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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Special Halloween Post

We know that werewolves, vampires, and zombies, aren’t real, but these legendary monsters symbolize some very scary characteristics that hide on the dark side of the human heart.

Take the legend of the werewolf.  It’s an ordinary person by day—perhaps even a well-respected member of society.  But when the full moon comes out, a grotesque transformation takes place.  The person changes into a wolf-like beast that roams the streets hunting for victims.  Even if the person doesn’t want to become a beast, they can’t stop it.  Once the full moon comes out, the beast is going to take over—like it or not.

Well werewolves are only a myth, but the werewolf personifies a real trait in many a human heart.  Because of sin, people—who otherwise are ordinary, good people—have moments when they turn into the most vicious of beasts.  We all have something that brings out the beast in us, though it’s probably not a full moon.  Maybe it’s someone who cuts us off in traffic.  Maybe it’s a competitiveness that drives us to treat people badly.  Maybe it’s someone we know that brings out the worst in us.  Maybe it’s the pursuit of a career that drives us to neglect our family.  It could also be drugs or alcohol.  All of these things have been known to turn ordinary people into terrible beasts who terrorize and destroy lives.

There is the vampire, the legendary creature of the night.  It hides from the light and pounces on its victims, drinking their blood.  Unlike werewolves, vampires are usually portrayed as intelligent and calculating in their crimes.  They lust after their prey and plot how they will get what they want.  Once they strike, they suck the life out of their unfortunate victims.

Vampires are only myths, but I’ve known a few people who acted like vampires.  They didn’t drink blood, but—because of sin—they only cared about themselves.  They used people for their own selfish gain.  People like that will suck you dry just so they can have a little more.  They hide in the shadows and lust after what’s not theirs and they will do anything to get what they want.  Their thirst is never sated.  Their exploits never bring lasting joy.  Their hunger drives them mad and there is never any relief.

Finally, there are zombies.  Originally, zombies were the imagination of Haitian folklore.  A voodoo master would steal a person’s soul by black magic and force them to work as a mindless, uncomplaining slave.  In recent decades, a new kind of zombie is portrayed in movies and TV shows like “The Walking Dead”.  In these scenarios, the zombie is the result of a virus.  The virus kills the infected person and then reanimates their corpse—using the corpse to bite the living and transmit the virus to them.

The fictional zombie is a very fitting description for many people I see in our world.  They are only living in the sense that they are breathing and moving around.  They are like “The Walking Dead”.  Sin has destroyed their soul.  Their lives are meaningless.  They spend their time stumbling after things of no eternal value trying to gratify their hunger.  In their rabid, mindless pursuit, they infect others until hoards are wandering aimlessly through the world wreaking havoc and destruction.  All the while, they miss out on the true life that God wants them to have.

The Solution.  According to legend, you kill a werewolf by shooting it with a silver bullet.  You get rid of a vampire by driving a stake through its heart.  And you finish off a zombie by shooting it in the head.  But in real life, there is only one cure if you are a werewolf, a vampire, or a zombie—it is to be crucified with Christ, so that we may be raised to a new life with Christ.  We must become followers of Jesus Christ.  Jesus said in Luke 9:23-24, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life.”  Have you done that?  Is that your choice each new day?

I would like to invite you to my church, Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church, where together we can learn to put aside our selfish ambitions and take up the cross of Christ daily.  Come join us here (or find a church close to you) and learn to be truly alive, healthy, and whole.  Come over to the light and leave behind the scary monsters that haunt your Halloween.  

Day 10 of Pastor Chris' Paraphrase of Proverbs Deviotional

Day 10  Some people talk too much. Listening is a precious gift to both the listener and those to whom they listen. Listening is how we learn. Talking is how we teach, but we need to be careful because we are usually not as wise as we think. We really don't know that much and even what we know we don't know as well as we think. And when we talk too much about things we don't really understand, we just reveal our ignorance, waste time, and we might even lead people astray.

Pastor Chris’ Paraphrase of Proverbs 10:8 & 14
8 A wise person listens to instructions, but someone who babbles on and on without having a clue will be thought an idiot.

