Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger;
hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider.
In theory every child of God should be a financial expert. The Bible makes numerous references about money and how to manage it, so that everyone who heeds its advice should know thoroughly how to manage their finances. The word of God teaches us not only how to manage our money but also how to conduct business with third parties. Well, we know that in reality the money is not ours but that we are stewards and managers of the funds God has entrusted to us. In the particular case of today’s portion, the word of God warns us about people who act foolishly with their business and either through ignorance or immorality commit reckless actions with their money.
We must be careful when selecting with whom we associate or deal financially. If the person that proposes a deal is a person of questionable morality we must discard that deal and start looking for another business. If we ignore these warnings it is likely that we will end up losing our share of the investment. In order for us to be successful with personal finances they should be handled with prudence and wisdom. If we follow exactly the instructions of the word of God we will avoid getting into financial entanglements of any kind. To God alone be the glory!
Be wise, my son, and bring joy to my heart;
then I can answer anyone who treats me with contempt.
Children are typically a source of pride for their parents. Sometimes things do not work out right and children become a source of shame to their parents. In any case, children’s performance will positively or negatively affect morale and the reputation of the parents because, in great measure, the behavior that can be observed in children is related to the type of upbringing they have received or are currently receiving. Wisdom, whose principle is the fear of God, is something quite rare in individuals, the basic reason is that offspring are not taught to show respect, reverence and obedience to God. The most recent psychological theories recommend that parents try to intervene as little as possible in the process of creation and strengthening of the personality of their children, presumably so the child does not suffer traumas that eventually may result in behavioral disorders. There is nothing more wrong than allowing a child to grow unchecked and according to his own nature because that nature, as in every human being, is sinful and evil. Children must be taught that there are limits and that certain behaviors are morally unacceptable.
Unfortunately, these modern psychological theories are gaining ground rapidly and its disastrous results are already becoming apparent in the trends of society. While it is true that in other periods of history disorder and lack of morals have proliferated, these misguided practices multiply stronger today with the purpose of disrupting the system and considering good as evil and evil as good. As parents we have a responsibility we can not evade. We will be accountable for what we do with the education and upbringing of our children when we appear before the tribunal of Christ. God grant us that we have been able to carry out this important aspect of our stewardship and can be proud and not ashamed before the Lord. To God alone be the glory!
Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
and the pleasantness of a friend
springs from their heartfelt advice.
Since ancient times it is well-known that certain stimuli produce pleasurable feelings. Nobody can deny the profound impact that music causes in both mind and body. Today’s music has become a multibillion dollar industry of which we can hardly make abstraction. Likewise flavors and the combinations of these aimed at stimulating the palate have led to the remarkable development of the culinary industry by highlighting the concept of “gourmet” as something very refined. The visual arts positively or negatively impact our sense of sight and our touch is constantly stimulated by changes in temperature or the extremes swings of it. Finally, the sense of smell and our ability to associate certain aromas with different moods has led to the equally successful perfume industry and with markedly less success ─no wonder─ to the alternative medicine of aromatherapy. Certain fragrances produce a state of great comfort and hence a great price has to paid to acquire and enjoy them, even though many of these smells are freely available in nature.
Likewise, friendship is something truly pleasant to the mind. Our friends are a constant source of joy and support, especially when circumstances become adverse. In the same way that certain perfumes are a sweet fragrance to our smell, the relationship with our friends produce a highly positive effect on our hearts. Let us, therefore, have many friends at all times and let us act as the friends we are. Remember that our Lord said: “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”  But to be a friend of Jesus we must be obedient: “You are my friends if you do what I command.”  So with obedient hearts let us share God’s love with our friends at all times . To God alone be the glory!
 John 15:15
 John 15:14
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged advice, Christianity, friend, God, heart, heartfelt, incense, Jesus, joy, life, perfume, pleasantness, Proverbs 27
Death and Destruction are never satisfied,
and neither are human eyes.
