November 28 – Turkey and Dressing

He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and that which he has given He will repay to him. Proverbs 19:17

There is no rich and there is no poor when it really comes down to it. If I have, you have, and if I don’t, you don’t. Now that doesn’t mean we act that way. On the contrary, we have a long history of misuse and abuse toward each other.

The guy and gal I passed on the corner yesterday holding that sign is a part of the story. Unfortunately, the poor they suffer from is not a lack of money or shelter.

True compassion for them doesn’t deal in band-aids or conscious appeasers. It is consumed by the fact that but for the grace of our Father, so go I.

Turkey at Thanksgiving is the celebrity that is selected at times with the utmost scrutiny. And the old Dressing is the staple that is all mixed up with a little of this and a dab of that.

But regardless of the Turkey or the Dressing, we are one in the sight of God. Each one needs the other. In much, in little, in a moment it all could be gone.

November 27 – Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

He who finds a [true] wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD. Proverbs 18:22

Right now, as I write, winter has come and cold has once again become the description of the morning.

I am in my forty’s and it’s been getting cold around this time my entire life. Therefore, you would think I would learn to put all my “cold gear” up in a safe spot when the cold time is over so I will have it the next year. I can’t find a thing!

Oh well, I guess I’m not the only one, because the store is out of my size in just about everything I need right about this time every year…just saying, fellas.

But finding my soul mate was a bit different than finding a pair of misplaced gloves or a stocking hat (man, how I wish I had paid attention to this when I was young and knew everything). My mate for life wasn’t lost; just hidden.

The Biblical account of Adam laid out in Genesis 2 gives us a clue. God puts Adam in the Garden He made for him with a few important instructions. And then He gives Adam the privilege of giving names to the animal population. But before He does, God states, “It’s not good for man to be alone. I will make a fitting helper for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

The man didn’t have a clue that while he was naming those animals, he was “finding” a wife. He couldn’t have known what he needed, but it was obvious out of all the creatures he saw, nothing “fit” him.

God had hidden his mate in a place he could never look…on the inside of him! I don’t know how, I just read what it says. And that’s the only sense I can make of this thing called marriage.

Try as I did to find the perfect person for me, I fell short. It was when I gave myself to being busy with what He was leading me to do, that I “found” her. “And the man gave names to all the cattle and to the birds of the sky and to all the wild beasts; but for Adam no fitting helper was found. So the LORD God cast a deep sleep upon the man and he slept; and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that spot.” Genesis 2:20-21

This “one flesh” idea we call marriage derived from the Father of All Creation Himself. And many of us have suffered deep scars trying to figure it out. Believe me, I’ve got a few of my own.

But the sacredness of such a covenant is other-worldly. And nothing in the universe fulfills like waking up to discover the one thing you’ve been missing. I have to say, “wow!”

November 26 – Say What You Need to Say

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

Just the other day, I changed the climate. It was a beautiful, sunshiny day and I covered the sky with clouds. How? With my mouth.

I really didn’t mean to, but I wasn’t feeling the best and I hadn’t had much sleep. So, by the time I was done, everybody casually gave me all the space I needed and undoubtedly found a “weather neutral” corner to discuss my lack of consideration.

It’s so unfair but, nevertheless, a reality. My mouth matters and my words work. And although my mind conceives the thoughts and ideas my mouth will re-live, without my tongue, teeth, and gums working in tandem what I think is almost harmless.

But the moment it rolls out of my face in spoken word, in just a matter of moments, its fertility begins to have “cause and effect!”

Time, test, trials and mess have helped me sift and analyze my great ideas and my “spontaneous combustions” before they hatch from my lips…most of the time.

Words make the world go round and may God be praised for their great reward. Therefore, may we be His children and speak often in ways that please Him and bring abundant life to all He holds dear!

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose!

November 25 – Let the Game Come to You

A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men. Proverbs 18:16

When I was a younger man I thought I had to make my presence known if I were ever going to get ahead.

When I started college, I searched high and low for the perfect job that would allow me adequate time for study and provide me plenty of capital to cover my expenses. While working in the cafeteria, the job that was available, I heard of an outfit that was paying double for a fraction of the time…just 20 hours a week!

The problem was there was only a handful of slots and everybody and their brother was vying for the spots. I tried every angle and bent a few rules, even, in hopes of getting one of those jobs. Not a chance.

But just a year and a half later, while speaking on behalf of a group of students to a civic club, one of the managers of the “dream job” ask me what I thought about working for him. Totally taken aback, I told him of my misfortune in the past. “Let me see what I can do!” was all I heard before I got the call to report for duty.

