Boldness is Biblical!

Proverbs 28:1 The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

Here is an interesting connection.  Right living results in bold living while wicked living results in fearful living.  This is something that Solomon observed in his lifetime.  It does not mean that all acts of boldness throughout history were done by righteous men.  It does not mean that upright people do not have fears.

If you are a liar, you are in fear of being found out, if you have stolen you are in fear of being caught, if you are cheating on your mate, you live in fear of being discovered.  A life of looking over your shoulder is not much of a life.

But, if we are right with God, who do we really have to be afraid of?   There is ultimate security in a life right with God, which allows a believer an inner security that produces  boldness likened to the lion.

King of Beasts

King of Beasts

 

The lion, king of beasts, regal in stature, lives in the open on the plains of Africa.  Man is his only enemy.  He is powerful and deadly in combat and his roar can be heard for up to five miles away.

Christian reformer John Knox, a wonderful example of Christian boldness, was famous for his slogan “Give me Scotland or I die!”

 

 

Beatings, persecution and being condemned as a galley slave did not stop him.  The corrupt Mary Queen of Scots stated “I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.”

So how about us?  Start now. Live fearlessly, live boldly, live righteously!

Jimmy Buffett Had It Right

Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, and undeserved curse does not come to rest.~ Proverbs 26:2 

Fluttering Birds

Fluttering Birds

 

“some people claim there’s a woman to blame, but I know, its my own damn fault  . . . “

In Jimmy Buffet’s Margaretville, an upbeat tale of a wasted life, the song’s main character has friends who want to make excuses for his misfortune.  But as the words go “some people claim that there’s a woman to blame, but I know, it’s my own damn fault.”

That is quite an honest statement. Actually this blunt type of honesty is in line with the wisdom of Solomon.  The undeserved curse does not come to rest.  Or the converse of this – when we receive a curse we usually deserve it.

This of course is a general principle not a 100% outcome.  Random things do happen, innocent people are killed in car wrecks, sickness and injury are often not our fault.

But all too often money problems, relationship troubles and sickness are the result of poor choices.  For example, yesterday I watched an obese gentlemen at Subway purchase three subs and three drinks and then sit down to eat.  He was already a walking health problem waiting to happen.

This Proverb is straight talk and tough love.  It’s your own fault – deal with it. Once we realize we are at fault we are no longer victims – we are in control.  And we hold the keys to our future.

I Saw the Proverbs 31 Woman Today!

She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks ~ Proverbs 31:17

“She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar”~ Proverbs 31:14

I saw the Proverbs 31 woman.  At Walmart!

I was in the check out line behind a very pokey woman with a very slow order.   I had studied that morning about Wisdom.  Wisdom, as described in the book of Proverbs, does not come from books but her voice is all around us. We can see and learn wisdom in the streets, the workplace, and our neighborhood. We can hear her voice throughout the day if we listen carefully.  It is especially important to specifically ask for wisdom, which I had prayed for that morning. So I was on the alert.

Shopping Without Plastic Bags

Grocery Cart with Bins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well I glanced at the checkout aisle next to me and noticed a middle-aged woman with her son checking out a very large order.  She was well dressed but had taken off her jacket and tied it around her waist.  She was ready to go to work.  Not muscular but arms and shoulders that looked like they were used to hard work.

What first caught my attention was her backpack.  She wore a medium size backpack – kind of unusual for shopping.  Out of the backpack came canvas type bags to load her groceries.  Not 4 or 5 bags but a huge stack of 20 or so sturdy bags.  They were colorful, bright with prints – not the usual green or brown earth colored bags.  They were all matching. So she had no use for plastic bags.

Her hands flew, picking and bagging her order.  Her son, a tenth grader or so, worked with her.  He didn’t seem a bit embarrassed to be seen shopping with his Mom. The clerk checking them out was working as quickly as she could.  As quick as an item crossed her scanner they had it packed.  The bags were quickly and carefully double stacked in the shopping cart and away they went.

