Tag Archives: Wisdom

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!

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Just Weight and See

A false balance is abomination to the Lord : but a just weight is his delight. When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them. -Proverbs 11:1‭-‬3 KJV

Dishonesty, or lying, is an abomination to God. Think about: He made it one of the 10 commandments! (#9, Exodus 20:16, Deuteronomy 5:20)

Dishonesty denies the image of God in others. It is the same as saying other people are worthless.

It also leads to problems.

False Balances

Something to arise in the most recent recession (about 2008) was the business of buying gold. You can bring in your jewelry and knickknacks to be weighed and sold based on the current market value. If a merchant used poorly (or fraudulently) calibrated scales, they could pay you far less than the current value. (I spent a very short time doing this, and they usually purchased an average of 15% below market value to make a profit.)

Who does it profit? Obviously the merchant.

Wait and See

One positive to government regulation is that there are frequent inspections to stop people from falsifying their scales. Those caught had to pay huge fines and permanently close up shop. At worst, they also went to jail.

When dishonesty is used, it is usually found out. Just look at the news on almost any given day, when business and government leaders are caught in the act of deceiving people.

Usually, it is because their pride convinces them that they are smarter than everyone else or that they are above everyone else, that the rules don’t apply to them.

But wait and see, their deeds will catch up to them.

It may not be in this life, but there will be consequences.

However, living honestly and with integrity not only protects you from bad consequences in this life, but it can lead you to live like God, who cannot lie (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18), and to Jesus, the way, the truth, and the life.


All About Integrity

Proverbs chapter eleven is all about integrity.

What does inegrity entail?

Honesty

Telling the truth and doing what’s right is important. Honesty is life-affirming, acknowledging the image of God in others, and, honestly, keeping life simple. It is easier to keep your story straight when you tell the truth and do what’s right.

Responsibility

Doing what’s right, doing what one ought, is also life-affirming. Sin is most often associated with what we did wrong, but it includes what we don’t do that we should. If we did what was needed when it should be done (right away or when time allows), life would be easier. Owning mistakes is included, as growth comes more quickly. It is irresponsible to shift the blame or hope “someone else will do it.” It is better to do what is right, even if someone else could or should do it.

Generosity

Giving to others or taking up the burden of another demonstrates generosity. And – you probably guessed it – it is life affirming. It shows love to others. It tells others “You are worth it.” It clears up problems before they even exist or before they are out of control.

Living with Integrity

If you want to live with integrity, live out the concepts of Proverbs. Take five minutes and read the entire chapter and see how integrated and interrelated all of these concepts are.

They represent God’s character, and living with integrity makes your character more like His.

“Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)


Safely across to dry ground

buckley

The Mighty Wonder Buck enjoying his outing.

Buckley and I enjoy terrain hiking in a tiny semi-secluded patch of the planet belonging to the college where my husband works.  It’s private land, so I’m thinking the town’s leash laws are not in effect. It’s also one of the few places I can let him range, and he loves it!

So do I.  Not only for myself, but I get such a kick out of watching him enjoy the freedom, and I marvel at the sure-footedness of this rescue pound-puppy of ours.  Not that I can say that about myself, mind you.  No, this one carries a walking stick, wears special insoles in trail running shoes (in which I walk, not run), and even then I have to pick carefully through leaves and creek beds, using that opposable thumb to grab and hoist myself up the hills.

Buckley, the barefoot creature without the opposable thumb?  Right.  He leaves me in the dust. 

I have to be especially attentive when crossing a brook.  Picking my way safely can be challenging (it’s part of the fun), and watching for slippery moss on the rocks is imperative.  If I’m not careful, I’m all wet. 

Hold that thought for a sec.

Proverbs chapter ten is largely concerned with my words, which is a pretty good indicator of what’s in my heart.  Here is a running commentary contrasting the attitude (as shown by their words) of the wise person versus the fool.  Just a sampling—

The wise are glad to be instructed,
    but babbling fools fall flat on their faces…

People with integrity walk safely,…

This isn’t just an observation, (Solomon was quite good at that), but more importantly, a warning.  It’s easy to be drawn into a foolish argument; that is, an argument that is void of the primary foundation of wisdom—

“Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.
    Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.”

Without this, the encounter can become slippery at best, treacherous at worst, causing confusion, rancor, and division (to name a few.)

Here’s another comparison—

The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain;

…but the babbling of a fool invites disaster.

Are my words giving life?  Or are my words making safe passage unattainable?

Or is it a discussion I should even enter into at this place?

