March 16 – Punch Drunk

If you’re dumb enough to call attention to yourself by offending people and making rude gestures, don’t be surprised if someone bloodies your nose. Proverbs 30:32 MSG

In 8th grade, a kid named Steve punched me square in the face. That same year, another kid named Curtis teed off on my nose. Both incidents were caused by my big mouth and broad personality, striving so desperately to fit into my new surroundings.

The mouth is a funny thing. Small indeed, but it can be very much like a loaded gun in the possession of an immature or inconsiderate soul.

There is nothing more frustrating to me than a rude fellow who excuses himself by saying things like, “I’m just brutally honest.” Even if you are wise enough not to jeopardize your freedom by slamming your fist into his snout, not so pleasant thoughts probably lodge in your brain.

The few bloody noses I’ve suffered in my lifetime have influenced me to watch my words and their effect on the atmosphere. And I do my best to help a younger generation growing up in my house to get the point and avoid the punches.

The thought for the day for me, in light of this pungent proverb, is articulated quite nicely in the next verse:  Churned milk turns into butter; riled emotions turn into fist fights (vs 33). I do like my butter, but ultimately it’s not worth taking a beating physically, mentally, emotionally or verbally all because I can’t tame my tongue.

Lorenzo

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March 13 – Stand Tall

There are three things which are stately in step, yes, four which are stately in their stride: The lion, which is mightiest among beasts and turns not back before any; The war horse [well-knit in the loins], the male goat also, and the king [when his army is with him and] against whom there is no uprising. Proverbs 30:29-31 AMP

Just because the bully has your name on his list, and just because you are not sure you can lick him, he doesn’t have to know it.

And what he doesn’t know, leaves a 50/50 gap a mile wide in his brain. Therefore, until you crater under speculation and peer-based testimonials of past defeats, you are formidable foe material.

Chances are, your bully is no longer glaring at you through the monkey bars at recess. But they still exist in the form of bills, ills and “people-y pills!” And no matter the size or the symptom, today’s wise counsel suggests we face them by standing tall.

They say your kid is always in trouble and will probably never amount to much…Stand Tall!

They say your tests are inconclusive and they want to run more…Stand Tall!

Your boss says either you agree to relocate or you will lose all your benefits…Stand Tall!

Your spouse says they don’t love you anymore and they are leaving…Stand Tall!

All of those scenarios scream defeat, but none of them can guarantee a knockout! If God is truly guilty of anything, it would be spoiling the plans of a bully situation.

He alone has the last say and throws the final blow!

Lorenzo

March 11 – No Excuses

There are four small creatures wisest of the wise they are—ants—frail as they are, get plenty of food in for the winter; marmots—vulnerable as they are, manage to arrange for rock-solid homes; locusts—leaderless insects, yet they strip the field like an army regiment; lizards—easy enough to catch, but they sneak past vigilant palace guards. Proverbs 30:21-23 NKJV

Want to know the difference between an excuse and a reason? I will come back to that in a minute.

It’s not the case every time, but it happens a lot of the time. I meet someone whom I admire their achievements and successful Ideas. And they are short! It’s become comical to me anymore.

Growing up, tall was what we all wanted to be. And if you were one of the unlucky ones who had “vertically challenged” DNA molecules flowing around your growth plates, you tended to get picked on.

Truth of the matter, it has never really mattered in the grand scheme of things how big a person was on the outside. It was the heart and will residing on the inside that counted.

Nature is full of examples and mini-marvels that warrant wonder. But any “achiever” I know, small, medium, or large has a particular common code of conduct: to them, there is no such thing as an excuse and thus, there is no reason to discuss their inabilities.

So what there’s plenty of food at the supermarket…fill the cellar anyway!

So what you don’t make a lot of money…save up and build a home anyway!

So what there is no one to tell you what to do…make a decision anyway!

So what if somebody more popular is singing your song…you sing it anyway!

Don’t wait for the sun to come out or the “fair police” to come to your aid. You are here, you are able. And that’s reason enough!