14 A wise person soaks up all the knowledge they can, but a babbling fool is too busy talking to learn anything and might walk right off a cliff.

You can get more information if you listen. You can gain more insight if you listen.   You can see things from a different perspective if you listen.  You can learn more if you listen.  You can usually find out what you need to know to make a wise decision, say the right thing, or do the right thing if you listen.  But if you are too busy talking to listen, you are walking a dangerous road.

"Father, help me to listen more.  Help me to learn from You and from those You send my way to teach me.  And keep me from babbling on about things I don't really understand.  Amen."
Read Proverbs Chapter 10
New American Standard Bible
Pastor Chris’ Paraphrase
Proverbs 10
Contrast of the Righteous and the Wicked
1 The proverbs of Solomon.
A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish son is a grief to his mother.
2 [a]Ill-gotten gains do not profit,
But righteousness delivers from death.
3 The Lord will not allow the [b]righteous to hunger,
But He will [c]reject the craving of the wicked.
4 Poor is he who works with a negligent hand,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
5 He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely,
But he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.
6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
7 The memory of the righteous is blessed,
But the name of the wicked will rot.
8 The wise of heart will receive commands,
But [d]a babbling fool will be [e]ruined.
9 He who walks in integrity walks securely,
But he who perverts his ways will be found out.
10 He who winks the eye causes trouble,
And [f]a babbling fool will be [g]ruined.
11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
12 Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all transgressions.
13 On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found,
But a rod is for the back of him who lacks [h]understanding.
14 Wise men store up knowledge,
But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand.
15 The rich man’s wealth is his [i]fortress,
The ruin of the poor is their poverty.
16 The [j]wages of the righteous is life,
The income of the wicked, punishment.
17 He is on the path of life who heeds instruction,
But he who ignores reproof goes astray.
18 He who conceals hatred has lying lips,
And he who spreads slander is a fool.
19 When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.
20 The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver,
The heart of the wicked is worth little.
21 The lips of the righteous feed many,
But fools die for lack of [k]understanding.
22 It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich,
And He adds no sorrow to it.
23 Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool,
And so is wisdom to a man of understanding.
24 What the wicked fears will come upon him,
But the desire of the righteous will be granted.
25 When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more,
But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.
26 Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
So is the lazy one to those who send him.
27 The fear of the Lord prolongs [l]life,
But the years of the wicked will be shortened.
28 The hope of the righteous is gladness,
But the expectation of the wicked perishes.
29 The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the upright,
But ruin to the workers of iniquity.
30 The righteous will never be shaken,
But the wicked will not dwell in the land.
31 The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom,
But the perverted tongue will be cut out.
32 The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable,
But the mouth of the wicked what is perverted.
1.    Proverbs 10:2 Lit Treasures of wickedness
2.    Proverbs 10:3 Lit soul of the righteous
3.    Proverbs 10:3 Lit thrust away
4.    Proverbs 10:8 Lit the foolish of lips
5.    Proverbs 10:8 Lit thrust down
6.    Proverbs 10:10 Lit the foolish of lips
7.    Proverbs 10:10 Lit thrust down
8.    Proverbs 10:13 Lit heart
9.    Proverbs 10:15 Lit strong city
10.  Proverbs 10:16 Or work
11.  Proverbs 10:21 Lit heart
12.  Proverbs 10:27 Lit days
Proverbs 10
Wise Things Solomon Said
1 Solomon’s wise sayings:

A wise child brings their father joy, but a foolish one breaker their mother’s heart.

2 Building a big bank account by evil means doesn’t do you any good, but living right will save your life.

3 Jehovah won’t let godly people starve, but He won’t let the ungodly be satisfied.

4 Lazy people make excuses and it makes them poor, but steady hard work makes you rich.

5 A smart child does things when they’re supposed to, but one who sleeps when they should be working is an embarrassment. 

6 People who live the right way are surrounded by blessings, but ungodly people lie to cover up the bad things they’ve done.

