November 19 – The Yeller’s the Feller

He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding has a cool spirit. Proverbs 17:27 AMP

Man, did I miss it! Just the other day, my middle son nailed me to the wall even without a hammer in hand.

My main “business” at this stage of my life is getting my Ph.D. in parenting…classes all taught by my kids. Most of the time, I come out pretty good when the tests come around, but on this one, not so good.

Here’s the scenario, best I can recall: He had a book in hand that I thought was just for show. Thinking he was pulling a fast one, I went to work interrogating in order to uncover a subtle “brownie points” scheme.

Amazingly, some of my kids remind me an awful lot of myself at their age. So as I grilled him, he just stood there, unfettered, focused and resolved until the moment of reckoning.

“Ok, young man, if you are reading this book instead of playing around with everybody else, give me some evidence.” Without a hitch, he sets me straight, reading flawlessly and giving commentary along the way!

Touché. I was impressed, and grateful. My son demonstrated what I so desperately desire of myself. When I have the knowledge in a matter, there is little need for me to get upset when someone who may not be sufficiently informed misunderstands!

A calm, cool, collected approach does a few key things: First, it de-escalates. Then it demonstrates. And finally, it designates honor, respect and forgiveness in one fell swoop.

Encouraged by today’s Proverb and the “practical example” of my twelve year-old, I am working on cool when it comes to what I know and how I show it.

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November 18 – Happy is Healthy

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
 but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  Proverbs 17:22 AMP

Anymore, there seems to be so much to do, so much to think about, so much to consider. If it weren’t for my good group of girls (wife and daughters), there would be days where I didn’t even eat…I’d just forget to!

And with that sort of thing going on, choosing to stay cheerful, hopeful, and or happy often eludes me. When I’m smiling or laughing, I feel better and I respond better. The press doesn’t stress as much. I know this and I will be the first to tell you it’s the same with you! However, the facts are just that. I do forget and I do frown as I ponder and I do grovel in the “mully grubs” from time to time. Not good and not productive, no matter how much I tell myself it’s all a part of getting stuff done.

This Proverb is also good science. People who smile, laugh and maintain a cheerful and positive attitude tend toward better health over all. That’s been my observation over the last twenty plus years working with folks from newborns to well-worns in a myriad of venues. Kids and Keenagers alike do so much better when they are full of cheer.

Life teaches us that it is not always fair, so our happiness or cheerfulness needs a source that’s not fickle and can be trusted at all times. Promises from God, words of truth are just that. Today, let your heart rest, let your mind relax and let your face smile. Laugh a little or laugh a lot…just enjoy the moments.

November 17 – A Grand Ol’ Plan

Children’s children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their fathers. Proverbs17:6

We are so progressive. The world over can assess these words of mine in no time flat…and comment in many different languages!

And this business about age, it’s relative. Our consciousness in the area of health and nutrition is revolutionary. You can hardly identify folks by birth date anymore. Hair color, hair removal, and cool-looking bald guys of all ages has all but leveled the playing field.

But when it comes to family, God set in motion a beautiful reward system. It’s a bit of a “slow release,” but nonetheless, wonderful. For the brave souls who dare sacrifice their sometimes self-absorbed existence for another life to emerge, there will come a day.

Grandchildren, in the eyes of God, are a reward for a job endured and well done. It should be a time when the wise and worn spend the rest of their days being enjoyed, honored and appreciated by their children, who now understand they weren’t crazy, and their grandchildren . who think they hung the moon.

I am aware this utopia is eluded by many today for various reasons and more than a few grandpas and grandmas are playing mom and dad all over again. And that’s sad and unfortunate…but necessary if it’s necessary.

At the same time, for most of us, it is not too late to latch on to today’s Proverb with hope. As I pour into my kids and they test my sanity and sincerity, one day I will get that call like my mom did about fifteen years ago…the “thank you, I’m so sorry, and you weren’t crazy” call.

And with the favor and abundant blessings of the Father of us all, I will get that other call…the “grandpa and grandma, can I go with you and come hang out with you, and you are the greatest grandparents in the world” call.

It truly is a Grand Plan!

November 14 – ‘Til I’m Old and Gray

Age is a crown of glory, when it is found in the way of righteousness. Proverbs16:31

Before we got so smart here in the west, all educated and stuff, age meant something. It wasn’t just the grandkids who valued time with Gramps and Grammy. On the contrary, the wisdom of the aged is what kept the towns of old afloat.

