use good judgment.”

"Proverbs 8 described wisdom as a woman with blessings and benefits for those who listened and obeyed. Now Solomon pictured wisdom as a woman of generous hospitality who invites all." - David Guzik Enduring Word Commentary

Lady Wisdom and Madame Folly are represented as women, each inviting people to their banquets. In Proverbs 9, Lady Wisdom’s banquet is carefully prepared and provides joy and closeness to God. The house is her own, she has built. She has furnished her own food. There is no deception to anyone.

In Proverbs 7, Madame Folly's banquet is spontaneous. She invites someone to her husband's house. She has leftover meat from her "peace offering". This meat would have been provided by her husband who is away on business. She offers her husband's wine to the man she encounters on the street. She flat out tells him that the bed she shares with her husband is ready for them to commit adultery. She deceives and betrays her husband and seduces the senseless young man on the street. Madame Folly's way leads to sin and the wages of sin is death.

It is not unusual in the Bible to describe intimate communion with God as a feast. God is the host, the provider, the inviter; the One who generously shares from His largess. And the invitees are those who rudely refuse or who eagerly accept. Those who reject God's invitation are the lost and will face judgment. Those who desire God, seek Him and love Him are the ones who eagerly accept God's invitation and willingly come to His table. They come prepared through Jesus Christ. They are the ones who are saved from judgment.

Isaiah 65:1-4,8-16 (God speaking, NLT) 1 “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help.
I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.
I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’
to a nation that did not call on my name.
2 All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people.
But they follow their own evil paths
and their own crooked schemes.
3 All day long they insult me to my face
by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens.
They burn incense on pagan altars.
4 At night they go out among the graves,
worshiping the dead.
They eat the flesh of pigs
and make stews with other forbidden foods
8 “But I will not destroy them all,”
says the LORD.
“For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones
(and someone will say, ‘Don’t throw them all away-some of those grapes are good!’),
so I will not destroy all Israel.
For I still have true servants there.
9 I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israel
and of Judah to possess my land.
Those I choose will inherit it,
and my servants will live there.
10 The plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks
for my people who have searched for me,
and the valley of Achor will be a place to pasture herds.
11 “But because the rest of you have forsaken the LORD
and have forgotten his Temple,
and because you have prepared feasts to honor the god of Fate
and have offered mixed wine to the god of Destiny,
12 now I will ‘destine’ you for the sword.
All of you will bow down before the executioner.
For when I called, you did not answer.
When I spoke, you did not listen.
You deliberately sinned—before my very eyes—
and chose to do what you know I despise.”
13 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
My servants will eat,
but you will starve.
My servants will drink,
but you will be thirsty.
My servants will rejoice,
but you will be sad and ashamed.
14 My servants will sing for joy,
but you will cry in sorrow and despair.
15 Your name will be a curse word among my people,
for the Sovereign LORD will destroy you
and will call his true servants by another name.
16 All who invoke a blessing or take an oath
will do so by the God of truth.
For I will put aside my anger
and forget the evil of earlier days.

Luke 14:15-24 (NLT) 15 Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”
16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. 17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ 18 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ 23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. 24 For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”

Matthew 22:1-14 (NLT) 1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.
13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

Why was the man in verses Matthew 22:11-13 thrown out? Because he did not respect the King enough to come to the banquet properly prepared. We are all invited. But the only way to come in is through Jesus Christ. He provides His garment of righteousness to cover us. We cannot come on our own terms for our righteousness is but filthy rags.

Lady Wisdom has built her home. Let's look at her home.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
she has carved out - חָצְבָ֖ה (ḥā·ṣə·ḇāh) - Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2672: To cut, carve, to hew, split, square, quarry, engrave

her seven - שִׁבְעָֽה׃ (šiḇ·‘āh) - Number - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7651: Seven, seven times, a week, an indefinite number

pillars - עַמּוּדֶ֣יהָ (‘am·mū·ḏe·hā) = Noun - masculine plural construct | third person feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5982: A column, a stand, platform

In Proverbs 7, Madame Folly lives in the home provided by her husband. She betrays her husband and deceives him by taking the things HE has provided and using them for sinful purposes, in particular to betray and hurt him.

In Proverbs 9, Lady Wisdom builds her own home. If you look at Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, the words, "she has carved out" mean to literally cut, carve, hew, split, quarry, engrave. Through dint of hard work, she has built her own home. It is planned and ready. It could also refer to having built a good marriage and family such as the Proverbs 31 woman.

As we learned in our earlier lessons on Proverbs, Lady Wisdom is godly wisdom. God is wisdom, Jesus Christ is wisdom, the Holy Spirit is wisdom. The three-in-One, Godhead, is wisdom. All wisdom begins and ends with God.

God has built His own House through dint of hard work. He is the one who has provided the way for us to be saved and to participate in a joyful relationship with Him. We couldn't do the work. We are born sinners and we sin. We could not pay the price for sin. So God paid the price for us. God formulated the plan. Jesus Christ voluntarily took the mission and performed the job so that we could be saved. He never quit the job, walked off the job, called in sick. He did the job so well that we can be saved and set free from sin because of what He did! And the Holy Spirit's job is now to prepare hearts and bring the Gospel, the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ, to the world. Each and every human being is worked on by the Holy Spirit and has enough of the Gospel presented to them to be saved. Even those who live in outer Mongolia (away from the civilized world) are ministered to by the Holy Spirit. For those who have a heart for God, there is no limit to what the Holy Spirit will do to reach them. Maybe it's through a dream, through the message of a missionary, through a friend who come back from a long trip with good news he heard, through a radio transmission, through a vision... But there is not one single person, whom God knows will accept Jesus, that the Holy Spirit misses. The Holy Spirit does His job to perfection. As the scripture above says, ALL ARE INVITED. Unfortunately, there are few who accept and God knows who will and who won't.