7 Godly people are remembered fondly as a blessing, but the ungodly fade into oblivion.

8 A wise person listens to instructions, but someone who babbles on and on without having a clue will be thought an idiot.

9 You will always be safe if you do the right thing even when nobody's watching, but someone will find out and tell if you cheat.

10 Giving clues and subtle hints just causes trouble.  Speak your mind and don’t beating around the bush.

11 Godly people say things that give life to everyone, but ungodly people lie to cover up their bad behavior.

12 Hatred makes people want to fight, but love fills with peace and contentment.

13 People who understand what’s really going on are profound, but idiots need common sense beaten into them.

14 A wise person soaks up all the knowledge they can, but a babbling fool is too busy talking to learn anything and might walk right off a cliff.

15 The many assets of the rich keep them safe; poverty destroys the poor.

16 Living the right way leads to life; unethical living earns punishment.

17 Those who follow my directions stay on the road of life, but those who won’t listen wander off and get lost.

18 A liar covers up their hatred.  A fool says hateful things.

19 Talking too much gets you in trouble.  It’s much smarter to say as little as possible.

20 A godly person says things worth more than silver.  Even the ideas of the ungodly are worthless.

21 Godly people help many find fulfillment, but fools die because they have no sense. 

22 Jehovah’s blessing can make you rich without hardships and troubles.

23 Fools laugh with delight when they do evil, but wisdom makes smart people happy.

24 Ungodly people get what they fear most, but godly people get what they want.

25 The hurricane washes away those who live for themselves, but those who live for God have eternal life.

26 Lazy people are like a shot of vinegar or smoke in the eyes to the people they serve.

27 Revering Jehovah gives you a long life, but you won't live very long if you don’t do what’s right.

28 People who live the right way find joy, but the ungodly never find what they long for.

29 Living for Jehovah keeps honest people safe and destroys those who cause trouble.

30 People who live the right way will never lose their place, but those who do wrong will be kicked out.

31 You can learn a lot from people who obey God, but people who twist the truth will be silenced.

32 People who live for God know the right thing to say, but evil people corrupt the truth.

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Pastor Chris’ Paraphrase of Proverbs (PCP)
Copyright © 2018 by Chris Mullis

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Sinners, Saints, & Kings

Today, I begin a 4-week series about living in the Kingdom of God.  It was inspired by an interesting message I heard by the evangelist Myles Munroe, where he shed light on the Kingdom of God by considering the rules and protocol of living under the authority of a royal family.  I hope you will join me each week as we delve into some important concepts about living in the Kingdom of God.

We are so blessed to live in America. I am so thankful for our freedom. And as voting day in my community approaches on November 6, I am grateful we get to vote for who will lead us. Now, our choice of leaders often leaves much to be desired, but we have the choice.  Can you imagine if we didn’t have a choice?  Suppose our leaders didn’t have to work to win our vote.  Suppose they were chosen for us or inherited their position by birth?

That’s the way it is in some countries. That’s the way it's been for most of the world’s history. Before my country’s forefathers broke away from England, leaders were appointed by the king of England or simply gained their leadership position as a birthright without any regard to the people’s wishes?  If you think America's government is a mess, just imagine what a mess it would be if the democratic process didn't hold leaders accountable!

Democracy is not perfect, but I believe it is the best form of government on this earth.  Kingdoms and dictatorships don’t work on earth, because a sinful nature resides in us all and it corrupts leaders to the point they abuse their power.   Without democracy, there is no way to hold leaders accountable.  In America, “we the people” hold our government in check when we vote.  It is the best governmental system we have found to live under in our broken world.

But today, I tell you the Kingdom of Heaven is not a democracy.  The Kingdom of Heaven is a kingdom—The Kingdom.  And it is ruled by a king—The King. You don't get a vote. Either pledge allegiance or realize you are a traitor.  Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but do you know what that means?  Do you think it will be a democracy in Heaven?  Do you think you will get to vote on who leads you or what you will do or how you will live?  No.  It is a Kingdom ruled by the King.

