Heed The Signs

It’s important to not only read, but also pay attention and obey the signs. Just like some you may encounter along the road, not doing so can affect our travels..

A few examples include, “Rocks Falling”, “Deer Crossing”, “Slippery When Wet” or even “It’ll Do Road”. 

While not a discussion of traffic regulations, in a sense we are undertaking a study of some of the rules of the road. At least the ones that govern our shared path here on “Becoming Today”. 

I really do want to thank each and everyone of you for joining us here. Whether you have been following this series for the past nearly four weeks or if you have just found us. 

We are involved in a 31-day study of wisdom as taught in the Book of Proverbs. If you’d like to know more about The Passion Translation and why we are using it for this undertaking, you can find a recap near the end of today’s conversation.

We are continuing forward as we have now arrived at day 26 , as we head into the final week of our extended odyssey; our  search and rescue mission for wisdom. 

Understanding that enlightenment is within our reach we shall seek and find the knowledge and inspiration necessary to uplift, support and enhance our collective journeys as well as our own personal paths. 

Yesterday we discussed Foolish Lazy Gossips.

No we are not asking you to become any of the above, in fact foolish lazy gossips need not apply..  So let’s pull our hair back, Go inside and ask him “why’? Whoa.

I have taken some poetic license here, but the prose certainly fits and I promise I’m not galloping off course, I’m simply reading the Signs

And the first sign read, “Don’t Be a Fool”.

Verse one also began on a somewhat humorous note.

“It is totally out of place to promote and honor a fool,  just like it’s out of place to have snow in the summer and rain at harvest time.”

The N I V expresses it as, “honor is not fitting for a fool”. Some concise common sense advice. 

Pressing ahead to verse four it’s noted, “Don’t respond to the words of a fool with more foolish words, or you will become as foolish as he is”!

You don’t have to respond to outrageous claims or even attacks. Not every ridiculous comment on Facebook or Twitter is worthy of or presents a need to be responded to. Or shared for that matter.

Just see it. Reject it and move on, releasing it into cyberspace whence it came. This is also true for face to face communications.

We do not have to defend ourselves or attempt to justify ourselves for those just looking for a fight. Keep this in mind as we head into the holiday season (this year sooner than ever it seems).

“Instead,” as the next passage continues, “… if you’re asked a silly question, answer it with words of wisdom so the fool doesn’t think he’s so clever”.

Next we’ll press ahead to Proverbs 27.

Today’s chapter begins with the heading:

Heed Wisdom’s Warnings

Never brag about the plans you have for tomorrow,

    for you don’t have a clue what tomorrow may bring to you.

Let someone else honor you for your accomplishments,

    for self-praise is never appropriate.

It’s easier to carry a heavy boulder and a ton of sand

    than to be provoked by a fool and have to carry that burden!

The rage and anger of others can be overwhelming,

    but it’s nothing compared to jealousy’s fire.

It’s better to be corrected openly

    if it stems from hidden love.

You can trust a friend who wounds you with his honesty,[a]

    but your enemy’s pretended flattery[b] comes from insincerity.

When your soul is full, you turn down even the sweetest honey.

    But when your soul is starving,

    every bitter thing becomes sweet.[c]

Like a bird that has fallen from its nest

    is the one who is dislodged from his home.[d]

Sweet friendships[e] refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy,

    for good friends are like the anointing oil

    that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence.[f]

10 

So never give up on a friend or abandon a friend of your father—

    for in the day of your brokenness[g]

    you won’t have to run to a relative for help.

    A friend nearby is better than a relative far away.

11 

My son, when you walk in wisdom,

    my heart is filled with gladness,

    for the way you live is proof

    that I’ve not taught you in vain.[h]

12 

A wise, shrewd person discerns the danger ahead

    and prepares himself,

    but the naïve simpleton never looks ahead

    and suffers the consequences.

13 

Cosign for one you barely know and you will pay a great price!

    Anyone stupid enough to guarantee the loan of another

    deserves to have his property seized in payment.

