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Posted on Nov 9, 2013 in Proverbious

Fishing For Fire – Proverbious – Day 310 – Proverbs 26:20-22

Fishing For Fire – Proverbious – Day 310 – Proverbs 26:20-22

Proverbs 26:20-22

Where there is no wood, a fire goes out,
and where there is no gossip, contention ceases.
Like charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire,
so is a contentious person to kindle strife.
The words of a gossip are like delicious morsels;
they go down into a person’s innermost being.

Since the wood stove was a significant source of heat for our house growing up, I spent a lot of time playing with fire. Probably too much, but as a boy, it’s always fun to get to play with fire from time to time. I used to have scars to prove that I had earned the right to play with fire, but those are gone now.

There is an amazing thing that happens with fire. When you put a log on the fire and let it burn down, eventually there will be coals of the log that are spread out across the bed of ashes. If you leave the like that, they will go out and die in that place. There will be coals of wood that didn’t burn all the way down to ash. But, if you push them all together, their combined heat will help burn the coals all the way down to ash.

When they’re together, the heat each other up, but when you separate them, they die out. This is exactly what happens when you have a contentious person. You get someone who likes to create problems, they like to gossip about people, they like drama and so they do things to stir up drama. And so they go fishing. They fish for someone else who will join in with the drama. They fish for someone they can suck into the drama who will help fuel the fire of strife. And it doesn’t take much to get a fire going.

And while it can be hard to put a fire out, it’s not that difficult. All you have to do is figure out which person is causing the fire and then separate them from the rest of the coals. If you can do that, the fires will go out. They may still flame up from time to time, but eventually they will fizzle out because there is no fuel being added to burn.

So, if you’ve got a gossip-filled, contentious fire, find the logs that are creating the fire and separate the from the rest of the bunch.

I bet the fire will go out.

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Posted on Nov 8, 2013 in Proverbious

I Was Just Kidding – Proverbious – Day 309 – Proverbs 26:18-19

I Was Just Kidding – Proverbious – Day 309 – Proverbs 26:18-19

Proverbs 26:18-19

Like a madman who shoots
firebrands and deadly arrows,
so is a person who deceives his neighbor,
and says, “Was I not only joking?”

“Dude, I was just kidding. Lighten up!” I wonder how many times you’ve heard that phrase in your life. I know I’ve heard it plenty of times. Unfortunately, I’ve also said it a time or two. It’s the last resort. It’s what you throw out there when you know you’ve pushed too far and hard and you need a way out. Sure, there are times when you’re really kidding, and you’re just pushing buttons to try to get a response out of someone. And I suppose that’s okay, once in a while. But, I don’t think that’s what the proverb is speaking of.

Rather, what I think is happening is when you are trying to pull one on someone. You’re trying to get away with something that you know you shouldn’t be doing, and when you get caught, you say you were joking. Or, you were trying to make a point with someone, so you back out at the last minute and tell them you were just kidding.

I think the point is this, stop before you get there. Stop before you go too far. Stop before you say something that you need to retract. Because when you do, you’re throwing flaming arrows. You’re playing with fire and hurling things towards someone that could cost them their life or reputation.

Yes, we need to speak truth to the people in our lives, but we shouldn’t try to hide it under the guise of a joke. That’s not going to help the situation. Because you’ll either come off as insensitive or as a jerk. Or, you’ll just come off as someone who’s indecisive and weak and can’t stick by what needs to be said.

The rule is, don’t use the phrase “I was just kidding” unless you were actually kidding. It’s not a good cover.

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Posted on Nov 7, 2013 in Proverbious

Chow Chow – Proverbious – Day 308 – Proverbs 26:18

Chow Chow – Proverbious – Day 308 – Proverbs 26:18

Proverbs 26:17

Like one who grabs a wild dog by the ears,
so is the person passing by who becomes furious over a quarrel not his own.

When I was younger, our family went on a trip to visit some family up in Michigan. While we were on the trip, I went with my cousin while he was taking care of some dogs. They were two big dogs. I can’t remember the kind of dog my cousin took on the walk, but I remember the dog I had was a big, black Chow Chow.

The first day I was pretty scared of the dog, and tried to keep my distance and avoid eye contact with it. But, on the next day, I was getting a little more comfortable with the dog and decided I was going to pet it. As I was reaching in to pet the dog on the head, he snapped and barked at me in a terrifying fashion. It was a good test to my bladder control – I’m glad to tell you I passed.

To this day, I don’t know what it was about y trying to pet that dog that set him off, but I just about lost an arm that day.

The amazing thing is, this was a trained dog. This was a domesticated animal, not a wild dog. Imagine if I had tried to do the same thing to a wild Chow Chow! I probably would have lost more than my appetite.

There is something in a lot of us that wants to jump into a fight and help stop it. When we see someone fighting, we want to intervene to help bring about a resolution. Especially when we see a physical fight. When someone is getting hurt, we feel the need to jump in.

But this piece of advice comes to us from the book of Proverbs, when you’re walking by someone who is fighting, it’s best not to become worked up about it.

Take a lesson from the Chow Chow, don’t intervene.

