Soul Slayers

WoodyandgossipProverbs 26

20 Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.

22 Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.

If you’re one who follows the news, then you are probably aware of the tension that is rising with the conflicts between various countries.  At times, it almost seems that if one more thing was to happen, a leader would snap and all out war would break out.  The world is concerned, and rightly so, who wouldn’t be?  However, while the vast majority of the world’s population feels helpless at being able to do anything to avert such a crisis, there are personal wars that rage across our world in homes, offices, factories, community groups and even in churches.  The war I’m talking about is gossip.

Gossip is the act of spreading unverified information about someone to others. It’s generally idle talk about the private affairs of someone else who is not present to defend themselves.

I’m sure most of us have participated in it, listened in, and even been the subject of it at one time or another.  On top of all that, we have magazines that are devoted to ‘celebrity gossip’, ‘entertainment’ shows on TV and on the internet who traffic in it.  We are a gossipy culture.

If you’ve been reading along through the book of Proverbs, then you will have picked up that gossip cuts three ways.

First, gossip is a tantalizing tidbit that when it tickles our ears, there is a natural tendency to take it right into our very souls.  There is just something so attractive about hearing third hand news about YOU!  Somehow, when I hear this juicy tidbit about you, in a way, you have been diminished in my eyes, and the fact that I have this ‘dirt’ on you, makes me feel superior.  When you think about it long and hard, gossip is actually quite insidious.

Now for the one who is passing on this little tidbit, understand that you have now taken part in bringing judgment on someone without any evidence.  If our courts treated people in that manner, we would vote to toss the whole system out.  Because who would want to live in a society where you can be judged without the necessary evidence?

And finally, for the one being gossiped about, it is tantamount to being betrayed and ostracized from the very people you thought you could trust.  That’s the time when divisiveness enters, and loyalty vanishes.  In essence, you have been marginalized…the very thing that God hates.

The wise person recognizes gossip for what it is, and rather than following the crowd and getting caught up in the tantalizing chatter, they douse the ‘fire’ out.  How?  They refuse to participate, and when appropriate, they speak up.  Douse that fire!

Note: I will not be blogging over the Easter holiday, but will resume on Monday.  As you take some time to ponder the suffering, humiliation and death of Jesus, may it lead you to the empty tomb and the glorious joy that death and the grave have been defeated!

He is risen…He is risen, indeed\

 

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How To Be a Good Wife :)

GoodWifeAnd now from Proverbs 21!

It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.

19 It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.

For all you wives out there, I hope you’re paying attention to Solomon’s words of wisdom. This tidbit of advice is coming from someone who has ‘been there – done that – and bought the t-shirt’! Like c’mon, he had, what is it? A thousand wives and three concubines? Oy vey! I can’t imagine what that must have been like, but surely he must be the expert on the kind of wife you ought not to be! So listen up all you wives.

Now would probably be a good time to crawl into a bunker as you start to lob bombs my way!

Let’s get serious now. We live in the western part of the world in 2017. Things have changed just a wee bit from Solomon’s era in the middle east…just a bit! So when you read something like this, understand that yes, it’s God who is inspiring people to write, but what is being written is coming through a specific mindset, culture, upbringing, and a particular understanding of how life is viewed.

Solomon lived in a patriarchal world where if you were born male, you were the master, superior, stronger, on the top of the heap, etc. The world was viewed through the eyes of men and women with that understanding. So of course Solomon would write something that would grate on the nerves of the majority of women (and probably most men) in 2017 in the western world. Gosh, it doesn’t even sit well with me. Nor should it with you.

Even Paul, in trying to loosen up the religious Christians in the city of Galatia wrote, For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. Get it? We (men and women) are ALL one (equal and on level ground). Different? Yes. But not superior.

So now that we have that out of the way…

Simply put, living with a quarrelsome and/or complaining person (man or woman) would drive anybody crazy. You can’t live like that for very long before the attic, the shed, or even the desert starts to look really cozy.

Here’s why. Quarrels are not just disagreements. They are angry disagreements. And where there’s anger, there’s control issues. It’s not that you want or need to share your opinion, it’s that you have this belief that your opinion is the right one, and the other person’s opinion is flat out wrong! In fact you won’t even take to the time to listen and admit that their opinion may be better or even right.

