Category Archives: Abortion

Proverbs 31:29-31 – An expression of gratitude to godly wives, mothers and daughters

mother and daughterProverbs 31, of all the chapters in Proverbs, is no doubt the most beloved for it articulates a son’s admiration for the woman who gave him life, nurtured, disciplined and directed his feet on the path of righteousness.

The opening verses of this chapter express the Queen Mother’s appeal for her son to remember the vows she made to God while he was in her womb.  She called upon the young prince to reflect on her exhortations that he would become a virtuous, God-fearing, self-disciplined king who would avoid those vices that weaken men’s character [women, wine, strong drink – 31:3-5] and pave the way to shame and ruin.  Such a woman has earned the right for her sons and daughters to hear her words and, in the words of the king, “arise up and call her blessed” (31:28).

I will step aside from my commentary for a moment and allow the king’s own words describe this daughter, wife and mother of virtue.

Proverbs 31:29-30 – “29 Many daughters have done virtuously [served with strength; courage; excellence], but thou excellest [ascend; go beyond] them all. 30 Favour [charm; grace] is deceitful [lies; unreliable], and beauty is vain [temporal; passing]: but a woman that feareth [reverences] the LORD, she shall be praised.

abortionOne of the great tragedies of our 21st century society is the void of godly, virtuous daughters, wives and mothers. The strength of femininity has served mankind well and the influence of daughters, wives and mothers on society is immeasurable.  Like salt seasons and flavors, women have the power to season their homes, communities and society with feminine, preserving grace.  Historically, mothers served not only as the womb of life, but also as the moral compass for a family, community and nation.  Make no mistake, the influence of organizations like NOW, and the rise to leadership of women who crusade for and encourage the slaughter of the unborn infant in a mother’s womb has dethroned America’s daughters, wives and mothers.

Proverbs 31:31 – “Give [Deliver; yield; recompense; pay; apportion] her of the fruit [reward; results] of her hands [labor; consecration]; and let her own works [labor; deeds; achievements; behavior] praise [boast; glory] her in the gates [gates of the city where the elders sat and exercised judgment].”

A husband, son and daughter of a virtuous wife and mother can never compliment or praise a woman of virtue too much!  In his letter to the scattered and persecuted Christians of the 1st century church the apostle Peter challenged husbands: “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them [wife] according to knowledge [understanding], giving honour [cherish; treat as priceless] unto the wife…” (1 Peter 3:7).

It is my prayer that this brief devotional has inspired daughters, wives and mothers to love the Lord and know, in spite of what this godless society might tell you, your influence is beyond your comprehension.  Many have said, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

I close with an illustration and am at a lost to cite its origin.

Illust. – A man stopped at the flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his rosemother who lived 200 miles away. As he got out of his car he noticed a girl sitting on the curb sobbing. He asked her what was wrong and she replied: “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother, but I only have 75 cents and a rose costs $2.00. 

The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I will buy you a rose for your mother.” He placed his FTD order of flowers to his mother and bought a rose for the girl. As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride.

She responded, “Yes, please, if you could. Take me to my mother,” and she directed him to a cemetery where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.

The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up the flowers and drove the 200 miles to his mother’s home.

Wives and mother’s long for their family’s affection and nothing will compare to the praise of her family.   By the way, to my wife, daughters and mothers in my life…I love you!

Proverbs 17:15 – The trouble with America

justiceBecause he was king of Israel, Solomon’s proverbs to his son often addressed matters of justice and leadership that are apropos for all times and nations. Today’s proverb, perhaps more than any other we have studied this year, succinctly sums up America’s political and social troubles.

Proverbs 17:15 – “He that justifieth [clears; declares righteous] the wicked [ungodly; morally corrupt], and he that condemneth [troubles; violates] the just [righteous], even they both are abomination [abhorred; disgusting] to the LORD.”

Solomon identifies two examples of injustices God abhors in this proverb.  The first injustice God detests is declaring the wicked right or just.  My friend, herein is one of the great sins of the United States; our nation is riddled with leaders, judges and politicians who applaud the wicked and condemn any who dare call sin what it is—a great offense against God!

