Category Archives: Giving Honor

Getting Over Ourselves for the Well Done

Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen. –Proverbs 25:6‭-‬7, KJV

You probably remember the parable of the Wedding Feast as found in Luke 14. Jesus was basically retelling Proverbs 25 verses six and seven.

What are Solomon and Jesus telling us?

Get over yourself.

We live in a very individualistic society that says it’s okay to demand the best treatment and put yourself forward. After all, you deserve it.

But God says “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

That means to not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (See Romans 12:3)

Just as Christ, who, though was in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be attained, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (See Philippians 2:6‭-‬7)

Likewise, we should not demand our own way or seek prestige, power, or popularity. (I could be a Baptist preacher with alliteration like that!)

No, we should instead put others first and then say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.” (See Luke 17:10)

Then our holy King will draw us close on the last day and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

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Please Enjoy the Hymns (Don’t Move Landmarks!)

Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. -Proverbs 22:28, KJV

I am fairly certain I fall under the Evangelical Christian label, so there may be some who will try to change that label based on what I have to say today.

Based on this verse, do not neglect tradition!

“Wait,” you may say, “you sound like a high-liturgy (i.e. Lutheran or Presbyterian) Christian or even Roman Catholic.”

Well, I reply, there is nothing inherently wrong with tradition. As a product of the Reformation, I do believe in Sola Scriptura, Scripture Alone.

With this, what I mean is that traditions that do not contradict Scripture nor distract people from Christ are to be honored.

Besides, many creeds and theological truths were cemented in Church history. They have become ingrained in our traditions. They are snippets of truth that have been hashed out by our spiritual predecessors. To ignore and forget them …

… well, look at the state of the Church today. There is widespread theological confusion and ecclesiastical animosity.

Translation: we cannot agree about God and the Bible, and we distrust those we should call brothers and sisters in Christ.

Because we “remove the ancient landmarks” the Church fathers set.

This does not mean blind faith in old teachings. Study and think through why we believe these teachings. (i.e. The canon of Scripture, the Trinity, Heaven and Hell, etc.)

To ignore what has historically come before leads to what we see today and failing to live as one as Jesus and the Father are one (John 17:22-23).

Also, please enjoy more of the old hymns! They are often so rich in truth!


Gray and Glorious Crown

Getting old is a fact of life; it’s something all of us will experience (unless we die). On the other hand, some people get old before their time, which is truly sad.

Most people blessed with longer life will experience the graying of their hair. It doesn’t matter if it’s on one’s face or head, or even in the ears or nose, it’s going to turn gray. That’s why hair color manufactures will always stay in business. There’s big business in trying to look young.

But for those who live long lives that honor God, their gray hair (that’s what “hoary” means) can become a testimony of His faithfulness throughout the years.

The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness. – Proverbs 16:31

I am mostly bald, but I could let what hair I do have grow out. If it did, it would have a silvery sheen to it. All I’d need is a little lighting and I’d look like an old-fashioned aluminum Christmas tree, just without the top branches. On the other hand, my face has plenty of gray.

The older I get, the grayer I get. The more gray, the more stories I can tell. The fact that I’ve lived as long as I have is a miracle, and that’s why I don’t mind the gray – it tells a story for those who want to listen.

The only reason my story is one I’m happy to tell is because I’ve experienced the grace of God. If my gray hair was the result of a wasted, squandered life, I’d have nothing to say, and my “hoary head” would mean nothing.

But oh the wonderful stories that come from seasoned saints who’ve experience the continued faithfulness of our God! The gray hair then becomes a crown of honor, dignity, and glory.


Your sty, or mine?

pig-214349_1920My grandfather used to raise hogs.  I remember as a kid how grandma would have the runts up at the house trying to feed them in the off-change they might decide to live.  And to this little girl, they were sooOOO000ooo adorable!  I was such an animal lover, and I would naturally end up naming them, like Sylvester Pigsley. 

Then one of them would succumb and grandma would just as naturally heave it over the fence.  (Can’t remember if it was Sylvester or not, but it was quite the education for a young suburbanite…)

I have also since learned that pigs are not overly discriminating with their dietary preferences; neither is keeping their personal space clean a high priority, thus our comments to the teenager’s room looking like “a pig-sty”. 

Okay, I’m still a suburbanite, but to this day I think a pig’s reputation gets a bit of a bum rap.  I’m told they are actually one of the more intelligent barnyard animals, rolling around in mud and eating slop notwithstanding.  All that intelligence is just hidden under gross and grunts.

Interestingly, the opposite is true with Solomon’s comparison.:

A beautiful woman who lacks discretion
    is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.

In this example, we have all the beautiful trappings on the outside hiding what’s really within.  Now, here’s a guy with more than a little experience—something like 700 wives and 300 pseudo-wives.  I’m sure he had his share of less-than-discreet, (not to mention the hormonal drama…gag!)  Plus, consider that being in such a position of social and political power put him at higher risk when it came to the consequences of indiscretion.

Because it wasn’t merely about what she wore (or didn’t wear), but also about how she saw herself in relation to those around her.  A woman of true discretion knows that she has a “hidden congregation”, areas of influence, some of which she is aware, and some not.  By inference, this means people are watching and listening,…and learning.  

