The Way of a Fool: Proverbs 12:15

The Way of a Fool: Proverbs 12:15

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
but a wise man listens to advice.
Proverbs 12:15

There are several items to consider from this verse. First, as people, we are not an island of one. We live with others and are not isolated from the rest of history. Many who have gone before us have many life experiences that teach those who come after them. Second, to listen to advice, one must first ask for it. Sadly, due to the human heart’s pride, we do not seek advice from others easily. Third, when seeking advice, we must do so from others who are wise and discerning and are firmly rooted in the Word of God. Fourth, as we seek advice, we must be willing to listen to it even if it conflicts with what we desire to do. Many people seek advice only to confirm their own desires and wants. That is not advice-seeking. Fifth, listening requires doing. More is needed to hear advice. We must be ready to act on it.

To refuse to seek advice is to be a fool. To seek advice from the wise and discerning and not heed it is to be a fool.

As a pastor, I am often in a position to give people advice. Sometimes, it is sought, and sometimes, it is offered unsolicited out of concern for those charged to my care. Sometimes, people listen. Often, they do not. I have learned many things as a pastor, and one (of many) seems clear: Many people do not want to be shepherded. They are like the fools described by Solomon. They are not interested in being corrected, advised, or rebuked. Of course, it isn’t that a pastor is infallible. Certainly not. Yet, the pastor does have the faithful operation of the Spirit of God, enabling him to function in his office as that ordained man seeking to guide the sheep. I know many people who refuse to listen. They know better. They are fools. I have lost count of the times I have advised people only to watch them refuse to listen and fall into grievous sins and circumstances. It doesn’t have to be that way. 

Of course, pastors are not immune to being fools. They need advice from others who have gone before them. They must listen to those men who have faithfully pastored churches over the long haul. They should heed the direction of the wiser and more experienced among them. No, pastors will not always agree, but they should be willing to listen carefully lest they become a fool as well. 

Daily Proverb for August 10, 2023: Proverbs 10:4-5

Daily Proverb for August 10, 2023: Proverbs 10:4-5

A slack hand causes poverty,
    but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
He who gathers in summer is a prudent son,
    but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.
Prov. 10:4-5

We live in a world that prides itself in doing as little as possible and, if called on to do anything at all, doing it with as little effort and diligence as possible. For the Christian, that attitude is reprehensible. The Christian, of all people, should be the most diligent in whatever they put their hands to do. Yet, I have witnessed as a pastor and, in my previous life as a retail manager, that some of the laziest people on the earth are those who name the name of Christ. In Solomon’s words, they are those that possess a “slack hand.” Sure, they do things. It isn’t like they stay in bed all day. But, whatever they do, they do it speedily, half-heartedly, with as little effort as they can muster. After all, they don’t want to be bothered with such things because, in many cases, the things they are called on to do (like clean the house, the fellowship hall at the church, the church building, their room, their job) are not usually pleasant. Work has become a burden due to the fall of man into sin. It was not always that way. It is that way now. However, that does not mean that we should run away from work. It does not mean we should avoid it and, if called on to do it, do it half-heartedly. I know people who work that way and whose behavior defies the God who saved them. After all, we are told by the apostle to do all that we do as unto the Lord (1 Cor. 10:31). Why are Christians lazy? There may be many reasons. I suspect for some, they are that way because when they were being raised, they were never called on to do much, and if they were, the path of least resistance was the goal. The goal was never excellence. It was to get it done with as little pain and frustration as possible. That is not diligence. That is laziness. For others, they may not understand the value of hard work and the pride that comes from doing a job well, as unto the Lord. As Christians, our work is done for him. What does the Lord Jesus deserve from you? Does he deserve a half-hearted approach to cleaning your bedroom, the bathroom, the house, the church, secular employment, etc.? It seems to me that he gave all for you. You ought to work as hard as possible, with the highest degree of diligence and excellence for him. 

How can you ascertain if you are lazy? A few comments:

  1. You do a job just to get it done. You are not very interested in doing it well as long as it is over. 
  2. When you are at work, you spend more time watching the clock than focused on your responsibilities.
  3. You must always be asked to do things and, when asked, roll your eyes about it (in your head or face). 
  4. When you are asked to do something, you run away from it instead of attacking the labor and doing it well. 
  5. You leave things to be done by someone else, expecting others to work for you. 

Some suggestions:

Parents, if you have children in the house, teach them to be diligent in everything they put their hands to do. Teach them that they serve Christ in their homework, classwork, room cleaning, house cleaning, and whatever else they do. Give them responsibilities around the house, and don’t tolerate a half-done job. If you teach them those values today, they will pay off in dividends later in life. No one likes a lazy person. As an adult, that will be expressed in your child getting fired from their job. 

