What?

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Proverbs 7, Verse 24 -Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say.

Listen to me… Pay attention to what I say…That sounds exactly like a conversation I have with my son daily. However, when I read it to day in Proverbs chapter 7, verse 24, it struck me that although I preach to my son to listen to ME and pay attention to ME, I don’t exactly do a great job of it myself when it comes to God and the messages that he is trying to tell me. My son, Ethan’s, favorite response when I tell him to do something is, “what?”. It’s like he believes that if he pretends to not hear my words, he doesn’t have to comply with my instructions. For me, it can be VERY frustrating, to say the least. So, with that in mind, can you imagine how God must feel when I choose to listen to him, only when his message is convenient to my current wants, needs or desires. Each time Ethan and I have this conversation, God must be thinking, Kevin, check yourself, look in the mirror, you big hypocrite!

The irony here is that HYPOCRISY is the number one thing that troubles me about many Christians. Obviously, it troubles me and I am able to recognize it so easily, because I too, can be hypocritical. This self-recognition, is very uncomfortable, to say the least. So what can I do about it?

I think the answers to this question can be found in what it means to “listen” to “pay attention”.

“Listen”, as defined in the dictionary, means to hear something with thoughtful attention : give consideration.

I think the key words in the definition of “listen” are THOUGHTFUL ATTENTION and CONSIDERATION. If you are listening with thoughtful attention and giving consideration to what it is that you heard, you receive the message. There is no way that you can respond, like Ethan, by saying “what?”

Unfortunately, all too often, I believe that we hear things but don’t take the time to apply thought or consideration before we respond. It’s like we are so busy thinking of the next thing to say or do that the message goes, as my mom would say, “in one ear and out the other”.

Writing about and attempting to “live” Proverbs over the last week, has taught me a lot. The process of writing about a topic, that quite frankly makes me uncomfortable, has required me to slow down and really give THOUGHTFUL CONSIDERATION to just a few words. It hasn’t been easy. There has been a lot of stopping, starting, back spacing and deleting but at the end of the process, each day I learn something about myself and have greater understanding. Then hopefully, through taking action by applying this new understanding, I will become a better friend, Dad, son and Christian.

The hard part is now that I am fully aware of my actions or lack thereof,  I can no longer pick and choose God’s wisdom only when it is convenient for me. Only when I like what it is that he has to say.

I hope you have a great day and I hope that from now on when you “listen”, you apply thoughtful attention, consideration and action to what you have heard.

Take care

Kevin

Live Life Like the Ant???

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Today, as I was reading Proverbs 6, one verse jumped off the page and landed squarely in my lap!

It was verse 6. It reads like this… “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise.” Upon googling the ways of the ant, I learned that many others have written about this exact same topic. At first I thought, GREAT, I can simply link to one of my favorite blog posts on the topic and be done! Then I read a few of them and realized that though they were extremely well written, the purpose of writing every day is not to copy, paste and share someone else’s work. The purpose is for ME to write my posts so that I learn the lessons God has intended for me. So, with a little inspiration from many others around the web, here is my take on three lessons we can learn from the ant.

The very first thing that came to mind when I thought about the ant, was it’s incredible strength and power! Seriously, I remember watching a colony of ants one afternoon and there was one carrying a crumb many times its size! I knew it could be done but had never witnessed it in person. According to researchers, ants can carry items 10-50 times their body weight. It was truly something remarkable to witness.

Can you imagine if we had that power? Think about it like this. I weigh roughly 250 pounds. If I were able to carry 50 times my body weight, I would have no trouble carrying something that weighed 12,500 pounds! What?!?! To put that in perspective, it would be like being able to carry, not one but two FULL SIZE PICKUP TRUCKS on my back! And if you weighed 125 pounds, you would be able to carry one! Can you imagine if your 12 year old, 120 pound kid had strength like that? The child labor laws would have to be rewritten!

But seriously, with that kind of physical strength would you be scared of anything? What’s most interesting about their strength though, is that in order for them to have great physical strength, they must also have great mental strength, right? After all, without great mental strength, how would they even have had the courage to try to lift something that heavy in the first place?