Now when it comes to complaining, the issue there is that it’s gone from simply expressing something that you are dissatisfied with to lamenting about your dissatisfication (right on the heels of whining). We know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of that. But for the one who is known for complaining, there is a deep dissatisfication that that person has with their own life. Something is out of whack. Absent from a life of a complainer is gratitude, thankfulness, joy, and the inability to see the good in this world.

So if you begin to notice your spouse eyeing the attic space, or fascinated with documentaries about the Mojave Desert…maybe you should book some time with your therapist.

Life is 3 Dimensional

Three-Dimensional-Spheres

I’m not a fan of ‘black and white’ thinking, simply because it leads to seeing life two dimensionally.  Life isn’t two dimensional, my friend!  If you’ve had any life experience then you know that life is more gray, then anything else.  In reality we don’t want to go for gray, either.  Gray is simply mixing black and white together…a compromise.  I would suggest that rather than aiming for black, white or gray, let’s aim for wisdom.  Wisdom is thinking three dimensionally.  Below are some examples from the 20th chapter of Proverbs.  If you’re a black and white thinker, then you’ll probably understand these incorrectly.  So here we go…

Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise.

This is not saying that you shouldn’t consume alcohol.  Remember one of the predominant themes running through Proverbs is ‘self-discipline’.  The same applies for alcohol consumption: without self-discipline, here’s what you can expect!

Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?

Loyal friends are out there.  Generally I think we expect too much from a friendship with others.  There’s a tendency to have too high expectations, and when we do that, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.  Unfortunately too many friendships have crashed and burned because of that.  As with any relationship, we need to put into practice the prayer of St. Francis. Make me an instrument of your peace…

16 Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners.

Someone who would guarantee a strangers debt is not to be considered as someone who lives wisely.  Lack of wisdom bleeds into every area of a person’s life.  Buyer beware!

19 A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers.

Wanna kill a relationship?  Hop on the gossip train and you will definitely derail any relationship.  RUN from gossip.  It’s deadly.

29 The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.

Those gray hairs that you’re seeing in the mirror are a blessing…seriously!  The fact that you have lived long enough to have gray hair says that you have experience, and with experience comes wisdom!  C’mon gray hair!!

30 Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart.

This has nothing to do with strapping or hitting your kids.  So don’t even go there.  This is about physical punishment meted out by king’s officers for a criminal offence.  However…this approach was seen as wisdom from that time and that culture.  We know differently today because humanity learns and develops over the centuries.

Let’s choose to live 3 dimensionally!  Enjoy your day 😉

Who Controls Your Life?

Proverbs 16

I really do love and admire the attitude and perspective of young people.  They can be bold, confident, self-assured, and a belief of invincibility when it comes to living life.  Unlike me, they haven’t been banged around too much, nor have they experienced too many failures or disappointments in life.  Now I’m sure if you asked them they would have a different opinion on that.

Whenever I look back on my young adult life, I chuckle at the almost arrogant and brash self-confidence that I had.  I had goals for my life and no one was going to stop me from attaining them.  If I wanted something and believed that I could have it, then I went for it.  But then something has happened over the decades.  By the time I reached twenty-five, I started to experience the bumps and grinds of life.  Not everything was going my way.  There were people that I knew well who died, others who disappointed me by their actions, and no longer was life a sure thing.

As I watched those who were older than me navigate life, my attention was drawn to those who lived life with humility and had this uncanny trust in God.  They didn’t just believe that God would look after and provide for them, they knew that God would!  Somehow life had taught them that in the end, it wasn’t them that was in control of life, rather, it was God who was in control of their life.  Life, age, and experience had taught them that surrendering their lives into his control was the wisest thing they could do.

Now outwardly (homes, jobs, wealth, etc) their life didn’t look like anything spectacular, but something about them oozed peace, contentment, and a deep sense that their life was very secure in God’s hands.  That was the gold that I wanted and continue to long for in my life.  I think I’m getting there, and while I may not have the self-assured confidence of my youth, I find lately that whenever anyone asks me, “How ya doing?”, I can honestly answer that in spite of the stresses of life, and the swirl of activity that goes on from day to day, I’m at peace.  I have learned and am learning that God has and is proving that he can be entrusted with my life.

