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)

Words of Wisdom: Right Choices = Right Consequences, Proverbs 25:21-28

self control

Words of Wisdom: Right Choices = Right Consequences, Proverbs 25:21-28

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. The north wind produces rain, and a backbiting tongue, angry looks. Better to live on the corner of a roof than in a house shared with a nagging wife. Good news from a distant land is like cold water to a parched throat. A righteous person who yields to the wicked is like a muddied spring or a polluted well. It is not good to eat too much honey, or to seek glory after glory. A man who does not control his temper is like a city whose wall is broken down. Prov 25:21-28 (HCSB)

In life it is the everyday choices we make that decide the course of our life. Doing those little things right impact us in a big way as we move forward. It is not always the huge, seemingly important decisions in our life that define our life’s journey, but the accumulation of everyday choices we have made and how they have affected others around us along the journey that matter most. Helping others who to others seem less deserving to receive our kindness and generosity certainly is one of those decisions we can make. When we treat others around us like the Lord treats others, and most importantly how He has treated and accepted us, then we become more like Him and He is certainly pleased.

We also can make huge inroads in our relationships by watching carefully what we say and how we say what we choose to say. Too many times our choice of words and attitudes dictate the responses we receive. Yet, too often, we place the blame on the other person. Backbiting hurts and anger will certainly follow as a response; and a nagging spouse comes when our words and actions stir up contention in our relationship. We should always take ownership for our actions and attitudes that cause hard feelings between a friend, family member, and certainly our spouse. 

Why become a harbinger of bad news! How great life can be when we seek to find and listen for the good news in life. Too often we become a filter of nothing but the bad news. We seem to dwell on the evil and wickedness that surrounds us, and we appear to overlook the good and righteousness that exists. However, how do we feel when we allow the good news to touch our hearts? Think how that great feeling affects our relationships with others around us. People get tired of hanging around those people who only dwell on the woes of this world; but flock to the people that lift up their lives with good news. However, never make yourself the center of attention either. Always realize all the glory should point to the source of glory, and be shared with others. Be content as the ambassador of glorious good news, and blessings will follow. Always keep your heart filtered to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, and the Lord will be pleased.

The journey of life is not a sprint, rather a long marathon requiring consistency and persistency of our faithful acts as we travel with others. The victor is not to the one who finishes first or the best, but to everyone who finishes the race focused upon the finish line and to all who are there at the finish line urging us on each step of the way. Make every step count by making the right choices along the way, avoiding those detours and distractions, and the consequences of the right choices will carry us to the finish line in the proper time. And there the Lord has the crown of victory waiting for you. 

Coach

“You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”Matt 5:43-48 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Be Careful What, How, Why, and When You Speak! Proverbs 25:11-20

proverbs25-11Words of Wisdom: Be Careful What, How, Why, and When You Speak! Proverbs 25:11-20

A word spoken at the right time is like golden apples on a silver tray. A wise correction to a receptive ear is like a gold ring or an ornament of gold. To those who send him, a trustworthy messenger is like the coolness of snow on a harvest day; he refreshes the life of his masters. The man who boasts about a gift that does not exist is like clouds and wind without rain. A ruler can be persuaded through patience, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. If you find honey, eat only what you need; otherwise, you’ll get sick from it and vomit. Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house; otherwise, he’ll get sick of you and hate you. A man giving false testimony against his neighbor is like a club, a sword, or a sharp arrow. Trusting an unreliable person in a time of trouble is like a rotten tooth or a faltering foot. Singing songs to a troubled heart is like taking off clothing on a cold day, or like [pouring] vinegar on soda. Prov 25:11-20 (HCSB)

Our mouth can be a gracious vehicle to express genuine concern and encouragement, or it can produce harmful criticism and cause friendships to crumble. Isn’t it interesting that in God’s infinite wisdom we have received two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two hands and two feet, BUT only mouth! Why? Is it because God wants us to be more sensitive, more responsive, and more investigative about the needs expressed by others in our life by engaging our senses first?

Long before we express judgment by the words we utter, consider carefully what really the situation with a person is. Usually, a person’s outward actions are a mask for the real issues and concerns of the person. So, do not rush to conclusions when they express their emotions before you. Usually the outrage or tears are but their way of drawing attention to themselves because they are hurting inside, but they cannot express the real root or cause openly. Maybe they themselves do not understand fully the pain they are feeling.

Wise counselors neutralize the outward expressions of emotions, spend little time talking but a lot of time listening. Carefully open-ended, non-judgmental questions are used to stir the person to begin to share their real issues. A wise counselor never jumps to conclusions and never feels as though he or she has all the answers before they have all the background information that may lead a wise counselor to help the person in need to draw their own conclusions to the solutions they need in their life.

All this infers that a godly, wise counselor expresses a caring and sharing heart, and approaches the hurting person with open eyes, open ears, open arms. Likewise, the wise counselor is willing to come to that person at their place of comfort, so that their wise counsel can be realized. Notice in the New Testament how Jesus responded to those in need: Jesus usually led off in many of His conversations with a question, and His instruction often came in the form of a parable response. Why? Is it because rather than speaking directly against the person’s actions and condemning them, He allowed them to discern for themselves what was needed for themselves to live in peace with themselves and others?

Also remember, too much of anything is apt to make you sick. Too much talking sends people walking! Be sincere, be succinct, and above all be patient, then people will seek you out for your wise words. Never claim to be what you are not, and never claim to have answers that you do not really have – more harm can come when you try to help someone. More likely you will end up giving poor and improper advice. When in doubt about what to say or do, you can always approach the source of perfect knowledge and understanding, and in prayer lead the person you are with into seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. Then trust God with His response to the problem which will come in the right time and in the right manner to help a sincere seeking heart.

Coach

“No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a basket or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in may see the light. For nothing is concealed that won’t be revealed, and nothing hidden that won’t be made known and come to light. Therefore, take care how you listen. For whoever has, more will be given to him; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him.” Luke 8:16-18 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: If You Know God, You also Know You Are Not Him, Proverbs 25:1-10

humility-vs-perfection-pg1-a6Words of Wisdom: If You Know God, You also Know You Are Not Him, Proverbs 25:1-10

These too are proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah, copied. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to investigate a matter. As the heaven is high and the earth is deep, so the hearts of kings cannot be investigated. Remove impurities from silver, and a vessel will be produced for a silversmith. Remove the wicked from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established in righteousness. Don’t brag about yourself before the king, and don’t stand in the place of the great; for it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here!” than to demote you in plain view of a noble. Don’t take a matter to court hastily. Otherwise, what will you do afterwards if your opponent humiliates you? Make your case with your opponent without revealing another’s secret; otherwise, the one who hears will disgrace you, and you’ll never live it down. Prov 25:1-10 (HCSB)

Humility is the beginning of greatness. In this passage there are two verses that the Lord Himself used in parable form when teaching to the disciples, so I believe it is important for all of us to take heed to these verses. The key to the thoughts presented in these verses is there is an order in life that is orchestrated by God for His glory, and for His purposes for the good of mankind.      

First, since God knows all, it is to God’s glory that we acknowledge that even knowing our shortcomings He not only forgives, but He also forgets our shortcomings. However, in our earthly domain, the rulers are not God, thus they must investigate matters before passing judgment. However, in the order of things, only God can and most certainly will judge the hearts of those rulers of men on earth. This thought was used in the thought for centuries that all kings and queens were given their power and authority directly from God and they were only accountable to God for their actions. Thankfully, God has humbled the absolute monarchs of old, and made it so that men are accountable to men, no matter their state in life.

There is the portion of the passage which speaks about removing the wicked from the presence of the king and then there will be a righteous reign. Then the passage immediately says that humility is the beginning and a sign of a righteous reign. This also extends to our everyday life as well when we are among the presence of others. As Jesus would also comment in His ministry, possibly referring to this passage, we should never assume we are worthy of the seat of honor at an event. Do not allow our ego to embarrass us, as we will be humbled when it is revealed others have been appointed in the seats of honor, and we will face the public humiliation when asked to change seats.

Jesus Himself would also later point out also that it was smart and appropriate to humbly avoid hasty legal action against a neighbor or friend. Rather, He said as this proverb promotes, you are to first to make every effort to work it out privately with your neighbor or friend, and avoid the hard feelings of a public court. You also very likely may learn that what you thought was right in your eyes was wrong and you will risk being humbled in public court.