Our political, judicial, educational and religious leaders are leading our society down a road that is an “abomination to the Lord” and demands His judgment!  The wicked, embolden by the silence and complacency of America’s pulpits and pews, are indoctrinating our children in our schools and our neighbors through the media.  Under the guise of political correctness and equal rights, the unborn are killed, homosexuality is applauded and the criminal is a victim!al sharpton

The second abomination in Proverbs 17:15 is the condemnation of the just [the righteous and upholders of the law]. America’s national unrest highlights this proverb in a way I dare not avoid.

Community agitators have organized and coordinated rallies and riots in major cities across our nation, defending the criminal, encouraging lawlessness while condemning the last line of defense against societal chaos—law enforcement.  Are there instances of “cop overreach” and abuse?  Absolutely, but those are exceptions and not the rule.  America is facing an increasing wave of lawlessness because she has betrayed God and rejected His Word.

Many elements of society are to blame for the prevalence of corruption and injustice that has engulfed our nation; however, the responsibility must ultimately be laid where it belongs—on the home and in our churches.  Parents have failed to instill in their children a standard of moral responsibility and a sense of right and wrong. God's LawChurches have failed to boldly teach and declare the Law of God and the guiding principles of God’s Truth.  Christians occupy pews in churches that entertain them, but fail to challenge them to be the “salt of the earth…and light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-16). I close with Isaiah’s prophecy against Israel that should serve as a warning to the United States.

Isaiah 5:20, 23 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter…23  Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!”

Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith

Seven Characteristics of a Dying Nation

Today I am republishing a blog I first authored November 2013.  President Obama announced on November 20, 2014 that he is in effect, usurping the role of Congress and exercising a plan of action on illegal immigrants that is an overreach of his sworn duty to uphold the Constitution and Laws of the United States.  It behooves me to remind all who read this blog that we are facing more than a Constitutional crisis; a dying nation is inevitably a lawless nation whose leaders exercise authority unchecked by law and moral duty.

decaying DetriotOur world is continually changing.  The innovations of mankind in the 20th century were transforming and who would dare argue that inventions like the automobile, plane, phone, television, computer and internet have not had a profound impact on life?  Technology has revolutionized the world; however, one thing is undeniably consistent and unchanged about our world…the nature of man.  What man has been, he is today.  Since the fall in the Garden of Eden, the heart of man is corrupt and the world of man is cyclical and predictable.  There is nothing new about man; he is today what he has always been—profoundly sinful (Romans 3:10, 23).

King Solomon, discerning the nature of man observed, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).

In his book, Reason in Common Sense (1905), philosopher, essayist and novelist George Santayana made the observation, “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”  Santayana’s quote has been modified by various public figures in the last century, among the most famous British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

The pages of history give testimony to the cyclical reality of the rise and fall of tattered flagnations.  As a student of the Bible and history, I find the scriptures are a rich repository of Truth for both statute and principle.  In our quest to understand the present condition of our nation and the reality of America’s moral decay, we look to the Bible and find a parallel decline with Israel and Judah when God’s people rebelled against His Law and turned to their own devices.

America is following ancient Israel’s movement from faith and prosperity to apostasy and decay.  We are no longer a nation that fears God.  We have rejected God and removed His Word as the moral basis of our laws and government.  Like Israel of old, we are a nation that calls “evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).  We have become a reprobate nation, legislating the slaughter of over 55 million unborn children.  We have elected lawless leaders who champion gross immorality and applaud the sins God condemns.  As a people, we have chosen a path of spiritual, moral and fiscal decay.

The prophet Jeremiah gives us a spiritual portrait of a nation on the brink of death in Jeremiah 5:22-31.  Seven characteristics of a dying nation are noted: The first characteristic of a dying nation is Spiritual Indifference (Jeremiah 5:22-23). God asked, “Do you not fear me?”  A dying nation has no fear of God’s judgment. The rebellious heart of the nation is exposed in these words, “this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.” 