Man’s dissatisfaction ─man’s need to fill the void that only God can fill ─ manifests itself in various ways depending on what are the weak areas of a person’s character. Those who fall prey to the temptations of the world ─ fame, money and power ─ show weaknesses such as vanity, greed and ambition depending on what area they are losing ground to the world. Greed and its powerful element of the love of money is what has led multitudes to stray from the path of righteousness that God has prepared for all who hear his voice and follow him.
The philosophy of materialism and its ally, consumerism, have become an integral part of the lifestyle of many in the church and what to say about the rest of humanity who does not know Christ? The mantra of all these people is “You are what you own.” They do not realize that the more they have, the more they want to own. It’s like reaching the top of a mountain only to realize that there is another higher mountain to climb. The other aspect where the eyes of man are insatiable is curiosity. Curiosity by itself is not bad but when we allow it to lead us instead of us controlling it, it will take us to places where we have nothing to gain and much to lose.
Let us keep alert to the temptations of the world and let us not stop watching our own weaknesses. The strength and ability to resist come from God and if we only rely on our own strength our failure will be guaranteed. Let us seek to maintain as close as possible to the Lord and thus avoid deviating from the path of peace and justice that God prepared for us before the creation of the universe. Only in Him we have the victory. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged Christianity, death, destruction, eyes, God, Jesus, life, love, Proverbs 27, righteousness, satisfaction, wisdom
Though you grind a fool in a mortar,
grinding them like grain with a pestle,
you will not remove their folly from them.
Folly is intrinsic to human nature. Given a choice between good and evil ─ there is always a choice─ man will take the path of least resistance, which is the path of folly. To behave stupidly requires no sacrifice, neither special effort nor the intervention of a third party. Just giving vent to our passions and emotions we can fully disclose our folly. Just showing the world what we really are will allow us to demonstrate how much foolishness there is in our lives. Any effort based on our own forces or with the help of others for taking stupidity out of our lives is bound to fail because the only way to accomplish it would require ending our lives. Only divine intervention can transform our irrational nature and give us true wisdom and knowledge. God’s word tells us that fools despise wisdom and instruction. It also tells us that the beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord.
Have you tried to stop doing those things you know are not advisable? Have you tried to do this based in your own strength? Would you like to gain wisdom and knowledge? Do you want to enjoy the benefits and advantages of being a wise person? Just look in the word of God and claim the promises the Lord gives to those who follow him wholeheartedly. True wisdom comes from above, from heaven, from God. No curriculum or academic certificate will give you the wisdom and knowledge that can only come from God. That does not mean you should drop out of school. Education is important and plays a special role in the believer’s life but it’s more important to possess intelligence, insight, wisdom and discretion. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged Christianity, faith, folly, fool, foolishness, God, grain, hope, Jesus, life, love, Proverbs 27, sinful nature, spirituality, truth, wisdom
Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses.
Frankness is a virtue little known in these post-modern times. In our desire to appear to be tolerant of the diverse ideas and opinions that circulate freely everywhere, we make the mistake of being silent when we should not and speak out when it is not convenient. We always seek to be overly careful when we say something, but we do it more for fear of hurting somebody’s feelings than for trying to be honest and concise. Jewish writer and biographer André Maurois said: “To be honest, do not say everything you think, neither say the opposite of what you think.” Frankness is closely linked to love. We know that perfect love casts out fear. So if we are not being honest with the people around us, we are letting fear overcome us and we are not acting as we should, that is, with love. The opposite of frankness and sincerity is hypocrisy and falsehood, both despicable things.
Let our thoughts and our actions be controlled by the Holy Spirit of God and we will see how we shall be invested with the courage to speak openly and honestly to others. Also, let us take care not to be rude and disrespectful to others because we will slip into abuse and aggression. It is possible that our words, even if carefully chosen, will not be taken well when we say them, but soon we will see how the person to whom they were addressed will appreciate what we have communicated to him. Gradually we will learn how to control this annoying but fleeting embarrassment that keeps us from speaking and acting with the frankness that we ought. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged care, Christianity, direction, faith, frankness, Holy Spirit, honesty, Jesus, postmodernism, Proverbs 27, sincerity, spirituality, virtue, wisdom
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but people are tested by their praise.