Bring all your issues before the Lord and seek His guidance on the matter. Never allow your ego to stand in the way of your relationships with your neighbors, friends, or even family members. Never be the judge among of men, that is God’s role alone, and quite frankly you nor I are God. It is interesting that this passage references both Solomon and Hezekiah – both of these ancient rulers of Judah were humbled in their lifetime. Both thought they were something special, but God humbled them. Do not follow in their footsteps. Likewise, if our government officials begin to act with arrogance and disregard to their responsibility to God, God will humble them. Our role is to patiently trust in and wait upon the Lord. Never assume you can usurp God’s authority. You are not God.

Coach

“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, don’t recline at the best place, because a more distinguished person than you may have been invited by your host. The one who invited both of you may come and say to you, ˜Give your place to this man,” and then in humiliation, you will proceed to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest place, so that when the one who invited you comes, he will say to you, ˜Friend, move up higher.” You will then be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

He also said to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, don’t invite your friends, your brothers, your relatives, or your rich neighbors, because they might invite you back, and you would be repaid. On the contrary, when you host a banquet, invite those who are poor, maimed, lame, or blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:8-14 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: The Price for Being LAZY is Costly! Proverbs 24:30-34

lazy affects othersWords of Wisdom: The Price for Being LAZY is Costly! Proverbs 24:30-34

I went by the field of a slacker and by the vineyard of a man lacking sense. Thistles had come up everywhere, weeds covered the ground, and the stone wall was ruined. I saw, and took it to heart; I looked, and received instruction: a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit. Prov 24:30-34 (HCSB)

When I look at those around me who are struggling day in and day out, what I find the majority of the time is many have a deadly disease that can be contagious. It is the deadly LAZY disease. Laziness is a self-inflicted disease and its symptoms are clear: a person that has been inflicted with it begins to make little sense in what that person says or does, and makes little to no effort to increase in knowledge. That same person also pays little attention to others around them. In fact the lazy person tends to fall to sleep at the wrong times with arms folded and head down. Laziness causes one to risk losing everything, and to rely on others to survive.

These same infected people are the ones who struggle in their jobs. They typically do just enough to get by and rely on the generosity and pity of others to not lose their jobs. But, they inevitably do have to find new jobs on a regular basis. And, their search for a new job always takes a large amount of time because little effort is put into finding a new job, and they end up mooching on friends and relatives while they are unemployed. This disease is life-threatening, and impacts others who come in contact with a lazy person. Laziness causes others to share in the suffering. However, the cure comes in one of two ways: (1) a life-changing attitude comes over the person as they realize they have inflicted themselves with this disease, and they have within their heart the choice to become free of its infliction; (2) like many life-threatening diseases, when the person will not do what is needed to defeat the disease then for the sake of the others the inflicted person must be removed – cut-off. Laziness needs constant pity to survive. When others stop feeding the laziness, then it will be choked off.

The Lord of life, the Creator of all, has identified laziness as a man-made disease that is also a sin against God. Man was created to be industrious and have a distinct unselfish purpose in life, helping others and engaging in society as a positive influence. However, some people self-inflict themselves with laziness because they are afraid to cope in the real world. Laziness is a mask for other issues that really are haunting that person. Before we cast a lazy person from our midst we should try to get that person to find hope for their life by seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word.

Therefore, anyone at risk can discover God’s plan and purpose for their life, and He will freely give what is needed to all who seek Him, just as He has offered to all His chosen children through the presence and power of His Spirit, then there is hope in that person’s life. Real change can happen and laziness can be gone.

If you know a lazy person, love them enough to look beyond the laziness to find the real inner issues that are causing the laziness, and try to help them to find a solution for those troubling issues, and then the laziness will resolve itself. And remember God’s Word holds the remedy for all of life’s issues we all face and have to deal with each and every day.

Coach

For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints – and you continue to serve them. Now we want each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the final realization of your hope, so that you won’t become lazy, but imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance. Heb 6:10-12 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Integrity + Honesty = Trustworthiness, Proverbs 24:23-29

integrity

Words of Wisdom: Integrity + Honesty = Trustworthiness, Proverbs 24:23-29

These [sayings] also belong to the wise: It is not good to show partiality in judgment. Whoever says to the guilty, “You are innocent”— people will curse him, and tribes will denounce him; but it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and a generous blessing will come to them. He who gives an honest answer gives a kiss on the lips. Complete your outdoor work, and prepare your field; afterwards, build your house. Don’t testify against your neighbor without cause. Don’t deceive with your lips. Don’t say, “I’ll do to him what he did to me; I’ll repay the man for what he has done.”Prov 24:23-29 (HCSB)

Relationships are founded upon the concept of acceptance and trust. Whether it is a friendship, business or social relationship, or even a marriage, the quality of the relationship – the bond between the parties – is founded upon the trust that exists between the people involved. There must exist a mutually satisfying aspect within any genuine relationship in life: Once one person in a relationship assumes a position or posture that is self-serving or self-centered, and all they desire is the take part of a “give and take” relationship, then sooner or later the trust factor becomes destroyed, as does the relationship.

Integrity and honesty are the building blocks of any relationship because they establish the trustworthiness necessary to hold any relationship together. Damage any aspect of that equation and the relationship is at risk. They say that love is blind, however even love cannot cover over the sting when trust has been ripped apart because a partner’s integrity and honesty has faltered.

Think upon the passage from Proverbs and ask yourself: Have I been truthful, upright, and honest in all my relationships? Have you associated yourself with the guilty, identifying yourself with their guilt? Have you gossiped and in secret made accusations against others without confronting the person personally? Has revenge been the motive for your actions, even when your actions are as bad as or even worse than what they did to you? If so, who is the guilty person then? Who has risked their integrity and honesty, thus their trustworthiness in the eyes of others?

Consider carefully our actions and in the end there is a relationship that should mean the most to you – your relationship with God. And, there is nothing we can do in secret with Him. When Jesus was with us, it is stated in the Bible, He did certain things because He did not trust the hearts of men. Well, since then, God has endowed His Spirit of Truth to us so that God can build a relationship of trust with us. And the good part with God is that he realizes that we are still apt to make mistakes, but He forgives us as we recognize our mistakes with Him. If we can maintain our relationship in good standing with God, then it is most likely we can maintain our relationships with others around us in good standing as well. If we will only focus our hearts, minds and souls upon living out God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, then our integrity and honesty will establish our trustworthiness not only before God, but others in our life as well.

Consider today where all your relationships stand beginning with the Lord. Are you being honest and right with the Lord? How about with everyone else in your life?

Coach

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another  Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.” John 14:15-18 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Persistence, Perseverance and Patience, Prov 24:15-22

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Words of Wisdom: Persistence, Perseverance and Patience, Prov 24:15-22

Don’t set an ambush, wicked man, at the camp of the righteous man; don’t destroy his dwelling. Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin. Don’t gloat when your enemy falls, and don’t let your heart rejoice when he stumbles, or the Lord will see, be displeased, and turn His wrath away from him. Don’t worry because of evildoers, and don’t envy the wicked. For the evil have no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out. My son, fear the Lord, as well as the king, and don’t associate with rebels, for their destruction will come suddenly; who knows what disaster these two can bring? Prov 24:15-22 (HCSB)

In this life, for all who face the challenges of this world, remember, there will be wickedness to contend with, plenty of obstacles to overcome, and evil plots that will stir rebellion even in your own heart, however the righteous are equipped to overcome. With the Lord on your side, you have not only God’s presence but also His gift of persistence, perseverance, and patience within you. These qualities are a necessity in the life of a righteous person because they are the same traits the Lord exhibits with us every day.

Persistence is the quality that says “never, never, never quit!” It is the motivation to continue to get back up, no matter how many times you may stumble and fall, and face the same challenge that caused you to stumble and fall. This is what it takes to overcome the forces of evil that do not want us to prosper and succeed in this world.

Perseverance is the strength to stand firm when the currents run against you because the wicked of the world desire we run any other way. Perseverance is what allows us to struggle upstream while everyone else is floating downstream, not wanting or willing to do what is right, but rather blend in with the wicked ways of the world and become like everyone else.

Patience is the trait that says though you cannot realize the goal that you are seeking and have been promised by the Lord, you stay the course believing within you that the finish line is but around the next bend of the road. You are faithful without hesitation to the promises that the Lord has given you.

There will be so much resistance and rebellion along the journey, and the crowds will become like angry mobs because they cannot stay the course like you, and they will be blaming the King and speaking against the promises that God Himself gave us. But, do not falter, and there will come a day when the obstacles disappear, the current stops flowing against you, and the finish line is in plain view. It is on that day tears will come to your face as you see the Lord and all the others who fought the good fight will be before cheering you on, and the Lord Himself will declare, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Choosing the right ways in this world does not mean they are the easy ways. Quite to the contrary, there will be times your faith will be tested to the limits, your strength seemingly exhausted, and your mind, body and heart will falter to test your faith, but when you align yourself to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, you will always have the persistence, perseverance and patience to cling to the promises that the Lord has given to you.

