Category Archives: advice

Motivational or Motivated?

He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue. -Proverbs 28:23, KJV

This verse reminds me of a couple different people today.

One is many pastors today who preach a message of happiness, comfort, and/or wealth. They are quick to speak well of others, yet they hesitate to speak of sin.

The second are those who do a better job of calling out wrong behavior, such as Jordan Peterson and Simon Sinek.

I bring them up because they are popular. Why are they popular? Because of what I just said: they are not afraid to tell people that something is wrong and needs to change.

Regardless of whether you agree with them, these men (and others like them) show that people are hungry for direction.

Simon Sinek in particular has very few detractors, and all he basically says is stop being lazy, stop making excuses, and interact with people in this world … in person, not online!

I have met many people who used to belong to one of those churches in which they were taught that God wants us happy. They left when the only response they got to difficulties in life was that they lacked faith or hadn’t go en enough money to the church.

It was people like Peterson and Sinek that turned their lives around.

We, as Christians, should not be afraid to lovingly call out sin while drawing others to faith in Christ. If we have the truth, we should be bold in proclaiming it, not worried that we might offend someone.

This is the truth that will change their lives, both now and for eternity.

Are we being more like motivational speakers, or are we motivated by the power of Christ to change our world?

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Pass the Java

coffee-839233_1920I’m a morning person.  Case in point, as I sit to write this, it is almost 7:45AM and I’ve already been up for an hour and half.

And it’s Saturday.

Almost six decades ago, my parents named me Dawn.  Dad said it had to do with the time of day I decided to make my debut, but I wonder if God was also implanting a personality trait.

Or defect, depending on your internal clock.

I LOVE mornings!  I love to watch the sunrise, to be woken up by the song birds.  Staying in bed is like putting sugar in iced tea—a perfect waste of a good thing (with apology to my southern neighbors.)  I’m recently retired, so every day is Saturday (except Sunday), and if I see the clock at 7, I’ve overslept!

When I was working, however, I realized I needed to be a bit more toned down when entering the office, which was usually just after 7AM.  I had already been up over two hours, but my comrades may have only been up thirty minutes with no coffee yet, poor things. 

None of my three progeny are morning people, and I have been informed by one of them that I am too loud when I enter a room.  Thus, I have tried to learn to be more sensitive to my morning-challenged friends.

Evidently, mine is not a recent phenomenon:

A loud and cheerful greeting early in the morning
    will be taken as a curse!

I guess Solomon needed his morning coffee as well.

This verse actually brings us to a somewhat larger issue, however, that of an overall sensitivity to circumstance in general, and personality differences in particular.  One thing I have found most informative about some of the personality tests out there has been not only the ability to recognize different personality traits in people, but more importantly how to better communicate within that person’s specific style.

In other words, how can I make my communication more effective?  Paul may have had this in mind also:

Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.  I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.

Spreading the Good News—that’s ultimately why I’m here. 

Which means I can at least be patient while someone drinks his first cuppa-joe. 

Proverbs 27:14; 1 Corinthians 9:22,23 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Mind Your Own Business

He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. –Proverbs 26:17, KJV

Gossiping is pretty bad. We all agree. It causes more harm than helps, which is frequently the intent of the gossiper, though often times it is merely ill-advised but done by those who like drama.

What is just as bad is the person who listens in on conversations and then tries to take over the conversation.

It is true that sometimes a stranger can offer a bit of insight or resolution to a disagreement, but this verse is not about these nice people who politely admit to overhearing and offer help.

No, Proverbs 26:17 is about the person who hears just a little tidbit of a conversation (or argument) and assumes they are the authority. They know all about this issue, and you would not only be wise to listen but they will make sure you do!

And the majority of the time, this person has taken that tidbit completely out of context.

Now matters are worse, and either the people involved are stirred up to more hatred toward each other or this poor fool may feel the wrath of those who just a moment ago were upset with each other.

Moral of the story: mind your own business.

Unless there is a legitimate concern for one or all people involved – like a fist fight about to break out, or they are causing a major disturbance … like in a restaurant … – they can work it out themselves or will find someone to help.

Or you are a masochist who likes being verbally and physically beat up. But then you have even more issues than we are discussing today.


When to Answer the Fool

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. -Proverbs 26:5, KJV

This is a fairly easy verse to understand: tell someone when they are doing something wrong, otherwise they may think they have it all figured out and are doing nothing wrong.

