True Beauty

Proverbs 31:1
“The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him . . .”


Proverbs 31 is a section of Scripture most often taught at women’s conferences or retreats, because it goes to great length describing a virtuous woman. A more careful look will reveal this passage was actually instructions to the King, by his mother. It was her attempt to teach him how to find a godly wife. We find not only the characteristics that a virtuous woman ought to pursue, but also the traits a godly man should be looking for in a wife.

Each year a variety of media outlets declare their list of most attractive woman on the planet. In each case, it is the physical characteristics that are focused upon, without mention of true character. The king’s mother reminds him of the need to look beyond the surface, at true beauty.

Proverbs 31:30
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

I have always been struck by the fact that, in her 70′s, Sarah was still considered beautiful by the king of Egypt. Thinking she was the sister of Abraham, he pursued a relationship with her. Years later, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter declares Sarah’s true beauty. He describes her as being chaste, gentle and one who feared the Lord (1Peter 3:1-6). While physical beauty is the first thing we notice in another, character and godliness are the traits that will last.

Men need to be careful not to be drawn to a women’s passing beauty, while ignoring true godliness. Women need to be careful not to rate their beauty above things that really matter in the kingdom of God. All the lighting, camera angles, and airbrushing cannot replace godliness or true virtue. Let’s not look at the latest fashion magazine as a mirror, but to the Word of God, so we become people who fear the Lord.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Proverbs 30 
Agur is considered by many to be another name for Solomon. 
1. Take a moment to consider the question found in verse four, and then give the Biblical answer. 

2. What do we learn about the Word of God from verses 5-6? 

3. Examine the prayer found in verses 7-9, what do you notice. 

4. Choose a favorite verse from this chapter and write out your thoughts on how to apply it to your life. 

Old Testament:
Malachi 3- Solid Gold
Malachi 4- Sound Of Silence

Lessons From Nature

Proverbs 30:24-28
“There are four things which are little on the earth,
But they are exceedingly wise:
The ants are a people not strong,
Yet they prepare their food in the summer;
The rock badgers are a feeble folk,
Yet they make their homes in the crags;
The locusts have no king,
Yet they all advance in ranks;
The spider skillfully grasps with its hands,
And it is in kings’ palaces.”


This Proverb takes us to the natural world, in order to illustrate spiritual truths. The behaviors of four creatures are used to help us understand how to walk with the Lord.

The ant is an example of being prepared for the future. We are exhorted to live prepared for eternity. We do that by receiving Jesus Christ and walking daily, with Him. Jesus reminded us of the need to store up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20).

The rock badger is believed to be a small animal, much like a rabbit. Having no defenses of its own, it could not fight off a predator. The wisdom of this small creature is found in the fact that it dwelt in the rocks. For a predator to attack the rock badger, it must go through the rock. The believer must learn to hide away in Christ; He is our fortress, strong tower, shield and buckler, against the enemy’s assault.

The locust was known for always moving forward. Nothing could impede the advance of a locust swarm. Paul reminds the believer of the need to forget the past and move forward with the Lord (Philippians 3:13). For many of us, our past failures are keeping us from present experiences with the Lord, and from future victories for the kingdom. It is time to act like a locust and press forward.

Finally, we have all seen a spider run up the wall and across the ceiling. Their ability to hold on is amazing. We are reminded of the need to cling to the Lord. The heroes of the Christian faith were men and women who held tightly to the promises of God. When the storms of life hit, they clung to the promises, and like an anchor, those promises held firm.

As the new year approaches, keep in mind, no obstacle is so great that God cannot give you strength to confront it. Let’s be sure, above all else, we resolve to make our hiding place in the Lord.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Proverbs 30 
Agur is considered by many to be another name for Solomon. 
1. Take a moment to consider the question found in verse four, and then give the Biblical answer. 

