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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 are similarities between the words of Buddha and the words of the Bible. For example, both Buddha and the Bible applaud a man conquering his own temper over one who conquers a city:



Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one —himself 

Guatama Buddha


Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,

    and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.


                                                                Proverbs 16:32



But here is the question: How does Buddhism tell a man to control his temper, and how does Christianity tell a man to control his temper? Again and again Buddha tells you to strive, to look to your own strength. Jesus tells us we can do nothing good without Him. When we fail as believers, which is often, it is because we are looking to our own strength or our own way of doing things. Why didn’t Eric Liddell, for example, lose his temper if he lost a race or when he heard the qualifying races were going to be held on Sunday? The Lord was truly the most important love of His life, not winning or running.

eric As a believer, though it was rare for me to have outbursts of temper, I was passive aggressive with my administrative assistants. I was a manipulator. That was my means of control. What set me free? I had to see my idol of control and trust that God would be in control, and do it his way (overlooking an offense or speaking the truth in love.) If I looked within, I failed.

All world religions tell you to look within for strength to do what is right, whereas Christianity is unique. Christianity tells us that in ourselves we are weak and dark, but if we abide in Christ we will find strength and light.  This is true for both being delivered from the penalty of sin and also from being delivered from the power of sin. How can we trust Jesus? He died for us and rose again. No leader of a world religion did this. (Religion implies self effort, so Christianity is not technically a religion.)

Buddha died with the words, “Keep striving,” and Jesus with the words, “It is finished.” He paid for our sin at the cross — and He paid in full. We must humble ourselves and admit we cannot save ourselves. Likewise, all the world religions tell you to strive to obey, and to strive to be accepted. Buddha said: No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk that path. 


I have tried to walk that path, and I cannot. I cannot save myself from either the penalty or from the power of sin. I desperately need the power of the gospel.  If I try, in my pride or rebellion, I fail.

So now, when we move into proverbs proper we need to apply the gospel or we will fail. For example:

The one who conceals hatred has lying lips (10:18)

Oh — this is a litmus test for real forgiveness. How do I get rid of the hatred I sometimes harbor in my heart? Who will deliver me? Only Jesus and the power of the gospel — only pondering the cross so that I can forgive as I have been forgiven.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace (11:2)

Oh it is such a battle to overcome pride! If I am doing poorly, I beat myself up — if I am doing well, pride wells up. Who will deliver me? Only Jesus and the power of the gospel. The cross at once shows me how bad I am (it took a crucifixion to pay for it) and how loved I am (for Jesus was willing to do it.) That strengthens me to be neither proud nor despondent.

Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind (11:29)

This week we took our grandchildren to the beach. There was a little girl, about three, sitting on a step sobbing. Her mother, who was on a cell phone, turned around and screamed, “I hate you!” All I could think was how this little girl would grow up broken. But how do we overcome this bad behavior as parents or spouses? We must look to Jesus to replace our idols of control, comfort, and approval.

Unless we apply the power of the gospel to these nuggets of wisdom, we will not be able to live them out. So together, let’s approach proverbs proper with the power of the gospel.



In the parable of the sower, a man casts seed (the Word, the gospel that permeates the Word) on four kinds of soil. This too is relevant to how fruitful our lives will be. 

parable of the sower



1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

Monday-Wednesday Bible Study

In the optional paid sermon by Keller, he talks about how the heart is always behind what we do. In fact, he says the most accurate translation of Proverbs 11:12 is:

He who belittles his neighbor is a man without a heart…

We don’t want to admit that the reason we fail to love well, or that we fail to truly forgive is because we are heartless, but that is the root problem. And so we conceal our hatred (Proverbs 19:18) even to ourselves.

2. In the ESV, the word “conceals” comes up three times in Proverbs 10.

A. What do the wicked do according to Proverbs 10:6 and 10:11?

B. What does the one who conceals hatred have according to Proverbs 10:18?

C. If you are honest with your own heart, allowing the Lord to search it, (and you don’t need to write this down), with whom, if anyone, in your life are you “concealing hatred?”

D. How would applying the gospel to your feelings of hatred toward someone help you overcome it? Be as specific as possible.

3.  What does Proverbs 10:12 say? How does the story of Noah’s sons “covering” their naked father who had had too much wine exemplify this? (Genesis 9:20-27) How does this also exemplify the gospel?




4. Who is your life needs covering rather than concealed hatred?



5. Read Proverbs 10 and stop at any verse that quickens you and comment. Is there a way to apply the gospel to it?

Remember the gospel shows you at once how weak you are (for He had to die) but how loved you are (for He did.) So do not be to proud to admit that a proverb reveals weakness but do not be too fearful to think you cannot live it out, for He can be to you what you need to turn from something.

6. Read Proverbs 11 and stop at any verse that quickens you and comment. Is there a way to apply the gospel to it? Comment also on Proverbs 11:21.