The second characteristic of a dying nation is Ingratitude (Jeremiah 5:24).  Not only does a dying nation not fear God, the people are not thankful for God’s provision–the rain and the harvest.  A third characteristic of a dying nation is fergueson on fireSpiritual Insensitivity—an absence of spiritual discernment (Jeremiah 5:25).  A dying nation does not comprehend that its sins have sacrificed God’s blessings and invited His judgment.

The exploitation of the working poor and weak by the rich and powerful (Jeremiah 5:26-27) is the fourth characteristic of a dying nation.   Those in positions of power and wealth misuse the trust of the people, and ensnare them with lies and deceptions.   The fifth characteristic of a dying nation is Injustice…the people are denied justice when they appear before judges who turn a blind eye to “the deeds of the wicked” and fail to extend fairness and justice to the weak and needy (Jeremiah 5:28).

The sixth characteristic of a dying nation is that those in positions of moral and spiritual authority [prophets and priests] are liars and corrupt (Jeremiah 5:31a).  The prophets, the watchmen of ancient Israel, spoke lies and deceived the people.  Like political leaders of our day, the priests and leaders of ancient Israel were enamored with power, position and possessions and failed to serve as God’s representatives before the people.

Finally, in spite of the nation’s moral decay and its leaders’ dereliction of duty, we read, “my people love to have it so” (Jeremiah 5:31b).  wolves in sheep's skin

It seems unconscionable that a nation on the brink of destruction would be populated by a citizenry who “love to have it so.”  However, history gives ample examples of nations who have followed that path of spiritual and moral decay.   Spiritual indifference bred ingratitude, contributing to spiritual insensitivity.   The working poor were exploited by the rich and powerful, denied justice, ruled by leaders who deceived them, but affirmed by a people who fawned over them in spite of their lack of character, integrity and righteousness.

The prophet Jeremiah was tasked with prophesying to a nation that had gone too far…the people would not repent of their sin and were past saving from God’s wrath and destruction.   God asked, “Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” (Jeremiah 5:29).

“Is it too late America?”   I fear our leaders have gone too far and the “people love to have it so.”  Every characteristic of a decaying, dying nation is true of America.  We have become a nation that is spiritually indifferent, thankless, lacking in spiritual discernment, exploited by the rich and powerful, denied justice, electing leaders who lie, scheme and deceive…with citizens who “love to have it so.”  The only hope for America is that we would repent of our sin as a nation and turn back to God.

repent“If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them…10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.” (Jeremiah 18:8,10)

Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 6:16-17 – What does God hate?

7 things God hatesProverbs 6:16-19 is one of more familiar passages in the Book of Proverbs.  In four brief verses Solomon addresses the question—“What does God hate?” and answers the question with a list of seven sins, seven “abominations” that are contrary and loathsome to the nature of God Who is Holy, Just and without error.  My focus today is on the first three of the seven abominations.

Proverbs 6:16-17These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,”

A “proud look” is first on the list of things God hates.  Pride is in essence a haughty spirit, an attitude that projects superiority above others. Pride is the root sin of all sins!

PridePride was first manifested in the Bible when the fallen angel Lucifer, that wicked one we identify as the devil, entertained pride in his heart and rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:13-14).  Pride was seen a second time when Eve succumbed to temptation in the Garden of Eden and believed she and her husband Adam could be “as gods knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).  Pride plagues humanity and rears its ugly head when we pursue recognition for ourselves and resent the success of others.  Pride is the antithesis of what God would have us be: Blessed are the poor in spirit [humble]: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

Lying is second on Solomon’s list of sins God hates“a lying tongue” (6:17b).  Lying, deceptions, partial truths are common practice in our society and Christians are practitioners of the same patterns God hates.  Like many of you, I have experienced the sorrows and bear the scars from those who deceive, lie and “color” conversations and events to paint themselves in the “better light”.   Most believe lying is wrong, but “shading the truth” is acceptable.  Not so my friend!  King David, Solomon’s father, confessed of God–“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts…” (Psalm 51:6a).lies

In a later proverb Solomon writes: “Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight” (Proverbs 12:22).  Paul exhorted Christians in Ephesus:

Ephesians 4:25 – “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”

Third on Solomon’s list of sins that God abhors is Murder — “hands that shed innocent blood” (6:17c).