As I look at myself, over the past several years (post-divorce), my greatest weakness has been in the form of my mental strength/toughness. Writing that out and seeing it on paper really hurts, but it’s true. I am capable of much more but I let my mind get in the way. For me it’s not as much about the fear of “doing”, as it is about the fear of not being accepted. The fear I have is that if I put myself out there, fully out there, to the best of my ability out there… I won’t be good enough or even worse, I will simply be ignored. If that happens while I am really trying, I won’t have the excuse that “I wasn’t really trying”, to fall back on.

If God is speaking to me today and asking me to not only examine but “live” the ways of the ant, then applying strength in the form of mental toughness is my first step.  As Dr. Seuss said, “those that mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind”.

The second way of the ant that I really admire is that of teamwork. If you watch a colony of ants at work, each of them seems to have a role and ALL are doing their part for the greater good of all the others. They simply work together for the benefit and survival of all.

Can you even imagine what the world would look like if the human race was capable of working together in a similar manner?

The third and final way, is how the ant seemingly never quits. I remember as a kid we had many big ant hills in our yard. Each week when I would mow the grass, I would knock down several large hills. Then the following week, there they were again, sometimes even bigger!

The ants never quit, they never gave up. When one hill was leveled, they were instantaneously back to work, building it again, making it even bigger! I can’t help but wonder what my life would be like if I never quit. Would I finally have that elusive set of abs that I have longed for since I was a pudgy little 9 year old?

Seriously how many times have you given up on an idea, a passion or a relationship only to look back and regret it years later? In my bathroom, I have a picture that shows the patents of four every day, common household items. I placed this picture there to serve as a daily reminder to me that even the best ideas, like toilet paper, a scale, a toilet seat lid and a toothbrush, at one point were no more than someone’s fantasy. What if any of these people had quit, listened to the critics or had been afraid of being ignored or rejected? Can you imagine how different the world would look without the invention of the toothbrush? Or how different it would smell without toilets and toilet seats? Or the one that perplexes me most, exactly what did people do to keep their bottoms clean, prior to the invention of toilet paper in 1891????

I have heard it said several times this week that success leaves clues. Most often this saying is telling us to examine other successful people who have achieved what it is that we desire and repeat their actions. Today, I would like to finish by saying that while I agree that success leaves clues, instead of only looking to other successful humans to find those clues, maybe we should slow down, look down and look for those clues in the life of the ant.

Have a great day!

Kevin

The Ultimate Accountability Partner

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Proverbs 5 Verse 21 For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths.

When I read this verse, it is hard for me to put into words how it makes me feel. So often in my life I have found myself thinking one thing then doing another. Do you know what I mean? Take my health for example. I feel that my life has been a walking, talking, breathing contradiction.

I tell myself that I should be healthy. I know the value of health. I know to eat quality food and exercise. Yet when push comes to shove, convenience and the temporary pleasure associated with sugar, emotional eating or being lazy, seems to find its way into sabotaging my will power AND my health.

Since my ways are in FULL view of the Lord and as it says in 1 Corinthians 6:19,  “your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God, You are not your own”

The truth is that not only are my health sabotaging actions in full view of the Lord but these actions not only harm me, but also, harm my temple which belongs to the Lord.

Many of the times that I tried to lose weight, I had an accountability partner. Unfortunately, those relationships quickly dissolved when either one or both of us, fail to complete the assigned task or stay on track. What usually happened is that neither party wanted the other to feel bad so we let each other off the hook. So much for accountability!

What would happen if instead of trusting myself or another person, I asked God to be my accountability partner?  God, who sees every action I take in FULL View! God, who will examine the paths I take. God, from who I cannot hide. God to whom I cannot make excuses. God to whom I cannot lie.

Today, my take away from Proverbs 5 Verse 21, Is that when you “LIVE” the Bible, you’re not alone. In fact, you are far from it. For with God, you have the ULTIMATE ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER with you every step of the way, every second of the day.

Thanks for reading. Please let me know what verse you chose today and what that verse meant to you.

I hope you have a great day!

Kevin

How Do we Do this Thing?

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As I woke up this morning, I laid awake thinking about today’s post. I opened my bible ap and read through Proverbs 4. As I read, I couldn’t help but keep hearing a little voice inside my head. That voice was loud and it was clear. It kept saying “who do you think you are?”