"She invites the spiritually unattached, the uncommitted, the spiritual drifter, to come and take a place at her banquet table. From verses 5-6 note the terms of the invitation: all her finest food and accommodations are offered to the naïve, but he must give up his ways—his ways of aimless, impulsive drifting; his desire to be in charge of his life: to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it—and place himself under her discipline." - BibleStudyCourses.org

Heaven was built for those who accept Jesus Christ. When we die, we are at once with the Lord in the part of Hades that is reserved for the saved. This paradise we call Heaven, is immediate. But it's not where we spend eternity. It's where we wait until Jesus returns to earth and He establishes His millennial kingdom for 1,000 years. We will rule with Him as administrators. At the end of the 1,000 years, the final judgment comes, and God brings a new heaven and new earth for us to spend our eternity in. Oh the glory and the goodness of God! Heaven is the house which Wisdom has built to entertain all her guests that are called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb.

John 14:1-3 (Jesus speaking) 1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well. 2 In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am.

Woman Wisdom demands that her guests reject their ignorance and submit to her tutelage.

Proverbs 9:6 Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight.”

Whereas Woman Folly trades on their ignorance. She thrives on ignorance.

Woman Wisdom offers for simple men to be protected at her house. Whereas Madame Folly brings men to doom.

Proverbs 9:1 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars

King Solomon may be referring to the Solomonic Temple which he had built.

"Architecturally, according to Hitzig and others, the pillars of the inner court are meant, which supported the gallery of the first story. Four of these were m the corners, three in the middle of three sides, while the entrance to the court was through the fourth side of the square. The number seven generally denotes perfection; it is the covenant number, expressive of harmony and unity generally, the signature of holiness and blessing, completeness and rest." - Pulpit Commentary

But now the church is Wisdom's house, to which she invites her guests, supported by the power and promise of God, as by seven pillars. The number seven always represents complete, whole, finished, perfect. Could the seven pillars be representing the foundation of the Gospel, salvation through Jesus Christ. There is no need for any further sacrifice or work, Jesus has done it all. We just have to trust and accept. He has provided a foundation that is everything we need to be saved and to live a godly life that glorifies God. Built by Christ upon Himself, who is the rock and foundation; the materials of it are true believers, precious and lively stones; built up a spiritual house, and a fit and suitable habitation for God through the Spirit. Jesus Christ is the chief Cornerstone, the foundation. And upon Him rests the complete and perfect sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit:

Isaiah 11:1-3a 1 Then a shoot will spring up from the stump of Jesse,
and a Branch from his roots will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and strength,
the Spirit of knowledge and fear of the LORD.
3 And He will delight in the fear of the LORD...

God, the Father, built the church upon Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit that rests upon Him maintains the believers and the church.

"...representing the church, which Christ, the Wisdom of the Father, hath erected and established in the world, which is termed God’s house, (1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 3:3-4,) in which the prophets, apostles, and ministers of religion are pillars, (Galatians 2:9,)..." - Benson Commentary

1 Corinthians 3:9-17 (NLT) 9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.
10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.
12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.
16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? 17 God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Ephesians 2:17-22 (NLT) 17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.

1 Peter 2:4-9 (NLT) 4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.
5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 6 As the Scriptures say,
I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem,
chosen for great honor,
and anyone who trusts in him
will never be disgraced.”
7 Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.”
8 And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble,
the rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.
9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

We remember that God took 6 days to create and the 7th day was the day of rest and which He looked upon creation and saw that it was good. It was complete, perfect, whole. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve sinned and our world is not the same.

In order to return things to perfection and completeness, Jesus had to do his work on the cross. And when the end has come for this earth, He establishes a new heaven and new earth, again perfect and complete.

Proverbs 9:2 She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.

Lady Wisdom has killed the fatted calf and made her wine for her guests. "Mingled wine" could mean mingling it with spices or with water (wine would help sanitize the ancient water to make it healthful).  Remember the story of the Prodigal Son? The son who demanded his inheritance and who wasted it, became humbled and decided to return home, even if it was just to work as a servant. Let's pick up the story...

Luke 15:18-24 (Jesus telling the story, NIV) 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

The son wanted to be independent of his father. Funny thing is, his "independence" was based on his father's gift. His father had to consent and give him his inheritance. How independent is that? He didn't make his own way, had no intention of making his own way. He wanted to be "independent" and let Dad pay the bills! But when we see the Father as our Father God, how is it that we want to be independent of Him in the same way the son in this story wanted to be "independent". We want to control our destinies and control the world but we want to do so on God's largess. How independent are we when God is the one that provides the oxygen we breath, the food we eat, the water we drink, the clothes we wear and the house we live in? If God had not provided us with a habitation, when He created us, we would have died because there is nothing habitable for human beings in outer space. GOD had to provide this earth, this planet, for us. God had to make sure it had oxygen, gravity, dirt and water, sun and moon, . God had to provide the plants and animals. We wouldn't have a house if it weren't for wood that comes from trees that God makes! Or bricks from clay that God provided! Or the way to pay for it by providing us with skills, education, physical abilities and job opportunities that provides jobs for us to make money to have a home! God created this earth to sustain human beings. Then God created human beings. And since Creation, God has maintained this earth so we would have a virtually safe place to live. We have yet to find a planet that would sustain human life. God has sustained mankind despite ourselves. We've tried to kill ourselves off many times over human history and yet somehow we've survived and continued to thrive. That is God's work. So how independent are we? Not very.

So the son goes off with his father's money and wastes it until finally he has nothing left. He's broke, destitute. Doesn't have anyway to make enough money to eat except at a pig farm where he shares the pig's food as he feeds them. The lowest degradation. Remember, to Jews, pigs are unclean and not fit to eat. But, it's funny, this young man manages to find a pig farm. So somebody is providing pigs for a market. The market are people who eat pigs. This young man finds himself working at a pig farm which wouldn't exist if people weren't eating pigs. Reminds me of drug dealers. They wouldn't make money if there wasn't a market for illegal drugs. But all those drug addicts and party people buy illegal drugs and therefore there is money to be made and voila, drug dealers and drug cartels. If the market dried up for illegal drugs, the drug kingpins wouldn't be making any money and would quit selling drugs. It's the same for every other criminal and sinful thing. If there wasn't a market for alcohol, prostitution, pornography, human trafficking, human organs, etc, then there would be no manufacturers, dealers, liquor stores, prostitutes, etc. But there is a market for it. There is money to be made in sin. So you have people who raise pigs and sell pigs. And this young man was working for a pig farm, and he was the lowest on the totem pole because he was feeding the pigs.

