The Walls of a Sanctuary are Built With Humility

Strong Tower

 

The Walls of a Sanctuary are Built With Humility

The one who is truly lazy in his work is a brother to a vandal. The name of the Lord is a strong tower (sanctuary); the righteous run to it and are protected. A rich man’s wealth is his fortified city; in his imagination, it is like a high wall. Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but before honor comes humility. The one who gives an answer before he listens – this is foolishness and disgrace for him. A man’s spirit can endure sickness, but who can survive a broken spirit? Prov 18:9-14 (HCSB)

Whether at school, at work, the community, or in the church, there are people we meet almost every day who are in the wall building business. You might even be in that business. Our insecurities about life, and about whom we believe we are, demand us to protect ourselves by building walls that keep others out. But, why would we want to build barriers and walls that keep people out? The wisdom of God’s Word certainly reveals there are walls built out of insecurity, and then there are the walls offering real security that humility discovers.

The insecure person builds walls to try and isolate themselves from others ever knowing the truth about some aspect of their lives. It is meant to keep others at a safe distance, so they really can never focus on the weaknesses of the person cowering behind the walls they have built in their life. However, in reality, the walls are just an illusion and prevent the person cowering behind the walls he or she built from ever seeing that they are missing out on the benefit of genuine relationships in this world. They have cut themselves off from true friendships and the experience of love for one another as God had intended. Their insecurity is justified by their pride, and they exist in a relationship of one – their “self”. What a sad and lonely existence our pride can cause us to enter into when our fears are allowed to rule over us.

The truly humble person has a high tower that they can run into, but the walls of this place are of God’s doing. This secure place is a refuge, a high place, a sanctuary from the tough times in life, but it is never intended to keep you there. It is a place a humble heart can come to find rest and restoration before going confidently back out to engage in life and its many relationships. It also is big enough for all to enter when there is a need for God’s peace and mercy. This high tower also helps you to see clearly your proper place in life and helps you focus on what is most important, and not your-“self.” Lasting relationships are encouraged in this safe place so that we can live confidently in the real world. It is a place where fears are replaced with love because where there is love there is not fear. The only price for entry into this “high tower” refuge is our “self”! We must come in humility to recognize the security that God offers us.

How about you? Have you built your own walls to hide behind out of insecurity and pride of “self” or do you know the way into God’s sanctuary where security comes from humility? Decide for yourself, which leads to genuine life, and which locks you out from genuine life. Seek God’s will, ways, and wisdom and the answer may become clear.

Coach

Whoever tries to make his  life secure will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two will be in one bed: one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding grain together: one will be taken and the other left. [Two will be in a field: one will be taken, and the other will be left.] Luke 17:33-36 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: The Right Wife is a Gift from God! Proverbs 31:10-31

wife-of-excellence

Words of Wisdom: The Right Wife is a Gift from God! Proverbs 31:10-31

Who can find a capable wife? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will not lack anything good. She rewards him with good, not evil, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with willing hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from far away. She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and portions for her servants. She evaluates a field and buys it; she plants a vineyard with her earnings. She draws on her strength and reveals that her arms are strong. She sees that her profits are good, and her lamp never goes out at night. She extends her hands to the spinning staff, and her hands hold the spindle. Her hands reach out to the poor, and she extends her hands to the needy. She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all in her household are doubly clothed. She makes her own bed coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known at the city gates, where he sits among the elders of the land. She makes and sells linen garments; she delivers belts to the merchants. Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle. Her sons rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her: “Many women are capable, but you surpass them all!” Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. Give her the reward of her labor, and let her works praise her at the city gates. Prov 31:10-31 (HCSB)

What is a capable wife? Does such an ideal wife even exist? I contend that the answer is yes! If in your search for the right spouse you stop looking through your eyes and your mind, and relied upon your heart and the guidance of the Lord’s Spirit within you to see what you should see in a woman, then the right wife will be revealed. Now, that does not mean you have chosen wrongly otherwise, but you certainly have run the greater risk by choosing your spouse through your own tunnel vision.

Is the woman you want to marry (or have married) the woman you will live with whether you are financially secure or in poverty? Can you trust her in all she does, and there will never be any second guessing in the relationship? Will she be industrious and dedicated to be not only your spouse but also a partner in meeting the needs of your family? Is she involved in the decisions about the household, and has a sharp mind to make the right decisions for both of your interests? Do her interests extend outside of the home into the community to make a difference for others as well? Will she be well prepared to provide for the family as the needs change? Is she gifted and diligent in choosing the best for the family and especially for you, so that the family will be well-cared for and their appearance will be a compliment to you?

Will your wife be humble enough to praise you first before others, even if she is very capable in her own right (because, a loving and faithful spouse reciprocates with praise)? Is the woman you plan to marry guided by the same values you are, and will seek after God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word? And, will both of you agree that it is the Lord who leads the family and settles any differences between you?

Should you find such a woman, you will know because you will praise her throughout the years as the woman God gifted to you, and you value her beyond measure! Beauty fades and fortunes change, but when God has given you that special spouse, life together will be a beautiful experience and more valuable than the greatest riches you can receive.

Thank you Lord for blessing me these last 40 years! I look upon each day as we enter our remaining years as truly a blessing from God, that she truly is God’s wife for me…I am confident our children and their children acknowledge her for her unsurpassed love and care towards them as well.

Coach

Giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ; wives, be to your own husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is head of the wife as also Christ is head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives should be to their husbands in everything. Husbands love your wives, just as also Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, to make her holy, cleansing her in the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh, but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of His body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. Eph 5:20-31 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Don’t Pretend to be What You are Not! Proverbs 30:29-33

bold-as-a-lion-28-1-fav1Words of Wisdom: Don’t Pretend to be What You are Not! Proverbs 30:29-33

Three things are stately in their stride; even four are stately in their walk: a lion, which is mightiest among beasts and doesn’t retreat before anything, a strutting rooster, a goat, and a king at the head of his army. If you have been foolish by exalting yourself, or if you’ve been scheming, put your hand over your mouth. For the churning of milk produces butter, and twisting a nose draws blood, and stirring up anger produces strife. Prov 30:29-33 (HCSB)

There is a difference between “strutting your stuff” before the victory and after the victory. In one case you are standing tall in confidence after the convincing victory has been won. The other is cocky swagger attempting to ward off any challenges that you may not be able to overcome. This passage has the imagery of the animal kingdom whereby confidence comes from experience, not from fear or intimidation.

To be “stately” means to be walk majestically in full confidence knowing who you are and what you truly are capable of achieving in life. You have been crowned the champion and are recognized and acknowledged as such because of your accomplishments. Such confidence comes also when you know you have worked hard and walk onto the field of competition with the best trainer and coach also on your side. In life, we can realize that confidence when we allow the Lord to guide and direct our lives. The Lord promises us to crown of victory if we do not give up and persevere in the fight.

In stark contrast, there are those who “strut their stuff” only to pretend to be what they know deep inside they are not. They may dress the part, and may even appear intimidating, however their strut is founded upon their fear of failure; their fear of being exposed for what they really are! Their bark is loud and their threats fierce, but they will do about anything to not actually engage in the contest. They are more of the fool exalting one’s self and the schemer trying to get away with more than they are capable of actually accomplishing. However, all they manage to accomplish is to agitate and stir up others and to create strife.

A real champion walks in humble confidence because he or she has nothing to prove, and their reputation precedes them. All the challengers know who is on his or her side, and little needs to be said. There is no boasting or bragging; no scheming or deception needed. A Christian anchored in God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word can realize the same confidence in life. As Paul said to Timothy:

But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness, for, the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance. In fact, we labor and strive for this, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe. 1 Tim 4:7-10 (HCSB)

Consider the confidence of our Lord as He was referred to as the Lion of Judah! When we have total faith in Him, all fear is gone, and our faith contributes to our confidence as we walk through this life as one who is the victor and the recipient of the crown of victory, that the Lord has promised us. Do not be deceived by those who strut their own stuff even in the Church. There are some who claim to be Christians; those who boast and brag, and even foolishly scheme in hopes they will be seen to be what they are not. But, only strife and anger usually are in the wake of their path, and they reveal their real fears, not genuine faith.

Which are you? Humbly confident or arrogantly trying to pretend to be what you are not? In the end, it matters only that the Lord knows who the real victors are!

