Proverb: The Way to Life

There are times in my life when I have broken rules, but for the most part I try to follow the rules, especially when it comes to the Lord’s rules. I learned this from my mother. Nadine and I took her out for McDonalds today and we had an interesting conversation. Just a little backdrop on my mother. She is 100 and walks 1 to 1 1/2 miles a day. She lives in an assisted living facility and has her meals cooked for her, but she is self sufficient for all other needs. Her dining room always has cloth napkins and table cloths with fresh flowers. Every meal. That’s why when we come to see her she wants to go to McDonalds where there are no flowers, nor table cloths, nor cloth napkins.

Back to the story. I asked mom if she would run a red light if it were 2 am in the morning and no one was driving any of the roads and the red light wasn’t turning green. Would you wait for the light to turn green, or break the law and go for it. When it comes to the Lord’s rules, she is one of the most spiritual persons I know. But we were talking about a situation in which the circumstances conflicted with a traffic law. She said that she would go through the red light, but that my father wouldn’t. I’m like my mom. I would break the traffic rule. But God’s rules and commands are given for our benefit. It’s not that I break all laws, for I don’t. God gives us commands on how we are to act and live on this earth and all of his commands are good for us.

Solomon talked about commands, teaching and corrective discipline. He says, “For a command is a lamp, teaching is a light, and corrective discipline is the way to life.” Proverbs‬ ‭6:23‬ ‭CSB‬‬. Commands that come from God are specifically designed to give us a lamp to guide our steps when we can’t see our way. Teaching brings awareness and shines light on our ignorance. When we are going astray and making wrong decisions in life, corrective discipline stops us in our tracks and gets us back on the path to life. We need all three, commands, teaching, and corrective discipline, to help us to maximize our time here on this earth.

On this journey there will be times when we need to obey a command that God puts in front of us. There will be times when we need to submit to teaching to bring to light the dark places of our knowledge and insight. And there will be times when we need to be corrected regarding the wrong path we are taking. Submit to these truths and life will be ours in abundant measure.

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PROVERB: Marriage Enrichment

All of us at one have been single and free from the burdens of responsibility. During that freedom many of us come in contact with the opposite sex and fall in love. It’s during this process that we want to trade our singleness to marriedness because of the love we have for that person. We choose to remove the freedom we have experienced and take on the responsibility of being married with all that entails.

What we do to cultivate that relationship is all important. Life happens. Conflicts emerge. Problems surface. Temptations occur. What we do when these thing occur is critical if we are to see our marriage grow and enrich over time. Solomon speaks to this issue when he says, “Drink water from your own cistern, water flowing from your own well. Should your springs flow in the streets, streams in the public squares? They should be for you alone and not for you to share with strangers. Let your fountain be blessed, and take pleasure in the wife of your youth. A loving deer, a graceful doe — let her breasts always satisfy you; be lost in her love forever.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭5:15-19‬ ‭CSB‬‬

Solomon knew that problems would come in marriage. Of any person, he would know. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. I’ve never had a concubine, so I don’t know what their responsibilities are, but I couldn’t imagine 700 wives. Not 300. Not 50. Not 5. One wife is enough to take care of let alone 700. But with all of these relationships, Solomon talks about ‘taking pleasure in the wife of your youth”. Solomon was a man and talked about his relationships with his wife. If you are a female and married, you could as well substitute your husband in place of your wife (except for the breasts being satisfying to you). Maybe he realized that God’s plan of having one wife/husband was a better plan than what he experienced in his life. He realized that focusing on the wife of one’s youth by allowing her physical beauty of her breasts was the ultimate satisfaction. Being lost in her love forever is a powerful statement. Focusing on our wife forever and being lost in all her qualities and attributes that she brings to the table is the secret to marital enrichment.

On this journey, we need to cultivate that relationships that God has given us. Focusing on our spouse and being lost in love for them is a good step each of us could work on today and forever.

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July 4: Independence Day

Today is a day to celebrate Independence from England. There were a band of Americans that had had enough of the taxes and control that England put on the early settlers, so they rebelled. They sought their independence. On July 4. That’s what we celebrate today with food and fellowship and fireworks. Today would be a great day to thank a veteran for continuing to keep our country safe and free from control of those who would love to take over our country.

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Proverb: Making Commitments

I have a friend who wanted to get out of his job that took him weeks at a time away from his family. He decided to try his hand at owning a bar/restaurant with a friend of his. He put up the money to remodel the restaurant as well as putting up many hours of blood, sweat and tears to get it up and running. Unfortunately he didn’t realize that his friend was not a good communicator when conflict surfaced. My friend tried to talk with his partner, but the partner wouldn’t answer any calls nor emails, nor texts. He realized that he had made an agreement with someone that was not honest nor wanting to work out any issues regarding the restaurant. Rather than try to work it out with his ex-friend, he walked away with losing over $200,000. He learned a very difficult lesson.

