Silent Sound


Growing up and being rejected I tried hard to get used to the fact that no one wanted me around and to learn to be content with just me.  I was never one who enjoyed the silence.  Left alone with my thoughts my brain never stopped.  I was and have always been my own worst enemy.  The things I dislike most about myself and the things I ruminated on.  Being told you don’t fit or belong time and time again only played into this.  I have never been one of those people who are very comfortable in my own skin.  If people didn’t want to be around me, my Dad didn’t want to be around me, clearly I wasn’t all that desirable.   I kept to myself, my thoughts and my world, I shut down and shut out the world, crying wasn’t any use because that would only make me a target for people to mock.  So I would walk around fearful of people, trying hard to blend in, not be noticed and just left alone.

I believe this is where my first love of music came into place.  I didn’t want the silence, that was deafening and a reminder of all the rejection.  So, I found music to be a place I could lose myself.  Since that time music has always been a place I could find solace.  The lyrics of many songs often identified with how I was feeling.   I don’t remember at what point but I used to make tapes of music I loved to listen to and depending on my mood a lot of the times my way of coping with being alone was to make tapes of really sad and lonely songs and then listen to them over and over.  As I listened to the words blasting from the stereo it would bring me to the point where I could actually cry and feel emotion.

Over the years music has always remained the one thing I carry with me.  I’ve had my headphones, Diskman, iPod and my phone.  I’ve always got music on the radio, computer or laptop.  Music is with me from the time I wake up in the morning till I fall asleep at night.  It’s been there more than anything else and I can always count on it.

I have never grown comfortable with silence.  Even as an adult I hate conversations that don’t flow easily, gaps of time where no one is speaking.  It is always awkward riding in a vehicle when the conversation comes to a halt and no one is talking.  My mind begins racing about what should we talk about next so there isn’t a lull in the conversation.

In my adult life it’s been odd, I have periods of time where I have a lot of friends that I do a lot of things with and then somehow through circumstances those friends move, change jobs or churches and the relationship is not the same and the communication fizzles out.  I end up going back to feelings of being alone with no one to talk to.  Even though I do have friends and really good friends it is still remains difficult and sometimes I harsh reminder of my past.  More times than not I feel like I put all the energy into most of my friendships. When it’s not reciprocated or I get nothing  for a long time I go back to feeling all alone, it’s then I just pull back completely and return to music.

Even in my walk with God I have struggled with this.  There are times I have purposely made it so I did have quiet time and could shut out the world to focus on God.  I don’t practice this as much as I should, I do believe it should be a regular practice.  The world and the things of this world drowned out God so we can’t stay focused on him.  All part of Satan’s plan I believe.  I do try to make it a priority first thing in the morning either going for a walk or on my way to work, just spending time alone with God praying, listening and waiting for him to speak to me.

Maybe that’s why I had a large family and a house full of people.  I don’t want to be in a place where something isn’t going on or happening.  I want to be in a place where someone talks to you.   My house is always full and our house in our neighborhood is the spot to be.  People are constantly going in and out, and there are times where I do need a break and just need some silence and I try to take it, but give me 5 minutes of silence and it immediately takes me back to being alone and I hate that.

The struggle of silence will most likely be a battle I face all my life.  Taking time out and just being silent is healthy, listening to your heart, your mind and your body will tell you a lot.  Most importantly taking time out and spending it with God is what I need for to center and give myself direction.  Silence has a place; it’s just a hard place to be for me.


Honoring Your Mother and Father


I learned and believed in honoring your parents.  Two examples found in the Bible that I have read as well as heard preached and repeated by others over and over:

Exodus 20:12 – “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.  (on of the 10 commandments) and Ephesians 6: 1 – 3 –“ 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

When children grow up in a less than healthy home, where the parents aren’t invested in their children, abuse them, ignore their needs or just take off and chose not to be a parent in my opinion are not honorable parents.   Becoming a parent is a gift from God and one that should not be taken lightly.

My wife and I grew up in homes where our parents were less than honorable parents in raising us.  Looking back there are clear signs something was not quite right with us growing up.  Both my wife and I were physically and sexually abused and our actions were bells and whistles something serious was happening.  Unfortunately for us those were never questioned or looked at closely by our parents.

As we grew up, got married and started our own family things have not gotten better over the years.  In our attempt to address those issues with our parents it has never gone well.  My wife has gotten a few apologies from her mom, but all I have gotten is “I can’t change the past” and “I did the best I could”.  Our Dad’s really have chosen to not address the issues and just turn a deaf ear to them.

In trying to have a relationship with our parents as adults with our own children it’s been more of our parents having difficulty letting go and attempting to run our lives.  Neither of our parents wants to engage in a relationship where we could actually be friends.  It has put my wife and I both in the place of not wanting to be around our parents.  We have chosen to focus on our relationships with our friends, church and neighbors than exhaust our energies into these unhealthy relationships.

Our children have watched the unhealthy dynamics play out in our families when we have been around our parents.  It has upset them and produced countless questions of why are things the way they are and we have had to explain over and over why our parents act the way they do.  It came to a head for me where I could not get anywhere with my parents and cut ties with them.   My wife is not at that place with her parents and I don’t know that she has the strength to do what I did.