Coach

As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be committed and repent. Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me. The victor: I will give him the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne. Rev 3:19-21 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: It is the Little Things that Can Make an Impact! Proverbs 30:24-28

lizardpalace-1Words of Wisdom: It is the Little Things that Can Make an Impact! Proverbs 30:24-28

Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: the ants are not a strong people, yet they store up their food in the summer; hyraxes are not a mighty people, yet they make their homes in the cliffs; locusts have no king, yet all of them march in ranks; a lizard can be caught in your hands, yet it lives in kings’ palaces. Prov 30:24-28 (HCSB)

Around my house one can find an ant, a rabbit (cousin to the hyrax), a locust, and certainly a lizard. Each one on their own is but an amusement or curiosity, but one fact of interest is that each is a member of a larger group that can demonstrate how they find safety and security in their numbers. All four of these creatures that God has placed upon our earth has demonstrated their propensity for survival that is more independent than that of man. Even when they are not obvious to us, they thrive because they understand how to survive in even the harshest environments.

The ants understand the importance of saving up and storing up food for the period of the year when they disappear deep into the ground during the cold days of winter. Long after man has been removed from the land, the ant will still scurry across the landscape, because God created them with their instinct to survive by planning ahead and taking nothing for granted.

The hyraxes are rabbit-like rodents who actually are more akin to the elephant, as they are hooved-animals that burrow in the cliffs of the Biblical lands. They are found in colonies of 50 or more. They understand for their security that they must find a safe place that is a refuge from predators and the elements. The hyrax knows that to wander from the safety of the cliffs and their burrows could mean their death. No matter how curious they may be, they remain close to the safety of their homes.

The locusts are noted for moving in huge groups as they forage for food. A single locust is a novelty to observe, but when a hoard of locusts appears they are a force to be reckoned with. However, unlike other groups that have a queen or king, they travel in mutual cooperation with one another, knowing their survival rests in their numbers working together for the common good.

The lizard is a survivor. They adapt to their environment, changing colors to blend into the rocks or bushes that they are calling home. They are actually an easy prey when found and harmless when caught, yet they survive in many places. They find their homes anywhere there is a place for them to blend in and to survive through their adaptability. They attempt to not stand out and be obvious to their predator or to their prey.

Each of these creatures is almost insignificant in of themselves but when we take the time to learn about their ways, God has sent us a message about our own survival. There is a lesson from each about how to live our lives successfully. And, the most important difference between them and us is this: We can know our Creator by seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, and discover a relationship that secures our life far safer than any man-made or natural scheme we may come up with. God is our faithful Rock, Refuge, Source of all we need, and Shield from our enemies, if only we will trust and obey His Word. And, the reward is a love relationship that is eternal and absolutely unchanging.

Coach

Why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and don’t do the things I say? I will show you what someone is like who comes to Me, hears My words, and acts on them: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The river crashed against it, and immediately it collapsed. And the destruction of that house was great! Luke 6:46-49 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Confusion, Chaos and Calamity from Improper Relationships, Proverbs 30:21-23

chaos confusion calamityWords of Wisdom: Confusion, Chaos and Calamity from Improper Relationships, Proverbs 30:21-23

The earth trembles under three things; it cannot bear up under four: a servant when he becomes king, a fool when he is stuffed with food, an unloved woman when she marries, and a serving girl when she ousts her lady. Prov 30:21-23 (HCSB)

Society requires a certain order among the ranks to function with the least amount of confusion, chaos and calamity. When the proper order among the people exists there is peace and prosperity in the land. People are content with those who rule over them and those they conduct business with there is trust. Likewise, our most intimate relationships are mutually satisfying and love abounds. And finally, because justice prevails those who work for us serve faithfully, as well. These relationships are all an integral part of life, and when they all are in properly conducted there is certainly contentment, conformity, and cooperation for the good of all in society.

However, when one or more of these relationships gets out of its proper relationship the contentment can turn into confusion; the conformity into chaos; and, the cooperation into calamity. Of course, it is natural that there may be times when one or two of the relationships may falter, but with time and proper attention, change can bring about the needed correction to bring those relationships into proper alignment. But, when three of these relationships in our circle become out of sorts, we tremble because we cannot handle all the confusion, the chaos, and ultimately calamity that these improper relationships cause in our life. All we can do is wonder how did we let this happen? And, quite often, the result is we find we have allowed all our relationships to fall out of their proper place, and we collapse. What hope would we have under such conditions? How could we survive when all the right relationships have been turned upside down and torn asunder? Such doubt breeds fear, which brings utter hopelessness into our soul.

Only when we allow ourselves to decide major issues in life are such improper relationships allowed to happen. Each decision on its own may seem manageable, but all our choices have consequences. Thus,

·  When we allow the inexperienced to rise up and govern over us, no matter our reason, the stability of the government suffers;

·When we ignore the fact that the greed of fools is being satisfied at our expense, our well-being is at risk;

· When lust is valued over love in marriages, our society crumbles because families suffer and our children are direly affected;

·When our social system seeks to turn itself upside down and the servants refuse to serve any longer and everyone seeks to be on the same social level, how can we as a society survive?

Where are we headed today in our society? Are we trembling yet, or are we at risk of collapsing under the strain? Only when we return our values of society and its relationships back to the ways they were designed to be like will we turn back the confusion, chaos, and calamity that seems to knocking on our door. And, only when we as a society seek to find the right relationships found by seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word will be as a people make the right decisions needed.

Consider our choices and the consequences and pray for our country to find the right ways again.

Coach

This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: they don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you – you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?”. For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matt 6:25-34 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: I Can’t Get No Satisfaction! Proverbs 30:15-20

no satisfaction

Words of Wisdom: I Can’t Get No Satisfaction! Proverbs 30:15-20

The leech has two daughters: Give, Give. Three things are never satisfied; four never say, “Enough!”:  Sheol; a barren womb; earth, which is never satisfied with water; and fire, which never says, “Enough!” As for the eye that ridicules a father and despises obedience to a mother, may ravens of the valley pluck it out and young vultures eat it. Three things are beyond me; four I can’t understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship at sea, and the way of a man with a young woman. This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I’ve done nothing wrong.” Prov 30:15-20 (HCSB)

“Sheol” in the Bible is the grave to the Hebrew mind. It is the dark place in the ground that swallows the dead. According to the passage not only cannot “Sheol” be satisfied, but likewise neither can the leech’s thirst for blood, the barren womb’s desire for conception, the earth for its thirst for water, and fire for its fuel. The only greater lack of satisfaction lies within the potential for men and their lust for sin!

Man’s appetite for the lust of power, pleasure, position and prestige blinds him of understanding the natural ways of the world. Man’s eyes blinded by his lusts cannot tolerate the instruction of his father or the pleas of his mother. He believes he is above reproach of others, including his own parents. When man is so blinded, what hope does man have to learning and living according to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom as found in God’s Word.

At the heart of the song, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” is the theme song for many in the world today. Our lust has placed us on a slippery slope that is behind the troubles in this world: the causes of the wars in foreign lands, our addictions to drugs and pornography, and the false hope to find satisfaction in the acquisition of things. Our only hope to cure our blindness is to focus our vision upon what really matters in life – our relationship with God, likewise expressed in the fellowships of mankind. When our relationships are in order as God intended, then and only then will we understand what satisfies the hearts and souls of men.

Coach

Besides this, knowing the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is nearly over, and the daylight is near, so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us  walk with decency, as in the daylight: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.Romans 13:11-14 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Content in Our Needs, Proverbs 30:7-9

Pray for EnoughWords of Wisdom: Content in Our Needs, Proverbs 30:7-9

Two things I ask of You; don’t deny them to me before I die: Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me. Give me neither poverty nor wealth; feed me with the food I need. Otherwise, I might have too much and deny You, saying, “Who is the Lord?” or I might have nothing and steal, profaning the name of my God. Prov 30:7-9 (HCSB)

Our society has buckled in the last 3 or 4 years because we became focused on our wants. Everyone was focused on doing whatever it took to have not just one nice, new car, but at least two nice, new cars. Everyone was focused on having all the latest Blackberry or I-Phone cell phones, I-Pads and Tablets. Everyone was focused upon having the latest flat-screen HDTV with the latest stereo-surround sound audio accessories creating a dedicated entertainment room. Everyone was buying a house that was their dream house. Everyone was trying to fulfill their wants even at the risk of their financial future. Then the economy soured. Jobs were lost and stock markets plummeted. House values tumbled. All those wants became a nightmare to many families as cars got repossessed and homes were foreclosed. What went wrong? How could this happen?

What went wrong was we’re a society that believed the lie that our jobs were secure, home values would always increase, and stocks were a safe investment. Our focus was not on securing our needs, but upon chasing after all our wants! From a practical perspective, Satan convinced the banks that in providing questionable loans they were offering young couples and retired folks good debt, or as it was presented – an investment in their future. In the meantime the banks raked in the profits! They sold the idea that debt was good and that they could afford to live beyond their means through all kinds of credit and mortgage schemes. Our greed bought into the lies, and we all are still paying the price today.

