I love it!

close up of human hand
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I love it.

  • I love the sidewalk and driveway art in my neighborhood and the creative work I’m seeing posted on social media.
  • I love it that our Pharmacist pulled me aside and said, “next time, call first and we will bring the RX out to your car.”
  • I love church members who are cooperative, compliant with safety precautions, checking on each other, logging into live streams, downloading resources and being so generous in gratitude.
  • I love it when I have to stand in a line and someone (with poor vision?) thinks I’m elderly and invites me to the head of the line. “Come on in the store sir, we are open for senior citizens first.”
  • I love my kids who check on us frequently and “lay down the law about what they want us to do or not do.”
  • I love it when my next-door neighbor yells from his driveway, “we have plenty of potatoes if you need any.”
  • I love it when my other next-door neighbor speaks to me from her yard about how she had groceries delivered. She wanted me to know we could do it too. She gave me the phone number.
  • I love Zoom, Facebook Live, Google Drive, Email, Pandora, WordPress, T-mobile. I even love Spectrum.
  • I love my preacher friends who are generous in helping older preachers learn online technology.
  • I love my older preacher friends who are doing their best to use what they learn.
  • I love my wife who cooks, manages the budget and house and is just here, sometimes in my office just keeping me company.
  • I love my Facebook friends who encourage me by posting valuable ways they are using their time home.
  • I love what I believe will happen – What we learn in a crisis we will use after the crisis.
  • I love God, His Son and the Holy Spirit – Who richly provide the way for me to look beyond earthly crisis to heavenly celebration.

One Day

I recently read one of Dee Bowman’s recent books. You need to get this, no matter your age. THE JOY OF GROWING OLD IN CHRIST. Click Here To Order.

On pages 82 & 83, there is a valuable seed to plant in your mind.

ONE DAY…
… What you own won’t make any difference.
… What you did and whom you impressed won’t make any difference.
… Who you knew won’t make any difference.
… What awards and rewards you received won’t make any difference.
…Whether you were beautiful or handsome won’t make any difference.
… Who you knew, where you went, what you did, how much fun you had, won’t make any difference.

ONE DAY …
… What you gave to others will make a difference (James 4:17).
… What others learned from you will make a difference (Matthew 28:18-20).
… When and where you shined your light will make a difference (Matthew 5:32).
… What kind of love you gave will make a difference (Matt. 22:37).
… What kind of preparations you have made for judgment will make a difference (Hebrews 9:27).

 

 

 

Don’t be a fool

man taking a selfie with a drunk man
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Mr. Fool

I’m doing some teaching and podcasts from Proverbs and early in the book, you get to meet Mr. Fool (sometimes he is married to Mrs. Fool). While there are several kinds of fools described in the book, there is a common attribute that is punctuated in the opening chapter. “Fools despise wisdom and instruction,” (1:7).

This is the opposite of the fear of the Lord. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”

In Proverbs, there is this “fool,” who acts on impulse, without discipline, WHO DOESN’T CARES ABOUT WHAT IS RIGHT or MORAL or OBEDIENT TO GOD. Nor does he have a good mature grasp of how choices and consequences are connected.

There is a key word here.  “Despise.”

Have you ever tried to talk some sense into somebody – and they just hate it; can’t stand it; don’t want any part of good sense. They have a contempt for the truth. They would rather go away, smoke a cigarette and get a beer – than listen to wisdom. That seems to be basic to this imagery of the fool, though foolishness may express itself in a variety of ways.

So, right on page one of Proverbs, it is this simple: Don’t be a fool.

 

1st Podcast – Proverbs

Proverbs PodcastsIn Pursuit of Wisdom

Proverbs Podcasts 2020

Warren E. Berkley

[Listen Here]

Welcome to these podcasts I’ll be posting at least once a week, and the subject will be – the Old Testament book of Proverbs.

What a treasure house of insight into life. Not just navigating life on earth with wisdom. Life in response to God, respectful of His will and boundaries. Warnings about moral crashes; simple statements of understanding about so many things pertinent to a good life on earth – and a good relationship with God.

Let’s begin here: In the Bible – Old Testament and New – there is a rich variety of types of writing.

In the New Testament – The biographical material about Jesus, in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The historical narrative of the spread of the gospel in Acts. The letters or epistles. The final book – Revelation is its’ own kind of writing.