He's at the bottom of the pit and he finally realizes what he has done. He falls on his knees in repentance and he remembers his father. So he begins his journey home to see if he can just get a job on his father's farm. But the father sees him coming home and runs to him to welcome him home. He provides a feast of celebration because his son has returned. And the father welcomes him home as HIS SON, not hiring him as a laborer. Our Father God is waiting for us to come to our senses. To realize our "independence" has led us to waste the gifts God has given us and that we are not worthy of being His Child. He is waiting for us to repent and change our minds and see how good the Father is. He is waiting in anticipation to see us return to Him and He runs to meet us and greets us as His Child. Then He puts on a celebration for the Prodigal Son has returned! That's you and me, friends. That's how much the Father loves you and me. Turn to Jesus, come back home! He's waiting to greet you with joy!

The feast is also reflected in the Communion, or the Lord's Supper. Let's look at that.

Matthew 26:17-30 (BSB) 17 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”
18 He answered, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him that the Teacher says, ‘My time is near. I will keep the Passover with My disciples at your house.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.
20  When evening came, Jesus was reclining with the twelve disciples. 21 And while they were eating, He said to them, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray Me.”
22 They were deeply grieved and began to ask Him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?”
23 Jesus answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with Me will betray Me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about Him, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed. It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
25 Then Judas, who would betray Him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”
Jesus answered, “You have said it yourself.”
26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, spoke a blessing and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is My body.”
27 Then He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

1 Corinthians 11:23-30 (BSB) 23 For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24 and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” 26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.
27 So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. 29 For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.

"Here we have to do more immediately with the person of Christ. In prayer, we draw nigh to God; in the sacrament, we become one with him. In prayer, we look up to Christ; in the sacrament, by faith, we touch him. In the word preached, we hear Christ's voice; in the sacrament, we feed on him...
The Lord takes notice of the frame of our hearts when we come to his table. The king came in to see the guests.' Matthew 22:11. We dress ourselves when we come to the table of some great monarch; so, when we are going to the table of the Lord, we should dress ourselves by holy meditation and heart consideration. Many think it is enough to come to the sacrament, but mind not whether they come in due order.'...
"Jesus took bread.' Here is the master of the feast, or the institutor of the sacrament. The Lord Jesus took bread. He only is fit to institute a sacrament who is able to give virtue and blessing to it.
He took bread.' His taking the bread was one part of his consecration of the elements, and setting them apart for a holy use. As Christ consecrated the elements, so we must labour to have our hearts consecrated before we receive these holy mysteries in the Lord's supper. How unseemly is it to see any come to these holy elements, having hearts leavened with pride, covetousness, or envy? These, with Judas, receive the devil in the sop, and are no better than crucifiers of the Lord of glory.
"And blessed it.' This is another part of the consecration of the element. Christ blessed it. He blesseth and it shall be blessed. He looked up to heaven for a benediction upon this newly-founded ordinance.
"And brake it.' The bread broken, and the wine poured out, signify to us the agony and ignominy of Christ's sufferings, the rending of Christ's body on the cross, and the effusion of blood which was distilled from his blessed side.
"And gave it to them.' Christ's giving the bread, denotes giving himself and all his benefits to us freely. Though he was sold, yet he was given. Judas sold Christ, but Christ gave himself to us.
He gave it to them;' that is, to the disciples. This is children's bread. Christ does not cast these pearls before swine..." - Thomas Watson (c. 1620 – 1686) was an English, Nonconformist, Puritan preacher and author.

Jesus established communion, or the Lord's Supper, as a sacrament and commanded us to partake of this sacrament often and together. We do it in remembrance of Him. We do it to show forth His death and resurrection which secured the new covenant by His Blood and His broken Body. We are to take particular pains to come to the Lord's Supper with a clean heart and having repented of our sins. We should not partake unworthily but come prepared to partake in a worthy manner. It is a duty done in love and with gratitude on our lips. It is a celebration of all that Jesus has done for us.

Christ has furnished His table with His precious and spotless Body and Blood. He sacrificed Himself so that we may be saved. Jesus is the Lamb who was sacrificed and his death becomes a feast that offers quickening and nourishing food for our spirits. He has sent His servants, believers in Jesus Christ, to go forth and invite others to come to His richly furnished table. The slain lamb, the fatted calf, the manna from heaven all point to the Bread of Life and the Living Water, Jesus Christ!

  • Can you make a bullet list of comparisons between Lady Wisdom and Madame Folly?

  • ............Lady Wisdom..............................Madame Folly...................................

  • Can you describe Lady Wisdom's feast?
  • How would you feel if you went to a lot of trouble to have a party and noone came? You find a venue; you make sure it's decorated; you order the food; you print invitations; you have them delivered; you've gone to a lot of effort and money; you make sure to have everything in order and the tables are ready and waiting. But when the appointed time comes, nobody shows up? Can you journal about that.
  • Are you a prodigal son? Have you tried to push God away and be "independent" and in control? Have you reached the bottom of the pit? Are you starting to see how you would be better off with God? Have you changed your mind and want to come back to God? He is waiting for you. He will run to meet you and celebrate your return.
  • Have you celebrated Communion or the Lord's Supper recently? It is a command of God. But we must do so worthily. We must be saved through Jesus Christ and we must search our hearts and repent and ask forgiveness for any sins God shows us. We must be in right relationship with God and man. Then the Lord's Supper will bless us. Thomas Watson said, "Christ gave himself to us.
  • He gave it to them;' that is, to the disciples. This is children's bread. Christ does not cast these pearls before swine."

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Proverbs 8:32-36

Proverbs 8:32-36  32 Now then, my children, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death.”

Knowing God's wisdom is so perfect and based on His love for His people, then we should value His wisdom above all else. We should be eagerly seeking God's wisdom! We should be waiting at the door, eager to start! How many students bounce up early from bed because they can't wait to get to school? How many do what they can to be the first in line by the classroom door because they are so eager to learn and don't want to miss a single nugget? How many students sacrifice play time, sports, or something else because they don't want to miss a single lesson? What teacher wouldn't be excited to see students that motivated to learn? The word that comes to my mind is "ardent".