2. What do we learn about the Word of God from verses 5-6? 

3. Examine the prayer found in verses 7-9, what do you notice. 

4. Choose a favorite verse from this chapter and write out your thoughts on how to apply it to your life. 

Old Testament:

Malachi 1- The Lord’s Cow
Malachi 2- Happy Marriage


Proverbs 29:15
“The rod and rebuke give wisdom,
But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”

Proverbs 29:17
“Correct your son, and he will give you rest;
Yes, he will give delight to your soul.”


Before becoming the Pastor of Calvary Chapel Vero Beach, I spent eight years teaching in the classroom. The first five years I taught in middle school and the final three in high school. Those years proved to be both a wonderful experience and an excellent training ground for raising my own children. My first year was interesting to say the least. I was 23 years old and newly married. I had little experience dealing with preteens, except for the fact that I had been one. My approach in the classroom could have been called the “whose your buddy” method. I attempted to be the cool teacher, who never gave out detentions, office referrals or parent contacts. The result was chaos. After a few months, I spoke with an aunt who had been in education for years. When I asked for her secret to order in the classroom, she explained that she did not have disciplinary problems, because she had a standard the students understood and she stuck to. Soon after, I observed another teacher who clearly stated the classroom standards and kept to them. When a student misbehaved, she did not become emotional, losing her cool and raising her voice, she simply pointed out that he was breaking the rules, and disciplined accordingly. Those experiences transformed my ability to instruct the children. Instead of spending all my time, energy, and prayer life, dealing with discipline, I was able to teach.

Solomon points out, this same principle should be applied to the home. We have all seen children misbehaving and parents doing nothing more than warning them to stop. As the child continues, the parent raises the level of his voice, until the parent has completely lost his cool. Soon, he begins to scream at the child, perhaps even grabbing the child forcefully by the arm, to snatch him up and leave without further embarrassment. If we are honest, we have not only seen that parent, but we have been that parent. The secret to successful discipline is having a clear biblical standard for our children. The result will be spending less time agitated and upset, and more time instructing and loving our kids.

Allow me to give a few guidelines. First, our standard is based upon how our Heavenly Father treats us. He is ever merciful and forgiving, and understands we are prone to failure. Never does God condone sin, but He is always ready to lovingly restore us when we fail. One common failure among parents is, putting standards on children that they themselves could not keep. Second, when we must exercise discipline, this should become a teaching time. Instead of allowing our emotions to take over and reacting in anger or frustration, we want to clearly point out how our child has misbehaved. We must explain what the Bible says about proper behavior, consequences, and forgiveness. This is a critical time to hug and pray with our children. Finally, we must be sure the punishment fits the crime. Are we upset at our child because his behavior was wrong or because it embarrassed us in front of our peers? I have seen parents horrified at their child because they bit another child in Sunday school. While it is wrong to bite other kids, in some cases, the parents were more embarrassed by how that made them look, than at the infraction of their toddler. I have even known parents to stop coming to church because of the embarrassment. Keep in mind, your child’s behavior is not always a representation of your parenting. After all, God’s kids ate the forbidden fruit. Don’t discipline out of embarrassment, but discipline with kindness and affection, for the infraction that has been committed.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Proverbs 29 
1. Solomon has a lot to say about the wise man. Make a last of the traits of the wise from this chapter. 

2. Course your life to the list and make any necessary changes. 

3. If you are a parent, look through this chapter for what Solomon writes about children. 

4. Choose a favorite verse from this chapter and write out your thoughts on how to apply it to your life. 

Old Testament:
Zechariah 13- Stain Removal
Zechariah 14- Ready?

Shaky Ground

Proverbs 28:26
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.”

When faced with decisions, it is not uncommon to be counseled to follow your heart. Solomon suggests that doing so is a very bad idea. He calls it folly. I can think of three reasons why it is foolish to follow your heart.

First, the Bible teaches that the heart is deceitful above all other things (Jeremiah 17:9). That means our hearts can trick us into doing things that are unhealthy or even detrimental. Our hearts, like our appetites, can desire things which are harmful to us. A friend of mine was diagnosed with high cholesterol and counseled to drastically change his diet. Upon receiving the doctor’s orders, his appetite did not suddenly change. He still hungered for fatty, fried, high cholesterol foods. The heart is the same way. We can long for things that God forbids, and our hearts can lead us away from the Lord.

