More Sayings- A Cultural History-Proverbs 23 Part 1

Traditions and History are two critical pieces of our countries ability to survive.  As a 50+ guy, I have learned through the years that each generation has a need to put their thumb print on History.  It manifests itself through cycles of behavior and the rewrite of the story of the past—to conform to the generations relative view of right and wrong, good and evil and the basic tenant of family, commitment and marriage.

Our culture has all but erased the foundational truths of liberty.  We have not only moved the boundary stones, we have obliterated them. Our nation has abandoned crime for “Poor choices”.  It has abandoned roles for “How one identifies” on an given day.  We run from God and chase riches.  We seek to control life and are ultimately controlled by its many comforts.

Our kids would rather live in the virtual outdoors—than play outdoors.  We have become mindless, gluttons—who are content to be controlled as long as we can have our creature comforts.

We are better than that! As the king so eloquently wrote—don’t move the boundary, don’t dishonor the King. Don’t seek lies, comforts or chase their riches-CHASE God—he will provide all that one needs. My parents lived that, I know it–but struggle to do it.  The next generation—barely knows the concept—their history is vastly different.  We must reintroduce them to the foundational principles of a healthy culture so that the cycle can once again rebuild our one nation, under God. 

God Bless You

Saying 5

Do not move an ancient boundary stone     set up by your ancestors.

Saying 6

29 Do you see someone skilled in their work?     They will serve before kings;     they will not serve before officials of low rank

Saying 7

23 When you sit to dine with a ruler,     note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat     if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies,     for that food is deceptive.

Saying 8

Do not wear yourself out to get rich;     do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,     for they will surely sprout wings

Let the Sayings Begin–Proverbs 22 Part 3

Prioritizing the sayings of the wise—The First Priority, do not exploit those that are exploitable. The poor do have a protector, it is God.  He keeps score and will not soon forget those that mistreat the vulnerable.  It is sad to think how so many use their power to exploit.  They feel invisible and invincible. They believe they are above selflessness, that is for everyone else.  They use the phrase-it’s not personal, it’s just business.  One need remember—when dealing with persons, it is ALWAYS personal.

Second—Realize there is truly guilt by association.  We have to choose to associate with those that honor God.  As we do, we grow closer and stand taller.  The converse is true, if we stand with the loud, angry and rude—we will be seen as the same.  In addition, we will be drawn into the drama and ultimately  the consequence of such a person; even when we are not.

Finally, live within your means and do not extend yourself beyond that either–for yourself or for others. It exposes you to entrapment and enslavement and does so without any real benefit for those exposed. The more we trust in God’s timing—the more amazing the journey becomes.  Live wisely, humbly and peacefully—then God can lead us to the land he is promised.

God Bless You

Do not exploit the poor because they are poor     and do not crush the needy in court, 23 for the Lord will take up their case     and will exact life for life.

Saying 3

24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person,     do not associate with one easily angered, 25 or you may learn their ways     and get yourself ensnared.

Saying 4

26 Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge     or puts up security for debts; 27 if you lack the means to pay,     your very bed will be snatched from under you.

The Thirty Sayings of the Wise–Proverbs 22 Continued

In the middle of Proverbs 22, Solomon makes a shift.  After thoroughly exploring life from his vantage point, he compiles some of the most profound thoughts for people in his culture and for his time—funny thing though, wisdom continues to be timeless.  The people have not changed much and the principles that make their lives either great or poor really have not changed much either.  When men face life and its challenges, it is safe to say that each journey has its fair share. Some deal with financial crisis, some with health issues.  Many families experience pain and loss outside their control; while others see grief due to the choices of children or parents. Natural disaster, violent crime and stubborn and selfish attitudes were as prevalent in Solomon’s time—as they are today.

 The difference, in large part has to do with how one responds to the attacks of the day.  Make no mistake, we face an enemy—his single purpose is to neutralize and ultimately destroy any and everyone who chooses to trust God and not the world culture.  Like any bully, he will hit hardest those who refuse to comply with his wishes.  The more determined the opposition, the more despicable he becomes.  He attacks health, family and everything one holds dear.  If, when under such heinous attack, we remain faithful; then God will provide and prepare us for the rest of our journey—and he will see us to the end so that he can glorify us–at his side, as his chosen and his beloved.