The good old American values of yesteryear have been lost. To have a roof over our head and food on the table for ourselves and our family was the prayer of Americans of our past, but somewhere along the way America’s corporate greed for profit forced a change in that core American dream of having our needs met to chasing our financial dreams! What we did not learn from the Great Depression, we have learned from the Great Recession of 2008-2009 (which still is recovering slowly).

How do we recover? Pray the prayer the writer of these verses wrote. We need to return the old American values of being content with a decent house and ample food for our families, and a sense of security in our land again. We need to focus on our needs, not our wants being satisfied. When we focus upon seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, it is funny that often we discover God blesses us beyond our needs, but only to the extent He knows we can handle the blessing rightly.

This day, and each day forward, we need to begin focusing our thanks upon the blessings we have that meet our needs, and not make our wants a part of our wish list. Let us remember the gift of love God offers us that can never be repossessed or foreclosed upon.

Coach

Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Â Amen.]  Matt 6:9-13 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Upon Whose Authority Do You Place Your Trust? Proverbs 29:26-27; 30:2-6

trust GodWords of Wisdom: Upon Whose Authority Do You Place Your Trust? Proverbs 29:26-27; 30:2-6

Many seek a ruler’s favor, but a man receives justice from the Lord. An unjust man is detestable to the righteous, and one whose way is upright is detestable to the wicked… I am the least intelligent of men, and I lack man’s ability to understand. I have not gained wisdom, and I have no knowledge of the Holy One. Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in His hands? Who has bound up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is the name of His Son – if you know? Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Don’t add to His words, or He will rebuke you, and you will be proved a liar. Prov 29:26-27; 30:2-6 (HCSB)

When we look at the choices we have in this world, upon whose authority is there security and stability to place your genuine trust? Which of the leaders in our Nation can we truly place our trust? For this reason we place terms of office upon our leaders so that they face the mandate of re-election every so many years. Those that lead with wisdom and truth, and are fair and transparent to the will of the people tend to stay in office the longest, and others disappear and are replaced. Now, there are those who seem to remain in office for reasons that surpass understanding, but it is their constituency who find them acceptable to them. Remember that the Israelites wanted a king like all the other nations, one that suited their desires so God gave them Saul as their first king, but read what happened to Saul after he became king – his crown was taken from him because his pride and arrogance got in the way. He thought he was behind all his success, (1 Sam 9-15).

So how can we choose wisely? How can we honor the Lord in trusting the leaders that are elected into office? First, we must recognize no one arrives into a position of authority without the Lord’s will being fulfilled. We may not understand at the time, but who are we to challenge God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word? The Lord has a perspective on this world we will never have, and only when we place our trust in Him will we begin to see His plan unfold.

I admit like the writer of this proverb that there are things that occur I cannot comprehend, but I readily admit I am but human and am certainly not even the smartest and wisest of men, therefore when there seems to be no explanation it is best to trust in the Lord – He is in control even when chaos and confusion seem prevalent.

Do you trust in the Lord? Do you live your life seeking the favor of men, or the Lord? If you have no trust beyond what man can offer, then you will be limited by what man can do. However, if you place your trust in the Lord of heaven and earth, then you have tapped the unlimited authority and power of the Creator. What kind of faith do you have? Whom do you choose to follow: temporal leaders or the eternal Creator?

Coach

The One who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth is earthly and speaks in earthly terms. The One who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what He has seen and heard, yet no one accepts His testimony. The one who has accepted His testimony has affirmed that God is true. For God sent Him, and He speaks God’s words, since He gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hands. The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:31-36 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Parents Beware: Spoiled Children, Rotten Adults! Proverbs 29:21-25

spoiled children

Words of Wisdom: Parents Beware: Spoiled Children, Rotten Adults! Proverbs 29:21-25

A slave pampered from his youth will become arrogant later on. An angry man stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered man increases rebellion. A person’s pride will humble him, but a humble spirit will gain honor. To be a thief’s partner is to hate oneself; he hears the curse but will not testify. The fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected. Prov 29:21-25 (HCSB)

One of the Lord’s commands in God’s Word is that parents must raise their children to respect and revere the Lord, and to teach them to live according to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. Not only are the parents held accountable to this admonition from the Lord, but also when we choose otherwise, we raise spoiled children, and they become rotten adults.

When we try to become our children’s best friend and pamper them, our children will learn to become arrogant, expecting all authority figures in their life to be like their parents. As they get older that arrogance turns into anger, which escalates into open rebellion when life does not accommodate their desires and wishes. What a sad message we send to our kids when we choose to spoil them as our means to demonstrate our love! They learn that love is selfish and intended for their motives. Thus, their future relationships will have issues as they demand to be spoiled as they are accustomed to being spoiled. How many marriages have failed because one of the partners was raised to become arrogant, resulting in outbursts of anger when things don’t go their way, and sooner or later open rebellion results, tearing the marriage apart!

What a disaster we as parents are responsible for when we teach our children to be prideful, when we place them on a pedestal as they are growing up. Also, when we measure the child according to the success they have accomplished, and belittled them in times of defeat – what kind of message have we taught them?

Parents who live their lives vicariously through their children, they never stop to realize the harm that they doing to their kids.

Competition is good when kept in proper perspective, and especially when the child learns how to win and lose with grace. However, when too much emphasis is placed upon the wins, as if it is a measure of the parents’ ego, then the child will sooner or later fold under the pressure to win for the parents’ sake. The child will grow to hate the competition and despise the parent.

When we as parents teach our children rightly, we are teaching them by example that humility comes in both victories and defeats. In life, we will have to learn how to win and how to lose, because God uses both to grow us. We please God in both the wins and the defeats depending on how we respond, and we also learn to relate to the people we competed against. We please God when we realize that in defeat there was a lesson learned and we can get up and go again. And, in victory we do not gloat because more challenges and competitions lie ahead.

Learn likewise: in the wins, as well as the defeats, the maturing process begins while we are young, and our parents have rightly instilled the right responses into us.

Parents beware: Rotten children grow up to become spoiled adults. Love your children enough to teach them early what it means to be humble and to relate to others, especially the authority figures they will always have over them throughout life. And also to their teammates when they are young so that when they marry, they will enjoy their helpmate in life. Above all, guide them in God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word.

Coach

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with a promise – that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land. And fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Eph 6:1-4 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Understand and Apply Proper Discipline, Proverbs 29:15-25

visionWords of Wisdom: Understand and Apply Proper Discipline, Proverbs 29:15-25

A rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a youth left to himself is a disgrace to his mother. When the wicked increase rebellion increases, but the righteous will see their downfall. Discipline your son, and he will give you comfort; he will also give you delight. Without revelation people run wild, but one who keeps the law will be happy. A servant cannot be disciplined by words; though he understands, he doesn’t respond. Do you see a man who speaks too soon? There is more hope for a fool than for him. A slave pampered from his youth will become arrogant later on. An angry man stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered man increases rebellion. A person’s pride will humble him, but a humble spirit will gain honor. To be a thief’s partner is to hate oneself; he hears the curse but will not testify. The fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected. Prov 29:15-25 (HCSB)

We have become far too soft in our country and our children are suffering from our desire to be best friends with our children. Parents are not to be best friends with their children and attempt to enter their circle of friends. However, we are told to be their instructors, mentors, and teachers. As such, we must exercise our role with proper discipline and by example to guide our children to learn and practice what they will need to make right choices in life. Too many parents today are too busy investing in their own lives, and they do not invest in the lives of their own children as they should. These are the parents who when called by the school about a discipline issue defend their child and complain that the problem is with the school, not their child! And, the child becomes empowered to continue the same behaviors because he or she receives the attention they have been longing to receive, and then their misbehavior is reinforced because there is no attitude altering consequences applied to correct the wrong behavior choices.

The Lord clearly states in this passage there are consequences for the wrong ways caused by a lack of proper authority in a child’s life:

  1. A child left uncorrected will be a disgrace, an embarrassment to the parents.
  2. A rebellious child and their wickedness spring out of freedom to make choices without proper recognition of and the rewarding of right choices.
  3. A child without a clear understanding of the consequences for their choices, or simply understanding of what is right versus wrong choices, leads a life of turmoil and frustration.
  4. A pampered child who has been indulged in apathy is raised to become arrogant as an older youth and an adult in life.
  5. A child without the right knowledge of and respect for the Lord will stumble and fall in life because they grow not to fear man or God.

Here are some consequences of proper instruction or discipline invested in the life of a child that produces a child anchored by a genuine reverence or awe of the Lord.

