31 Proverbs Highlights: #31-Speaking Up for the Voiceless 

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

Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭31‬:‭8-9‬ HCSB)

Many people groups have no voice today. These verses describe them as dispossessed, oppressed, and needy. What groups come to mind when you read those descriptions?

Dispossessed groups certainly include the unfathomable amount of refugees around the globe. To be even more specific, this description includes the staggering number of children dispossessed around the world for a myriad of reasons. Speaking up for such groups can take on various forms. If you’re wondering how to do it, here are a few suggestions:

  • Follow social media to stay informed. Two suggestions include @WorldVision and @Samaritan’sPurse.
  • Share news to raise awareness and to encourage prayer and support. Go beyond following by sharing and creating dialogue.
  • Support efforts financially. You can sponsor a child through monthly gifts or give to trustworthy organizations giving these groups a voice.
  • Consider a short-term missions trip to put hands to your voice. Who says vacation can’t be about speaking up for the voiceless?
  • Consider getting more involved in the future with a second career or during retirement. A full lifer has much to offer to the growing lifer.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #30-Bloody Noses

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

If you have been foolish by exalting yourself or if you’ve been scheming, put your hand over your mouth. For the churning of milk produces butter, and twisting a nose draws blood, and stirring up anger produces strife. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭30‬:‭32-33‬ HCSB)

A bloody nose doesn’t come because you said, “Good Morning. Have a nice day!

It’s usually the result of something like a crazy sports fan who doesn’t know how to enjoy the game and stirs it up with their comments. Their tongue led to bloodletting.

I’ve never literally had a bloody nose. But I have stirred it up with my tongue. Words may not draw literal blood, but they surely can create strife. Apparently Solomon knew this. That’s why the verse reads, “...put your hand over your mouth.”  Maybe another way of saying it is, “Stop the bleeding. Keep your mouth shut.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #29-Hate is about You

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

Bloodthirsty men hate an honest person, but the upright care about him. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭29‬:‭10‬ HCSB)

Other translations term this hated person as blameless. So why the hate?

It has nothing to do with them. It has to do with the heart condition of the hater.

The heart condition of the upright and moral produces care for the blameless.

Here’s a heart test: 

  • Who am I genuinely tempted to hate? 
  • Have I considered the possibility that my heart condition may be the real issue? 
  • This hate isn’t about them at all. It’s about me.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #28-5 Hearts

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

The wicked flee when no one is pursuing them, but the righteous are as bold as a lion…Happy is the one who is always reverent, but one who hardens his heart falls into trouble. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭28‬:‭1‬,14 HCSB)

The guilty heart breeds loneliness.

The bold heart stands in the right.

The reverent heart knows who’s king. 

The heart open to God finds security and peace.

The humble heart is strong.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #27-Own/Stop/Look

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

A sensible person sees danger and takes cover; the inexperienced keep going and are punished. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭27‬:‭12‬ HCSB)

My first marathon, Virginia Beach, March 2009. I felt ready. All was going well until Mile 16. I had brought enough gels to get me that far. The race guide promised gels would be at that aid station. Promise broken. I had 10 miles to go. Without needed energy, what was I to do? 

I know now what I should have done, but all I knew to do that day was keep running and deal with the eventual wall I was going to hit. Mile 21. BOOM. Nothing left in the tank.

I didn’t “take cover.” I was definitely “punished.”

What can we do with danger or the unknown? 

  • Own your inexperience-Surround yourself with experienced people.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself “keeping going.” Stop. Learn from the punishments for your inexperience. Forgive yourself.
  • Look for other inexperienced people. Bring them some sense. Help them own, stop and look.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #26-Quit the Game

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

Without wood, fire goes out; without a gossip, conflict dies down. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭26‬:‭20‬ HCSB)

This proverb is one of several in chapter 26 that have to do with words, and the results of not using them well.

Ask Californians during fire season what not to do and they’ll certainly include “don’t feed it.”

Ask recipients of damaging gossip what not to do and they’ll say the same thing. “Kill it. Don’t spread it.”

Remember the game “gossip”? What if you simply refused to play? What if the message never got to the last person just because you quit the game? 

31 Proverbs Highlights: #25-Gold and Cool Drinks

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

A word spoken at the right time is like gold apples on a silver tray. A wise correction to a receptive ear is like a gold ring or an ornament of gold. To those who send him, a trustworthy messenger is like the coolness of snow on a harvest day; he refreshes the life of his masters. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭25‬:‭11-13‬ HCSB)

Do you have a friend that knows what to say, it seems, all the time? Either they are just faster on their feet or they are just more in tuned? Verse 11-12 says they are gold. The Message paraphrase describes them as “custom made.” I can’t say I have many friends that are “gold,” but the one that comes to mind is definitely priceless. I would say his listening skills are what makes him gold.

How about friends that are reliable, that do what they say? Got many of those? Verse 13 calls them refreshing. The Message paraphrase describes them as “cool drinks in sweltering heat.” What I know is how unrefreshing unreliable “friends” are. To have “cool drink” friends, which I’m thankful to say I do, is one of the greatest blessings in life.

We should strive to be gold and cool drinks, not just receivers but givers. Who would call you gold or a cool drink?

31 Proverbs Highlights: #24-Enough with the Agitation

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

Don’t be agitated by evildoers, and don’t envy the wicked. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭24‬:‭19‬ HCSB)

Social Media is full of agitation. I get agitated by all the agitation, you know what I mean?

So why do we allow ourselves to get so agitated? Yes, people do crazy things. Yes, we don’t understand how people get by with their actions. Yes, we will never agree totally with others. But must we live in such an agitated state?

Is it possible we’ve gotten so agitated by what we see in others because we’ve forgotten the evil that resides in our own hearts? We’ve gotten so used to excusing the person in the mirror that actually given enough power and freedom is capable of just as much wickedness.

This proverb reminds me to look at my own heart. See myself as God sees me. Worry about my own evil and wickedness rather than focus on someone else’s. Resist the agitation of pointing out the sins of others and let God deal with them. Enough with the agitation.

Good Crying

Crying. When you think of that action, most likely you think of something bad or sad happening. It ain’t good if you’re crying.

During a segment on 60 Minutes tonight, a NASA engineer described going home the night after a stressful but successful project of landing Curiosity, a car-sized robotic rover exploring Gale Crater on Mars. He said, “I crawled into bed with my wife and wept.” He didn’t sound sad at all. He sounded joyfully spent, exhaustedly happy. 

Have you ever experienced that kind of crying? You might call it having a good cry. I’ve had some. One that particularly comes to mind was at the end of my last marathon in 2012. I tried to control it, but there was no controlling it. I was joyfully spent, exhaustedly happy.

What are you working on that you are so committed to that when it’s over you could have a good cry? What life mission are you following that makes you have a good cry occasionally? When was your last good cry?

Go after being joyfully spent. Go after good crying.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #23-Heart Envy

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

Don’t let your heart envy sinners; instead, always fear the Lord. Proverbs 23:17 HCSB

What might heart envy look like?

So my boss has gotten to his position by running all over others. Looks like success. Maybe…

So my neighbors live so carefree and just seem to have everything they want. Of course, they have crazy amount of debt and fight constantly about money. But…

These guys at the gym are always talking about how much fun they have after they leave the gym. They invite me to come along all the time. I doubt my wife would like these guys, but…

Awe of God will give you the right perspective of success, finances, and fun. Guard your heart. Resist its envy.