The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:
a good understanding have all they that do His commandments:
His praise endureth for ever.
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Proverbs 21 to 30 = Counsel for Kings and Rulers
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“Self-Control” – a guarded mouth makes for a serene soul.
*He that is keeping his mouth and his tongue is keeping his soul
Proverbs : 21:23
“Reputation” – choose a good name rather than great riches.
*A name is to be chosen rather than abundant riches; favor is better
than even silver and gold.*
Proverbs : 22:1
“Soberness” – red wine is colorful but calamitous.
*Do not look at wine when it exhibits a red color, when it gives off its
sparkle in the cup, [when] it goes with a slickness.
Proverbs : 23:31
“Counsel” – the sober judgment of a sane thinking group is more
reliable than your own opinion.
*For by skillful direction you will carry on your war,
and in the multitude of counselors there is salvation.*
Proverbs : 24:6
“Women” – better solitude on top of the house than sojourning in the
house with a nagging woman.
*Better is it to dwell upon a corner of a roof than with a contentious wife,
although in a house in common.*
Proverbs : 25:24
“Gossip” – fire goes out when fuel gives out; scandal stops when mouths are stopped.
*Where there is no wood the fire goes out, and where there is
no slanderer contention grows still.*
Proverbs : 26:20
“Tomorrow” – there is never a tomorrow, only today.
Get it done now, for now soon becomes then.
*Do not make your boast about the next day, for you do not know what a day will give birth to.*
Proverbs : 27:1
“Understanding” – rank does not guarantee an understanding heart.
*A leader that is in want of true discernment is also abundant in fraudulent practices,
but he that is hating unjust profit will prolong [his] days.*
Proverbs : 28:16
“Bribes” – seek justice and our land shall stand; accept bribes and it will fall.
*By justice a king makes a land keep standing, but a man out for bribes tears it down.*
Proverbs : 29:4
“Security” – a trust in Yahweh/Jehovah Almighty God in heavens above is the only safe soul armor.
*Every saying of God is refined. He is a shield to those taking refuge in him.*
Proverbs : 30:5
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Today you are hungry…
…along comes a man that gives you food to eat,
but tomorrow your hunger arises yet again,
demanding to be fed.
Along comes another man who feeds your Eternal-Self,
thus freeing you from the hunger of illusion.
Which of these two men brings forth the greater gift
to all mankind?
As we give forth our gifts to our brother and sister souls,
we must do so without any expectation;
rather that we take a lesson in giving from the trees,
bearing fruit for all to eat…
from the time they are born until the day that they die,
their only desire is to give forth the sweetness of Life
to all who pass their way.
When we attach any sort of expectation to even our kindest
thought, it ceases to be a gift and becomes instead, a debt
to pay…no longer a blessing but rather a burden to bear.
Is this not the reason so many human relationships fail?
If our own expectations are attached to our emotions
then the gift of love becomes only the tie that bind…
‘I love you.’ then exists as a contract to honor or to break
‘Because I love you, I expect you to act accordingly.
I expect this for that.’
When our loved ones fail to live up to our own expectations,
the relationship tends to suffer.
Expectation is the food which gives rise to yet a more demanding hunger.
Unconditional Love is the sweetness of Life that feeds your Eternal-Self.
♣ Daniel J. Miller ♣
Sorrow was beautiful, but his beauty was the beauty of the moonlight shining through the leafy branches of the trees in the woods. His gentle light made little pools of silver here and there on the soft green moss of the forest floor. And when he sang, his song was like the low, sweet calls of the nightingale, and in his eyes was the unexpectant gaze of someone who has ceased to look for coming gladness. He could weep in tender sympathy with those who weep, but to rejoice with those who rejoice was unknown to him.
Joy was beautiful, too, but hers was the radiant beauty of a summer morning. Her eyes still held the happy laughter of childhood, and her hair glistened with the sunshine’s kiss. When she sang, her voice soared upward like a skylark’s, and her steps were the march of a conqueror who has never known defeat. She could rejoice with anyone who rejoices, but to weep with those who weep was unknown to her.