14 

Do you think you’re blessing your neighbors

    when you sing at the top of your lungs early in the morning?

    Don’t be fooled—

    they’ll curse you for doing it![i]

15 

An endless drip, drip, drip, from a leaky faucet[j]

    and the words of a cranky, nagging wife have the same effect.

16 

Can you stop the north wind from blowing

    or grasp a handful of oil?

    That’s easier than to stop her from complaining.

17 

It takes a grinding wheel to sharpen a blade,

    and so one person sharpens the character of another.

18 

Tend an orchard and you’ll have fruit to eat.

    Serve the Master’s interests

    and you’ll receive honor that’s sweet.

19 

Just as no two faces are exactly alike,

    so every heart is different.[k]

20 

Death and destruction are never filled,

    and the desires of men’s hearts are insatiable.

21 

Fire is the way to test the purity of silver and gold,

    but the character of a man is tested

    by giving him a measure of fame.[l]

22 

You can beat a fool half to death

    and still never beat the foolishness out of him.[m]

23 

A shepherd should pay close attention to the faces of his flock

    and hold close to his heart the condition of those he cares for.

>>>BT-Prov23-9

24 

A man’s strength, power, and riches[n] will one day fade away;

    not even nations[o] endure forever.

25–27 

Take care of your responsibilities

    and be diligent in your business

    and you will have more than enough—

    an abundance of food, clothing, and plenty for your household.[p]

Take a moment to reflect and then we’ll continue our conversation about some of these wise insights and suggestions.

While today’s reading reveals a multitude of gems of wisdom. I want to take a few moments and focus on four of them that really stuck with me today. As always you are welcome to share your thoughts and if other verses speak to you, let us know in the comments section below. 

The opening line was a good reminder for me:

“Never brag about the plans you have for tomorrow, for you don’t have a clue what tomorrow may bring to you.”

Or for that matter if tomorrow will come for you. Each day is a gift full of amazing possibilities so we should greet each one with gratitude. Also we should accept the responsibility for not wasting this resource. As free willed co-creators it’s up to us to make the most of each day we are granted.

Remember tomorrow is not promised, so while planning to make the most of it is not a bad idea, however make sure you live this day to the fullest, seeking your highest potential and focusing on making things always be “Becoming” not only for yourself but also for everyone you encounter and / or impact.

The ninth verse elicits feelings of warmth, peace and love. 

“Sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like the anointing oil that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence.”

The N I V discusses, “the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice”.

Good advice and the ability to confide in, share with and learn from are key elements in any meaningful relationship. They are things we should be looking for in all our friendships. 

Evaluate the people in your life. Are they assisting you in these ways? Do they support, encourage or nurture you? Do you feel safe, inspired or uplifted with them or after talking with them?

If not? It’s time to say goodbye. Making the most of each day, we should not be wasting our time with those who refuse to listen or are constantly in negative cycles. As we studied in Proverbs 14:7, “…If you need wise counsel, stay away from the fool.”

Doing so may not be easy, but it is necessary if you are truly committed to “Becoming” all you were intended to be. For more thoughts on how you can release yourself from stifling, draining relationships you can check out our earlier discussion on “Lovingly Detaching”.

The third verse I’d like for us to consider together is number 12.

“A wise, shrewd person discerns the danger ahead and prepares himself, but the naïve simpleton never looks ahead and suffers the consequences.”

The level of our commitments is important. Being vigilant to empowering ourselves and beliefs produces momentum that should always be forward and upward. 

I take my commitments very seriously and even more so when it’s elevated to the level of a covenant. I’ll explain the differences in a moment, but first let’s talk about why commitments are so important to our shared path of Always Being Becoming.

Extensive and thorough goal setting, as I’ve previously shared, has been an important step for our household. Holding ourselves to some strict Standards and Practices, we in my household have set regular dates for goal review.

We committed to doing so because we wanted to be among the exceptions. Striving some might say to be part of a minority. When we examine the research into goal setting and New Year’s Resolutions, we learn that only half of all adults in the U.S. actively resolve to make the considerations. Of that half, only 10% will see it to fruition and 80% of those who do not, deem themselves a failure by just the second week in February.