Proverbs 11-2116710

7. Read the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:1-23. This is such a familiar parable, and my hunch is most of you are familiar with the four kinds of soil. I don’t think the first two soils represent believers. Look at them and see if you agree or disagree with me and give your reasons.

8. I would say that most believers fall into the last two kinds of soils, if the third, indeed, is a believer. What do you think and why? Do you see a warning for yourself here? If so, what?




Thursday-Friday Sermon

I’m giving you Keller’s free sermon on the sower, but then also suggesting a paid sermon on Proverbs Proper. Choose one or do both!

The Sower:

      The Sower; On Hearing - Timothy J. Keller

Optional:  Repairing Relationships

9. What are your notes and comments?


10. What is your take-a-way and why?

Leave a Comment

Comment * If this is your first time here, please comment then fill out your name and email as stated at the bottom. Dee will approve you within 24 hours.


  1. 7.  Read the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:1-3.  This is such a familiar parable, and my hunch is most of you are familiar with the four kinds of soil.  I don’t think the first two soils represent believers.  Look at them and see if you agree or disagree with me and give your reasons.
    8.  I would say that most believers fall into the last two kinds of soils, if the third, indeed, is a believer.  What do you think and why?  Do you see a warning for yourself here?  if so, what?
    Wow, there’s just SO MUCH here in this parable.  I’ve been thinking on this a lot this week.  Dee, you used the word familiar ( and variants) a couple of times.  Made me immediately think of the saying that “familiarity breeds contempt”.  Ouch.  I don’t want to approach this parable without the respect it demands.  
    In the jail ministry one of the weeks we do study this parable.  It’s always been a standout week for me for some reason.  Probably it taps into my childhood farmer roots, but yes, the soils just so intrigue me!  It also saddens me, for I do believe that three of the four do not believe and it is sobering to see the BATTLE for souls that wages all around us daily.  It does illustrate “the world, the flesh and the devil” at work to kill the seeds of belief in the heart.  🙁  
    It’s interesting to me that three of the four gospels share this parable.  Also, the setting.  It seems to immediately follow Jesus’ mother and brothers coming to see him….and his seeming dismissal of them and the hard words “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”  If I had been there, it’s hard to imagine that those words and his response to his family would not have been reverberating in my mind even as he began to share this parable!  
    I agree with Dee that the first two soils are pretty clearly not believers.  I also do not believe that the third, the thorny ground, represents a believer…..though I admit it’s a bit trickier to parse out.  Jesus says that this person hears the Word, BUT….the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and it proves unfruitful.  It’s very hard in the whole of the New Testament to find the concept of an “unfruitful believer”.  Though Paul does mention carnal believers this is never presented as the norm.  Instead, we are told that we are a new creation with a new identity.  Hmmm…..I guess this one (thorny ground) is just going to be interpreted differently by a lot of us!  I also happen to think that the whole idea of only one of the four being a true believer does fit with the rest of Scripture speaking of a “remnant” or “the few” or the “narrow way”…..??  
    Do I see a warning here for myself?  The thorny ground has bothered me deeply at times.  For I fear that my own life at times shows and inordinate care for the things of the world.  Whether that be the lives of my children and husband or the daily cares of this life.  How much time have I WASTED in WORRY about money or bills or work or the path my children might be walking???  I live sometimes like trusting God is a cop out.  I want to DO something!  How I long for the simplicity of meeting with my God in the morning and then going about my day in conversation with Him…..out onto the stormy seas of life with a trust in Him that allows me to just “do the next thing” as Elisabeth Eliot used to say!  

  2. Oh….I forgot to add the most hopeful thought of all though…..that SOILS CAN BE CHANGED!!!  Rocky soil can become “hospitable”.  The mystery of God changing the heart….Ezekiel 36:26 says that “….I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”  And just as God asks us to join him in this, we can be the hands that cultivate, fertilize and tend to the soil that is rocky, thorny or barren.  What joy!

    1. Jackie, I really appreciate your breakdown of the different soils here. I do feel worried about my loved ones who are rocky, thorny and barren. But thanks be to God, the SOILS can be changed! I will write out Ezekiel 36:26 where I can see it often and pray for my loved ones.

