WHY WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE THE BIBLICAL FOOL (2 Week Study)

WHY IS IT VITAL THAT WE DISCERN WHEN WE ARE DEALING WITH A TRUE FOOL? FIRST, WE MUST BE SURE, FOR JESUS SAID CALLING A BROTHER A FOOL CAN PUT YOU IN DANGER OF HELLFIRE. A TRUE CHILD OF GOD CANNOT BE A FOOL, AS YOU WILL SEE, THOUGH SOMEONE MAY BE RELIGIOUS AND BE A FOOL. WE MUST LEARN TO DISCERN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEHAVING FOOLISHLY (which we all, even children of God, do) & BEING A TRUE FOOL. SECOND, WHEN WE SEE ALL THE RED FLAGS FOR A TRUE FOOL, WE MUST BE ON GUARD, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS US HOW DANGEROUS FOOLS CAN BE. IGNORING THE DANGER OF FOOLS IS AKIN TO WHAT THESE PARENTS DID IN PHOTOGRAPHING THEIR BABY CRAWLING NEAR THIS PRECIPICE. Author Jan Silvious told me once that she thought she was born to […]

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THE HEART, THE HEART, THE HEART (P & P 12)

PROVERBS KEEPS TELLING US: IT ALL BEGINS WITH THE HEART OUR OWN LIZZY PLEADED FOR A PLAY–DOH HEART: MALLEABLE IN THE HANDS OF THE POTTER   IT’S NOT JUST IN PROVERBS — IT’S THROUGHOUT: EZEKIEL: A HEART OF STONE OR A HEART OF FLESH SOLOMON: A FOOLISH HEART OR A WISE HEART JESUS: A HEART THAT IS LIKE POOR SOIL OR RICH SOIL THIS SUMMER I SAW THAT GOOD SOIL IN AMY, A YOUNG WOMAN WHO JOINED OUR WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY. IT WAS SO STRIKING, SO RARE, AND SO BEAUTIFUL, IT TOOK MY BREATH AWAY. Amy is young, vibrant, and passionate. When she said she’d like to join our evangelistic study I was both pleased and cautious, for she’s like this little flame that can light up the room or overpower it. The first time she came I could tell […]

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WHEN THE FAMILY UNRAVELS… (P & P # 11)

AFTER CENTURIES, THE ROAD FROM FATHER KNOWS BEST TO MODERN FAMILY HAS BEEN SHOCKINGLY SHORT AND WHEN THE FAMILY, THE CELL OF SOCIETY, UNRAVELS, SO DOES THE WORLD. (For those interested, here’s an excellent secular article from a British scholar) THE EFFECTS OF REDEFINING THE FAMILY BUT THIS ISN’T JUST ABOUT REDEFINING MARRIAGE, IT IS ABOUT A LACK OF RESPECT WITHIN THE FAMILY. IT’S ABOUT CHILDREN NOT HONORING THEIR PARENTS. IT’S ABOUT PARENTS NOT HONORING GOD’S PLAN TO TRAIN THEIR CHILDREN IT’S ABOUT WIVES NOT RESPECTING THEIR HUSBANDS IT’S ABOUT HUSBANDS NOT SACRIFICING FOR THEIR FAMILIES WHY IS IT THAT WHEN THE FAMILY UNRAVELS, THE WORLD UNRAVELS? BECAUSE WE’VE UPSET GOD’S NATURAL ORDER. I LIVE ON A GREAT LAKE. HOW I REMEMBER DECADES OF DEAD ALEWIVES COVERING THE SHORE They fouled the air, they fouled the beauty, and they changed […]

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IS IT REALLY POSSIBLE TO EXPERIENCE FRIENDSHIP ON THIS BLOG? (PROVERBS AND PARABLES #10)

What we long for, Proverbs tells us, is faithful friends who will let us in, and who won’t let us down. (Pvbs. 20:6) Who of us cannot identify with the yearning Anne of Green Gables expressed? I’ve dreamed of meeting her all my life… a bosom friend — an intimate friend, you know — a really kindred spirit friend to whom I can confide my inmost soul. Our natural tendency, however, is to turn a good gift into an ultimate gift, expecting the gift to be what only God can be. And when we do that, we smother the friendship, and the friend flees for air. This proverb, while it makes me laugh, is all too true. We’ve crossed the line into relational idolatry when we expect someone to be what only God can be, and press in so close […]

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THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP (PROVERBS AND PARABLES # 9)

  I think back to those first moments of a new friendship, when my heart flutters like a school girl, for I have the sense that God is intertwining my heart with a kindred spirit friend. That’s how it was with Ann. We were having coffee together for the first time. She was telling me her story, how she had read T. S. Eliot’s “Hollow Men” in college and didn’t want a hollow life. I told her I’d read John Donne’s “Death be Not Proud,” and wondered how he could be so unafraid of death. We smiled at each other, warmth welling up from hearts full of Him. Then we talked about the topic that was huge in the seventies: feminism. I asked her where she stood as a Christian. She said, “I’m somewhere between Marabel Morgan and Letha Scanzoni.” […]

