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

Focus on Your Legacy-Proverbs 20 Part 1

So often we find ways to judge others, so that we can avoid careful examination of our own lives and legacies.  In this culture, people become so distraught with who they have become that they hide in a bottle, behind a protest or within their own deceit and laziness rather than face life and its challenges.  The spike in addictions to drugs, alcohol and pornography is simply the symptom of a larger problem.  The problem is simply that we have turned our backs on God and our faces toward anything that will give some solace or relief to our feeling of despair and lostness.

Our society has become a chaotic mess where those in authority are literally in fear of those they rule. Death hides at every corner and anarchy crouches like a lion at the gate.  Meanwhile, our leaders call to blow up the system, forget what made us truly the land of the free.  It simply was never about government or politics–it was always home and family.  Families–full of faith turned out heroes and leaders.  They faced war and disease fearlessly and selflessly.  They buried themselves in scripture–not dr. scripts.  The result was  national honor, tireless warriors and stable homes for them when they returned from work or battle.

Authorities ruled wisely and with kindness and they sought and spoke the truth–Simply put, our nation does not need a wall, it needs a revival.  We need to let God be God and us his humble servants.  Then once again our country would be the leader of the FREE world and  our children would be a truly legacy of free people with great hearts and minds–able to face the trials of the next generation.

God Bless You

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler;
    whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

A king’s wrath strikes terror like the roar of a lion;
    those who anger him forfeit their lives.

It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,
    but every fool is quick to quarrel.

Sluggards do not plow in season;
    so at harvest time they look but find nothing.

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,
    but one who has insight draws them out.

Many claim to have unfailing love,
    but a faithful person who can find?

The righteous lead blameless lives;
    blessed are their children after them

God’s Plan–God’s Ways–Proverbs 19 Part 2

It always comes back to this…God is the creator, he knows how this stuff works! He has encouraged and driven his chosen to simply follow his plan and walk in his ways—not to stroke God’s ego (Believe me he is secure!!!)—It is simply because his ways work!

Here are a few examples—Help those who have needs, God considers it a personal favor and will reward you greatly.  Don’t bust your back and mind by conniving and trying to beat God’s plans—It does no good and his plan is by far the best. Work hard, be honest, discipline your kids…lovingly, as he does us. Live a life that honors God—it will also honor you! 

If we will ever grasp the idea that like any dad, God wants us to have a great life and will do all he can to prepare us for it; then we will follow humbly and stand firmly in his will and trust his plan!

Then we will have a rich, full and meaningful life!!!

God Bless You

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,     and he will reward them for what they have done.

18 Discipline your children, for in that there is hope;     do not be a willing party to their death.

19 A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty;     rescue them, and you will have to do it again.

20 Listen to advice and accept discipline,     and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,     but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

22 What a person desires is unfailing love;     better to be poor than a liar.

23 The fear of the Lord leads to life;     then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

24 A sluggard buries his hand in the dish;     he will not even bring it back to his mouth!

25 Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence;     rebuke the discerning, and they will gain knowledge.

26 Whoever robs their father and drives out their mother     is a child who brings shame and disgrace.

27 Stop listening to instruction, my son,     and you will stray from the words of knowledge

Patience, God’s Picture of Wisdom–Proverbs 19 Part 1

It is extremely difficult to wait upon the Lord.  Patience in the midst of difficult circumstances is almost impossible to muster.  We tend to revert back to fear and anxiety, seeking for things to grab on to provide a physical touch point for security.  What God says is to be patient, walk with him and trust him whatever your circumstance.

Solomon acknowledges that it seems more safe, more fun and more friend filled when one is rich and life is going well, but, when thing are a struggle, one finds themselves alone and often feeling hopeless. God implores his kids to never give up or give in.  He will walk with us and protect and provide us life and freedom.  We are preparing for an eternity with him—where he will wipe away our tears and pour out the blessings he has prepared.

He calls us not to be foolish, jealous or covetous. We are to be loving spouses, Godly parents and unconditionally loyal friends.  We simply follow his lead and stand firm in our commitment to him. Then our patience will show wisdom and be rewarded as only he can reward us.

God Bless You

Better the poor whose walk is blameless     than a fool whose lips are perverse.

Desire without knowledge is not good—     how much more will hasty feet miss the way!

A person’s own folly leads to their ruin,     yet their heart rages against the Lord.

Wealth attracts many friends,     but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them.

A false witness will not go unpunished,     and whoever pours out lies will not go free.

Many curry favor with a ruler,     and everyone is the friend of one who gives gifts.

