Tag Archives: Book of Proverbs

Are we wise or foolish?

If pressed to make a choice between whether we were wise or foolish, I’m guessing that most of us would say we were wise. But are we?

Contrary to popular opinion, the difference doesn’t have anything to do with position or intelligence or talent or wealth. Plenty of wise and foolish people can be found in all walks of life. The real issue is one of being teachable.

According to King Solomon, the one major difference between a wise person from a foolish person is this: how a person receives instruction and correction. (See, for example, Proverbs 1:5; 9:8–9; 10:8; 12:15; 15:12; 17:10; and 19:20.)

A foolish person tends to:

  • Not listen or take to heart when others offer input.
  • Avoid responsibility and shifts blame.
  • Not make any necessary changes.

wise person tends to:

  • Listen without getting defensive or upset.
  • Accepts responsibility without blaming others or making excuses.
  • Makes necessary changes without delay.

None of us is completely wise or foolish but somewhere in between. I suppose the better question might be: “In which direction are we heading, towards the wise or the foolish end of the spectrum?”

And if we really want an answer to that question we need to ask it of those closest to us: our spouse, our kids, our friends…

Nowhere is the issue of being teachable more important than in the church among those who claim to be followers of Jesus.

When  we gather with the body of Christ for a class or worship service are we coming with open hearts and minds to receive whatever it is that God might be wanting to teach us?

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Church, Discipleship, Heart, involvement with the church, Wisdom

Guarding our most valuable asset – Part 2

“Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.”

~ Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

Yesterday I blogged on why it is so critical to guard our hearts, today I want to touch on how we can do that. Taking care of our physical heart requires discipline; habits of exercise and eating right. The same dynamic is true for guarding the heart that King Solomon is referring to here in Proverbs. Here are some suggestions.

The Discipline of Reflection. Like a bad amusement park ride the pace of life just keeps getting faster and faster. Making time to pause periodically and reflect is crucial.

We live in a busy and noisy world that will suck the life out of us if we let it. This is why it is essential that we intentionally pull away to a quiet place, pause, and reflect. If Jesus needed to do this (Mark 1:35), how much more important is it for us?

The Discipline of Rest. It was no accident that God took the seventh day of creation to do nothing with Adam and Eve. Reread the 10 commandments and notice which one gets the most attention. (Hint: Remembering the Sabbath – Exodus 20)

We were designed by our Creator to need rest. Eight hours of sleep. One day every seven to relax. Don’t skip vacation time! Without rest our judgment gets blurry and the heart is more vulnerable to attack. Make rest a priority and write it in on your calendar.

The Discipline of Recreation. There is a difference between amusement and recreation. There is nothing wrong with amusement but it can leave us more tired than before we started. Recreation, on the other hand, are those activities that recharge us.

Reading a good book. Creating something with wood or crafts or even baking. Playing an instrument simply to enjoy it. Spend time working on that project that’s been waiting all this time. It will be different for everyone but the common thread is that the activity refreshes our soul.

The Discipline of Relationships. We are wired by a relational God to be in relationship with Him and others. Our level of involvement with others will vary depending on our personality but we need others with which to share the journey.

Make time to deepen important relationships and do all that you can to keep them healthy. They do more to strengthen our heart than we realize. And our most important relationship with the one we pursue with God!

These disciplines will help guard our heart and our heart will direct the course of our journey in life!

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Filed under Determination, Friendship, Heart, intimacy with the Lord, Margin, Recreation, Reflection, Rest

Guarding our most valuable asset

“Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.”

~ Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

Some Bible versions use “wellspring of life.” King Solomon offers this nugget of wisdom for at least three reasons.

Because our heart is extremely valuable. Our garbage sits outside all night, at the curb, unprotected. Why? Because it is worthless. We don’t guard worthless things.

Not so with our heart. It is the essence of who we are. It is our authentic self—the center, the core of our being. It is where all our dreams, our desires, and our passions dwell. It is that part of us that most deeply connects with God and other people.

Because our heart is the source of everything you do. King Solomon says it is the “wellspring of life.” In other words, it is the source of everything else in your life. Your heart overflows into thoughts that lead to words and then become actions.

If what comes out at the end of a spring is good, it’s because the source of the spring is healthy. If what comes out is nasty, it’s because the source is unhealthy. The same is true of us in regard to our heart and how we live.

Because our heart is under constant attack. When Solomon warns us to guard our heart, he’s implying that we are living in a combat zone—one in which there are casualties.

Many of us are oblivious to the reality of this war but we have an enemy who is hell-bent on our destruction. He not only opposes God, but he opposes everything that is aligned with Him—including you and me.

When was the last time your heart was attacked? How did you respond?

Check back tomorow for some suggestions on how to guard your heart.

*Adapted from a blog by Michael Hyatt

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Filed under Desire, Determination, Encouragement, Heart

Playing hide-n-seek with God

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter.” ~ Proverbs 25:2

Ever wonder why it’s so hard at times to figure out exactly what it is God wants us to do in a specific situation?

  • Who to date.
  • Where to go to college.
  • Who to marry.
  • Where to move.
  • What job to take.
  • How to respond in a certain situation.

Are we praying about it? Yep! Are we wanting to do His will? Yep! Are we seeking wise counsel from Godly people? Yep! And yet it still eludes us.

According to this verse, perhaps it’s because God is concealing it. But why would God do that? That doesn’t make much sense does it?! Surely God wants us to know His will for our lives doesn’t He?!

One reason God conceals such matters is because He wants something more for us than simply knowing His will; He wants us to know Him!

God’s not hiding His will hoping we’ll never be able to figure it out. But he does play hide-n-seek. Not because He doesn’t want us to find His will but because He wants us to find Him. If He put it out in plain view we would likely chase after His will instead of pursuing Him.

The scariest scenario in life isn’t getting God’s will wrong, it’s getting God’s will right but barely coming to know Him in the process.

You could love the right spouse but lose your first love.
You could find the right career but then make it your god.
You could perfectly respond in every situation but not know God.

That’s why He doesn’t just write His will for us in the clouds. At the end of the process He wants us to know something far greater than what we should do with our life or what we should do next.

He wants us to know Him!

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Filed under Glory of God, God's Will, intimacy with the Lord, Loving God

How to avoid the consequences of being stupid

I have to admit that it has taken me a few years to let go and move into the passenger’s seat. No… I’m not referring to teaching the girls how to drive but about helping the kids with 4-H projects.

Because I wanted them to do well and get blue ribbons I kept my hand in the project enough to ensure that it turned out well. But the long-range goal of them developing their skills was sacrificed for the short-term reward.

So last year I took a much different approach with Josh and Kyrsten’s model building. I waited until they asked for help. I took the same approach this year and yesterday Josh learned a big life lesson.

He got to going so fast with painting and building that he didn’t take time to read the instructions thoroughly. He ended up doing much more work than was necessary. Later that same day as Susan and I were chatting I asked him to tell her what he’d learned.

“That if you don’t take time to read the directions you’ll suffer the consequences of being stupid.”

That was a bit harsher than I would have put it but he certainly got the point. But we all do that at times with life and God. We rush into a situation and handle it as we see fit without taking the time to consider any directives that God has given us.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. ~ Proverbs 14:12

This one principle is so important that Solomon repeats it in chapter 16 of Proverbs. God has given us His values and principles to live by for our own benefit. And we see them lived out in how Jesus did life. We need to slow down and spend more time in God’s word.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. ~ 1 Timothy 3:16-17

Are you spending time in God’s word?

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Filed under Life in General, Scripture