  1. A child with proper instruction will easily recognize wrong attitudes and actions and avoid engaging in that kind of behavior.
  2. A child under right instruction will have a clear vision of where to walk and where to not go in life, and they will be a comfort and inspiration to others.
  3. A properly disciplined child will learn to walk humbly in this world and to care for others, and they will recognize their actions and attitudes affect others and thus must be carefully considered before they choose the choices they have to make in life.
  4. A child who fears the Lord will walk in the light of God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, and they will be blessed and be a blessing to others.

Coach

Some people were even bringing infants to Him so He might touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. Jesus, however, invited them: “Let the little children come to Me, and don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:15-17 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Godly Leadership Listens and Learns, Proverbs 29:12-14

religionpolitics

Words of Wisdom: Godly Leadership Listens and Learns, Proverbs 29:12-14

If a ruler listens to lies, all his servants will be wicked. The poor and the oppressor have this in common: the Lord gives light to the eyes of both. A king who judges the poor with fairness; his throne will be established forever. Prov 29:12-14 (HCSB) 

With all that is happening in this world today our prayers must go out to all those in authority in our government. Our democratic based “republic” needs godly, ethical, and morally anchored representatives of the people to succeed. However, many who were elected by the people, because they appeared to be the right representative, have fallen prey to the temptations of power, prestige and position, and now play politics to remain in office for their greater good – not the good of the people. In America today, no longer does the average American has little influence upon who is nominated to run for office in our government. No longer does the common citizen get all the promised benefits of their voice in government, as promoted by our own Founding Fathers when they authored the Constitution in 1787.

Have we have forgotten who the true authority behind our country is? Our Heavenly Father, the Protector and Creator of our great country, remains the true authority whether we acknowledge it as fact or not. We must also remember that He intended from the beginning that the divinely inspired People would have the final say in our government. However, slowly the politicians and the political parties in America have taken control of the political process, and the People are mere electors of men and women who they most often do not know, and they too have fallen prey to trusting in the political parties and their choices. We are forced to rely on propaganda and all the mud-slinging campaigns to help decide who to vote for. In the end, we select what we think is the better choice based upon the lies of the campaign, and then we feel helpless with the results.

We need a change in America. We need to seek God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word once again to identify the right men and women to be elected into office. We need true representatives of the People again. We need rightly guided, ethical and morally anchored people to guide our country. As the passage says, the Lord provides His revelation of the truth to both the people in authority and to the people under their authority.    

  • When both the government and the governed are at peace with one another, then the Lord’s will is being accomplished.

That is what is known as the divine principle of Popular Sovereignty, and it is what the people need to regain an understanding about in our country.

Lord, it is my prayer that You will shed your light upon the hearts of every government official in our land, and reveal the righteous ones from the selfish ones. Lord, I pray You will once again shed your light upon the People of the land so that they may realize the authority of our country lies within their voice, and not in the hands of the politicians. Lord, the strength of unity in our country comes through the sharing of diverse ideas and opinions, but in an open and truthful debate, that relies upon finding common ground for the common good of the country, not the benefits of individuals for their purposes. Lord, I pray You will save our country and stir the hearts and souls of the People so that our country may be preserved for our descendants to enjoy and to prosper within for future generations. Finally, Lord, may Your Will, Ways and Wisdom prevail on earth as it does in Heaven. Amen

Coach

Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do good and you will have its approval. For government is God’s servant to you for good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong. Therefore, you must submit, not only because of wrath, but also because of your conscience. And for this reason you pay taxes, since the [authorities] are God’s public servants, continually attending to these tasks. Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor. Romans 13:1-7 (HCSB) 

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (Preamble of US Constitution)

Words of Wisdom: When Words are Too Much! Proverbs 29:5-11

breaktrhoughWords of Wisdom: When Words are Too Much! Proverbs 29:5-11

A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet. An evil man is caught by sin, but the righteous one sings and rejoices. The righteous person knows the rights of the poor, but the wicked one does not understand these concerns. Mockers inflame a city, but the wise turn away anger. If a wise man goes to court with a fool, there will be ranting and raving but no resolution. Bloodthirsty men hate an honest person, but the upright care about him. A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man holds it in check. Prov 29:5-11 (HCSB)

Our tongue can be a gift or a curse depending upon how we use it and can control it. The Bible refers to it repeatedly, and warns us of the risk if we cannot control the words that roll off it.

Flattery is most often self-serving and is intended to persuade others to fulfill our wants and needs, but sooner or later people tire of empty words that lack true sincerity. In fact, consider that the words of a self-focused person seldom fall upon those who cannot help them in some manner. Those who are considered “poor” or “less fortunate” receive little investment of time from the selfish. Their words are not intended to encourage others who have needs greater than themselves.

Then there are those who seek to only find the wrong in everyone and they mock or talk against those who are in leadership in the community. The mocker cannot be satisfied unless they are stirring trouble to draw attention to themselves. However, the wise recognize the emptiness of such words and ignore the mocking. Even when the same person sends false accusations and the wise are brought to court by the empty words of the mocker, the foolishness will be revealed before the judge as the mockers words will fall on deaf ears even when delivered in anger and frustration.

An honest and wise person controls their temper, and they always remain calm when the mockers and fools of this world play out their schemes through their ranting and raving. The honest and wise trust in God to direct others (the righteous) to come to their aid; and the words of the fool falls harmlessly onto the unyielding ground.

The key to this passage is to recognize the flatterers, mockers, and fools of this world, and to understand their folly. How can we know? When we spend time seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, we discover God’s gift of His Spirit is guiding what we hear and respond to in our life. We never get angry at the flatterer, mocker or fool – we pray for them and seek that they realize the folly of their selfish schemes. A wise and honest person under God’s direction knows there is no worthy purpose trying to correct or argue with a fool.

Always think before we speak in response to the foolish words that are seeking a response. Never fuel that fire, but pray for the source to be changed. Make a positive impact without engaging in words but by your actions that honor God and His purposes.

Coach

“Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.” Matt 6:5-8 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Arrogance Demands Loyalty, Proverbs 29:1-4

righteous rule

Words of Wisdom: Arrogance Demands Loyalty, Proverbs 29:1-4

One who becomes stiff-necked, after many reprimands will be broken suddenly – and without a remedy. When the righteous flourish, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, people groan. A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but one who consorts with prostitutes destroys his wealth. By justice a king brings stability to a land, but a man [who demands] contributions demolishes it. Prov 29:1-4 (HCSB)

Arrogance is a disease that corrupts the person infected and causes others to feel its side effects. The symptoms of arrogance are: the appearance of desiring to stand taller than anyone else around you; head tilted higher than all the others in the room. Likewise, arrogance causes the tightening of the lower lip, which is a sign of man looking for any challengers. The result of such a posture for most men is a stiff-neck, but to the arrogant, they hardly notice that their neck has been stretched out so far. It is ironic too, the more people comment about their arrogance, the more upright and tight-lipped they become.

When the arrogant engage in an argument, they defend their position aggressively, and almost dare anyone to challenge their authority on the matter. Their counselors are paid consorts that soothe and stroke their arrogance, knowing that as long as the one they serve is happy they will be well compensated. They gladly sell themselves off to the arrogance of others because they are not interested in telling the truth, but to becoming richer by not telling the truth.

Sadly, the arrogant find they are spending more than they have and they must resort to demanding from others what they need. Their counselors urge the need for more money because they desire to continue to reap the rewards the arrogance is overflowing upon them.

With the arrogant, justice is not a question of what is right and wrong before the eyes of the Lord, but before the eyes and their hardened heart. The only wisdom found with the arrogant is self-serving wisdom.

There is but one cure for the “arrogance” that infests our world, and that is being vaccinated by the Spirit of God whereby the stiff-neck, tight lip and hardened heart can be softened by the hearing and response to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. Many an arrogant man has collapsed before the Lord and humbled themselves, and been cleansed of their arrogance, but it must be a willing act of contrition by the arrogant. The disease that infects them will not allow them to be coerced or required to repentance. They must hear and respond to the Lord’s authority to realize the benefit to them and others.

In our world the arrogant thrive, but there is hope! Pray fervently for them, and continue to share the Word of God by the responses that come forth from the hearts of those who genuinely care about seeing a real change come upon the arrogant in their life. The Lord will be faithful… change will come! Either he will be internally changed or externally broken – but either way his arrogance will be removed. Allow the Lord’s will to be done.