Sorrow longingly said, “We can never be united as one.” “No, never,” responded Joy, with eyes misting as she spoke, “for my path lies through the sunlit meadows, the sweetest roses bloom when I arrive, and songbirds await my coming to sing their most joyous melodies.”
“Yes, and my path,” said Sorrow, turning slowly away, “leads through the dark forest, and moonflowers, which open only at night, will fill my hands. Yet, the sweetest of all earthly songs — the love song of the night — will be mine. So farewell, dear Joy, farewell.”
Yet even as Sorrow spoke, he and Joy became aware of someone standing beside them. In spite of the dim light, they sensed a Kingly Presence, and suddenly a great and holy awe overwhelmed them. They then sank to their knees before Him.
“I see Him as the King of Joy,” whispered Sorrow, ” for on His head are many crowns, and the nailprints in His hands and feet are the scars of great victory. And before Him all my sorrow is melting away into deathless love and gladness. I now give myself to Him forever.”
“No, Sorrow,” said Joy softly, “for I see Him as the King of Sorrow, and the crown on His head is a crown of thorns, and the nailprints in His hands and feet are the scars of terrible agony. I also give myself to Him forever, for sorrow with Him must be sweeter than any joy I have ever known.”
Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing – 2 Corinthians : 6 : 10
“Then we are one in Him,” they cried in gladness, “for no one but He could unite Joy and Sorrow.” Therefore they walked hand in hand into the world, to follow Him through storms and sunshine, through winter’s severe cold and warmth of summer’s gladness, and to be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.”
Does Sorrow lay his hand upon your shoulders,
And walk with you in silence on life’s way,
While Joy, your bright companion once, grown colder,
Becomes to you more distant day by day?
Run not from the companionship of Sorrow,
He is the messenger of God to thee;
And you will thank Him in His great tomorrow —
For what you do not know now, you will then see;
He is God’s angel, clothed in veils of night,
With whom “we walk by faith” and “not by sight”
2 Corinthians : 5 : 7
*Life is all about ROWING*
My grandfather was a man who lived a rich life. A shipbuilder by trade,
he was one of 11 children born in rural Nova Scotia. Grandfather was a
quiet man, a deeply religious man and, perhaps most of all, a person of
significant character. Once when I was in high school, my grandfather
invited me to go on a rowing trip with him. He loved the sea and told me
that this particular evening promised a glorious sunset.
“Would you be interested in going on a rowing trip with me to visit a
tiny cove I’m sure you’ve not seen?” he inquired.
Looking outside, wiping the sweat from my teenaged forehead,
I suggested that 95 degrees was not the perfect time for a long rowing
trip and said another time would be better.
“Ah,” he said, “another time is for young men. Let’s do it now.”
With that clarity of perspective, off we went on what would turn out
to be a nonstop row of more than an hour. Given that he was in his
seventies and I a mere fifteen, the rowing naturally fell on my shoulders.
All during our trip to that cove, he was chiding me to go faster else we
miss the promised sunset.
“Chop, chop,” he piped up.
Sweating profusely, I diligently rowed until more than an hour had passed
and we turned a corner beyond a tiny point of land and into the promised
cove. Moments later, the sky burst into an orange-purple blaze.
My grandfather was right, the cove and the sunset were both breathtaking.
The scene is one I will never forget.
We were there, however, for no more than a couple of minutes when my
grandfather said, “Well, let’s head back now.”
Incredulous, I protested. “Granddad, you were right, it is beautiful here.
But look at me, I’m dying – let’s stay for a while.”
“No,” he said, “they’ll have made dinner for us and we’re already late.
We ought to think of others, not just ourselves. Besides, we’ve seen it
and this beautiful sunset will follow us home.”
