January 29 – If It Takes All Night

A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished. Proverbs 28:20

Just the other day, a good friend and I were swapping “fish stories.”

And since I’m still but a young man in the eyes of the modestly mature, my skills are still in the development stage. So I told him about my Grandpa, “Big Daddy.”

In my mind, there was none better and probably never will be any man more skilled at catching fish than my Big Daddy.

Though I didn’t understand it when I was a kid, it makes sense to me now. What he used to be successful at catching fish was the same exact thing he used to be successful in every other area of his life.

It wasn’t patience. It wasn’t intelligence. It wasn’t toys, tackle or bait. All of these played significant roles but only after his faith set the stage.

Big Daddy had faith that he would catch fish every single time he went out. Therefore, he brought sufficient tools to get the job done. And if it took all night long, he would be there just as determined as he was the moment he started.

I never recall a time Big Daddy was found running from one hole to the next trying to land the big one. He wasn’t known for following the advice of others about where the fish were jumping. Oh, he’d listen, but when it was all said and done, his own faithfulness kept the family freezer full of fish.

Whatever you are “fishing for” can be realized. But first you have to make up your mind…if it takes all night! Then everything else will kick in just like it’s designed to do. And before you know it, you will look around and discover there’s not enough room to hold all of the blessings.

Be still. Be faithful.


January 28 – Soul Interest

He who by charging excessive interest and who by unjust efforts to get gain increases his material possession gathers it for him [to spend] who is kind and generous to the poor. Proverbs 28:8

You don’t have to search very far to find accounts of shrewd businessmen who amassed great wealth and power. Or of those whose families turn and philanthropically share it all with the very people he used to get rich.

But what’s not so prevalent is insight into the “soul” interest and unjust efforts we common folk make every single day. Selfishly, we can be guilty of taking advantage of situations and circumstances privy to us without a thought of how it affects another.

In an effort to do better for ourselves, we steal time from our family. In an effort to advance at our work, we pursue another person’s position. And in an effort to have someone in charge that we like, we speak ill of those we don’t agree with.

Today’s proverb isn’t just about the rich getting richer and their money being given away. It’s about precious moments and precious people that are ours to love and cherish. Because if we don’t, someone else will come along and get that job done. And all that we worked for will possibly be lost.


January 27 – An Unexpected Tug

When the country is in chaos, everybody has a plan to fix it—but it takes a leader of real understanding to straighten things out. Proverbs 28:2

In business, in school, and now, around my house, the “least expected one” usually saves the day. I specifically am mindful of the lion’s share of the “above 12 years old” Dunford’s frantically looking for misplaced van keys. Inevitably, little bitty hands will tug on my pant leg, “Daddy, you looking for these?”

What’s sad is the fact that I, like most, find myself looking to the smart, the aged, and the polished for answers. But time testifies of men and women of real understanding who few ever imagined they had outstanding ideas.

I don’t know what country you are in as you read this, but I know at least one that fits the bill of today’s proverbial thought. And though I never want to see anyone suffer catastrophe, history says then and only then do we quit looking for the keys where we think we left them. This is when we let a power beyond our brains and braun and bank account get us back on track with help we could never find or afford.

I’m not meddling and I’m not being political.

But our predicament humbles me and these words today inspire me to hope for a tug from an unexpected source.




January 26 – Hunger Pains

The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion. Proverbs 28:1

Growing up, I was always hungry. Well, kind of. I ate my fair share of whatever we had for dinner, but my hunger never ceased for the stuff that was no good for me or something my mom told me to leave alone.

She was on a diet and had certain things should could eat for lunch. So, every few days, as I recall, she would bake a chicken, wrap the pieces in foil and put it in her lunch sack…along with a cup of fruit-filled yogurt.

One time I got into mom’s yogurt. You know the little cups I’m talking about? About 8 ounces or so with all those different kinds of flavors? Well, I knew no moderation, so I could polish off about ten of those things in no time flat. Therefore, they were off limits.

Over time, my “hunger” got the best of me and I snuck one. Took it into my room. Hid under the bed. Every bite, I heard footsteps. Took me an hour to finish it and all I remember is being more worried about getting caught than enjoying my stolen treasure.

When things aren’t right, we don’t rest well. Granted, if you make a habit of breaking rules, unfavorable repercussions become a way of life. But that’s no kind of living, if you ask me.

When we know there is nothing to hide, we come and go as we please. And when something ugly tempts us, then we can plant our feet and stand our ground.

January 23 – Knittin’ Tending

Know your sheep by name; carefully attend to your flocks; (don’t take them for granted; possessions don’t last forever, you know.) And then, when the crops are in and the harvest is stored in the barns, you can knit sweaters from lambs’ wool, and sell your goats for a profit; there will be plenty of milk and meat to last your family through the winter. Proverbs 27:23-27 The Message

Some people are quick to tell you what they know. Always having something to say, they create more dissension and distraction than they do any difference in anything worthwhile.

Time always tells on them. Sheep don’t lie. If they have nothing to eat, they don’t survive and there’s no wool for winter. And sheep require careful consideration. My “sheep” and your “sheep” are those people or that business and that something you have been entrusted by God to handle.