Coach

For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles. Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is blessed forever.  Amen. Romans 1:21-25 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: The Wicked versus the Wise of the World, Proverbs 28:23-28

ben-franklin-wicked-menWords of Wisdom: The Wicked versus the Wise of the World, Proverbs 28:23-28

 

One who rebukes a person will later find more favor than one who flatters with his tongue. The one who robs his father or mother and says, “That’s no sin,” is a companion to a man who destroys. A greedy person provokes conflict, but whoever trusts in the Lord will prosper. The one who trusts in himself is a fool, but one who walks in wisdom will be safe. The one who gives to the poor will not be in need, but one who turns his eyes away will receive many curses. When the wicked come to power, people hide, but when they are destroyed, the righteous flourish. Prov 28:23-28 (HCSB) 

Consider the world that we live in, it is full of both the wicked and the wise, but how can we separate them and know who to follow? The Lord clearly contrasts them in this manner:

 

  • The wicked are marked by their smooth words that tend to flatter everyone. Their conscience conceals their self-centered motives, and they would take advantage of even their closest friends and family, if it served their interests, and thus they seem to be surrounded by confusion, chaos, and even conflict. The wicked only trust in themselves, neither seeking nor accepting counsel from others. The wicked despise the poor and give nothing, including a nod to those in need. The wicked in leadership are lonely because they provoke fear from even their closest friends. 
  • The wise are marked by a confident spirit founded upon the Lord’s wisdom and direction, and they genuinely care about others. The wise will offer carefully considered rebukes to those whose actions and attitudes are at risk. The wise are content in whatever state the Lord has placed them, and praises the Lord. Thus, the Lord prospers the wise because they are trustworthy with what the Lord provides that person. The wise walk securely wherever they go, because they know the Lord walks with them as their strength, their shield, and their savior. The wise seek out opportunities to help others less fortunate than themselves, and makes the poor feel blessed. The wise trust the Lord’s provision will never be exhausted when you are serving in His will. It is the wicked that others flock to for guidance and direction, and they have plenty of others who desire to serve with them.

In our world, we need more wise leaders and less of the wily wicked ones. We need to be able to have the discernment from the Lord so we can separate out the wise from the wicked. 

But, how can we choose wisely?

 

Invest time with the Lord and seek God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, and He will give your spiritual understanding. 

We need to come out from our hiding and not be complacent or afraid that we cannot make difference. We need to serve the Lord by joining with the wise, and make a genuine difference in our world. The wicked will stumble and the wise will prevail. God promises the outcome is true. Do you trust God or your fears?

 

Coach 

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not judged, but anyone who does not believe is already judged, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.

 

“This, then, is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.” John 3:16-21 (HCSB) 

Words of Wisdom: The Easy Way is not the Right Way! Proverbs 28:19-22

TwoRoadsWords of Wisdom: The Easy Way is not the Right Way! Proverbs 28:19-22

The one who works his land will have plenty of food, but whoever chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty. A faithful man will have many blessings, but one in a hurry to get rich will not go unpunished. It is not good to show partiality – yet a man may sin for a piece of bread. A greedy man is in a hurry for wealth; he doesn’t know that poverty will come to him. Prov 28:19-22 (HCSB)

Throughout life there will be many crossroads where a decision will have to be made. But before one should make a decision about which way to go, one must consider carefully what he or she sees down that road. If the road appears too wide and easy to travel, and free of any uphill stretches, beware! If the road appears to reveal the destination you are seeking is shorter and easier to reach – take care before choosing the path. Look closer at the other road choice. Does it seem like the pathway is narrower and there are some evident uphill and downhill stretches with some curves that blind you of the final destination. Does it seem like the longer route to take? Beware! Appearances are often deceiving in life. Are you looking at the choices through your selfish eyes? Do you only desire the easier route? Are you afraid a little effort will make the destination not worth it? What should you do before proceeding to choose your way? Should you wait and see what everyone is doing? Should you follow the crowd? Certainly that would justify a right decision, right?

Making life-altering spiritual decisions is not a popularity proposition. Life is not about looking at the latest public opinion poll to make a decision. Success and its rewards come when a task or journey has been accomplished with right thinking at the right times, making right choices to realize right consequences. But how do I know when I am acting rightly? There is but one right way and that is God’s way! All other ways are man’s ways. To discover the right ways take the time to seek God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word at all the cross roads in life. He will guide you by giving you clarity between the choices.

With spiritually inspired eyes, the easier path, the one where so many are traveling because it appears there are no obstacles and uphill climbs to get the destination, now comes into focus. What you are not allowed to see is the chasm just down the wide pathway that swallows everyone up before they ever reach the destination on the other side that no one ever really reaches. And on the narrow winding and bending pathway, you are just able to see that behind that last stretch of the road there is the Lord pointing the way and encouraging you towards the destination you really seek. It may take more effort but His encouragement inspires you to reach the final reward that is right around the corner.

Note: even a wide highway can get too crowded and accidents occur as too many people race to their destinations. Like the interstate highways, there are always people racing in and out risking the safety of others because they are in a hurry, and that’s when innocent people are killed and others injured and the wide highway becomes a cluttered parking lot. That is why sometimes it is best to take the more scenic but slower route to your destination – you will have the opportunity to see rewarding sights and learn something about life as you follow the narrower, less traveled road that the Lord desires for you to travel.

Coach

“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.” Matt 7:13-14 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: The Righteous Leader is Rewarded by the People, Proverbs 28:12-18

MercyWords of Wisdom: The Righteous Leader is Rewarded by the People, Proverbs 28:12-18

When the righteous triumph, there is great rejoicing, but when the wicked come to power, people hide themselves. The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy. Happy is the one who is always reverent, but one who hardens his heart falls into trouble. A wicked ruler over a helpless people is like a roaring lion or a charging bear. A leader who lacks understanding is very oppressive, but one who hates unjust gain prolongs his life. A man burdened by bloodguilt will be a fugitive until death. Let no one help him. The one who lives with integrity will be helped, but one who distorts right and wrong will suddenly fall. Prov 28:12-18 (HCSB)

Leadership is a quality that is a gift from God, never to be taken lightly. Clearly there comes much responsibility and accountability with the authority of any leadership position. God clearly has stated that to whom much is given, much is expected. (Luke 12:48) From the role of teachers in the classrooms to President of our country, leaders must submit their will to God’s will, their ways to God’s ways, and their wisdom to God’s wisdom, seeking counsel not just from men, but God’s Word. This kind of righteous leadership begins with a prayed up, confessed up heart that seeks to be right with God, before he or she can stand successfully in the test of authority before the people they are held as responsible and accountable.

The risk that comes with leadership is clearly seen in this passage, whereby the person who sits in the seat of leadership will be revealed for who they truly are. If they are assuming leadership but have a wicked heart, they will try to conceal their selfish desires, but ultimately will stumble under the strain of the position of leadership. Success will not come to the false leader – if his or her heart is not open to God’s direction, then their hardened heart will bring trouble to not only them but also to whom they are responsible and accountable. A false leader will devour all for his or her personal agenda, rather than feed and prosper the people they have been entrusted to lead and guide.

Look back upon history to prove God’s hand upon the leaders of the people. If they have been wicked and suppressive, focused on selfish gains and schemes, they have been swept into the hall of the infamous. However, for those who have been truly righteous leaders of the people, whether teachers or even Presidents and other high-profile leaders, they have been blessed by the people they have impacted, and God’s hand has guided and protected them as godly, righteous leaders. Their names have endured in the hall of the faithful and famous.

All of us have a leader above us, and are accountable to someone or some group of leaders. Beware of whom we allow to lead us. Do not act like helpless people willing to be devoured as a result of our ignorance or naive trust in others. God expresses His will through His people. In our society the people decide who will lead them, and who they will follow and trust. So I conclude this thought today with this: Who is the greater fool? The fool who assumes the role of leader, or the fool who follows a fool as their leader?

Coach

Now as they (Peter and John) were speaking to the people, the priests, the commander of the temple guard, and the Sadducees confronted them, because they were provoked that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in the person of Jesus the resurrection from the dead. – But many of those who heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to about 5,000. The next day, their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem – After they had Peter and John stand before them, they asked the question: “By what power or in what name have you done this?” Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man, by what means he was healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the  Nazarene – whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead –by Him this man is standing here before you healthy. Acts 4:1-10 (HCSB) 

Words of Wisdom: Beware Fame and Fortune Fades Fast! Proverbs 28:6-12

good v evil waysWords of Wisdom: Beware Fame and Fortune Fades Fast! Proverbs 28:6-12

Better a poor man who lives with integrity than a rich man who distorts right and wrong. A discerning son keeps the law, but a companion of gluttons humiliates his father. Whoever increases his wealth through excessive interest collects it for one who is kind to the poor. Anyone who turns his ear away from hearing the law – even his prayer is detestable. The one who leads the upright into an evil way will fall into his own pit, but the blameless will inherit what is good. A rich man is wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has discernment sees through him. When the righteous triumph, there is great rejoicing, but when the wicked come to power, people hide themselves. Prov 28:6-12 (HCSB)

It has been said it is hard to separate the fool from his money. This is true. Consider how many people who through their instantaneous fame have also realized instant fortune as well, and both are taken for granted and disappear as fast as they appear. Fame and fortune are fleeting perspectives we have about people in our world today. Consider how quickly we forget the famous from just last year or a decade ago! And as fast as the fame fades, so does the fortune they had while they were famous. Consider Michael Jackson. What did his fame and fortune bring to his life, and now that he is gone, what legacy is left behind?

