Proverbs 22 – July 22

CC image courtesy of Airwolfhound on Flickr.

CC image courtesy of Airwolfhound on Flickr.

Proverbs 22
Author: Jim Brewer

The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!
I shall be killed in the streets!” (Proverbs 22:13)

This is a rather amusing sketch of a couch potato. It’s an obvious caricature in order to make a point. Although it sounds ridiculous, this lazy boy says “I can’t go to work today, there’s a lion out there.  I can’t go to school there’s a lion in the streets and I will be killed.”  It sounds outlandish, and it is, but when you reduce it to its essence you see it appears he is giving a rationalization.

This person may not do much but apparently he can think, he can rationalize. He’s giving a rationalization of why he functions or doesn’t function the way he does. His argument is that the conditions are too dangerous or the conditions aren’t right yet to do what he ought to do.

So underneath this sarcastic proverb is this salient point: the sluggard always has a rationale or justification of why he should not do what he ought to do. There is always some barrier, some objection as to why he can’t do what he ought to do. Now does that fit us or what?

Proverbs 20 – July 20

CC Image courtesy of thejuniorpartner on Flickr.

CC Image courtesy of thejuniorpartner on Flickr.

Proverbs 20
Author: Luke Anderson

What do you want to be when you grow up?

We are often asked this when we are young, and often times I’m sure you answered, “I want to be like my dad!”

We all look up to our parents, or someone in our lives that is older than us. That is why one of our church mottos is “1 Older” You are being looked up to, parents! We want to be like you.

In the song “Watching You” by Rodney Adkins this phrase comes to life.

Adkins describes a son who copies the things his dad does, both good and bad. When the son is asked where he learned to act like that, the son replies:

He said, “I’ve been watching you, dad. Ain’t that cool?
I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you.
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are.
We got cowboy boots and camo pants.
Yeah, we’re just alike. Hey, ain’t we, dad?
I wanna do everything you do.
So I’ve been watching you.”

I love this song because it is true to me, I want to be like my dad. Things that he does I wish I could do. One day I will grow up and will raise my kids the way he raised me.

Little kids look up, both physically and in life problems. The son looks up to his dad. “I want to be just like you.” “I’ve been watching you.”

To everyone out there, someone is looking up to you! That might be a kid at school, or your child, or your nephew, or someone you met at church, but someone is watching what you do. If you are doing something wrong then they will do that. If it is something right, then they will do that, too.

Proverbs 20:7 says “Children are fortunate if they have a father who is honest and does what is right.” (GNB)

We are fortunate to have you and if you are making a bad decision, we will probably make it too. The Bible talks about raising your kids up in what is right and that is very true because we do look up to you.

Do what is right in the eyes of the LORD, because if you do it, chances are some one else will follow in your footsteps.

I invite you to teach your kids in what is right because it will be passed on to future generations and if you were not raised right, then I invite you to change that. There is still time to teach your kids and raise them up in honest and right things.

Proverbs 19 – July 19

0719 - WalkingProverbs 19
Author: Rob Anderson

Do you remember that time he wronged you? What about the time she did not show the proper respect? Or the time someone slighted a friend, although he was not really a close friend, just close enough that you have a hard time looking her in the eye these many years later for what she did?

Of course you do. Well, at least you remember someone else doing something like that. We would never hold a grudge or refuse to forgive someone! Who do you think we are, the Hatfield’s or McCoy’s?

If you were to ask me for one piece of advice that would help make the world a better place, I think I would have to say: “Don’t get so worked up over things that really and truly don’t matter. Let it go.” But it is much easier said than done, isn’t it. We remember wrongs and quietly hold them hostage in the back of our minds, bringing them out when they suit our needs as ammunition to wound others.

The writer of Proverbs reminds us “it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense” (19.11).

So here is a question. That person against whom you have held a grudge and refused to let off easily for what he or she has done. What would happen if you simply walked away and forgot the event every happened. That’s right, just walked away. Would your life suffer for it? Hers?

Let’s try it. I’m walking now. Walking away from the hate and hurt and toward the person who wronged me, because the relationship is more valuable than the ongoing separation.

How about you? Where are you walking?

Proverbs 18 – July 18

CC Image courtesy of Andy on Flickr.

CC Image courtesy of Andy on Flickr.

Proverbs 18
Author: Ralph Beistle

I love to watch children play together. The most immature ones can predictably have a hard time developing the concept that they must be willing to share. You will likely here them shout, “That’s mine!” The other child either yields reluctantly, or whines loudly enough to get Grandma to make his playmate share.