Never, never, never quit! The reward is great and worth all the struggles you will face in this world.

Coach

We give no opportunity for stumbling to anyone, so that the ministry will not be blamed. But in everything, as God’s ministers, we commend ourselves: by great endurance, by afflictions, by hardship, by pressures, by beatings, by imprisonments, by riots, by labors, by sleepless nights, by times of hunger, by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the message of truth, by the power of God; through weapons of righteousness on the right hand and the left, through glory and dishonor, through slander and good report; as deceivers yet true; as unknown yet recognized; as dying and look – we live; as being chastened yet not killed; as grieving yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing yet possessing everything. We have spoken openly to you, Corinthians; our heart has been opened wide. You are not limited by us, but you are limited by your own affections. Now in like response – I speak as to children – you also should be open to us. 2 Cor 6:3-13 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: No Strain, No Gain! Proverbs 24:10-14

no strain no gain

Words of Wisdom: No Strain, No Gain! Proverbs 24:10-14

If you do nothing in a difficult time, your strength is limited. Rescue those being taken off to death, and save those stumbling toward slaughter. If you say, “But we didn’t know about this,” won’t He who weighs hearts consider it? Won’t He who protects your life know? Won’t He repay a person according to his work? Eat honey, my son, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to your palate; realize that wisdom is the same for you. If you find it, you will have a future, and your hope will never fade. Prov 24:10-14 (HCSB)

In the weight room during the off-season training time is when young athletes realize the greatest gain in strength and endurance. That is why a football coach puts so much emphasis on getting their student-athletes to commit themselves to this time of the year. If they will dedicate and discipline themselves in January to April (Spring Football is in May) and June until summer practices begin, those six months will make the difference during the season. Athletes will get bigger, faster, and stronger if they understand the basic philosophy of “strain builds muscle gain.” The older mentality was “no pain, no gain” – however, too much pain can actually cause damage to muscle tissue and the opposite result can occur. Thus, strain to the brink of pain –stress to the point of excess – is the goal in a properly supervised off-season weight training and conditioning program.

The same philosophy is true in life as well. We need to experience strain in our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical life to become stronger in dealing with the attacks the world sets before us. We cannot help others unless we are strong and tough enough spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically to protect ourselves first. We are to invest ourselves in the proper training so that when the occasion arises, and it will, we can stand in the gap for our friends, neighbors, and family in times of crisis. If we have committed ourselves to do doing the best we know how, and have worked hard, won’t God know it? There is a promise in the Bible from God that He will never allow you to be exposed to more than you can handle. If you believe God at His Word then when He presents an opportunity for you, why would you hesitate? Why would you fear to try to save others in your life? God not only tests our heart, mind, soul and strength, but also God tests our “faith” in Him.

The champion on the field is not always the strongest, fastest or most talented athlete. Quite often he or she is the one that has the confidence and the courage to play the game with a never, never, never quit attitude. The champion never backs down from the challenge and refuses to lose. The champion leaves the field of competition with no regrets, and played the game with a no retreat attitude. The champion played out the game with all the talent he or she had, win or lose the game. The result is respect and reverence from the competition, no matter the outcome of the game. If only we could live our daily life with the same attitude. What a difference the Christian team could make on the game field of life as well!

However, remember the preseason workouts are where we prepare ourselves to be the champion when the season begins. Games are won and lost on the practice field, classroom, and the in the training room long before the game whistle blows. No strain, no gain! Effort always equals results, whether on the game field or the playing field that God has placed us upon. Are you ready for the strain?

Coach

And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, [growing] into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head – Christ. From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part. Eph 4:11-16 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Godly Men Have Godly Mothers to Thank! Prov 31:1-9

DSCN2096Words of Wisdom: Godly Men Have Godly Mothers to Thank! Prov 31:1-9

The words of King Lemuel, an oracle that his mother taught him: What [should I say], my son? What, son of my womb? What, son of my vows? Don’t spend your energy on women or your efforts on those who destroy kings. It is not for kings, Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine or for rulers [to desire] beer. Otherwise, they will drink, forget what is decreed, and pervert justice for all the oppressed. Give beer to one who is dying, and wine to one whose life is bitter. Let him drink so that he can forget his poverty and remember his trouble no more. Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy. Prov 31:1-9 (HCSB)

Most men love their mothers but how many learned to listen to their mothers? Mothers through the ages have been caretakers of the family. They handle the basic needs of the household, and they feed the children, clean them up and after them, and they have kept us on schedule; but, how many have stopped to listen to the wisdom of their mothers? Consider carefully: who knows you better than your mother? Who has known you longer than anyone, including your father? Who has given so much of themselves to make sure you made it in this world? Who has more invested in you than your mother? In this world, what greater love exists than that of a mother and her children? Yet, after saying all that, how many believe and have listened to the wisdom of their mothers?

The mother in this passage is believed to be Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon. Considering the gift of wisdom that God bestowed upon Solomon, what could she possibly say to Solomon (a.k.a. Lemuel) that he should have known? Well, in looking back on the life of Solomon it was his “party hearty” attitude that got him in trouble. He took liberty with his libations, and also with the ladies, and his kingdom suffered and split after he was gone. Why didn’t he heed his mother’s wisdom? Now, it would be said from what we know that Solomon’s wisdom did help him to judge fairly and justly on the behalf of the poor and the rich in his kingdom, but evidently not in his own family. 

However, the advice his mother did speak to him he recorded for history to see. After learning how smart his mother was and realizing how things might have turned out had he listened he acknowledged her wisdom to be sound. Solomon realized there were times he passed over judging issues that may have been a nuisance and troublesome because other matters made more sense. However, he looks back and realizes even when it means taking a stand for what is right and just, and you have the authority and the ability, you need to make a difference, even when it is not always convenient or comfortable to do so.

Can you look back and hear the echoes of your mother speaking to you about what should matter most for you and your life? Have you heeded her words or just smiled and chosen to things your own way? I wonder when Solomon was told by God that he would receive the gift of wisdom, did God use his mother to be the bearer of much of the wisdom. Is the beginning of wisdom, learning to listen to those who love us the most? If you have or had a godly mother and she knew what it meant to seek after God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word – could she be God’s agent for sharing His wisdom to you? If so, tell your mother thanks for her faithfulness and how much she loved you. 

Coach

I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my forefathers did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day. Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy, clearly recalling your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois, then in your mother Eunice, and that I am convinced is in you also. Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. 2 Tim 1:3-7 (HCSB)

 

Words of Wisdom: A Biblical Argument For a Godly Education System, Proverbs 24:3-9

House Built by WisdomWords of Wisdom: A Biblical Argument For a Godly Education System, Proverbs 24:3-9

A house is built by wisdom, and it is established by understanding; by knowledge the rooms are filled with every precious and beautiful treasure. A wise warrior is better than a strong one; and a man of knowledge than one of strength; for you should wage war with sound guidance –victory comes with many counselors. Wisdom is inaccessible to a fool; he does not open his mouth at the gate. The one who plots evil will be called a schemer. A foolish scheme is sin, and a mocker is detestable to people. Prov 24:3-9 (HCSB)

If only all young people would listen carefully to God’s Word on this matter about investing in wisdom, understanding and knowledge, then they would apply themselves to their class work and listen to their teachers more intently. And, for the teacher, he or she would take their responsibilities more seriously as well. Wisdom, understanding and knowledge are the keys to the kingdom. Anything less is a shortcut to misery and destruction, and certain defeat in life. Not even strength can overcome the wise warrior. If that was the case the animals would rule the earth. We would be truly a planet of the apes!

The fool walks alone ignoring guidance, but the wise seek counsel and open their hearts, minds and soul to the advice of others. Whereas, the fool, seeks to be surrounded by others to only seek attention declaring their selfish interests. Even when a fool declares to have wisdom, the fool fails to understand the foolishness of his or her claim. All a fool accomplishes when in the counsel of fools is to scheme for their selfish aims, and their mockery is recognized easily by the people, and are rejected. Wisdom from the Lord has a reward, it allows the wise people to recognize and resist sin in this world. Wisdom clearly identifies the fool and his schemes so that the wise can avoid the snare of following the fool and his folly.