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Posted on Nov 6, 2013 in Proverbious

Learning Overcomes Laziness – Proverbious – Day 307 – Proverbs 26:14-16

Learning Overcomes Laziness – Proverbious – Day 307 – Proverbs 26:14-16

Proverbs 26:14-16

Like a door that turns on its hinges,
so a sluggard turns on his bed.
The sluggard plunges his hand in the dish;
he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.
The sluggard is wiser in his own estimation
than seven people who respond with good sense.

If you haven’t figured out by now, it is not just the fool that is looked down upon in the book of Proverbs. The sluggard is another character that is looked down upon. So, if you’re looking for a role model, it is not the sluggard. Anyone who is too lazy to lift their arm to their mouth is someone you don’t want to emulate.

That being said, this is something you will notice about some in this category. There are some people who are just lazy. But then there are some who are lazy and think they know everything. This is a rather dangerous person to be around. They think they know more than you and everyone else. There is nothing you can say that will land in this person’s mind because their mind is full of their own thinking. They don’t have room in their brain for someone else’s thoughts.

Just like we spoke of how to have hope a few days ago, one way to avoid being a sluggard is to be open to learning. Here’s the think about having a learning attitude, the more you learn – the more you realize you have to learn. And as you realize you have more to learn and start working on learning those things, you will also start to eat away at the laziness in your life.

So, if you don’t want to be in danger of being too lazy to feed yourself or being too lazy to get out of bed, develop an attitude and lifestyle of learning. Especially learning to live better. If you’re lazy, don’t just read a book about how to not be lazy, focus on how those principles can apply to your life.

Learning overcomes laziness.

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Posted on Nov 5, 2013 in Proverbious

Stop Yelling Lion – Proverbious – Day 306 – Proverbs 26:13

Stop Yelling Lion – Proverbious – Day 306 – Proverbs 26:13

Proverbs 26:13

The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!
A lion in the streets!”

I’ve confessed to you on multiple occasions that I can have a tendency to be a lazy guy. I enjoy sitting on the couch and not doing anything. I know it’s not a good thing about me, and I continue to try to work on it, but I also continue to fall back into those habits and patterns. There are just times I’m a sluggard. Hello, My name is David. And I’m a Sluggard. I wonder if there’s a group for that? Probably not, unless the room was filled with couches instead of chairs.

Anyway, when you’re lazy, it’s easy to come up with excuses not to do things. It’s easy to decide not to mow the lawn because the grass is too wet and it’ll just clog up the chute. Or, I can’t go for a walk tonight because it’s already to dark and wet and I might get eaten by a Cougar (the furry kind). But, that’s what we sluggards do. We sit around and come up with excuses about why we can’t do things. And even though we might not use the “there’s a lion in the streets” excuse, we use just as many stupid excuses for not doing things.

Speaking from experience, I know that there is always an excuse. There is always a reason not to do something. I can always come up with a reason not to do work that I don’t want to do. I can always come up with a reason not to make lifestyle changes that I need to make. I can always come up with a reason that I should stay the kind of person that I am and not try to be any better tomorrow. I can always come up with an excuse to stay the same.

But, also speaking from experience, I also know that what you get from that kind of life, is whatever happens to you. You never happen to your life, your life just continues to happen to you. As I like to say to our church, “we need to bring the happen to our life.” In other words, we need to stop making excuses about why we can’t do this or that. We need to stop rationalizing why we can’t give up this vice or that vice. We need to stop letting life happen to us day in and day out and bring the happen to our life. We need to stop yelling lion and go out and grab the lion by the tail.

So, today, let me encourage you, bring the happen to your life. You may be like me, a sluggard. But, that doesn’t mean you have to stay a sluggard. That’s just another excuse to not change anything. Don’t allow yourself any  more excuses and just start getting your life moving in the direction you want it to go.

If you don’t get off the couch and move, you’ll always be on the couch.

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Posted on Nov 4, 2013 in Proverbious

How To Have Hope – Proverbious – Day 305 – Proverbs 26:12

How To Have Hope – Proverbious – Day 305 – Proverbs 26:12

Proverbs 26:12

Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.

As soon as you think you’re wise, boom, you’ll be proven false. That’s because wisdom is never something you arrive at. Wisdom is a life-long journey and pursuit. We should be growing wiser and wiser all the time, but none of us will ever arrive at the point of being truly wise. Even the wisest man who ever walked the face of the earth (besides Jesus) knew that he would never be truly wise.

This is the point of wisdom – to be always learning and growing. We are supposed to be continuously improving and learning how to be better at who God made us to be. We don’t ever arrive at a destination and stop growing and changing.

As soon as you stop to think you’re wise, you will certainly find that you have something else to learn. And if you find that you’re as wise as you can be, then you should really start to take a careful look at your life. Because if you don’t see any room for improvement, then you are on your way to becoming a fool. And that’s not a good direction to be heading in.

Instead, consider that we are to be humble and give God glory with the lives that we lead. And to live a life that gives glory to God means that we have to be in constant pursuit of Him and His ways. How can we live such a life if we feel like we have arrived.

God is the author of wisdom, not us. If we ever see ourselves as being wise, then isn’t that like saying we have achieved our godhood status? And if we think we’re there, don’t you think storm clouds will start forming over your head and lighting bolts strike you in the face? I do. Maybe not literally. But maybe.

Let us all develop a lifestyle that looks at our lives in such a way as to see where we need to gain more wisdom, and then try to work on those areas. If we do this, we will always have hope.

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