Committing to writing about God on a daily basis is far from what I thought I would be doing in 2019. In fact, the thought had never crossed my head. But for some strange, inexplicable reason, I know that I need to do this. What I have learned over the previous 3 days is that when I write about Proverbs it makes me slow down and be present with the words in the book, my thoughts and the words I write. As I spend this time alone it  has definitely made me feel more connected to God. So with that said, I want to answer that little voice and say, I don’t think I am anyone, I am just looking to gain a deeper understanding of what the Bible and God mean to me. So with that said, let’s move on from my own personal insecurities and look at Chapter 4.

Today as I read Chapter 4, the verse that stood out to me was verse number 13.

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

After I read this verse, the first thing that entered my mind is that in life there is no instruction manual. People are born, go to school, get married, have children and attempt to live a life worth living but nowhere along the line are we given an instruction manual to follow.

The best that we can hope for is that at some point in time we connect, are taught or are influenced by someone that is “wiser” than ourselves. Someone who instills in us the values that can help us live a fulfilled life. Unfortunately through our most influential years, 3-14, we don’t get to choose who those people are. For the most part, they are randomly assigned to us in the form of teachers, coaches, church leaders, friends and family.

During these years we are very impressionable. It’s best described by the old saying, monkey see, monkey do. We quickly adopt the attitudes and behaviors of those closest to us. We begin to walk, talk and sound like those that we spend the most time with, often our parents. It happens so often that we even have a sayings for it. Two that come to mind are “boy, the apple sure did fall far from the tree” or “that kid is a chip off the old block.”

While in many cases, this can be a good thing, often it is not and in those situations, children become lost or even worse they begin heading down the “wrong” path. I put quotes around the word wrong, because since there is no instruction manual that we are given when we are born into this life, “wrong” is really nothing more than our perception of right and wrong which in most part has been influenced by the family, society, and culture that we are raised.

Hopefully you are still with me and I haven’t bored you to death or lost you. If you are still with me, where does that leave us? For many, they continue to follow the beliefs, perceptions and behaviors they learned as a child, to their grave. For others, they break away from the patterns of their youth and find new influencers in their life and when they do, they adopt new patterns of belief and action.

In the last few weeks I have been intrigued by a series on HBO called Westworld. The series takes place in the future. Westworld is an amusement park of sorts where adults can go to play out their fantasies in the surroundings of the old west. What makes this series so intriguing to me is that the amusement park’s workers are actually life like robots called “hosts”. The “hosts” look, act, talk, bleed and even think like a human. They are so lifelike that it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between them and the guests.

While watching, the other night, one of the main characters spoke to this very topic. He said,

“We can’t define consciousness because consciousness does not exist. Humans fancy that there’s something special about the way we perceive the world, and yet we live in loops as tight and as closed as the hosts do, seldom questioning our choices, content, for the most part, to be told what to do next.  ”

These “loops” that he speaks to about are exactly what happens to us. The difference is that instead of someone programming these loops into us like a programmer would program a robot, our programs are the result of the influencers in our life. The people we know, our community and our culture.

So what if you no longer want to be in that loop? What if you want to question what you are lead to believe is normal, since birth? Where would you go? Where would you find a commonly accepted instruction manual for life? In my opinion, that is where the Bible and fits in. When broken down to its simplest terms, the Bible is nothing more than an instruction manual on how God wants us to live our lives. What’s more interesting, is that because God gave us free will, we have the ability to choose whether or not we want to follow his instructions.

So when I read today’s verse: 13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. It is telling me that following the instructions that God has provided, will give me the greatest potential for living my best life. If I stray off track, following his instructions will help me get back on track to living my best life in the eyes of the lord.

Thanks for joining me today.

Have a great day

-Kevin

 

Proverbs 4

Get Wisdom at Any Cost

Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction;

pay attention and gain understanding.

I give you sound learning,

so do not forsake my teaching.

For I too was a son to my father,

still tender, and cherished by my mother.

Then he taught me, and he said to me,

“Take hold of my words with all your heart;

keep my commands, and you will live.

Get wisdom, get understanding;

do not forget my words or turn away from them.

Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;

love her, and she will watch over you.

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[a] wisdom.

Though it cost all you have,[b] get understanding.

Cherish her, and she will exalt you;

embrace her, and she will honor you.

She will give you a garland to grace your head

and present you with a glorious crown.”