Lord, may our children find the value of education in our country, and more so, may the teachers and administrators recognize their God-given responsibility to inspire and teach the children onto the road of wisdom, understanding and knowledge. The Bible clearly states that teachers are held to a higher accountability, and maybe if more teachers and the administrators were reminded of that we would not need to be so concerned about the quality of education in America. Likewise, the Bible also states plainly that the parents are held to the highest accountability for instructing their children in the ways of wisdom. When parents accept their role, then the team effort of godly parents working in concert with godly teachers will finally begin to shape the hearts, minds and souls of our children as God intends us to do! Let us return back the education of children to focusing upon God’s will, God’s ways and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, and this world will never be the same again! We certainly would not need fallible FCATs, SATs, PSATs, ACTs, or any of hated standardized tests to identify whether education is working or not, and we could get about teaching to help our children in a manner that pleases God.

Coach 

He (Jesus) also told them a parable: “Can the blind guide the blind? Won’t they both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:39-40 (HCSB)

Not many should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgment; for we all stumble in many ways. James 3:1-2 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Keep Your Heart True, Even when it Hurts! Proverbs 23:26-24:2

heart4God55

Words of Wisdom: Keep Your Heart True, Even when it Hurts! Proverbs 23:26-24:2

My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. For a prostitute is a deep pit, and a forbidden woman is a narrow well; indeed, she sets an ambush like a robber and increases those among men who are unfaithful. Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has conflicts? Who has complaints? Who has wounds for no reason? Who has red eyes? Those who linger over wine, those who go looking for mixed wine. Don’t gaze at wine when it is red, when it gleams in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a snake and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and you will say absurd things. You’ll be like someone sleeping out at sea or lying down on the top of a ship’s mast. “They struck me, but I feel no pain! They beat me, but I didn’t know it! When will I wake up? I’ll look for another [drink].” Don’t envy evil men or desire to be with them, for their hearts plan violence, and their words stir up trouble. Prov 23:26-24:2 (HCSB) 

Yes, there will be times in every person’s life where there will be a broken heart, a lonely heart, or even an empty heart feeling. However, it is in these times we are tested by God. He wants us to strengthen our heart during these times, but often we stumble and turn our eyes and heart to wrong choices to mask over our heart ache. We make choices that we know are wrong but at the moment we only seek relief and easily justify the choices we make, even when we know we are doing wrong. Some seek illicit relationships to try and mend a broken or empty heart, and many choose alcohol or drugs to deaden the pain they feel. However, the remedy we justified only makes us worse off than before, and we only add a sick heart feeling to our loneliness, brokenness and emptiness. So why do we continue to do it? Is it because we see others and envy their carefree, devil-be-damned attitude, and believe such an attitude would keep us from experiencing the hurts of life? Think again! They have larger heart issues than us, and their evil actions and attitudes testify plainly to their heart’s emptiness, and the fear they have is killing them from the inside out.

Let’s face the reality of the world: there will be times you may feel brokenness, loneliness, and emptiness in your life. Yet, the purpose of these times is to appreciate the fullness and abundance that comes with right living with our heavenly Father; exhibited through our earthly relationships among family and friends. But you say that life can be so unfair. You ask, “Why do we have to experience times of woe, sorrow, conflicts, complaints, or feel painful wounds for no reason? Why do we have to experience these times that cause red eyes?” These times shape and mold who we are in this world. They reveal to whom we place our faith. It is easy to walk according to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word in the good times. It is awesome to experience the abundant life, but God does allow hard times to challenge us so that we are stronger, and we can appreciate His love and better understand His grace and mercy through those painful experiences. It is in those times of brokenness, loneliness and emptiness that our heart can find the presence of God in our life and be delivered through the “valley of shadows of death.” So during these times, don’t try to mask over or run from life’s heartaches, but call upon God to help you through those tough times, knowing that even in these tough times, God has a good purpose in all things for His greater good (Romans 8:28). 

Coach

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.” John 14:27 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: I Brought You Into this World and I Can Take You Out! Proverbs 23:19-25

Cosby Fatherly Wisdom

Words of Wisdom: I Brought You Into this World and I Can Take You Out! Proverbs 23:19-25

Listen, my son, and be wise; keep your mind on the right course. Don’t associate with those who drink too much wine, or with those who gorge themselves on meat. For the drunkard and the glutton will become poor, and grogginess will clothe [them] in rags. Listen to your father who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old. “Buy and do not sell” truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding. The father of a righteous son will rejoice greatly, and one who fathers a wise son will delight in him. Let our father and mother have joy, and let her who gave birth to you rejoice. Prov 23:19-25 (HCSB)

I remember Bill Cosby’s line to his son on his TV show years ago when Theo, his son, was challenging him and was making a lot of wrong choices in his life. The wise father that Bill Cosby’s character represented looked Theo in the eyes and said clearly, “Son, I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it too, whenever I want to.” In essence, Bill Cosby was demanding his son shape up or ship out. I guess sometimes we have to remind our kids that our instruction and correction has a purpose, and even when they do not agree, and often they will not – (I remember not liking everything my parents had to tell me) – and they must fall in line for their own good.

This proverb connects well with Psalm 1 which says we have a choice of those we wish to hang out with, but be leery of the consequences of those choices. Even when we just have a passing acquaintance with them, sooner or later that passing acquaintance grows into sharing in their activities which will get us into trouble. As parents, we should urgently impress upon our children that what seems cool can bring life-altering troubles upon them.

As a godly parent, do not fear your child’s rejection of the truth, wisdom, and understanding you try to offer them. As a parent we must never give up guiding, instructing, and correcting, as necessary, our children until they can learn to walk their own walk and talk their own talk, as a mature adult. (And, even then, remain in the background to offer advice as it is requested or needed as a reminder to what they should already know). And real joy is seeing our children walk and talk with their children seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. Then when you hear someone say “like father, like son” a smile comes to your face, and to the face of your son. His smile is his sign of appreciation for never giving up on him as he struggled throughout his life.

Coach

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the  Messiah has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent also loves his child. This is how we know that we love God’s children when we love God and obey His commands. For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands. Now His commands are not a burden, because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. And who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:1-5 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: God says to Parents: Instruct and Correct Your Children, Proverbs 23:9-18

Proverbs-23-13-14-PosterWords of Wisdom: God says to Parents: Instruct and Correct Your Children, Proverbs 23:9-18

Don’t speak to a fool, for he will despise the insight of your words. Don’t move an ancient property line, and don’t encroach on the fields of the fatherless, for their Redeemer is strong, and He will take up their case against you. Apply yourself to instruction and listen to words of knowledge. Don’t withhold correction from a youth; if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. Strike him with a rod, and you will rescue his life from Â Sheol. My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will indeed rejoice. My innermost being will cheer when your lips say what is right. Don’t be jealous of sinners; instead, always fear the Lord. For then you will have a future, and your hope will never fade. Prov 23:9-18 (HCSB)

Parents, the churches and schools are not responsible for training up your children. They are not responsible for instructing and correcting your children as a parent should. Churches and schools are places to learn how to be more effective in living the life you desire for them, but they should expect your children will understand “right and wrong,” and how to be respectful, responsible, and how to be relational with others.

When we examine what is wrong in America today with our school system, the fundamental problem is found in the homes. Parents are not parenting! They are either trying to live their lives vicariously through their children, and thus being a “buddy” rather than a parent, or worse, they are not there for their kids and offer nothing in the form of guidance. Parents are either too involved in their kids’ lives or too far removed from their lives. As a result our children are being dumped into the schools and into the church programs without the proper support at home. They are lacking the right instruction and correction regarding the choices they have to make as young people in this world. Thus is there any surprise when the children are not able to perform as they should in school or other youth organizations they are dumped into by their parents? These children are the ones who like their parents tend to cut every corner, or in other words: cheating others and themselves because they have no motivation or encouragement to do things the right ways, just try to get their own way.

A lot of society misunderstands this passage about the “rod” and the parent’s responsibility to utilize it upon their kids. The Bible does not advocate violent punishment against our children, in fact it says love them as the Lord loves them.

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)

The “rod” in the days of the writing of the proverbs was a sign of “authority” – for the shepherd it was a weapon against predators attacking the sheep. He did not use it on the sheep. He may use it to prod the wayward sheep back to the flock, but never beat it with it. Thus, I would contend that the parent should be vigilant in their responsibility to exercise their God-given responsibility to raise their children under proper instruction and correction as necessary, so that the child will likewise learn to walk according to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, just like you. When a child is raised by obedient, loving, God-fearing parents, the children prosper in school and enjoy the benefits of church and other community youth programs. The parents are involved in their lives, but without vacating their God-given role as parents. Parents must be visible in their children’s lives, and take an interest in what they are doing; knowing who they are associating with and what they are seeing and doing in their busy days.  Because, only then will they understand and experience the joy of  always fear(ing) the Lord and, then (they) will have a future, and (their) hope will never fade.”