  3. 8. I would say that most believers fall into the last two kinds of soils, if the third, indeed, is a believer. What do you think and why? Do you see a warning for yourself here? If so, what?
    I have often times had trouble understanding the parables; they seem like riddles to me and I have never been very good with riddles.
    I started thinking about how the first two descriptions of kinds of people were “exposed.” The seed wasn’t covered and never grew. The third was covered and gets caught up in the thorns, so it doesn’t have a chance to properly grow and be what it should be. It is held back by the thorns. I think many fall into this category, including myself. I am definitely caught up in the world at times and forget that our home is in a different place, not earth. I have trouble with this because as I have asked on this blog before, what is the point of being here if I don’t really care about being here, but am only looking to being with Jesus in heaven? It’s confusing to me. So, my only reason for being here on earth is to help others see Jesus so they can be with Him too? What prevents me from throwing all cares to the wind if this earth doesn’t matter? I don’t get it. Why not just get it “over with” now? Why should I care who wins the next presidential election if it doesn’t really matter? Why should I care if my son speaks with disrespect to me? Why should I care if my husband is satisfied in our relationship? Why should I care if I can’t pay my bills? It is confusing. Shouldn’t we care about these things even though they are earthly? They affect us whether we like it or not. I don’t want to care about things if the world, but they are in my face all the time and I must. I think Jesus wants us to be good stewards of our lives. That means we do care about earthly things to a certain extent.
    So I can’t say what it means for me. I suppose I am supposed to not care about what happens here in the flesh and only seek the Kingdom, but then why did Jesus care how we treated the poor? Confusing to me for sure. Need to think more and read some others’ answers to this question then maybe I will understand better.

      Everything you mentioned deeply matters to God-so in answer to your question yes you should care deeply about these things on earth as God does too for He tells us to take care of widows and orphans. He put us here to steward it-for God’s love and care for His creation hasn’t changed since the fall-He remains the same. I think the crux in this parable in the third example is that we need to be careful our affections for these things don’t captivate us more than God. What helps me is to remind myself-and I have to daily watch if my affections for my kids, my husband, food etc..rise above my affections for Him. There is nothing wrong with enjoying and sacrificing myself for my family, and enjoying food..it is when it captivates me so that I run to these things rather than him..controlling my children instead of entrusting them to him, running to food for comfort instead of running to him for comfort, thirsting after mans approval-doing things in the name of Jesus just to get mans approval instead of delighting and resting in His approval of me. I hope that helps!! I stumble on all counts too!! So I just need Him to help me daily..and trust He will never forsake me for my heart has deep dark churning waters I am unable to see..so even then I need to trust Him to show me that and not obsess over it! ;~)   Love you.

      1. OH and I totally forgot to mention the most important part of the parable!! 🙂 When we are more captivated by the world than by Him and indication is that we start seeing bad fruit in our life rather than His fruit which is: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. 

        1. gentleness, and self control

    2. Laura – sorry, I forgot to hit “reply” when I responded to your comment and Rebecca’s…..so it’s tucked away down below….

    3. Laura, I am pondering your questions again. Have some thoughts…we care about being here because we are here to bring (a little bit of) the kingdom down to earth. I think of how Jesus ministered to the poor, hurting, lonely, sick…and the proud, self-righteous, like Nicodemus. Jesus cared so much that He came and He leaves us here to keep on doing His work. Jesus, God in flesh, came down. Jesus, living in us, is still present, through us, living His life through us.

  4. 6. Read Proverbs 11 and stop at any verse that quickens you and comment. Is there a way to apply the gospel to it?
    Verse 2 in the Amplified Bible: 2 When swelling and pride come, then emptiness and shame come also, but with the humble (those who are lowly, who have been pruned or chiseled by trial, and renounce self) are skillful and godly Wisdom and soundness.

    Because of current suffering in the life of a friend I had been pondering before reading this what it means to confess Jesus as Lord. How we long for control. How painful it is when circumstances peel back the veneer and we have to admit that we are powerless. It is frightening and it often makes us really angry. But those emotion stem from pride, I Think I know all I need to know, I want to be in control, I want to be God. The humility of seeing ones self rightly as a small powerless child, but a dearly loved child, purchased and desired, whose parent is Almighty erases the fear and anger and allows a peace that passes all understanding even in the midst of the worst circumstances. Jesus as lord when you see him as harsh and scary is so much different from Jesus as Lord when you know that He loves you with an everlasting love

    1. Chris, this is really lovely and you know whereof you speak.  🙁  Your words also made me think of how life sometimes can be viewed as a series of snapshots…..or a long running video!  I do know that God is so very faithful in the lives of those who are His…..but sometimes in the midst of the terrible pain and sorrow and struggle we don’t look so very godly.  In the late spring and early summer of 2013 I was a mess.  Anyone who might have met me then for the first time surely would not have seen any of the beauty of Christ in me.  But by the end of the summer…..His patience with me and His tender constancy …..well, I came crawling back to His feet.  And nothing has been the same since.  While the snapshots of my life in certain seasons bring me pain, the long running video is the story of Christ in me, the hope of glory.  And when I really think of this, I am undone.  

      1. Crawling back…i identify with that. Feeling stunned by suffering, as if blindsided with a 2×4 it takes awhile to move again.I am glad he doesn’t abandon us there.

