We Need Balance

So often in life we want to be super aggressive or super kind and we justify it by going to the extreme. We say I’m just fierce all the time or I’m always a push over. What we need is balance.

The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass.–Proverbs 19:12

Balance. . . the middle way, whatever you want to call it, is hard to achieve. At work many times when we are looking to hire someone, we want someone with all the skills that are needed to perform the job. We want that well-balanced person. In reality that is hard to find.

There are times that we need to be fierce and strong as a roaring lion. Other times we need to be refreshing like the morning dew. What happens many times is that we start becoming more of the one and less of the other. We then start justifying it as a badge of honor that we are on the extreme of the attitude or character.

We see this a lot in politics. We become one sided, we start to then let some of our beliefs go because we are part of a certain party, until we become on the extreme of that party. As a boss there are times I have to be firm and not be the nice guy everyone likes. There are other times taking a softer, gentler approach works much better. If I’m too much of one, I become a push over that doesn’t hold people accountable, while if I’m too much firmness then nobody wants to work under me.

We seem to be in a world of polarization. Where we have to be on one side or the other. We need to take more of a balanced approach in life. We need to have a good mix of balance in our lives. Work balance is a buzz word nowadays in the workplace. It’s true, you have to have a good work balance. If you’re working too much your personal life suffers which then makes your job performance suffer. Not enough work and we become lazy and can’t provide for our families.

We see balance in our diets. Too much of one thing can wreck our diets and our waistlines. There are so many other places in our lives where if one thing gets out of whack, then everything gets out of whack. How we treat people, how we deal with work and play, how we eat, etc all need balance. If we feel like we’re getting to the extreme, then we probably need to look at ourselves and ask, what needs balanced?

Do We Even Know What Is Evil?

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. –Proverbs 8:13

Do we hate evil? Most people will automatically state that they do. When we think of evilness, we think of the killing of innocent people, being cruel to others, or other heinous actions. But do we hate the other evil that we would consider lesser sins?

Do we condone lesser evils?

Many times we are okay with evil as long as it’s not too bad. We might say, “It’s not something I would do, but if that’s what someone is going to do, then that’s their problem.” The problem with this attitude is that we have just told ourselves its okay if I don’t do it. Later down the road it will become more and more okay in our minds. Until one day, for some, it becomes okay for them to start that sin. Let me be clear, we should not hate the person, but the sin we should hate.

Do we even know what is considered evil?

This is the point I want to discuss a little bit more. Do we even know what is sinful, aka evil? LifeWay Research did a survey and found that 53% of the people found have only read a few passages or less of the Bible.

If we don’t read the book that tells us what is right or wrong, we are never going to know what is evil. If those individuals are rearing kids, and never give an example of being in the word on a daily basis, those children will likely not get the Biblical truth. They will get their moral compass somewhere else, most likely, somewhere that’s not good. Then the moral compass becomes more and more corrupted as the generations go.

As you can see in the above graph, there are many excuses for not reading the Bible more. Maybe you have used these excuses. “I don’t prioritize it,” well at least they’re being honest, but it’s God word, it should be a top priority. “I don’t have time,” only 10-20 minutes a day to read a few chapters, but we have time to watch tv for 4 hours every might. “I’ve read enough of it,” well you can never read enough, each time you read it you will pick up something new that you missed other times. “I don’t agree with what it says,” you don’t agree with God, as John Crist says, you need to check your heart. “I don’t read books,” well I bet you stare at your phone for hours reading stuff on it, there is a Bible app. “I’m intimidated by it’s size,” sometimes I’m intimidated by a foot long sub, but it take it down one bite at a time. “I don’t own a copy,” once again there is an app. “I use other spiritual books,” oh the books written be men going off the Bible? Yeah, I would go straight to the source. Then the “none of these excuses”, the my excuse is so bad I don’t want to say what it is.

There are hundreds of excuses we can make not to read the Bible. But that’s what we need to be reading so we know what is right and wrong. It’s a book we should be reading through our whole lives, not like a novel where we read it once and then throw it on the shelf. Each time through, new insights will be revealed. The Bible references itself so much, that gives new connections every single time read through. It doesn’t have to all be read at once. Reading a couple of chapters a day will do wonders!

As men, if we are going to be leading our families, we need to stay away from evil and not let it in our households. To do that, we need to be in the book that tells us what is evil, and we should hate it and not want to be near it!

Works Cited:
Bob Smietana, “LifeWay Research: Americans Are Fond of the Bible, Don’t Actually Read It”, LifeWayresearch.com, April 25, 2017

Balancing Act

Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me –Proverbs 30:8

In Matthew 6:11 it says, “Give us this our daily bread.” This is representative of our need to have basic provisions. We should always pray to have enough income to meet personal and family needs, to further God’s work, and to give to those in need

In a previous post, “Raining Money Doesn’t Grow a Great Life” I discussed how many times we get caught up in making money and working ourselves to death, and we lose out on time with God, family, and friends. We lose our balance in life. Being at the extremes of money, i.e poverty or rich, tends to make people focused on money. It becomes a god to them.