Second, the heart is the seat of emotion. It is the place where emotions arise; and emotions are untrustworthy. We have all had the experience where, suddenly and without warning, our emotions change. We are happy one minute then suddenly we are saddened, afraid or filled with anxiety. A person who is trusting in emotions, is like a small boat in a violent storm. It is very difficult to navigate through life with emotions as our compass.

Finally, not only are our emotions fickle, but the desires of the heart are constantly changing. Many of the things we longed for in the past are hardly worth having today. Look back at some old photos and notice the hair cut you had to have, or the outfit that you spent your hard-earned money to buy. Like changing fashions, the heart is constantly desiring something new.

Rather than trusting in the heart, we should trust the promises of God. Instead of leading us away from the Lord, they will lead to a life that is well pleasing to Him, and beneficial to the ones we love. Unlike emotions, the promises of God are like bedrock upon which to build your life. When emotions, fashion, culture, and experience suddenly change, the Word of God remains as solid ground to stand upon.

Don’t follow your heart, follow the Lord.
Pastor Jim

Questions for Proverbs 28 
1. Verse 13 reveals one of the key principles to successfully walking with Jesus. Take the time needed to apply that verse this morning. 

2. Verse 26 reveals one of the most common and most foolish guides a person can follow. What is it? What should be our guide? 

3. Choose a favorite verse from this chapter and write out your thoughts on how to apply it to your life. 

Old Testament:
Zechariah 11- It’s Not Worth It
Zechariah 12- Pierced

You Can’t Eat Just One

Proverbs 27:20
Hell and Destruction are never full; So the eyes of man are never satisfied.”


A few years ago, the Frito-Lay Corporation ran an ad for their potato chips with the slogan, “Bet you can’t eat just one.” The concept was simple, their chips were so good, so addicting, that once you tasted one, you would keep eating until the bag was empty. In this verse, Solomon points out, sin is like that. The word he uses for hell is Sheol, and can mean the grave. He is declaring, just as death is never satisfied, so desire for sin will never be satisfied by sinning. Often, when we are facing greater than normal temptation toward sin, we think one more look, touch or taste will satisfy the craving. What we find is, the desire comes back with greater force after it has been fed.

The children of Israel experienced this in the wilderness. Each morning they awoke to breakfast being served from heaven. This “Manna”, as it was called, was designed to satisfy their appetite during their journey through the desert. After years of the same food, they began to hunger for something else. When their craving became so great that they could no longer withstand it, they began to threaten Moses. In response, God promised to send them meat to satisfy their intense craving. Soon, a flock of quail flew into the camp and was trapped and killed by the people. With their lust for meat in full swing, they began to tear into the fowl, not waiting for it to be cooked properly, and the people became ill. With their lust for meat driving them, many died from sickness (Numbers 11). Later, this area became known as the Graves of Lust.

Feeding lust will never make the desire go away. The Bible tells us, the only hope for overcoming the desire for sin is to deny it. Paul declared, he considered himself to be crucified with Christ, and he treated sin as a dead man would (Galatians 2:20). We are exhorted to do the same. We are told, since we died with Christ, we are to treat sin as a corpse would. To do this, we must treat it as something of our past, not our present. We accomplish this is by not sowing to our sin nature, but removing ourselves as far as possible from its influence. In another place, Solomon asks, “can a man put fire on his lap and not get burned?” (Proverbs 6:27) The answer is obviously NO. In the same way, we cannot bring sin close, increase our desire for it, and not fall into it. The secret of success in the battle with the flesh, is to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Proverbs 27 
1. Solomon tells us not to boast about tomorrow. Look up Matthew 6:33-34, what does Jesus teach us about our tomorrow’s? 