Situations just like that have happened to me throughout the years and have conditioned me to “let the game come to me.” God has given to us all a certain set of skills and unmerited favors for the journey. Our job is faithfulness, not hustle and stress and strain.  As we seek opportunities to be the best us we can, God unfolds His perfected plan.

It’s not an easy thing to enact when you are so used to pushing and prodding for every stretch of ground you gain. But why climb through the window, when there is a welcome sign on the front door?

November 24 – Shot Through the Heart

The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear? Proverbs 18:14

I knew a man who was a very quiet and miserable old soul. He had very little to say and what he did say was colored with tinges of sorrow and regret. As you might suppose, the “true friend” populous was quite limited.

But one day, while eating a bite with some colleagues, we saw the sad soul. And one of them piped up, “You know that old man used to be quite the life of the party? Like a Will Rogers of sorts.”

Flabbergasted, of course the rest of us wanted to know what happened that changed him so much. “He lost his first wife and two little girls in a horrible accident. He’s never been the same.”

I can say I have experienced my share of tragedy and I have wanted to give up from time to time. But by the grace of the Almighty, I have not yet sustained a fatal blow to my human spirit…that part of you that produces the courage to keep on keeping on.

You may be reading this right now feeling very sad and morose because of a tragic event that left you barely breathing in your soul. I am so, so very sorry. I share your pain. But I must say, as long as you are still breathing, healing can come.  Even the deepest of wounds don’t have to prove fatal. God knows where you are and why you hurt. And He knows just who or what to send your way to awaken a new you, inside you, that you never knew!

 

November 21 – Rich Man, Poor Man

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
 the righteous run to it and are safe. The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
 and like a high wall in his own esteem. Proverbs 18:10-11

Fiddler on the Roof is truly a classic work. If you haven’t seen it or it’s been awhile, today’s proverbial thought might spark an interest.

Tevye the milkman is the father of five daughters and desires a better life for them…if only he were rich!

If I were a rich man,
Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum.
 All day long I’d biddy biddy bum.
 If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn’t have to work hard.
 Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
 If I were a biddy biddy rich,
Idle-diddle-daidle-daidle man.

He describes all the wonderful things he would buy and all the “special” people he would associate with and all the servants his wife would order around. The song is amazing!

And there are many of us, right here in the good old USA, who live as if Tevye’s song is the theme music playing in the background 24/7. More is only enough until the next shipment of more than enough comes in.

So we stack it, and stuff it, and want some more of it until it forms a wall around us. We feel safe. The economy goes south, we’re safe. Unexpected medical emergency, we are safe. Natural catastrophe, covered.

But we forget, wealth is based on what already exists. Its value is relegated to intelligible humanistic appreciation. If I have apples and no one wants apples, I have nothing. History is filled with “riches to rags stories” brought on by “unforeseen events.”

The Name of the Lord, however is quite different. How can a name protect you in times of unrest and upheaval in the world? Where can you spend it and what is its’ net worth? That’s just it.  Though it’s not from here, it created here! When you boil everything down that man has accomplished since the beginning of time, it doesn’t even come close to “buying the vowel” that holds His Name together.

If you’ve got a good thing going and it allows you to feel like you’ve made a difference in the world, great! Keep up the good work.

But don’t forget. Safety is in the tower, not behind the wall.

November 20 – Abby’s Fool

The mouths of fools are their undoing,
 and their lips are a snare to their very lives. Proverbs 18:7

I Samuel 25 accounts that during the time of King David’s outlaw years, he and his men were doing a little “free lance sheep-guarding.” They didn’t want much in return, just a thanks in the form of a well-deserved meal.

But the request came at a time when much celebration had been going on in Nabal’s house and he was feeling a bit insulted by the request and let his colors show. David’s young men went and delivered his message word for word to Nabal. Nabal tore into them, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? The country is full of runaway servants these days. Do you think I’m going to take good bread and wine and meat freshly butchered for my sheepshearers and give it to men I’ve never laid eyes on? Who knows where they’ve come from?” I Samuel 25:9-11

Read the rest for yourself, but suffice it to say, heads were about to roll…that is, until Mrs. Abigail stepped in with a wise response; some food, kind words, sincere respect and just appreciation!

I have been hot-headed. I have opened my lips before I considered the consequences. Everybody plays the fool sometime. And today’s Proverb reminds me of the potential devastation that foolish talking can bring.

No matter how rough and tough or big and bad you are, nothing good comes from picking a fight by being inconsiderate, obnoxious, and rude. In the case of Nabal, it cost him, indirectly. But had it not been for Abigail’s interception, a whole lot of innocent by-standers would have paid with their lives.

PRAYER: “In my home, in my daily affairs, Good Father, fool-proof my face! Send me an Abigail to help me learn how to temper, tame and refrain when it comes to my convictions, comments and opinions. Amen!”