Recently we discussed a proverb similar to the one we are discussing today which says that man’s heart is proven by God. Today’s proverb takes a look at one aspect of this test which is humility. We could define humility as the ability to receive praise without being influenced by it. Our sinful nature is full of pride and therefore, when we are subjected to praise; our vanity takes control of our lives making us walk the wrong paths which takes us away from God’s purpose for us. The enemy knows this ─it was because of his unbridled pride that he lost his privileged position as guardian cherub─ and he uses praise, or rather, hypocritical flattery to entice our hearts. Even when Satan tempted the Lord Jesus in the desert he used this strategy, using flattery as a weapon based on the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. If the enemy is so bold as to use this weapon against him who truly deserves all the praise, how much more he will use it against us whom we have nothing to be praised for, since all we are, all we have or all we do we owe it to God our Creator and Lord.
Let us be careful, then, when someone comes to us with praise and adulation that our heart does not fail the test and that we do not stumble and fall. Praise is not always offered with sincerity and instead it can become a dangerous trap aimed at pleasing our natural need for recognition. Thank God that gives us the ability to discern the purpose of the praise we receive. To God alone be the glory!
One who is full loathes honey from the comb,
but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.
Much has been made of the short attention span of dogs and this is something that always amazes us. However, in these postmodern times, the attention span of human beings has shortened so much that it has approached that of our canine friends. It is very common to see in movies, television programs, commercials and any other audiovisual material that we are exposed to, language and images of violence, or at least too fast paced, made thus for the sole purpose of maintaining our attention captive. Contemporary life has become a washer in spin cycle. Everything revolves at high speed and little time is left for us to devote to really important things such as our relationship with God. Everything around us becomes a constant distraction and our minds are programmed to not be satisfied with what is necessary but to always want to have more and more. Greed is an integral part of our sinful nature. The more we have, the more we crave. The word “enough” cannot be found in the dictionary of human behavior. King Solomon, author of the today’s quotation, wrote in another of his books: “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.This too is meaningless.” Even if repeated ad nauseam, this great truth will not make people understand. The immediate has taken control of our lives and has displaced all the important things from our daily agenda.
The apostle John wrote, “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” Let us not, therefore, allow the world to overwhelm and conquer us because the world is our enemy and to yield to it is to lose the battle. Trust in the power of God who has given us the victory that overcomes the world: our faith. To God alone be the glory!
Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses.
Here we have two fundamental aspects of human relationships, honesty and trust. These two aspects are closely intertwined and without one there cannot be much of the other. Now, what is most commonly seen in personal interactions is the opposite of these two behaviors. Typically, we see how people treat one another with dishonesty and mistrust. The dishonesty comes from our sinful and carnal nature and also from the seed of lying that the enemy has planted in our minds. Many times we conceal our true feelings to pretend that all is well in a relationship. This is but a lie disguised as tolerance that eventually becomes unmanageable and ends up in an outburst of incalculable consequences. Mistrust stems from our own experiences and the methods used by our parents to bring us up. We were taught to be individualistic, not to trust each other because our merits could be stolen, etc.
The solution is not, of course, to trust everyone or to say to anybody the first thing that goes through our minds. As rational beings, we must act with caution and be careful not to offend the sensibilities of others. You have to express your feelings, but you must know how to mention a concern and when to mention it. We must not keep in our heart disagreements and misunderstandings, especially among friends. When these things are accumulated, they end up becoming a bitter root. Let us seek the solution in the transforming power of Christ, who teaches us how to act properly with our neighbor. Let us seek support in the loving arms of our Lord and let us be transformed by the renewing of our mind under the power of God. To God alone be the glory!