March 3 – Middle of the Road

“Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Proverbs 30:7-8 NIV

Having an abundance of anything increases heightened awareness. Awareness of people, places and their things, or lack thereof.

Being always responsible for making sure motives and maneuvers are above board can promote paranoia and allow bitterness and self-preservation to set in. And sad to say, this has happened to many a man who didn’t have a dime.

Too much time, too much praise, too much chocolate, whatever! We don’t do “too much” very well. One very wise and wealthy soul once shared with me his secret to a well-balanced and prosperous life.

“Lorenzo, when I feel like grabbing, that’s when I start giving by the boat-load. Because when I don’t, stuff and status get in the way of what matters most, i.e., the ones I love.”

I have no idea where today’s good word finds you. But chances are, you have amassed a wealth of something. Let God help you be honest about it…quit denying it, for crying out loud. Then, devise a plan to get back to center.

It’s ok to be loaded with good things. But it is unhealthy to be “bloated” with the weight and the worry that too often clings to those “things.”

Happy traveling!


February 11 – Lack Thereof

The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. Proverbs 29:7

It might be money, it could be time. It might be rhythm and it could be rhyme. It might be intelligence and it could be friends. Poverty comes in many forms and to all its lack, it lends.

Every one of us has something missing or something broken in this life. And the wise ones never let their luxury in one area desensitize them to the lack protruding in another.

This sort of reality does not produce “handout fever.” On the contrary, when I recognize I have enjoyed blessings, I lend a “helping hand.”

No more of this “less fortunate” stuff. We are all God’s children and all of us could use a helping hand along the way. We are the same kind of “different.”

For richer or for poorer, we are forever family…


February 10 – Hit-lure

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan. Proverbs 29:2

Today’s proverbial thought awakens a moment in history that will affect the world as we know it forever. Leaders come and go and the truly good ones rule well and are often taken for granted because they raise few red flag warnings. They do the job entrusted them with honor and integrity.

But like the truck my son recently found on Craigslist that was “too good to be true,” there are moments in time where “too good to be true” leaders have emerged with vigor. And after the smoke cleared, there was hardly anything left but ashes.

There are several case studies to choose from, but Adolf Hitler is a classic. A decorated soldier in World War I, in many ways, he appeared to have the zeal, passion and vision to make Germany great. But something on the inside was a bit twisted.

His first six years in power resulted in rapid economic recovery from the Great Depression, the denunciation of restrictions imposed on Germany after World War I, and the annexation of territories that were home to millions of ethnic Germans – actions which gave him significant popular support (courtesy of Wikipedia).

When a people are suffering, particularly in the area of finances, they seem to be more vulnerable of this lure by cunning ideology and “quick fix” phantoms.

Hitler’s Nazi Party became the largest elected party in the German Reichstag, leading to his appointment as chancellor in 1933. Following fresh elections won by his coalition, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, which began the process of transforming the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of National Socialism (courtesy of Wikipedia).

Any institution of merit has foundation stones. And most of the time, those stones have been well thought out, inspired and strategically placed. Caution should be strongly applied when those views and values become disregarded and or disrespected by a new set of ideas. Change is normal and necessary, but it is far better when it is an outgrowth of that which has already been.

Case in point: God never threw away the Israeli people as His chosen. He just gave birth to the Church age through them by sending Christ as a Jew. Though the “religions” stand alone and individual, the spiritual DNA of both are founded on the same stone.

Under Hitler’s leadership and racially motivated ideology, the Nazi regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews and millions of other victims whom he and his followers deemed racially inferior. Hitler and the Nazi regime were also responsible for the killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war (courtesy of Wikipedia).

There was a lot of death, destruction and mayhem before the people recognized the hidden agenda. Some never did. They were so indoctrinated, the deception became their reality.

Put today’s proverb in a prominent place so it penetrates your subconscious thoughts.

And from that place…pray for those who would dare lead us.

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.


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.

October 14 – And the Walls Came a Tumblin’ Down

Riches provide no security in any day of wrath and judgment, but righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God) delivers from death. Proverbs 11:4

What American could ever forget the horrible moments of September 11th? Those moments changed a nation and the world forever. I was in my office, sorting through the work for the day when the office assistant called me into the meeting room.

Some things were changed forever.

But one of the most obvious devastations went unnoticed, for the most part, in all the chaos, catastrophe, and confusion. What happened to world trade that day? How much of the financial wherewithal of the nations of the world were obliterated that day? Who knows what all went into keeping economies going on the surface with borrowed money and bailouts while financial ruin was hidden at the core.