What about all the professional athletes that go from the poor house to the mansions of the rich and famous almost overnight? And how many are still holding onto their fame and fortune in a few short years after they sign that contract? It is sad, but so much attention is paid to the less than 1%, who made it big, and their careers have lasted long enough to mature and they invested their fame and fortune wisely. We tend to not get reminded of the 99% who are like the wind that blows through the storm. We are awed when they first arrive but quickly forget about them shortly after they are gone.  

Outside of sports where the spot light rests, consider the politicians that rise up quickly and fade as fast. Power and fame does corrupt even in politics as well. Only the seasoned and wisest politicians endure the trials and tribulations of high profile politics today. Those who come onto the scene only for selfish ambitious reasons of fame and fortune will not last. Just like pro athletes and movie or television personalities, it is “the people” that give the fame and fortune, and it is “the people” that will take it away as their eyes and ears shift away to others on the horizon. Only a very few ever make it beyond the dawn of their careers, because “the people” only will continue to follow and support the genuinely good people over time. For those who are corrupted by their instant fame and fortune, the people will tire of their foolishness and their folly.

A truly great person acts as if he is poor and humble even when he is wealthy and famous. A truly good person continues to remember what is right and what is wrong, even when he can do whatever he wants to do with his fame and fortune. A truly good person remembers his fame and fortune was a gift from God and that He expects much from those He gives much! A truly good person encourages others and inspires others through their life, and they honor and point to the author and creator of real life! A really good person will gladly give up all the fame and fortune rather than their relationship with God, or to lose their friends and family because of their notoriety and wealth. A truly good person may hire a lot of counselors and advisors, but he never decides anything about life without consulting God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word.

Who is famous today who we will remember tomorrow? Who will cause their selves to be forgotten or to become a member of the infamous? Which were godly, good men and women? Where were not?

Coach

Then He said, “What comes out of a person – that defiles him. For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, lewdness, stinginess, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a person.” Mark 7:20-23 (HCSB)

 

Words of Wisdom: Perspectives on Godly Leadership in the Land, Proverbs 28:1-5

boldness

Words of Wisdom: Perspectives on Godly Leadership in the Land, Proverbs 28:1-5

The wicked flee when no one is pursuing [them], but the righteous are as bold as a lion. When a land is in rebellion, it has many rulers, but with a discerning and knowledgeable person, it endures. A destitute leader who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no food. Those who reject the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law battle against them. Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand everything. Prov 28:1-5 (HCSB)

In recent years, there has been a constant outcry in the land for the elected leaders of our country to listen to the people, and be more sensitive to the needs of the people. However, there has been a stream of leaders making it to Congress and into the White House who have felt a mandate was given to them to only do what they thought was right in their eyes and in their heart, regardless of public opinion. So how do we find the righteous leaders among these self-serving leaders?

Well, the wicked ones are the self-interested, self-centered leaders who are trying to make a name for their selves, even when nothing worthy is happening around them. However, the truly righteous leaders in Congress and in the White House stand tall against the political insider activity and forgo their own interests when issues come up that impact the people they have sworn to protect, and they know what the people desire, and act in response to it.

What person is so arrogant to tell the people what they need even when they are causing a major contention in the hearts of the people? Leaders are under God’s accountability and ultimately will be judged by His standards, and the hearts of the people are a reflection of God’s will on most matters. When a leader stirs up contention is another sign of leadership problems; when other leaders rise up in protest to compete for the hearts of the dissenting people there will be contention. That is certainly a sign of another leader whom is not leading according to the will of God and the will of the people, but is guided and inspired by his or her own will.

In ancient China the term was “Mandate of Heaven” and it referred to the course of events in the reign of a ruler that dictated that ruler’s destiny. If he was successful and the crops were plentiful and enemies defeated, the ruler was reportedly receiving an affirmation of his right to rule from heaven. However, when dissension and rebellion resided in the land and events were threatening the security and prosperity of the people then those events marked the end of the ruler’s effectiveness and the ruler was replaced.

In America, the Mandate of Heaven is played out in the elections of our leaders, and when there is dissension stirred up in the hearts of the people, then even the oldest and most secure leader in Congress is subject to being replaced. An elected leader should never feel so secure that he or she can forget that it is the will of the people that elected them into office, and that is why they are there. When they begin to feel empowered with wisdom that is greater than the people, they fall at risk to the outcry of the people at the next election.

And, one certain way to gather a storm against yourself as a leader is to place undeserving and burdensome stress of uncertainty upon the people, immediate and long term. Throughout God’s history of man, government leaders who have suppressed their citizens with excessive debt and taxes have faced rebellion and even civil wars. The Roman Empire crumbled upon itself because of such issues.

How can leaders remain the leaders that they were elected to be? We need righteous leaders who walk in humility before an awesome God. Godly leadership seeks after God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. These leaders will outlast all the others and the people will rally around them. In the Bible there were many examples of godly versus ungodly rulers and their fates are clearly recorded. And, we saw what happens when even godly rulers lose sight of God’s leadership in their lives – division, rebellion, and dissension reside. Inquire about Saul, David, Solomon, and all the kings that followed. Consider the Sanhedrin of Jesus’ era: they were selfish in their motives and power hungry, and paid a huge price in the course of history.

Consider carefully the kind of leaders you elect into office. Support for re-election only those who continue to submit to the interests of the people and the will of God.

Coach

But Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the  Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life – a ransom for many.” Matt 20:25-28 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Assume Nothing, Take Nothing for Granted! Proverbs 27:23-27

shepherd1Words of Wisdom: Assume Nothing, Take Nothing for Granted! Proverbs 27:23-27

Know well the condition of your flock, and pay attention to your herds, for wealth is not forever; not even a crown lasts for all time. When hay is removed and new growth appears and the grain from the hills is gathered in, lambs will provide your clothing, and goats, the price of a field; there will be enough goat’s milk for your food – food for your household and nourishment for your servants. Prov 27:23-27 (HCSB)

Life requires diligence, dedication, discipline, dedication and certainly determination. There is no place for those who like to just float on what little success they have had. We are either climbing mountains or sliding back down the hillside. The level places in life are short and can set you up for defeat and disappointment, if you are not wary about the path that lies ahead.

According to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom found in God’s Word, life is full of trials, tribulations, and times of testing for a purpose! Our “faith walk” needs constant exercise to grow and become stronger for the really tough times in life. No one walks through their lifetime without some strain and pain along the journey. It is part of God’s plan for all of us to build us up, not to break us down. God also promises to never give us more than we can handle. He is our personal trainer in our daily spiritual workouts, and the stress we feel through life certainly makes us appreciate our life when the stress is removed.

Today’s passage also points to the fact that we should constantly be alert and aware of our responsibilities towards those God has entrusted us. We are to be strong enough to care for them and to nurture their growth. God uses us as His laborers in the field to sow the seeds, to water and tend the fields until new life sprouts. We are also to be like shepherds, just as He and His Son are shepherds of their flocks. Just as we have been given the ability and capacity to be vigilant and responsible, God places some of His sheep in our care for a period of time. He expects us to watch over and protect His sheep, just as He would. And, it is through those periods of trials, tribulations, and testing that have made us into acceptable shepherds in His eyes.

Yet, God also is a very loving and gracious Great Shepherd. He rewards us well for being good and faithful stewards of His flock and fields. So rejoice in what seems like difficult times in our lives, and especially when you feel overwhelmed and accountable to so many people – God is entrusting you with His prized possessions, and is relying upon you to be His appointed and anointed mentor and caretaker for them.

For me personally, there are days I wonder about my capacity to be an effective father, grandfather, teacher, coach, and Bible study leader. And, I do complain when I feel overwhelmed, but then I recognize the enormous responsibility God has entrusted me with and the privilege of serving in the roles I do. Then, it all makes sense and I find the strength and wisdom that I thought I lacked. Thank you Lord! Your servant is smiling this morning and is ready for the challenges and opportunities of another great day!