God wants us to be building relationships, not tirelessly working. In Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8, God says there is a time for everything. There is a very delicate balance in life. Look at our own bodies, there are compounds, say potassium, that are needed for the everyday function of our lives. Potassium is vital in how our nerve cells send signals (click here, if you want to see how it works). Yet, if our potassium levels get out of whack, that can cause some serious issues, including death.

Proverbs 30:8 is talking about money and provisions, I think that meaning can go a bit further. We should have a balanced life. A balanced diet is thrown around a lot, and there is a lot of merit in that. We need nutrients from all sorts of foods. The same is with our whole life, we need balance. Too much play is just as bad as too much work. Too much money is as bad as not enough. Too much food is just as dangerous as too little food. Too much family can be just as bad as never being around family.

We have to have balance in our lives. This allows us to focus on the good instead of what comes from excess or drought extremes. When we are in need of something, our mind is focused on getting it. When we are in excess of something our mind is focused on getting more or keeping it. When we’re in the middle, we have what we need to sustain, and can focus on our relationship with God.

Where Are You Seeking Favor?

Many seek the ruler’s favour; but every man’s judgement commeth from the Lord. Proverbs 29:26

We have all seen it in the workplace, those people that always sucking up to the boss. They can’t do enough to please their boss. In fact, they become slaves to what their boss wants. Should we be helpful to our bosses? Yes, as men we need to be good employees. We need to work hard. But we should always remember that the Lord is the one that will have the final judgment on our life. At the end it will not matter what our bosses think, only what God thinks.

We should do our jobs and be hard workers, but we should always remember that what we do is for the Lord.

Being Humble is Not Easy

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. Proverbs 27:2

How many times to we find ourselves praising ourselves about something we did or something we can do? We love to tell people how great we are. In reality, we’re not that great, all of our abilities come from God. All of our opportunities come from God.

As men (or ladies) we need to be humble. Let other people talk of our accomplishments, but when that happens, don’t go around and tell people about what that person said, then it’s just as bad as you praising yourself. It’s hard, I know. Just the other day, someone at work made a nice compliment about me. What did I catch myself doing? Tell others what this person had said. We like ourselves a whole lot, an we want to tell people how great we are. Many times we sound like a fool. Most of the things we brag about are not nearly as great as we think they are.

Why should we be humble? Our role here is to glorify God, and if we’re always talking about ourselves and putting ourselves at the center of everything, then glorifying God is not happening. Being humble knows that we have many flaws and that our abilities come from God. Humbleness, is not beating ourselves up, saying how bad we are, but placing the praise where it truly belongs; and that’s with God.

Split Second

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. Proverbs 27:1

I’m a planner, I have my life planned out and in my mind I know how it’s going to go. Reality is that I have no clue what is going to happen in 10 years, a year, a month, a week, a day, an hour, or even a few seconds from now. Although we should plan for the future, we should not be consumed by it. As stated in Proverbs 27:1 says, we do not know what will happen tomorrow.

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow: for what is your life? It is even a vopour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:14

Our life is nothing but vapor in the general scheme of things. We see vapor as we’re boiling water. It rises from the pot and then within a few seconds vanishes into the air not to be noticed anymore. So what does this mean in regards to our life?

Just like the vapor vanishes into the air, so will our legacy. Yes, there will be some people that are remembered in history, but most of us, after a couple of generations nobody will remember who we are. How much we have obtained (see http://manofproverbs.com/raining-money-doesnt-grow-a-great-life/) over the years. The old saying you can’t take it with you is true, in fact, it is more like they’re going to take it from you

Live now! We all have regrets in life. I wish I would have tried harder in college, I wish I would have been more outgoing and involved, but at times I was afraid or I was too busy saying I have time. Now that I’m 10+ years out of college, I’m starting to realize that time is soooooo valuable and most my fears were trivial. I think about all the time I wasted, doing absolutely nothing.

Our vapor of a life is only a few set years here on earth. Some of us may only have a couple of years, some of us may have 100 years, but we don’t know. Time is so precious, it’s more precious than money, silver, or gold. We need to make what we do count. Quit wasting time with people that don’t care for you. Stop wasting time not accomplishing something. This is why I’m not a fan of video games, it drains hours of time from you when you only meant to play for a few minutes. I haven’t played video games for 5+ years and I don’t miss it. I’ve accomplished so much more with that time. Build your relationships, build your marriage, spend time with your kids, help with your community . . .do something productive.

Tomorrow may not be the same. We could easily end up in an accident that limits our abilities. . . what regrets would you have?