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THE POWER OF LIFE AND DEATH ARE IN THE TONGUE (PROVERBS AND PARABLES # 8)

SWEET SUMMER DAYS MY CHILDREN AND MY CHILDREN’S CHILDREN ARE VISITING THE CABIN  BUT I CAN RUIN A PERFECT DAY IN A MOMENT  WITH A CARELESS WORD TO MY ADULT DAUGHTER: FORGETTING THE POWER OF THE TONGUE TO PIERCE THE HEART. DEATH AND LIFE, PROVERBS TELLS US, IS IN THE POWER OF THE TONGUE AND WILL AFFECT NOT ONLY OUR HEARER’S HEART, BUT OUR OWN. THIS WEEK’S LESSON APPLIES TO ALL, BUT I HAVE BEEN REFLECTING ON THE ADULT MOTHER/DAUGHTER RELATIONSHIP. MY MOTHER HAD THREE DAUGHTERS   AND I HAVE THREE DAUGHTERS SO I SHOULD REMEMBER HOW I LONGED FOR MY MOTHER’S BLESSING, AND HOW A CARELESS WORD FROM HER COULD CRUSH ME. SO WHY CAN I NOT CONTROL MY OWN TONGUE CONSISTENTLY WITH MY OWN DAUGHTERS? ONE OF MY DAUGHTERS TOLD ME LAST WEEK HOW SHE LONGED FOR MY […]

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HEALING A WOUNDED SPIRIT (PROVERBS AND PARABLES # 7)

“IN THIS WORLD,” JESUS SAID, “YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE.” BUT WHEN THE SKY OPENS UP, AND TROUBLE COMES POURING DOWN, OUR SPIRITS CAN BECOME WOUNDED. WHEN WE ADOPTED OUR DAUGHTER ANNIE, OUR ELEVEN YEAR OLD DAUGHTER SALLY WAS EXCITED AT FIRST. SHE HAD LONGED FOR A SISTER. But then Sally said, “I felt like all the attention shifted from me to her.” She slipped into a deep depression. Her cheerful spirit disappeared. Her weight dropped. Her nights were sleepless as she wept into her pillow. I couldn’t understand for we were trying so hard to shower love on Sally as well as Anne, and we loved her so. I said to Steve, “I don’t understand why she can’t just snap out of it!” Steve said, “Would you tell a person who has the flu to ‘just snap out of it?’” He […]

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APPLYING THE GOSPEL TO PROVERBS PROPER (PROVERBS AND PARABLES # 6)

THIS WEEK WE MOVE FROM THE INTRODUCTION (1-9) INTO PROVERBS PROPER (10-31):  ABSOLUTE TREASURES OF WISDOM THAT WILL LEAD TO A FRUITFUL LIFE. PROVERBS ARE NUGGETS OF WISDOM  OTHER RELIGIONS HAVE NUGGETS OF WISDOM AS WELL The other day I was sharing in study that I had not really intentionally witnessed to Vicki’s husband at pickleball, but that instead he kept coming to me with questions as we sat on the sidelines. Vicki quipped: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Someone asked, “Is that in the Bible?” “No,” Vicki said, “It was Buddha.” We laughed. And yet I thought about how I have seen that happen. I thought about the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch! He was ready and God whisked Philip to his side.  Teachers of world religions have wisdom, for there is “common grace.” Sometimes there […]

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HOW DO WE DISCERN THE VOICE OF WISDOM IN THIS SAME-SEX MARRIAGE DEBATE OR IN LIFE IN GENERAL? (Proverbs and Parables # 5)

WHO IS THE WOMAN IN MICHELANGELO’S PORTRAIT WHOM GOD HAS ENCIRCLED WITH HIS FREE ARM? Dr. Ellen Davis, in her Westminister Commentary, believes it is “the woman wisdom who was at his side in creation.” We are coming to the close of the first part of Proverbs, the introduction that keeps contrasting the call of the woman folly with the call of the woman wisdom. Many believe that it is Jesus who is described in Proverbs 8. Others believe it is the wisdom of the Lord personified. Either way, it is the voice of the Lord. But how do we hear His voice? How do we discern if He is really speaking to us or if we are imagining it? I see two very important principles. 1. It must agree with God’s Word. (And we must know how to interpret Scripture — […]

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I CANNOT COME TO THE BANQUET…RESISTING WISDOM’S VOICE (PROVERBS AND PARABLES # 4)

