We Got Our Own Thang

Proverbs 14:12-13 

In 1989 one of my favorite rappers, Heavy D, put out a song called, “We Got Our Own Thang.” The song was HOT! There is a particular section in the song when Heavy D shows off his fast talking skills and says, “A diddley-diddley-diddley-diddely-diddely-Deee!” My head is bopping to it right now! What Heavy D was expressing was his privilege to be different, distinct, and divergent than his rap industry counterparts. He wanted to do things his own way. There are times in our lives when we have to break from the norm and set out on unchartered paths, but there are also times when we need to adhere to old landmarks and well-paved roads that have been set before us to avoid the mistakes of our predecessors.


12 There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.


In John 14:6 Jesus famously said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father, but by me.” It’s a well-known verse, but even though we know Jesus is the way and we know that he knows the way, and to boot we know that he has paved the way, we yet have a proclivity to go our own way. I don’t know if you’ve ever been convinced of your “own way.” In my generation we called it being “caught up.” It normally referred to a relationship that was bad for you, but was good to you and you couldn’t break away from it. As a matter of fact you hated that you loved it. No matter how much anyone told you how bad it would end, you still had to have your way. However, though our way may seem right, oftentimes following our own musings can end disastrous if we do not allow wise and godly counsel to help us navigate through what others have survived, but with scars.


13 Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.


The bible calls laughter medicine. There have also been numerous medical reports that cite laughter as an “extender of life” of sorts for those in hospice. Laughter can also provide temporary salve for a heart burdened with the heavy troubles of this world, but it is not a permanent solution. Once the joke has passed, once the moment is over the grief remains. Grief is a subject that seldom get attention in our churches, but it is something that is real and can be extremely destructive. The word for grief here is a word that means “heaviness.” It’s a when a person literally feels the weight of what they are experiencing. Thankfully, the bible provides a remedy for this weight. In Isaiah 61:3 God said he would give us the “garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” In other words, if the grief is still there you have to change clothes. Take off the heaviness and put on some praise and watch God work!


I Want More

Proverbs 13:7-8


Merriam-Webster defines greed as, “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed. I often ask myself the question, when I get to where I’m going, will it be enough? Will I be satisfied? Will I have peace? Maybe a better question is this, “when is enough enough? There’s nothing wrong with wanting more as long as the more is to meet your need, is not excess, and doesn’t neglect or inconvenience others.


7 Some who are poor pretend to be rich; others who are rich pretend to be poor.

Jesus commonly called the religious elite (Pharisees and Sadducees) hypocrites. During that time Jesus was using a Greek theatre term that described how one actor could play many parts in the same play. Essentially, he was telling them that they put on different masks depending on the circumstance and that they lacked authenticity and genuineness. All of us at one time or another have suffered from an internal identity crisis that encouraged us to compare ourselves with others, pretend we were something other than ourselves to be accepted, or be ashamed of our status in life, whether it be rich or poor. A good friend of mine told me once, “The Joneses don’t exist. Be yourself.” Nobody likes a fake or phony and to be quite honest authenticity or the lack thereof is the one barrier that is preventing the body of Christ from winning the world at-large.


8 The rich can pay a ransom for their lives, but the poor won’t even get threatened.


On the South side of Chicago there is a homeless woman pushing a grocery cart and as dangerous as that section of town is no one will ever bother her. Why? Because she is not perceived as a threat and her appearance in most people’s eyes communicates that she has nothing of value on her; therefore she is not threatened. However, a rich man may be taken and forced to release some of his money because of his perceived worth. Thankfully, our value is not external or limited to material possession, but yet begins with the intangible and the internal.


Righteous Rewards

Proverbs 11:30-31

The bible perhaps can be best understood by having a grasp of its major covenants, also known as the Old Testament and the New Testament. To be sure there are seven major covenants in the bible, but these two bring understanding to the others. In the New Covenant we now live in the age of grace whereas in the Old Covenant they lived in the age of the law. The covenants dictate how God related to us and it is vital that in these times we view our relationship with God through the lens of grace even when we are reading from the Old Testament.


30 The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life; a wise person wins friends.

There are three primary ways that you can “sow a seed” – thoughts, words, and deeds. When seeds are planted there will always be a harvest in accordance with what was planted. You will never reap a harvest of something that you did not plant. Whatever you sow you will reap. When you sow seeds of good deeds, those deeds become a tree of life. In Psalm 34:8 David says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him.” When we perform acts of kindness, smile to those who frown at us, feed the homeless, visit the sick, assist the disenfranchised, etc., we become trees of life that others can “taste” and “see” (through demonstration) that the Lord is good.


