Category Archives: discipline

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 😉

 

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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.

 


Bring On the Red Ink

doggie dunceIt’s been years since I have taken a written test, but even as an adult I still get some well-suppressed jitters when the paper is handed back.  (That is, unless it’s all on computer; I’m showing my vintage, I suppose.)

Who doesn’t remember the composition class in high school with the completed assignment coming back marked up in red from the teacher?  And I only made it to trigonometry and “college math” when I was in high school—I begged off from calculus, thank you very much.  My first trig exam came back into my hands with something like an 11 out of 40 or 50. (I still distinctly remember that “11” at the top of the page.)

Thankfully, nursing school didn’t need calculus or trig, but since this was before the days of ubiquitous computerized machinery—or Google—we needed a special form of math that had to do with calculating IV drip rates, converting “household” and “apothecary” measurements into “metric” portions, and the like.  There’s no wiggle room in this kind of math—the patient’s health (and life) depended on it. 

I’m not sure what kind of memories King Solomon was drawing upon when he wrote this…

“To learn, you must love discipline;
    it is stupid to hate correction.”

…but he may have had a time when he also hoped his own personal physician hadn’t tried to cheat, fake or argue his way through medical school. 

To be a student of any kind takes discipline, and discipline takes humility.  It means embracing the (eventually inevitable) fact that I’m not smart enough on my own to get it right the first time.  Maybe not even the second or third.  That someone may actually know more than me.  That knowledge and skill comes only with persistent personal application, and that, in itself, comes with the price of time and sacrifice.

In reality, the dunce hat doesn’t belong to those who make mistakes, but to those who refuse to learn from them, and from others.

Your future “patients” will thank you.

Proverbs 12:1 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.

Doggie Dunce photo from StrangeDangers.com, Google Images


Do I Love What goes with Learning?

Intentional DiscipleshipThe first thing is to cultivate a love of learning. To be wise, means I need to grow. It isn’t something we are naturally born with. We must have a passion for learning.

When I commit to learning the way of Jesus, I am opening myself up to correction. The student doesn’t learn without correction.

Learning isn’t easy. It requires work. It requires a real discipline to do it even when I don’t want to or feel like it. Learning means I willing to hear, no, that is not the right way. Jesus calls all of to be disciples (learners) of His way.

When I fall short, I must submit to God’s discipline and receive correction. I must be open to hearing I wan’t correct in my thinking.

I can be foolish and be headstrong. I can do what I like, not what Jesus wants me to do. If I am wise, I will take advice.

If you love learning, you love the discipline that goes with it. How shortsighted to refuse correction! ~King Solomon (Proverbs 12:1 The Message Bible)

The Greek term for “disciple” in the New Testament is mathetes, which means more than just “student” or “learner.” A disciple is a “follower,” someone who adheres completely to the teachings of another, making them his rule of life and conduct. The Pharisees prided themselves in being disciples of Moses (John 9:28). Their discipleship began with Jesus’ call and required them to exercise their will to follow Him (Matthew 9:9).

Jesus was quite explicit about the cost of following Him. Discipleship requires a totally committed life: “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). Sacrifice is expected: “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’” (Matthew 16:24).

Not all of Jesus’ followers were able to make such a commitment. There were many who left Jesus after a while. “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:66).


A Tale of Two Dads

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

Loves Knowledge

My dad has always loved knowledge. For a long time he had a subscription to National Geographic magazine. He still enjoys watching a good documentary. (Sometimes even a bad documentary.)

He made sure his children understood why he loves these things, to be able have a better understanding of our world and the people and places in it. Then he could avoid stupid mistakes, or, when a mistake was made or he flat out did something wrong, he could learn from it.

Hates Correction

A friend of mine had (yes, past tense) a dad who “never did anything wrong.” He taught his kids how to weasel out of responsibility, to not get caught. Since nothing was his fault, he could live with a “clean conscience” knowing no one was coming after him. His only sense of discipline was in crafting better excuses and his body to deal with those who got in his way. (One day, this mentality is what helped lead to his … past tense-ness.)

Outcomes

Clearly, my dad’s instruction and discipline helped to lead me toward Christ (which then led my parents to Him).

My friend and his dad never (or at least not yet, for my friend) saw a need for the Savior. If nothing is your fault, you are guiltless, right? It is easier to fight or weasel your way out of trouble.

Wisdom sees our need for knowledge and correction, and those will ultimately lead to our good God.

Oh, and happy father’s day!