Saturday In The Proverbs—Relationship Builders And Killers (Proverbs 27)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

Do not boast… (Proverbs 27:1).

This proverbs has some noteworthy relationship builders and relationship killers. 

Relationship Builders

  • Humility (v. 2) 
  • Confronting in love (vv. 5a, 6a)
  • Contentment (v. 7)
  • Minding your own business (v. 8)
  • Giving good advice (v. 9)
  • Investing in family friendships (v. 10)
  • Exercising wisdom (v. 11)
  • Using foresight (v. 12a)
  • Investing in yourself so that you can invest in others (v. 17)
  • Serving others (v. 18)
  • Honest self-assessment (v. 19)
  • Good work ethic (vv. 23-27) 

Relationship Killers

  • Boasting (vv. 1, 2)
  • Provoking a foolish argument (v. 3)
  • Jealousy (v. 4)
  • Unexpressed love (v. 5b)
  • Insincere flattery (vv. 6b, 14)
  • Ignoring the signs of impending trouble (v. 12b)
  • Cosigning a loan (v. 13)
  • Arguing (vv. 15, 16)
  • Envy (v. 20)
  • Not handling praise humbly (v. 21) 
  • Not listening to correction (v. 22)

To keep our relationships strong and vibrant, let’s kill the killers and build the builders! 

Links & Quotes

link quote

“In this version of the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:2-4) Jesus says, ‘When you pray say’ … and then in verse 4 He includes this petition, ‘and forgive us our sins.’ So, if you connect the beginning of the prayer with the middle, what He says is, ‘Whenever you pray say … forgive us our sins.’ I take this to mean that this should be as much a part of all our praying as ‘Hallowed be Thy name.’ Which means that Jesus assumes that we need to seek forgiveness virtually every time we pray. In other words, we are always sinners. … It doesn’t matter how obedient we have been before we pray. We always come to the Lord as sinners—all of us. And God does not turn away the prayers of sinners when they pray like this.” —John Piper

“What if I say that it is not unjust but according to law that when a woman gets into debt her husband should bear it? And with the church of God sinning, it was but right that her Husband, who had espoused her unto Himself, should become the debtor on her behalf. The Lord Jesus stood in the relationship of a married Husband unto His church, and it was not, therefore, a strange thing that He should bear her burdens.” —Charles Spurgeon

“We can have confidence in our ability, through reason, to help our unbelieving friends consider the Good News of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. We know this because God Himself is reasonable, and we believe He commends the use of reason in making Himself and His will known to men.” —T.M. Moore

“Listen to your conscience. Don’t be afraid not to join the mob—if you feel inside it’s wrong. Don’t confuse being ‘soft’ with seeing the other guy’s point of view. … Avoid self-righteously turning on a friend, but have your friendship mean enough that you would be willing to share with your friend your judgment. Don’t assign away your judgment to achieve power.” —George H.W. Bush, in a letter to his sons during the Watergate scandal

Some interesting lessons in Fast Company’s list of the 50 most well-liked CEOs in the United States.

“satan has tripped up many Christians by convincing them they’ve lost something in the Lord.” But David Wilkerson urges us to forget those things!

If you are praying for one of your loved ones to accept Jesus as their Savior, Tim Dilena has an encouraging word for you in The Amazing Now Becomes More Amazing.

[VIDEO] Conrad Mbewe shows how the so-called prosperity gospel isn’t honest with the entirety of Scripture—

Thursdays With Oswald—The Will Of God

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Oswald Chambers

The Will Of God 

     Supernatural voices, dreams, ecstasies, visions and manifestations, may or may not be an indication of the will of God. The words of Scripture, the advice of the saints, strong impressions during prayer, may or may not be an indication of the will of God.

     The one test given in the Bible is discernment of a personal God and a personal relationship to Him, witnessed to ever after in walk and conversation. 

From Christian Disciplines

The will of God may or may not come to you in a thundering voice or even in a still, small impression in your heart. But the way you walk and talk will absolutely attest to what you believe the will of God is. The way you walk and talk witnesses to what you believe.

So when you look at you, do you see God’s will on display?

Your Part In The Battle

The story about David defeating the giant Goliath in battle is familiar to just about everyone. (If it’s not a familiar story to you, you can read it here.) I was struck by how David saw his part in this fight. Look what he said

All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s.

After the fight was over, and Goliath lay dead at David’s feet, the biblical writer said the same thing

So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.

If you are a God-follower, then your battles are really God’s battles. David recognized that it was God’s battle, but David also knew that he played a part in this too.

1.  He had to train. David had to know how to use a sling with deadly accuracy.

2.  He had to reject “good” advice. Saul advised David, “Here, wear my armor.” That sounded like good advice, but it didn’t fit for David. He had to be true to what the Spirit of God spoke to his heart, even as he rejected what seemed like good advice.

3.  He had to have faith. David truly believed that God was going to do something big … something no one else could even imagine.