  5. 7. Read the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:1-23. This is such a familiar parable, and my hunch is most of you are familiar with the four kinds of soil. I don’t think the first two soils represent believers. Look at them and see if you agree or disagree with me and give your reasons.
    Agree because: The first one says he hears the word and “doesn’t understand it”. (only God can open eyes so this person doesn’t have the Holy Spirit inside.) The second one “has no root in himself” (He doesn’t have the Holy Spirit inside him strengthening him for when persecution comes so he immediately falls away.) Both of these don’t mention anything about bearing fruit which is another indication He is talking about unbelievers whereas the last two talk about one bearing fruit and the other not bearing fruit.
    8. I would say that most believers fall into the last two kinds of soils, if the third, indeed, is a believer. What do you think and why? 
    I agree again this is about a believer because He talks about this person not bearing fruit because he or she becomes more captivated with the world than with Jesus. The cares of the world ‘choke the word’ and it becomes unfruitful. The word sown in the heart is choked out by the world..so this believer’s affections turn more on the world than on God and this believer doesn’t bear fruit. 
    Do you see a warning for yourself here? If so, what?
    YES! Be weary of placing my affections on the things of this world more than Him..When they captivate my heart more than Him and I pant after them like a camel in heat there is an issue. This is idolatry of any kind-when I seek food for comfort, live for the approval of man, desire to try and fix people by control or desire to control situations out of my control. This is daily too for I am tempted daily and I fail often but He restores me. There are things, because I live in America, that captivate my heart more that I am not even aware of but I have found He faithfully brings it to the surface in his time..so for me the question is, when He opens my eyes am I going to run to Him and turn from it or am I going to harden my heart toward him? Scary how frail we are. I so need Him and His Word to empower me daily.

  6. Comment also on Proverbs 11:21.
     Again from the Amplified Bible:   21 Assuredly [I pledge it] the wicked shall not go unpunished, but the multitude of the [uncompromisingly] righteous shall be delivered The only way there is and will be a multitude of uncompromisingly righteous people is through the finished work of Christ.  It is reassuring that God pledges justice, that we can relax and leave vengeance in His hands. 

    1. God pledges justice, that we can relax and leave vengeance in His hands. 

      This is well said, Chris.  I was struggling with what I see as rejoicing in God’s vengeance that I have seen in some believers lately.  (at least it looked like rejoicing).  But relaxing and leaving it in God’s hands sounds so much better to me.  Thanks.  

  7. Laura – ditto to Rebecca’s reply.  Yes, great questions.  I would add to that just Matthew 28:19&20….the Great Commission that Jesus left for all his followers:  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  We’re here to make disciples – as you pointed out in one of your questions!  🙂  And many of the examples given by Rebecca and yourself are the windows into disciple making!

  8. 7. Read the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:1-23. This is such a familiar parable, and my hunch is most of you are familiar with the four kinds of soil. I don’t think the first two soils represent believers. Look at them and see if you agree or disagree with me and give your reasons.

    I don’t know. I like to think that they are…because we are relying on grace. How does one know if and when the belief is genuine?

    I thought of this verse John 5:24
    ESV “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

    I like extrapolate that the belief may be weak but the savior is all powerful. 
    But the Amplified Bible adds another dimension, the clinging…the life…evidenced by fruit.If the belief doesn’t last was it really belief? 

    The insight the disciples had was a gift to them:

    “10Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given”

    Is the insight given to those who grasp & cling? Or do we grasp & cling because we have been given insight? 
    I lean towards the latter, least anyone should boast.
    I crave that insight be given to my children and unbelieving friends :
    “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words [who listens to My message] and believes and trusts in and clings to and relies on Him Who sent Me has (possesses now) eternal life. And he does not come into judgment [does not incur sentence of judgment, will not come under condemnation], but he has already passed over out of death into life.”

  9. 8. I would say that most believers fall into the last two kinds of soils, if the third, indeed, is a believer. What do you think and why? Do you see a warning for yourself here? If so, what?
    In spite of their wayward lives I want to believe that the VBS and summer camp conversions of my children were real 🙁
    But I don’t want to be deceived by false security that removes the urgency of prayer for them and be lulled into not speaking truth and life to them.
    I also see myself, I stumble in many ways… I don’t want the cares of life to drive me from God but rather straight to Him.
    I thought of this from 2 Peter 1:

    Confirm Your Calling and Election
    “3His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

  10. Thinking about wanting the stuff of life, bith the good and the bad to drive me towards God I thought of ‘Come to Jesus’ by Chris Rice

    Weak and wounded sinner
    Lost and left to die
    O, raise your head for love is passing by

    Come to Jesus
    Come to Jesus
    Come to Jesus and live

    Now your burden’s lifted
    And carried far away
    And precious blood has washed away the stain