We have been extremely purposeful in how we parent our children so those things do not occur with our children.  We want our children to be friends with us when they are older.  I understand it’s not easy to let go, but they need to spread their own wings and live their own lives.  If they want our advice I am happy to give it, but I am not going to tell my grown child how to live their life.  We have a very open relationship with our children, they can come to us and talk to us about anything at any time and we try to solicit feedback as much as possible so if there is issues we can talk through them.  It would crush me as a parent if my kids never wanted to have anything to do with me.  That would be more than I think I am capable of dealing with. We have struggled as adults to really understand the depth and fullness of the verses of how you honor your parents when their words and actions aren’t honoring, respectful or loving.  How do you honor parents who don’t really deserve it? 

 

 


The Rub of the Christian Cliche’


I’ve been involved in church since I was 5 years old.  I “got saved” in VBS by “asking Jesus into my heart”.  I acknowledged “Jesus is Lord” and “repented” of “sins.”  I didn’t fully understand all of those phrases I spoken to me at that time.  I did fully believe there was a God, Jesus was his son and I could go to heaven when I died.

It wasn’t until I was in the 5th grade when my family actually began “attending” a “church” on Sundays.  Since then I have been actively involved in different churches.  I have been in various degrees of leadership including being a Youth Pastor for the last 15 years.  I fully believe that God created heaven and earth and that he sent his son Jesus to save the world.  I believe in the Bible and what it says.  I have tested and experienced God first hand in my life in a variety of ways.  I still come back to the conclusion that what God says and has happened he is real, alive and still at work today.

Through all the churches I have attended I noticed that the same phrases have been used over and over.   We who are believers speak a different language and use phrases (those above I put in quotations) and say things those who don’t go to church or haven’t experienced church have no clue as to what we are saying.  The following is a list of words or phrases I put together of what I have said as well as continue to hear to this day:

  • Ask Jesus into your heart
  • Amen
  • Authentic
  • Bible-believing
  • Born-again
  • Can I get a witness?
  • Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven
  • Community
  • Creation-Care
  • Doing life together
  • Emergent
  • Feeding on the Word
  • Fellowship
  • God is in control
  • Hate the sin, love the sinner
  • Head of the house
  • Here’s my testimony
  • His pain, your gain!
  • How can I pray for you?
  • If you die tonight do you know where you will go?
  • I’m a child of God
  • Impact
  • In His Grip
  • Intentional
  • Jesus loves you
  • Jesus is my homeboy
  • Jesus Saves
  • Living in sin
  • Live that out
  • Lord willing
  • Missional
  • Post Modern
  • Pray harder
  • Read your bible
  • Relational
  • Redemption
  • Repent
  • Relevant
  • Salt and light
  • Say a blessing over the food
  • Small groups
  • Thank you Jesus/Praise Jesus
  • Transparent
  • We’re in the end times
  • What’s God doing in your life?

There’s a lot more I have heard but this is a pretty comprehensive list.  As I look at this list and think to myself of how many times I have used these, I am actually pretty sad.  By using these words and phrases I have given the appearance I know what I am talking about, I have it all together and that I am in this amazing relationship with God.

I’ve been told, trained and even told others how to have a relationship with God the things you must do.  Pray, pursue him; read the bible, go to church, seek out like-minded believers and you will become Christ-like.   I’ve been taught that true repentance means changing my heart.  To work out my faith with fear and trembling.  As I allow God to work in my life I will be changed and transformed into a man of God.

As I have walked with God, pursued him as well as said these things there are days where none of it seems real or feels right.  To be honest, at 40 years old I feel in some sense that I am a fake, phony and living a lie.  I am not nice every single day of my life.  I am envious and jealous. I struggle with sexual purity and lust.  I have terrible wicked thoughts running through my mind.  I am critical and judgmental about others.  I don’t always see the good in others or the situation.  I jump to conclusions and I tend to be short-tempered and unfair.  I struggle to truly love my wife and at times love my kids more than my wife.  It’s easier to love my kids and want to be around them when they do what I want and aren’t being rebellious.  I want to scream, yell and curse at people who annoy me or tell them off.  I can wear masks and act differently in different settings.  I want to be liked, loved and desired.  I want my ideas and ways acknowledged and have my way be right all the time. There are attitudes and actions I have done since I was a boy that I still do to this day.  I often try to surrender my will to God and give up control but 5 minutes later I take it all back and use my intellect to control my life. There are days I think I will never make it to heaven with all of this.

I bet looking at me you wouldn’t know any of this or even have a clue these thoughts were running through my mind.  Because I call myself and Christian and follow God it is assumed these things should not be a part of my life and that somehow all of this is no longer a part of who I am.  Yes I do believe in God and yes I do believe he is changing me.  I will never have it altogether and I will never be perfect at least not here.  Someday things will be much better and my ultimate hope lies in Jesus coming back and taking me to heaven.

All those words and phrases have impacted me and they have made me realize I need to remove these words and phrases from my vocabulary.  How in the world can I relate to the world and live out what I believe with every part of me if I just can’t be real, honest and talk in a normal way. Being real and honest in the Christian realm often means facing rejection, but what’s worse being real or being rejected?

 


Sacrificing for Life


Living in the richest country in the world I find it hard to utter the words “I am poor or don’t have much”. Those words used to roll off my tongue growing up in Montana. Growing up was spent living in a trailer, hand-me-downs, Kmart Specials and Goodwill clothes, my parents lived paycheck to paycheck and a lot of time we had no health insurance. I was ashamed of what I came from and being looked down upon by the community only it made it worse.