I could stop there, but perhaps some examples could help.

Children need to be told what is right and wrong, or they grow up thinking everything they do is okay and even good, if they survive! (My parents told me not to run I to the street, for example.)

A gossip will continue spreading lies and mistruths unless they are confronted and corrected.

Most importantly, people are on their way to Hell, thinking they are okay or even right in their beliefs, unless the Gospel is shared with them.

There are times to know when to stop and “shake the dust off your feet,” as mentioned in the previous verse or by Jesus Himself (Matthew 10, Luke 9, Mark 6). That is for another post!


Trying Not To Be Fools With His Words

Many readers of Proverbial Thought may enjoy the thoughts we share each day.

Maybe you do not understand some our thought process.

I for one do enjoy writing out these devotional thoughts for others to enjoy, but it weighs heavy on my heart.

For starters, read Proverbs 26. It will only take a few minutes. What really strikes me is the number of verses about the wastefulness, follies, and even dangers of fools speaking proverbs.

We are basically putting it put there that we are responsible for affecting the way people think!

In fact, when I was a new believer of Jesus Christ, I knew I should “do my part” and read at least something in the Bible. I chose James, for “not being too long and possibly boring me, nor too short and making me look lazy.”

Ouch. This was the first thing that stood out to me (in my NIV Bible at the time):

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
James 3:1

I understood that to teach others means I would be scrutinized myself, both by other people and by God.

That terrified little 16-year-old me! (Even at six feet tall at that time …)

Honestly, it should be intimidating to all of us.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

God has an expectation. If you teach others about the Word of God – which all believers should in some way – you are expected to know what it says and how to explain it adequately.

This is the struggle we deal with every day for Proverbial Thought, and for many of us, who are pastors and ministry leaders, as a daily concern.

Therefore, we write to help others (you, dear reader!) to be better equipped to share your faith, even if mostly about the Proverbs.

If you are a follower of the Lord, you should be able to share the reason for your faith. Use any tool available to you to grow, starting with regular Bible study, researching what others have said, and meeting with fellow believers (by going to church, attending Bible studies, meeting together just to talk, and serving togwther).

Hopefully, we have played a role in your growth and not written foolishly.


Be an Earring? Yep.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear. -Proverbs 25:11‭-‬12, KJV

We must be willing to hear the truth.

If you are willing to hear that you are a sinner in need of a Savior, you can be saved. If you can hear that you have messed up and that there is hope for change, that becomes good news. (This is what verse 12 means.)

If you are struggling with something – whether a sin, a discomfort, a pain, or a problem – it can be difficult to listen.

A fitly spoken word is one that cuts through the pain and worry, it cuts through the distractions, and touches the humanity of the hearer. How many times have we been hurting, and that one person comes alongside, comforts us, and we feel safe to trust listen?

Now Apply It

There are many things wrong in our world today. They lead to pain, discomfort, and problems, and frequently they come from sin.

Now, who would you rather listen to:

  1. The person who attacks your intentions, character, and way of life, or
  2. The person who can connect with you, offer hope, and then points out your part?

Obviously, we would all listen to the second person more readily. Both point out the problem and the sin, but only one treats you with respect.

Which person are you?

Do you vilify those you disagree with or who cause problems, or do you seek to resolve things peacefully?

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:18‭-‬19 KJV

We are to be peace-makers.

And remember, do not take attacks from others personally. Just like us, they need to be washed in Christ’s atoning blood and forgiveness. Show grace. They are hurting, too.

Let them see Christ. You are the gold earring they will see as they whisper in His ear. You are the gold necklace they find when resting on His shoulder.


Define free.

laptop-3087585_1920If you are reading this and you haven’t yet taken advantage the various WordPress University sites, I highly recommend you look into it!  First of all, they’re free. 

Well, okay, we all know what that means.  There is a cost somewhere to somebody.  Those who write for and administrate the courses have to get a paycheck somehow, and time is money.  So in the interest of accuracy, we’ll just say it’s FREE to those of us who take the courses.

Alright, try again.  There is no “pecuniary remuneration” on the part of the student, but one does need to invest a currency concerning which there is no refund—TIME.  To get out of the course, you have to dig, experiment, and try, try again.  These courses are intentional, at times frustrating, but to new writers, very rewarding.  As usual, you get out of it what you put into it. Continue reading