I have shopped at that WalMart for 20 years but have never seen a shopper with that speed and efficiency.   My mind immediately went to the Proverbs 31 woman.

Was this her? How about you?  Any sightings? Have you seen her lately? Wisdom is all around us.  Keep your eyes and ears open. Maybe she’ll be in your neighborhood tomorrow.

Attracting Wealth

Proverbs 8:18 With me (wisdom) are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.

Proverbs 23:5 Cast but a glance at riches and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

The secret to attracting wealth and riches are given in these verses.  Did you catch it?  Most will read right over it.  Like a good poem or a parable Proverbs has levels of understanding.  You can read right past an important clue or key and still obtain some feeling of benefit from your reading.

The secret?  Enduring wealth and riches are extremely fickle.  Focusing on them and seeking them will result in failure.

However if you make wisdom your goal you will also obtain riches and wealth.  Yes, riches and wealth are nothing more than by products of wisdom.

So to attract wealth you must seek out wisdom.

Upper West Side

Upper West Side Street View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try these four ways to pursue wisdom:

  1. Ask.  Quietly bow your head and admit your lack of wisdom and ask the Lord to provide you with this most precious of gifts.  Do this everyday – request it like we should our daily bread.
  2. Listen for it. Alertly start your day – listening for the voice of wisdom.  You will find it in the most unusual of circumstances.  A piece of a radio program, a word from a friend or perhaps from the lips of a child.
  3. Watch. Keep your eyes open.  Observe all that goes around you – especially nature, even the insect world can teach you wisdom. Have you ever watched the Secret Service agents when the President arrives?  Their eyes scan the room, trained and alert.  Train your eyes to observe.
  4. Walk. When the way of wisdom is revealed to you walk in it.  Be bold, step out – take the right path and move boldly forward.

I followed this carefully today and saw a most amazing thing that I would not have noticed otherwise.  I was in Walmart and saw the Proverbs 31 woman in the checkout aisle next to me!  I always wondered what a modern version of this woman would look like and today I saw her. I’ll save that story for another post.

What will tomorrow’s path to wisdom bring?  I can’t wait to find out.

Today Is Your Day!

Proverbs 27:1 “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

A similar warning is found in the New Testament Book of James.

“Look here you people who say ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to such and such a town, stay there a year and open up a profitable business’. How do you know what is going to happen tomorrow?  For the length of your life is uncertain as the morning fog”~ James 4:13-14

“Bragging often precedes begging” ~ B.C. Forbes

Hushed lips

Keeping Quiet

 

 

All that we can accomplish lies in living out our best life today.  But what should our attitude be about tomorrow?  Should we live for today and forget about tomorrow or should we consume our today worrying about tomorrow?

Proverbs teaches a balanced yet cautious view of the future and here are some guidelines.

 

  1. Prepare for the future.  The lesson of the ant in Proverbs 6 is clear – use your times of abundance to prepare for future times of scarcity.  This can include preparations for your health, finances or possessions.
  2. Scan Your Horizon Look for future problems and difficulties and make plans to avoid them – see Proverbs 22:3.  Is your company doing poorly?  Don’t wait until you are handed a pink slip – make other plans quickly.
  3. Trust In the Lord – Always, always put your trust in the Lord, and let him be your guide. Proverbs 3:5 encourages us to do this.  After all God knows our future – we don’t.
  4. Help others.  Reach out and make a difference in the lives of those who may not have made such careful choices regarding their future.  The Proverbs 31 woman can “laugh at the days to come” because of her foresight and wisdom in preparing for the future, however she “opens her arms to the poor and her hands to the needy”.

Isn’t it bragging when it says the Proverbs 31 woman can “laugh at days to come?”  Well because of careful preparation and provision she could laugh about the future – but she doesn’t – she prepares instead.

So plan for the future, brag about nothing and live your today to the fullest. Today is your day!