My parents owned 28 acres of land and while we weren’t a sprawling ranch it was enough to keep us busy year round. My responsibilities growing up included feeding & watering the animals, cleaning out the barn, bucking hay bales, mowing a ½ acre of grass as well as cleaning the house and making meals. While there was time to play, there was a very clear expectation to take care of our chores first before we did anything else. It only took a couple of times of not doing it to learn it was better I did it than getting in trouble.

Living here in Portland I miss those responsibilities I had as a kid. My kids main responsibilities is keeping their rooms clean, doing their homework and a couple other chores around the house. They think they have it rough and don’t want to do what we ask of them. Looking at my life growing up compared to what we have now is so vastly different. My kids have yet to fully understand what it is to have to get up and work hard.

Looking at my life as an adult, I am incredibly thankful. God has blessed me with a large home, 3 vehicles, a large family, friends, church, work and a state I love living in. I live in a city that is wealthy with resources available to folks if you want to take advantage of them. I don’t consider myself poor or disadvantaged. Even in times where I say I don’t have any money left, in all honesty I still have money available. I know where my food is coming for every meal and I have shoes and clothes to choose from. I do not consider myself poor, I am wealthy in many ways.

My wife and I chose to have a large family. We chose to have 4 children, and after having them we chose to have 2 international college age exchange students to come and live with us. We also chose to adopt 2 more children. When purchasing our first home we bought a larger house so we could continue with all of this. We made our children share rooms instead of giving them their own so our exchange students could have rooms to use. In doing all of this – family, friends and folks from church and strangers have felt it necessary to tell us how wrong it was we were doing this. We were crazy, ridiculous, thinking only of ourselves, even polluting the planted by adding more life to it. We’ve had people just look at us like we are crazy or be at a loss for words, even telling us it takes “special people” to do this.

Why do we do this? Are we rich by America’s standards, probably not, we’ve lived on one income most of the time and my job in social work isn’t a place where people go to get rich. We do this because God has blessed us. We have more than we could ever need. We are not hurting for anything, we have an abundance. Life isn’t easy in terms of raising a large family and all the extra we added in. We wanted and chose the life we have. It takes work to make it all flow, establishing boundaries, taking time out and getting away, refreshing and recharging. Communication and scheduling are key to our survival. We looked at all that God has given and realized we still had room to do more. We are making sacrifices to impact this world. We are giving up things in our life so that others can be blessed. Does this make us special or deserving of some award or trophy? Does this mean I am bragging and trying to make myself seem better than others. Absolutely not, that is the last thing I want.

What is has done is to challenge me on just how much am I really willing to sacrifice in this life. I know that Jesus chose to sacrifice his life for others, that was his whole purpose. What more I am I willing to sacrifice and give up so that others can benefit. I’ve told my wife and countless others that 6 kids was my limit. I am willing to continue having exchange students live with us, but I want to be done parenting at some point. This past weekend I was at a conference listening to Coach Tony Dungy speak along with Donald Miller and Todd Scott. They were talking about The Mentoring Project and the 1000 kids in our city who need men involved in their lives. A statement made during the conference was “our life is about serving others” . That really resonated with me. As someone who grew up being incredibly selfish and wanting my way all the time, God has given me new lenses for viewing life. Today those lenses are about serving others. I still have moments of selfishness, but when I stop and think about it, really everything I have, comes from God and I am only using it to help others. None of the “things/stuff” I have will be going with me when I pass from this life. Even when my kids are grown and gone, there will still be kids needing good parents, there will still be kids who need love, attention, affection and that someone is there for them. Am I willing to sacrifice for the rest of my life so these kids can be impacted and changed for good?

I have more to think about in regards to sacrifice. I know that my life is going to be lived giving up of my own selfish needs for the needs of others. How much do we truly sacrifice living in America? To what extent are we willing to give up things so we can help others out? These questions have been running through my mind as of late and I think I have the answer, do you?


Proverbs Chapter 10


1 A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.
2 Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death.
3 The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
4A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
5He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.
6Blessings are on the head of the righteous, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
7 The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.
8 The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.
9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.
10Whoever winks the eye causes trouble, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.
11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
12Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.
13On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense.
14The wise lay up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near.
15 A rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the poverty of the poor is their ruin.
16The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin.
17Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.
18The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool.
19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
20The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
21The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.
22 The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.
23Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.
24 What the wicked dreads will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted.
25When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established forever.
26Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to those who send him.
27 The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.
28 The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.
29 The way of the LORD is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers.
30 The righteous will never be removed, but the wicked will not dwell in the land.
31 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off.
32The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.

 

In our own effort, contemplating the wisdom of one of the most capable intellects to ever walk the earth is daunting at best.

But at times, God uses the horsepower of these minds to pen the simplest of truths.

In fact, Proverbs chapter 10 is a prime example of God using a powerhouse like Solomon to deliver such a message.

As is the case in many areas of scripture, God uses the common elements of life to elevate the necessity of wisdom and understanding.

Wisdom and Family

Right away we see how godly wisdom brings encouragement to a family…and the lack thereof brings sorrow. Verse 1 exclaims that “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother” (ESV).

Even the most basic need of harvesting food is used to assign wisdom. To the son who gathers during the harvest a commendation is given. But, to the one who sleeps during the reaping, shame is assigned and harm comes to the family (vs. 5).