 To survive, we must listen to the wise—the ones who have gone before.  We must also relinquish all we have to the lordship of God.  When we can finally release everything to his care—nothing held back, then he can begin to restore, protect and lead us to the finish line as champions and victors in a culture that would, otherwise, never allow us to finish the race.

 God Bless You

Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise;     apply your heart to what I teach, 18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart     and have all of them ready on your lips. 19 So that your trust may be in the Lord,     I teach you today, even you. 20 Have I not written thirty sayings for you,     sayings of counsel and knowledge, 21 teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth,     so that you bring back truthful reports     to those you serve?

Raising our Kids–Proverbs 22 Part 1

One of the great promises of the bible lives in Proverbs 22:6. “Raise a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart far from it.” Almost every parent would and does give their time, energy and resources to see their children do well.  Young or old, rich or poor, birthed or adopted—God has gifted us with the idea that it is our duty and legacy to set the young ones on a track toward a healthy, Godly life.

We do that by living humbly.  We recognize that God has given us the treasure we possess and our kids are the crown jewels of that treasure. We show them a Godly life—we teach them the skills we have been blessed with. We protect them from influences that would lead them away—yet, despite our best efforts, they still are humans and make choices and decisions that we would never sanction.

That is why we have to continue to trust and pray for them—the verse says when they are old, they will not depart far from it—Our kids, will make their own choices and while we can’t control those choices, we can continue to trust that God will walk them through their lives and bring them into his kingdom in his time and way. It seems impossible—to let anyone have influence over your priceless treasures, but, it truly is the picture of God’s love for us—you see, he loves us the same way; and it is as crushing for him to see us make bad choices as it is for us to see our kids do the same. Trust him with your kids, but, make sure they see a good dose of him in you as you train them in the way they should go.

God Bless You

A good name is more desirable than great riches;     to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Rich and poor have this in common:     The Lord is the Maker of them all.

The prudent see danger and take refuge,     but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

Humility is the fear of the Lord;     its wages are riches and honor and life.

In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls,     but those who would preserve their life stay far from them.

Start children off on the way they should go,     and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

The rich rule over the poor,     and the borrower is slave to the lender.

Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity,     and the rod they wield in fury will be broken.

The generous will themselves be blessed,     for they share their food with the poor.

10 Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife;     quarrels and insults are ended.

11 One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace     will have the king for a friend

Proverbs 21 Part 2–You Do Not Have to Have it Now

Our society has been very clever to indoctrinate us with the idea that you can always have it now.  With our modern phones, computers and technology we can know what is happening across the globe within seconds of its actual occurrence. We can shop, pay bills, see family and friends literally whenever we want and wherever we want.  While such convenience is fun and useful, it has changed our mindset about being patient. 

God calls his chosen to remember the importance of patience,  We may not get everything we want now.  What sets us apart, is our ability to realize and accept that premise and continue to trust him patiently.  That patience allows us to minister to others, it allows us to be the peacemakers.  It helps us to save and plan rather than to simply blow through life without any thought of the future. Mostly, it helps us to move our focus away from our immediate needs and toward the needs of others and our walk with God.  When we can shift that focus, we often find that God continues to meet our needs in real time even without our intense worries and concern.  Be patient, do not fret—God’s got this!!!

God Bless You

The wicked crave evil; their neighbors get no mercy from them.

When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom; by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.

The Righteous One takes note of the house of the wicked and brings the wicked to ruin.

Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.

A gift given in secret soothes anger, and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.

When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.

Whoever strays from the path of prudence comes to rest in the company of the dead.

Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.

The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.

One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty and pull down the stronghold in which they trust.

Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.

Living From the Top Down–Proverbs 21 Part 1

From the top down, living a great life starts at home.  As parent and King, Solomon saw the lives of his people and the lives of his family—including his own.  In that review, once again one common theme remained—when directed by God, life is rich and full. Conversely, when we try our hand at running the show…well, things never end very nicely.

As a leader, God uses us to direct his blessings.  If we allow it, he can flow his blessings through us and allow us to build a legacy that is rich and sweet—Like a clear stream of sweet water.

