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Posted on Apr 29, 2013 in Proverbious

The American Dream – Proverbious – Day 119 – Proverbs 14:11-12

The American Dream – Proverbious – Day 119 – Proverbs 14:11-12

Proverbs 14:11-12

The household of the wicked will be destroyed,
but the tent of the upright will flourish.
There is a way that seems right to a person,
but its end is the way that leads to death.

Everyone tells you to dream the American dream. We’re supposed to be finding that thing that makes us the most happy in the world, and then we are supposed to spend our lives pursuing that. With the American dream comes the necessity to adjust your life to be able to achieve it. So we do. We adjust our lives so that we can go after the dream as hard as we possibly can. We change our priorities. We change the way we make decisions. We change our friends. We change everything.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to people pursuing their dreams. The problem comes when we get so caught up in pursuing our dreams that we’re no longer open to the plan God has for our lives.

God created us for a purpose. He had a plan for us when he knit us together. That’s why we’re here. We’re here to do what He put us here to do. So, when we take over our lives and fill it with our own purpose and our own plans, you can see that might be a concern for God.

We’re told that the American dream is the right way for us all. And part of the American dream is the fact that the possibility exists for me to write this article and for you to read it. And, it is within this freedom that we all really have the option to truly seek and pursue what God has for us.

But, we must not allow that freedom to control us. We can’t allow the freedom to choose be something that becomes bigger than it should. There are decisions that we make that seem right to us at the time, but in the long run lead us away from God’s ultimate plan for our lives. If it’s even one step in the wrong direction, it’s not God’s way for us.

So, seek God first and His ways. Then the rest will be added to you. Sounds familiar, I wonder where that came from…

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Posted on Apr 28, 2013 in Proverbious

Guilt Complex – Proverbious – Day 118 – Proverbs 14:9-10

Guilt Complex – Proverbious – Day 118 – Proverbs 14:9-10

Proverbs 14:9-10

Fools mock at reparation,
but among the upright there is favor.
The heart knows its own bitterness,
and with its joy no one else can share.

Reparation was an offering that the guilty were supposed to bring to clear their conscience. It was for a sin that they knew they had committed, but no one else knew anything about it. They were the only ones who knew. Fools mock at the idea that they would need to relieve any of the guilt they feel.

But, among the upright, there is favor. Actually, you might say joy. And likely, a joy that they can’t express with words. A joy that they can only know in their hearts. The reverse is true for the fools as well. They know the bitterness that they feel. They know the bitterness that is in their hearts for the wrongs they have done. They know, but no one else does. There is a depth of despair there that no one can share with them.

I liken it to my daughter Hannah. A couple of years ago, while we were in Ohio visiting my family we went to a buffet after church. Our kids hadn’t really ever been to a buffet at that point and didn’t fully grasp the concept that they could have anything they wanted. It’s not that big of a deal to not eat something if you don’t like it.

While I was up getting 2nds (or 3rds or 4ths), I grabbed hannah a pudding. At the same time, Bekki had gotten her a cupcake. When we got back with Hannah, she chose the cupcake over the pudding I brought.

This happened about 3 years ago. And just a week or so ago Hannah came downstairs after we had put her to bed. As she shared why she was up when she wasn’t supposed to be she said, “I can’t stop thinking about that time that I chose your cupcake over daddy’s pudding.” And broke into tears. This isn’t the first time she has done this. It’s the third or fourth.

It’s really sweet that she is worried about having hurt my feelings. She has a really sweet heart. But she’s been suffering from this guilt for years now. I told her it wasn’t a big deal (I didn’t actually remember it – and she didn’t understand that people just do that at a buffet…) and that she didn’t need to feel guilty for that anymore. We’ll see if sticks.

There are things that only we know. These are the things that eat at our soul. These are the things that lead to bitterness. Perhaps today is a good day to start seeking forgiveness and begin to make some room in your heart for joy!

(Unknowingly, my wife wrote a post about this very story today on her blog, check it out!)

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Posted on Apr 27, 2013 in Proverbious

The Friend Anchor – Proverbious – Day 117 – Proverbs 14:7-8

The Friend Anchor – Proverbious – Day 117 – Proverbs 14:7-8

Proverbs 14:7-8

Leave the presence of a foolish person,
or you will not understand wise counsel.
The wisdom of the shrewd person is to discern his way,
but the folly of fools is deception.