In the Old Testament – Books of History, Books of Law. Prophetic Writing. The Psalms. Wisdom literature like Ecclesiastes and Proverbs.

So, let me do a simple comparison. If you are in First and Second Thessalonians. The apostle Paul wrote these two letters to Christians in Thessalonica. In many ways, it is very much like a letter – an initial greeting, encouragement, instruction and warning suited to their needs. Those epistles read like letters; they are letters and follow that genre or form of communication.

Proverbs is not that kind of writing.

In most cultures throughout history – this has been and continues to be a common form of instruction and communication. I’m going to give you a little test. (I’m not going to be able to hear your response.) Think about it.

I’m going to begin a sentence and ask you to finish it.

Curiosity killed the ________ (cat).

Rome was not built in a ____ (day).

Let bygones be _______________ (bygones).

Those are proverbs or sayings we are familiar with – used to express some knowledge or make an observation, in a brief but memorable form. Sometimes these simply reflect experience, not objective truth. But the design is to be memorable and repeatable.

An essay, narrative or discourse is different. Proverbs are brief nuggets of wisdom, that put the spotlight on some truth we need from God.

Mike Wilson, in his book, said, “The Biblical Proverbs are God’s text messages – little, bite-sized packages of wisdom often delivered in a memorable, witty manner.”

There are places in the book of Proverbs where some extended discussion is placed. In chapter one and two, then some narrative scenes later in the book.

But in the main – we will be studying snapshots, God’s text messages.

We will be in pursuit of wisdom from God, communicated mostly in brief sayings.

As you read through Proverbs and listen to these podcasts, you’ll see all these familiar topics and relationships.

Commitment to God.

Listening to your parents.

Attitude.

Money.

Temptation.

Friendship.

A lot about the use of the tongue.

            (In modern application, the

            keyboard.)

Warnings about sexual temptation.

Responsibility.

The godly woman, the godly man.

I’ve named only some of the many topics we encounter in Proverbs. Remember, we are not talking about long discourses or essays or something like the epistles.

These are brief sayings, easy to commit to memory – containing wisdom from God. They are calling our names, inviting attention and reminding us of how we should be thinking, speaking, acting and reacting.

Listen to the opening:

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

To know wisdom and instruction,
    to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
    in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
    knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
    and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
    the words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction.

What is “the fear of the Lord.” I’ll cover that in the next podcast.

 

Friendship (Thanks Bill Fairchild)

From Walking In Sunlight, by Bill Fairchild

“And Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel.” (2 Kings 2:2)

In every aspect of our lives, we are engaged in friendships on multiple levels.

We are cautioned to avoid “friendship with the world” (James 4:4).  We are encouraged to choose well those with whom we associate because they can help us to grow, mature and become more Christlike, thus helping us on our journey to be prepared for eternity!

I’m not sure we always appreciate the value and the place of each friendship we are introduced to!  If we are not careful, if we are living life way too fast, we can pass right by someone who can really make a difference in our lives!

Jewelry stores are beautiful and expensive places to walk into.  Everything is so sparkly and shiny, displayed in such a way as to catch one’s eyes.  Unless you already have your mind made up on what you are looking for, it can prove to be a daunting experience.

Looking at all the precious stones, their shape, beauty and quality, we find ourselves having to narrow down the search before purchasing or simply walking out to find yet another store to walk into.

Friends are like those precious stones that we have already considered, thought about deeply and made them our own.  Each stone in the jewelry box at home bears its own unique marks and appearance.  Granted we might can find ourselves appreciating and liking one particular set or individual piece … but we are happy to open the lid and see them as ours.

It has been said that true and lasting friendship is rare … and that is an accurate statement, isn’t it?  There are those who are friends … and then there are those who are friends in a much deeper sense.

What a blessing it is to have both categories of friends and friendships.  Yet, we understand the deeper we are able to go with our friendship based on trust and loyalty … the stronger the bond, respect and mutual love!  I thank my God for every one of those who are my friends!

We know the difference don’t we.  The kind of friend that is mindful of our needs … who is careful to speak truth in a way that builds us up rather than tearing us down … who is willing to listen to our words with attention … and who genuinely has our best interest at heart!

I want to be a friend like Elisha was to Elijah.  Elijah was about to leave this world, borne up in a chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire, and Elisha would accept the mantel and become a great prophet in his own right.