When parents take back their rightful responsibility, then the schools, churches and community youth groups can do their responsibilities to the delight of all concerned and our children will benefit as God intended. God will then smile upon the parents and their children for a job well done.

Coach

“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 18:16-17 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Focus on Wealth and Lose Your Health, Proverbs 23:1-8

Flying-money

Words of Wisdom: Focus on Wealth and Lose Your Health, Proverbs 23:1-8

When you sit down to dine with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you, and stick a knife in your throat if you have a big appetite; don’t desire his choice food, for that food is deceptive. Don’t wear yourself out to get rich; stop giving your attention to it. As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears, for it makes wings for itself and flies like an eagle to the sky. Don’t eat a stingy person’s bread, and don’t desire his choice food, for as he thinks within himself, so he is. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit the little you’ve eaten and waste your pleasant words. Prov 23:1-8 (HCSB)

Too many young people begin life in the pursuit of wealth to determine their mark of success and happiness for their life. However, as we get older and the wisdom of years prevails, the pursuit of wealth was but a dream that had no finish line. After relationships have been damaged and lives damaged in the perilous pursuit, the truly wise have realized the pursuit was like chasing a phantom in the night: wealth is hard to define clearly and never able to fully grasp onto. Wealth is a fleeting vision that can cause a person to sacrifice their spiritual and physical health in its pursuit. Cautions are placed throughout God’s Word about the matter, and the Lord spoke more about the wicked pursuit of money as an evil that causes us to stumble before God, than anything else.

Does that mean wealth cannot happen for a Godly person? No, but it is a gift from God and what is one man’s wealth is another man’s poverty. Wealth is a fleeting term and thus to pursue it is an impossible journey that will bring a terrible consequence upon those who live their lives focused upon that quest. However, wealth, like success, comes upon those as a reward for those who focus their lives upon making right choices. When we live in the light of God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word our reward is contentment in the condition we find ourselves, which results in being satisfied with our wealth. We receive the satisfaction of realizing what we did not pursue, and we discover that wealth is not about money, but being content in life with what we have, and finding the value of relationships and the love of family and friends.

Why try to run a race that cannot be won, and has no finish line? Do not waste your physical and spiritual health in the pursuit of wealth, and you will discover what real wealth is! It is a gift that God will give you for keeping your priorities right. Focus upon what really matters and everything else will be taken care of by a loving and caring Lord who defines what an abundant life should be.

Coach

“Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness!

“No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money! 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: 19-24, 33-34 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Don’t Write a Check Your Life Cannot Cash! Proverbs 22:22-29

Keep the boundaries set before youWords of Wisdom: Don’t Write a Check Your Life Cannot Cash! Proverbs 22:22-29

Don’t rob a poor man because he is poor, and don’t crush the oppressed at the gate, for the Lord will take up their case and will plunder those who plunder them. Don’t make friends with an angry man, and don’t be a companion of a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. Don’t be one of those who enter agreements, who put up security for loans. If you have no money to pay, even your bed will be taken from under you. Don’t move an ancient property line that your fathers set up. Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand in the presence of kings. He will not stand in the presence of unknown men. Prov 22:22-29 (HCSB)

Why is it we take up relationships that are bad for our health and wealth? We know we are asked by the Lord to care for, not take advantage of, those who cannot take care of themselves, but many still feel they are an easy mark. Why should we risk the wrath of the Lord who stands in the gap for those who need Him the most? Yet, there are some who for the sake of their egos will tear down the helpless to make themselves appear better than they really are. The same people are the ones who are seeking companionship with anyone who will listen and they share their anger and frustration with others just like them. These people hang out together and gossip and murmur about everything, and never have solutions – but always offer a lot of complaints! Ever know anyone who argued just for the sake of arguing? The contentious just exist for stirring the emotions of others to make themselves feel better when everyone else is as miserable as they are. Should you get wrapped up in their ways? Beware, you too may learn to stir up contention on your own, and become what you originally hated – a person always angry and miserable about life.

Consider also the person who desires to be needed so bad that he or she agrees to get involved in a financial venture with someone who cannot possibly be successful but believes their venture is worth the risk anyway. Why would you risk what you do not have or cannot afford to lose? By definition that is as foolish as the fool who asked you to get involved in the venture in the first place. Encourage and advise a friend, but never offer collateral for a venture that you cannot afford to lose. The same advice goes for other investments in your life. Never invest money where there is risk of losing something that you truly cannot live without. But even more so, never agree to be a co-signer of a loan that exceeds your ability to pay as well. A friendship is crushed when the venture goes bad and the loan is called in. You are on the hook to the same extent as the friend, who likely is no longer a friend when you discover the extent of the loss you cannot cover. Never write a check that you cannot possibly cover in life! The cost always exceeds the original amount we thought.

Be honest with yourself and with others about who you are and what you have and don’t have. Work earnestly and honestly, and respect will be earned. It is respect that is the real profit from earnest and skilled work. The road may seem longer, but the reward is greater. This is the life that the Lord is pleased to see and to encourage. Commit yourself to be what the Lord has created you to be. Be diligent and seek to be the best you can be, and do it honestly and fairly. Do not risk what you have worked so hard to receive. Trust in the Lord when challenges comes, but do not complain. Seek God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word as your path to success and you will succeed. Then you will never worry about writing a check that you cannot cash, because the Lord will make certain you are abundantly rewarded and your needs supplied in life.

Coach

“I assure you: I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance. John 10:7-10 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Why Seek Wisdom When You Don’t Listen? Proverbs 22:17-21

Proverbs Wisdom to InvestWords of Wisdom: Why Seek Wisdom When You Don’t Listen? Proverbs 22:17-21

Listen closely, pay attention to the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge. For it is pleasing if you keep them within you and if they are constantly on your lips. I have instructed you today – even you – so that your confidence may be in the Lord. Haven’t I written for you thirty sayings about counsel and knowledge, in order to teach you true and reliable words, so that you may give a dependable report to those who sent you? Prov 22:17-21 (HCSB) 

Can you imagine what it must be like to be in God’s position everyday as He contends with all the prayers and petitions from us? So many times, over and over, God hears something like, “Lord, please help me to understand,” or “Lord, please give me the wisdom and words to handle this situation or this relationship issue.” Then God says okay and shares His wisdom to us only to have us reject the response because it does not suit our needs as we want it. Then when we experience the same problem, or even a worsening of the problem, we blame God for not solving the problem for us or not answering our prayer request. Then God slumps down upon His throne and scratches His head and smiles, and then He whispers to His Son and Spirit: “When will they ever learn to listen?”

There is a specific purpose for God’s written Word. It allows us to receive God’s wisdom in small, digestible bites as we have need. God’s Word allows us to carefully and prayerfully seek answers to life’s problems and challenges by examining not only specific wisdom about the matter, but also many examples and testimonies from God’s chosen people recorded in His Word. However, though we can read the words and see the meaning of the text before our eyes, often our heart wants to declare certain parts of His Word non-applicable to our situation. We declare our matter is unique! We think to ourselves, “I cannot do that, not in my situation.” 

However, if it is God’s wisdom that you seek, why can’t you realize that God’s wisdom is right before your eyes, and the answer to your problem and situation begins by trusting what He is sharing with you in black and white (sometimes red, when it is Jesus’ own words), even though it seems wrong in your eyes.

When we begin trusting our understanding above God’s wisdom on matters, we are walking in ways that are not God’s ways. When our will seems to deny God’s will, we are not trusting in the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe but our own frail and certainly imperfect desires over His desire for us. When we justify our understanding is not satisfied with His wisdom and guidance on a matter, we just told God, the One who knows all the stars by name and made you and has known you since before conception, that He does not understand and does have the right answers. 

Read the passage above once again and understand God is saying to your heart: stop and listen carefully to all He has to say to you. It is for your own good, and is the solution to your issues and problems in life. And, that God is interested in fairness and graciousness to all His creation, even those seemingly awful people that are making your life miserable. God will not give you release from the burden of the problem until you accept His wisdom and counsel on the matter. Only then will you learn the blessings that come from honoring God’s wisdom as the light upon your path in this life. Only then will peace come into your heart!

On matters of the heart: When we seek healing of relationships, only in God’s wisdom can you find not only the power to forgive, but also the ability to forget wrong-doings, including the guilt you may have when you look into your own mirror. When God heals the heart, no scars remain to remind us of the pain and hurt. So what are you waiting for? End the blame game and the name calling, or casting blame everywhere but where it truly belongs – within you. God is waiting for you to not only ask Him for wisdom and counsel, but also to listen and heed what He has to say about the matter, so that He can be the Lord that you desire Him to be for you. 

