Category Archives: discipline

T-bones or corncobs?

bag-147782_1280I love the story of the Prodigal Son, on several layers.  Did you know that the word prodigal doesn’t mean “sinful”?  It means extravagant.  Wasteful.  Lavish.  I guess I didn’t know that until well into my adulthood.  The kid in the story certainly exemplifies the concept quite well.

But do you ever wonder why that father acquiesced to his son’s request for the early payout on his inheritance?  Maybe I just don’t know the Jewish custom back in that day, or maybe it isn’t relevant to the point Jesus was trying to make, because here’s the thing:

An inheritance obtained too early in life
    is not a blessing in the end.

This kid was in no way ready to handle his inheritance wisely.  His father had to know that, but handed over his intended wealth anyway and, well, we know the end result…something about trading T-bone steaks for empty corncobs.

Recent brain studies are telling us more about the frontal lobe of the human brain; in particular, how this part of our brain (which determines good judgment, actions/consequences, as well as being the reasonable brakes on otherwise impulsive emotions) does not fully mature—are you ready for this one?—until early to mid-twenties. 

I wonder how long it takes my spiritual frontal lobe to mature? 

Here’s an example: I heard a pastor say, (see? I really do listen!), that many times God intentionally withholds His blessing because we’re not ready to use it properly.  That this withholding is, in fact, God’s discipline preparing us to handle the blessing in the most sustainable way, in the way which produces the highest return to bless others and build His kingdom. 

Maybe instead of asking for blessing, I need to pray for disciplined maturity.  I think somehow the blessing will naturally follow.

Proverbs 20:21 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.

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Spoon-fed

study 2Dad is a retired engineer, a graduate of Purdue University, a true Boilermaker is ever there was one.  He was the first of his family to go to college, not a small accomplishment having been born at the start of the Great Depression.  After his stint in the Navy, and a bit of disgruntlement with the union’s treatment of his hard work ethic, he decided to go back to school.  So here was a seasoned vet in his early twenties heading off to classes with fresh-faced high school graduates in a post-Korea university setting.

The stories are hilarious, and quite enlightening. Continue reading


Take Me To Church!

Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom. -Proverbs 18:1 KJV

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. -Proverbs 18:1, ESV

This entry is on Sunday, the day most churches meet.

If you are not attending, why?

Do not forsake the meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing. -Hebrews 10:25

We have the biblical command to meet with other Christians regularly.

This does a few things:

  • Gives us opportunities to encourage each other (the rest of Hebrews 10:25)
  • Gives us opportunities to spur each other on to loving others and doing good works (Hebrews 10:24) It can be easy to only “seek his own desire” or be lazy apart from the Church.
  • Keeps us on the straight and narrow path (Hebrews 10:23). It can be easy to stray from sound doctrine and teachings. Why do you think there are so many cults and people who believe crazy things? (How many raptures have we survived in the last decade alone?)

It is important to meet with others, if for no other reason than to keep us from getting weird ideas.

Most importantly, being together helps us grow more Christ-like.

Therefore, take me to church!

Then I know you came to!


Interpreting a Proverb

I am going to do something a little different – I’m going to ask you to do some investigative work.

Please read the following verse from the King James Version of the Bible, then think about what it means.

Don’t look at another translation just yet. Don’t do anything other than read the following verse:

A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth. – Proverbs 17:8 KJV

What is it talking about?

Is the meaning obvious to you? What first impression do you get when reading it?

Quickly! Leave a comment below as to your first thoughts, then go do your research and leave a second comment.

Don’t cheat! The eyes of the Lord are watching 😉

 


It Takes Diligent Work to Thrive

This is the real world, and I’m going to share a little slice of mine with you.

Right now, as I am writing this, I have a list of business names and phone numbers to call. The purpose of this is to make sure the business is still in existence and to make sure of the current address and name of the owner.  The business that I am now doing requires that I “qualify” businesses before I try to contact them to discuss employee benefits.

In case you didn’t know, I now work with a great company named Aflac. You may know them by the duck.

But, so you don’t get the wrong idea, even though I am an agent with a Fortune 500 company, I’m still an individual business owner – I have to do all the work to survive.

The insurance business is not easy, but it can be very rewarding. The only thing is that one has to always be prospecting for new business, and in my case, I’m always looking for businesses in need of what we offer and are willing to talk about it. Consistent, diligent, measurable and trackable activity is critical to my success.

If I am not diligent in all I do, I can talk about my future in this business all I want, but I’ll have nothing in the end.

The soul of the sluggard desireth, and [hath] nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. – Proverbs 13:4

Sometimes, in order to do what we feel is important in life, we have to take risks. I chose to take the risk and return to the world of sales in order to have more flexibility in ministry. I also did it because driving a school bus has become too demoralizing, dangerous, and detrimental to my physical and mental health (I can’t risk another shoulder surgery and then have nothing to show for all the work I’ve done through the years).

In this situation, the wisdom of Proverbs is directly applicable to my life. I must be diligent.


Be Kind

My wife and I have taught in schools. She has almost only ever taught Kindergarten (about 4 months of not in eight years), and I taught 7th Grade Mathematics and further back in Special Education.

I tell you what, working with a lot of kids can teach a lot about life! Especially how cruel and mean people can be.

A recent movement in the past few years is called “Be Kind”. The name is pretty self explanatory, and they do some good work helping teach students to simply be nice to each other.

Proverbs chapter 12 can be summarized this same way: Be Kind.

Think about it: it starts with advice for controlling yourself (discipline, vv. 1-4), transitions through recognizing it starts with our thoughts (vv. 5-8), moves to our actions toward others (including animals! vv. 9-12), and the majority focuses on what we say (vv. 13-26).

Words probably get the most time because of how much we tear each other down with our words. Sometimes it is unintentional.

But we must remember that kindness starts internally, with our thoughts and beliefs. So, to be kind means we start by changing our thinking, and ultimately it happens by trusting in God.

He first showed His kindness by coming to us lowly sinners to reveal truth and die for our forgiveness. The ultimate kindness is leading others to life in Christ.

The path of the righteous is life, and in its pathway there is no death.
Proverbs 12:28


Instructionless Brutes

It might be nearly the end of the week, and one might think we’d already gotten past the first verse of the chapter, but Proverbs 12:1 stood out to me this morning, and I’d like to tell you why.

Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish. – Proverbs 12:1

There are a lot of people who feel like there is no need for preachers, teachers, instructors, professors, or pastors. I read their comments any time I write something having to do with the ministry and ministry needs.

Often, and usually with poor spelling and grammar, the irate and biblically-illiterate employ arrogant language and out-of-context verses to “prove” their point. Consider a brief excerpt I copied from one particular conversation…the write goes by the name of Paradox7:

I don’t need an operator to call my LORD , and I have been reading the Bible since I was a child , don’t need an interpreter either…

Jesus actually spoke of wolves in sheep’s clothing , referring to religious leaders of his time , the same people who set him up for murder because he asurped their authority .If you have read the Bible , you can’t really disagree with that sentiment… It is a common bibical theme to be wary of authority figures , but of course many do not get the message , even as Jesus predicted ” for wide is the gate that leads to destruction , and there are many who will walk thru it .”

There is more to being instructed than simply reading the Bible. Many people do that, just like the Ethiopian Eunuch who asked Phillip in Acts 8:31, “How can I [understand], except some man should guide me?”

Godly teachers are a gift from God to the Church (Ephesians 4:11). Some people need them more than others.