Coach

Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Matt 9:35-38 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Accountability Partners Protect Each Other, Proverbs 27:12-17

Iron Men

Words of Wisdom: Accountability Partners are Protect Each Other, Proverbs 27:12-17

The sensible see danger and take cover; the foolish keep going and are punished. Take his garment, for he has put up security for a stranger; get collateral if it is for foreigners. If one blesses his neighbor with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be counted as a curse to him. An endless dripping on a rainy day and a nagging wife are alike. The one who controls her controls the wind and grasps oil with his right hand. Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Prov 27:12-17 (HCSB)

As we go through life there will be many challenges and temptations in which we may stumble and fall prey, but when we have an “accountability partner,” there will be far less chance of stumbling and becoming the easy prey of others. We all need someone who can have our back; who will be willing to walk side-by-side with us; and come face-to-face with us to challenge and encourage us, when it is necessary. With such an “accountability partner” will have a valued second opinion that we trust to help us from being tempted and from being caught in schemes of evil intentions. Our partner can keep us from becoming the unknowing fool who is blinded by life’s temptations, whose good intentions can bring harm to their self and others, and who has become a source of contention with your spouse.

Yes, as a sidebar comment, this passage about the nagging wife is not to bring a bad light upon your wife, but yourself. If you are wandering around acting like the fool; making poor choices, annoying everyone around you don’t you think she will be annoyed and embarrassed as well? What you perceive as nagging is her trying to assume the role as your accountability partner! So don’t support the notion that you are not only acting like the fool, but you are actually becoming the fool by believing you control and manipulate her. Her love for you will compel her to do whatever it takes to get you to stop being the fool, and return to seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word – just as you did when you first got married. Your wife should be your best “accountability partner,” so don’t ignore what you perceive as nagging.

However, in addition to a loving, caring and sensible wife, every man should have at least one other man in his life that can be free to say what needs to be said and take whatever action is needed to keep you from stumbling and falling prey to evil schemes. This last verse is instrumental to the success of every Christian man! An accountability partnership goes two-ways, and you and your partner must work together to protect each other. There may be things going on in your life that may be hard to share with your spouse, and your partner is the one you can share anything. Admit your temptations and challenges, and share your thoughts before they become actions, and discuss concerns and fears, long before they become actions you have to explain or seek forgiveness about. Open and discuss God’s Word together, and share prayer concerns.

In the end, the best of all the partners in your life is the Lord Himself. Make Him the three-way partner in your marriage relationship and in your accountability partnership, and you will most certainly avoid stumbling and falling prey to evil schemes. The Lord will guide all concerned into what it means to sacrificially give to protect the others you love. And, above all – never, never walk through this life alone, relying on your own wisdom! That is the path of fools.

Coach

Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said: I will dwell among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people. Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty. 2 Cor 6:14-18 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Being Content within Your Circle of Friends & Family, Proverbs 27:7-11

friendship

Words of Wisdom: Being Content within Your Circle of Friends & Family, Proverbs 27:7-11

A person who is full tramples on a honeycomb, but to a hungry person, any bitter thing is sweet. A man wandering from his home is like a bird wandering from its nest. Oil and incense bring joy to the heart, and the sweetness of a friend is better than self-counsel. Don’t abandon your friend or your father’s friend, and don’t go to your brother’s house in your time of calamity; better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away. Be wise, my son, and bring my heart joy, so that I can answer anyone who taunts me. Prov 27:7-11 (HCSB)

There comes a time in one’s life when being content within your circle of friends and family members is not only proper, but healthy! There comes a point when we need to reinforce and build upon the relationships we have in our life, rather than build upon the reach and number of relationships. There comes a point where the “law of diminishing returns” occurs in our affiliations. There may be a large universe of people that we get to make contact with and know, but they are but acquaintances by affiliations, but they are not friends or family that you know well enough to depend upon. Even Jesus had a lot of people He influenced and touched, but He also had his selected disciples, and even whittled them down to His “inner circle” of 12, with only three special disciples that He entrusted with the most intimate concerns of His ministry. Then He also had His family, and even while He was ministering, not all His brothers were real close. Eventually James and Jude, two of His brothers would become special to Jesus and carry forward His mission of building the Church but evidently not until after Jesus was gone.

We too should be aware of the need to keep a close circle of friends and family members, and not try to be friends and confidants with too large a number of people. We should be friendly, but understand being friends is different. Build strong, healthy, reliable friendships beginning with our close family members, spouses, and special people we desire to truly call our friend.

How do you know who to invest your time and life with? Well, consider who you would trust in a time of real crisis. Who would cover your back, walk side-by-side with you, and look you eye-to-eye to encourage you when things get really tough? Who would share the risk with you in the midst of the storm? Those few are the ones you can call a friend, and are worthy of your most valuable time and effort. They are interested in you, and not about promoting their agendas and interests upon you.

Likewise, do you reciprocate the friendship commitment? Do you share that “phileo” (brotherly) love bond with your declared friends? Will you cross over from the safety of the shore to rescue your friend? Will you be willing to share the risk with your friend?

Warning: if you are always looking for contentment in your relationships, and you cannot find the kind of friend that you can be comfortable with as a close friend, maybe the discontent is not an outward problem, but an inward problem. Very likely, you cannot be content with others because you are unsettled within yourself. Remember the Lord declares that we must love others, as we love ourselves! Thus, we can never love others until we love ourselves as God accepts and loves us. So where would you begin? Begin getting comfortable seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, and you will begin building a friendship with God, and He will reciprocate with you. That will help you learn how to love yourself and be able to a friend to others.

“What a friend we have in Jesus, He is the only friend we truly need!” Why? He teaches us how to be a friend so we can learn to recognize a true friend and build that “phileo” or brotherly (sisterly) love bond with a true friend.

Coach

“As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is My command: love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father. You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. This is what I command you: love one another.” John 15:9-17 (HCSB)

 

Words of Wisdom: Arrogance and Jealousy Close Ears, Proverbs 27:1-6

Proverbs27.1

Words of Wisdom: Arrogance and Jealousy Close Ears, Proverbs 27:1-6

Don’t boast about tomorrow, for you don’t know what a day might bring. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth – a stranger, and not your own lips. A stone is heavy and sand, a burden, but aggravation from a fool outweighs them both. Fury is cruel, and anger is a flood, but who can withstand jealousy? Better an open reprimand than concealed love. The wounds of a friend are trustworthy, but the kisses of an enemy are excessive. Prov 27:1-6 (HCSB)

How long does it take before everyone begins to find an exit when there is a person in the room seeking all the attention by bragging about their accomplishments? Any listening the person does is to get fuel for the next story that somehow is always bigger or better than what the other person just shared. We all like to contribute to a conversation among friends, and we all are a little guilty of coloring our stories to suit the company and the conversation from time to time, but there are people who take that to an art-form and their purpose is not to simply share in the conversation, but to dominate it. 

A braggart is one who takes the gift of the gab to a level where it is all about him or her – sharing that no one is bigger, better, or more accomplished in anything. They have been everywhere, done everything, and they know everyone, and have stories to prove the point. The confidence level of the braggart chokes the truth right out of the words of every story. If by chance someone tries to one-up the braggart, “jealousy” rocks the braggart into another gear of verbosity and creativity, and they regain the control of the conversation with even more animation that before.

However, when all is finally said, and the words finally fade because there are no more ears to listen, who remains standing alone? The braggart with all his or her arrogance and jealousy has driven away everyone because of their animated and verbose conversations about “self” are never interesting or encouraging to others. 

Relationships that build into friendships require respect for one another, and true friends listen and encourage one another in a conversation.

Can you think about people you know who demand the spotlight at the expense of others to make themselves seem more important than they truly are? How close of a friend is that person to you and to others? God’s will, God’s ways and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word is foreign to such a person because he or she knows that God will have the final say on any matter they desire to boast about and that is a burden to them. But, they struggle to realize that God also is their only hope to find humility and genuine peace in their life. When our speech is bathed in truth and humility we find God’s approval, and there resides peace and freedom that draws others into our circle of friends and family once again. 

What is our role in this? Pray for such people we stumble across, and realize the best way to quiet a braggart is to just listen. Listening removes the fuel to spark more verbosity. Then, try to build a bridge that will lead him or her to listen to the Lord who has a story to tell them that he or she cannot possibly top! And when you do boast, boast only of your weaknesses and faults – the braggart will dare not try to top you then!

