Category Archives: Wisdom

Thank you, Duolingo

international-2684767_1920I’m learning Swedish.  Slowly.  I have a working vocabulary of, I dunno, 70 words?  Our second granddaughter is 50% Swedish (our son-in-law is 100%), and they live about an hour outside of Stockholm. 

Now, when my son-in-law heard of my little project, he informed me that only 10 million people on the globe speak his language, as compared with the 1.5 billion that speak some form of English, his point being that it wasn’t necessarily practical to learn his native tongue.

Since when does a grandmother need to be practical?? Continue reading

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Sweetness and Strength

My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: -Proverbs 24:13, KJV

I can not help but wonder if Solomon was thinking of his father’s friend Jonathan, when Saul was king and made the vow that no one in the army would eat until the Philistines were defeated lest that person be cursed. But Jonathan had not heard this vow and, being hungry after he and his armor bearer had just spent the day beating a garrison of Philistines, ate some honey. (1 Samuel 14)

Jonathan (and Solomon) could see how utterly foolish it was to not eat when doing something so physically challenging. The army even challenged King Saul on this when Saul would not get an answer from God about continuing the fight and then found out it was because of this little bit of honey.

That shows what the next verse means:

So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.
Proverbs 24:14, KJV

Saul had not used wisdom in his decisions, and he was willing to kill his son over his foolishness.

Jonathan, however, was spared, for he had sought to know God’s wisdom throughout the day and be strengthened.

What about you?

Do you desire the sweetness of God’s wisdom? Do seek His revitalizing wisdom throughout the day?

Or, like Saul, do you try to get through the day on your own, rarely if ever seeking God’s wisdom?

Do you get frustrated by minor problems, especially by others and then lashing out?

Or do you take time throughout the day to keep the Lord involved in your decisions?

It only takes a moment to stop and seek His help. It is not weakness. It is finding the sweetness in God’s strength.


No Excuse for Fainting

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. – Proverbs 24:10

Believe me, this verse hurts my feelings about as much as it does some of yours. And it doesn’t matter what translation you use, the painful truth of this proverb is the same: If you faint or fail when times get tough, you’re too weak.

Weak? Who does Solomon think he is? Frankly, that’s pretty insulting, don’t you think?

Who is Solomon to judge me? How does he know what I’ve been through? Yes, I’ve failed, faltered, and fainted in my time, but I had good reason! When the pressure increased, it was too much. When it got tough, well, I wasn’t prepared.

So I gave up, you know?

You’ve been there, haven’t you? You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

It is sort of like Solomon is nothing more than some drill instructor who doesn’t understand what life is like for us. Sure, it’s easy for him to say we’re too soft or weak, but what kind of pressure has he had to face, right?

What kind of “wisdom” says to someone, “Hey, I see that you caved…you must be a weakling”?

Where’s the compassion? Where’s the understanding? What about our emotions?

Who writes this kind of stuff, anyway??

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. … But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. – Isaiah 40:29, 31

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. – Ephesians 6:13

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Here’s the thing: There’s no excuse for fainting or failing under the pressure or adversity when we have access to strength, armor, and grace from God. Frankly, it comes down to a choice.

But let’s be honest, sometimes we are a little wimpy. Some of us just look for excuses to quit when things don’t go our way. We’re not tough, strong, and determined; we’re weak.

Maybe we should copy this proverb and post where we can see the next time we feel like giving up.

Truth hurts.

 


Beware: Fierce lions in my yard

cat-2536662_1920“A man generally has two reasons for doing a thing.  One that sounds good, and a real one.”

That’s from the practical wisdom of J.P. Morgan, one of most influential bankers of the early 20th century. 

Of course, then there are those who are a bit more honest about their motivation, like Phyllis Diller:

“Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?”

On the one hand:

A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
    The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

On the other hand:

The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion out there!
    If I go outside, I might be killed!”

Why is one cautious person congratulated for being prudent while the other is vilified as a three-toed sloth?

It really all has to do with motive. 

The prudent (wise, forward-thinking) one “foresees”, meaning he’s diligently done his research and understands the probabilities (are lions endemic to this area?), and based on those probabilities, he may take his gun out with him and search the area before proceeding. 

The lazy person, by contrast, stays on the coach and opens another beer…because that’s what he really prefers to do.  Making excuses for his decision assuages his own conscience, regardless of how ridiculous those excuses seem.

In fact, humans are probably the only part of God’s creation who uses the art of rationalization, that finely tuned skill of making excuses, even deluding ourselves into thinking those excuses are true.  

Here’s interesting application: “I don’t read the Bible because I don’t understand it.”

I’m glad medical students don’t adhere to that philosophy: “I don’t read my A&P text because I don’t understand it.”  A student—a real one, that is—does something about their lack of understanding. 

And for my sake, I’m glad they do!

Proverbs 22:3,13  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.


Your Position, Thought Out

The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. –Proverbs 19:11 KJV

For normal, every day people, it is important to remember that most people are acting out of fear. Therefore, do not take attacks (verbal, physical, emotional) personally.

Put yourself in their position, and you might see there is no need to be angry.

If you are unable to change things (politics, entertainment, some circumstances), holding onto pain or offense hurts nobody but you.

Put yourself into a position to change things or avoid them.

If you are a Christian, you must realize that most attacks are either those briefly discussed above or are attacks against the One who lives in you, Jesus.

You are in a position of honor, suffering as your Lord.

Forgive them. You may be the one who wins them to the Lord.


Having the Grandeur to Forgive and Forget

Hold your tongue

Hold your tongue

Holding my tongue is easier said than done some days. Someone says something and off I go. I react. I speak. I regret it.

God’s wisdom teaches me to pause. I should forgive what they say. I should forget what they say. Many times we forgive but we don’t forget.

If I can forget it, I am truly liberated and free.

His wisdom teaches me to pause. Rather than respond I need to forgive first. Then I need to forget. Then I have nothing left to say about the offense that started everything to begin with.

God’s goal for me is that I know how to hold my tongue.

Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget.

Proverbs 19:11 (The Message Bible)

Forgiveness is also an essential part of the life of disciples of King Jesus.

Ephesians 4:32 commands, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in the Messiah God forgave you.”

Similarly, Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Master forgave you.”

The key in both passages is that we are to forgive others as God has forgiven us.

Why do we forgive? Because we have been forgiven!


Don’t kill the mockingbird (just shut him up)

tree-46766_1280I’m sitting on the back porch as the birds herald in the morning when I hear the cat-bird.  Yea, he’s back!  I love that odd avian sound truly mimicking a cat. 

Oh, wait.  Now I’m hearing a jumble of sounds (including the cat-bird’s) all mixed together, all different.  There seems to be a cacophony of twitters all coming from the same bird in rapid fire succession.  It’s still pretty dark, so I can’t see the perpetrator, but it’s got to be a mockingbird—that strange creation that can’t seem to find a voice of its own.  Continue reading