Furthermore, I tell you the Kingdom of God is not just some place we go when we die.  The Kingdom of God (AKA the Kingdom of Heaven, for the terms are interchangeable) is right here among us, right now.  The core message of Jesus’ teaching was not about a heaven we go to when we die.  Jesus said, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 3:2)  Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection ushered in the Kingdom of God.  So we who call ourselves Christians, who proclaim that Jesus is Lord, live in the Kingdom of Heaven right now.  And to the extent we accept and follow the rule of Jesus the King right now, we experience the glory and reward given to all who live in the Kingdom of God.

I want to read a couple scriptures and make some comments as we go. 

Judges 17:6In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

In a democracy, people choose leader. A kingdom is led by the rightful ruler.  A king supposedly gets his right to rule from God—it is a divine right.  To start with, Israel didn't have a man who served as their king, because they considered God as their King.  Unfortunately, when everything was going well for the kingdom, the people would stop listening to their King (God) and start doing whatever they wanted.  So, the nations who lived around them would start to raid, invade, and oppress the Israelites.  They would cry out to God to save them and God would, but as soon as things started going well again, the people would forsake the King (God) and do whatever seemed right in their own eyes and the cycle would repeat.  

So rather than learning from their mistakes, the Israelites decided they wanted to be like all the other nations around them--they wanted an earthly king.  They thought this would solve their problems.  God warned them that an earthly king would get power hungry and take their property and make them pay taxes and misuse his power, but the people were adamant.  "We want a king—just like everyone else!”  What an ungrateful thing to do!  They were essentially rejecting God as their King in favor of a mortal king.  

This is what our sinful nature leads us to do.  We want to do things our own way—“whatever seems right in our own eyes.”  We don't want to give allegiance to THE KING.  We want to be our own way.  The results are predictable.  We make a mess of our lives.  We sin.  We hurt ourselves and others and we break God's heart.  This predicament is not just something we read about in the Bible; we can see it playing out all around us even today.  

We are broken.  This is why Jesus came to live among us.  He came to save us from ourselves and help us return to the reign of God, our rightful King.

Matthew 3:2 - “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
Jesus’ core message was repent because the Kingdom of Heaven (or God) is near.  His primary message was not love, not healing, not 'die and go to heaven'; it was repent. You see, you can’t enjoy the benefits of the Kingdom (which are love and healing and eternal life) unless you enter into the Kingdom.  And you can’t enter into the Kingdom unless you repent and accept the rule of the King.  So we need to repent!

How do you repent and accept the rule of the King?
First, you must be sorry for your sin.  Recognize that you are a sinner.  In other words, realize that you have not obeyed the King.  This is not a minor detail.  You have rejected the rightful rule of the King of the universe.  You are a traitor and you need to beg for mercy.

Second, confess your sins to God.  You need to go before the King and confess that you have sinned against Him.  Whatever other sins you have committed, your biggest sin has been neglecting your duty to honor, obey, and love the Lord your God.  Bow your head and pray to God and confess.

Third, ask forgiveness.  Ask the King to show mercy and forgive your sin.  God's mercy and grace are amazing.  If you are truly sorry and ask for forgiveness, He is faithful and just and will forgive you.

Fourth, make restitution. Sin causes real damage.  You need to do what you can to make it right.  A few years ago, we were doing some painting at our church.  The painter left the paint cans outside on the playground where he was painting, planning to return to work the next day.  Well, some kids who lived nearby were playing on our playground and saw the paint.  They decided to get into some mischief.  They opened the cans and splashed the paint all over our brick wall.  It was all caught on our security cameras; we even had footage of them walking home to their house and going inside.  So, we went to the parents and showed them the pictures of their kids vandalizing our property.  They made their kids say they were sorry and come back to the church to clean up their mess.  That is restitution.  When we sin, we need to do what w can to make the wrong right.  Sometimes you can never make up for what you’ve done.  And certainly, our sin against God is so great we can never pay for it.  Thankfully, Jesus death on the cross paid the cost of our sin in full.  However, we must still sincerely ask forgiveness and do what you can do to show our change of heart.  Remember, you’re not earning forgiveness, you are showing a change of heart.