Only I can answer what that is for me. But whatever it is, my tending to it or the lack thereof speaks for me whether I want it to or not. And nobody wants to know what I think about their knittin’ when I can’t take care of my own.


January 22 – Winter is Just a Season

For riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. Proverbs 27:24

Early last year year, the sand plums were thick. Four years ago, when we moved to the farm, they were everywhere. We picked a few and canned a bit.

But the following years, if you weren’t diligent enough to put up plenty, there was no way you had homemade jelly to last until the next bumper crop.

We as a society are smart and we have figured out ways to override natural order and supply and demand. But, for the listening soul, seasonal abundance is still ever present to instruct.

“Bomb, bam, bang” can’t maintain forever. Winter must come. Fall lets us know times are changing so we can prepare.

True, after winter comes spring, but how long winter lasts has everything to do with…how long winter will last.

January 20 – Buttered Bread

The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever protects their master will be honored. Proverbs 27:18

My boss, Sandy, called me to come in on my “off” day. This was my first official “paycheck” job. And most of the time, even at 14, I was happy to get the extra hours. But some buddies had invited me to go catch a movie and hang out at the mall.

I let her know I couldn’t, let them know I could, and the next thing I knew I was unemployed.

No, I didn’t get fired for not going in to work. My manager was truly understanding. She just didn’t know the company we worked for was in the process of filing bankruptcy.

This made an impression. Though I can’t say I have always been the best hire, I can say I valued any person for whom I worked and I strived to do the very best work I could.

A boss or company is a blessing. Whether I prefer the work I’m doing at the time, it still provides a means of support, continued learning and personal advancement.

In my estimation that’s “butter” for the bread of life.

And when my attitude is right, the butter is abundant and the bread is worth the spread!


(P.S. If you haven’t seen my wife’s post about eating real butter, check it out.  We didn’t intend to write in tandem but it happened. 🙂 Here it is:  justafamilything.com

January 19 – Straight as an Arrow, Sharp as a Tack

You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

I hate an argument. No, I am not proud of it, but I have been known to tuck tail and run right out of the room if I think people are fussing.

That’s not completely bad, but it doesn’t make for a stellar record in accomplishing greatness. That’s because all the big ticket items in life require different strokes from different folks!

My wife likes to call it “flags and flagpoles.” Particularly in the covenant of marriage, the good Lord tends to put “opposites” together.

I’ve learned when God’s got something big for you, he has someone specifically designed to sharpen you up for pin-point accuracy.

Did I say I hate an argument?! But I love the bullseye!

January 16 – Fat Cats

One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet. Proverbs 27:7

I had a bunch of well-to-do kids in my cabin once who didn’t seem to prefer any of the good food coming out of the kitchen. Every day they complained and protested.

I just smiled. I knew what was about to happen.

This same group of young men elected to participate in a three-day wilderness excursion. We would hike, climb, bathe in the river, sleep under the stars and eat over a camp fire. They thought the trip sounded great.

We left out early, right after breakfast, and most of them did their usual “picky bottom” routine and didn’t get much to eat. By the time we got to our destination and had camp set up, it was lunch time and my boys were hungry. But since we were roughing it, lunch was a piece of fruit, a handful of raisins, some nuts and a granola bar. They killed it!

The afternoon activity consisted in a five-mile hike up the side of a mountain and several hours of repelling.

Our dinner that night was campfire burritos with no fancy fixings. But you would have thought these guys had died and gone to heaven. We had some picante packets for them to give it a little flavor, but the burritos didn’t last that long. I still laugh about that!

Hunger is a necessity when plenty has devoured the will to want, to work, to appreciate, to honor. History is littered with great men, great women, and great nations that have it so good, they get fat and fail to remember what got them there.

This isn’t the work of the Father. If we stay intimately connected with Him and His way of doing things, He will make sure a humble dose of “hungry” is served up on a daily basis.

This is just because a real Father knows when you give a child all he wants, he never learns what he really needs has always been right there.


January 14 – Let Your Life Do the Talking

Don’t call attention to yourself; let others do that for you. Proverbs 27:2

I watched the 2015 College Football National Championship game the other night. Time and attention had not called for much football watching the past year so I wasn’t up on all the facts.

Turns out, one of the teams reached this historic game by the skin of their teeth. Ohio State struggled with injury before and during their remarkable season in key areas and overcame notable setbacks.

Even though I had no allegiance to Oregon or Ohio State, when I heard the underdogs were being led by a third string quarter back who was starting in only his third college game, it got my attention.

Then I found out he was matched up against a young man who had won every possible award a quarter back is eligible for, including the highly revered Heisman Trophy.

If the rookie QB would have folded under the pressure of playing against such a respectable foe in the most important game of college football this season, nobody would have counted it odd or given him a hard time. The truth be told, three weeks prior to the big night, hardly anybody in the country knew his name.

But when the smoke cleared and the Ohio Buckeyes wound up on top 42-20, 89,000 plus fans in Dallas Cowboy stadium and the millions watching were all well acquainted with Mr. Cardale Jones.

What this young man does now that he is a household name remains to be seen. But in one of the most historical moments in College Football this decade, if not century, he exemplified today’s proverbial wisdom.

He went out and did his job! That’s impressive and noteworthy. And everybody else is doing the talking.