10 Listen, my son, accept what I say,

and the years of your life will be many.

11 I instruct you in the way of wisdom

and lead you along straight paths.

12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;

when you run, you will not stumble.

13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;

guard it well, for it is your life.

14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked

or walk in the way of evildoers.

15 Avoid it, do not travel on it;

turn from it and go on your way.

16 For they cannot rest until they do evil;

they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble.

17 They eat the bread of wickedness

and drink the wine of violence.

18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun,

shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;

they do not know what makes them stumble.

20 My son, pay attention to what I say;

turn your ear to my words.

21 Do not let them out of your sight,

keep them within your heart;

22 for they are life to those who find them

and health to one’s whole body.

23 Above all else, guard your heart,

for everything you do flows from it.

24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;

keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;

fix your gaze directly before you.

26 Give careful thought to the[c] paths for your feet

and be steadfast in all your ways.

27 Do not turn to the right or the left;

keep your foot from evil.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 4:7 Or Wisdom is supreme; therefore get
  2. Proverbs 4:7 Or wisdom. / Whatever else you get
  3. Proverbs 4:26 Or Make level

LOVE & FAITHFULNESS

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Today is Proverbs  Chapter 3. This chapter speaks to the importance of wisdom to our overall wellbeing. As I read through Chapter 3, many verses jumped out at me but none as much as verse 3.

3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;

bind them around your neck,

write them on the tablet of your heart.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you. As I sit here and write today’s post, I hit a block. Looking for inspiration I googled the word faithfulness. What I was looking for was the answer to what it means to be faithful in the eyes of God. The definition didn’t really help me but several words synonymous with the word faithfulness did.

Here they are:

Synonyms: fidelity, loyalty, constancy, devotion, trueness, true-heartedness, dedication, commitment, allegiance, adherence

The words that really stood out to me were loyalty, constancy, and commitment. When I looked at these words I gained a new understanding of what it is that God wants from me. To “live” this verse means that I must be loyal to God and his teachings. I must commit not only my heart but my work to serving him. And finally, constancy means that it can’t be a sometimes thing, it has to become a part of me, constantly looking for ways to serve and honor him.

That brings me to the word LOVE. Love is a very interesting word. Many times, I feel as though it is severely overused and at other times, not used enough. What’s most perplexing to me is that LOVE is what many of us desire most. We want it from our parents, our spouse, significant other, friends and children. Yet, when we have it, do we even appreciate it or recognize it?

Love is so much more than a word spoken. It is more than a feeling. Hearing the words “I love you” can certainly make a person feel great. However, if those words are spoken and backed with nothing more, how long do you continue to FEEL love?

So if LOVE is more than a word or a feeling, what is it that God wants us to understand in this verse? Let LOVE and faithfulness never leave you. As I sit here and think about the answer, what comes to me is that never allowing love to LEAVE you, means that ALL your thoughts, and ALL your actions must come from a place of LOVE. They must come from a place of serving others and treating them as God would.

In his book, “The 5 Love Languages”, Gary Chapman has helped couples throughout the world better understand what it means for their significant other to feel loved. In the book he breaks expressing LOVE down into 5 different categories, or as he calls them, languages.

They are:

Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch

Whenever this book has been called to my attention or I have heard it referenced, it has always been in regards to love in a romantic relationship. It’s been a tool to help couples reconnect or connect on a deeper level.

Today, after considering this verse I contemplated how using these 5 love languages, not only with the person I am romantically involved with but with everyone, including strangers, would allow me to “live” this verse.

3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;

bind them around your neck,

write them on the tablet of your heart.

Being a person who showers love on everyone through the use of the 5 love languages, would allow me to live in LOVE. For through offering love, be it opening a door for a stranger (act of service), complimenting a waitress (words of affirmation), paying the tab for table next to you (receiving gifts), having a conversation with a homeless person (quality time) or offering a hug to someone in despair (physical touch), you would be showing God that you are indeed, faithful.

How about you? What verse in Chapter 3 are you going to “live” today?

Have a great day!

Kevin

Proverbs Chapter 3

Wisdom Bestows Well-Being

1My 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.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.[a]

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
    and nourishment to your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth,
    with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
    and your vats will brim over with new wine.

11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the son he delights in.[b]

13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
    those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
    and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
    nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
    and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
    those who hold her fast will be blessed.