Coach

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise –dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. Phil 4:4-9 (HCSB)

 

Words of Wisdom: Choices Come With Consequences, Proverbs 22:13-16

wreck your life

Words of Wisdom: Choices Come With Consequences, Proverbs 22:13-16

The slacker says, “There’s a lion outside! I’ll be killed in the streets!” The mouth of the forbidden woman is a deep pit; a man cursed by the Lord will fall into it. Foolishness is tangled up in the heart of a youth; the rod of discipline will drive it away from him. Oppressing the poor to enrich oneself, and giving to the rich – both lead only to poverty. Prov 22:13-16 (HCSB)

God’s Word clearly offers each of us with a clear understanding that our life is a long journey full of daily, life-changing choices to be made. And, that each of those life-changing choices comes with consequences that many people try to ignore or refuse to believe will actually happen to them. However, the testimony of so many lives is clear: our choices come with consequences that certainly do alter our lives in some way. Relationships are developed, broken, or somehow altered by our choices. Our finances are impacted in some way by our choices and the consequences that follow. Our future itself is determined by the present choices we make in life! When we realize the reality of our choice-making that occurs throughout our life, would it not be in our best interest to walk wiser when we have these life-changing choices to make? Would it not make sense to seek the wisdom to make the right choices to benefit from the right consequences? Why would we continue to make the choices we do when the consequences clearly indicate we are making the wrong decisions, which is evident we do not have the benefit of the wisdom we need to be successful in life as God intended for us?

For some of us we become paranoid and fear rules our life – like the man who sees lions in the streets and fears going outside to face life each day. For some, they run to the wrong type of companionship that only brings loneliness and broken relationships into their lives. Some of us try to go through life as a fool avoiding instruction and guidance from loving parents and sincere friends. Some selfishly fight through life at the expense of others only to discover they are the real one who they have taken advantage of!

Our lifestyle choices produce clear consequences, yet so many think those consequences only happen to fools and ignorant people, but sadly they discover the fool and ignorant person who suffers from their decisions is most often found in the mirror.

The hope for all of us is the same. No one can walk through life on her or his own. We all need to realize that to live the abundant life that God intended, we need to invest in learning and adopting into our lives God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word! As we walk in life with God as our guide, our choices are right choices and as a result we realize that the consequences we will face will be right and beneficial consequences. Relationships flourish with right choices. Finances are more than sufficient when we make right choices. Our future is more secure and fruitful with the making of right choices. When we have God as our guide, we realize that our choices have consequences that we do not fear but enjoy making each day.

If what you are doing is not working, what choice might you make to change the consequences in your life? Think about it!

Coach

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to this worldly age, according to the ruler of the atmospheric domain, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and by nature we were children under wrath, as the others were also. But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the  Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved! He also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace in [His] kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift – not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation – created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should  walk in them. Eph 2:1-10 (HCSB)

 

Words of Wisdom: Yes, You Reap What You Sow! Proverbs 22:7-12

godonomics_stillWords of Wisdom: Yes, You Reap What You Sow! Proverbs 22:7-12

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender. The one who sows injustice will reap disaster, and the rod of his fury will be destroyed. A generous person will be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. Drive out a mocker, and conflict goes too; then lawsuits and dishonor will cease. The one who loves a pure heart and gracious lips – the king is his friend. The Lord’s eyes keep watch over knowledge, but He overthrows the words of the treacherous. Prov 22:7-12 (HCSB)

Those who invest in taking advantage of others for the pursuit of personal gain will in his or her due season realize that what they perceive as profit is actually a loss! The one who steps over, around, and many times upon others to get ahead may feel empowered by the gains they have made at the expense of others, but the price they pay for such self-centered, self-serving, and self-interested ways is ultimately a lonely self-only existence. Sooner or later, they have misused even their last friend and sacrificed their family to serve their personal goals, and to what aim did it serve? For many of these people their egos are writing checks that their lives cannot cash!

For many others in this world, God’s Word clearly guides them to live a more secure life by never becoming a borrower. Our life should seek to give freely to those in need, never with profit as our motive. When we owe no one, we become free to help others.

Likewise, those who seek to obey God’s Word avoid those in life that freely gossip, murmur, and generally just enjoy mocking others to make themselves feel better. If you are one of those, with these self-serving people out of your life, you will be less tempted to engage in harming others by your words or attitudes as well. Remember, you can do more harm with what you say than what you can actually do.

Therefore, seek out others who like you desire to have a pure heart and seek to please God by seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. When this is your focus and goal in life, you discover you share a common friend, and His name is Lord Jesus! Only the friends of God seek His face and know the joy of God’s favor and blessings. However, the treacherous and self-seeking are walking away from God to serve their own interests and miss out the abundant life God has available for all who seek Him. They find their life is empty and fleeting, and they can never feel settled or satisfied by what they describe for themselves as success.

Which path do you desire for your life! Walking on your own away from God, or run the race toward and seeking God’s warm embrace? Which offers the best investment for your life?

Coach 

Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone considers himself to be something when he is nothing, he is deceiving himself. But each person should examine his own work, and then he will have a reason for boasting in himself alone, and not in respect to someone else. For each person will have to carry his own load. The one who is taught the message must share his goods with the teacher. Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Gal 6:2-9 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Is Humility, Honor and Health Found in Your Name? Proverbs 22:1-6

name - reputation

Words of Wisdom: Is Humility, Honor and Health Found in Your Name? Proverbs 22:1-6

A good name is to be chosen over great wealth; favor is better than silver and gold. The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord made them both. A sensible person sees danger and takes cover but the inexperienced keep going and are punished. The result of humility is  fear of the Lord, along with wealth, honor, and life. There are thorns and snares on the path of the crooked; the one who guards himself stays far from them. Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Prov 22:1-6 (HCSB)

How will you be remembered? Take a walk through a cemetery and read the headstones. I believe this little walk will be enlightening, because as you read the epitaphs written about those who were buried, you will learn a little about what people thought about others just like you. Sometimes, more interestingly, what is not said shouts louder than the actual words etched into the stones. But the one common item on every tombstone is the person’s name. While they were alive their name had some kind of value, good or bad, famous or infamous. We all have our name, and as time passes, how people get to know us is reflected in how people know our name. How would people talk about you? Do people desire to be associated with your name?

The Bible makes a big thing about calling upon the name of the Lord, and for some people today that seems to mean the Lord’s name offers some supernatural incantation that miraculously hides all our wickedness and makes us something special! However, that is not what the people in the context of the times when the Bible was written believed. To them, and in many Middle Eastern countries still today, one’s name is very valuable. It is important to them because their name’s reputation honors their family’s reputation, which they inherited when they were born into this world. It is important to them to live in a manner that would please all their forefathers. Their name is more valuable than wealth or property. So, in that light, when one calls upon the name of someone else, they are claiming that name as if they desire to be adopted under that honorable name, and they commit to living in manner that honors that family’s name, as well. So in the Bible when it says that the Lord’s name is above all other names on earth or in heaven, it is a name that is the most honorable and influential name above all other names. Thus, it is the most valuable name to desire to be connected to. To call upon the name of the Lord should not be taken lightly as His name should cause us to tremble in ultimate respect and reverence because of who is represented behind that name. To claim His name and commit to honor it by the way we live our life is an awesome decision, but also an awesome responsibility. However, the Lord enjoys us claiming His name, even works in our life so that we have that opportunity, and when we make that decision for the right reason, He offers us His Spirit as His seal of our adoption into His family. 

Money cannot buy honor for our name! Money can get our name recognized, but not honored. I think of those few people who are extremely rich and who build huge monuments upon which they place their names, as if to say “I am great and powerful!” However, it is sad that one needs to erect their extravagant billboards to try and get their name honored, but the truth is, all a person can do with their money like that is get their name known, but never honored. Money cannot determine eternal destination, and sadly makes many of us believe that our name alone is sufficient and that we need not honor any other name.

With these thoughts in mind, how important is it that we teach our youth today the value of their own name and the respect and desire to be associated with the name above all other names, the Lord, Our Creator, Savior, and Master of all. The way to teach others is to live a life that seeks after God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word every step of every day, as we seek to honor the name we claim to be: Christian. How will you be remembered? 