Wisdom and Righteousness

God also supports the necessity of His wisdom in attaining righteousness before Him.The Bible is very clear about this point specifically. Only under His influence and power can one even begin to find righteousness.

Chapter 10 elaborates by pointing out where the blessing of righteousness is found:

  1. The treasures gained from righteousness deliver from death (vs. 2, ESV).
  2. Spiritual hunger is satisfied through righteous wisdom (vs. 3, ESV).
  3. Blessings are given to those on whomrighteousness falls (vs. 6, ESV).
  4. The memory of the righteous that is left behind will be a blessing to those who hold it (vs. 7, ESV).
  5. The wage of the righteous, or relational closeness to God, leads to life (vs. 16, ESV).
  6. Righteousness is found in the desire of those who seek Him, and their desire is granted (vs. 24, ESV).
  7. The righteous are established forever (vs. 25, ESV).
  8. Righteousness is found in hope and it brings joy (vs. 28, ESV).
  9. The removal of the righteous is impossible in the sight of God (vs. 30, ESV).

Righteousness and the Tongue

It’s evident that when delivered by God, righteousness finds a way in to every aspect of our lives. However, chapter 10 places special attention on one area that can prove the nature of our heart…our mouth, tongue, and lips (vs. 10, 11, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 31, 32, ESV).

As is the case in my life, the ability to craft words is both a special blessing and a curse. When guided by God it builds others up. It teaches and upholds truth. It encourages and transforms.

However, when the flesh gains control, these same words degrade and destroy. They bring about hatred and violence. They tear down and diminish our worth…and the worth of others.

The Wisdom of a Righteous God

It is obviously no accident that God used this chapter to stir my passions and focus. Although there are other very strong passages, the elements of family and righteousness stood elevated above the rest.

The reality for those who are His is this: His wisdom develops healthy families and His righteousness infects every recess of our lives…both here and in eternity.

Under His changing power, the culture of our family is renewed. Under His shepherding, those who are His find that their circumstances are enhanced and more easily managed. Under His control, the venom of our tongue is dampened and it becomes a source of joy. By His power, we are reduced and He is exalted.

In this chapter, God’s brilliance was evident in the simplicity of its promises. And let’s face it…we all need a little simplicity!

Keagan Pearson is a father of three and a husband of one. By his submission to Christ, Keagan hopes to encourage others in their commitment to Lord and to their families. In part, this is accomplished through his passion of blogging at www.fatherhoodfactor.com and his passion for teaching in various ministry settings. You can follow Keagan on Twitter @FatherFactor

 


Proverbs for Parenting


Proverbs for Parenting

Proverbs for Parenting

There is certainly something unique about the book of Proverbs. Written by the wisest of men (someone smart enough to ask God for wisdom!), it is packed full of guidelines for life, in a point-by-point format. I’ve heard several suggestions for how to read and study Proverbs, such as a daily chapter-by-chapter approach, covering the whole book every month on an ongoing basis. A completely different method is to split out topics and themes, focusing insight into particular areas. Covering topics as diverse as marriage, greed, gossip, government, flattery, bribery, cruelty, vengeance, happiness, and many others, these sayings are vibrant and can serve to guide at any age.

Proverbs has much to say on fatherhood and parenting. Parents have a particular challenge: how to raise children from helpless infants, rear them through their formative years, and release them into adulthood equipped and ready. Where is a busy dad to even start? Here are a just a subset of the Proverbs that are age appropriate for 5-15 year olds and outline some fundamental principles to adopt in parenting and to teach/instill in your children. I’m cheating a little here, and condensing in part from a book with the same name as this post (by Barbara Decker, http://www.amazon.com/Proverbs-Parenting-Topical-Guide-Raising/dp/0961860855).

 

 

Obedience: Teaching obedience is one of the key principles of fatherhood, like it or not. A disobedient or disrespectful child is a rebel in training.

 

  • Proverbs 1:8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

 

  • Proverbs 3:1-4 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, 
write them on the tablet of your heart. 
Then you will win favor and a good name 
in the sight of God and man.

 

  • Proverbs4:10Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many.

 

  • Proverbs4:13Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.

 

  • Proverbs 10:8 The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.

 

 

Correction: Discipline goes hand-in-glove with teaching obedience. There are many ways to skin a cat, but one of the most important ingredients is consistency. When you describe a consequence for unacceptable behavior, you have to deliver it. Being on the same page with your wife and having the same expectations is also vital.

 

  • Proverbs10:17 Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, 
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.

 

  • Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, 
but whoever hates correction is stupid.

 

  • Proverbs 13: 18 Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, 
but whoever heeds correction is honored.

 

  • Proverbs19:20Listen to advice and accept discipline, 
and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

 

  • Proverbs 13:1 A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, 
but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.

 

  • Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; 
they will bring you the delights you desire.

 

 

Anger: Frustration, aggression and anger are a hardwired component of the human condition. It’s how you manage these emotions that make the difference.

 

  • Proverbs14:29Whoever is patient has great understanding, 
but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.

 

  • Proverbs15:18A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, 
but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

 

  • Proverbs22:24Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, 
do not associate with one easily angered

 

  • Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, 
but a harsh word stirs up anger.

 

Diligence: In a world that increasingly awards meritocracy, diligence is a character trait that needs to be nurtured intentionally and will set your kids apart.

