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Tag Archives: Proverbs

Replacing Chaos with Structure

The first class that I taught as a Middle School Bible teacher at Red Lion was entitled Wise Up: the Book of Proverbs. While the textbook was waterer down more than I cared for, the premise of this book was spot on. God established boundaries in the Bible to protect individuals from harm while keeping evil out. Those who know, learn and practice these principles replace chaos with structure.

So the Lord God took the man [He had made] and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely (unconditionally) eat [the fruit] from every tree of the garden; Genesis 2:15-16.

In the days following Creation, the Garden of Eden served as an oasis in the desert. This hidden paradise was given to Adam with two simple expectations, cultivate and maintain this tropical paradise. The Lord gave Adam and Eve free reign of this garden, able to eat fruit from every tree except for one. God’s only restriction (rule), was do not eat of the tree of knowledge. Obeying this rule kept Eden free from chaos.

But [only] from the tree of the knowledge (recognition) of good and evil you shall not eat, otherwise on the day that you eat from it, you shall most certainly [h]die [because of your disobedience],” Genesis 2:17.

Moses does not detail how long it took for Lucifer to convince Eve to taste this forbidden fruit. However, ever since this decision known as Origin Sin persuaded this couple to disobey God, chaos has reigned on earth. Once Pandora’s Box has been opened, it’s impossible to alter the past. Yet, there is a way to restore order. The most logical step is to rplace chaos is by practicing godly principles from the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

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You Can’t Expect Others to Follow If You’re Not Leading the Way

During a trade school I attended after college, I was introduced to several leadership principles. From time to time, I will go back to examine and review notes from one of two three ring binders. At the time of this course, the curriculum and material was cutting edge, filled with articles, case studies and insight from successful leaders throughout the world. One of the sayings I still recall is “the enthusiasm of a leader will never exceed that of its group.”

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death, 1 John 3:14.

Essentially, this refers to the concept that you can’t expect others to follow if you’re not leading the way. As a parent, the Bible provides several instructions on how to become the spiritual leader of your house. The apostle Paul urges husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Meanwhile, King Solomon uses Proverbs to help fathers instill in their children godly principles to cling to throughout life. However, when I am not demonstrating love, emulating biblical standards and walking in integrity, I am sending a mixed message.

Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 1 Peter 1:23.

At this point in my life, I have failed miserably at being a godly leader. The hardest part of my current predicament is that if I don’t get my own life/house in order, I’m just another useless hypocrite. When you abide in death, love is impossible to accomplish. Thus, I find myself in need of a spiritual boost, an awakening only available through what Peter calls the imperishable seed. Only when I began to allow God’s Word, the Bible to abide and dwell within me, can I lead my family in the manner that God desires.

by Jay Mankus

One Down,Two to Go

My oldest son James will be leaving on Saturday to begin his junior year of college.  Yet, as I began to think about his departure, this will likely be his last summer in our home.  Required to do an internship before his senior year, James will likely spend his final summer in Lynchburg, Virginia.  When you consider a seriously relationship with his girl friend Emma, marriage is not out of the realm of possibility.  Thus, as a parent, I guess its one down and two to go.

Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it, Proverbs 22:6.

If anyone could provide insight on the do’s and don’ts on parenting, its Solomon.  A husband of 700 wives and an additional 300 concubines, this former king of Israel was a father to over one thousand children.  Reflecting upon his role as a dad, Solomon uses Proverbs as a guide to help raise godly children.  This Old Testament book urges children to listen to their parents.  The key principle to pass on to daughters and sons is the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, Ephesians 6:4.

The apostle Paul adds further advice to fathers hoping to raise godly children in the New Testament.  During his visit with members of the church at Ephesus, Paul noticed that some dads were being too tough on their kids.  This observation inspired Paul to encourage parents to avoid exasperating youth.  Instead, Paul reminds future parents to display (TLC) tender, love and care while exercising discipline.  Whether you are a former, current or want to be a parent, apply the principles of the Bible so that children will not depart from God’s will for their life.

by Jay Mankus

More Than A Fool

Words such as dope, idiot and nincompoop are synonymous with fool.  However, the actual term used by King Solomon in Proverbs relates to modern culture.  The original text contains the word moron which describes someone who is more than a fool.