As people, while we may think that we are doing a stellar job—God is checking our hearts. Is our underlying motive in line, or, are we simply checking boxes? Are we haughty and proud? Are we shifty and deceitful? Are we demanding and generally disagreeable? Those factors are like beacons that show God and, if we are watching, us whether we are honoring him with our lives.

There really is no formula to being done with following God.  It is a lifelong pursuit.  In it, we encounter life from all aspects—good, bad and ugly.  If we face life with God in charge—it becomes a rich and wonderful event.  If not, it is simply a hopeless drudgery—one that no matter the circumstance, remains empty and meaningless.  He leaves it in our hands, however, to choose whether to trust him or to simply do our own thing—don’t fool yourself, there is only one rght answer.

God Bless You

The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord;     he guides it wherever he pleases.

People may be right in their own eyes,     but the Lord examines their heart.

The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just     than when we offer him sacrifices.

Haughty eyes, a proud heart,     and evil actions are all sin.

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity,     but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.

Wealth created by a lying tongue     is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap.

The violence of the wicked sweeps them away,     because they refuse to do what is just.

The guilty walk a crooked path;     the innocent travel a straight road.

It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic     than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.

10 Evil people desire evil;     their neighbors get no mercy from them.

Ill Gotten Gain Simply Does Not Remain–Proverbs 20 Part 2

Clearly, no person is perfect.  In fact, God recognized, planned and prepared for that eventuality.  For the chosen of God, he provided wisdom, salvation and the promise of eternity with him and away from sin and death.  For, those who would reject salvation and refuse to follow him, well, that is another story.

Plastic food that is used for advertising, can literally drive people to hunger and to make choices about meals, we see the ad and unknowingly start toward the refrigerator or grab our keys to pick up the food. But, if you have ever seen the props live, you would know they are very distasteful and clearly have no nutritional value—Just like profits gained illicitly.

History and life teach us that when we win by cheating, gain by stealing, love adulterously, or succeed through destroying others—there is never peace or satisfaction.  The things we gain are either gone as quickly as they appeared, OR, they simply do not bring lasting pleasure and lose their charm as quickly as they are acquired. Solomon reiterates the idea that those who seek God obtain all they desire, while those that chase all they desire end up with nothing. It is a cruel irony, one the enemy literally thrives upon—but, if we could only grasp this truth, our nation and the world would have a chance for survival.

Since we cannot expect the world to grasp the concept—we have to make it our personal aim to be set apart by simply living this out.  We start each day by being grateful for what we have.  Next, we live our lives honestly, selflessly and tirelessly; content with God’s plan. Finally, we remain transparent–allowing the world to see that while we are a mess (like everyone else), we trust God to protect, to prepare and to provide for our needs according to his riches. (Phil 4:19) We do not need to cheat, steal, lie or exploit others to receive our rewards—we simply need to trust the one that owns it all. Then, we can rest assured that whether the stuff comes or goes—God will make sure we have what we need.

God Bless You

 

Differing weights and differing measures—     the Lord detests them both.

11 Even small children are known by their actions,     so is their conduct really pure and upright?

12 Ears that hear and eyes that see—     the Lord has made them both.

13 Do not love sleep or you will grow poor;     stay awake and you will have food to spare.

14 “It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer—     then goes off and boasts about the purchase.

15 Gold there is, and rubies in abundance,     but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.

16 Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger;     hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider.

17 Food gained by fraud tastes sweet,     but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.

18 Plans are established by seeking advice;     so if you wage war, obtain guidance.

19 A gossip betrays a confidence;     so avoid anyone who talks too much.

20 If someone curses their father or mother,     their lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.

21 An inheritance claimed too soon     will not be blessed at the end.

22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”     Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.

23 The Lord detests differing weights,     and dishonest scales do not please him.

24 A person’s steps are directed by the Lord.     How then can anyone understand their own way?

25 It is a trap to dedicate something rashly     and only later to consider one’s vows.

26 A wise king winnows out the wicked;     he drives the threshing wheel over them.

27 The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord     that sheds light on one’s inmost being.

28 Love and faithfulness keep a king safe;     through love his throne is made secure.

29 The glory of young men is their strength,     gray hair the splendor of the old.

30 Blows and wounds scrub away evil,     and beatings purge the inmost beingPirate-Treasure-Chest