I have even heard it said that in Jewish culture during Jesus’ day that it was improper for a man to speak in a gathering of men before he was 40.

It used to be a known reality…wisdom comes with wear! When you’ve been around a day or two, chances are you’ve picked up a pinch of understanding along the way.

In my estimation, our modern nursing homes are gold mines that are wasting away while the smarty pants of the day spend a fortune “trying” to figure out what Gertrude could have told them for free.

May the good Lord grant me some “gray hairs” of glorious wisdom and insight to guide me and mine through this narrow way of right living. Any fool can tell you what you want to hear. It takes a God fearin’ “hoary head” to call it straight.

Long live the senior souls!

November 13 – Bread and Circuses

Appetite is an incentive to work;
 hunger makes you work all the harder. Proverbs 16:25 MSG

Work is necessary and the desire to create something out of nothing is all about God’s divine design. Genesis 2 records God gave His man work before He gave him a woman. That doesn’t suggest girls don’t work. For me, I see a basic principle…work is good!

But in our day and time, it seems as if there is an aversion to honest labor. Many of us have seen the hungry holding up their cardboard sign at our cities major intersections. And I have felt compelled to contribute to the cause more times than not. But I must mention here that when we moved to my wife’s hometown, out in the country, those signs are not here! On the contrary, there are many farmers who would love to have a hard-working hand or somebody that’s not afraid to cut some trees or build some fence for a few dollars.

The bottom line when it comes to work is there has to be a “want to.” And one of the worst things you can do to a culture of people is to encourage them to seek an easy way to get their needs met.

The wildly popular book called the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a take off of this kind of situation.  After the Roman downfall, it was said that their demise was due to a people forgetting their historical birthright for the promise of cheap food and entertainment, or a superficial means of appeasement. This was coined “bread and circuses” (Latin: panem et circuses).

It always turns out that there is nothing new under the sun. Still, God gave us all hearts to work at something. And my work will look different than yours, but if we will “work” at it intently, the world will indeed revolve in balance and in abundance.

 

 

November 12 – But I’m Not Ready to Die

There is a way that seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death. Proverbs 16:25 AMP

I’ve told this account many times over the years. When I was in my twenties and pushing really hard to make a way for myself, opportunities were numerous for a go-getter and I was out to get my share.

I was working a couple of jobs and keeping a steady one to make sure I covered my basic bills…a career type of job.

One night while chasing my “dream,” I fell asleep and found myself in a median with a car full of grass (I had the windows down). God only knows how many close calls I might have had before I finally came to myself. I surely wasn’t ready to die, but the thing I was pursuing was just about to do me in.

We all can be guilty of living in such a way that we don’t even think about tomorrow or the possible “irrevocable” effects of our self-centered notions. Often, we convince ourselves that what we want is what is best. But when we find ourselves asleep behind the wheel of life’s true necessities…then we cry out with the utmost abandonment, “God, help!”

Don’t assume you are headed in the right direction, just because it makes sense to you. Slow down and ask the Father. And no matter what He tells you…it will keep you safe until your race is done.

November 11 – Heal ’em With Kindness

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24 KJV

Johnny used to give me quite a tongue lashing in my early days of preloading his delivery car.

Route drivers like Johnny had their own system and delivery strategy to get the packages delivered in an efficient and timely manner. And that wasn’t necessarily how our preloading charts laid it out.

At first, his rants caught me totally by surprise and I really didn’t know what to do. I mean if I said what I wanted to say in response to his negative berating tone, I probably would have been fired on the spot. But I needed the job, so I struggled to find a way to endure the abuse. I tried everything.

Then finally one day, I just started making myself say thank you when he told me how stupid my load looked and how ridiculous it was for him to come in early enough to “fix my mess.”
After I got past the fact that I felt like I was being somehow dishonest for not giving him a piece my mind, it became pretty fun.

I would greeting with a overly jovial “Good morning Johnny!” And I started following him around with a smile and a “yes sir, you are right and I will get right to work on it.” Pretty soon, ol’ Johnny didn’t have much to say in the morning about his load or anything else.

When harsh words or attitudes mount an attack on you, it makes for a pretty miserable existence. And you won’t last long if you don’t learn to counter with kindness. I’ve witnessed the powerful hand of God come on the scene when I chose kindness over justice.

May today’s proverbial wisdom help us all do a little healin’ in our neck of the woods!