2. Solomon makes many references to friendship in this chapter. What do you learn about friends? 

3. How can verse 20 be applied to dealing with the sins of the eyes? 

4. Choose a favorite verse from this chapter and write out your thoughts on how to apply it to your life. 

Old Testament:
Zechariah 9- Coronation
Zechariah 10- Cornerstone


Proverbs 26:4-5 “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest  he be wise in his own eyes.”


Sometimes, determining what God wants us to do can be quite difficult. We can have opposing principles, which can be found in the pages of the Word, applied to the same situation. That is the case with the advice Solomon is providing here. On the one hand, it is folly to attempt to correct a foolish man. Since his thinking is irrational, it is impossible to rationalize with him. The conversation becomes nothing more than a vain argument. On the other hand, if he is not corrected, he will continue on the same path with no hope of escape. When faced with these encounters, we are forced to make a split second decision, seeking God’s best for the situation. Many times we walk away having a much longer conversation with ourselves than we did with the other person; talking out all the things we should have said. Allow me to give just a few tips.

First off, since we do not know what encounters await us around the corner, we must prepare in advance. We will be prepared by spending time with the Lord and walking in the Spirit. I cannot express strongly enough, how often my morning devotions have prepared me for the encounters I face throughout the day. I have almost come to expect, I will have a conversation where I am able to draw from my morning reading. I have found, daily Bible reading puts me one step ahead of the situations I will face. Prayer is also a critical factor in being ahead of the game. Taking time in the morning to devote myself, my day, and my time to the Lord, will get me in the right frame of mind to be available when ministry opportunities arise. When Paul addressed the Ephesians, he wrote of “being filled with the Spirit.” Morning prayer time is the place to make that happen. As we begin the day pouring out ourselves and our needs to the Lord, we find we are filled with His love, power and Spirit.

Finally, when Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus he said, “the wind blows where it wishes, we do not know where it comes from or where it goes. Such are they who are born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8) Walking in the Spirit involves making myself available to the Lord and looking for His leading in my life. A chance encounter at the market, park, or school recital may, in fact, be a ministry opportunity. Often, taking the time to listen to someone and prayerfully considering how to answer, may provide the open door we need to see a person come to faith in Christ. Walking in the Spirit involves not being driven by emotion or circumstances, but being open to and looking for ways to be used by the Lord.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Proverbs 26 
1. Solomon has much to say about the fool. List all the traits of a foolish person. 

2. Compare your actions to the list you made. Are there any changes you need to make in your life? 

3. From Verse 14- 16 what do we learn about laziness? 

4. A tale bearer is one who spreads gossip. What does Solomon say about that man? 

5. Choose a favorite verse from this chapter and write out your thoughts on how to apply it to your life. 

Old Testament:
Zechariah 7- Do The Right Thing

Merry Christmas

Zechariah 6:12-13 “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out… And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”

The Bible speaks of the riches of the grace of God. Grace is a word that refers to God’s giving nature. James 1:17 puts it this way, “Every good and perfect gift comes from the father of lights in whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”Certainly, life is filled with gifts given from heaven to earth. When we gaze into the face of nature, or a new born child, we cannot help but think of the grace of God. Nevertheless, every other gift pales in comparison to the gift given on the first Christmas morning. God wrapped His Son in human flesh and gave Him to mankind to be Savior and Lord. The young child who was born in a stable, and laid in a manger, would grow to become what the apostle John called, “the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only but the sins of the whole world” (1John 2:2). As the years went by, He would move from a manger to a cross, where He would die, to pay the debt of sin and reconcile man to God. As you give and receive gifts this Christmas, it is our prayer you would receive the greatest gift ever given and put your trust in Christ as Savior and Lord. 

Merry Christmas, Pastor Jim

Zechariah 5- Curses

Proverbs 25- Truth Bearer

Using Your Influence

Proverbs 24:11
“Deliver those who are drawn toward death,
And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.”