Ardent - passionate; fervent; strong feelings; intensely devoted; eager; enthusiastic; zealous; impassioned

"Surely we should hearken to Christ's voice with the readiness of children. Let us all be wise, and not refuse such mercy. Blessed are those who hear the Saviour's voice, and wait on him with daily reading, meditation, and prayer." - Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

Luke 11:28 But He (Jesus) replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

Psalm 18:21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD and have not wickedly departed from my God.

Psalm 1:1-2  1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
or set foot on the path of sinners,
or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the Law of the LORD,
and on His law he meditates day and night.

Psalm 119:2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, and seek Him with all their heart.

"The church is the palace of the great King; it is an honour to be admitted here, to have a name and a place here, and to sit with the King at his table." - Gill's Exposition of the Bible

  • How excited are you to meet Jesus? To have a relationship with God? To read His Word? To dialogue with Him in prayer? To go to church or Bible study in order to learn about God? How excited are you to love Him in praise and worship? Are you so in love with Christ that you are ardent and passionate in your pursuit of Him?
  • If not, why not? How can you increase your desire for Him? What does it take for you to engage and to become intensely devoted?
  • Is there anything in your life that you are impassioned about and intensely devoted too? Your job? A sport? A hobby? A person? A cause? Can you journal about why you are impassioned about this and how you pursue it. I.e. how would a stranger look at your life and pick out what you are most passionate about? How would it show to a stranger?
  • Now meditate on how your relationship with God compares. If you put that same kind of passion into your relationship with God, do you think the reward would be worth it? Why or why not?
  • Have you made an idol by being more passionate and devoted to something other than God? Are you willing to sacrifice it and put that same intensity into your relationship with God? This is not easy and I don't want you to think it's any easier for me. But, by faith, you can trust that the reward will be worth it.
  • If you are still struggling with the concept of sacrificing something you love and enjoy for God, remember how much He sacrificed for us. Then pray that God will help you see things from God's perspective and that He will instill a desire for Him in your heart. God isn't asking you to give up something for you to do without. God is asking you to give up something inferior for something superior! You won't be without but filled with even more! But I can understand how hard it is to let something go so pray about it and watch how God begins to change your perspective. Let's say that you love golf above everything else in life and God is putting it into your heart that you need to sacrifice golf in order to devote more to a relationship with God. If you are obedient and then put that money, time, energy, thought and action into your relationship with God, He will pour Himself into you so wondrously that you soon find you don't even think about golf anymore and when you do you wonder why it had such a hold on you. There is nothing wrong with playing golf but if that's what you are devoted too and ardent about, you may be out of balance and God wants you to know that He has been patiently waiting on you to let go of the golf and search for him with the same zeal and effort. Also, beware of replacing one passion for another and bypassing God altogether. Maybe golf was your passion and you give it up but soon you have that same addiction to football on TV or videogames. You've just changed one passion for another and God is still waiting on you to come to your senses.

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Proverbs 8:22-31

Proverbs 8:22-31 (1st person, Wisdom is speaking, NKJV)  22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.
23 I have been established from everlasting,
From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
When there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills, I was brought forth;
26 While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields,
Or the primal dust of the world.
27 When He prepared the heavens, I was there,
When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 When He established the clouds above,
When He strengthened the fountains of the deep,
29 When He assigned to the sea its limit,
So that the waters would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth,
30T hen I was beside Him as a master craftsman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him,
31 Rejoicing in His inhabited world,
And my delight was with the sons of men.

Proverbs 8:22-31 (NIV) 22 “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,
before his deeds of old;
23 I was formed long ages ago,
at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
24 When there were no watery depths, I was given birth,
when there were no springs overflowing with water;
25 before the mountains were settled in place,
before the hills, I was given birth,
26 before he made the world or its fields
or any of the dust of the earth.
27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
29 when he gave the sea its boundary
so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
30 Then I was constantly at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind.

" 'possessed', or, 'formed' This word has been a battleground of controversy since the days of the Arian heresy. But it is well to remember that, all theological questions apart, it is impossible to understand the word, whatever rendering of it we adopt, as indicating that Wisdom ever had a beginning, or was ever properly speaking created. Wisdom is inseparable from any worthy conception of Him who is 'the only wise God'... The Hebrew word seems properly to mean, to acquire, and so to possess...The rendering, 'Jehovah possessed me', would seem therefore most accurately to represent the original" - Cambridge Bible For Scholars

"A verse which has played an important part in the history of Christian dogma. Wisdom reveals herself as preceding all creation, stamped upon it all, one with God, yet in some way distinguishable from Him as the object of His love Proverbs 8:30. John declares that all which Wisdom here speaks of herself was true in its highest sense of the Word that became flesh John 1:1-14 : just as Apostles afterward applied Wisd. 7:22-30 to Christ (compare Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3)." - Barne's Notes On The Bible

1 Corinthians 1:23-24 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

John 1:1-5 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

"Wisdom speaks of her origin, her active operations, the part which she bore in the creation of the universe, her relation to God" - Pulpit Commentary

Psalm 104:24 How many are Your works, O LORD! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures.

Proverbs 3:19 The LORD founded the earth by wisdom and established the heavens by understanding.

Colossians 1:15-18 (NIV) 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

Same verse, different translation:
Colossians 1:15-18 (NLT) 15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.

Continuing this famous poem that praises Wisdom, King Solomon is using Lady Wisdom to communicate that God used wisdom when He created the world. Poets have always used personification as a literary device, attributing human qualities to an inanimate subject. It is a form of fiction, a fantasy, to help readers see a subject in a new way. Solomon is offering an encomium, a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly, to godly wisdom.Wisdom is one of God's attributes which He has possessed from eternity. He never lacked wisdom. We may learn wisdom in steps but wisdom is inherent in God. Wisdom was indispensable and is infused throughout God's creation. Every created thing speaks of the Wisdom of God. Wisdom originates in God, the triune God. The Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit work in such perfect unity and harmony as to be One! So God is wisdom, Jesus is Wisdom and the Holy Spirit is wisdom. God, the Trinity, was there at creation using wisdom during creation. And God's wisdom is seen through every created thing and in Creation as a whole! Can we gain faith by looking at God through His Creation and know that He is God and He is in control and has the wisdom to take care of everything!?!

Roman 1:18-23 (BSB) 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 For what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and darkened in their foolish hearts. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images of mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Same verse, different translation:
Romans 1:18-23 (NLT) 18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.