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion, Proverbs 18:2.

If you spend time following social media, twitter is full individuals who express their opinion regardless of how outlandish it might be.  Before the days of blogging, Facebook and tweeting, parents taught children to think before you speak.  Unfortunately, some where along the way this practical life principle has been lost or discarded.

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered, Proverbs 28:26.

Foolishness could be chalked up to immaturity, some sort of phase in life or rebellion.  Everyone can look back on a foolish act from their past to say,”I can’t believe I did that.”  Yet the key to purging foolish behavior from your life begins with your mind.  Stubbornness  stunts one’s ability to change.  Therefore, until you make a conscious effort walk in wisdom individuals will continue to be more than a fool.

by Jay Mankus

A Sign of Understanding

As a former high school teacher, I learned the importance of reading the body language of my students.  When I began to see stares of cluelessness, I knew it was time to slow down and repeat the point I was attempting to make.  After attending a seminar as part of continuing education, I adopted a new concept into my classroom.  Following a process of nominees, volunteering and voting, each class chose a representative to be the voice.  This person helped me comprehend who was lost and what needed more review prior to tests.

And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding,” Job 28:28.

In the spiritual realm, God has His own criteria for signs of understanding.  Job uses similar language to Solomon in the book of Proverbs, but adds another element at the end.  It’s one thing to have knowledge about a topic.  Yet, unless you apply what you know it’s meaningless.  Thus, the fear of the Lord is displayed when individuals shun evil.  According to Job, those who possess understanding steer clear of any traces of evil.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction, Proverbs 1:7.

When I was younger, I often heard parents and teachers repeat the same saying.  “If you play with fire long enough, eventually you will get burned.”  Based upon the verse above, fools refuse to listen to advice.  This leads naive individuals to be scarred by powers of darkness.  When evil is not shunned, the judgment of those who play with fire become clouded.  In view of this scenario, don’t just know what is right, apply God’s principles by shunning evil.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Leaving God at Home While on Vacation

Children often come up with creative means to make the complex simplistic.  Over the years some of these ideas have become popular trinkets.  Whether you are talking about W.W.J.D. bracelets, (what would Jesus do), various crosses or prayer stones, these products serve as reminders of God.  However, when you leave home to go on vacation, it’s not that difficult to forget about God completely.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, Romans 12:1-2.

A medieval proverb speaks to this truth.  Out of sight out of mind was first published by John Heywood in the middle of the 16th century.  Since Heywood was an avid collector of proverbs, this phrase is thought to have originated during medieval times.  While not a biblical passage, this concept does apply to godly principles.  The mind is like a regulator for human thoughts.  When your mind wonders, it becomes susceptible to demonic influences.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.

Although you might have good intentions and motives when you go on vacation, it doesn’t take much to leave God at home.  Finding time alone to pray, read or go to church takes energy, planning and time.  When family time consumes people, distractions can lead driven individuals to make compromises.  Unless you are extremely disciplined, trips can be over before you know it with a Bible unopened, prayers silenced and God ignored.  May my recent experience motivate others to remember to bring God with you the next time you go away on vacation.

by Jay Mankus

 

Intoxicating

The term intoxicating often elicits a negative connotation.  This state is achieved by allowing a foreign substance to enter your body.  Alcohol is the most common drug used which tends to excite, stimulate or stupefy individuals.  King Solomon provides a positive and negative example of intoxicating in the book of Proverbs.

A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love, Proverbs 5:19.

According to Solomon, love can be intoxicating.  While the verse above may be graphic, sex in the context of marriage is suppose to bring pleasure to you and your soul mate.  Unfortunately, some drift apart from their first love.  When this occurs, lust can lead unsatisfied partners to become intoxicated with another person’s spouse.  For those who wonder toward this dangerous place, intoxication can blind people from common sense.

Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman? – Proverbs 5:20

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul chooses the Greek work pharmakia in Galatians 5:20.  This is where the English language gets the word Pharmacy.  Whenever anyone allows a drug to enter their body, you become under the influence, like someone under a spell of witchcraft.   Thus, be careful of becoming intoxicated or else you might lose your mind or something worse.

by Jay Mankus

 

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