If you find that you are as described in these verses, repent of those things and seek the Lord’s face for help and relief. He will forgive and grant you the zeal to work diligently for him. Notice how Solomon expresses it when he says that those who are diligent in labor are prudent. They are wise because they will not lack what they need. Laziness is a sin of the heart. Therefore, seek the Lord’s face, ask him if you are lazy, and turn away from it before you starve to death. 

Daily Proverb for August 8, 2023: Proverbs 8:10-11

Daily Proverb for August 8, 2023: Proverbs 8:10-11

Take my instruction instead of silver,
    and knowledge rather than choice gold,
 for wisdom is better than jewels,
    and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.
Proverb 8:10-11

We value things in our lives: our homes, cars, relationships, our church, and a host of other items that we probably could not list if we tried. We have unique items, of course, that have been passed down from generation to generation. Then there are those pictures we value, protect, and probably place in an album for safekeeping (or store in the cloud). Whatever those things are, they are valuable to us, and we would be heartbroken to lose them or see them ruined. 

The same can be said  — Indeed, ought to be said, about the wisdom and knowledge of God. We value many things, but the question these verses press on our minds, hearts, and will is: “Do we value that which is most important?” Proverbs 8 has often been referred to as one that describes the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the full embodiment of perfect wisdom. In him, we find hope and rest; in him, we find true knowledge and instruction. He declared that he is “the way, the truth, and the life.” (Jn. 14:6). Therefore, what we should prize and value, more than anything else, is him! Note that we should desire him, and in him, we find all the wisdom and knowledge necessary for the affairs of this life. We desire to possess Christ in all his beauty and majesty. We want to know Christ in all his glory, revealed in the Holy Scriptures. We are thankful for the blessings that flow from this knowledge: peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Spirit, an increase of grace, and perseverance to the end. We are grateful that in him is all the wisdom and knowledge one needs. Most adopted children of the Most High would quickly agree with those statements and acknowledge with their lips that they are true and needful. Yet, I wonder, does that knowledge cause you to pursue Christ as he is offered in the Word of God? What does that look like? 

First, it is demonstrated by a desire to hear him as he is communicated in the Scriptures. The wisdom of God is poured out in the books of the Bible. There, we learn of the mind of the Spirit who wrote them. We cannot expect the right knowledge and wisdom if we do not spend time in them each day, meditating on the glory of Christ, the commandments of our God, and the precepts and principles that are found within. 

Second, do you take advantage of the means the all-wise Savior provides for you each Lord’s Day? Do you prioritize your week to ensure you are sitting at the Savior’s feet, listening to his voice as the Word of God is read and preached? There, God uniquely meets with those who desire his wisdom more than all the other treasures of this life. Do you focus your entire day around his worship, public and private? Perhaps you struggle with other things that are not wrong in and of themselves. Yet, are they worth missing Christ and the wisdom and instruction he desires to give you? Are those things worth your soul? What can a man give in exchange for his soul? 

These verses probe us and demand an answer from us. They ask us: “Who is your first love?” They require a response. Where your treasure – those things you find meaningful and valuable – is where your heart will be. Where your heart is, is where you will give your attention and time. There are many good things in life, but nothing can compare with Christ. Do you prize him above all things? Is there proof of that? 

Daily Proverb for June 4, 2023 (Proverbs 4:23)

Daily Proverb for June 4, 2023 (Proverbs 4:23)

Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23

When I was in the military, one of the duties assigned to me occasionally was to be on “guard duty.” It was not a difficult task, necessarily. But, usually, it meant being assigned a particular area of the base to watch and protect against those who would harm. It was typically a long, boring shift, and rarely anything interesting to report. Yet, guard the area I must because something might happen. 

The same is true for the Christian life, but it carries far more significance. To guard (NIV) or watch over something is an active duty. It isn’t passive. I could not correctly protect the area of the base while asleep (in fact, our supervisors would often check on us to make sure we were not sleeping!). No, it was something that required a great deal of vigilance. Many things compete for the heart and mind of the Christian in this world. There are temptations from without and from within. The Evil One never tires of bothering, harassing, and seeking to destroy the people of God. Solomon, instructing his son about the ways of the world and the life he is entering, tells him to keep, watch, and guard his heart. Why did he not tell him to guard his actions? Precisely because the heart is the source of evil thoughts and actions. It is the heart that is the feeding trough of the soul. It is the heart that defiles a man and makes him unclean. The heart is the source of life, and if not guarded and protected, it will lead to ruin. A few comments:

First, you must guard your heart because it will lead to ruin if you don’t. Modifying behavior is one thing. Tuning our hearts to the things of the Lord is another. People can change their behavior, if even for a season, but to change their hearts is something that only the Spirit of God can do. Only he can soften hearts and turn them into those things that are good and right. You and I cannot change our hearts. We can desire it and should, but we cannot change it alone. To avoid the evils and pitfalls of this life, the Holy Spirit must warm the heart, or it will never change and inevitably lead to ruin. 