Coach

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then He called a child to Him and had him stand among them. “ I assure you,” He said, “Unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child – this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one child like this in My name welcomes Me.” Matt 18:1-5 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Lies Only Fool Fools, Proverbs 21:27-31

proverbs21-31-2Words of Wisdom: Lies Only Fool Fools, Proverbs 21:27-31

The sacrifice of a wicked person is detestable – how much more so when he brings it with ulterior motives! A lying witness will perish, but the one who listens will speak successfully. A wicked man puts on a bold face, but the upright man considers his way. No wisdom, no understanding, and no counsel [will prevail] against the Lord. A horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory comes from the Lord. Prov 21:27-31 (HCSB)

Whether by words or deeds, our lies serve no purpose but to ease our own conscience about our shortcomings in life. We tend to try and mask over the truth to make us appear better than we really are before others. Even in the church, many put on a good show as they dress up in their best and appear to bring their generous offering, but they are really struggling inside about whom they are and who they really serve. These members of the church can be labeled the self-righteous because they challenge others to be as “holy” as them, and talk about those who are not. However, what the self-righteous are really doing is casting out lies to fool themselves about their life choices. In fact, they are not worshiping the Lord, but presenting themselves before others as their own lord.

Those who carefully consider their ways and the ways of others realize their need of seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. The truly righteous do not compare themselves to anyone, but seek to live as the Lord leads. Whereas, the self-righteous live their entire life comparing others to themselves and they seek no counsel from the Lord. Even when they appear to be reading God’s Word, they create their own convenient interpretation of it to fit their needs and self-serving purposes.

The self-righteous trust only their own resources, but the righteous understand the victory in this life comes solely from the Lord, and that we stand in the way of ourselves if we lose sight of the Lord as the sole source of our wisdom, understanding, and counsel.

The Lord Himself prayed for those who placed Him on the Cross, and thus we too should pray for those we recognize in our midst that do likewise everyday in their lives. Our words and actions serve no benefit in confronting them, but our prayers and ongoing lifestyle choices may help them to see the Lord working through us, and they may realize the lies they have been telling themselves all this time. In the final analysis: lies only fool the fool!

Coach

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided His clothes and cast lots. The people stood watching, and even the leaders kept scoffing: “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is God’s  Messiah, the Chosen One!” Luke 23:34-35 (HCSB)

 

Words of Wisdom: The Fool, the Proud, the Arrogant! Proverbs 21:20-26

proverbs-21-23-glove-stuffWords of Wisdom: The Fool, the Proud, the Arrogant! Proverbs 21:20-26

Precious treasure and oil are in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man consumes them. The one who pursues righteousness and faithful love will find life, righteousness, and honor. The wise conquer a city of warriors and bring down its mighty fortress. The one who guards his mouth and tongue keeps himself out of trouble. The proud and arrogant person, named “Mocker,” acts with excessive pride. A slacker’s craving will kill him because his hands refuse to work. He is filled with craving all day long, but the righteous give and don’t hold back. Prov 21:20-26 (HCSB) 

“Mocker” is the ring leader of a gang that many like to hang out with. He is distasteful and dastardly in all he does. Yet, he never has a shortage of eager and willing gang members wanting to join his pride of hungry, ravenous lions. “Mocker” walks tall as long as he is surrounded by his posse of proud warriors, and there is nothing they will not do to take what they want when they want it, and to control others for their selfish and prideful purposes.

However, “Mocker” and his gang have a huge weakness: they can do nothing for themselves. They exist solely upon what others have, and never upon what they themselves are able to do, except what they can swindle or steal from others. They serve no value to others in society. They are a cancer that eats away like a parasite upon the living. They leave death wherever their path takes them. However, “Mocker” and his gang members are blinded by their selfish ambitions to believe shortcuts in life are better than hard work. They believe others exist for their purposes, and do not hesitate to humiliate and intimidate to get what they want. But, their pride, which blinds them to the truth, fails to offer them a clear vision of their destiny “a Dead End!” So when you run into this gang and become a victim their foolish pride and arrogance do not hold back! Give them what they seem to need, and let them continue on their path to destruction. Maybe say a prayer for those who blindly follow the gang in hopes some will see the error of their ways before it is too late.

You see, those who seek God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word know to walk right by “Mocker’s” recruiting station where he is looking for more young men and women who believe they have what it takes to be one who is “the fool”, “the proud” and “the arrogant.” The righteous are wise to the “mocker’s” attraction, and they know that he seeks death, but they seek life; he seeks lies and deception, but they seek truth; he seeks all the wrong ways, but they seek right ways! While “the mocker” lives by his arrogant words, the righteous live by their wise choices that can tear down the false walls of pride that “the mocker” and his gang try to build. The righteous can see through the facade they created, and can sense the choice is simple: accept their invitation that leads to death, or walk away and follow the path that leads to life. Wisdom is the one weapon that the “mocker” cannot overcome, and he will stand defeated as the wise pass him by.

Where are you today? Are you one of the wise, or one susceptible to the temptation of the “mocker” and his gang? Do you listen to words of others for guidance, or do you have God as your guide and can stand among the wise in this world and discover life?

Coach

Now I implore you, brothers, watch out for those who cause dissensions and pitfalls contrary to the doctrine you have learned. Avoid them; for such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. The report of your obedience has reached everyone. Therefore I rejoice over you. But I want you to be wise about what is good, yet innocent about what is evil. Romans 16:17-19 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: A Happy Husband Knows a Happy Wife is a Happy Life! Proverbs 21:9-19

Hapy WIfeWords of Wisdom: A Happy Husband Knows a Happy Wife is a Happy Life! Proverbs 21:9-19 

Better to live on the corner of a roof than to share a house with a nagging wife. A wicked person desires evil; he has no consideration for his neighbor. When a mocker is punished, the inexperienced become wiser; when one teaches a wise man, he acquires knowledge. The Righteous One considers the house of the wicked; He brings the wicked to ruin. The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will himself also call out and not be answered. A secret gift soothes anger, and a covert bribe, fierce rage. Justice executed is a joy to the righteous but a terror to those who practice iniquity. The man who strays from the way of wisdom will come to rest in the assembly of the departed spirits. The one who loves pleasure will become a poor man; whoever loves wine and oil will not get rich. The wicked are a ransom for the righteous, and the treacherous, for the upright. Better to live in a wilderness than with a nagging and hot-tempered wife. Prov 21:9-19 (HCSB)

A number of years ago I attended a Bill Gaither concert and walked out of there with a smile on my face because during the performance I heard wisdom expounded that was like gold nuggets revealed to a desperate prospector. During the night one of the performers was sharing with Bill Gaither about marriage and the performer (I apologize that I cannot remember his name) said to Bill Gaither what the secret of his long and successful marriage was: A Happy Wife is a Happy Life! When I first heard it, I was like so many who were in attendance who experienced a moment of silence until the light went on and all the smart men went – “I got it!” And, we all roared together. We all had the opportunity to find the nuggets of gold that could impact our marriage for the rest of our life. And, ever since then whenever my wife and I had to make a decision about something, especially one of those moments that maybe I was not too keen on, these little words went off in my head, “happy wife, happy life.” The next words that would come out of mouth would be something like, “sweetie, okay, that’s fine with me.” A little sacrifice on my part brings joy and happiness into the relationship that more than makes the relationship I have had for 40 years an awesome, and continuing to grow, mutual love affair. And it is ironic, she has on more than one occasion rewarded me with a sacrifice on her part knowing what I would like to do and she would eagerly be willing to allow me to do what I may have wanted to do instead.

Now, whenever I am around younger married couples, I advise the husbands in a private moment what the secret is to their marriage happiness and I whisper: A Happy Wife is a Happy Life! And, I love it when their eyes light up and say, “I got it!” 

Consider all the attitudes expressed in this passage that are boxed in my two passages related to marriage and the husband versus wife relationship. Avoid the hot-tempered, frustrated, nagging wife syndrome; because you (the husband) have the power to cure the problem, because let’s face it, we usually are somehow the source of the problem by our selfish attitudes. We often stir up wrath by our words that mock, which can come from some resentment or grudge we hold that only bubbles up from our wicked thoughts. Yet, many do find a gift, or in some cases, a bribe to ease the anger we cause, such as flowers, a dinner, chocolates, or, of course, a Hallmark moment to express sentiments we cannot utter ourselves. However, remember when we try to satisfy our selfish lusts, our way, we face the company of others lust like us: those who are separated emotionally, mentally, and sadly physically from those they love the most, and are paying a huge price for their infidelity. So consider wisely the ransom one has to pay to have his own way! You as the husband are responsible and accountable to God directly for learning how to build a marriage relationship in the light of God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. The fruit God promises us is through a happy wife in a happy life. Think on it! (And all the wives said, “Amen.” But, remember God’s direction to you as the wife of your husband: A Happy Wife leads to a Happy Life that is a Shared Life!)

Coach 

To sum up (Ephesians 5:22-32), each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband. Eph 5:33 (HCSB)

Invest 5 minutes to look at the marriage guidebook: God’s Word!

