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Posted By Nan

When we long for something and it comes to us we experience the sweetness of receiving that longedfor thing. Whether what we long for is of God or not of God it is still sweet. And when it is against God it may feel sweet, but in the long run it will lead to bad things. Often ‘revenge’ is sweeter when it takes the form of forgiveness. Or you could be like Job and pay lip service to that forgiveness then become resentful when that person who wronged you gets blessings from God.
If you associate with the wise then you become wise. Likewise, associating with the foolish will make you a fool as well. It is a fact of life that we are influenced by the words of others. By the culture we live in. By the culture of those we associate with. If that culture is one of hatred, or wickedness, or anger, then we learn to become filled with hatred, or wickedness or anger.
If the culture if one of love, forgiveness and respect for God, then we learn to become filled with love, forgiveness and respect for God. If the culture is one of covering up conflict instead of facing it in a healthy way, then you will learn to cover up conflict and be part of immense pain and suffering. That is the same culture that covers up sexual abuse of children. Be wary of such people.
In life you can choose to associate with different people. All will influence our thinking. Some will influence it for good, others for bad. Be careful how you choose your companions. Focus on a relationship with Jesus and the bad will feel difficult to manage.
When you seek wisdom and the goodness that comes with it, then you have something very precious to teach your children and grandchildren. It is important you raise your children to honour the wisdom of a disciplined life. Love them as God loves them. Be Jesus in their lives and love them. Set boundaries that are reasonable and unchanging.
What we teach our children they will teach their children. If we teach our children abuse and fear you will harm them. They will either teach their children abuse and fear or be unable to parent as effectively as God intended because of the harm the abuse did to their brain development. So teach your children love and gentle discipline and they will teach them to their grandchildren.
No matter what happens in your life. Whether your life is one of comfort or one of hardship, you can know the blessings of being a wise parent. The blessing of good parenting is a great blessing to receive from God and to pass on to your children.
Bad things happen in life and honest, hardworking people sometimes face hardship and injustice. But as long as you continue to desire God and His wisdom and goodness, you will know His boundless Joy. What greater riches are there? What greater blessing is there?

Posted By Nan

This section is one that regularly repeats in Proverbs. It is the admonition to be eager to learn. To be open to what God is teaching you. And to know that this will lead to God’s reward: wisdom and blessings.
This wise person’s teaching is a foundation of life. Wisdom that is received has the power to turn the recipient to life. In this way the wise person blesses others as well. The wise person becomes Jesus’ servant. The wise person becomes Jesus’s words and love. The eager desire to accept teaching pleases God. But the person who won’t listen will find the way hard. Don’t think we who love Jesus are always wise. There are times when we don’t listen to God. When we choose not to accept His teaching. When we choose to disobey His commands. In those times we also find ourselves in the barren dry soil or impassable swamp of the hard way. Choosing the way that takes us away from God is the way of the foolish. Every time we decide to disregard what God instructs us to do. Every time we fail to accept His teaching. Every time we resist what He wants us to do. All those acts of defiance take us away from the humility of the wise. From the eagerness to learn.
The lessons God has for us are not always easy to take. Sometimes they involve being humiliated. Hurt. Devastated. Crying at the injustice of it all. These lessons are hard to accept and learn. But learn them we must. Never forget the way of the wise. Accept the unpalatable lessons. Ask God to help you. He knows you are hurting. He knows you are confused. He knows you ache for justice. He knows all that. And He loves you. And He is there to wrap His loving arms around you and accompany you through the hard lessons. He loves you. Cry those tears and know that He is there crying with you. Trust that He knows the way for you to go. Trust that He has what is best for you in mind. Trust that He will repay those who have harmed you IN HIS TIME. Trust that He loves you. Trust that He cries with you. Trust that He feels your hurt. Trust God.
Be wise and act out of the knowledge of God in humility. Don’t be like the fool whose arrogant actions show him up for the fool he is. Be like the innocent child who seeks to learn out of purity and innocence, not out of a desire for self-advancement.
Seek to listen and learn from God. Seek to know Him better. Seek to die to self and live to Jesus. Listen and gain wisdom. Never forget that the price of not listening to God is destruction. Long to sit at His feet, eager to learn. Be like the disciples who followed Jesus, eager to hear everything He taught them.
Choose wisdom. Choose the joy of pleasing God. Choose the joy of being used by Him to bless others. Choose the blessings He longs to give you. Choose God.

