31 Proverbs Highlights: #15-The Tongue

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive, but the mouth of fools blurts out foolishness…The tongue that heals is a tree of life, but a devious tongue breaks the spirit…The mind of the righteous person thinks before answering, but the mouth of the wicked blurts out evil things. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭15‬:‭2‬,4,28 HCSB)

Tongue Principles from these verses:

  • Our words can attract people to knowledge and wisdom
  • Blurting is unattractive
  • Our words can bring healing, nourishment, purpose, rejuvenation
  • Breaking another’s spirit is destructive 
  • Righteous words are preceded by thought
  • Blurting eeks our wickedness

Stop Swiping That Card

Last night “my boy” Aaron and I went to a movie at a theater on International Drive in Orlando. Parked in a garage where you had to get a card to park. No person at a booth. Pretty normal city life thing, right?

One would think. Except there were all these signs all over the garage telling you to pay at these pay-with-credit kiosks. To the outoftowner, confusing. Am I supposed to pay now or when I leave? What’s with all the kiosks?

So we asked the movie ticket seller how it works, paying for parking that is. She said, “There’s a scanner on the wall around the corner where you validate your card.” Found it; got validated.

My understanding and assumption was that validation meant the system knew why I had parked in the garage, and I’d pay at a booth or kiosk when I left. Paying for parking confusion solved.

So imagine my surprise after the movie when I’m at the garage exit swiping my validated card at another scanner with credit card in hand prepared to pay when I don’t actually have to pay anything. I was intently staring at the scanner, swiping my card over and over, looking for some light to go off or message to appear saying, “Insert card for payment.”

“My boy” Aaron jolted me out of my overswiping when he said, “Hey, the arm is up. You can go. It validated your card.” I turned my eyes away from the scanner, and, sure enough, I was free to exit.

“Oh. I don’t have to pay. Validation meant the movie ticket was the payment. Got it.”

This scenario reminds me how we can be confused about seeking forgiveness for sin from God. 

We are constantly figuring out how to “cover it” or “pay for it.” 

We have a validated card in our wallet and don’t even know its power. 

We can walk through life still thinking, “I hope when I leave, I’ve got what I need to pay for my time here, that I haven’t screwed this all up.” 

And we can stand there at the scanner swiping and swiping and swiping, praying over and over and over again hoping God is listening, and the whole time he is saying, “Stop swiping that card. Take your eyes off the scanner. Look up. I’ve already taken care of it a long time ago. Move on.”

31 Proverbs Highlights: #14-A Woman and Her House

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs) 

​Every wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1 HCSB

This house is built using truths from this book such as: 

  • Living in the fear of the Lord
  • Following the path of righteousness 
  • Choosing words that instill trust and respect 
  • Giving to the poor
  • Correcting and rebuking the children 

This house is destroyed ignoring and rejecting truths from this book by:

  • Living for personal gain 
  • Following the “whatever feels good” path
  • Stirring up strife and contention with words of gossip and contempt
  • Hoarding 
  • Allowing the children to do as they please

31 Proverbs Highlights: #13-Taking Advice

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

Arrogance leads to nothing but strife, but wisdom is gained by those who take advice. The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:10,20 HCSB

We naturally have different postures between when we seek advice and when someone offers advice. When we seek advice, generally we seek with a receptive heart, with a trusted counselor, and with listening ears. When someone offers advice, generally we listen guardedly, stiffly, possibly arrogantly.

  • What might happen if we always had a receiving heart and an open mind?
  • What if we surrounded ourselves with trustworthy, wise companions that knew they had open access for advice giving?
  • What if every morning we prayed, “God, seek my heart. Remove any arrogance. My heart and mind are yours. I desire to walk with you today. Bless me and my companions with your wisdom. I long to follow your ways. Speak to me all throughout this day“?

31 Proverbs Highlights: #12-How God Sees You

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

Better to be disregarded, yet have a servant, than to act important but have no food.  Proverbs 12:9 CSB

  • God’s view of you has nothing to do with any earthly titles
  • God sees us all the same 
  • God sees past any of our facades
  • God longs for us to be genuine and honest
  • Seeing the person in the mirror how God sees them is the regard that should head the list

31 Proverbs Highlights: #11-City Life

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

When the righteous thrive, a city rejoices; when the wicked die, there is joyful shouting. A city is built up by the blessing of the upright, but it is torn down by the mouth of the wicked. Whoever shows contempt for his neighbor lacks sense, but a person with understanding keeps silent. A gossip goes around revealing a secret, but a trustworthy person keeps a confidence. Without guidance, a people will fall, but with many counselors there is deliverance. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭11‬:‭10-14‬ CSB)

When you think about your city, what comes to mind? When you consider the spiritual state of your city, how do you describe it?

These five verses speak into the health of a city’s life.

  • If a city wants to thrive, wickedness must be overcome by righteousness.
  • If a city wants to thrive, blessings should be given to the upright rather than the wicked.
  • If a city wants to thrive, neighbors must pursue understanding one another rather than showing contempt.
  • If a city wants to thrive, citizens must build trust by respecting one another.
  • If a city wants to thrive, it must have clear direction coming from wise leaders.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #10-Family Conflicts

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

Hatred stirs up conflicts, but love covers all offenses. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭10‬:‭12‬ CSB)

Our natural response to an offense is defense. And how we choose to respond shows whether we have chosen love or hate.