Words of Wisdom: Your Being Defines Your Doing, Proverbs 21:2-8

Selfless v Selfish Motives

Words of Wisdom: Your Being Defines Your Doing, Proverbs 21:2-8

All the ways of a man seem right to him, but the Lord evaluates the motives. Doing what is righteous and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. The lamp that guides the wicked – haughty eyes and an arrogant heart – is sin. The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit, but anyone who is reckless only becomes poor. Making a fortune through a lying tongue is a vanishing mist, a pursuit of death. The violence of the wicked sweeps them away because they refuse to act justly. A guilty man’s conduct is crooked, but the behavior of the innocent is upright. Prov 21:2-8 (HCSB) 

In the final evaluation of all matters about yourself, it is “your being” that defines “your doing.” We may appear outwardly doing a lot of right things – our actions may appear to others as right and good, but in the end, God looks to the heart of matter. God is not impressed with our acts as much as our attitudes and ulterior motives. Consider why we do what we do, such as attending church, giving our offerings or donations to good causes, or joining a community service activity. Think about your reasons for really participating in these activities, is it always selfless or could there be some underlying selfish reason for investing in the activity? Could your motive have been a sense of guilt, a desire to be seen as a good person for professional reasons, or even an inward need to show up or off to others to appear better in some manner? Certainly none of us would ever dream of being inspired by such motives, but we know others who may be driven by such bad motives or others as bad. However, let us be reminded God considers the attitude of the heart that inspires our outward actions – our being behind the doing!

If we have any high and mighty – haughty and arrogant – motives God will know because He sees the “sin” motivations in our heart. Often what appears to be diligence to such a person is recklessness before the eyes of God. The vanity of the wrong motivated person blinds them as they calculate exactly 10% for their tithe if they are legalistic and daring others to match their faithfulness, or they are the ones who give sparingly as an act of coerced compliance. Either attitude is wrong in the eyes of God because the motives are selfish and self-serving. Just as bad, when we go to church because we always have done so, because it is a weekly social event that justifies sitting through the service, or because we feel we need to be seen in church. All are improper motives that explain certain behaviors in church. 

God desires simply that we do what we do because we love Him and want to know Him better, and that likewise we love others so much that we seek their fellowship. God is pleased when we give generously without calculating the cost of the gift, whether money or our time. God is pleased when we serve in the community because we genuinely seek to help others as a manifestation of God’s love towards us. God is pleased when we attend church because it is our social time with Him, not others, although sharing in the midst of like-minded attitudes leads to genuine fellowship through worship.

What are your motives of doing? Have you checked your being? If not, know that God is! 

Coach

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: What is More Valuable – Physical Strength or Wisdom? Proverbs 20:29-21:1

change by painWords of Wisdom: What is More Valuable – Physical Strength or Wisdom? Proverbs 20:29-21:1

The glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is gray hair. Lashes and wounds purge away evil, and beatings cleanse the innermost parts. A king’s heart is a water channel in the Lord’s hand: He directs it wherever He chooses. Prov 20:29 – 21:1 (HCSB)

This question above gets easier the older one gets! Why?  Because in time you will learn that it is not how hard you work, though working hard is important; it is how smart you work that separates you from everyone else in life. 

Experience and knowledge are the building blocks that create wisdom, and you cannot rush either as you mature in life. I believe, as I look back in my own life, I see times when I have been more physically fit, and certainly less than fit, but as I set my mind to it, I realize the health advantages of fitness and strive to strengthen my body again. However, I have always been on the path to being wiser, because I am investing in developing wisdom in every situation and stage of my life. What grows my wisdom? All the beatings, scars, wounds – received and many even self-inflicted! They are called practical life experiences. If you have arrived at your station in your present life unscathed, I would venture to say you have invested nothing and have isolated yourself from living life as God intended us to live it. His own Son did not live His 33 years on this earth without His share of beatings, wounds, and scars because He was not afraid to invest His life for a purpose.

Just like our Lord was used by God for His greater purposes in the grand scheme of life, God intends to use each one of us likewise. We must be willing to prepare ourselves to become willing and capable partners with God so that we may be effective channels of blessings for God’s plans to impact the world as a positive influence. Our preparation to become effective channels for God use entails physical, mental, and spiritual maturity, which enables us to recognize and receive God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, and apply it to our life on a daily basis. Then God will light the way so that we may have the confidence and ability to let God’s blessings flow through us to impact others. For this reason we realize in God’s plan: the more we allow ourselves to be used to reach others with God’s blessings, the more we are blessed by God. We in essence learn what an overabundant life is all about. 

This is a wonderful reminder of the greatest commandment and the importance of Jesus’ comment about the commandment like unto the first: We are to love God with all out heart, mind, soul, and strength, and then love others as we love ourselves! When we strengthen our heart, mind, soul, and strength so that we can love God with all we are capable of loving Him, then we are rewarded by learning how to love ourselves and all those that God places before us as our neighbors in life. Thus, may I propose that where love is present, God’s blessings are close behind?

Are you strong enough? Are you wise enough to follow after the Lord to satisfy the thirst that you have on your own? Or, are you not only willing but now able to walk away from the limitations of self and accept the Lord as your Savior? If so, you now have a personal trainer for life who will help you become physically, mentally and spiritually stronger than you have been on your own, and as a result you become ultimately wiser than you thought you could become, because you realize wisdom is a gift from God for those to pursue it. 

Coach

“If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink! The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.”John 7:37-38 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Virtue and Morality Key to Godly Leadership, Proverbs 20:23-28

spirit of man candle of lord

Words of Wisdom: Virtue and Morality Key to Godly Leadership, Proverbs 20:23-28

Differing weights are detestable to the Lord, and dishonest scales are unfair. A man’s steps are determined by the Lord, so how can anyone understand his own way? It is a trap for anyone to dedicate something rashly and later to reconsider his vows. A wise king separates out the wicked and drives the threshing wheel over them. A person’s breath is the lamp of the Lord, searching the innermost parts. Loyalty and faithfulness deliver a king; through loyalty he maintains his throne. Prov 20:23-28 (HCSB) 

One of the guiding principles of America’s form of republican democracy is that our government officials should be virtuous and moral individuals, serving the best interests of the people they represent and not other conflicting interests, such as special interest groups or, worse of all, their own personal interests. As long as our elected officials are thinking and acting on the behalf of the people then the best decisions will arise from careful and thoughtful deliberations. When compromise is needed, and it will since it too is a guiding principle of our government system since our founding, then virtuous and moral people will meet and decide the give-and-take that is needed for the best of all the people that will be impacted by their decision. However, it is not always that way!

Since the earliest days of civilization, kings and their various representatives, such as tax collectors, have been driven mostly by their own agendas and personal gain. The result: the people have been forced to endure the decisions of a tyrannical government, who have ruled by power and authority over the people through the liberal use of fear and intimidation. In time change comes but most often only to change who is ruling, not the way the ruling is done. We must admit the age old statement that “power corrupts” is true, and that it remains a guiding principle we must contend with even in America. However, it will not always be that way! 

In America, the Lord has given us hope in an election process by the people of many good, virtuous and moral representatives, and they have been able to sway many good decisions in our government for the good of the people. However, there still are so many that seek to tip the scales to their personal advantage, their own special interest ways, and they prefer to conduct their affairs in secrecy, so that their real motives and decisions are not revealed to the light of day. When they are in control, the Lord is our only hope until we can exercise our God-given right to voice our disapproval by voting new representatives into office. In the meantime, our hope lies in our God-endowed system of government whereby it is ironic that corrupt representatives guided by personal and special interests check each other on many actions, preventing many really bad decisions making it into law, affecting the people. Fortunately, God’s ways are not man’s ways!

What can we do? Are we victims of a broken system of government? No, the Lord Himself guided our founding fathers into forming this better form of government, and though it has grown into an almost overwhelming leviathan that lurks to quench its almost unquenchable hunger for more power, the Lord has intervened and guided the people to elect new people that have tamed the beast and the people have benefited. Although many of us feel virtue and morality is being ground under by the threshing wheel of a run-a-muck government, the truth is in the Lord’s timing, His threshing wheel will overwhelm the wicked in government, and His will, His ways and His wisdom according to His Word will prevail. For our country to continue to be the beacon of hope in this world, we must believe this fundamental ideal, and pray for God’s blessings and grace to continue to flow abundantly, correcting the wrong, and lighting the path once again for our country from Washington to our local neighborhoods.

Yes, we should pray daily for our leaders and our country’s well being, but also pray for guidance for what you can do to make change happen, such as seek out new godly, virtuous, moral leaders that we can count on to do the right thing once elected into office. 

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)