    So sing to Jesus
    Sing to Jesus
    Sing to Jesus and live

    And like a new born baby
    Don’t be afraid to crawl
    And remember when you walk sometimes we fall

    So fall on Jesus
    Fall on Jesus
    Fall on Jesus and live

    Sometimes the way is lonely
    And steep and filled with pain
    So if your sky is dark and pours the rain

    Then cry to Jesus
    Cry to Jesus
    Cry to Jesus and live

    Ohh, and when the love spills over
    And music fills the night
    And when you can’t contain your joy inside

    Then dance for Jesus
    Dance for Jesus
    Dance for Jesus and live

    And with your final heartbeat
    Kiss the world goodbye
    Then go in peace, and laugh on glory’s side
    And fly to Jesus
    Fly to Jesus
    Fly to Jesus and live

    1. Chris,
      Thank you for posting this song.   It stops me in my tracks every time I hear it.    Love that we can “come” to Him, regardless.   We can sing, fall, cry, fly or dance.  
      In this article by Pastor Scott Sauls about depression and anxiety and how we come to Jesus, he quotes Tim Keller as saying,  “All you need is nothing.”  All you need to come to him, is need.    http://www.aholyexperience.com/2015/07/when-you-want-to-find-hidden-graces-in-the-dark-places/

      1. Thanks for this link, Nila. Good article. I need Him every hour. I too have discovered wondrous graces in dark places. 

      2. Nila – wonderful gift of an article!  I commented on the FB prayer page.  thank you.

      3. Nila yes thanks for sharing. I passed it on already to encourage a dear friend.

    2. I love this song dearly.  But it makes me sad too.  One of my own, who was in high school when it came out, sang it over and over and it was ‘her’ song.  She also is one who has life threatening illness, so that in itself was poignant enough, as she always seemed to be looking to eternity in the songs she loved.    Now, over a decade later, her heart is SO far away from the gospel.    Just another SIGH.    I know many of us relate.  I just can’t ever think of this song, without ‘hearing’ her singing it behind a closed door in her room.  
      Some day.  We will understand.  And the trials of this life will not be compared to the glory ahead.  But my heart’s cry will always be that the ones I love so dearly, will also share that glory.  

      1. My heart cry is the same as yours Wanda. Like Dee said, we rest in the character & goodness of God, He has gone to such lengths to redeem us, He isn’t willing that any should perish, there is such comfort in that as we wait on our children repentance.

        1. Yes, Chris.  Thanks for that encouragement.

  11. 2. In the ESV, the word “conceals” comes up three times in Proverbs 10.
    A. What do the wicked do according to Proverbs 10:6 and 10:11?
    Violence overcomes the mouth of the wicked
    B. What does the one who conceals hatred have according to Proverbs 10:18?
    Lying lips
    C. If you are honest with your own heart, allowing the Lord to search it, (and you don’t need to write this down), with whom, if anyone, in your life are you “concealing hatred?”
    I do and I find that my concealed hatred is often towards those who hurt those I love. I have the tendency to sweep things under the rug due to old patterns of thinking i.e. it is unchristian to feel hate towards others. So suppress them. This study reminds me that I do have concealed hatred and is a form of lying that I need to reckon with and seek forgiveness and ask for wisdom on how to deal with it as regards to my relationships.
    I wonder how this ties up with Proverbs 27: 5 Better is open rebuke than concealed love?
    D. How would applying the gospel to your feelings of hatred toward someone help you overcome it? Be as specific as possible.
    I am a recipient of God’s grace the sinner that I am so I need to extend grace to those I hate. Love (Jesus’) covers a multitude of (my)sins and He will give me the grace to extend to those who have sinned against me also.

  12. I haven’t been able to participate here this week but I did listen to Keller’s sermon Relationship Repair. It took me a long time because I had to stop every few seconds to take notes or go back and rehear. IT IS SO GOOD! Worth every bit of the cost. Relationships are constantly in need of repair and Proverbs thanks to Keller’s insights brings it all together so well. Just this week I have been talking with a friend about what true forgiveness is – both between friends and with those who have hurt us very deeply a long time ago. I considered putting up my notes from Keller’s sermon, but they are too long so I just want to say PLEASE LISTEN to this sermon!

    1. Diane,
      I agree, the Keller sermon on Relationship Repair is life-restoring.     
      Couple of quotes:  
      “We cannot forgive someone we feel superior to.”
      “If I resent the pain it takes to forgive someone – look at Jesus, knowing what He did, how he absorbed the pain, in forgiving me.”

    2. wowie zowie! That Keller sermon was FANTASTIC! My husband and I laid in bed this morning and listened together….very timely for us with our ranting son this week 🙂 thank you Dee!