We’ve already talked about how the people you spend your time with have a great impact on the kind of person you are and the kind of life you will lead. Today continues in that theme, but comes with a little bit different of a presupposition.

The proverb implies that someone is seeking wise counsel and yet is unwilling to leave the presence of the fools they normally hang out with. They want to know the way they are supposed to walk, but they’re not willing to give up the relationships that are holding them back.

There are probably some relationships in your life right now that have you anchored to the past in a way you don’t even understand. You’ve grown so accustomed to them that you don’t even notice them anymore. You don’t evaluate them anymore. You don’t think of them in that way anymore, they are just your friends. But, these are the very relationships that keep you tied down. These are the relationships that keep you from living the live you should be and could be living.

If you could just move past these one or two relationships, you could have so much more. But they’re my friends. Do I have to give up my friends? Maybe. Maybe not. If they’re not wise, yes you should. Will it be hard? Probably. Do you have to get them out of your life all together. Not necessarily, but they can’t be in your life to the extent that they have influence. Hopefully you could have influence in their lives, but until they change their ways, influence must only be a one way street. It can’t come back on you.

If you really want to discern your way, if you really want to know which way to go, you’re going to need to know some wise people. The friends who have you anchored to your past will only deceive you into thinking you don’t need to change and the life you lived was good enough. But you know better. Who are you going to surround yourself with that will help you move in the right direction? What friends do you need to cut out of your life so you can finally take flight like you were intended to?

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Posted on Apr 26, 2013 in Proverbious

The Diligent Art of Wisdom and Understanding – Proverbious – Day 116 – Proverbs 14:5-6

The Diligent Art of Wisdom and Understanding – Proverbious – Day 116 – Proverbs 14:5-6

Proverbs 14:5-6

A truthful witness does not lie,
but a false witness breathes out lies.
The scorner seeks wisdom but finds none,
but understanding is easy for a discerning person.

Have you ever watched someone who is highly skilled at a certain craft? I have, and it’s just amazing to watch them work. I remember watching a chalk artist in a chapel in college paint a mural in 45 minutes that told an amazing story. I’ve watched some of our family friends operate logging equipment with such ease and precision you’d have thought they were being controlled by a robot. I’ve seen my brother-in-law draw amazing pieces of art with a pencil and a hundred other examples.

As someone on the outside, we stand and watch in amazement. We know there is no way we could do what they are doing with anywhere near the amount of excellence they are accomplishing. And we are right. We can’t. And that’s for a number of reasons. We may not have the natural bent towards that specific talent. We don’t likely have the training. But there is one other thing. We haven’t exercised the same level of discipline at honing and refining the craft as they have.

The same is true for us when it comes to wisdom and understanding. We are all going to need wisdom and understanding. And unlike some gifts, talents ad skills – wisdom is something we all need and can all work toward. And we should be. To be skilled in the area of wisdom and understanding we have to be diligent in our pursuit of it. Understanding is easy for a discerning person because a discerning person has been working at gaining wisdom and understanding for a long time.

If we don’t exercise wisdom and understanding and work toward gaining knowledge, we won’t be good at it when we need it. Just as the artist has been working for years at their craft, we need to be constantly at work gaining wisdom and understanding. The artist can perform at a high level, under a great deal of pressure and in a fairly short amount of time produce a great work. They can do this because they have been diligent in working at it. The non-artist who tries to accomplish the same result will take much, much longer and go through much more frustration.

The same is true for us when it comes to being a fool and needing wisdom. If we want to be able to make good decisions under pressure, if we want to be able to have a greater understanding of a situation, if we want wisdom and understanding to be easy for us, we must also be diligent in our pursuit of it.

Just as it is easy to tell the truth when you are a truthful person because you have been practicing truth…just as it is easy to lie when you are a deceitful person because you have been practicing dishonesty…it is easy for a discerning person to have understanding. Just as it is easy for an artist to paint, a logger to log, a drawer to draw and…it will be easy for the person who diligently seeks wisdom and understanding to have the understanding and insight when they need it most.