 

  • Proverbs 10:4 Lazy hands make for poverty, 
but diligent hands bring wealth.

 

  • Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit 
as surely as haste leads to poverty.

 

  • Proverbs22:29Do you see someone skilled in their work? 
They will serve before kings; 
they will not serve before officials of low rank.

 

 

Fear: Kids seem to be bombarded with fear from all sides in our modern culture, and we even go as far as creating situations with which to freak them out (eg movies and video games). Where does peace come from?

 

  • Proverbs1:33but whoever listens to me will live in safety 
and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

 

  • Proverbs 3:25-26 Have no fear of sudden disaster 
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be at your side 
and will keep your foot from being snared.

 

  • Proverbs10:24What the wicked dread will overtake them; 
what the righteous desire will be granted

 

 

Pride: Self-confidence can be a healthy, stabilizing character trait, but pride is usually entirely self-serving and underlies many an issue.

 

  • Proverbs8:13To fear the LORD is to hate evil; 
I hate pride and arrogance, 
evil behavior and perverse speech

 

  • Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, 
but with humility comes wisdom.

 

  • Proverbs13:10Where there is strife, there is pride, 
but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

 

  • Proverbs 16:5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart. 
Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

 

  • Proverbs 22:4 Humility is the fear of the LORD; 
its wages are riches and honor and life

 

 

Selfishness: The golden rule that is to “do unto others as you would have them do to you” is the great antidote for selfishness.

 

  • Proverbs 3:27-28 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, 
when it is in your power to act.  Do not say to your neighbor, 
“Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you” – 
when you already have it with you.

 

  • Proverbs 22:9 The generous will themselves be blessed, 
for they share their food with the poor

 

  • Proverbs 22 The stingy are eager to get rich 
and are unaware that poverty awaits them.

 

  • Proverbs 28:27 Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, 
but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.

 

 

Honesty and Lying: Often the flip-side of each other, these are bedrock issues that parents must shape with almost daily oversight

 

  • Proverbs 10:9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, 
but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.

 

  • Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, 
but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity

 

  • Proverbs12:19Truthful lips endure forever, 
but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.

 

  • Proverbs16:13Kings take pleasure in honest lips; 
they value the one who speaks what is right.

 

  • Proverbs12:22The LORD detests lying lips, 
but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

 

 

Respect: Learning respect is a key principle that serves us our whole lives. A lesson learned in one area (respecting a sister’s toy at age 5), improves the chances of learning respect in another (the drinking laws and speed limit at age 18), and another (your employer at 21), and another (your wife at 26), and another….

 

  • Proverbs20:20If someone curses their father or mother, 
their lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.

 

  • Proverbs15:20A wise son brings joy to his father, 
but a foolish man despises his mother.

 

Tom is a husband & father of four. He’s a Dad who’s been God-prodded to write a few things down.http://dad-u.blogspot.com/  Follow him on Twitter @Dad_U 


Proverbs Chapter 31


The way we read scripture matters. Proverbs is a book about wisdom, but it is not simply good principles to apply that we might live well. These words paint us a picture of God’s heart, his idea of wisdom, righteousness, and how he originally designed us to live. As Proverbs 31 brings us to the end of this book. It’s fitting that we are left with two pictures of people that embody wisdom: a king and a noble wife. These two portraits sum up the book in a beautiful way.

1The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:

2 No, my son! No, son of my womb! No, son of my vows!
3 Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings.
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink;
5 or else they will drink and forget what has been decreed, and will pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
6 Give strong drink to one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress;
7 let them drink and forget their poverty, and remember their misery no more.
8 Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute.
9 Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Kings wield power. They have authority and sway over people, politics, and justice. King Lemuel’s mother see this, and urges him to be mindful of his character. She calls him to not give his life, strength, his vigor and vitality to the chase of women. In this context, it’s safe to think that she didn’t have in mind pursuing a woman to make his wife. The women she speaks of here are probably of the adulterous/temptress kind. Possibly prostitutes. Either way, her cry is for Lemuel to not abuse his power in pursuit of sexual conquests and sensual pleasures.

She goes on to call Lemuel away from pursuing drink. Her admonishment here is not against beer or wine, but rather calling Lemuel away from drink being a defining character of his life. If the king, the one with authority and responsibility, is always drunk, how can he be trusted to do justice? If the king, the one others look to for justice and guidance, is always asking, “where is my drink?” and trying to (in one sense) escape his life, what hope do others have in trusting that life has purpose and can truly be enjoyed?

If the king is to be a wise man, then his power must be wielded with responsibility. Yes, the Spider-Man saying is true: with great power comes great responsibility. Those with power must speak out for the powerless. Those with authority must be the advocate for those who have no voice. This is what wisdom calls us to: using what we have to see God’s good and right ways find other people. Abusing the positions we have been given, using what we have to pursue selfish (and pointless) desires and to try and live for only our immediate pleasure is not what we were made for. We were made to speak out for others, to defend the rights of the defenseless, to act out justice in whatever sphere we find ourselves with power.

10 A noble wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from far away.
15 She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant-girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all her household are clothed in crimson.
22 She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she supplies the merchant with sashes.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her:
29 ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates.

Rather than viewing this section as some sort of prescription for the ideal Godly woman, I think we need to view this as a poetic personification of the wisdom of God.