  13. 6. Read Proverbs 11 and stop at any verse that quickens you and comment. Is there a way to apply the gospel to it?      The integrity of the upright guides them but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.  (11:3-NIV)   This verse has grabbed me in the past too.  The word ‘duplicity’ intrigued me.  It means doubleness of thought, speech or action.  The belying of one’s true intentions by deceptive words or actions.
    Other versions read perverseness of transgressors (KJV), falseness of the treacherous,(NASB),  crookedness of the treacherous (ESV).   It is sobering to think that when we do not act as we say, we are committing treachery.  We are betraying ourselves and others.  But mostly, we are not acting in integrity as representatives of our King.      ‘Integrity’ is defined as an unimpaired condition, soundness, firm adherence to a code; esp. a moral or artistic code.  Incorruptibility.  The quality or state of being undivided.    As believers, our integrity is in the adherence to the gospel.  To our Lord, who alone is fully incorruptible.  
    So, when we apply the gospel to this proverb, we come to realize that there is no way, on our own, that we CAN walk with complete integrity.  We are deeply flawed and do not have the incorruptible soundness of character that is defined by integrity.  We flee to Jesus for our integrity because though our own righteousness (uprightness) is as filthy rags, when, by grace, we leave our own efforts behind, we become clothed with HIS righteousness.  If we are left to our own intentions and striving, we are constantly divided.  James 1:7 refers to this as being double-minded and like a wave that is blown and tossed about by the wind.  A constant, restless, striving for truth.  Jesus IS the truth.  He IS the way.  He IS the life.  And He promises to never leave us and to walk with us.  Guiding us.  

  14. 7. Read the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:1-23. This is such a familiar parable, and my hunch is most of you are familiar with the four kinds of soil. I don’t think the first two soils represent believers. Look at them and see if you agree or disagree with me and give your reasons.
    8. I would say that most believers fall into the last two kinds of soils, if the third, indeed, is a believer. What do you think and why? Do you see a warning for yourself here? If so, what?
    I haven’t read all of the comments or listened to the sermons so someone may have already said these things.
    I don’t think that the first 3 soils represent believers at all. In John 15 Jesus talks about what happens to unfruitful branches. They are cut off and thrown into the fire. Does that mean that a believer can lose their salvation and be cut off? I don’t think so. I don’t think that you can possibly be a believer and not bear fruit. If the the Spirit is in you, you WILL bear much fruit. So to me it looks as though the 3rd soil represents a person who appears to be a Christian (like Judas), but they are not abiding in the Lord, there is no truth in them. They didn’t lose their salvation, they never had it in the first place.
    I don’t see myself as bearing fruit so this whole concept is kind of frightening to me; that maybe I just think I’m on the right track, but I’ll hear the words, “Depart from me I never knew you…”

      1. 🙂

  15. Comment also on Proverbs 11:21.    The NIV says ‘Be sure of this.  The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.’    This seems quite different from the version posted above,  Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not go unpunished, but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.’  Hmmm.   I am confused about the hand join in hand phrase.  Maybe it refers to a majority.  The tide of popular belief. ??  I will go back and see if others have commented.  This sounds like KJV ?  I will look up some other commentary and different versions, but my gut reaction to the verse as quoted from the NIV, is that I guess I am supposed to rejoice that the righteous are free.  And I do. But I see the other side and it is hard to rejoice.   I never feel joyful about the wicked being punished.  I know that the wicked includes people I love and people who have never truly heard or understood. Because all of our righteousness, on our own, is as filthy rags.  I saw some Christians posting verses of judgement and punishment as a reaction to the SC decision this month, and it turned my stomach to see that. Though I think there IS truth that we should look forward to judgement day as a day when all wrongs are set right,  I can’t enjoy the thought of punishment for those who don’t believe.  I have to cry to Jesus here.  And trust that He is sovereign.

    Oh ya. And the posted version says, ‘the SEED of the righteous.’ What can that mean? Our offspring? But they all have to come by grace themselves, right? Need some work on this one.

    1. Regarding my previous questions on Proverbs 11:21.  
      Wow.   I haven’t felt this confused for a long time.  I just read every commentary online that I could find about Proverbs 11:21  (many of them I am not familiar with but John Wesley, Matthew Henry: I am)   And honestly, there are SO many differing opinions.  
      Hand in hand is sometimes thought of as the wicked joining forces, sometimes, the righteous being united and sometimes the hand of God in ours.  Also, it is described as unjust violence (laying hands upon another), a way of saying ‘soon’, or sooner or later,  or authorization,  (I hereby attest, my hand upon it).    So that was all as clear as mud!!!
      And the part about the seed of the righteous, is just as unclear.  One says,  the unaided children of the righteous find deliverance by reason of their pious relationship and points to Psalm 37:25, 26.  ??????
      Another says, this does not refer to posterity but is a periphrasis for the righteous as in Ps. 24:6, Ps. 112:2.  
      and one says this:
      not only their persons, but their children, shall be delivered, without any such auxiliaries by God’s special providence.  (And I say, ‘what auxiliaries?  what does unaided children (above) mean? )
      And yet another says that these are the seed of the church is all successive ages, the seed that are accounted of by the Lord for a generation; the remnant of the woman’s seed, that keep the testimony of Jesus Christ against whom the dragon, the old serpent, the devil went froth to make war (from Rev. 12:17) but they escaped his hands, were delivered from him, and preserved by the power and grace of God as a seed to serve him.  
      Okay.  What IS the answer to this quandry???   Does Keller address this?  I better try to listen.  

