Archive for June, 2011
“As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man” (Proverbs 27:19).
How much of life is wasted in trying to shape others opinions of us. Despite such efforts each glance into the mirror reminds us of who we really are. Your reputation is what others think about you. Character is what you know to be true about yourself. The man in the mirror never lies.
“Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
I enjoy reading books written by those with whom I disagree. I have found little benefit in the purchase of books that leave me nodding my head in agreement; confirming my own beliefs and ideologies with every turn of the page. I have realized, however, a greater benefit from those authors with whom I differ. They stretch my imagination, broaden my perspective, and keep me on my toes. As iron against iron produces a sharp edge, such is the benefit we receive from every person that God brings across our path each day.
“Like the legs which are useless to the lame, so is a proverb in the mouth of fools” (Proverbs 26:7)
In explaining the difference between the books of Psalms and Proverbs, a simple approach is that the Psalms speak to the vertical dimension of our relationship with God, while Proverbs highlight the practical, horizontal dimension of our faith as it is lived-out among others. However, a Proverb, like any other portion of scripture, that is known but not practiced is as ineffective as the legs of a person paralyzed.
Reading a proverb a day will take you through the month. Read it through, but walk it out.
“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men” (2 Corinthians 3:2).
People don’t write letters as they once did, but the truth is that we are each day, by the way we live, writing a letter that is being read by everyone that crosses our path. By the choices we make, the things we say, in the way we treat others, we are penning the sentences and paragraphs of a letter that tells the story of who we are. Therefore, write something worth reading.
“What is desirable in a man is his kindness” (Proverbs 19:22)
While the “Random Acts of Kindness” movement is driven by much sentiment, I believe it falls short of the intentions of our Lord. To be random implies something left to chance; an occasional action; lacking in purpose. Kindness, however, should be found in the very fabric of our spiritual DNA. It is to be defining of who we are, deliberate, intentional, and ongoing—anything but random.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born in adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).
From the highs to the lows; from season to season, chapter to chapter a true friend perseveres through each. Shared pain forges a bond of brotherhood that remains unbroken over the course of a lifetime. Do you have such a friend? More importantly, are you seeking to be such a friend?
“I shall lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the lord” (Psalm 116:13).
Jesus asked his disciples, “Are you able to drink the cup I am about to drink?” In the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.” The cup of salvation is something significant. The cup contains responsibility, commitment, sacrifice, and death. Lifting this cup is no light-hearted toast.
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).
When asked each Sunday how she was doing a woman from my first pastorate, with the most downcast spirit I had ever seen, would begin going through a litany of things contributing to her misery. I determined to try another approach. On one particular Sunday, I said to her as she was coming out the door, “Well, look at you, girl. Where did that spring in your step come from today?” She, at first, looked shocked but then she responded with a chuckle, “I don’t know but I have to admit, I do feel better today.” I never heard from her lips again a single word of lament. The heart determines the attitude; never our circumstances.
“The wise in heart will be called understanding, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness” (Proverbs 16:21).
I confess there have been times when my passion for something has caused me to raise my voice to a volume so loud that it precluded the possibility of being heard. On those occasions, especially with my children, I could see them pulling back and no longer engaging in conversation. I would quickly catch myself and say to them, “My passion and volume doesn’t make me right. I still want to hear your side.”
In the course of the day, we sometimes have to defuse a tense conversation with a softer, sweeter tone. It’s then we have the best chance of being heard.
“He who gives attention to the word will find good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord” (Proverbs 16:20)
Have you read the morning paper? The USA Today? The Wall Street Journal? Your online news sources? If this is all that is read, it can easily skew ones perspective. It conditions the lens of the eye to see only the worst; to view others with cynicism and suspicion.
Have you read even a portion of scripture today? It offers another perspective; one that sees the good; the possibilities; a state of blessedness because it trusts in the Lords.