Proverbs 1.20-33 presents wisdom as a woman calling out in the public streets for us to find her, and thus to find life. The entire book is (in many ways) an expansion of those early verses. Here at the end, we are given a picture of lady wisdom as a noble wife, as something we should find and bind ourselves to.

I know that for many this is a different way of interpreting these verses. But I think that this view gives us a full, rich capstone to the book, as well as helps us understand that ultimately Proverbs is a book about following the one who truly embodies the full wisdom of God, namely Jesus.

1 Corinthians 1.21-25 tells us that even though it is foolishness to some and a stumbling block to others, in Jesus we find both the completeness of the power of God and the fullness of the wisdom of God. Stop and think about that for a moment. Jesus, the Son of God, the one who came to die and live again that we might find life… in Jesus we see the full embodiment of both the power and wisdom of God.

Now, as we read this final chapter in Proverbs, we are left with two pictures: the king of justice and the lady of wisdom. Jesus is the only human I know that has ever been fully able to live out the pictures painted in Proverbs 31. Who is more just than Christ? Revelation 19.11-16 tells us that at his second coming, we shall see Christ reigning with justice. Finally the poor and the oppressed will have the one with power speaking out for their cause, judging with truth and setting all the wrongs right. Who is more wise than Jesus? Hebrews 3.6 tells us Jesus is faithful over all of God’s house because he is the builder. Here we see the noble wife faithful over the house she is building, caring for, and providing for. I believe these two pictures point us ultimately to Jesus alone, for in him God’s justice and wisdom are fully embodied and expressed.If we are going to be people of wisdom and justice, we need to be like Jesus. And that is exactly what the life of discipleship is about. We follow Jesus to become like him, to learn and express the justice, wisdom, and love of God fully in this broken world.

Proverbs 31 contains two beautiful pictures of Jesus, and a call to us to be people of justice and wisdom as we are transformed more and more into the image of our savior.

Aaron Smith is on Twitter @culturalsavage, He is a Christian, a photographer & designer, a thinker, a poet and musician, a striving artist, a writer, a coffee lover, a beer drinker, and a wine imbiber at large. Married to an amazing woman and the father of a beautiful boy. They abide in the Portland, OR area and are a part of the Evergreen Community. Check out his blog Cultural Savage –  http://culturalsavage.com/


Proverbs Chapter 30


Sayings of Agur

1 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh—an inspired utterance.   This man’s utterance to Ithiel:  “I am weary, God, but I can prevail.
2 Surely I am only a brute, not a man; I do not have human understanding.
3 I have not learned wisdom, nor have I attained to the knowledge of the Holy One.
4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know!

5 “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6 Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

7 “Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

10 “Do not slander a servant to their master, or they will curse you, and you will pay for it.

11 “There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers;
12 those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth;
13 those whose eyes are ever so haughty, whose glances are so disdainful;
14 those whose teeth are swords and whose jaws are set with knives to devour the poor from the earth and the needy from among mankind.

15 “The leech has two daughters. ‘Give! Give!’ they cry. “There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, ‘Enough!’:
16 the grave, the barren womb, land, which is never satisfied with water, and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’

17 “The eye that mocks a father, that scorns an aged mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures.

18 “There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a young woman.

20 “This is the way of an adulterous woman:  She eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.’

21 “Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up:
22 a servant who becomes king, a godless fool who gets plenty to eat,
23 a contemptible woman who gets married, and a servant who displaces her mistress.

24 “Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise:
25 Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer;
26 hyraxes are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags;
27 locusts have no king,    yet they advance together in ranks;
28 a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces.

29 “There are three things that are stately in their stride, four that move with stately bearing:
30 a lion, mighty among beasts, who retreats before nothing;
31 a strutting rooster, a he-goat, and a king secure against revolt.

32 “If you play the fool and exalt yourself, or if you plan evil, clap your hand over your mouth!
33 For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.”

There’s a ton to unpack here in Proverbs 30, I’m going to focus on one major theme throughout the chapter – Humility

Verse 3-4
“I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One”
“Who has established all the ends of the earth?”
What’s interesting to me about these two verses is the stark contrast to many statements made in the world today – even by those who claim to follow Christ. We have Gods word, and it reveals what we believe his heart to be like – but we are also reminded that God the Father is completely set apart from us. To have complete knowledge of Him can never be attained. We’re reminded here to take a humble approach in our road to understanding him

Verse 8
“Keep falsehood and lies far from me”
I’ve always loved this verse because it speaks to the heart of a man who is aware of the insidious temptation around him. The very soul of a man doesn’t desire falsehood, but with our whack choices we fall into the very lies and ugliness we hate. Agur is pleading for God to keep all that is false at a distance from his heart – he knows it is good.
“Give me neither poverty nor riches”
Let’s be honest, he could have just said “Don’t give me poverty, Lord”. But, he also said “Don’t give me riches”. That’s humble for sure! For many seasons of my own life, I was consumed with materialism. I knew I didn’t want to be poor, but never gave a second thought to the “things” in my life and the emptiness they created within my soul. Through many life lessons, God has pruned that desire for empty materialism – He’s still pruning! This verse was presented to me by a dear friend about four years ago and I instantly connected with the “nor riches” piece because it’s a statement that cries out for balance – and Agur puts an exclamation point on his request for balance next….
“But give me only my daily bread”
Essentially – Give me only what I need to survive. That’s hard to absorb given the abundance that we live in every day in our culture. We may think we don’t have as much as the next person – but when I look at my life, there are so many “things” I could live without. Last year, I read “Way of the Heart” by Henri Nouwen. It’s essentially about learning to integrate these three essentials – Solitude (learning not to be alone, but to be alone with God); Silence (the discipline by which the inner fire of God is tended and kept alive); and Prayer (standing in the presence of God with the mind in the heart). Really, isn’t that all we need? Why do we complicate life with stuff? Even as I write this, I have three different devices at my disposal for accomplishing the same function.
Let us approach our King with a humble heart, mindful of His sovereignty, and seek the wisdom of Christ. Meditating on Proverbs 30 is a good start.