  • Define encomium.
  • Define personification.
  • From the verses we've read, can you see that God is wisdom and God is a triune God so Jesus is Wisdom, the Holy Spirit is wisdom and God the Father is wisdom?
  • Have you ever meditated on how everything in God's Creation tells of His Wisdom? From a blade of grass to a single cell, from a star in the sky to a mountain lake, from a single hair from your head to the ocean waves... God's Wisdom is seen. Can you celebrate and rejoice in God's Wisdom and His Creation?!?
  • Read Job 38-42 about God's Creation.

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

How Do You Organize Your Books?

How Do You Organize Your Books?

I saw an interesting discussion at http://unclutterer.com/2008/04/22/finding-order-on-your-bookshelves/ about how people organize their books. Most seem to prefer organizing by genres, categories and then by authors. Some are as haphazard as I am and just have them all over the place. Some organize by color. That one surprised me! "I think I'll read a red book today." But the color-organizers swear by it.

I've seen some people turning their books page out instead of spine out. Not sure why unless it's to make their bookshelves look colorless. But it takes all kinds so who am I to judge?

At different times I've tried to organize them by genres and categories and I would keep a series by one author all together so I don't buy one I already have. But after moving from the farm, I haven't gotten them organized like that.

In my house on the farm and in the house in Tryon I had lots of bookshelves. In our last house I had to relegate my books to the attic in bookshelves except for my most valuable sets or my "To Be Read" (TBR) pile. I still long for and covet a room dedicated to being just my library like I had at the farm.

These are the kinds of dedicated bookshelves I want! They have glass doors which helps keep dust out.

Books need a good organizing every once in awhile. While you are spring cleaning might be a good time to do it. I tend to have books all over the house. Everywhere I sit, I have books... in the kitchen by the rocking chair, by the bed, in the bathroom, by every chair and sofa in the living room, in the study, etc. If you need a good organizing, then it might be time to round up all your books in one central room. Have some boxes on hand and go through them one by one. If they are dusty, then take a damp rag and wipe them down and let them dry before storing them.

As you go through the books, sort them in a way that makes sense to you. For instance: all fiction and non-fiction; or, biographies, mysteries, romance and cook books; or, John's interests and Sarah's insterests; or, reference material and reading material; or, "So good I have to keep it" and "To Be Read"

Decide where you want to store them. If you decide to keep your cookbook collection then it makes sense to store them in the kitchen, especially around the area where you keep your shopping list and menu planner. *Note* Keeping a cookbook collection is really a personal choice now. It's no longer necessary if you have a computer. You can look up recipes all day long on the computer so having it in print in a book that you have to store is not necessary.

Notice how the shelves are their own ladder?

While you sort your books and clean them up, it might be that those you want to keep need to have your name and address printed in them. You can get "Ex Libris" (From The Books of) rubber stamps or bookplate stickers made:

Ex Libris
John Doe
123 Main St
Anywhere, US

Or you can use address labels or rubber stamps. If the book means something to you because of who gave it to you, make a note of who it was, the occasion, the date. I've even been known to write "book review" in the back pages or you might want to give it your personal rating on a scale of 1-10. *Note* Get rid of the books that don't make it in your top 5 on your scale! In some books, I've found additional information on the Internet and have printed that out and stapled it to the back of the book. For instance, I might read a true crime mystery that is 10 years out of date so I look up the crime and the criminals to see if they are in jail, have been put to death, were they ever found, is there any info on the main characters, pictures of the crime scene, etc. If it was famous enough to have a book written about it, then you can usually find out more info on the Internet with Google searches.

When I was little we didn't have enough money to buy any book I wanted. I sparingly got Nancy Drew mysteries as gifts over the years until one day my Mom found a box full of vintage Nancy Drews from the 1930's for a few dollars at a junk barn. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I've read and re-read those Nancy Drew mysteries over the years because it brings back my girlhood. Mostly we went to the library where I devoured huge chunks of young people books. I read every single children's mystery in our library and then moved into the adult mysteries. I still have my Nancy Drew collection in plastic boxes, clearly marked but dust free and in a closet.

But, after my marriage and as we got more disposable income, I began to buy books so "I would never go hungry again!" That was Scarlet O'Hara in Gone With The Wind...but it was the same feeling. I became a book hoarder. I was a bargain shopper. I hate to pay retail price for a book when I can probably get it at book sales, yard sales and thrift stores if I just wait awhile. Now if it's one of my favorite authors and they come out with a new book, I might go ahead and buy it but I still try to find it at the cheapest price. Those are special treats.

I had my attic lined with bookcases full of books. It's a wonder the ceiling didn't cave in. When we moved from the farm to Tryon, I kept every single book. When we moved from Tryon to our last house, I kept every single book. But this time, boxing them and physically lugging them was extremely hard. I was older. I realized that I probably was holding on to too many books. I started to re-think my MUST-HAVE-BOOKS trance. I began using the library more and if a book doesn't really send me, then I gave it away rather than store it. I also began to go digital where possible so I don't have to physically keep so many books. I still have my secret stash scattered throughout the house of To Be Read pleasures. But I really began to cut down.

If you attend church, like we do, you probably have had Sunday School books, workbooks, notebooks, spiritual journals, etc. I do have plastic boxes where I keep these spiritual books. They contain personal stuff because you've filled out parts, answered questions, taken notes, underlined and highlighted, etc. Once we've completed the class or study, I pop those books in the box clearly marked "Our Spiritual Journey". I have more than one box over the years. Those represent a lot of study, time, personal experiences, spiritual growth and I can't just throw them away. One day I may take them to be shredded as who wants them? You may decide not to keep yours because they are too personal or you don't have the room.

Do you have an old set of encyclopedias, dictionaries and other reference books? Guess what? You don't need them any more. You can Google everything and use the Internet. I know they represent a lot of money. Someone bought them at one time and probably paid by the month. But they are never used, will never be used and there is no reason for you to store them any more. Unless you have a special sentimental feeling for them, get rid of them. Even if you play Scrabble, you can look up words on the online dictionaries and even hear them pronounced. You have dictionaries, thesauruses, maps, and encyclopedic knowledge for the taking and it's all on that little screen without having to take up shelf space and household real estate. So bye-bye big heavy books!