Shine that Silver

Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer. Proverbs 25:4

Just how silver has to be purified to get rid of the impurities, that’s how God is with us. We’re dirty, wicked, prideful, self-centered, and the list goes on. When silver is mined, it has many impurities, it has dirt and it has to be heated so that the impurities rise up and can be knocked off. If you were to look at silver that had just been mined out of the ground, it would not look like what it does after it has been made into something valuable.

If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. 2 Timothy 2:21

Just as the finer has to work the silver to make something beautiful, that’s what God has to do with us. He has to knock the impurities, sin, off of us. We have to be willing to let the impurities be knocked off of us so that we can be made into something precious.

We also need to realize that everyone is dirty silver that needs the dross knocked off. We’re no better than anyone else. It’s easy to see all the defects and impurities in a person, but we need to see what the potential is. We need to see this in a spiritual basis, but everyday life. We’re not perfect, none of us are, but so many people have potential if someone would invest in them and help knock the dross off. Who are you investing in to reach their potential? Who are we mentoring? This is how we change the next generation!

Raining Money Doesn’t Grow A Great Life

“Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom” Proverbs 23:4

So many today have have fallen into the trap of wanting to be wealthy. Money is nice to have, but it’s a tool. Most Americans could not handle a $400 emergency. That’s sad and worrisome, because $400 dollars is not much in today’s money. Having a tooth worked on, something going wrong with your car or house, or a pet getting sick could easily amount to $400 plus. People are living beyond their means. Trying to impress their neighbors and friends and spending their paychecks as soon as they get them.

“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” 1Timothy 6:10

How many times have we seen on the news that some music celeb or a sports star coming out of college and going into the pros gets a lot of money thrown at them and their life crumbles after a few years. Money brings a lot of troubles with it. It separates us from depending on God. It brings the wrong people into our lives. It seems to bring addictions into peoples lives, whether that be drugs, gambling, or something else

Once again, money is not bad, it is a tool. It’s a tool to live our lives on earth. As Proverbs 23:4 says, “Labour not to be rich. . . ” Why? Because if our whole goal is to be rich, what is our end game? How much is enough? Is $1 million enough? Or is it enough until we get close to that number and then we think we need $2 million? Humans are not good at being content, we want more. What we have is not enough. Our neighbor gets a more expensive car, then we have to get a better car. Our buddy moves to a new section of town with a bigger house, we have to move to a nicer neighborhood.

All this leads to is us wanting to be richer, so then we get a better paying job, or keep getting promoted so we keep earning a higher paycheck. But what are the consequences? More hours, more stress, being tired, health issues, etc. What does this do to our family life? What does it do to our quality of life? Most importantly, what does it do to our relationship with God? In many of those cases that all start to deteriorate.

Money and working hard is not bad at all. Some very good people have been blessed to be wealthy. They do amazing things with the money they have been blessed with. It’s how we let money and work impact our life. We should work hard and make a living, but we have to keep God first in our lives. He will provide for our needs, maybe not our wants, but our needs. We should pray that God meets our needs. We should also be wise stewards of what God has given us. If we waste what he has given us, why would he bless us with more? At the end of our lives, are we going to remember all the money we made or will we remember all the time we lost with our loved ones, trying to make that money? Time is our most valuable resource, not money!

Don’t Be Afraid of the Lion In the Street

Proverbs 22:13 “The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets”

There are always going to be excuses we can have not to do something, not to take action. People will mock us, I might fail, I don’t have the skill set, etc. These are all fears. Just as the verse says there is a hungry lion and I will be slain, yes, there are always possibilities of danger. Many of the dangers that we use as excuses are just that excuses, because the likelihood of what we are saying is very small. Our minds are very good at assuming the worst possible scenario.

When this occurs we have to ask ourselves if our excuses are real, if our fears are rational, and pray that God gives us clarity and protection.

Remember, most opportunities, we are never fully prepared for. This is what makes us grow as a person.

Happy Friday, enjoy the weekend.

Peace of mind

Proverbs 1:33, But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

Have you ever been in a situation, maybe at work, where you have an impossible deadline or task to do and at some point you fell like no matter what the outcome is, you’ve done all you can do and you’re content with that? Even if that task goes good or bad their is a peace that you’ve done all you can do, there is nothing else. I know several times in college I had that feeling with tests, I could live with the outcome no matter what happened, because I had given my all. Even though I might do horribly on the test, I was at peace with it. There was no more I could do. That’s where we should be with God, knowing that we have fully given all our troubles to the Lord, there is nothing else we can do. We can’t change what is going to happen, we can’t control it, but giving it to God, totally giving it to God will give us that peace of when we know we’ve done all we can do. Giving it to God is all we can do in those times of trouble and despair. He is the one that guides everything and can change the outcome. There should be peace in knowing that.