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Posted on Apr 25, 2013 in Proverbious

Wise Word Harvest – Proverbious – Day 115 – Proverbs 14:3-4

Wise Word Harvest – Proverbious – Day 115 – Proverbs 14:3-4

Proverbs 14:3-4

In the speech of a fool is a rod for his back,
but the words of the wise protect them.
Where there are no oxen, the feeding trough is clean,
but an abundant harvest is produced by strong oxen.

Farmers have to be wise in many ways. They have to be wise about when they plant their crops, how they work the ground, how to care for the ground so it produces crops year after year, storing the fruits of the harvest in a way that ensures they last and rationing them out so they have enough until the next season. If they don’t do these things, among many others, they won’t be farmers for long. Especially if they don’t ration the harvest and store it to last through the winter.

They have to ration the harvest for their own well-being as well as for the well being of the farm. “Back in the day” before we had machinery, the farmer had the added responsibility of making sure the animals that would do the hard work of working the ground were healthy enough to do the work in the spring and summer. If they weren’t wise in running their farm, they would run out of grain for themselves or their oxen. Regardless, they’d be in a tough spot when it comes time to plant the crop for the next year. If they aren’t strong enough, they wouldn’t be able to do the work. If the oxen aren’t strong enough, they wouldn’t be able to work the ground.

Wise words are the harvest of a fruitful life. The words you speak as a wise person are the kinds of words that can bring you live, produce fruit in your life and protect your future. If you don’t speak wise words, you will find yourself in a tough spot. Just like the farmer who doesn’t ration the grain for his farm, when a fool speaks, he is setting himself up for a life of pain and suffering, hunger and want.

What kind of harvest are you reaping from your words? If you aren’t reaping a harvest, but are instead suffering because of your speech, now might be a good time to start seeking wisdom.

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Posted on Apr 24, 2013 in Proverbious

God’s Building Code – Proverbious – Day 114 – Proverbs 14:1-2

God’s Building Code – Proverbious – Day 114 – Proverbs 14:1-2

Proverbs 14:1-2

Every wise woman builds her household,
but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
The one who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord,
but the one who is perverted in his ways despises him.

I have an amazing wife. If you didn’t know that, I do and I’m proud of her. She runs a blog for moms that makes this blog look like Mayberry by comparison. If you’ve never checked it out and you have two X┬áchromosomes, you should go check it out. It will not be a waste of your time.

What she talks about is what she does at home, building our house. Of course we don’t mean that in the literal since. Our house was built when we bought it. But, in speaking of the only kind of household that matters, she is the chief contractor. She knows how important it is to raise our kids in a way that honors God and is preparing them for a life of success. That’s why our two older kids knew how to read before they started kindergarten. While most kids in preschool are learning the alphabet for the first time, ours are reading.

Our kids are blessed to have her as their mom. But, I understand that there are many kids out there who aren’t so lucky. There are those out there who live on the other side of this proverb. They are more in business of tearing their household down than they are in the business of building it up. With their nasty words and selfish ways, they constantly put themselves and their own ambitions ahead of their household. I know we live in a different time now than when this proverb was written. And I know that by saying a lot of this, you will have instantly put me into a box of being an old school, legalistic, fundamentalist Christian. I’m sorry you feel that way. Maybe you feel that way because you feel guilty about the kind of mother you are being? I don’t know.

What I do know is that if it were solely up to me, our kids would be having a rough go of it. We’d all be on the biggest loser. While we do live in a different time, and there are many moms out there who don’t have anyone else to help them…and there are many moms who have to work to provide for their kids…the expectation for mothers is still the same. Just because the odds are stacked up against you doesn’t mean you don’t have to be a mother. It just means you’re going to have to work harder at it.

And we need you to. By we, I mean the world and society and culture in which we live. We need mothers to be in the business of building their houses instead of tearing them down. Build up your kids instead of tearing them down. Build up your spouse instead of tearing them down. Build up your boss and co-workers instead of tearing them down. Build up your ex-husband instead of tearing him down. Building up is positive, tearing down is negative. Building up moves you forward, tearing down moves you backward.

Walk in uprightness as a mother, fear the lord. When you do this and you do this in front of your kids, they will know they are being loved by a mother who wants to build the house by God’s standards and not the worlds. And trust me, his ways are better. Sure the code is higher than that of your local building code, but the end result is far greater by comparison.

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