Fifth, forsake a life of sin.  Make a commitment to follow Jesus and obey him as your Lord. This is not a one time commitment; it is a way of life.  Everyday you are going to wake up know God is your King and you are going to live your life for Him from now on.  I encourage you to talk to someone about your commitment—a family member, a wise Christian friend, a mentor, or a pastor. You need their support to help you and hold you accountable. 

Finally, receive forgiveness. When we repent of our sin, God is faithful to forgive us. Jesus washes us clean and we start over as a brand new person with a clean slate. Now it’s also time to forgive yourself and receive the peace God gives to everyone who truly repents and trusts in Jesus. You are forgiven. Now forgive yourself. 

There is much more to explore about living in the Kingdom of God, but this is enough for today.  I hope you will check back next week for part two.  Let me end by saying:  a saint is just a sinner saved by the grace and forgiveness of God.  Those Christians who have died and gone to heaven--perhaps someone you've known and loved--in the Kingdom of God cheering us on.  They can see what we cannot see.  They see the King and the Kingdom.  They are cheering for you, hoping you will trust in what you cannot see—but what they can see—the love and grace and forgiveness and Lordship of Jesus Christ.  If you want to be in the Kingdom with them, turn to Jesus today for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.

Day 9 of Pastor Chris' Paraphrase of Proverbs Devotional

Day 9  One wise choice leads to another.  One foolish choice leads to another.  Make your choices carefully. And if you realize you've made some mistakes, turn quickly and run to Jesus and beg him to help back on the right path.  And listen carefully to those who invite you to their table.

Pastor Chris’ Paraphrase of Proverbs 9:4-6
“Come in here, little children!”  To everyone with some sense and potential she says, “Come dine with me!  Leave your childish life behind.  It’s time to mature and learn how to handle yourself.”

The other choice in verses 16-18 sounds like the trailer for a horror movie:

“Come on in, little children!”  To fools who who still need to learn, she says, ”Forbidden fruit and hidden pleasures savored secretly are so sweet.”  But they don’t know it’s a house of rotting corpses.  Her guests are dining in the depths of Hell.

"Jesus, forgive me for the ways I have turned my back on goodness and common sense, chasing happiness of my own making instead of yours.  Save me and fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I may have the good sense to dine with Wisdom and not Folly from this day forward.  Amen."
Read Proverbs Chapter 9
New American Standard Bible
Pastor Chris’ Paraphrase
Proverbs 9
Wisdom’s Invitation
1 Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars;
2 She has [a]prepared her food, she has mixed her wine;
She has also set her table;
3 She has sent out her maidens, she calls
From the tops of the heights of the city:
4 “Whoever is [b]naive, let him turn in here!”
To him who lacks [c]understanding she says,
5 “Come, eat of my food
And drink of the wine I have mixed.
6 “[d]Forsake your folly and live,
And proceed in the way of understanding.”
7 He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself,
And he who reproves a wicked man gets [e]insults for himself.
8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you,
Reprove a wise man and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser,
Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
And years of life will be added to you.
12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself,
And if you scoff, you alone will bear it.
13 The [f]woman of folly is boisterous,
She is [g]naive and knows nothing.
14 She sits at the doorway of her house,
On a seat by the high places of the city,
15 Calling to those who pass by,
Who are making their paths straight:
16 “Whoever is [h]naive, let him turn in here,”
And to him who lacks [i]understanding she says,
17 “Stolen water is sweet;
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
18 But he does not know that the [j]dead are there,
That her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
1.    Proverbs 9:2 Lit slaughtered her slaughter
2.    Proverbs 9:4 Lit simple
3.    Proverbs 9:4 Lit heart
4.    Proverbs 9:6 Or Forsake the simple ones
5.    Proverbs 9:7 Lit a blemish
6.    Proverbs 9:13 Or foolish woman
7.    Proverbs 9:13 Lit simple
8.    Proverbs 9:16 Lit simple
9.    Proverbs 9:16 Lit heart
10.  Proverbs 9:18 Lit departed spirits
Proverbs 9
A Feast At Wisdom’s House
1-3 Wisdom built a home; she carved out seven perfect pillars. She’s prepared meat for the feast, mixed up the cocktails, and the table is all set.  She’s sent out her hostesses with a message to everyone in town: 
4-6 “Come on in, little children!”  To fools who who still need to learn , she says, “Come for dinner!  Leave your childish life behind.  It’s time to grow up and learn how to handle yourself.”