4.  He had to show up. Sometimes God fights battles for His people, and sometimes He fights with His people. David didn’t know what God was going to do in this instance until he showed up on the battlefield.

God wants you to win big battles. And if you’re following God, He will bring the victory. But you still have a very important part to play. Train hard, reject advice that is contrary to what God has told you, have faith, and then show up for the battle. These are the keys to victory.

Let Me Give You A Piece Of Advice

How many times have you heard someone say that to you? Ah, yes, everyone has some advice to share. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone wants to give you a piece of their mind. Everyone is an expert in an area where they think you’re deficient.

I remember going through comment cards at the end of a long week of youth camp. I’d read one card that would say the food was excellent. Just a couple of cards later some “expert” would share how terrible the food was, and how it could be improved. One would say they loved the evangelist; another would give their “advice” on where the evangelist missed it.

Whom should I listen to? Who should get my ear?

In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius gives this counsel to Laertes “Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice: Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.”

Nice prose, but how do we live it out? I like the example I see from a man named Jethro in the Bible. Jethro is Moses’ father-in-law, and he really only appears on the scene in just one chapter (Exodus 18), but his method of giving advice should be a model for us all.

Credentials – Jethro was a God-fearing man. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, weigh carefully the advice given to you by those who don’t have the same biblical foundation.

Relationship – Jethro had a personal relationship with Moses, he wasn’t just a business acquaintance. That means Jethro had a vested interest in Moses’ success or failure.

Firsthand – Jethro heard about what was happening, but he came to see it for himself. Beware of those “expert” who only have secondhand information about you or your situation.

Up-Close – Jethro spend an entire day right by Moses’ side just watching and listening. He saw what was going on from the front row.

Questions – Jethro led with questions, not with advice. Before giving Moses his opinion, Jethro asked clarifying questions.

Wisdom – Only after all of this did Jethro give his opinion to Moses. The words that he shared were then received by Moses as God-given wisdom.

Your counselors should earn the right to be heard. Just because someone has an opinion doesn’t make him an expert. And just because someone has been-there-done-that doesn’t mean that her way should be your way.

Screen out the clamoring voices by making sure they have credentials, a relationship with you, firsthand experience, and godly wisdom.

Sharper

Yesterday was one of those days that I was on “receive” mode. As a pastor I usually spend more days in the “dispense” mode: teaching, counseling, advising. But yesterday I was blessed to sit back and soak in some great counsel. And I’m sharper for it.

It’s too bad that many people never take the time to allow others to advise them. Or, if they do go through the motions of “listening” to advice, they never put that counsel into action.

I met with a seasoned pastor yesterday morning. He asked me several questions to assess where I was personally and professionally, and then he gave me some invaluable insight. He’s one of those “been-there-done-that” guys who has learned the lessons of history well, and he was gracious to share with me.

Last night I invited my Impact teaching team over to my house. After sharing dinner together I listened as they weighed in on our upcoming series in our youth services. Since they are closer in age to our students, their insight into the teenage mind was so keen. They were able to help me better understand the challenges and culture of middle and high school students. And I’m sharper for it.

A few thoughts from some other wise counselors…

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” – Proverbs 1:5 (KJV)

“Those who will not be counseled, cannot be helped. More souls are ruined by pride than by any other sin whatever.” – Matthew Henry

“Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.” – Proverbs 11:14 (The Message)

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22 (NIV)

“To accept good advice is to increase one’s own ability.” – Goethe

Are you getting sharper? Are you listening to good advice?

Wise Guys

I’m facing a big decision. I have an idea of the right way to go, but I’m taking some time to run my options by some wise guys. After all, even King Solomon — who was wiser than any other man, and probably could advise himself — wrote, “The more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances” (Proverbs 11:14, The Message).

I also like what George Washington Carver said, “How much of God are we missing because we don’t stop to listen to the many voices God uses to speak to us?”

Of all the voices speaking to me, how am I choosing which wise guys to listen to?

Friendship — I have to know that my counselors are my friends. William Shakespeare asked the question, “Can he that speaks with the tongue of an enemy be a good counselor, or no?” I would answer “no.” I need wise guys that want me to be successful.

B.T.D.T. — I choose wise guys who have Been There Done That. Guys who have walked through the same scenario I’m facing now. Not a travel agent to point the way, but a tour guide who knows the path, and will walk it with me.

Scarred — It’s hard to be helpful to someone else when you still have a gaping wound. I need wise guys who have been wounded in the past but now have the scars to show where they’ve been healed. It’s from this vantage point that they can be of the most help to me.

Successful — Finally, I choose to listen to wise guys who are successful. I don’t need some to tell me what should work… I want to hear what does work.

There’s an old attorney’s adage that says, “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” If you have a decision to make I would modify this to say, “He who takes advice only from himself is taking counsel from a fool.”

What else would you look for in a wise guy? I’d love your counsel on this.

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