Tag Archives: Wisdom

A Beauty of Gray

The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head. -Proverbs 20:29, KJV

I have always wanted gray (or even white) hair.

I know. I am fairly odd.

I have three friends who all went white-haired in their twenties. A few others were noticeably gray by 25.

As for yours truly, I have earned a few gray hairs over my few short years.

At least I am tall and lanky so that I have some semblance of strength. I am a bit of a gentle giant, and that garners some respect (mostly from my wife who can’t reach top shelves or move heavy boxes or bags easily.)

But why do I want gray hair?

I instinctively understood it as a child, but grew to understand it better as I grew.

It is not just that it can look dignified. Gray hairs tell others we have been through life. They tell others we have struggled through some of life’s problems and come out wiser.

Gray hairs are earned by learning life lessons the hard way.

I have been through my share of struggles and have earned some grays, but the Lord blessed me with thick, persistently dark hair.

It almost scares me to consider how much wisdom He yet wants me to learn (“fear the Lord”), but the few grays I do own have taught me to trust His lessons and timing.

And that is beautiful.

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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.


Caring for Thoughtful and not Foolish Discourse

Fools

I am a fool. Many times I run off at the mouth.

I think what I have to say is important and I don’t care what others have to say. I know that is sad but it is true.

Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse; all they do is run off at the mouth. ~King Solomon

Source: Proverbs 18:2 (The Message Bible)

Discourse involves asking questions (wise ones) and listening.

The best conversations are where I ask lots of relevant questions and really listen. God’s goal for me is to be wise. That requires “wise” listening.

That is wisdom. I need more of that.

The good news is that Jesus teaches me. I have been redeemed from missing God’s goal (aka sinning) and can break away from my natural inclinations.

I don’t want to be foolish. The following is a partial list of some characteristics of a fool from the book of Proverbs:

  • A fool hates knowledge (1:22)
  • Takes no pleasure in understanding (18:2)
  • Enjoys wicked schemes (Proverbs 10:23)
  • Proclaims folly (Proverbs 12:23)
  • Spurns a parent’s discipline (15:5)
  • Speaks perversity (19:1)
  • Is quick-tempered (12:16)
  • Gets himself in trouble with his proud speech (14:3)
  • Mocks at sin (14:9)
  • Is deceitful (14:8)
  • Despises his mother (15:20)
  • A foolish child brings grief to his or her parents (17:25; 19:13)
  • A foolish man commits sexual immorality (6:32; 7:7–12)
  • A foolish woman tears down her own house (14:1)

Yikes! A great case to WISE UP!

The ultimate description of a fool is one who “says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ We are told they are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). Although fools can choose to become wise by heeding wise counsel and applying it (Proverbs 8:5; 21:11), the Bible warns against associating with fools (Proverbs 14:7).

Proverbs 13:20 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”


Tickets, please.

airplane-2619434_1920I love to fly.  I’ve been in jets, small private planes, and even a free-float hot air balloon.  Something birds take for granted, I suppose, but for me, being up in the air is exhilarating. 

I’m not a pilot, however, so I reap the benefit of their knowledge and expertise.  My oldest brother is a pilot and has a couple of small aircraft up in Minnesota.  One year when visiting up there, he took me up for a look-see around the area with all those beautiful lakes and lush countryside.  We took off and landed on a dirt runway, and he even let me take control to actually “fly” the plane. 

That lasted about ten seconds while I freaked out.

He also told me not to worry, but since my door was partially open, and would I please full it shut and latch it?  Sure, no problem.

I still love flying. Continue reading


Have a plan

moses-2628535_1920Moses, what a guy.  Talk about job stress—the perks were pretty great but so were the occupational hazards.  (And I think I have tough days!)  At least there was clear communication with the Boss; no lost email trails or intra-office misinterpretation of body language, all that.  God’s instructions were always unmistakably clear, right down to what colors of decorative embroidery thread to use for the big church tent!

One year into their miraculous escape/rescue from centuries of Egyptian slavery, God now has them positioned to pull up the stakes and start their journey in earnest to the Promised Land. 