General Truths
7-12 If you try to teach a scoffer, they’ll just insult you; arguing with ungodly people will blacken your eye or your soul.  So don’t try to teach a scoffer who is determined not to believe; they’ll just be your enemy. Save your arguments for those wise enough to listen and they’ll love you for it.  Devote yourself to the wise and they’ll get even wiser.  A godly man will get smarter if you teach him.  Wisdom all starts with reverence for Jehovah; knowing the Holy One gives you insight into everything.  “I will multiply your days and add years to your life.”  So live wisely and you will reap the benefits.  If you remain a scornful skeptic all your life, you’re the one who suffers.

The Feast of Foolishness
13-15 The Foolish Lady--Wisdom’s arch-nemesis--is loud and obnoxious.  She’s naive and empty-headed.  She sits on her porch or the important places in town, talking to everyone she sees doing their business:
16-18 “Come on in, little children!”  To fools who who still need to learn, she says, ”Forbidden fruit and hidden pleasures savored secretly are so sweet.”  But they don’t know it’s a house of rotting corpses.  Her guests are dining in the depths of Hell.

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Pastor Chris’ Paraphrase of Proverbs (PCP)
Copyright © 2018 by Chris Mullis

Monday, October 29, 2018

Day 8  God offers us His wisdom. It transcends the universe and those who live by it it are truly blessed

Pastor Chris’ Paraphrase of Proverbs 8:27-32
I was there when He made the heavens and rounded out the planet in the palm of His hands. I was there when He shaped the oceans and told them how to flow. I was right there beside Him when He designed the earth, like His head engineer. He was thrilled with me and I loved Him and the world He made and the people He created.

So now listen to me children: if you live out my principles, you’ll be truly blessed.

So many people chase an elusive happiness. But when we live by God's wisdom, we find something even better--blessedness.