Our modern day sophisticated fiscal maneuvers make it hard to see the cracks in a compromised wall of security. Therefore, being prepared when it crumbles is next to impossible.

That is why our ability to get wealth, manage wealth, or keep wealth is not a high priority where God is concerned. It is far too unpredictable and awfully subject to heart corruption. Not because possessions in and of themselves are bad, but because our hearts have a tendency to trust in the seen much more than the unseen.

Righteousness levels the playing field. There is nothing in the world I can do to earn my “right standing” with God. It is the by-product of His grace, His mercy and His Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, it makes no difference if fanatics decide to hijack a plane and slam it into the side of a building that represents the “wealth walls” of every nation and worldwide economics crumble to pieces. If your hope is anchored in God Almighty, the place you are standing will not be shaken.

October 13 – A Tale of Two Kings

When swelling and pride come, then emptiness and shame come also, but with the humble (those who are lowly, who have been pruned or chiseled by trial, and renounce self) are skillful and godly Wisdom and soundness. Proverbs 11:2

The good book gives a historical account of two kings that ruled the children of Israel, God’s Chosen People.

The first was Saul, the son of Kish the Mighty. This young man was handsome, rich and a head taller than all of his kinsman (I Samuel 9:1-2). He had everything going for him, but when he was set in as first king of Israel, he became prideful and it ultimately caused him to lose the kingdom (I Samuel 13:13-14).

Then there was David. This would-be king was humility and servant-leadership personified. The youngest son of his father Jesse, he spent his early days watching over his father’s sheep. As a matter of fact, when the Prophet of Israel came to town to anoint the next king of Israel, David’s dad didn’t even send for him (I Samuel 16:1-13).

To date, David is known as the king of Israel that proved, even in the midst of a grave mistake, that he was a man after God’s own heart. Therefore, God Almighty paid him the highest honor any earthly king could ever wish for; He sent His only begotten Son through his lineage and one day He, the Son of God, will sit on the throne of David and rule the nations (II Samuel 7:1-29).

Pride is a funny thing. It makes you feel responsible, but it secretly undermines a complete dependence on God. The truth of the matter in the case of the two kings is David messed up much more than Saul if you measure the severity of their mistakes. The difference maker with God, however, was the attitude of their hearts. When confronted with his sin, David was broken and genuinely repentant (II Samuel 11-12). Saul, on the other hand, justified his behavior and apologized only to save face before the people (I Samuel 15).

May today find me broken rather than embarrassed. And may God find humility in my attitude rather than haughty self-defense. Though we are human, He has provided us with all kinds of help to get in a spot where He can pour on the blessings. But at the end of the day, we have to be willing before we will ever truly be obedient.

September 30 – Show Me the Money

My fruit is better than gold, yes, than refined gold, and my increase than choice silver. Proverbs 8:19

My granddad had a collection of special money. He kept coins that are now considered valuable today because they are not in general circulation. One day I got to look in his “money chest.” As he gave me a wheat penny for a job well done, I saw a few stacks of two dollar certificates, a few jars of Eisenhower silver dollar pieces, some buffalo nickels, a bunch of Kennedy half dollars, and more wheat pennies than I could count. In my ten year-old eyes, my “big daddy” was rich!

My goal that day was to one day follow suit; I would have my own money chest…like big daddy. And as time progressed, I was well on my way, hustling odd jobs at a very early age and cultivating a healthy shrewdness about my spending habits. But the more I made, the more attention I paid to the meticulous caretaking of my earnings. That in itself wasn’t all that bad, but I found myself thinking almost exclusively about money or the ability to make more of it. Something was out of balance.

That’s when God and wisdom stepped in and began to guide me toward the ageless balance between God, People, and Things. Money is a wonderful tool of assistance in any of the three areas. But if it ever becomes the master of any one, it will wreak havoc for the whole. And without Godly wisdom, the soul who possesses it has no way of knowing if the money and the power it wields is taking possession of him or her.

One of the best things wisdom taught me is the act of giving. Instead of looking at the money I make as mine, I view it as a harvest God has allowed me to help him steward. Therefore, He gets the first slice as a token of my appreciation and then wisdom gladly helps me administer the rest.

I still like the special coins and I do have a few here and there. But my highest hope is that the treasure I’ve laid up resides mostly in heaven. And never would I have imagined how rich that kind of money management could make me feel. So grateful!