The soul of every man, woman, boy and girl; every infant (born and unborn) and every elderly person—is priceless to God because man is created in His image.  Human life is so precious to God that He directs that a man who takes another man’s life must forfeit his own.

Numbers 35:16“…the murderer shall surely be put to death.”

Genesis 9:6“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”

Numbers 35:31“Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.”

stop-abortion

I close today’s devotion with a reminder of the tragedy of abortion in our nation.  Advocating the practice of abortion in defense of “Women’s Rights” is a damnable practice.  The graphic stories of partial-birth abortions and botched abortions is a horror and a national disgrace that not only invites, but also demand God’s judgment. http://abortionno.org

Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 31:6-9 – Four principles every mother should teach her children

proverbs 31We return to one of the most beloved chapters in Proverbs.  Proverbs 31 commends and celebrates the virtuous daughter, wife and mother. We continue our study of four principles every mother should teach her children (Proverbs 31:3-9).

Be virtuous is our first principle. A godly mother will protect the innocence of her children and challenge her sons and daughters to be morally pure (31:3).

Proverbs 31:3“Give not [direct not] thy strength [virtue; honor] unto women, nor thy ways [path; journey] to that which destroyeth kings.”

A second principle addresses intoxicants: Be Sober. Too few mothers exhort their children to refuse intoxicants [wine, alcohol and drugs] that desensitize a man’s conscience and cloud his judgment (31:4).

Proverbs 31:4-5 – “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes [rulers; judges who weigh matters of law] strong drink: 5Lest they drink, and forget [cease to care] the law, and pervert the judgment [cause; plea] of any of the afflicted [troubled; depressed; poor; lowly].”mother-teaching son

Be compassionate is the third principle.  A godly mother will impart to her children a spirit of compassion for those less fortunate (31:6-7).

Proverbs 31:6-7“Give strong drink [intoxicants; alcohol] unto him that is ready to perish [die], and wine unto those that be of heavy [bitter] hearts [soul; spirit]. 7Let him drink, and forget [ignore; cease to care for] his poverty, and remember [think about; meditate upon; recollect] his misery [want; anguish; trouble] no more.”

Some Christians have used Proverbs 31:6-7 to champion social drinking; however, the context and setting of these verses is far from the idea of promoting alcohol consumption among God’s people.  Undiluted wine was used judiciously before modern medicines to aid the hurting and comfort a broken soul.  For example, in Luke 10:34, the Good Samaritan gave wine to a man who had been left for dead by highway robbers.  Alcohol was offered to men dying on a cross to dull the pain and suffering of the cross [something Christ refused because His purpose was to suffer and bear the full punishment of man’s sins].  The Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to “use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities” (1 Timothy 5:23).  With modern pharmaceutical medicines, alcohol and wine consumption are unnecessary vices and temptations.

Continuing with the exhortation to be compassionate, we see in Proverbs 31:7 that a godly mother will instill in her children a loving compassion for those less fortunate…especially those bearing pain and sorrows.

mother teaching daughter4) The fourth principle godly mothers should instill in their children is a passion for justice: Be Just (31:8-9).

Proverbs 31:8-9 “Open thy mouth for the dumb [those unable to speak for themselves] in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction [left defenseless]. 9a “Open thy mouth, judge [govern; execute judgment; pronounce sentence] righteously [justice] and plead [judge; contend] the cause [administer justice] of the poor [humbled; afflicted; lowly; those in distress] and needy [beggarly; destitute].”

A mother should cultivate in her children a passion for justice and the desire to aid those unable to speak for themselves [particularly true of the unborn child in a mother’s womb, the very young and the elderly].  A righteous man will take up the cause of the weak and poor.  Like the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:34), the heart of a just man is tender to the cry of the suffering.  Good men will show grace, mercy and demand justice.

Proverbs 20:28 – “Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his thrones upholden by mercy.”

Proverbs 28:2 – A nation’s leaders are indicative of that nation’s character as a people—they are who we are!

dream_overOur proverb for the day takes on a political nature as King Solomon teaches his son the shadow of influence godly and ungodly leaders cast across a nation. Proverbs 28:2 sets forth two principles Americans would be wise to hear and to heed when they vote for men and women who aspire to political office.