THERE IS A GRIEF AMONG THE PEOPLE OF GOD ABOUT THE SUPREME COURT’S DECISION. WISDOM HAS BEEN SUPPRESSED AGAIN. YET FROM THE HEIGHTS SHE STILL CRIES ALOUD, FOR WISDOM HAS SET HER TABLE SHE HAS SENT OUT THE CALL: COME.. LIKEWISE, A MAN ONCE GAVE A BANQUET HE SENT OUT THE CALL: COME… BUT FOOLISH THEY WERE, FOR THEY ALL BEGAN TO MAKE EXCUSES: I CANNOT COME TO THE BANQUET AND SO HE INVITED THE POOR, THE PROSTITUTE, THE PRISONER, THE BEGGAR, THE BLIND… FOR THE FIRST WILL BE LAST AND THE LAST WILL BE FIRST. BRENNAN MANNING CALLED IT THE RAGAMUFFIN GOSPEL  OFTEN THE POOR HEED THE CALL, KNOWING THEIR DESPERATE NEED. THE RICH AND THE PRIVILEGED ARE MORE LIKELY TO RESIST. YET THE TRUTH IS: WE ARE ALL HELPLESS WE ALL NEED THE DOUBLE CURE:  FROM THE PENALTY […]

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THE PENETRATING POWER OF PICTURES TO CHANGE US (PROVERBS AND PARABLES #3)

     IF DAVID, A MAN AFTER GOD’S HEART,       COULD DECEIVE HIMSELF INTO ADULTERY AND MURDER,      THEN WE MUST NOT MINIMIZE THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN. THE ENEMY IS CLEVER AND DECEIVES THE BEST. ANY ONE OF US IS CAPABLE OF BEING DECEIVED AND JUSTIFYING ANYTHING. WHAT CAN PENETRATE THE DARKNESS OF OUR HEARTS? NATHAN USED A STORY, A PICTURE, A PARABLE. INSTEAD OF SIMPLY CONFRONTING DAVID WITH HIS SIN, HE TOLD HIM A  STORY ABOUT A POOR MAN WHO LOVED HIS ONE EWE LAMB. NOT ONLY CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS HOW TO CONFRONT OTHERS, BUT WE CAN GLEAN HOW TO USE THE PICTURES OF PROVERBS AND PARABLES TO PENETRATE OUR OWN HEARTS, BRINGING LIGHT TO OUR DARKNESS. THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED TO ME WHEN I HEARD A SERMON ON MARTHA THE MANIPULATER IT WAS EASIER FOR ME TO SEE MARTHA’S […]

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THE CONUNDRUM OF PROVERBS AND PARABLES #2

WE ARE TOLD THAT PROVERBS AND PARABLES ARE “RIDDLES” (PVBS. 1:6) OFTEN THEY CAN PERPLEX AND CHALLENGE THE CONUNDRUM I FACE IS THAT I KNOW  GOD LONGS FOR IS A BRIDE WHO LOVES HIM FOR HIM, AND NOT FOR WHAT HE CAN GIVE HER. THAT’S WHAT WE WILL SEE IN THE PARABLE THIS WEEK. OUR HEARTS ARE SO EVIL WE WANT TO USE GOD TO GET WHAT WE WANT, AND WE DON’T LOVE HIM FOR HIM. AND YET SO OFTEN PROVERBS SEEM TO TEACH THAT OBEYING THE RULES WILL LEAD TO US GETTING WHAT WE WANT FROM GOD. CONSIDER: Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce, then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10)  ISN’T THAT THE HEALTH AND WEALTH GOSPEL THAT […]

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PROVERBS AND PARABLES (Summer Study!) # 1.

The rudder of wisdom found in the proverbs and in the parables can help you navigate the roughest seas. Welcome to our summer study! Each lesson will stand on its own in case you miss a lesson, but we will go through the whole book of Proverbs and many parables. If you are new, you can either be a silent reader or interact with new friends by following the simple directions: Click “Bible Study Blog” at the top of this page, and then “Getting Started” and follow the simple directions. The first studyguide I ever wrote, forty years ago, was Proverbs and Parables.   I’ve learned a few things since then which I long to share, but what I saw as a young woman still thrills my soul. It is the same voice in each, the voice of Christ, in […]

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TWO WEEK STUDY: THE IMPACT OF FRIENDS (FINAL ON MENTORING AND MOTHERING)

This is our last study on impacting the heart in mentoring and mothering — I know there is so much more that could be said, but we will end with a list of resources (with comments from our own Elizabeth) to help you through the summer, particularly as a mother and a mentor of children. Because this is a holiday weekend, and the video is long, I’m giving you two weeks to complete it. Then, in June, we begin our summer study! I want to close with a story about friendship and how that can impact the heart. Studies reveal we become like the five people to whom we are closest — and that is true from childhood on. I watched both our sons go through a time of rebellion in their teens, influenced, in part, by a poor choice […]

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MELTING THEIR HEARTS (MENTORING AND MOTHERING)

A profound truth I have learned from Tim Keller in teaching others, is that we must reach their hearts. Often preachers, teachers, mothers, and mentors will go through a passage with excellence, and then tell how to apply it. But Keller says, “The problem is — they may never apply it. Instead, Keller says “their hearts need to melt for Jesus as you are speaking so the transformation begins.” Just as that is true for adults, it is true for children and for those we mentor. The question is — how can we, through the power of His Spirit, melt hearts? One of the first and vital keys can be seen in a passage we looked at last week. I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you. Job 42:5 Do you […]

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