      1. Wanda – you are not alone….I found the same thing yesterday.  I like to step back just a bit and ask myself what the whole of Scripture says about a verse that might be confusing.  Just a thought….but I agree, there are MANY different ideas on this particular verse!  🙂  Keeps us on our toes….

        1. Yeah.  I agree, Jackie.  Sometimes, it’s better to just read and go with your ‘gut’ which might just be the Spirit’s leading.  But I do like to try to know the original meanings and contexts for an ‘educated gut!’  And the confusion comes with so many interpretations.   Do you use a particular online source for commentary?    I have just been cruising.  I know some good names of commentators, but not sure what’s available online.  I realize it depends on the text/subject as to who is most notable in that area.

  16. Regarding Proverbs 11:21:   Seems there are a lot of interpretations for hand in hand.   And also for their seed.   Confused.  Still looking.  Does Keller speak to this verse?

    This is some commentary I just read:

    Verse 21. – Though hand join in hand (Proverbs 16:5); literally, hand to hand, which may be taken variously. The Septuagint and some other versions take the phrase in the sense of unjust violence: He who layeth hand upon hand unjustly; Vulgate,manus in manu, hand in hand,which is as enigmatical as the Hebrew. Some Jewish interpreters consider it an adverbial expression, signifying simply “soon.” Some moderns take it to mean sooner or later, as the Italian da mano in mano, or, in succession of one generation after another (Gesenius, Wordsworth). Others deem it a form of adjuration, equivalent to I hereby attest, my hand upon it! And this seems the most probable interpretation; assuredly the Divine justice shall be satisfied by the punishment of the wicked (comp. Psalm 37.). The Authorized Version gives a very good sense: Though hands be plighted in faith, and men may associate together in evil, the wicked shall not go unpunished(comp. Isaiah 28:15). St. Gregory (‘Mor. in Job,’ lib. 25.) takes a very different view: Hand in hand the wicked shall not be innocent; for hand is wont to he joined with hand when it rests at ease, and no laborious employment exercises it. As though he were saying, Even when the hand rests from sinful deeds, yet the wicked, by reason of his thoughts, is not innocent (Oxford transl.). This exposition is, of course, divorced from the context. The seed of the righteous. This is not the posterity of the righteous, but is a periphrasis for the righteous,as in Psalm 24:6Psalm 112:2, the generation of the righteous (comp.Isaiah 65:23). The climax which some see here – as if the author intended to say, Not only the good themselves, but their descendants also shall be delivered – is non-existent and unnecessary. Septuagint, But he that soweth righteousness shall receive a sure reward, which is another rendering of the second member of ver. 18. Shall be delivered; i.e. in the time of God’s wrath (vers. 4, 23; Proverbs 2:22).

    1. Oh….I thought this comment had disappeared, so I synthesized these thoughts into the one just above it.  Sorry for duplication.  

      1. …..and it disappeared again!  keeps things interesting!

        and there it is! I might need to get my eyes checked 😉

  17. Last week I think people thought I was new, but Natalie Kathryn is the same Natalie from the previous weeks :-)I  find such peace and freedom surrendering my life to God and trusting God He is by my side helping me every second because I can’t do it alone. It’s hard to do this and it’s a daily decision for sure.
    8. I can see how the last two are believers. If it never takes root in the second case then You didn’t accept the gospel with your entire heart and really mean it.  I sometimes fall into the worry one which I can see keeps me from living the full life God intended me to live which effects the lives and plans he has for others too. Yikes!

  18. 3. What does Proverbs 10:12 say? Hatred stirs up strife but love covers all offense. It strikes me that this hatred not only stirs up strife in the offender and the relationship but in the offended as well. In fact strife may be more in the offended than in the offender. And love covers all offense – not only is forgiveness of someone who has sinned against me but is also a covering of my own offense, in the sense that if I love others my own heart will be covered and not prone to offend another or to retaliate. 
    How does the story of Noah’s sons “covering” their father who had had too much wine exemplify this? How does this also exemplify the gospel? Ham exposed his father’s nakedness apparently for no reason. It reminds me of the shaming websites that post “funny” pictures of people and everyone laughs at them…sad. Merely a prideful way to feel better that “I’m not that bad!” Ham stored up strife not only with his father, but with his brothers as well. And I am sure his own heart had strife after realizing what he had really done, or rather the consequences of what he had done. The Gospel offers compassion for my sin. Not shaming. But it also doesn’t deny it. Christ covered me with His garment so that I may be spared.