This probably shows up most often in family relationships. You’ve witnessed it, maybe even been caught up in it. The families who get offenses right, and we all go through them, practice love. 

To check how your family is doing in the “love covering offenses” category, give 1 Corinthians 13 a read. Then choose love.

5 Actions Showing Title Respect

(This entry posted April 2016. Entering graduation season, another posting seems appropriate for those receiving titles and for those with titles hiring these newly titled graduates.)

What is Title Respect? Blogger’s definition: working in such a way that shows ongoing respect for one’s title earned through academic achievement or hired position; engaging with coworkers, clients, customers, employees, parishioners in such a way to bring respect to one’s organizational position

Is this easy? Certainly appears to be easier for some more than others. Character plays a significant role in title respect. If you are wondering how you are doing in the title respect category, gauge your efforts in these five actions:

Treating people with dignity

  • How are your “bedside manners”?
  • How often do you say, “Thank You”?
  • Do people leave your conversation feeling heard?

Continuous learning 

  • What’s the last book you read about your field of work?
  • If you’re not reading, how are you striving to learn?
  • If you’ve stopped learning, can you pinpoint why that is and address that issue?

Rolling without Flaunting

  • Do you insist your personal return address labels bear your title?
  • Does everyone have to know what charity you support?
  • Do you always have to sit at the head of the table?

Investing in the next generation

  • Who are you currently coaching or mentoring?
  • What support could/do you give to starters in your field?
  • How do you make yourself available to the 20s & 30s community?

Giving credit where credit is due

  • Who receives credit at the end of the project?
  • How does collaboration get celebrated?
  • How might you encourage someone after their first “win”?

31 Proverbs Highlights: #9-Rebuking

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

The one who corrects a mocker will bring abuse on himself; the one who rebukes the wicked will get hurt. Don’t rebuke a mocker, or he will hate you; rebuke the wise, and he will love you. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭9‬:‭7-8‬ CSB)

To be clear, rebuking means to reprove sharply. To be further clear, reproving means to express condemnation for a fault or offense.

The essence of these two verses is a challenge: how do you receive deserved correction?

A wise person loves it. Those who don’t love it, according to these verses, aren’t worth the hurt they will give to any well-meaning rebuker. 

Choose wisely.

Fruity Fridays: 3 Steps to Goodness

(A series about the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5)

post by Eric Vorhies

If kindness is the way we act toward others, then goodness is just the way we act regardless of the presence of other people. But like kindness, for me, the struggle is real.

I know what it looks like though. We all have that one friend that would totally shock us if he/she did anything wrong — I’m looking at you, Jacob Zerkle. And, just in case you don’t, you might be that friend…or you might be really bad at choosing friends.
Frankly, I don’t know how Jacob does it. It is as if bad, mean, hateful, or selfish thoughts don’t cross his mind. But with me, horrible and nasty thoughts pop up so fast that I have to play a type of mental whack-a-mole to avoid utterly destroying my life. So, today, I want to share how I battle to be good. (Spoiler Alert: it’s by the Holy Spirit)
Okay, we have established that I have many thoughts that directly conflict with my relationship with God and my sense of morality. But as I reflect how I have changed over the years, I can narrow it done to three concepts that I believe are rooted in Scripture.
1. Take Every Thought Captive
The nature of a thought is that it is a thought. That’s it. But what we do with that thought is important. During the sermon on the mount, Jesus starts each topic with a law regarding an action, such as “do not commit adultery.” Then he called out our thoughts by letting us know that even lusting after someone is the same. In James, it says that “each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. After desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin…” Be aware — having a thought is not wrong. What we do with it is where we can cross the line.
The remedy – “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Have a thought, give it to God. Ask Him to get rid of it. Ask Him where it came from. Ask Him what you should have been thinking. He will reveal to you what you need to hear. And over time (as long as you keep this discipline), those stupid thoughts will become fewer and your thoughts will be more in tune with the thoughts of God.
2. Stop Comparing
Look, let’s be honest, we all know someone who is a better Christian than you…and me. And that’s OK. There will always be someone better…there will always be someone worse. But goodness in your walk with Christ has nothing to do with the goodness you have or don’t have. Phil. 3:16  — “In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained.” When you look around and see people are better at “being” Christians, don’t beat yourself up. Also, when you see people who are worse at it, don’t pat yourself on your back. Stop comparing with others.
The only comparison that needs to be made is the one between what you know you should do and what you actually did.
Think about that for a second.
It’s like exercising. You add weight and intensity based on where you are. You are able to achieve things that are actually obtainable. You are about to grow. More importantly, your relationship with Christ becomes more focused on your relationship with Christ and not others’ relationship with Him.
3. Grow
Lastly, never stop improving. Let’s stick to the exercise comparison. If you go to a gym for three years and can’t lift any more than what you did at the beginning, then what’s the point? Don’t we want a stronger relationship with Christ? A more meaningful and deeper relationship? Then never stop growing.
Eph. 4:15 — “But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head — Christ.”
Goodness isn’t something we have. It is something that God is. And through the Holy Spirit, we can grow in it…we can grow closer to God.