Solomon speaks to this issue when he says, “My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor or entered into an agreement with a stranger, you have been snared by the words of your mouth trapped by the words from your mouth. Do this, then, my son, and free yourself, for you have put yourself in your neighbor’s power: Go, humble yourself, and plead with your neighbor. Don’t give sleep to your eyes or slumber to your eyelids. Escape like a gazelle from a hunter, like a bird from a hunter’s trap.” Proverbs‬ ‭6:1-5‬ ‭CSB‬‬

We need to be careful when we think of entering into an agreement or contract with anyone. When we realize after the fact that we should have never entered into an agreement with this person, we need to take the necessary steps of going to the person and seeking to remove ourselves from the agreement. Solomon refers to this as placing ourselves in that person’s power. Some of the closest friends have been torn apart by an agreement or decision that went bad. Wisdom says to do whatever you need to do to get out of the snare that your words have placed you in. Humble yourself. Plead with your neighbor to get out of the contract or agreement.

On this journey, there will be all kinds of traps. Caution in entering into any agreement or contract is the first step before proceeding down the road with anyone.

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Proverb: Discipline

None of us like discipline. From my earliest remembrances as a child, I can still remember the discipline that I was given when I had done something wrong. I remember at 5 years old when I coaxed a neighbor boy to go behind an old barn to play with matches. It was exciting to see the fire burn the weeds that we piled up. Fortunately we didn’t burn down the barn. Unfortunately my father found out about the little escapade and I was disciplined that night. The discipline was painful, but I never remember playing with fire again. The discipline worked.

Solomon wrote about discipline when he said, “Do not despise the Lord’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe his discipline, for the Lord disciplines the one he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:11-12 CSB. I had never looked at my father’s discipline when I was growing up as my father delighting in me. In fact I have never looked at discipline from the perspective of my father or my Heavenly Father delighting in me when I am disciplined.

Discipline is painful. Many times there is shame in the discipline because our wrong actions or wrong attitudes or destructive words are brought to the light of someone else. We only see the pain or shame we are experiencing, but fail to see that the discipline is being administered to us because our father/Father is showing his love for us. He is delighting in us.

Discipline from the Father in heaven can take many angles. It can be administered when we read His word and are convicted by the words we read. We can be sitting in church and hear a message from the pastor that brings conviction of an attitude or action that has been displeasing to Him. Discipline can come from a spouse who verbalizes a hurt that has occurred as a result of a wrong reaction that negatively impacted them.

On this journey when discipline comes, look at it from the perspective that the perpetrator of the discipline is actually showing his or her love and delight in us and wants us to change our actions or attitudes so that more intimate connection can occur.

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Proverbs from Proverbs

This year as I was reading through the Bible, I came across Proverbs again and began to have a thought. Solomon, the wisest person on earth wrote the book of Proverbs. His writings are truly wise for all of us to not only hear, but to seek to incorporate bites of wisdom into our lives. They are nuggets of truth that if only we were to apply them to our lives not only would we see changes in ourselves personally, but would begin to see a difference in the relationships that we hold dearly.

I have written over 460+ jlogs (Jim’s log) over the years have have decided to take some of Solomons wise sayings and highlight them to remind myself of God’s truth, and maybe inspire those who want to read my jlog to do the same. So here we go.

Understanding and wisdom is the center piece of Proverbs. One of the first passages that Solomon wrote focuses on this truth. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know Him, and He will make your paths straight. Don’t be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” Proverbs 3:5-7.

All of us have our own perspective of life and from that perspective develop an understanding of life and the circumstances we are experiencing. This passage says to NOT rely on our own understanding, but to trust in the Lord with all your heart and to know Him and his ways. We as individuals don’t have wisdom in and of ourselves. God has the wisdom so we need to turn to Him for guidance and direction.

Trusting in the Lord with all your heart means that we need to turn to His word and begin to read it on a daily basis to gain wisdom and understanding or our present and future circumstances of life. It might be helpful to read Proverbs to get God’s perspective of wisdom as well as to begin to read the gospels in the New Testament to find out about Jesus who was sent to this earth to show us how to live.

On this journey, we don’t have the wisdom nor understanding to navigate life in our own wisdom, but we do have the Lord that can give direction for the steps we take if only we will turn to him.

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Wild Turkeys

Nadine and I decided to go for a little walk around our neighborhood this morning. Actually, we live very close to the country setting as it only takes a 1 block walk before we are in nature. It didn’t take long before we were heading down a long hill with scattered homes dotting the side of the road. Before us we saw wild turkeys cross the road to get to the other side (sorry about the chicken crossing the road joke. I couldn’t help myself). When we got parallel to the place where they had crossed, the Tom turkey spread out his back feathers in protest to our presence.

I have heard of turkeys living in the wild, but it is a wonderful sight to see them in the wild. It reminds me of the passage in Lamentations 3:22-23 where the writer said, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.” Every morning the Lord has something new for us to enjoy if only we open our eyes and are willing to hear His voice.

On this journey, wild turkeys will come across your path. They may not be wild turkeys, but insights to solve a problem, or a word of encouragement from a friend, or an action that you didn’t expect from a family member. Opening our senses can have the wonderful effect of seeing God work in our lives every day.

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