A few years ago I decided my collection was out of control and I'd better handle it before I got too much older and more disabled where I wouldn't be able to take care of it. So I gathered boxes and took them to the attic and began slowly emptying the bookcases in the attic. Stan carried them down and put in the truck and I would haul off and donate them. I had a walkup attic and so it had been easy to put bookcases up there and store books. But they weren't being kept clean and they weren't being used so why did I have an attic full of stuffed bookcases? I kept very few of those books. Then I went through my books in the main living spaces and culled. I managed to slowly donate these boxes until they were gone. I donated genealogy books and history books to our local library genealogy department.  I knew they would keep them and I could do my research there when I needed them. I figured I could do my collecting digitally. I do now have hundreds of digital books I got for free. I also stopped taking any magazines. I used to love magazines. But they are so full of ads that the articles are short and pictures few and small. Why spend the money? I could get more from Google searches and Pinterest. And my Pinterests are pinned in my organized boards... digitally. I had them at my fingertips, organized on boards, but I wasn't having to keep physical paper magazines. That's something Dad didn't grasp. He kept paying for subscriptions and collecting them. I can, so I switched to going as much digital as I can.

I even took boxes of old papers to be shredded. I had saved all our financial stuff, carefully organized and archived in plastic boxes in the attic. Forty years of credit card statements, receipts, bank statements, utility bills, contracts, etc. I got rid of it all! The only thing I keep hard copy of are 7 years of income tax reports. Even then, I have them in .pdf files so I don't have to keep those. Be sure you have at least 2 backups of your digital files in case one of your hard drives breaks and you lose all your digital data! I scan every piece of paperwork as it comes in the door. Manuals, warranties, receipts, statements, etc. A lot of these you can get directly from your bank or credit card/utility/loan companies as they give you the option to get digital bills, or statements, and you can download the .pdf files without having to scan a paper copy. I love my Fujitsu ScanSnap which makes scanning so easy. All I do is rename the file and store the file on my hard drive in the correct folder. I keep my hard drive carefully organized so that I can find my digital files as needed. I have a printer that I can use if I need to print something out. Meanwhile I shred or burn the hard copies so I don't have to have file cabinets of paper any more. I have one file drawer of hard copies where I keep stuff I have to have such as life insurance policies, wills, dog vaccine certificates, my income taxes from the last 7 years, mortgage and home contracts, automobile titles. But I keep very little paper any more.

Our parents died within 4 months of one another just awhile back. Going through their house afterwards we had to haul off tons of old books and magazines collections. They weren't hoarders in the sense you see houses on the TV show. But still, Daddy had built bookcases and stashed books in every available space, closet, etc. And his magazine collections. It's been sad to have to go through, box up, haul off, all their valued books and magazines. They hadn't been touched or dusted in 10, 20, 30 years? The dust was ungodly in those bookcases.
I realized the days where I could do my usual deep cleans, as in spring cleaning, were behind me. I can't do as much as I used to. And one of the things I did in my spring cleaning was to wipe down and dust every single book. I vacuumed their pages and dusted the bookshelves before putting them back up. I did this every year. But after one of our moves, those books in the attic, they weren't getting spring cleaned every year like I used to do. So they got donated. Why expend so much energy and valuable real estate in my house to dust collections?

We downsized last year. We went from our 3,000 sq ft home with a walkup attic to an 1,800 sq ft home with an attic that is virtually inaccessible to me (pull down ladder). So I tried to be even more ruthless with a slash-and-burn attitude. We were able to do it. I still have too much but it's better than I used to have. Some things I really regret having to get rid of. But it doesn't keep me awake at nights. I have less to clean and take care of. Keep in mind, when you are young and have lots of energy, less pain, you can take care of more. But as you age or become disabled (I'm both), less to take care of, organize and clean is better. There will become a tipping point in life and we nearly missed that point by putting it off. You love having the room and space of a larger home and you fill it up with stuff you think you want to collect, keep, store,... things you might need. But then you realize it's getting harder to keep it clean and maintained. A large home is wonderful for space and the ability to store. But it's harder to keep clean, keep maintained, inside and out. It's more expensive and you begin to have to pay others to do things for you because you can't do it anymore. Vacuuming and mopping 3,000 sq ft was becoming impossible for me so I was having to pay someone to clean my house. My husband was having to pay someone to do the yard work that we had always done ourselves. We were having to pay someone to clean the eaves of mildew and pressure wash the driveway, etc. Things we could handle when we were younger. So we made a list of things we couldn't do without. Then we looked for a little smaller home with less to maintain but met our must-have list. And we both tried to get rid of stuff as much as we could. My new home is more crowded because of less space. But it's very organized and we are getting used to our new lifestyle. And most of my hard copy book collection is gone. So are other collections that I loved. It was hard but we managed to do it before we got too old to do it. That's the tipping point. Realizing it has to be done and not putting it off until you are too old to do it. I was afraid we had waited too late to make this very difficult decision and make the move. Because some people do and they become physically, mentally and emotionally incapable. I've seen it. Whether it's physical disability, dementia, or emotional attachments too strong... they just can't make the move and then they are living in a house they can't afford, or can't physically maintain, and it molders around them. At least I have a smaller home now to molder in, LOL! We managed at least that much before we got too old. I pray this is our last move because it's one of the hardest things you do in life.

I read one person's comment that they have books on every surface, nook and cranny. I've seen places like this. As much as I love books, I couldn't live in that kind of higgeldy piggeldy. I love order and I hate the dust!

You can make your own paper book covers, buy them or make/buy fabric book covers. If you organize your books using book covers think about color coordinating. You could use red paper/fabric for mystery books, blue book covers for history books, yellow book covers for biographies. You could print, or use a labeler, to put the name of the book/author (and any other information you want) on the spine of the book cover. If you don't want to have a full color book cover, then use a strip of color on the book cover. Such as colored stickers on white or brown paper book covers. If you want to recycle brown paper bags for book covers, then you could color coordinate by genre and use stickers or colored magic markers to add a color strip to the spine.

