The Phenomenon (Book Recommendation)

You don’t have to be a Cardinals fan, not even a baseball fan, to enjoy this book. Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. It’s a true story about overcoming obstacles in life
  2. It’s a look at the professional athlete’s world that feels like any other person’s world
  3. It’s a story of perseverance
  4. It’s written well, written to keep your attention, and written emotionally honestly
  5. It contains life lessons for all of us, whether we are the struggler or the one walking with the struggler

“If a tire goes flat, does the reason matter?” @TheeRickAnkiel #thephenomenon

Here’s some people who should read this book:

  • Those directly impacted by anxiety disorders
  • Those working with young adults with high potential
  • Those coaching clients through life-altering seasons and incidents
  • Those addressing family-orientation obstacles
  • Those who are trying to answer the question, “What are you going to do?”

“All I had to do was look up. All I had to do was stop the fear from rising.” @TheeRickAnkiel #thephenomenon

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31 Proverbs Highlights: #22-Endless Honor and Respect

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

The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord made them both… Drive out a mocker, and conflict goes too; then quarreling and dishonor will cease. Proverbs 22:2,10 HCSB

Besides the rich and the poor both being made by God, here are some other “couples”:

  • Educated and Uneducated 
  • Healthy and Unhealthy
  • Old and Young
  • Country and City 
  • Married and Single
  • Churchgoer and Never been before 
  • North American and Arab American
  • Artists and Athletes 
  • Conservatives and Liberals
  • Those who live in Florida and Those who visit Florida

This list is endless. What shouldn’t be endless is any mocking between these God-created couples. 

Endless Honor and Respect is what God-created couples should embrace.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #21-Your Best Counsel

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

The one who pursues righteousness and faithful love will find life, righteousness, and honor…No wisdom, no understanding, and no counsel will prevail against the Lord. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭21‬:‭21‬,30 HCSB)

Some spiritual choices in life make no sense to nonspiritual minds. And why should they? For that matter, some spiritual-minded people often question the choices of other people of same mind. According to these verses, why should they?

For example, not all spiritual-minded people are in ideal marital relationships. They receive counsel from various sources of what they should do. It seems that no matter the choices of these people, they will no doubt receive pushback from others. What should they do?

If you find yourself in such a situation, whether it’s related to your career, a relationship, your finances, your health, or even where you should align yourself in a local church body, take heart in these truths from these verses:

  • Your utmost pursuit in life is righteousness and faithful love.
  • Human insight is finite; it cannot supersede the peace that comes from the wisdom and counsel of God.

Seek counsel from others, yes. But you are not a slave to them. Their counsel doesn’t outrank God’s. Your best counsel comes from him. And why shouldn’t it?

31 Proverbs Highlights: #20-Honorable Men

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

It is honorable for a man to resolve a dispute, but any fool can get himself into a quarrel…Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man? (‭Proverbs‬ ‭20‬:‭3‬,6 HCSB)

“A good man is hard to find.” How many times have you heard that statement? (Let’s not get into where and by whom)

“An honorable man is hard to find.” I can’t say I’ve ever heard that one. Can you?

Maybe we should have. Or maybe we should be asking it.

These two verses start the list of what makes a man honorable:

  • He works to resolve a dispute rather than pick a fight.
  • He doesn’t always have to get his way.
  • He doesn’t look for an argument just to get into one.
  • He doesn’t have to proclaim his loyalty.
  • He proves his trustworthiness over and over again not out of necessity but by nature of his character.

What else makes a man honorable? Leave a comment if you have an answer.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #19-Money Sense

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

The one who acquires good sense loves himself; one who safeguards understanding finds success…Kindness to the poor is a loan to the Lord, and He will give a reward to the lender. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭19‬:‭8‬,17 HCSB)

Success is grounded in common sense and pursuing understanding.

According to verse 17, success in handling money is grounded in the common sense that the poor will always be with us, and in the understanding that our money isn’t really ours but God’s and that sharing our resources with the poor isn’t unnoticed by him. 