It also means that her decisions, her responses, her words, are a reflection on those who are dear to her, to their reputations as well.  How does what I say and do honor my husband and children, my parents, other Christians, and more importantly, my Lord?

people-2587456_1920Once again, as usual, it’s not just about me.  I may not be a king’s wife, but I am a King’s daughter.  (And with or without the gold ring of beauty, I have a crown.)

Proverbs 11:22 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.


My Daughters

Proverbs 31:29 

“Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”

What Matters

Over the years I have met many people. Sadly, many of those cared not about the virtues praised in this chapter, only fame, popularity, wealth, and beauty. Parents are often more concerned with whether or not their daughters make the team, wear the crown, win the ribbon, get the rich husband, or fit into that certain dress.

IMG_8999

Alicia on her wedding day.

However, I don’t care so much about all those things. Sure, I want my daughters to be liked and well-off. It even makes me swell with pride when they win awards or turn heads with a glamorous gown. What matters to me is that they become women of honor, courage, strength, and faith. What matters most is that they honor God.

Praise

Unfortunately, most girls get praised for being sexy, selfish, and seductive. Instead of praising the hard-working woman who is faithful to her husband and God, who takes care of her family, we tune in each week to reality shows that make millionaires out of harlots and place a premium on vanity, not virtue.

Haley and Katie @ Bryan College

Moms and dads, husbands, it is our responsibility to praise the woman “that feareth the Lord” (31:30). Whether they be young and in school, or mothers and grandmothers, our “daughters” should be praised for doing “virtuously.” And what higher praise could there be than to say, “Of all the virtuous, godly, Proverbs 31-like women in the world, you are the best“?

That is the praise my wife desires. That’s the praise I hope to teach my daughters to seek.

 


Beautiful Hands

Proverbs 31:10, 13

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. … She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.”

Mixed Memories

A long time ago my mother and grandmother (on my dad’s side) would go shopping for fabric. I will never forget those days, for they were some of the most miserable of my young life.

I was forced to endure the summer heat as they drove around town looking for sales in a ’71 Ford Maverick with no air and little ventilation. I walked beside my mom for what seemed like an eternity as they searched for patterns and fabric that would become my school clothes and their dresses. Women used to be proud to be called seamstresses, but not anymore. But there are exceptions, and my wife is one of them.

A Hard Worker

I have never met a harder worker than my wife, Valerie; she works rings around everyone, including myself. Until she became ill, she was always the first one awake and the last one asleep. She is still the last one to sit down when visitors come to eat, the last one to finish cleaning after a church social, and the only one who can handle a phone call, fold laundry, do dishes, and complete an income tax return at the same time.

On many days my wife hurts so much that no pain medication will touch it. Sometimes one day’s ordinary activity will leave her bed-ridden half of the next. Yet, she never gives up. She enjoys the duties of running a home and only complains when she can’t complete them to her own satisfaction.

Scarred, but Beautiful

When I first read 31:13 I thought of my wife’s hands…of how she loves to sew…of how she always brags on how her grandmother was an excellent seamstress, and how she always dreamed of being like her. I think of how she sewed her own wedding dress and then taught our girls to sew.  Now, because of her fibromyalgia, there are mornings I must rub her fingers before she can even move them, but it isn’t long before they “worketh willingly.”

20 years ago this June!

20 years ago this June!

The hands of a virtuous woman are not the flawless hands of a supermodel; they are scarred. They are scarred from oven burns, needle pricks, tire swing ropes. They are dry from folding laundry, wrinkled from dishwater, and paper-cut from clipping coupons. They are even bruised and sore: bruised from spanking bottoms and applauding home-runs; sore from pushing a discouraged husband out the door and up the ladder.

When I think of the hands of a Proverb 31 woman I don’t think of perfect hands, but I do think of beautiful hands. I think of Valerie’s.

Yes, I found a virtuous wife, and I wouldn’t trade her for all the rubies in the world.


Oppressing the Poor

Proverbs 22: 22-23 

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
Do not exploit the poor because they are poor
 and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life. (NIV)

Once again the writer challenges our attitudes to the poor. How we treat those who are poorer than us, or even weaker than us is important. Most of us would probably read this proverb and think that it doesn’t apply to us personally because we haven’t robbed or oppressed anybody. Perhaps we haven’t, but are we sure? What about times we have failed to stand up for someone? Take it right back to the school playground where it was easier to walk away than stand up for a fellow pupil facing ridicule or even physical violence. I can remember thinking ‘rather him than me’ on more than one occasion.

Then there is the work place. When I joined the Merchant Navy as a sixteen-year-old cadet it was made perfectly clear to me that I was at the bottom of the pecking order. The chief officer on my first ship used to shout at me regularly, perhaps because he had been treated the same way when he was starting his career. I remember the captain sticking up for me one day and the treatment I received improved a little after that. A few years later when I was an officer I found myself speaking up for a young Rastafarian able seaman who was assigned to my watch. In this case the bosun and another seaman were making this young man’s life a misery, with the knowledge of the chief officer! He had nobody to plead his case until I stepped in. I did not make myself popular in the process, but I could not ignore what was going on.

Oppression takes many forms. Read through these verses again – there is a significant warning in verse 22. Is God challenging you about your attitude to others, or is He calling you to take a stand in someone’s defense today?