"Lord of Heaven and Earth, Creator of the universe and all that exists, help me to seek wisdom above all else and live by her principles every day and thus find blessing that goes so far beyond happiness. Amen."
Read Proverbs Chapter 8
New American Standard Bible
Pastor Chris’ Paraphrase
Proverbs 8
The Commendation of Wisdom
1 Does not wisdom call,
And understanding [a]lift up her voice?
2 On top of the heights beside the way,
Where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
3 Beside the gates, at the opening to the city,
At the entrance of the doors, she cries out:
4 “To you, O men, I call,
And my voice is to the sons of men.
5 “O [b]naive ones, understand prudence;
And, O fools, understand [c]wisdom.
6 “Listen, for I will speak noble things;
And the opening of my lips will reveal right things.
7 “For my mouth will utter truth;
And wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
8 “All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness;
There is nothing crooked or perverted in them.
9 “They are all straightforward to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge.
10 “Take my instruction and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choicest gold.
11 “For wisdom is better than [d]jewels;
And all desirable things cannot compare with her.
12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
And I find knowledge and discretion.
13 “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverted mouth, I hate.
14 “Counsel is mine and sound wisdom;
I am understanding, power is mine.
15 “By me kings reign,
And rulers decree justice.
16 “By me princes rule, and nobles,
All who judge rightly.
17 “I love those who love me;
And those who diligently seek me will find me.
18 “Riches and honor are with me,
Enduring wealth and righteousness.
19 “My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold,
And my yield better than choicest silver.
20 “I walk in the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,
21 To endow those who love me with wealth,
That I may fill their treasuries.
22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works [e]of old.
23 “From everlasting I was [f]established,
From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth.
24 “When there were no depths I was [g]brought forth,
When there were no springs abounding with water.
25 “Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills I was [h]brought forth;
26 While He had not yet made the earth and the [i]fields,
Nor the first dust of the world.
27 “When He established the heavens, I was there,
When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep,
28 When He made firm the skies above,
When the springs of the deep became [j]fixed,
29 When He set for the sea its boundary
So that the water would not transgress His [k]command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth;
30 Then I was beside Him, as a master workman;
And I was daily His delight,
[l]Rejoicing always before Him,
31 [m]Rejoicing in the world, His earth,
And having my delight in the sons of men.
32 “Now therefore, O sons, listen to me,
For blessed are they who keep my ways.
33 “Heed instruction and be wise,
And do not neglect it.
34 “Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at my doorposts.
35 “For he who finds me finds life
And obtains favor from the Lord.
36 “But he who [n]sins against me injures himself;
All those who hate me love death.”
1.    Proverbs 8:1 Lit give
2.   Proverbs 8:5 Lit simple
3.   Proverbs 8:5 Lit heart
4.   Proverbs 8:11 Lit corals
5.   Proverbs 8:22 Lit from then
6.   Proverbs 8:23 Or consecrated
7.   Proverbs 8:24 Or born
8.   Proverbs 8:25 Or born
9.   Proverbs 8:26 Lit outside places
10. Proverbs 8:28 Lit strong
11. Proverbs 8:29 Lit mouth
12. Proverbs 8:30 Or Playing
13. Proverbs 8:31 Or Playing
14. Proverbs 8:36 Or misses me
Proverbs 8
Wisdom’s Gifts
1-3 Can't you hear wisdom calling? Don't you hear reason preaching boldly? She stands where everyone can see her, where everyone goes, at the busiest intersections, at the city’s welcome center, where everyone goes in to do business.  She broadcasts this message:

4-11 “Here’s a message for every living person.  Oh naive little children, grow up and be careful!  If you're immature, learn as much as you can.  Listen to me, because these are the most important things.  What I say is true. Evil and lies are disgusting to my mouth. My words are holy, never twisted or corrupt. They’re clear to anyone who understands and perfect for all who have a little sense. Accept what I say. Choose it over gold or silver. Wisdom is better than jewels or anything else you could ever want. Nothing else even comes close.”

12-16 “I am Wisdom and I’ve lived with crafty people.  I know how to figure out cunning plans.  In order to revere the Lord, you have to hate evil. I hate pride, arrogance, evil, and twisted tongues.  I have advice that’s worth hearing.  I know what’s really going on.  I have real power.  Kings reign because of me and leaders make good laws.  I enable leaders to exercise true authority, including volunteers and helpers, everyone who makes good decisions.

17-19 “I love everyone who loves me.  People who get up early in the morning and search all day will find me.  I have wealth and honor as well as goodness and treasures of eternal value.  My rewards are better than gold--even the purest gold--and my bonus is better than sterling silver.  

20-21 I lead people down the well-marked path of goodness and wise decisions, making those who love me wealthy with more in the bank. 

22-26 The Lord made me at the very start of it all. It was the very first thing He did. He put me in place eons ago, before the earth even existed.  I was deep before there was depth. I was refreshing before there were springs of water. I was on high before there were mountains or hills, growing and producing before there was even soil to farm.

27-31 I was there when He made the heavens and rounded out the planet in the palm of His hands. I was there when He shaped the oceans and told them how to flow. I was right there beside Him when He designed the earth, like His head engineer. He was thrilled with me and I loved Him and the world He made and the people He created.

32-36 So now listen to me children: if you live out my principles, you’ll be truly blessed.  Hear my teaching and let it make you wise, don’t ignore it.  People who listen to me are so happy they watch outside my gate everyday, waiting for me to come out my door, because whoever finds me finds life and gets a blessing from the Lord.  People who aren’t paying attention might miss me and really hurt themselves; those who hate me love death.
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Pastor Chris’ Paraphrase of Proverbs (PCP)
Copyright © 2018 by Chris Mullis