Proverbs 28:2“For the transgression [sin; rebellion; guilt] of a land [country] many [many; much] are the princes [chief; commander; rulers] thereof: but by a man of understanding [discernment] and knowledge [by observation and experience] the state [rightness; well-being; preparation] thereof [the land] shall be prolonged [lengthened].”

Solomon’s political parable reveals one of the afflictions of a rebellious nation—many leaders! The implication is that a country, which turns its back on God, will be weak and divided by its leaders.  An obvious illustration of a divided nation is civil war; however, the party rhetoric of our day portends to the same rift without taking up arms.

The vitriolic, venomous speeches of our leaders reflect the sins of a divided nation. Barack Obama, Harry Reid, John Boehner, Nancy PelosiWe are a nation of many leaders, few of whom in my opinion desire to put our nation on a righteous course.  America’s leaders have distorted life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by systematically taking the lives of nearly 56 million unborn and attacking the sanctity of marriage and family with a deluded definition of equal rights in the name of diversity. Indeed, too many evil leaders rule a rebellious sinful nation!

The second lesson in our parable is a reminder that godly leaders, leaders with wisdom, insight and discernment are a blessing to a nation.  It is the character of the leader, not the office he holds, that defines this leader.  His integrity and dependence on God imparts to the nation stability and security that prolongs the nation’s life and prosperity.

America is a nation in decline. If you wonder why we have lost our role as the world’s leader and force for good—you need look no further than the character of the men and women we have elected to office. A nation’s leaders are indicative of that nation’s character as a people—they are who we are!

Washington praingI do not want to leave you feeling hopeless and wrestling with despair. There is something you and I can and must do—Pray for our nation and our leaders.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 – “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”

Proverbs 17:3 – Someone reading today’s devotional is feeling the heat of fiery trials—Look past the flames!

cookoutFire is one of nature’s most valuable and destructive elements. 

When Sheilah and I take walks in the late afternoon there are times the whiff of meat cooking on an outdoor grill will capture our attention.  One of us will comment to the other, “Wow that smells good!”  Is it not thought-provoking that the flames that stir an appetite, powers a steam locomotive, turns electric turbines can, when unleashed, leave a path of destruction and sorrow?

In today’s devotional thought, Solomon compares the flames that melt and purify firesilver and gold to fiery trials God allows and directs into the lives of His spiritual sons and daughters. Solomon writes,

Proverbs 17:3 “The fining pot [refining] is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD [Jehovah; Self-existent] trieth [proves; examines] the hearts.”

The process of purifying precious metals requires intense heat. A refining pot of raw silver, sat in the midst of a flame, brings the dross and impurities of silver to the top where a skimmer removes them leaving pure silver.  Purifying gold follows a similar process.
refining goldComparing times of trial and trouble to a refining pot and furnace, Solomon taught his son to anticipate the LORD would prove, test and purify the hearts of His people by trials that test the heart, purify the motive and humble the spirit.

James exhorted the persecuted church of the 1st century:

James 1:2-3“My brethren, count [consider] it all joy when ye fall into [encounter] divers temptations [trials; adversity]; 3 Knowing this, that the trying [testing; proving] of your faith worketh patience [strength; perseverance].”

To be transparent, the singe of fiery trials hurts and can humiliate if not received with a humble, broken spirit. The trying of our faith and dependence on God tends to burn away the crutches of self-will and independence. The betrayal of a friend or the rejection of a loved one leaves us dependent on the LORD, trusting His way is perfect (2 Samuel 22:31; Psalm 18:30), good (Romans 8:29-29) and altogether right.

Job 23:10“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall fierycome forth as gold.”

Someone reading this devotional is feeling the heat of fiery trials. I know it hurts and you want to flee the flames of pain and disappointments. I know how easy it is to focus on the circumstances and personalities that have disappointed you. My exhortation and counsel is—Look past the flames! Trust God will take you through the pain to the other side!

1 Corinthians 10:13 – “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”