Salvation is a free gift given to man from God. Jesus Christ became a man and offered Himself as a willing sacrifice on the altar of Calvary, in order to pay mankind’s debt and wash away all sin. This salvation, while freely given, must be received. John wrote,

John 1:12
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name”

When we recognize we are sinners and Christ is the Savior, and we put our trust in His work on the cross to save us, our sins are washed, and we become the adopted children of God. This is an individual decision. It is not something we can make for another. Parents cannot receive Christ for their children or children for their parents. As much as we may desire for our spouse, siblings or neighbors to receive Christ, we cannot force them to make that decision. Coercion, manipulation, nor brute force, are the methods that will save a soul. That being said, Solomon exhorts us to do what we can to deliver those who are heading toward death and destruction.

There are many things we can do to influence the decision of another. First, we must make the decision ourselves. A very common, and unsuccessful parenting method, might be called the “do as I say, not as I do” method. Often, parents put standards on their children which they do not follow. A parent who commonly uses profanity, will chastise a child who uses it. However, that parent will find, as the child grows, they will talk much as their parent does. The same is true of relationship with Christ. Jesus explained, we are the light of the world. People are watching, and as they see a life committed to Christ, they too, will be drawn to Him.

Second, we must pray for those who have not yet decided to receive Christ. Prayer is the most powerful and least used weapon in winning others to Christ. It is through prayer we will see hearts soften, doors open, and the message of the Gospel take root. When praying for our loved ones, pray that whatever the enemy is using to blind their eyes to their need for Christ, would be removed. Pray, just as you saw your need for Christ, they would see their’s. Pray they would come to church or outreach events with you, and they would make a decision to surrender to Christ. Pray right now!

Third, we must share the truth. Paul explained that the Gospel is the power of God that will lead to salvation (Romans1:16). It is important to be loving, kind, friendly, considerate, compassionate and relatable, but if we do not share the message of the cross, people will have no idea why we are the way we are. Paul declared, he desired to know nothing among others except Christ and Him crucified (1Corinthians 2:2). In other words, it was of the highest importance to him, to explain to others the way of salvation. Sometimes, the best way to do that is over a meal or a coffee. Other times, it may be through inviting someone to church, or after church to invite them to bring their questions to the pastors. We might send them a CD of a morning message, or a link to a live feed or last weeks Bible study. Whatever door the Lord opens, be sure to take it.

While salvation is the decision of every individual, let’s be sure to do our best to influence them to decide for Christ.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Proverbs 24 
1. Why is it foolish to be envious of the wicked? 

2. First 10 seems to state the obvious, yet it is the times when our strength fails that we learn to understand our need for God. What do you need strength from the Lord for to face today? Pray for that right now. 

3. What do we learn about the righteous on verse 16? 

4. What do verses 28-29 teach about relationship with others? 

5. Choose a favorite verse from this chapter and write out your thoughts on how to apply it to your life 

Old Testament:
Zechariah 3- Filthy Garments
Zechariah 4- Source Of Strength

Fly Away

Proverbs 23:4-5 “Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven.”


Riches are not evil in themselves. The Bible does not teach that money is the root of all evil, but that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1Timothy 6:10). Throughout Proverbs, Solomon listed instructions that will increase our chances of being successful. He speaks of honesty, integrity, and diligence, while warning against folly, laziness and getting involved with the wrong people.

That being said, Solomon also warns against thinking that money will solve all of our problems. He writes poetically of the inability of riches to really meet our deepest needs. He states that riches make wings and fly away. Have you ever watched a young child attempting to catch a butterfly? With each step the child takes toward the winged creature, it simply flies off to the next bush. Step after step, she thinks she almost has it, but again and again it simply flies away. Riches are like that. In one sense, they are aloof, but we think with just a little more work we will finally catch them. If memory serves me, it was Rockefeller who, when asked how much money was enough, responded, “just a little more than you have.”