JustinFallsis a listener, writer, photographer, and advocate for the abused and neglected. He writes from the perspective of the brokenhearted, and communicates hope through still images. Justin, his wife, Lynnette, and their two sons live in beautiful Northern California.  Follow Justin on Twitter @justinfalls  and check out his blog Justin Falls justinfalls.com


Proverbs Chapter 29


1 He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.
2When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.
3He who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.
4By justice a king builds up the land, but he who exacts gifts tears it down.
5 A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.
6An evil man is ensnared in his transgression, but a righteous man sings and rejoices.
7A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.
8 Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath.
9If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.
10Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless and seek the life of the upright.
11A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
12If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked.
13The poor man and the oppressor meet together; the LORD gives light to the eyes of both.
14If a king faithfully judges the poor, his throne will be established forever.
15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
16When the wicked increase, transgression increases, but the righteous will look upon their downfall.
17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
18Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.
19By mere words a servant is not disciplined, for though he understands, he will not respond.
20Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
21Whoever pampers his servant from childhood will in the end find him his heir.
22 A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.
23 One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
24The partner of a thief hates his own life; he hears the curse, but discloses nothing.
25 The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.
26Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the LORD that a man gets justice.
27 An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous, but one whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked.

I must give you a disclaimer before I start. I’m not a writer, nor am I a “theologian” . I’m just a guy that reads the Bible, loves Jesus, my family and discipleship.

Part of our upward growth involves becoming more Christlike, and the Word is rich with directions for doing so, particularly Proverbs. That being said, most of us are aware of the benefits of studying Proverbs. However, it wasn’t until I was asked to write this that I realized it’s much more beneficial to go through each chapter and let each verse soak in one by one. I’m not going to talk much of all of every verse of Proverbs chapter 29. In fact, I’m only gonna touch on one verse that really grabbed hold of me. That verse would be, “A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.” Proverbs 29:7 ESV.

I just recently got married to a wonderful woman. We had (or still have) very little, but one of greatest things that we have is a wonderful community of believers that we fellowship with. They helped with many aspects of our wedding in order for it to be a special moment. Strapped for cash we were just gonna hang out and maybe do a honeymoon some other time. But our brothers and sisters in Christ blessed us by sending us to Savannah Georgia for an evening. So Savannah is a lot like Charleston SC (where we are from) but in Savannah there is a lot squares with park benches and such about every block. Now walking through the streets I noticed in Savannah there are more homeless people than I’m accustomed to seeing, at least in Charleston. I found myself almost being irritated by that, and not in the desire social justice way but more in the manner of “please don’t talk to me” way. I felt a little convicted for feeling that way but I shrugged it off because by golly I was gonna enjoy my trip.

Not more than a few days later Chris asked me to do something for Proverbs 29. So I sat down with my bible and started going through chapter 29. When I got to verse 7 I was punched in the face with conviction. Wow! I felt the need to repent of how I had been feeling about the homeless. That feeling was that I had been virtually ignoring them my whole life. Out of sight out of mind is how I had been living. I didn’t personally know anyone that was homeless. Yes, I struggle with money but my needs have always been met. My life was a safe little place where I was shielded from the destitute. Looking back at Matthew 25:42-43 again after reading Proverbs we see Jesus explaining the importance of actually helping those in need and not merely giving lip service. We need to be missional Christians not only to the unreached tribes but also to those that need love here in our own town. Proverbs chapter 29:7 as well as Matthew 25:42-43 has spoken to me in ways I have never imagined in the past week. I am seeking to educate myself more on the needs and rights of the downtrodden.

I invite you all to search Gods word and see how social justice, giving and compassion are used to give relief to those in need. This will be our upward growth in seeking these things in scripture and prayer. Our inward growth should be rallying your local body of believers to do the same. Lets discuss these things in our small groups this week. Lets cry out to God for help as a community with direction and resources to do something. Finally, our outward growth will be putting these words, prayers and ideas into action. Lets go out there and Gods work.

Joshua Acanfora is a husband and father, who isn’t perfect but seeks to be a disciple of Jesus.  He and his family live in Charleston, South Carolina.  You can follow him on Twitter @Acanfora79.

 


Proverbs Chapter 29


If People Can’t See What God Is Doing

1 For people who hate discipline and only get more stubborn, There’ll come a day when life tumbles in and they break, but by then it’ll be too late to help them. 