19 By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
    by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
    and the clouds let drop the dew.

21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
    preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you,
    an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
    and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
    when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
    or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the Lord will be at your side
    and will keep your foot from being snared.

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
    when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
    “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
    when you already have it with you.
29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
    who lives trustfully near you.
30 Do not accuse anyone for no reason—
    when they have done you no harm.

31 Do not envy the violent
    or choose any of their ways.

32 For the Lord detests the perverse
    but takes the upright into his confidence.
33 The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
    but he blesses the home of the righteous.
34 He mocks proud mockers
    but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
35 The wise inherit honor,
    but fools get only shame.

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 3:6 Or will direct your paths
  2. Proverbs 3:12 Hebrew; Septuagint loves, / and he chastens everyone he accepts as his child

Coincidence???

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“Coincidence is God’s way of staying anonymous.” is a quote from Albert Einstein. The interesting thing is that since I heard that quote, I have recognized multiple times where God’s actions may be in the works. Coincidentally, or in this case, not at all a coincidence, yesterday I wrote my first post about living the out the Bible. If you recall, the assignment is to read one chapter of Proverbs each day then choose a verse that you are going to “live” the remainder of the day. Yesterday, I randomly chose the verse below and added my personal interpretation to it. Here it is:

Chapter 1 Verse10 My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them. 

To me, this verse is saying to pay close attention to those you choose to surround yourself with. The best choice isn’t always going to be the easiest choice or the most glamorous. When you choose, choose wisely. Search their hearts and pay attention to their motivations.

What is VERY interesting is that literally minutes after posting my blog for the day, I received a phone call. On the other end of the line was the voice of a business man that I really respect. Now let me be clear, I am not saying that this man is in any way a sinful man. However, if you look at how I defined what the verse meant to me, the writing below the verse, you will see that the last two lines of my definition were…The best choice isn’t always going to be the easiest choice or the most glamorous. When you choose, choose wisely. Search their hearts and pay attention to their motivations. As coincidence or in this case, God would have it, The man was offering me a sugar coated position with his company. He was enticing me by using all the right words. Making the offer appear to be something more than it really was. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t lying to me, he was being forthright but his offer was still surrounded by a delicious candy coating that once tasted could leave your soul hungry and searching for more. As he spoke, I applied my day’s writing into the conversation. I did so by searching this man’s heart. I ignored the ease associated with his offer and looked the other way when he mentioned the glamour that would accompany the position. I asked myself, what were his true motivations and in doing so, I had a clear answer to his offer. “Thank you, but I’m not interested.”

In the past, I may have anguished over his offer for hours, days and possibly even weeks. Who wouldn’t, the position would be prestigious and financially rewarding. But in my heart, I know that it is NOT what I was born to do. It was not my soul’s mission. Though it was easier, it was what I know and I have a proven record of success in that field, It took me over 40 years to discover who I was meant to be and even though it can bit scary to follow the path unknown, I know it’s what I am being called to do. For me, living in faith means to trust that even when you can’t see the how, you know with unwavering certainty, that God has your back.  Living your soul’s mission means that sometimes you just have to take action, even if the step you are taking at the time seems to be taking you nowhere or even a little further away from what it is that you THINK you want.  Having faith means that you must trust that God knows what’s best.

Moving on…

Today we are reading Proverbs Chapter 2. You can read it below. The verse that I chose to live today is:

Verse 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding

When I first read this verse, It would have been easy for me to overlook it but when I allowed myself to really think about it, this particular verse struck a chord with me. “Turning your ear to wisdom” what this means to me is that throughout the day I often find my mind wandering. When this happens, I often miss what may have been an important message from a friend, a book, video or that little voice inside my head. Turning your ear to wisdom means that I have to become more present, more mindful, live in the moment. I need to listen for the messages, especially the hidden ones. In addition, I need to trust my intuition and allow the wisdom from that little voice inside my head to be heard. “Applying your heart to understanding” means that I need to take time to understand others not with only my head but also with my heart. To do so, I must take the time to not only SEE things from their perspective but also FEEL it from their perspective with my heart.

If you decided to join me on this daily adventure, please feel free to post your daily verse and definition in the comments section below. If you know someone who could benefit from taking action, please feel free to share my posts.