The poor are shunned by all their relatives—     how much more do their friends avoid them! Though the poor pursue them with pleading,     they are nowhere to be found.

The one who gets wisdom loves life;     the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper.

A false witness will not go unpunished,     and whoever pours out lies will perish.

10 It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury—     how much worse for a slave to rule over princes!

11 A person’s wisdom yields patience;     it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.

The Tongue-A True Test of Who and Whose We Are-Proverbs 18 Continued

It really is amazing how much impact our tongues have on our lives.  Our tongue can either be our greatest gift or our worst enemy.  But, to really assign value to the tongue, one must actually realize it is simply the tool to expose the heart and mind. With simple words, one can either encourage or destroy.  One can be transparent or deceptive. Much of who we are is exposed by what we say.

The best test for our heritage also comes through the tongue.  As God’s chosen people, we should live and speak better than the world.  Our tongues should reflect Christ’s influence.  We should not have filthy mouths—He did not! We should be the peacemakers, the ones that speak truth in love.  We should not be afraid to tell of the change God has made in our lives.  We should be people that bring life through what we say.  In this culture, it is easy to forget that our words reflect our hearts—listen to yourself today, then ask, “If I did not know me, would I be able tell Christ has influenced my life?”

God Bless You

Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.

To answer before listening— that is folly and shame.

The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.

A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.

In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines.

Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps strong opponents apart.

A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city; disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

We All Place Our Security Somewhere! Proverbs 18 Part 1

Everyone puts their security into something.  There are many that only put their security in themselves.  They think their clever words, insightful plans and self-sufficiency is all they need to come out on top.  Often they are the ones we dread seeing, because they are selfish and rude.  They speak their mind, but, do so without using it first, and without  any regard for the consequence of their comments.  Since they are only concerned about themselves, their impact upon others, except as it relates to a return for them, is inconsequential.  They are divisive, disruptive and difficult to tolerate—yet, they perceive themselves as the wisest and best loved in the room—because, only their opinion matters.

God calls us to be different. He asks that we place our security in Him.  We look to Him and His word for leadership.  We follow Hhis plan and give Him the credit for the advances we make on the journey.  We wait on Him and trust him for our future and its timing.  We are not our favorite topic to discuss—He is.  We live humbly and gratefully and cherish the friends God has given us.  Then, He is allowed to lead, provide, prepare and protect us in the midst of the chaos we call this life.  His leadership, his provision is the only thing that allows us to make sense of the craziness we live in. We have to seek Him, trust Him and follow Him and He will then carry us through the battles ad into His kingdom as His beloved child.  Help me. Lord to humbly follow you.

God Bless You

An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends     and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding     but delight in airing their own opinions.

When wickedness comes, so does contempt,     and with shame comes reproach.

The words of the mouth are deep waters,     but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.

It is not good to be partial to the wicked     and so deprive the innocent of justice.

The lips of fools bring them strife,     and their mouths invite a beating.

The mouths of fools are their undoing,     and their lips are a snare to their very lives.

The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;     they go down to the inmost parts.

One who is slack in his work     is brother to one who destroys.

10 The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;     the righteous run to it and are safe.

11 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;     they imagine it a wall too high to scale.

12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty,     but humility comes before honor

Blessed are the Peacemakers–Proverbs 17 Final

Another distinctive quality of the Godly is their desire and efforts to create peace.  God has made clear that those that choose to foster peace in their lives and communities will be blessed in amazing ways.  Those that seek peace and foster it– are great to know and to be with.  After a day with them, one is energized and restored.

The foolish, conversely are always at a state of unrest.  They foster it in their lives and spread it like a cancer to all that are associated with them.  Parents grieve, partners flee, spouses leave and their lives remain a horrible concoction that is poison to the soul.  They always have an excuse, and act as if they are never wrong. They spread the venom and make others the same.  They literally destroy the quality of life itself.

God calls us to be peacemakers.  We raise children that follow God.  We speak truth and foster joy.  We do not stir up trouble with lies and gossip.  We simply encourage and seek ways to unify our communities rather than divide them. We are a source of energy and joy—we do not steal, kill or destroy.  Like our heavenly Father, we seek to foster life—abundant (full and meaningful) to all we meet.

God Bless You

Evildoers foster rebellion against God; the messenger of death will be sent against them.

Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly.

Evil will never leave the house of one who pays back evil for good.

Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin; whoever builds a high gate invites destruction.

One whose heart is corrupt does not prosper; one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.

The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.