You can make fabric book covers if you sew. I love fabric book covers but they do take time and supplies to make. The pros to a fabric book cover is that you can wash them. So they not only protect the book, but are washable. That means vacuuming the tops of your books and washing the book covers are all you would have to do when cleaning. They are customizable.You can customize them to the size of the book. You can add bookmark ribbon, ties, pen holder, or pockets based on the book. I don't need a pen holder and pocket on a mystery book but I do when I'm reading a Christian non-fiction book. You can color coordinate fabric bookcovers too. Either using colored fabric OR just adding colored buttons or ribbons to the spine. A red button for a murder mystery and a green button for a gardening book, etc.  The cons are they take fabric and thread supplies, a sewing machine, some know-how and take a little longer to make. They also would take up more bookshelf space than paper book covers. So if you usually can fit 10 books on the shelf, you might only fit 9 books on the shelf because of the added thickness of the fabric and whether or not you add pockets or bookmark ribbon.

Google on how to make paper and fabric book covers.

If you have children, then I guarantee you've probably got a lot of children's books. Sort through them. If the children have outgrown some of their books and you aren't anticipating having another child, it's time to pass them on. If your children have already read some and they don't mean a lot to them, get rid of them. Or, even let the children offer the used books to their friends. I know my Nancy Drew collection was hard come by and I loved it and I still have it. Maybe they have a love for the Harry Potter books or the Hardy Boys or some science fiction books but the rest could be donated to charity or passed out among their friends.

I like order, organization. Has this made you think about your book organization? Do you need to attack your books and do some work?

Monday, March 23, 2020

Proverbs 8:17-21

Proverbs 8:17-21 (NIV)  17 I love those who love me,
and those who seek me find me.
18 With me are riches and honor,
enduring wealth and prosperity.
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
what I yield surpasses choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
and making their treasuries full.

Proverbs 8:17-21 (NLT)  17 “I love all who love me.
Those who search will surely find me.
18 I have riches and honor,
as well as enduring wealth and justice.
19 My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold,
my wages better than sterling silver!
20 I walk in righteousness,
in paths of justice.
21 Those who love me inherit wealth.
I will fill their treasuries.

Do these verses promise wealth to those who seek godly wisdom?

Godly wisdom can be identified by the way we handle money. Wisdom is not the amount of money one possesses. It's how you acquire, use and regard money. It's your attitude towards money. If money, and what it can buy, is your be-all-end-all, then it has become an idol to you. If you're so concerned about your lack of money or so concerned over your excess of money, you may have made money an idol in your life. If all of your energy, time, talents, education, and health is spent on making money, using money, acquiring money, spending money, investing money, or worrying over the lack of money... you may have a problem with idolatry. You don't have to be rich to make money an idol. If you are poor but you are constantly fretting over how much you don't have; how much you wish you had; angry because others have more than you do... you've made money an idol. Jealousy, resentment, anger and covetousness are indicators that money and wealth is an idol to you. If you walk around with a chip on your shoulder because others make more, or have more, than you do, you may be making money an idol. So, rich or poor, money can be an idol in your life. If you are constantly watching the stock market; worrying over your investments; concerned about your future; wringing your hands when it's down; trying to decide if now's the time to sell when it's up... money could be an idol in your life. If you are proud and arrogant because of your money or money-making skills, you may have made money an idol.

There are things more precious and money cannot buy. Your eternal salvation is priceless. Your relationship with God is priceless. The forgiveness of your sins and being set free is priceless. Being able to worship God with your whole being is priceless.

There are other things that are more valuable than money and wealth. Relationships with your family. You cannot put a price on a loving relationship with your spouse, your children, your parents, your siblings, etc. Just ask someone who has lost a family member! I just lost both of my wonderful parents within 4 months of each other. I was so thankful for all the many years we had together and we truly valued each other. Now that they are gone, I have no regrets and I have many memories, but I still miss them so much. You don't want to put your most valuable people on hold while you stress and strain over other things. You don't want to lose them and then have regrets because you didn't spend quality time with them while you had them. You don't want to take them for granted. Then there are friends and church that are more valuable than any price tag. Peace in your heart and a heart of gratitude are more valuable than gold and silver. Being able to relax and enjoy what God has provided (stop and smell the roses) is extremely valuable.

"It is not that wealth is intrinsically evil, or that poverty is blessed. Rather, a devotion to gathering wealth is incompatible with devotion to God. God must always be the most important thing in our lives." - ChristianBibleReference.org

Luke 16:13 (NLT, Jesus speaking)  "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."

Matthew 16:26 (Jesus speaking) "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?"

Now that we've set the base, what do these verses promise?

If you use godly wisdom in how you make money, use money, regard money, then blessings will naturally follow you. If money is NOT an idol to you, then God can release more money to you. But that's NOT a given. There are instances in the Bible of godly people, using godly wisdom, but who were poor. Poverty is not a sign of God's blessing. Being wealthy is not a sign of God's blessing.

Let's look at some examples:

Mark 10:23-27 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." They were greatly astounded and said to one another, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible."

Do these verses mean only poor people can be saved and that poverty is a virtue? No!

Matthew 27:57-60  57 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. 59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.

Do these verses mean only wealthy people can be saved and that wealth is a virtue? No!

Luke 16:19-31  19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”

Do these verses mean only poor are saved and poverty is a virtue? No!

Luke 19:10  2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”
9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Do these verses mean only wealthy people can be saved and poverty is a virtue? No!

Do you see there is balance when it comes to the issue of money. It's not how poor or how rich you are that saves you or is a sign of virtue or blessing. Jesus saves us, not we ourselves. None of us are good enough, rich enough, poor enough, or do enough good works to save ourselves. Our salvation is based on Jesus' work on the cross and not on anything we do. As for virtue, it is something that comes naturally from a heart given to God. It's not something you manufacture in order to get blessings from God.

Some people think they have found a magic formula: "If I do this and that, then I will get wealth, health, fame, power." They think of it like rubbing a magic lantern to get what they want. They see it as something they can manufacture if they do all the right things. If they do everything right and say all the right words, they can make God bless them. But, you can see where there are flaws. First, God is sovereign, He is God and not we ourselves. Second, we cannot manipulate God to do anything because He is sovereign and much wiser than we ourselves. Third, we are taking on the position of God when we try to manipulate Him to do what WE want. Using Him as some sort of tool which we control. Fourth, we set ourselves up for failure because there is no way we can be good enough, do enough good, say all the right things, and never sin. We aren't capable of doing everything right; speaking things into being with positive words; following through on promises to God; never forgetting a single jot and tittle of the Law in order to perform it. It's why we need a Savior. We may make promises like, "God, I'll never do __________ that again, if You will just let this one time slide"; "I'll go to church every Sunday if You will just fix this one thing"; "I'll never ask you for anything else if You will just __________." Knowing full well, we will never fulfill those promises. We can't because we aren't that perfect. And we won't fulfill our part of the bargain because we are fallible, we think God will understand and we let it slide. Before you know it you are back to the same life as before. Nothing changed and your promises to God were forgotten.