Have a great day!

Kevin

Proverbs Chapter 2

Moral Benefits of Wisdom

My son, if you accept my words

and store up my commands within you,

turning your ear to wisdom

and applying your heart to understanding—

indeed, if you call out for insight

and cry aloud for understanding,

and if you look for it as for silver

and search for it as for hidden treasure,

then you will understand the fear of the Lord

and find the knowledge of God.

For the Lord gives wisdom;

from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

He holds success in store for the upright,

he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,

for he guards the course of the just

and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand what is right and just

and fair—every good path.

10 For wisdom will enter your heart,

and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

11 Discretion will protect you,

and understanding will guard you.

12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,

from men whose words are perverse,

13 who have left the straight paths

to walk in dark ways,

14 who delight in doing wrong

and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,

15 whose paths are crooked

and who are devious in their ways.

16 Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman,

from the wayward woman with her seductive words,

17 who has left the partner of her youth

and ignored the covenant she made before God.[a]

18 Surely her house leads down to death

and her paths to the spirits of the dead.

19 None who go to her return

or attain the paths of life.

20 Thus you will walk in the ways of the good

and keep to the paths of the righteous.

21 For the upright will live in the land,

and the blameless will remain in it;

22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land,

and the unfaithful will be torn from it.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 2:17 Or covenant of her God

Living it!

Growing up, the thought of God was always something that scared me. It was kind of like the feeling you get when you would be around that scary, angry big uncle of yours. God was distant to me. I would go to church and sit in the pews. I would stand, sit, and do my best repeat what it was that I was supposed to repeat when the priest would look up to his congregation for the response. The best I could do is was to move my mouth so that it would look like I was playing along with the rest of the crowd. All in all, the experience wasn’t very pleasant and to be honest, I didn’t look forward to going to church on Sunday mornings. In fact, I would say that I rejected the idea all together. I would rather go ride my bike, play in the sand box or one of a hundred other things, than go to church.

 

As I grew up, I would sporadically give church a try. I tried one church, then another. Sometimes I would like a service a great deal, other times, not so much. I tried different religions and even nondenominational. But in the end, the results were the same. I feared God but I had little to no relationship with him.

 

With that said, I don’t think that my lack of relationship had as much to do with God as it did with my perception of church and organized religion. WARNING: What I am about to say, may be highly offensive to some people. With that said, take it with a grain of salt and instead of immediately rejecting my words, please try to see it from the perspective and the intention that it was written. Okay, here goes…

 

As an adult, I realized that my greatest issue with God and more so organized religion was that many people I knew claimed to be “religious”. They touted themselves as Christians. They would let people know publicly about their faith. On Sunday mornings, they would do all the right things. Serve, donate money, get all dressed up and even bring the donuts. On the outside, they looked perfect. They always seemed to know the right thing to say and would end a tough conversation with an “I’ll pray for you” or “God bless you”. And though at times it seemed very comforting,  something told me, that all was not exactly as it seemed. I felt this way because although these people were certainly looking and acting the part, I also knew some of them on a business or personal level and even though on Sunday they were model Christians, the rest of the week I would witness business and personal transactions from a variety of self-proclaimed Christians that was anything BUT Christian like.

 

It was this realization that kept me from wanting to develop my relationship with God. Then I met a friend who introduced me to God in a completely different way. It was just a few months after separating from my wife that I was searching for comfort. I found that comfort in the wisdom and hidden meaning of life through quotes on the internet. I would find a quote that resonated with me, copy it and immediately send it to her. She would shortly thereafter respond to me with a  proverb or bible verse that nearly mimicked the quote that I had found. After this happened numerous times, I realized that I may want to ask her more questions about God. When I did, she never judged me, she would simply answer the question and allow me to challenge her response with a response of my own.

 

As time passed, I grew more and more interested in what the Bible had to say. As my interest grew I began to ask people in my life if they had read the Bible. Not just a few chapters, but the whole Bible, front to back. The answers I received shocked me. What I discovered, is that regardless of the position someone would take in regards to the Bible, most had never fully read it if front to back. I found this to be quite hypocritical. How can you argue for or against something that you have never taken the time to completely read.