The proverbs that follow speak to the fact that a life surrendered to God is a life that is secure, stable, and at peace with the world and with God.  Who better to care for and direct the affairs of your life than the One who created you?

We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.

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

20 Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful.

33 We may throw the dice,but the Lord determines how they fall.

 the-beloved-disciple

I Think God Has a Happy Heart

CometLovejoy

So yes, the past two days has been jammed-packed for me, hence why I’m just now writing my post. Such is life…

So here’s the beauty of the wisdom books, particularly Proverbs. Wisdom is a ‘God-thing’. I’m a believer that God is wisdom and wisdom flows from God. I think we would all agree with that, because if it doesn’t emanate from him, then where does it come from? So I’m good with saying that all wisdom comes from God.

If that’s the case, then I am of the thought that God is definitely for us and truly believes the best and desires the best for us. For me, God is not somewhere ‘up there’ looking down with a scowl on his face, wagging his finger, and accusing us of every sin under the sun.  Now does the brokenness of humanity trouble God and causes him pain? Sure…I’m certain of that. But when I consider what I read in Scripture, along with the beauty of all of creation, including the vast cosmos, then I sense a very loving God who loves delighting us, and invites us to join in with him…to co-create with him, so to speak.

This is the very thing I detect when I read Proverbs 15! For every verse that follows, I have only copied the ‘positive’. In other words, how a ‘wise person’ is to live life and approach others. The way I see it, if this is how God desires me to live my life, then I have to believe this is how God has created the universe and all the creatures in it (including humans), and how God desires to interact with creation. And when I ponder these sentences, I’m thinking that God has a happy heart. What do you think?

A gentle answer deflects anger,

The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing,

Gentle words are a tree of life;

The lips of the wise give good advice;

13 A glad heart makes a happy face;

15for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.

23 Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!

26 The Lord… delights in pure words.

28 The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking;

30 A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health.

By the way…the name of the comet in the pic?  Comet Lovejoy!  🙂

Make Friends With Yourself

A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.  Proverbs 14: 30                 

The beauty of ‘maturing’ (getting older) is that you realize not everything is as it may seem. The things I was so certain of in my younger days…well let’s just say I’m not so certain anymore. The lines blur a bit for me. I think that’s just wisdom and the beauty of living through a few decades of life on this wonderful planet of ours ;).

One of those blurry areas is this whole thing about body, soul, and spirit. I understand where that comes from, and I also get that we like to compartmentalize just about everything. I’m not sure why we like to do that, but we do. Perhaps one reason for doing that is we ‘think’ we can understand it better. It’s more easily controlled. And it’s just so gosh-darn fun to label everything.

So along with my body, soul, and spirit, I also get that I have a mind, and emotions. All of these ‘parts of me’ are not pieces of a human pie…connected but separate. For me it’s more like pasta sauce – different ingredients all blended together; one enhancing the taste of the other. Take one out and it changes everything. By the way, this ‘pasta sauce’ analogy is just that, an analogy, but that’s what happens when the lines blur. So what does this have to do with the proverb I chose for today? Well…

This proverb is basically saying that a happy heart leads to a happy body. A jealous heart leads to a sick body. That’s what this proverb is saying. Yes, it’s speaking directly to jealousy, but as with all other proverbs, there is a general principle here, and a lesson to be learned.

Human beings today are frantically spending ginormous amounts of cash, time, and energy trying to not only fix those three areas (body, soul, spirit), but also trying to have them aligned perfectly with each other. The way I see it, we are becoming (and some of us have already arrived) a neurotic and unhinged people. I sometimes wonder if we are actually causing more harm to ourselves than the good we are desiring?

Again, the way I see it, it was me who asked Jesus to ‘save me’ because I couldn’t save me. If I’ve read my Bible correctly, God loves the ‘messed-up-me’ (Yes, it is possible to love a messed up person, just ask your parents). So if God can love the ‘messed-up-me’, then I think I can. It was a number of years ago that I decided to make friends with myself. Sometimes I’m not the way I’d like to be, and I don’t believe I will ever arrive at that place of perfection in this life (I’m not even sure what a perfect Scott would even look like). So I’ve decided to let Jesus work on me…in his time.

Today, why not make friends with yourself? Your body, mind, soul, spirit and every other part will thank you for it! And Jesus will thank you too!

mirror-kiss