Second, you must guard your heart after the things of the Lord. It isn’t modification behavior. It is a rapid pursuit of the things of the Lord in order for our minds and hearts to be tuned to Him. The medicine is contained in the Word of God, which is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword. If you are serious about guarding your heart against the evils of this world, you must be in the Scriptures. You must meditate on them day and night. You must hear them read and preached. It is the Word of God, used by the power of the Spirit of God, that changes the minds and hearts of sinners. 


Daily Proverb for June 3, 2023 (Proverbs 3:13-14)

Daily Proverb for June 3, 2023 (Proverbs 3:13-14)

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
    and the one who gets understanding,
 for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
Proverbs 3:13-14

When I was a boy, I had one desire that consumed my ever-waking moment: to play tennis. I would do anything to get to a tennis court to play with anyone and everyone willing to play. There were times when I would ride my bike many miles to get to the local tennis club, and I would spend my entire day there only to repeat the route home at the end of it. Yet, nothing would deter me from playing the game. 

The Scriptures present the benefit of pursuing wisdom in this way. It is something that must be sought with passion and desire. Many things compete for our attention in our lives. Most of them are worthless when compared to our eternal souls. Yet, many professing Christians spend their ever-waking moments pursuing useless things. Sure, there are things we must do each day, and we must do them to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:33). We must work. We must tend to the needs of our families. We must engage our minds in those things that the preacher says are “vanity of vanities.” It is our lot in this world. At the same time, we must pursue wisdom and understanding with an understanding that finding them is beyond measure, for it will frame all the other things we do daily. A few observations from the above-cited verse:

First, there is a blessing that comes to one who finds wisdom. Of course, that implies that one is seeking it in the first place. Most of us have lost something from time to time. How many of us have turned the living room upside down, seeking that allusive remote (usually found under the cushions of the couch)? Nothing deters us from seeking it until we find it. Solomon tells us that we must seek wisdom in this way. We seek it by praying for it (Jas. 1:5-8). We seek it by diligently reading the Word of God, meditating on its truths and precepts, for that is where we find the source of the eternal mind of the infinitely wise God. God is pleased to give it to us when we seek it this way. That is, he is pleased to bless us. Perhaps we do not find wisdom because we do not treasure it as we should. We have many treasures in our lives. Those things we often find ourselves doing or dwelling upon are often our treasures. Store up treasures in heaven by seeking God’s wisdom. Where your treasure is, that is where your heart is, also. 

Second, the gain from this pursuit cannot be measured. We all need money to live in this world. It is difficult to exist without it. We need it to pay our bills, buy our food, send off that dreaded tax payment, or some other necessity of life. We work hard to earn money to satisfy our needs (and wants). Yet, God’s Word tells us plainly that the price of wisdom cannot be measured. The profit of it is beyond a price gun that says, “This is how much the item costs.” No. The wisdom from God is immeasurable in price. The problem, often, for many of us is that we do not seriously consider that simple truth. The problem is that we do not believe it.

We need to ask: “Would I be willing to trade all the money in the world for the great blessing and benefit that comes from securing God’s wisdom and understanding? If the answer is yes, what tangible proofs are there that you take seriously? For instance, one of the means by which God’s wisdom is poured into the heart and mind of the one seeking it is through the Word of God preached each Lord’s Day. We say we desire the wisdom of God, but yet absent ourselves from the means God uses to dispense it. Are we zealously attending to the worship of God? What about prayer? Again, if one says they desire it, do you pray for it? Do we seek the mind of God in prayer for the wisdom that can only come from him? If we are not praying for it, we cannot rightly say we desire it. Are we laboring in God’s Word daily to mine the gold and silver in it? One Bible teacher says, “God does not reveal the deep treasures of his Word to lazy people.” He’s right. Are we diligently pursuing the God of heaven for the wisdom that is beyond price? 

Yes, we all sin in many ways. Without question, we can all say with one voice: I can always do better in these areas. Indeed. That is our plight in this fallen world. Therefore, resolve before the God of heaven to pursue wisdom by saying, “Father, please help me to desire your Word and wisdom found therein. Grant to me a willing Spirit for these things.” As you prayerfully ask, he will faithfully give. Pursue wisdom! It is worth more than all the gold and silver this fleeting world can offer.  



The following trailer features an upcoming documentary on the issue of the sign gifts. It will be available in September.

From the website:

On any given week, countless Christians gather and participate in strange practices they believe are true expressions of the power of God. From speaking in tongues to attempting to raise the dead, Charismatic Christians believe they are participating in modern miracles. But are these miracles real? Are the Apostolic sign gifts in operation today? Cessationist lovingly and carefully answers this important question by exposing the errors and building a positive case for the real work of the Holy Spirit today. The real gift of the Spirit is far more necessary and powerful than many imagine.

The creators of Logic on Fire, Calvinist, and Spirit & Truth have joined forces with G3 Ministries and Pastor Tom Pennington to tackle this important subject.