31 If the righteous are rewarded here on earth, what will happen to wicked sinners?

Although as saints we have been given the gift of righteousness through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and are daily recipients of his grace this does not exempt us from the temporary consequences of decisions that do not expressed or specific will of God for our lives. God disciplines us because he loves us, but what about those who do not know God through Jesus Christ. The literal Greek rendering of this verse says, “If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners.” The grace and faith to be in relationship with God has been extended to all and if those that are righteous (or better yet have been made righteous by Jesus) if they are only righteous not because of what they have done, but because of what Jesus has done, what will happen to those who have yet to trust in Him? I think we all know the answer and that’s why it’s so important that we become trees of life, cities of refuge, and water in the desert to those that are lonely and lost.

A Better Way

Proverbs 10: 28-30

 A question that I’m asked frequently is this, “How do I know its God testing me versus the devil tempting me?” My answer usually goes something like this, “Normally, when it’s God he will give you pain first and pleasure later. If it’s the devil, he usually gives you pleasure first and then pain later. God is not interested in making you comfortable, he’s interested in conforming you to the image of his son Jesus Christ. On the other hand Satan will tempt you with your greatest desires and entice you to gain it by any means necessary.


28 The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing. 

At times it seems that living godly is not worth it. It is difficult to understand why good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. Oftentimes it is easy to compare your situation to someone else’s situation in a moment of time. You look at where they are and where you are and we have a propensity to judge our end based on current circumstance. This verse admonishes us not to lose our hope for in the end it will not be dashed, but will be fulfilled in happiness, whereas the plans of the wicked will fail.


29 The way of the Lord is a stronghold to those with integrity, but it destroys the wicked.

Everyone who sees and knows the way of the Lord does not prosper. For an honest person who desires to please God and make God smile, God’s ways are not a chore and they are not grievous. They are life to him and he delights in the way of the Lord. The way of the Lord has an opposite, antithetical effect on the wicked and causes destruction rather than blessing. How? God’s ways are not a desire of his heart and because of that what should be life becomes a tedious internal struggle that can destroy him.


30 The godly will never be disturbed, but the wicked will be removed from the land. 

There’s something to be said for longevity. Longevity proves stability and that anchor has been set that cannot be moved. Godly people are those whose roots have been planted by rivers of waters. (Psalm 1) Wicked people and their schemes, plans, and strategies may look prosperous today, but are soon gone tomorrow.

The Okie-Doke

Proverbs 9:13-18

13 The woman named Folly is brash. She is ignorant and doesn’t know it.

Admittedly, in our day and time this sounds like a sexist statement. To appear to characterize a woman as the embodiment of folly and clamor seems to be a bit chauvinistic, but remember that Solomon had 700 wives and 300 “concubines” – 1000 women in total and he is providing his personal observations, not about all women per se, but about the folly of foolishness that he experienced in some of his dealings with them. Although this is the case his wisdom is for women and men alike. Being loud and quick to speak does not reveal what you know, but actually produces the exact opposite – what you don’t know.

14 She sits in her doorway the heights overlooking the city. 15 She calls out to men going by who are minding their own business.

Folly calls out to us all to detour us and distract us from our destiny. Notice that it “calls out” to us. The question is what does it call out to? According to James 1:14 temptation comes from our own desires and folly attempts to target the fulfillment of any desire that is not in alignment with God’s will or timing. The best thing to do in this situation is keep minding your own business.

16 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says 17 Stolen water is refreshing; food eaten in secret tastes the best!”

Growing up I used to hear this phrase, “Forbidden fruit always tastes better.” Then my grandmother told me it also causes a stomachache. Folly and foolishness look like acceptable paths in life to those who do not possess the ability to make good decisions. Anything you have to obtain in secret (do in the dark) or manipulate to procure will always end turning sour. It’s the simple route for the simple.

18 But little do they know that the dead are there. Her guests are in the depths of the grave. 

The bible says that sin has pleasure for a season. No one would ever get caught up in anything if it wasn’t fun or enjoyable. But the fun and the joy don’t last. Not only does it not last it deceives. Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief (the devil) comes only to kill, steal, and destroy.” The catch is that he never looks like a killer when he comes. He never looks like a thief when he comes and he certainly doesn’t look like a destroyer. He appears in a package that appeals to your desire, but it’s nothing but good ole okie-doke. Just mind your business.

Photography: @sheasalz