Coach 

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring –what your life will be! For you are a bit of smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So, for the person who knows to do good and doesn’t do it, it is a sin. James 4:13-17 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: The Gift of Gossip is a Curse, not a Blessing, Proverbs 26:20-28

gossipWords of Wisdom: The Gift of Gossip is a Curse, not a Blessing, Proverbs 26:20-28

Without wood, fire goes out; without a gossip, conflict dies down. As charcoal for embers and wood for fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. A gossip’s words are like choice food that goes down to one’s innermost being. Smooth lips with an evil heart are like glaze on an earthen vessel. A hateful person disguises himself with his speech and harbors deceit within. When he speaks graciously, don’t believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart. Though his hatred is concealed by deception, his evil will be revealed in the assembly. The one who digs a pit will fall into it, and whoever rolls a stone – it will come back on him. A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a flattering mouth causes ruin. Prov 26:20-28 (HCSB)

Gossip is without doubt deadlier than the stab of an assassin’s sharp knife, a carefully aimed bullet by a sniper, or the swing of an executioner’s axe! Gossip is far more destructive than a forest fire, a raging flood, or the wailing wind of a tornado! Gossip rips apart friends and family, and even affects anyone caught in the web of deceitful and intentionally harmful words. The gossiper’s words can spread more harm than any plague. Yet, in the eyes of a gossiper, they are serving a need in society, because they are revealing the wrongs of the world, and exposing the evil in the lives of others. They never seem to understand the harm of their obsession to speak about others, even when they do not know all the facts or even are sharing intentional false accusations as long as it makes them the center of attention.

Gossip stirs up quarrels, conflict, evil, deceit, deception, and every kind of wicked abomination in the hearts of those whose ears receive the words of discord from the gossiper. Gossip can be outwardly bold or even sweetly delivered in an attempt to make the message more palatable to digest. Gossip may seem like the truth but is slanderous and libelous in its intent.

What can we do to eliminate the gossip that is around us? To prevent forest fires from igniting, rangers and fire fighters minimize the fuel for the fire and keep the “spark” from setting an uncontrollable fire that will scorch and destroy anything in its path. Likewise, we should be careful never to be the fuel that the gossip ignites, and the best way to end gossip is to recognize it and not get caught up in it. Allow gossip to not be spread through you chokes the gossip of its intended purpose. Never accept anything from third parties as a truth until you inspect and assess the source. Always investigate the truth about others before contributing to the gossip.

When we are confronted with a story about others, stop and ask ourselves if this story serves a purpose that will honor God if we accept it as truth. When in doubt, understand our responsibility is to always seek God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word on all such matters. When you prayerfully seek His guidance clarity will come upon your heart, and if it is gossip trust that God will in His timing and in His ways turn the evil and conceit back upon the gossiper, and the curse will fall back upon him or her. Our role is to God’s agent to stop the gossip from harming anyone else.

Coach

You have thought all along that we were defending ourselves to you. No, in the sight of God we are speaking in Christ, and everything, dear friends, is for building you up. For I fear that perhaps when I come I will not find you to be what I want, and I may not be found by you to be what you want; there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder. I fear that when I come my God will again humiliate me in your presence, and I will grieve for many who sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, sexual immorality, and promiscuity they practiced. 2 Cor 12:19-21 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Slackers, Quarrelers, and Meddlers not Welcome! Proverbs 26:13-19

meddlingWords of Wisdom: Slackers, Quarrelers, and Meddlers not Welcome! Proverbs 26:13-19

The slacker says, “There’s a lion in the road – a lion in the public square!” A door turns on its hinge, and a slacker, on his bed. The slacker buries his hand in the bowl; he is too weary to bring it to his mouth. In his own eyes, a slacker is wiser than seven men who can answer sensibly. A passerby who meddles in a quarrel that’s not his is like one who grabs a dog by the ears. Like a madman who throws flaming darts and deadly arrows, so is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I was only joking!” Prov 26:13-19 (HCSB)

Even in the gated communities it is always interesting to discover the persistence that solicitors have as they make their way around the “No Solicitation” signs and sneak through the gate believing somehow the sign and gate do not apply to them personally. They believe that for some reason when they rap on your door you will be so amazed by their brazenness and you will fall victim to their sales pitch. Well, if that is not enough, what about the “slackers, quarrelers, and meddlers” we find in our community?

Slackers make an excuse for everything and do nothing. They will mooch gladly off of others but never participate when needed. Slackers in the neighborhood let their yards grow knee deep and then still somehow find there is no gas for their lawnmower or worry the clouds in the sky may rain, or if no clouds complain the sun is shining too brightly to mow their lawn. Slackers look at other yards in jealousy but their weeds are treated like exotic plants in their gardens. Slackers are always late to or somehow conveniently unavailable for meetings. Slackers bring praises only from other slackers. They feed off each other to justify their own behavior, but irritate everyone else – although the slacker rarely cares what others really think.

Quarrelers do not need any excuses to quarrel. They rise up and jump to the front of the crowd when controversy arises. They love to stir it up and bark the loudest, even before they really know all the facts. They just know a quarrel is in the wind and they cannot be left out. Quarrelers use their rude and sometimes crude approach to keep people at a distance because they have so much insecurity about themselves, so they make themselves unapproachable, especially when issues make them feel insecure. Others tend to be reluctant to invite quarrelers to social events because of their unpredictability when around others.

Meddlers look for an excuse to jump into matters that do not involve them because they have a need to be needed by someone so they create a need by sticking their two-cents into the conversation that was not directed to them. They offer advice that is not asked for and wiggle into the inner circle that they were not invited to join. They see the backs of people and never consider the possibility that what is being said is private. They always feel every door is open to them and they are the self-designated community adviser and counselor. However they never realize no one seeks them out or invites them to their homes to discuss matters that are unrelated to them. Yet they seem to have the knack of showing up anyway.

So in our community our new sign reads: No Solicitors, No Slackers, No Quarrelers, and No Meddlers Allowed! And when someone whines, complains, or intervenes or arrives unannounced and they say, “Who says so?” I say, God does! Go seek God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, and then we will invite you into our community.

Coach

Now we ask you, brothers, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are lazy, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. 1 Thess 5:12-15 (HCSB)

 

Words of Wisdom: The Fool’s Game has No Winner! Proverbs 26:1-12

answer-fool

Words of Wisdom: The Fool’s Game has No Winner! Proverbs 26:1-12

Like snow in summer and rain at harvest, honor is inappropriate for a fool. Like a flitting sparrow or a fluttering swallow, an undeserved curse goes nowhere. A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools. Don’t answer a fool according to his  foolishness, or you’ll be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his foolishness, or he’ll become wise in his own eyes. The one who sends a message by a fool’s hand cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. A proverb in the mouth of a fool is like lame legs that hang limp. Giving honor to a fool is like binding a stone in a sling. A proverb in the mouth of a fool is like a stick with thorns, brandished by the hand of a drunkard. The one who hires a fool, or who hires those passing by, is like an archer who wounds everyone. As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness. Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Prov 26:1-12 (HCSB)

In the life of the fool there is no good time, but plenty of bad times. The fool is the one who knows the truth but refuses to accept the truth, and he or she stumbles through life creating obstacles for others because of a fool’s folly. The fool’s path goes nowhere but seems to be everywhere, thus the fool is a nuisance to others because they seem to always be around. Are there fools that you can recognize because of their reckless abandon and aimless wandering?

Are there those you know that seem to need a “swift kick in their keister,” as my dad would say? The fool seems to always be the one who is out of control and in dire need of firm, and often harsh direction, because they do not know when to stop their foolishness. All the fool seems to desire is to get some attention for them, and they thrive on any attention they can get, even when it is the wrong attention. However, be careful of the attention you give the fool because he will answer the curtain call even when the people are hissing and booing him or her. The fool will think any attention is good attention and come back for more.

When dealing with the fool in your midst be careful how much trust you place in them. They will likely let you down and cause others to misunderstand your intentions when you send the fool on errands on your behalf. The only hope for the fool is the Lord to straighten him or her of their crooked ways. The best anyone can do for the fool is to introduce them to the Lord by revealing God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word to them. Their folly will find no rest at His feet and for the first time the fool will recognize his or her foolishness, and seek forgiveness.

Considering all the challenges of the fool, the greatest fool according to the Word of God is the person who is foolish enough to believe they need no help and that they are wise and beyond the need of anyone’s instruction, including the Lord’s help. The one who in their mind is in need of no help is beyond help, and thus will travel the course in life they have chosen for themselves with no hope. He or she is the biggest fool who will only fool themselves into playing a game that has no winners, just losers. Their only hope is one day realize the foolishness of their selfish pride. Otherwise, a dead end awaits them.

Coach

“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!”Matt 7:24-27 (HCSB)