THE SECRET TO EARNING AN EXTRA $10,000!

smilingman

Proverbs 28

19 A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty.

20 The trustworthy person will get a rich reward, but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble.

21 Showing partiality is never good, yet some will do wrong for a mere piece of bread.

22 Greedy people try to get rich quick but don’t realize they’re headed for poverty.

So if you were intrigued, even just a little bit, by the title of this post and the pic, then what the proverbs say concerning the allure of wealth is true.  Wealth, money, riches, etcetera, all need to come with a warning on them stating something like, “WARNING: Be careful what you long for!”

Let’s admit it, I think there is something in all of us that wouldn’t mind if a few zeroes were added to the balance of our bank account or investments (unless of course your statements are at zero).  Have you ever dreamed of winning the lottery?  What about when you bought that lottery ticket?  How much time did you spend thinking of all the things you could do with all the free time that would be available to you?

Have you ever been drawn to the multi-level marketing companies?  “You too can have it all!!  But you must act quickly so that you don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!”  No?  I have.  When I was seventeen, my older brother became a ‘distributor’ for cleaning products and was telling me how easy it was to sell, and how much I could earn by selling one bottle.  I was sold.  And so I too became a ‘distributor’ and went and found my first customer – our church custodian.  The product said that it could take coffee stains out of cloth covered chairs.  Our church had both the chairs and the coffee stains.  I mixed the proper strength up, sprayed it on the chair, rubbed it in, waited, and then wiped it off. Voila!  The stain was still there!  Grrrr.  Clearly I didn’t make a sale.  I went back to my bro and asked him what was up.  He explained that I just tell the customer that I will go back to the ‘lab’ (read – kitchen) and instructed me to double up on the strength, but just don’t say anything to them.  Right!  So much for getting rich!

There is a particular path we are to walk in this life, and if we choose to walk it, then we will find success in whatever we put our hands to.  That path is called, ‘hard work’, and no, it’s not super-attractive, but it will work for you just about every time.  The temptation is when someone or some thing comes along and suggests that there is a shortcut that you can take.  But remember, when you say ‘yes’ to a shortcut, you are also saying ‘no’ to wisdom and common sense.  When you veer off the well-worn path of wisdom, you are entering into the dense forest of disappointments, pitfalls, and poverty.  Anything that poses as the secret to everything you’ve always wanted – just toss.  You don’t need it and you definitely don’t want it.  Take the path of wisdom, because on that path you will not only gain wisdom, you will also mature as a human being and be known as a person of godly character.  In the end, you will be known as a rich and wealthy person, in more ways than one!

Stay on the path and watch your life grow!

 

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wildhorse2

20 Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied, so human desire is never satisfied. Proverbs 27

I’m back in the saddle!  We had a great Good Friday and Easter, both at our awesome faith community at the thevineyardchurch.ca and with my family.  Enjoyed the time off and did some yard work and puttering around the house.  Here’s an interesting tidbit for you.  On Easter Sunday I pondered the resurrection and I came to the conclusion that Jesus is the ‘Beautiful’ that the world longs for.  I say that because I tend to find that most people don’t have a problem with Jesus. It’s the ‘church’ that they have issues with, but again…I’m rambling.  Onto the sayings of the wise!

The 27th chapter of Proverbs has a potpourri of wisdom sayings that should be allowed to marinate in our minds and hearts.  However, this one stood out for me for whatever reason, and here’s the point that hit home…

Thank God (literally) that desire is never satisfied, otherwise, we’d never long for more and more and more.  That’s what makes desire…well, desire!  I wouldn’t want desire to be satisfied forever.   Sure, there are times when we attain that satisfaction, and the satisfaction is good…temporarily…but then we want more.  And that’s the beauty of desire.  That’s also it’s downfall.

Because desire is never satisfied, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing that if desire hits, we then need to satisfy it or ‘quench’ it.  But the truth is, it always wants more.  We have a better understanding of that today with the advances of science and the study of the brain.

Which is all the more reason why we must practice the art of self-discipline.  Desire must be disciplined. It needs to be restrained to be healthy.  Desire must be mastered, otherwise, it will master us, and when that happens, there is the potential that all hell will break loose.

So, don’t try to pray away your desires because you need them.  Rather, bring a good dose of discipline to the situation and rein in those desires.  You’ll be a much better person for it!

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\

 

winnie-the-poohFrom Proverbs Twenty-five

16 Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!

17 Don’t visit your neighbors too often, or you will wear out your welcome.

27 It’s not good to eat too much honey, and it’s not good to seek honors for yourself.

Ya have to like Pooh Bear…honey pot and all.  One thing about Pooh, he does make honey look wonderfully yummy.  While Solomon may think Pooh Bear is cute, floating in his honey pot, when it comes down to the reality of life, too much of a good thing is really not a good thing!  And that’s the point that Solomon is trying to make.  I think we can all recall a time when we ate too much of a good thing.  Rather than having the effect we were chasing after, it did quite the opposite, didn’t it?  If you gorged yourself, then you probably ended up hugging the toilet bowl.  Remember the adage…everything in moderation.  EVERYTHING!