When one of these conversations presents itself, the godly participant does well to stand on the shore and survey how to get across safely to the other side. 

Otherwise, you’re all wet.

Proverbs 10:8,9,11,14; 9:10 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.


From Joke to Redemption

Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding. -Proverbs 10:23, ESV

The past 20 years has shown so many movies and TV shows that glorify dangerous and stupid acts as comedy. In fact, as of this writing there is a new film being released by a veteran of this genre about an amusement park that minimizes safety (and they do all their own stunts).

All for a laugh.

What pains me is that this veteran of “comedy” is incredibly intelligent and a good actor.

A Changed Man

I have written in these pages before about my own life. When I was in high school, before Christ grabbed hold of me, I had pretty much given up on this world. I was a master liar who manipulated situations to cause pain to others. I found it a joke, much like these movies, but only on the emotional and psychological levels as opposed to physical.

But when Christ transformed my mind by His Holy Spirit, those “jokes” were no longer funny. Suddenly wisdom and compassion were my joy.

This is the difference between the world and a Christian. The world sees pain as a joke, as entertainment. A Christian sees pain as part of a fallen world, redeemed through Christ’s sacrifice to edify His Church and ultimately end suffering.

If He redeemed this joke of a man to a tool of understanding, He can do it for anyone. Even that “veteran.”

Even you.


Apostolic vs. Appropriated

Two ladies call out to the world in Proverbs 9: Wisdom and Folly.

The difference is actually striking.

[Wisdom] has sent her young women to call from the highest places
Proverbs 9:3

Wisdom sent her followers to the high places, the important places, to call to others.

Did you know the Greek word for “sent” is apestalmena, where we get the word for apostle: one who is sent?

Now look at Folly:

[Folly] takes a seat on the highest places
Proverbs 9:14

Folly takes the highest place, the most important place.

What Is the Difference?

When done apostolically, there is humility. Wisdom does not assume superiority (even when true) over other others but serves others.

Folly assumes superiority and appropriates what is neccessary – takes the important places, often by force and/or deception. There may be a false humility that can be attractive to others, but the true motivations tend to be selfish.

“When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Luke 14:8‭-‬11, NKJV


The Avengers ride again!

admission-2974645_1920I had a hot date last night. 

Actually, it was a little chilly in the restaurant, so Bob (gentleman that he is) had me put on his jacket.  After dinner, we went to our town’s local Century 6 for a quick game of foosball in their arcade room, then entered with several others into the Marvel Universe to watch yet the next installment of the Avengers. 

Yeah, we’re old.  No apologies.

And no spoilers here, so don’t worry if you haven’t seen it, not that I’m recommending it, (because I’m not).  I’m sure there are plenty of critiques flying around anyway so folks can do their own research if so inclined.  As with any of these flicks, there are elements both worthy and otherwise.  The take-away for me might be a little different, however—it seems like even Hollywood admits (whether or not they realize it) that when you set yourself up as God, you end up destroying life instead of giving it.

Thanos is a really bad guy, the quintessential, hyper-super-villain.  He does more than tie the damsel to the railroad tracks; he does it to the whole universe.  It’s a superb perversion of the biblical concept of life from death, since this self-proclaimed protector thinks there are too many beings for the universe to support, so his plan is to kill off about half of us, but randomly, so that it’s “fair”.  This is his divine mission, bringing more life to those who remain. (Naturally, he’s not one of the random.) 

Thankfully, if you listen closely amid all the explosions in space, there is a short conversation between this erstwhile savior and his adopted yet defected “daughter” when she says that she had been happier with her own parents, despite their poverty.  Before Thanos off’ed them along with half of her planet, that is.  His concept of life from death really just ends in death—of the soul and heart, as well as the body.

And God is about life.  Always. 

In another screenplay, the concepts of Life and Death are also superbly contrasted in chapter nine of Proverbs.  In fact, they are seen as two women, both vying for our undivided attention, both calling from their respective domiciles, both with enticing offers:

Wisdom has built her house…
She has prepared a great banquet,
    mixed the wines, and set the table…
“Come, eat my food,
    and drink the wine I have mixed.

And her counterpart, Folly, has done the same:

The woman named Folly is brash.
    She is ignorant and doesn’t know it.
She sits in her doorway
    on the heights overlooking the city…

 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple.

door-3264790_1920This is a drama being played out like no other, 24/7. There is no stopping up my ears, either; will I choose Door #1, or Door #2…??  

Thanos is waiting behind one of them, so I’d better choose wisely.

Proverbs 9:1-2,5,13-14,16 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.