Posted By Nan

Have you heard the good person talk? He speaks wisely and of good things. And the good things that come from his mouth are good for those who hear and also for him. Neuroscience shows the benefits to our brains of good thoughts and the harm done by negative and hateful language. This is why the unwise harm themselves by their negative talk. Be careful when the unwise talk, because that talk can harm you too.
The wise person works hard for what he wants. He may not get everything but he will always make progress. And he will accept what he cannot have. The unwise person is not prepared to work and instead waits for things to come to him. Then he wonders why they don’t and he has nothing. He will complain that he does not have things but he will make no effort to earn those things.
The wise man is righteous and hates lying and deceit. His speech is honest and true. The unwise man can never be trusted. His words are full of lies.
The uprightness of the wise guard him but the unrighteousness of the unwise will cause his downfall.
Those who place great value in money and pretentiousness will lead empty lives devoid of meaning. This man’s wealth is transient and he will live in fear of that money being taken away from him. The one who leads a plain and simple life will lead a life rich with meaning and will never fear the loss of his true riches. Any money he gains will be gathered slowly and he will appreciate the true value of what God has given him.
The wise man trusts in God and waits patiently. The unwise trusts only money and this leads to disappointment. Better to hope in God because His blessing is life we want an easy life, where we don’t have to worry about money. But the reality is that life is never that easy. The wealthy who appear to never have to worry deeply fear the loss of that money. And if that money is lost they rarely know how to live without is. It is not wrong to have money, but it is wrong to place greater importance on that money than on God. It is unwise to trust and depend on money instead of God. This is the message of this section of Proverbs.

Posted By Nan

Have you noticed how many of the previous chapters have started with a similar statement about the wise being open to learn (ostensibly from their parents) whereas the unwise, the mocker, wil not learn? This learning includes accepting correction.
So how do we interpret this? Is it saying we have to blindly obey our parents? No, it isn’t. Saying we must blindly obey our parents is assuming all our parents are wise. Sometimes they are and their teaching grows us, and helps us to become wise. Sometimes they are ‘foolish’ or ‘mockers’ and their teaching suppresses and abuses and damages. On those occasions obedience to our parents is not appropriate.
The truly wise parent teaches their child while young then steps back and offers support as the child grows older and is able to step out into the world as a wise person.
It is dangerous to fall into the trap of telling all children to obey their parents and assuming their parents are wise. No matter how wonderful a person seems to be from your perspective, they are not necessarily a wise and wonderful parent. Each individual has many faces that are shown to different people.
To the people who worked with my mother, and her friends, and the people in the church she occasionally attended, she was a lovely caring person. But to me she was an indifferent, jealous, malicious woman. She delighted in the abuse my father heaped on me and took every opportunity to put me down because she was jealous of anything I did that she perceived as being better than her. Those who thought she was a wonderful person weren’t wrong. To them she was. That was the face she showed them. But to me, knowing her as a neglectful, disinterested, even spiteful person, was not wrong either. That was the face she showed me.
I once met a woman who as a teenager had plucked up the courage to talk to her pastor about her abusive father. The physical abuse had started from the moment her mother brought her home from the hospital. The sexual abuse before her tenth birthday. She was nearly 16 and the abuse continued. In desperation she turned to her pastor. His response? “Your father is a wonderful member of this congregation. The bible says you are to obey him. If he smacks you for disobeying him (smashing her into a wall and breaking bones a smack!?!?!?) then he has a right to”. Decades later that woman still mistrusts God and will never set foot in a church again or trust God ever again. Maybe to this pastor, the father showed the face of an upright man, but to his daughter he showed the face of an evil abuser and the pastor had no place to dismiss the daughter’s despairing efforts to get help.
Be careful to use God’s wisdom in your relationships with other people. Just because you see a person as being good does not mean they are that way to all others. Never turn away a person seeking help. If you find it that hard to reconcile the person being described to you with the person you know, ask God for His love and His assistance in reaching out to the hurting person in the way He wants you to.

Posted By Nan

Being esteemed by others and able to work diligently and try your best to meet your own needs comes from living the way God intended. God’s intention is for us to work diligently and focus on God, not self-aggrandisement. Part of that righteous life is caring for animals and not ill-treating them. This life also involves avoiding involvement in schemes designed to make money dishonestly, especially at the expense of others.
The righteous are careful about what they say and avoid bringing destruction on themselves. Rather their words are wise and well regarded. Despite this wisdom, the righteous are willing to listen to advice. The fool, however, won’t listen to anybody. Similarly, the fool is quick to take offense and hit out at others. The wise person, although angered by what is done to him, considers his response carefully and is willing to forgive when it is needed. In keeping with this behaviour, the wise person avoids a rash response and carefully chooses a response that is one of love and healing. The righteous person is also careful to be a witness to only what is true and will not lie about others. The one who speaks the truth will be trusted by others and God will honour him. Not so the liar who will be mistrusted and condemned by God. Our thoughts have a profound impact on us. When we plan revenge, or in greed plot evil, we will be harmed by our deceit. But when we plan to forgive and bless, we will receive God’s joy. God delights in truth and detests those who lie.
Remember to think before you display your knowledge. Do you do it for your own self-promotion or are you motivated to share what you know? When your concern is others, God will delight in you and all will be blessed. Seek to bless others and through that yourself. God’s recognition is worth more than the recognition of others which carries no reward in Heaven (Matthew 6:5). So make the choice to defer the reward and seek the greater one that awaits you in Heaven. Remember the way of life is following Jesus. That life is a righteous life and it leads in Jesus’ footsteps to eternal life.



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