Hands on the oars, I began the journey back. With each pull I renewed
my complaining: “It was nice, but not worth all that rowing…
This boat is too old and needs new oars… The current’s too strong today…
You’re the big shipbuilder – why don’t you take a turn rowing?”
On and on I went.
My grandfather merely sat quietly, enjoying the sunset.
Finally, after about thirty minutes he gazed at me and quietly said,
“John, put the oars down, would you?”
With the oars in the boat he stared me in the face: “I want to tell you
something today, something I very much hope you will remember.
John, most of life is rowing and if you don’t learn to be good at –
and enjoy – the rowing, you will grow up to be a very unhappy man.
Now put your hands on the wood and take me home.”
I would love to tell you that the scales fell from my eyes in that moment
and my life was lived differently from then until now.
But that would not be true.
At the time, those words seemed like the babblings of an old shipbuilder
about to make his last sail. But thirty years have passed and I know
now what he meant.
Life is mostly rowing.
There are, of course, moments of ecstasy, but most of life is made up of
A walk on the beach,
a glancing view of a beautiful cornfield out an airplane window,
the first time you see your child steal a base,
a conversation where you know your words helped a friend,
lying in a tent by a river with the few people you love most,
the good feeling at the end of a hard day at work when you
know your efforts were not in vain.
It is precisely our ability to be present and enjoy those moments that
makes life worth living. We can spend our entire lives trying to get
from one big sunset to the next and miss a whole lot of great living
Sure those great sunsets are wonderful, but they are the icing, not the cake.
And it is not the big things that determine our success in the many realms
of our life.
Marriages are not built on the big anniversary trip to Hawaii or the special
gift that marks a date. It is in the rowing that marriages are made and broken,
in the daily honoring of life together.
Parents do not raise children well because of the camping trip taken once
each year to provide “quality time.” Rather it is in the rowing moments,
simple exchanges that occur thousands of times over the years that our
children learn the lessons they will need to live a life uncommon.
Leaders do not earn their stripes at the annual meeting when they give
a rousing speech that inspires the masses, but in the daily way their rowing
inspires a sense of pride and respect among those whom they lead.
But how do we begin to get better at the rowing and to appreciate the
simpler pleasures it has to offer?
How do we reclaim the innocence, faith and wonder with which we were
graced when we came into the world?
It seems to me that it begins with realizing that life is not about where we
are going as much as it is about being where we are.
How much of our lives are lived with the future as our focus – saving for
retirement, waiting for the weekend, counting the days until vacation,
looking forward to graduation, the next promotion.
We seem destined to believe life will be better when we finally get there.
When we choose to believe that each moment, however simple, offers
as much to us as the great shining moment of ecstasy, we begin to
experience our lives in a different way.
What part of the rowing must you pay more attention to?
Are you enjoying the moments of your life fully or waiting
for some future sunset when life will be what you desire it to be?
By John Izzo, Ph.D.
There are two days in every week that we should not worry about,
two days that should be kept free from fear and apprehension.
One is Yesterday, with its mistakes and cares,
its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.
Yesterday has passed, forever beyond our control.
All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday.
We cannot undo a single act we performed.
Nor can we erase a single word we’ve said
– Yesterday is gone!
The other day we shouldn’t worry about is Tomorrow,
with its impossible adversaries, its burden,
its hopeful promise and poor performance.
Tomorrow is beyond our control.
Tomorrow’s sun will rise either in splendor or
behind a mask of clouds – but it will rise.
And until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow,
for it is yet unborn.
This leaves only one day – Today.
Any person can fight the battles of just one day.
It is only when we add the burdens of yesterday
and tomorrow that we break down.
It is not the experience of today that drives people
mad – it is the remorse of bitterness for something
which happened yesterday, and the dread of
what tomorrow may bring.
Make TODAY the best day it can be, and let us,
Live our lives
whichever Best way we can;
one day at a time.