He has also promised to be their Guide, a cloud by day and something that looks like a pillar of fire by night.  Again, fairly distinctive, even for someone directionally challenged, like me.  When He moves left, they move left.  When He stops, they stop, and up go all the tents.  Kind of like a cosmic GPS.  What could be easier?

Then I read this short conversation sandwiched in the account of the Israelites getting ready to leave.  It’s between Moses and his brother-in-law, Hobab, (who is not an Israelite).  Moses is inviting him to join them on their journey, and that they will share all the blessings that God will give them. 

“But Hobab replied, ‘No, I will not go. I must return to my own land and family.’  ‘Please don’t leave us,’ Moses pleaded. ‘You know the places in the wilderness where we should camp. Come, be our guide.’”

Hold on.  I thought God was their guide…?  Has the great leader of the Old Testament who walked his people through the sea on dry land and spoken to God Almighty in the burning bush suddenly gotten cold feet?

As much as I love the “humanness” of our biblical heroes, I don’t think that is the case.  We’re talking about over a million human beings here, so “camping out” isn’t just a matter of taking over, say, an entire State Park.  It’s more like taking over Chicago.  God was going to guide Moses to a general area; a good leader was needing to prepare for at least some of the particulars.

Now, I’ll admit that one of my failsafe, fall back phrases is “God’s got a plan”.  Okay, true enough.  But many times, the very real question of the moment is,… do I?

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”

In other words, God’s guidance does not preclude my personal responsibility.  Reasoning brain and redeemed spirit work hand-in-hand.  It may seem like push and shove sometimes, but God can still get His end result accomplished.

ThreadBecause sometimes He may just give us the pattern and let us pick out the color of thread.

Numbers 10:30; Proverbs 16:9 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.


What’s on your summer reading list?

gossip

Another insightful painting by beloved Norman Rockwell.

Bob and I were watching a really interesting TV show on the top 100 popular books.  Now, how they came up with that short list, I don’t know, and it ranged from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress to modern day novels that have influenced people in, well, other ways.

One of the neat things about this program is that it’s interactive, meaning you go online and cast your vote for your favorite book (among the short list, naturally), and you can vote once a day until the show’s finale.  Which means you can stuff the ballot box, I suppose. 

During the show, different people were interviewed on their Number One choice, and I was impressed how this divergent sampling of human effort has influenced individuals, and in some cases, greatly.

Like me.  One of John Bunyan’s other books, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, was my door to deliverance in a very real way.  But that’s another story, and anyway, I doubt that’s on the list.

The point is that words, or communication of any sort, are powerful.  That includes not only what we put out but just as importantly, what we take in.  In Proverbs chapter 15, information transfer of some sort is mentioned at least fourteen times!  And they didn’t even have social media yet!  Here’s an example of output:

“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing,
    but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.”

Most of us have probably been party to both—my hand is raised.  What we perhaps don’t emphasize enough is the personal responsibility of intake:

“Plans go wrong for lack of advice;
    many advisers bring success.”

What I choose to listen to (or read) is actually just as important as what I choose to say (or write, as it were.) We all know the damage done by slurs on social media.  But do we realize that the damage is done not only because those things are put out there, but because they are read? In other words, the reader is just as culpable as the writer.  Always.

I know that I can be quite impacted by stories, mental images both from descriptive writing and the silver screen.  It’s the way we are wired, since the word (lower case “w”) is powerful, being created so by God Himself.  Therefore, what I choose to listen to is also powerful decision.

Sometimes earplugs are a good investment. 

president-1822449_1920

Proverbs 15: 2,22 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.


Cruisin’

car-309544_1280Our old(est) suburban was purchased in 1994, which seems like a long time ago until you consider this particular vehicle was a 1977.  Yep, complete with the two-tone orange/beige paint job—it was known as “the rolling pumpkin” at the mechanic shop.  No computer, no electric windows, and someone even had enough sense of humor to install glass packs.  Man, you could hear me coming down a hill from a mile away!  It idled so loudly that one morning the sonic waves set of the alarm on the fancy car next to it in the high school parking lot. Continue reading