Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day 28. Path.

Proverbs 12:28
In the way of righteousness there is life;
along that path is immortality.

What a great verse to end this chapter on, but sometimes I forget the truth of this. It is horrible to say, but sometimes I forget that I have found the path that leads to immortality. I have found the path of immortality. I love God. I love Jesus. I love the Holy Spirit, but I get used to them. They become ordinary to me and I don’t share them with other people because I forget that I have not found a hobby or even a life changing bit of wisdom.

I have found a trail that leads to immortality.

I have found the answer, the path, the truth that leads to immortality. But do I believe that? Do my actions indicate that I believe that?

What if we all really did? What if, in depths of our hearts and souls, we believed that we had discovered the path to immortality? What would that change? What would we do differently?

For one, you’d have to look crazy. There is no sane way to tell someone, “Come here, I found something the other day. I know where the path is that leads to immortality.”

And you couldn’t take God casually. It would get really hard to treat him like a part of your life instead of your whole life.

So have you ever forgotten that who we’ve found isn’t just a friendship or a fulfillment of hopes once broken? Have you ever forgotten that God is the path to immortality?

p.s. This marks day 28 of the walk through of Proverbs 12. Can't believe it's already done. Thanks for reading through it with me. I've got two other series planned for this site, one called "Black on Black" but I need to focus on finishing the Stuff Christians Like book in March. Hopefully we can pick things back up on this site this Spring.

Thanks for the support

Friday, February 27, 2009

Day 27. Prize.

Proverbs 12:27
The lazy man does not roast his game,
but the diligent man prizes his possessions.

The other day I wrote a headline for a freelance client. This is what it said, "Killing time should be considered a crime of the highest offense."

I didn't always see things that way. For decades I didn't understand that time is one of, if not the, greatest non renewable possession I have. And I have to be diligent about it, because there is so little of it. I can work more and earn more money. I can spend more money and get more stuff. But I will never, ever be able to add a single hour to my day. Each day will forever contain 24 hours. I am learning to prize that possession. I am learning to be diligent and generous with it, but above all, I think it's critical that we know where our time is going. Sometimes, an action as simple as keeping track of your hours for a week will reveal some surprising things about what you care most about. At times in my life, a time audit would have revealed that TV was my god and God was my hobby.

So the question today is, in what ways are you prizing the possession of time?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 26. Trampled.

Proverbs 12:26
A righteous man is cautious in friendship,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait one second, aren't we supposed to love everyone? Aren’t we supposed to be kind to everyone and even pray for our enemies? If we're cautious in friendship, aren't we holding something back? Shouldn't we throw out our friendship to anyone and everyone that needs it like Mrs. Kappopoluos gave out Werther's caramels in seventh grade? She wasn't cautious. If you came into the principal's office you could grab a piece of candy from the bowl on her desk. It was right there for everyone. Shouldn't our friendship be like that?

Those are some of the thoughts that went through my head when I first read this verse, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense. It's not encouraging us to be jerks, it's challenging us to be wise in the way we share the gift of friendship. Because friendship is not a one way street. When you become a friend of someone, a true friend, you invite them to shape your life to a degree. You invite them to influence you and challenge you and impact you. And that’s a dangerous gift to be cavalier with. Proverbs 13:20 says that "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." Matthew 7:6 says "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces."

Friendship is sacred and if you're not careful with it, you run the risk of being trampled.

Are you being cautious in who you give the gift of friendship to?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 25. Heart.

Proverbs 12:25
An anxious heart weighs a man down,
but a kind word cheers him up.

I love the simplicity of this verse. When I'm stressed out, when I am panicked about something, like say turning in a manuscript to Zondervan for the first book I've ever written, the culmination of a lifelong dream, the content of which holds the potential to either steer people to the beauty of a God that means everything to me or push them away depending on how it's written? When I feel like that, I tend to complicate things. My anxiety is a tangled ball of twine and angst and Salt and Vinegar Pringles. I look at it and I think, I don't even know where to start with all that mess. I don't know what's going on. Why do I feel this way? This whole situation feels impossibly complex, but it’s not really.

An anxious heart weighs you down.

A kind word cheers you up.

Anxiety goes down.

Kindness goes up.

Pretty simple, and the best part of this verse is the subtle charge it gives us to distribute kind words like candy to our friends. Seriously, do hear how powerful a kind word is? Your friends have hearts that are weighing them down. They have hearts that are heavy and burdensome. And you have everything you need to cheer them up. A kind word.

It's simple.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 24. Rule.

Proverbs 12:24
Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.

I want that verse to lose the word “will.” When I read that, I want it to say, “Diligent hands rule” as in they’re doing it right now, with absolutely no delay. They did it instantly without any work or effort or sacrifice. They just rule, not “will rule” as in sometime in the future, but right now in the present. But then that wouldn’t be diligence would it?

And in the second half of the verse, Proverbs 12 does what it always does, it states the obvious with inescapable clarity. It doesn’t argue with you about the middle of your story. It won’t debate the exact moment you might end up in slave labor if you’re lazy. It just tells you that’s where you’ll end. “You might love the way the ride starts. You might feel special and rich and well taken care of. You might even enjoy the middle part of your journey, right up until the end. The end is going to be slave labor. Let’s not argue about the specifics, please just know that’s where you are headed.”

So the question today is, which path are you walking, the one that ends in diligence or the one that ends in slavery?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Day 23. Folly

Proverbs 12:23
A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly.

One of my favorite prayers before I talk with people is "God, keep my words few and true." Few because I tend to ramble and true because I tend to exaggerate. And by exaggerate I of course mean lie, which is something I wrote about yesterday. The other way I've tried to regulate this fire hose mouth of mine and prevent my heart from blurting out folly is by trying to see how many questions people ask me in a given day. The truth is that on most days, no one asks me a question because I'm so busy rapid fire talking that they never need to ask me anything. I've already told them everything. I've already blurted out every possible thought and detail and idea I have so there's no reason for them to ever ask me a question. Which is foolish.

How many questions a day do people ask you?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Day 22. Camp

Proverbs 12:22
The LORD detests lying lips,
but he delights in men who are truthful.

There's no middle ground with God. I feel like I've been saying that same thing all week, but it's true. He's an extreme God. That's one of the many things I love about Him. He's not fuzzy. He doesn't mince words or leave things half said or ever waver on things. He detests lying. He delights in men who are truthful. It's not that He kind of doesn't sort of care for lying lips. It 's not that He probably maybe enjoys the occasional truthful statement.

He detests and delights.

He goes all the way and leaves us with little room for debate about what He feels about the words that come out of our mouths. He sets up two rival groups that are miles and miles away from each other. Detest and delight. So simple. So strong. So clear.

I am often tempted to see "exaggerating" as different from lying. This usually means puffing up my chest or meager accomplishments in life to appear cooler, smarter, more successful etc. when I meet new people. I want them to know right away that I'm special and important and worth something. Exaggerating though is just another form of lying. And I wish when I was tempted to do it, I would ask myself, "I am going to do something right now that God detests or delights in?"