As they get a bit older and into competitive play, listen and soon you will hear, “That isn’t fair!” Same motivation – seeking self-satisfaction – and if he doesn’t get it, it may sound a little different, but it amounts to a youthful way of whining because he didn’t get his way.

Surely we’re not too surprised when they reach adulthood and still insist on getting their own way. What our culture calls “protests” are often just grown-up whining. The most immature among us still shout out, “It isn’t fair!”

Isn’t it radically different when we consider Job? People nowadays who just think they are cheated, abused, unfairly treated, failing to get the respect of others, have no idea how insignificant their problems are compared to what Job suffered. But Job was no whiner! Puzzled, questioning, seeking an understanding of why such things happened, but not shouting out, “It isn’t fair!” His response, ““Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

The wise man in Proverbs 18 said, “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.”

Life isn’t always “fair.” Events beyond our comprehension will occur in everyone’s experience. Sometimes we don’t get what we hoped for. But there is one constant truth on which we may rely – God is near. God cares. And God is in control and He doesn’t need our input to determine what is fair.

Proverbs 17 – July 17

CC Image courtesy of Alberto Ortiz on Flickr.

CC Image courtesy of Alberto Ortiz on Flickr.

Proverbs 17
Author: Rob Anderson

You probably have heard the saying: “It is better to be silent and assumed a fool than to open you mouth and remove all doubt.” While it is not a quotation from scripture, it is not far from it:

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. (Proverbs 17.18, ESV)

I marvel at those individuals who have just the right thing to say. Often times, they say little EXCEPT just the right thing. They are the kind of people who you listen to when they speak, because you know what they say will be wise.

I, on the other hand, tend to be a talker. If I can just have enough time and words, I can convince you of my side through talking. While I hope I am not a fool, it is probably a wise move on my part to speak less.

And so I will.

Proverbs 14 – July 14

CC Image courtesy of Greg Gjerdingen on Flickr.

CC Image courtesy of Greg Gjerdingen on Flickr.

Proverbs 14
Author: Rob Anderson

My senior year of college, I bought a 1963 Ford Fairlane Sports Coupe. By definition, it was a classic car. It was a two-door hardtop with a 289 V-8 engine in Rangoon Red. At least it was originally Rangoon Red. The man I bought it from painted commercial road equipment and had repainted it to “original colors.” I had my doubts. No worries, however. I paid $800 of borrowed money for it and as far as I was concerned and what I proudly announced to my father was that it was the best purchase I had ever made.

Dad had his doubts.

He might have even pointed out some of the reasons he thought it was not the best financial decision I ever made. Like the fact you had to help the windows roll up. Or that you had to carry around a screwdriver to “unlock” the trunk (because it had no lock). Or the fact that the doors did not lock. Or that the speedometer did not work, nor did the gas gauge. (I had to fill the car up about every 4 days just to be safe.) The muffler fell off somewhere between Brownwood and Austin one time on a trip home. When we fixed the muffler, we discovered the rear suspension had been missing a bolt, probably since I purchased it. His most valid point was that I always had to park someplace I could face outward, since reverse did not work. Eventually, first gear also went out. When second gear went out, I decided there were not enough places you could park facing downhill in Abilene, Texas, so I sold the car for $500.

If my dad asks, I still tell him it was the best purchase I ever made.

But it wasn’t. I just couldn’t bring myself to admitting it.

When I read Proverb 14.9, I cringe and am reminded of the importance of owning up to my mistakes.

Fools mock at making amends for sin,
But goodwill is found among the upright.

Maybe purchasing that car was not a sin, but the principle is still the same. Make amends for the things you need to make right. No one likes a fool.

Proverbs 8 – July 8

0708 - paintingProverbs 8
Author: Rob Anderson

Does not wisdom call out? (Pr. 8.1)

Have you ever watched someone who was incredibly good at his or her craft? Perhaps it is an artist, painting a picture you can barely imagine, much less put down on canvas. Or someone who is computer literate (a geek, we might call them), making the machine perform the tasks it was designed to do.

They make it seem so easy, but when you begin to try and emulate them, you discover the task is much more difficult than you thought. At times, it seems too distant or too hard to ever be able to gain enough knowledge to paint, or program, or any other task.

Wisdom is not that way. You do not have to search long and hard to find it—she calls out from highest place to ensure you hear her plea. She wants to be found; she wants everyone to know her.

Next time you begin to think about following God, do not let the excuse of not being sure how to follow him stand in your way. Wisdom calls out saying otherwise.