We give to the poor not in order to receive a reward but in order to practice good money sense and to follow the desires of the true owner of everything.

Be You

There’s only one you. Be you.

God created one you. Be you.

God knows you because he created you. Be you.

God knows you better than you know you. Be you.

God doesn’t need you to be like someone else. Be you.

God didn’t create you to be like someone else. Be you.

God created you exactly the way you are. Be you.

God created you exactly how he wanted you. Be you.

God loves you as you are. Be you.

God knows your flaws. Be you.

God wants to share life with you. Be you.

God will never reject you. Be you.

God wants the best for you. Be you.

God wants more for you than you can comprehend. Be you.

God watches your every move. Be you.

God celebrates your wins. Be you.

God mourns your losses. Be you.

God offers you freedom. Be you.

God has mercy for your mistakes. Be you.

God has grace for your oddities. Be you.

God will take you back. Be you.

God desires to give you your heart’s desires. Be you.

God enjoys the one and only you. Be you.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #18-Where to Run

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

One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires; he rebels against all sound judgment…The name of Yahweh is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected. Proverbs 18:1,10 HCSB

These two verses are a study in opposites. 

The Isolater 

  • Runs toward his desires, potentially away from better choices 
  • Runs away from wisdom rather than toward surrender

The Righteous 

  • Runs toward God first and always
  • Runs toward strength and protection rather than selfishness and rebellion 

The Value of Bible Translations

Taking a short break from the 31 Proverbs series to share a personal observation. 

The words of Proverbs 17:5 are stuck on replay in my mind. Actually, one word is. Well, one word from the HCSB translation is. If you read yesterday’s post, you can probably guess which word. 

As I’ve meditated on that word and the message of that verse, these questions came to me: How have I missed this verse for so long? Why did it stick out to me unlike any other time I’ve read it before?

One answer to that question is this: I’m reading the book of Proverbs in a translation that I don’t recall reading it before.

Some people devalue this practice-reading the Bible from various translations. I value it. To give you an idea what I’m talking about, compare this verse from these four translations: 

He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker; He who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished. Proverbs 17:5 NASB

He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished. Proverbs 17:5 NKJV

Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished. Proverbs 17:5 NIV 

The one who mocks the poor insults his Maker, and one who rejoices over calamity will not go unpunished. Proverbs 17:5 HCSB

With just one word highlighted, a Bible student could learn deeper truth and understanding, enough to stick with them for days, maybe even a lifetime. So here are some questions to consider regarding the value of Bible translations: 

  • What if we trusted man’s God-given gift of language and words to deepen our understanding of God?
  • What if we allowed various colors and imageries of words to deepen the convicting power of God’s truths?
  • What if we let go of trying to control God’s word and surrender to God’s message?

For some reason, the word insult went beyond my eyes and mind and reached my heart. I felt that word. 

That’s powerful. That’s lifealtering. That’s invaluable. 

31 Proverbs Highlights: #17-Insulting God

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

The one who mocks the poor insults his Maker, and one who rejoices over calamity will not go unpunished…The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a man of understanding. Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent, discerning when he seals his lips. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭17‬:‭5‬, 27-28 HCSB)

Who would dare insult God? Who would think that would bring peace to one’s heart?

Yet, our desire to be perceived somehow as better than can lead us to do exactly that, insult God.

We insult God by criticizing his creation. That includes people. 

We insult God by assuming we know the reasons behind his actions. We mere humans.

We insult God by thinking our words need to be heard. Even above his.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #16-Character Pleases God

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

When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him…Patience is better than power, and controlling one’s temper, than capturing a city.  Proverbs 16:7,32 HCSB

God is more concerned about your character than your position. These two verses reveal a few things about character that pleases God:

  • God is pleased with those who pursue peace rather than picking fights or insisting on their position.
  • God is pleased with those who aren’t ruined by the pursuit of power but rather patiently surrender to his power.
  • God is pleased with those who discipline themselves even when capable of achieving rank or position.