You’ll recognize this as true—you with open minds;
 truth-ready minds will see it at once. 
Prefer my life-disciplines over chasing after money, and God-knowledge over a lucrative career.
For Wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth;
 nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her. Proverbs 8:18-19 The Message Bible

September 23 – Smooth Operator

A worthless person, a wicked man, is he who goes about with a perverse (contrary, wayward) mouth. Proverbs 6:12

There was a season of my life when my work had me traveling the Midwest quite a bit. And one of the joys of the journey was those occasional eating establishments along the way with their down- home cookin’!

So, one day I come upon this rustic joint on the side of the road with junkyard relics plastered everywhere. I walked in and there were autographed portraits of nearly every “somebody” in the country and their mama all over the walls. And I thought, “Oh, heck yeah!”

It was a midweek night after eight so I just looked past the emptiness of the place. I mean, the layout had me sold that this was the “jack” of all jackpots.

I get to the counter and nobody’s there. TV’s were on round about, so I just waited. Finally this fast-talking “gentleman” came to the counter telling me how lucky I was to be in his joint and in his presence. “Didn’t you know this place is famous?” He bellowed.

At first, I was agreeable…until I looked at his prices. Even for premium eating, they were ridiculous! So I said, “Um, are these prices legitimate, or am I reading the menu wrong?”

“What do you mean, my man? Those are bargains! But I tell you what, I’m in a generous mood tonight and about to close, so, (the door sign said ten o’clock and it was just a tick after eight…I was the only one in the place!) I’ll cut you a deal.”

To this day, that night was one of those moments I refer to when I should have gone with my gut and RAN out of that place. When that fork-tongued fella got finished with me, my trip funds were almost depleted.

For a few days, I was pretty upset at how he took advantage of me over some sub-par food. Then I remembered a moment from my childhood when I, too, took advantage of an unsuspecting soul. Lord, forgive me.

May today find us focused and aware of the slimy and deceptive, and yet still be merciful in our judgments. We might be reaping a little harvest from days gone by.


Riffraff and rascals
 talk out of both sides of their mouths.
 They wink at each other, they shuffle their feet,
 they cross their fingers behind their backs.
 Their perverse minds are always cooking up something nasty,
 always stirring up trouble.
 Catastrophe is just around the corner for them,
 a total smashup, their lives ruined beyond repair.               Proverbs 6:12-15 Message Bible

August 14 – Possessed By Possessions

So are the ways of everyone who is greedy of gain; such [greed for plunder] takes away the lives of its possessors. Proverbs 1:19

I found a wild plum bush in an alley when I was a boy. A friend pointed it out to me and it had not been touched. Being so young, I thought we had discovered an oasis in the desert. I couldn’t hardly wait for the berries to ripen, and in many cases, I didn’t. (Bad idea.)

The day finally came when the majority of the delicious plums were ripe and ready to be picked. Of course I loaded my mouth, then my bucket, which wasn’t very big (the bucket). That’s when I discovered a major problem; my bucket wouldn’t hold all the plums!

Unbeknownst to me, in the course of the wait, I had morphed into a greedy little ungrateful guy. There was no way I was going to let anybody get “my” plums. Af­ter all, I found them (kinda) and I waited for them to get ripe (kinda) and I was doing all the picking myself! Thank God I ate too many in my state of misery and suffered the worst stomachache I had ever had, thus releasing my stubborn possession of the enchanted alley plum bush.

Oh, how I wish greed was isolated to childish fancies and juvenile foolery. But if there was ever a plight so problematic to the whole of mankind, greed would rank high on the chart. I’ve heard it said and wit­nessed it first hand by way of the successful in the land when ask how much is enough, “oh, just a little bit more!” 

For me, “stuff” tends to be a little easier to navigate, simply because I didn’t grow up with much. However that does not excuse me from a careful periodic heart search to see if there is something that has me greedily grabbing for more. But I have found, that in the area of time manage­ment, I have proven an unsuccessful subject more than I care to admit.

It is the one thing that I own, free and clear. It was given to me by my Creator and Father and I choose how it will be spent. Yet, ha­bitually, I have found myself hoarding it doing some frivolous nothingness that ulti­mately benefits my own selfish fancy. For instance, I might turn on the TV to catch a program at the end of the day, and before I know it, I have watched several and the clock reads 2 AM and all the kiddos are tucked away and the wife has been sleep without me for hours.

In my estimation, this is the mission of this Proverb. It makes me stop and take a greed inventory in every area of my life. Wher­ever I am Captain or have a measure of un­limited control, am I in control or am I being controlled? As long as there is still breath in me and the will to change, it is not too late to reverse the curse and re-route the course!