  19. Going back to Noah’s sons covering him. I am struck by something. They were covering him and he did not ask to be covered. He did not ask for forgiveness of his sin yet they were covering him anyway. His drunkened condition made it impossible to even know his condition. If someone keeps on sinning against us do we keep covering even when they do not ask for it. Yes I believe we do. Trying to look at how that applies in all situations but specifically a certain one. How exactly that gets played out. Seeking Gods wisdom.

      1. Dee love your fathers quote. Oh I hope I have that kind of covering for my weak moments. This week I had a few moments with my fruit being squeezed hard.it showed me how far I have to go and this study is so timely I thought of the opening when the student is ready the teacher will appear. There are some things this week for which I so needed to study and look at. Thank you!!!!

      2. Yes, Dee.  I love your dad’s wise words.   

    1. My thoughts did not come out correctly I edited but it did not change. I KNOW for sure we keep on forgiving whether a person asks for it or not and believers and unbelievers alike. I am anxious to listen to the Keller sermon later tonight. I am so thankful the Lord kept loving me in all of my conditions!  That has to be a constant reminder to me.

  20. 4. Who in your life needs covering rather than concealed hatred? I know this is intended to be a specific indivdual(s) but I can’t help but apply this wholly to everyone I interact with. So many are willing to hate others for a simple offense. Cutting them off in traffic, a “stupid” transaction at the grocery store costing you time and convienence, other people’s naughty kids being disrespectful… What would it look like if we reacted to all these small things in love instead of offense? 
    On a more specific note: yes. I can see individuals that I need to cover rather than conceal hatred. This is hard for me for I equate it with having to be honest and vulnerable and I would much rather be the type of person that doesn’t have to talk to people about offense but rather have nothing bother me. And so I pretend, but it’s still there, lurking. I do think I can cover others and not conceal hatred without having to have a conversation with them? A big part of this is my initial reaction of love instead of selfishness. And even if it was a true sin against me, I can cover them as Christ covered me and if an opportunity is given to talk, wonderful, if not then perhaps I just need to accept that. I have learned the hard way that I cannot force a relationship reconciliation, I can do my part but in the end it is out of my hands.

    1. Jill the last line in this post is so true. 

    2. And again, your comments speak to me, Jill.    I have not thought of that ‘specific person’ this week.  But, oh….the general need for people I interact with.  Yes.  The wheels are turning in my mind now.  Especially, when people express polarized political opinions.  I stew inside and react to the offense.  I need to learn how to cover and not harbor resentment.

  21. Catching up on comments..Laura I’m so sorry to read of your painful experience with your son, listening to his hateful words. But I see so much maturity and growth in you that you are deeply thinking about his words to examine yourself to see if there is any truth there. Most of us would find that too painful to consider. I also love your pondering and questions on #8. Everyone’s comments this week have been rich. We were at my oldest son’s graduation from officer development school (Navy) in RI. He looked so handsome in his dress whites and cover. Yet the reality of a medical career in the Navy is sinking in, and as he talks of things like going off and being attached to a marine battalion, I am afraid; I cried a lot after we came home. For now, he’ll be back in med school, but more and more I see that I have no control and I cannot hold onto him, cannot keep him safe and near. It makes me very sad…proud of him, but sad at the same time.

    1. Susan, thank you for your kind words. I had planned to write him a letter to explain/defend myself since he didn’t give me a chance to jump in during the rant. After Kellers sermon this morning (listening), and for lack of time today, I decided to think some more and make sure I craft the right one; I have been thinking about the content for about a week now. Might even go back and listen again to let it soak in more.
      You must have been SO PROUD of your son! I happen to love men in uniform…..makes me stand up a little taller when I see them! Congratulations to him and peace to mom. God is in control…

      1. Thank you, Laura. Prayed for you this morning, friend.

  22. Just listened to the free sermon on the parable of the sower, also watching mama deer and her two spotted babies right outside my window…eating some of our flowering plants:)) They’re too cute for me to scare them away! In the sermon, Keller believes the first two soils to represent unbelievers. As he described the third soil, I could definitely see myself there, as he said, “You’re the only ones who are miserable!” Keller described a lot of my Christian life – Jesus shares control with these things (things of the world), there’s a division, their Christian lives are choked, they don’t see the real power of God coursing through their lives and as a result, always in doubt, always anxious…you can’t go back but you can’t move forward…you see little change from year to year. The Spurgeon example: You can be in the boat on the way to heaven, but spend the whole trip in the infirmary. The psalmist’s prayer, “Unite my heart O Lord”.