 2 When good people run things, everyone is glad, but when the ruler is bad, everyone groans.

3 If you love wisdom, you’ll delight your parents, but you’ll destroy their trust if you run with whores.

4 A leader of good judgment gives stability; an exploiting leader leaves a trail of waste.

5 A flattering neighbor is up to no good; he’s probably planning to take advantage of you.

6 Evil people fall into their own traps; good people run the other way, glad to escape.

7 The good-hearted understand what it’s like to be poor; the hardhearted haven’t the faintest idea.

8 A gang of cynics can upset a whole city; a group of sages can calm everyone down.

9 A sage trying to work things out with a fool gets only scorn and sarcasm for his trouble.

10 Murderers hate honest people; moral folks encourage them.

11 A fool lets it all hang out; a sage quietly mulls it over.

12 When a leader listens to malicious gossip, all the workers get infected with evil.

13 The poor and their abusers have at least something in common: they can both see—their sight, God’s gift!

14 Leadership gains authority and respect when the voiceless poor are treated fairly.

15 Wise discipline imparts wisdom; spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents.

16 When degenerates take charge, crime runs wild, but the righteous will eventually observe their collapse.

17 Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did—they’ll turn out delightful to live with.

18 If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; but when they attend to what he reveals,
they are most blessed.

19 It takes more than talk to keep workers in line; mere words go in one ear and out the other.

20 Observe the people who always talk before they think— even simpletons are better off than they are.

21 If you let people treat you like a doormat, you’ll be quite forgotten in the end.

22 Angry people stir up a lot of discord; the intemperate stir up trouble.

23 Pride lands you flat on your face; humility prepares you for honors.

24 Befriend an outlaw and become an enemy to yourself. When the victims cry out, you’ll be included in their curses if you’re a coward to their cause in court.

25 The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.

26 Everyone tries to get help from the leader, but only God will give us justice.

27 Good people can’t stand the sight of deliberate evil; the wicked can’t stand the sight of well-chosen goodness.

There’ll come a day when life tests you, even “tumbles in” on you, as described by the writer of Proverbs 29:1 (The Message). I don’t like things tumbling in on me. I don’t like being tested. And I especially don’t like to fail. But it’s usually neither tumbling nor failure that cripples me, but the fear of failing.

It’s the fear that drives me to push away what matters most when life feels out of control. I’m afraid of being considered a fraud, a boy who has been pretending to be a man. A father who wants to be the world’s best Dad, but feels like the worst. A professional, one mistake away from a major business screw-up. A husband of sixteen years, who still rushes out last-minute for a Valentine’s Day gift and the one remaining bouquet of wilted roses—nobody will know, right? So I cling to that which anesthetizes my fears. My hands reach for any illusion that makes me believe I’m still in control, that I’m somehow immune to a personal meltdown of disappointment.

I’ll eat more, to satisfy my control over hunger. I’ll exercise more, to control my health and image. I’ll work late, to create a sense of accomplishment that my workload is under control. I’ll veg on the couch to numb my mind and emotions, controlling outside pressures by avoiding them altogether. Control. Control. Control.

Not that any of those activities are altogether bad—I’ve explored much darker caves at other times in my life—but exerting all my energy on short-term relief only induces a false sense of peace, fleeting at best.

The long-term alternative is to rely on faith, a choice that comes easy when life is grand but is the first thing we ditch when we don’t get our way. Faith requires giving up control to a God we cannot see, touch, or hear, at least not in the sense we do with human beings. In a crisis, faith prompts us to admit that God is in control, and we are not.

As we read further into Proverbs 29, we arrive at a split in the river. One channel leads to rough water and portages, the other flows atop smooth and navigable currents.

“If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.” (Verse 18, The Message)

Hm…I mull over that verse. They stumble all over themselves. They. We. Me. How many of my problems are perpetuated by self, by my unwillingness to see what God is doing, by my refusal to ask Him, or by my fear that He will be silent?

When I can’t see what God is doing, I walk aimlessly through each day, tripping on bad decisions and poor investments of time and resources because I have no clue what God would lead me to do.

But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed. Another translation says “…but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.” (NIV)

Blessed is the one who chooses God, who stops the tug-of-war against Him and decides to pull for Him, to side with Him, to ask and thus receive. Blessed is the person who takes time not only to read God’s Word but to heed the wisdom within His words, to attend to what God reveals. And as worded in The Message translation of verse 18, they are not only blessed—they are most blessed. There is something vitally good here.

Part of that blessing is the promise of peace, and what would most of us give for a little peace these days? Isaiah 26:3 (NIV) says “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Perfect peace is lasting peace. Wholeness. Readiness. Steadiness. Completeness. All other attempts to find peace in this world only result in short-lived pleasures and a lifetime of more trying, more failing, more fear of failing, and little success. The cycle is like a Ferris Wheel that won’t stop until we acknowledge the operator has complete control over our lives. Up and down. Forward and backward. Rocking back and forth. Ultimately, the cycle drives us to misery and bitterness. Why torture ourselves? I don’t want to spin on a wheel for the rest of my life. Do you?

 

Brock is married to his wonderful wife Sarah of 16 years. They share life with three zany children, Jared, Morgan, and Braden. Brock’s family recently moved from Colorado back to their home state of Indiana. Despite leaving the Rocky Mountain region for the flatlands of the Midwest, this new season is filled with new mountains to climb for Brock and his family.

Follow Brock on Twitter @brockhenning. You can read more about these mountain climbs of faith (and other literary garb) at Brock’s Lifesummit Blog. http://www.brockhenning.com