Solomon uses two examples throughout this chapter of too much of a good thing.

  1. Wearing a path from your house to your neighbour’s house (or vice versa), does not inspire close relationships. Think of it this way: as you ‘wear’ a path to your neighbour, so you ‘wear’ out your friendship. We know what it feels like when someone begins to wear out their welcome – tiresome!
  2. The proverb in verse 27 goes without saying. Needing to be noticed, applauded, and recognized for this, that and the next thing, ranks right up there with the person who tells you how humble they are. The minute they thought of telling you that they were humble they immediately disqualified themselves. So it is with the person who needs to be recognized and applauded.

So the next time you’re hankering to satisfy that sweet tooth of yours, remember that ‘less is more’.  Too much and you may end up finding yourself embracing the proverbial toilet!

Even Pooh Bear would agree with that nugget of wisdom!

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 😉

Free Speech…But to What Degree??

powerofwords1So yesterday was one of those days that was jammed packed from morning til late into the evening. Had I tried to write my post when I finally got home, I would been babbling and not being very coherent. I don’t sweat it. My goal is to write everyday, but I realize that ‘life happens’ and at the end of the day, it’s all good. But I do love setting goals for myself, as it gives me something to aim for. But I’m digressing once again…

We’re now into the part of proverbs where each verse or line is a short nugget of wisdom, and they can vary from topic to topic. My post will just reflect on one of the topics. So on to chapter 11!

With their words, the godless destroy their friends, but knowledge will rescue the righteous.

12 It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet.

13 A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.

So I am a supporter of ‘free speech’. What I mean by that is that people should be allowed to state their beliefs, thoughts, opinions and their point of view on a variety of matters. I don’t believe that any one group of people should be policing what others can or cannot say…sort of. Let me explain.

Words are powerful. They can inspire, build ones courage, inform, educate, comfort, and love. Words can also destroy, hurt, annihilate, crush, suck joy, isolate, hate and kill. If you’ve been around this beautiful world of ours for at least a decade, then you have no doubt experienced both healing words and hurting words. You know their power.

Solomon is correct when he says that it’s the ‘godless’ who destroy their friends with their words. To use our words to hurt, belittle, or gossip is, in fact, ‘godless’. It’s godless because God doesn’t kill people with his words. With words, God uses words to build us up, love us, heal us, restore us, and secure us. Humanity is created in God’s image, and so Wisdom knows that to live life as it was meant to be lived means we live as creative beings, not beings of destruction.

Our world longs for peace in our homes, our communities and among our nations, and that all starts with our words, my friends.

I’m all for freedom of speech, just not undisciplined speech.

A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!                   James 3: 5  The Message

“If You Have Nothing Good to Say…”

The words of the godly are like sterling silver; the heart of a fool is worthless.

Proverbs 10: 20

A wee confession to make before I share today’s thoughts.  I gave you an incorrect reference to the passages yesterday.  I wrote that it was Proverbs 10, when in fact it was Proverbs 9.

I am choosing this one verse as it represents a few verses in this chapter where Solomon talks about the words that come out of our mouth and what they say about us.

When I was a boy growing up I can remember a few times when my Mom would say to me, “If you have nothing good to say about the person, then don’t say anything at all.”  I’m sure most people have heard that little saying quoted at some point in their life.  Some of the sayings that I remember hearing were easy to remember and yet were chock full of truth.  And this is one of them.

However, another saying that is definitely not true is, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”  As the vast majority of the human population can attest to is that in fact, words do hurt, and sometimes to the core.  Now I understand that we are growing up in an age where we defend our ‘right’ to free speech, and I am one who would uphold that.  But I think we flex the ‘rights’ muscle way more than we do the ‘responsibilities’ muscle.  When it comes to the words that we use with others, wisdom recognizes that the onus is on us to choose our words carefully and to choose those words that extend honour and dignity to a person, rather than reducing them as a person.  For example…

The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain (v.11)

Wise words come from the lips of people with understanding (v.13) 

The words of the godly encourage many (v.21)

The mouth of the godly person gives wise advice (v.31)

The lips of the godly speak helpful words (v.32)

What’s interesting as I ponder these words is the truth that I can actually choose how I am going to respond to someone.  Will my words heal, or will they harm?  Will my words feed, or will they starve?  Will my words encourage, or will they tear down? And the list could go on.

Unfortunately, there are times when my emotions get the better of me and my words do more harm than good.  It is then that I need to heed this piece of wisdom from Solomon:
Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. (v.19)  

And that’s just good ol’ fashioned discipline, my friend!  🙂