I am convinced that one of the qualities that would set him apart from others was his ability to be loyal and trustworthy, and to genuinely care about Elijah.  Don’t we all long for this kind of friendship where we can be honest with one another, even bare our souls and express our doubts and concerns with confidence in the one who hears our words?

Well guess what?  We can, if we are willing to invest in the lives of others!  It has often been said that “we can’t change people’s hearts until they know we genuinely care!”  I want to be like Elisha and I am mindful of those times and occasions when I didn’t measure up to who I needed to be, and I am sorry!

We cannot afford to forget this truth:  To have one as our friend means we must step up to the plate and be a friend for them as well.  It is truly a two-way street!

Friendship is a relationship that is entered into by individuals.  Each friendship is only as good or as close as those individuals decide to commit to make it!  May we never become guilty of taking a valued friendship for granted!  Life is just too short!

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from their earnest counsel.”  (Proverbs 27:9)

Bill Fairchild, Jr.

http://walkinginsunlight.com/to-be-a-friend-like-this/?fbclid=IwAR2BweiP2UxJYEvQQJ2eL17ZZX4XW9VSb5t6WbzaMu46QNDhYwgIc0dys9A

Alcohol Lied To Me

Much of what I post on this blog, I found. I guess I’m just a good finder; better at finding than creating. I’m a long-time believer than alcohol – as a recreational or even occasional beverage – has built-in life issues. This piece couldn’t be sourced (author unknown), but reminded me of the life issues.

Alcohol Always Lied to Me

I Drank for Courage…and woke up night after night horrified.

I Drank for Sophistication…and became crude.

I Drank to find Peace…and ignited a war within myself.

I Drank to be Friendly…and became argumentative and nasty.

I Drank to be Sexy…and turned people off.

I Drank so that I could Relate to Others…and I babbled.

I Drank to put down Loneliness…and found myself retreating more into my shell.

I Drank to Relax…and woke up tense.

I Drank to be Entertaining…and became an obnoxious clown.

I Drank to Live More Fully…and contemplated suicide.

I Drank for Adventure…and discovered disaster.

I Drank to be more Honest…and insulted my friends.

I Drank to Quiet my Nerves…and woke up with hangover jangles.

I Drank to Feel Better…and ended up sick and throwing up.

I Drank to have Fun…and passed out in the middle of the party.

I Drank to Pep Myself Up…and ended up exhausted.

I Drank to feel Successful and a Big Shot…but ended up a failure.

I Drank for Security…and became afraid of my shadow.

I Drank to Feel Better about Myself…and ended up hating me.

I Drank to prove I could handle Alcohol…and ended up knowing it controlled me.

* A Friend asked…”But surely, now that you’ve been sober awhile, it would take a lot of alcohol to put you back in that condition.” “Just One Drink,” I answered!

— Author Unknown

Location of this find: http://www.usaprn.org/reflections/alcohol-always-lied-to-me.html

 

Psalm 107 (repeated)

Warren E. Berkley

Psalm 107:23-32

Some went down to the sea in ships,
    doing business on the great waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the Lord,
    his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
    which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
    their courage melted away in their evil plight;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men
    and were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still,
    and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters[b] were quiet,
    and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
    and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

The 107th Psalm is a piece that centers on praise to the Lord, containing examples of deliverance: cases where men failed; men could provide no redemption. Only God could help. Now, I am not certain of any specific historical context for this. It is generally taken as great promise, for believers who suffer perils of the sea. The ancient mariner faced a high measure of risk and uncertainty and mystery, navigating the sea.

Of course, this was before the navigational technology we enjoy. Yet still today, with all our navigational tools and instruments and radar, we often hear of tragedies on the sea or in the air. (MH370, still not found!)

Think of life as a voyage, that involves the business of danger and risk and unforeseen trouble. Like the ancient mariners – we who follow Christ – have this benefit, this discipline; something God has given, we can do, based on our trust in Him. We are able to talk to the Creator of the seas. We are able to state our case to the One who can still the storm. He can quiet the waters. He can provide the navigational providence – to get us to safe harbor.

Prayer is an effort of will on our part – connecting us to the will of One with infinite power, whose mercy can calm us and steady us. The last verse in this chapter says: “Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.”