There is another sense in which riches have wings. Not only are they difficult to catch, but riches will never provide what they promise. Often, we think that the solution to our problem is cash. If we had a few more dollars we could get out of debt, take that vacation we always wanted, replace the hunk-of-junk car we drive, or a host of other things. While I would agree that having is more fun, than not having, we all must realize riches have wings and cannot satisfy the real issues of life. The headlines remind us of that. We often read of wealthy actors, entertainers, athletes or business men, who have marital or substance abuse problems, are on anti-depressants or even take their lives. The reason is, riches have wings. They are unable to meet the deepest needs in the heart of man. In contrast to this Solomon writes,

Proverbs 23:18 “For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off.”

The real solution to the issues of life, is a spiritual one. We need to realize, we will only be satisfied when we are in a right relationship with God. Jesus promised, all who received Him would have torrents of living water rushing through their lives (John 7:38), providing peace, joy, and love for God and others. We need to be sure, while we are in pursuit of “getting ahead,” we do not neglect to make investments in our relationship with the Lord.

As the new year approaches, resolve to accept Christ as your Savior and Lord, make daily investments in your walk with Him by reading the Word, and commit to regular attendance at a good Bible teaching church.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Proverbs 23 
1. Verses 1-3 are a poetic description of the need for self-control. What areas do you need to apply self-control to your life? 

2. According to verse 17 what do we need to guard our hearts against? 

3. Verse 29-35 speaks to the folly of alcohol or substance abuse. What do we learn about the danger of being under these influences? 

4. Choose a favorite verse from this chapter and write out your thoughts on how to apply it to your life. 

Old Testament:
Zechariah 1- Return
Zechariah 2- Problems and Solutions

Walk This Way

Proverbs 22:3
“A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.”


Prudent means to be wise or even shrewd. The prudent man is the one who looks carefully down the road he is walking, in order to avoid falling into sin and away from the Lord. The simple, or foolish man, keeps walking, never aware of the danger he is in until after it has overtaken him. Obviously, Solomon is exhorting us of the need to be watchful. The Greeks were expert story tellers. They had established a vast system of gods, heroes, and villains, to help explain the unexplainable, and instruct the generations to come, regarding morality. One of my favorite stories is of a man whose name means forethought, who was given guardianship of a box that contained all the evil of the world. On one occasion, he left the box in the care of of his brother, whose name meant afterthought, and instructed him to not allow his wife, Pandora, to look inside. After his brother departed, Afterthought was influenced by Pandora to open the box, allowing evil to spread throughout the world. It was not until after he had allowed her to open the box, he realized the danger of his decision. There is a modern proverb that declares much the same truth,”fools rush in…”

If we walk through life not aware of the dangers, pitfalls, snares, and sins that await us around the corner, we will be destined to fall, time and time again, into the same sins. Paul exhorted the Ephesians to “walk circumspectly” (Ephesians 5:15). That means we must be aware of the dangers surrounding us if we are going to avoid a fall. The prudent man realizes how slippery the slope is, in which we walk, and travels carefully.

I have some friends who enjoy backpacking. They take vacations to hike along mountain ridges. I have noticed, before they go, they are certain to purchase the right equipment. Instead of marching out in sandals or ice skates, they purchase proper hiking boots. If they are going to be in the ice or snow, they even use crampons, to ensure they will have  firm footing. We can be no less cautious when it comes to walking with the Lord. Looking around at how others have fallen, or looking back at how we have stumbled in the past, is more than enough empirical data to prove the dangers the narrow road contains. Success in our walk will be closely connected to behaving like the prudent man and avoiding evil before we face it.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Proverbs 22 
1. How can you establish a good name? 

2. According to verse 4 what are the benefits of humility and fearing God? 

3. The rod mentioned in verse 15 in no way suggests the beating or injuring of a child, but rather is a reference to loving discipline. If you are a parent, use a concordance and look for the benefits of this loving discipline on a child listed in Proverbs. 

4. Choose a favorite verse from this chapter and write out your thoughts on how to apply it to your life. 

Old Testament:
Haggai 1- Consider Your Ways
Haggai 2- Greater Glory