 

It was with this realization in mind that I made the decision to read the Bible front to back over the course of a year. To this day, it is the only New Year’s resolution that I have ever followed through on. Maybe it was the fear I had that God was watching that kept me going or maybe it was that I didn’t want to be another person that talked about things I didn’t fully experience personally, whatever it was, one year after starting to read the Bible, I finished it. I was very proud of myself.

 

Through the process, I learned some unexpected lessons, none bigger than a conversation I had with the life coach I was using at the time. I remember her words clearly. I was telling her how excited I was that I was able to complete my task. I  remember feeling pretty good about myself then she said, “that’s great Kevin but let me ask you a question. Did you just read the Bible or are you going to live it?” In that moment I realized that if I talked about the Bible but didn’t live its words, I just like many the others I was put off by, would be being a hypocrite.

 

After a brief conversation, we conclude that a great place for me to start “living the Bible” would be in the book of Proverbs. The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon. It is taught that in the Bible that God appeared to King Solomon in a dream and promised him anything that he asked. Solomon chose understanding and discernment, asking God to help him govern his people well and wisely. God was so pleased with his request that he granted it, along with great riches, honor and longevity. It was because of this that King Solomon is known as the wisest man that has ever lived and the book of Proverbs is his account of the wisdom bestowed to him by God.

 

As a personal coach, I read a lot of self-development books. What I find interesting is that there is rarely an original thought in any of them. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading them and I often find wisdom in everything I read but these books are rarely original thought, rather they are someone’s interpretation of someone else’s thoughts many times originating from the Bible.

 

Okay, now that I laid all that out, what is the purpose of my ramblings? My purpose is to assign myself and anyone who chooses to follow along, the simple, yet committed assignment that my life coach gave me several years ago. That assignment is simply to “live” the Bible. I will be doing so by reading 1 of the 30 chapters of proverbs each day. After reading the chapter, my assignment and yours if you choose to play along, will be to choose one verse that stands out to you, write it down and “live it” for the remainder of the day.

 

Since there are approximately 31 days in a month and there are 31 chapters in the Book of Proverbs, we will be able to tackle one Chapter and  choose one verse a day.

 

To say I am nervous about publicly taking this challenge would be an understatement. However, I just can’t help but believe that I, along with anyone else that decides to join me, will receive great benefits in our personal, professional and spiritual relationships. So with that in mind, here is Chapter 1.

 The verse I have chosen for myself to day is:

Verse10 My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them. 

To me, this verse is saying to pay close attention to those you choose to surround yourself with. The best choice isn’t always going to be the easiest choice or the most glamorous. When you choose, choose wisely. Search their hearts and pay attention to their motivations.

Here is the full chapter. Choose your verse for the day and define it for yourself, just as I have defined my verse for me.

Wishing you all the best!

Kevin

 

Proverbs Chapter 1

 Purpose and Theme

1The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,[a]
knowledge and discretion to the young—
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.[b]

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools[c] despise wisdom and instruction.

Prologue: Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom

Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.

10 My son, if sinful men entice you,
do not give in to them.
11 If they say, “Come along with us;
let’s lie in wait for innocent blood,
let’s ambush some harmless soul;
12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we will get all sorts of valuable things
and fill our houses with plunder;
14 cast lots with us;
we will all share the loot”—
15 my son, do not go along with them,
do not set foot on their paths;
16 for their feet rush into evil,
they are swift to shed blood.
17 How useless to spread a net
where every bird can see it!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood;
they ambush only themselves!
19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
it takes away the life of those who get it.

Wisdom’s Rebuke

20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall[d] she cries out,
at the city gate she makes her speech:

22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?
23 Repent at my rebuke!
Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
I will make known to you my teachings.
24 But since you refuse to listen when I call
and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
25 since you disregard all my advice
and do not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
I will mock when calamity overtakes you—
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.

28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me,
29 since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the Lord.
30 Since they would not accept my advice
and spurned my rebuke,
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 1:4 The Hebrew word rendered simple in Proverbs denotes a person who is gullible, without moral direction and inclined to evil.
  2. Proverbs 1:6 Or understanding a proverb, namely, a parable, / and the sayings of the wise, their riddles
  3. Proverbs 1:7 The Hebrew words rendered fool in Proverbs, and often elsewhere in the Old Testament, denote a person who is morally deficient.
  4. Proverbs 1:21 Septuagint; Hebrew / at noisy street corners