Monday, July 24, 2017

Eight-Legged Pride

Let another man praise you,
And not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips.
Proverbs 27:2

In his classic work The Metamorphosis, Ovid tells the story of Arachne.  This mythical tale concerns a woman who believes she is go good at weaving that she boasts herself to be even better than the goddess Athena.  This arrogance ultimately ends in Arachne being turned into a spider and made to weave for the rest of her days (along with all or her creepy offspring).  It is absolutely amazing how infrequently a person needs to tell others how good they are at something.  It is amazing because that does not stop people from taking the opportunity to tell others how good they think they are at something.  Interestingly arrogance is becoming an absolute cultural ethic!  If the story of Arachne were to be made a fresh today it would surely be a story of how Arachne boasted and then finally defeated Athena – yet the old wisdom is the best.  A person can render a wonderful talent, beauty or ability utterly worthless with just a touch of arrogance.  Yet, interestingly, no assessment needs to be made of one’s own abilities to continue to strive to improve and appreciate them.

Monday, July 17, 2017

"JK! I'm Crazy!"

Like a madman who throws fire brands, arrows and death,
Is the man who deceives his neighbor
And says, “I was only joking!”
Proverbs 26:18-19

Having a truly crazy person is a great liability.  A person who fully and completely lacks all sense of sanity becomes a danger to himself and others in very short order.  That person may become even more dangerous should he be supplied with weapons.  Imagine going into battle with a person who is meant to be on your side, only to find that person firing indiscriminately and taking out his own men.  This is the image which the Bible uses to explain a person who lies for a joke.  C.S. Lewis pointed out in the Screwtape Letters what a marvelous tool this is on the part of the Satanic influence upon earth.  A person can be cruel, a person can be selfish, a person can be dishonest but if it is framed as a joke it is supposed to be just fine.  There is a great place for humor, but there is also a way to use humor as a weapon of destruction.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Slave to Everything

Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down without walls.
Proverbs 25:28

Modern psychology has been baffled by anger.  There was a thought that anger had to be expressed…that once it was out it wouldn’t be “in” any more.  But this proved not to be the case.  The people who express the most anger seem to have more anger to express!  It turns out that a person who is controlled by their feelings is more likely to do something that is deeply unwise.  Furthermore, our feelings are rarely indicative of the truth.  As an example, how many times have the words “I hate you!” and “I love you!” been spoken and been absolutely lies except for that the person “felt that way” at a certain time.  Emotions are, of course, a vital part of what God made us to be as humans.  They are NOT, however, to be the governing force in our thoughts, behaviors attitudes and actions.  That leaves us as vulnerable as a city without walls to a world that would use our very own emotions to control and destroy us.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Good Boundaries

Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house,
Lest he become weary of you and hate you.
Proverbs 25:17

I grew up in the great days of the 80’s and 90’s sitcoms.  In Full House Kimmie Gibbler was the example of this proverb.  In Family Matters it was Steve Urkel.  This is the person that would be a bit of an oddball if they showed up in the house occasionally.  The may even have been endearing, but because they showed up every single episode for a good portion of the time they “wore out their welcome” and became the butt of most of the jokes.  In the context of a sitcom this is funny.  It is funny because one of the main characters is usually deeply bothered by this person, but it is also funny because their violation of this simple principle causes the audience to think that there is almost no end to the abuse that can be heaped upon that person.  There are, of course, those special relationships in life that really are “closer than a brother” as Solomon put it.  Most of the time, however, we must be very careful not to insert ourselves into other people homes or even their private space.  Just as a relationship can die because by in attention a relationship can be killed by smothering as well.  And like everything in life – a relationship needs space to breath.  

Monday, June 26, 2017

Golden Words

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold
In settings of silver.
Proverbs 25:11

The ability to say the right word at the right time is a special skill.  We may think of those perfectly timed and beautifully put speeches of history.  Speeches like the Gettysburg Address and the “I have a Dream Speech” still ring in the ears as relevant and full of impact to this very moment.   On more personal occasions, we know the power of a person who gives the right word of encouragement, tenderness or a rebuke at just the right moment.  Scripture tells that these moments are not magical moments of coincidence – they are the result of being steeped in God’s word and attentive to the situation which is before us.  Being attentive, patient, and filled with God’s word will give us the opportunity to speak words which outweigh precious metals in their value.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Rock and Roll and Right Choices

Prepare your outside work,
Make it fit for yourself in the field;
And afterwards build your house.
Proverbs 24:27

Many stories are told of Jimi Hendrix, the great rock and roll guitarist of the sixties.  One of the stories that goes around is that he would occasionally pawn his guitar to satisfy some immediate desire.  This meant that whoever was trying to get him to the next show would often have to find out where his guitar was pawned and redeem it for him before he could play another gig.  It seems strange because the guitar was Jimi’s major source of income.  It seems that you would want to pawn absolutely ANYTHING before choosing to pawn the one thing that was likely to bring you the income needed to redeem what you pawned.  This is the purpose of this parable.  The “outside work” in this case would be attending to that which will provide for your needs and generate income.  The next step after that is to build and prepare your house.  This simple choice to keep things in order will keep life balanced between income and expense.  Or as Charles Dickens put it in his wonderful book David Copperfield: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery."

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

New Book: Why am I Still Here?

This book is a new look at the issues faced by the elderly, the disabled, and the infirmed..  It is a resource to any and all who may be facing a new phase of ministry with any set of physical limitations. This book is also designed to be a guide to anyone who has someone in their life who faces these types of challenges.  

If you are interested in this book you can find it at in both print and Kindle editions.  You may also write to request a copy in another format.

Click here to go to the page at Amazon.

It is my prayer that this book would encourage the Lord's most mighty and tried warriors to be encouraged and to be more highly esteemed by the body of Christ.