Lorenzo

March 10 – Just Can’t Handle It

For three things the earth is perturbed, yes, for four it cannot bear up: for a servant when he reigns, a fool when he is filled with food, a hateful woman when she is married, and a maidservant who succeeds her mistress. Proverbs 30:21-23 NKJV

SAUL THE LESSER BECOMES KING OF ISRAEL! NABAL THE FOOL PICKS A FIGHT WITH DAVID THE GIANT SLAYER! THE EVIL JEZEBEL MARRIES KING AHAB OF ISRAEL! SERVANT GIRL HAGAR HAS A BABY BY HER MISTRESS SARAH’S HUSBAND ABRAHAM!

Sounds like the National Enquirer to me. But the truth of the matter is every one of these statements are biblical history. And though they happened at very different times and under very different conditions, they bear a strange resemblance to one another.

Each ended poorly for the individual and many of those involved. Each left an unerasable mark for those who came later to see what “not to do”! And as sad as it sounds, each one reminds us of persons and places we know of that are far too reminiscent of these “not so” heroes.

Boy, have I felt the rub of the “Barney Fife” boss who wants everybody to know he’s the man!

And I have indeed watched my fair share of inebriated crazies get their clocks cleaned by some really tough guys.

No matter how you slice it, difficult people are just that…difficult. And they will forever make for awkward, bizarre and game-changing realities.

Lorenzo

March 9 – No Harm in Sayin’ So

There are three things which are too wonderful for me, yes, four which I do not understand . . .

Here in America, Michael is a pretty common name. But when that name is followed by Jordan, there is nothing “common” about what this man achieved in the sport of basketball. Throughout the 80’s and much of the 90’s he mesmerized audiences the world over.

I wasn’t much of a basketball fan, but even I was drawn into the “Air Jordan” era. To this day, I have no clue as to how that man could jump up and glide through the air like a bird. Simply remarkable!

Let it be understood, these comments do not suggest I admire all of the choices Mr. Jordan has made on and off the court. But suffice it to say, that ability blessed him and its noteworthiness comes to mind when I think about attributes that render speechlessness. To me, it’s just a testament to the handiwork of God!

. . .the way of an eagle in the air, the way of a serpent upon a rock, the way of a ship in the midst of the sea, and the way of a man with a maid. Proverbs 30:18-19

Lorenzo

March 6 – Blind Vanity

The eye that mocks his father, and scorns obedience to his mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it. 30:17 NKJV

We’ve all done it. We have all, at some point during the adolescent years, came to the conclusion that our parents were crazy. Surely, they were never young before. Otherwise, they would not be so unreasonable!

But if we are fortunate to live to the age they were when they were hopelessly mental, we find that either our juvenile assessment was inaccurate or that we have now lost our minds as well.

Coming of age is normal. And with it comes opinions and preferences. But, there is something altogether irreverent about an attitude of mockery and or scorn toward those who bore you.
I don’t know a perfect set of parents…including Mary and Joseph. They are human, for crying out loud. But, for the most part, woven in the fabric of their hearts is an intense desire to do right by us.

And even when they don’t deserve complete admiration, God rewards those who honor, still. If abuse is a part of the equation, we may not always be able to stay in an environment with an unhealthy parent. But even then, disdain for them is not necessary.

Regardless of the situation or circumstances, may we be found honorable toward those who hold the office of Mom and Dad. Because “respecting the office” can only lead to a blessing for us, and for them.

Lorenzo

March 5 – Don’t Mind If I Do!

“There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, ‘Enough!’ the grave, the barren womb, land, which is never satisfied with water, and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’” Proverbs 30:15b-16 NIV

Old Bud Searcy was all about helping the women and children while the menfolk were away…helping them right out of a meal!

In the beloved Disney classic, Old Yeller (originally in print by the same name), one of the only characters one would dare not “take a liking” to was Mr. Searcy. This was basically because instead of taking care of those in need, he helped himself (at their expense.)

Even as a little kid, I knew old Mr. Searcy was a bad egg. He made for good comedy, only because we all know a “Mr. Searcy”! But, at the same time, it makes a case worth noting…

To him who is eager for a handout seldom finds value in a hand up. Therefore, the word “enough” will be strangely absent from his verbal repertoire.

Try as you may, life is not complete without the never enoughs. And from time to time, a meal on their behalf isn’t going to break ya. But remember, the Searcys do well to bump up against some, “yes you can” every now and again!

Lorenzo