So what are these verses saying? If we have the right, balanced attitude towards money, it is godly wisdom. We don't get godly wisdom without God. So people may be smart in making money or investing money, but that doesn't mean they have godly wisdom. That means they have intelligence (God-given), education (God-given) and skill (God-given) but they are using it for themselves. Godly wisdom is where God gives us balance, integrity, and discernment. We are in right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We have a continuous relationship with God who gives wisdom. We are using godly wisdom to have the right attitudes about money and to stay in balance in our lives.

How can godly wisdom bless us financially? If we are in right relationship with God; in communication with Him; and we are seeking to do what He would have us do, then there are some financial blessings that come as a natural result. For instance, you aren't wasting your money on drugs, excessive alcohol, prostitutes, gambling, etc. You are spending your money wisely and therefore with better results. I have seen poor people given money who then waste it on alcohol or drugs rather than on food, shelter or clothes. I have seen rich people waste their money on alcohol, drugs, parties, $1,000 purses, $800 pr of tennis shoes, crazy investments, etc. Neither one is spending their money wisely. Neither is showing godly wisdom whether it's $5 or $5,000,000.

I knew a woman who had spent all her inheritance and most of her wages on trinkets. She had inherited a large home from her parents and she filled it up with so many trinkets that she was living in the backyard in a camper because she couldn't get into her house. Hoarding. All that money wasted on junk that she will never get her money back out of. All that money in junk that sat in a house and decayed. All that money sunk into so much stuff she couldn't live a decent life because of it. Then she became unable to pay her taxes and was so far behind that the city was going to take her house for back taxes. Where would she put all that junk now? People gave her money to pay her back taxes and you know what she did with it? Yep, she wasted it on more "collectibles". Didn't pay one dime in back taxes. Someone gave her a car, she filled it with her junk. Someone else paid to have her car fixed. She spent the money on trinkets. This person was blessed by God with a 3,500 sq ft house in a nice part of town and she didn't maintain it because she had spent all her money on junk. God blessed her with 4 acres of land with the house but she couldn't afford to have it mowed because she spent the money on junk. God had blessed her with an inheritance from her parents and she had spent every dime on junk. God had blessed her with jobs and wages but she wasted it on junk. God blessed her with the generosity of others but she wasted it on junk. God blessed her with good health but she wasted it on junk until now she's old and can't deal with all the junk. This woman didn't spend her money on drugs, crime, prostitution, theft, cons, gambling or other "sinful" deeds. But, needless to say, she didn't use godly wisdom. She made an idol out of junk and out of herself (she couldn't refuse herself anything). Now other people have had to step in and try to help her out of the mess she created. But, even then, she refused to let it go so, where she moved, she had to have a building to contain it. Meanwhile she hasn't changed one bit and will probably be living in her camper in the backyard of her new home. That's not godly wisdom.

If you are using godly wisdom you have discernment, understanding, and good judgment so that you use your money wisely. If you are using godly wisdom you are a person of honesty and integrity which will show in your business dealings with co-workers, bosses and vendors. This is usually appreciated with repeat business, trust from co-workers, and benefits from vendors. If you are using godly wisdom then you treat your employees, co-workers, bosses, investors generously, with kindness and goodness. This usually results in devoted employees, loyal vendors, good relationships with co-workers and satisfied investors. Is this a guarantee? No, because then you are back to turning God's blessing into some kind of formula for your own success. But you will reap what you sow. If you are good to people, then God will bless it back to you in some way. It may not be money. It may be in friendship, good relations with your neighbors, a happy family, peace in your heart, a clean conscience, help when you need it, etc.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Jesus Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. Those who trust in Him, by grace through faith, have the mind of Christ, which will guide us into all truth. As we trust in Him and in His Word, He guides us into truth; He prompts us in our actions and attitudes; and, He corrects and trains us as we mature in the spirit. The result of this vital relationship with God is godly wisdom in our everyday lives. As we grow and mature in the spirit, we have godly wisdom to make choices and decisions. As our eyes see more and more from God's perspective, we gain better discernment and balance in the real world. May we be this rooted in Him!

When you read these verses, did you think they were a promise of wealth?
Being smart with worldly wisdom does not mean the same thing as godly wisdom. Can you explain the difference in your own words?
To see these verses and understand them correctly, you should take them in context with other verses (provided in this post, as well as others in the Bible) and see them in balance. God's perspective on financial wealth is very different from the world's perspective. Ponder this and journal your thoughts.
Can you think of a rich person who uses their money for all the wrong things? How much happiness do they have?
Can you think of a poor person who uses their money for all the wrong things? How much happiness do they have?
Can you think of a rich person who tries to use godly wisdom with their money? They know Jesus Christ as their Savior and they are trying to practise God's wisdom in their finances.
Can you think of a poor person who tries to use godly wisdom with their money? They know Jesus Christ as their Savior and they are trying to practise God's wisdom in their finances.
Does this help you understand that godly wisdom has everything to do with the heart and nothing to do with the externals like money, jobs, successful/unsuccessful, educated/uneducated, what size house someone has, etc.?
Have you seen, or heard, of people who think they can manipulate God to get what they want from Him with positive thinking, positive speaking, name-it-claim-it formulas? They believe it rests on them to do all the right things to get God to do something for them such as heal them, make money, get a better job, live debt-free, etc. Is this godly wisdom?
Godly wisdom has balance, discernment and comes from God. We must have a relationship with God and in communication with Him to have His perspective. There is nothing wrong with speaking positive words that affirm and encourage us. But if it becomes a formula in which we trust to get blessing from God, we are out of balance. Journal about this and try to see balance.
Who is the beginning and end of true wisdom? All wisdom resides in who? Can we have true wisdom without _____?

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

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