That is why we have incorporated strict accountability measures into our plans for “Becoming”. 

You can not initiate a change  in your circumstances or affect yourself positively without remaining strongly committed to the ideas and whys. What you want or need to improve and why it is not only necessary, but makes you feel so “Becoming” about it.

So while ultimately vigilance and planning for our individual paths towards “Becoming” are ultimately our responsibility and we’ve discussed moving past unproductive or abusive “friendships”, that does not mean we are to go it alone.

First of all we are never alone as God is always with us. This promise is made in the Gospel of Matthew (28:20), where it is recorded as God saying, “ I Will Be with You Always Even Unto the End of the World”.

As we should know God is always faithful to his Word, then we should be assured.

Secondly we are urged to come together as members of a benevolent, supportive goal focused community. That is the ultimate role of churches to serve as a group of individuals who are practicing “communication in unity”.

This is the principle discussed in today’s reading of verse 17, “It takes a grinding wheel to sharpen a blade, and so one person sharpens the character of another”.

The N I V tras\nslates this as, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”.

We are to be encouraging and supportive of each other along our shared path of “becoming Today”. Further evidence of this can be found in the Scriptures as in Matthew 18:19, Jesus instructs, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven”.

The text then continues that the promise also includes God being present with us, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Truth, understanding, enlightenment and wisdom are all very “Becoming” traits. They empower us to grow and learn to be who we truly were intended to be. Which in turn enables us to continue moving on, with our momentum fully powered forward and upward.

I hope you have enjoyed the first three weeks, yes 27 days already of this odyssey. Plus in the final four days, there is still much more to come.

As always I encourage you to actively participate. Please post your comments, questions, suggestions or concerns below. This is a safe space to share and there are protections in place to keep spammers out. I will respond to all who choose to participate. 

If you do not feel comfortable sharing below, remember you can always reach out privately through the easy to use form on our Contact page.

I pray each and every one of you enjoys a safe and blessed day. Then join us tomorrow as we continue our proverbial search here along this shared  journey we call “Becoming Today”. 

For those that have been here for a while I hope some of the repetitive nature of these posts is not too distracting. Not only are some of these points to remind us of our focus this month, it is also designed to also be welcoming.

We never know when a fellow traveler may walk along with us, or need to take a diversion. 

This is especially true since I have no idea what algorithm directed you, what search method may have pointed in our direction or how many of you find us on any given day. Therefore it’s necessary to recap some of the outline for our combined purposes. 

I appreciate your patience and understanding, so I’ll now mention we’ve come to that point in this conversation and if you’ve already heard this, then you can skip the next few paragraphs and pick up with the next image.

Now for those of you listening to the podcast I know that makes no sense, since you can’t hear any of the beautiful graphics we create each day, so you’ll just have to listen along; again… (insert audible giggle here) understanding that I’m laughing with you not at you.

As I am apt to do, even if you have studied Proverbs before, our undertaking may be a bit different, as we’ll be adding some passion to it. 

I am being called to focus this teaching around the The Passion Translation® book of Isaiah and New Testament with Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Songs translated from Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts.

Done so by  Dr. Brian Simmons who believes the”message of God’s story is timeless; the Word of God doesn’t change. But the methods by which that story is communicated should be timely; the vessels that steward God’s Word can and should change. 

Thank you again for joining us on this edition of “Becoming Today”.

Also I’ll remind you that the footnotes referred to above are available here and include underlined study links:

Footnotes

a. 27:6 Or “Amen [effective and faithful] are the wounds of love.” This could be a reference to the wounds Jesus endured because of his love for us.

 

b. 27:6 Or “kisses.”

 

c. 27:7 When we are full of many things and many opinions, the sweet word of God, like revelation honey, is spurned. Instead, we eat and fill our souls with things that can never satisfy.

 

d. 27:8 Or “banished from his place,” as translated from the Aramaic.

 

e. 27:9 Or “counsel.”

 

f. 27:9 The Hebrew text refers to the sacred anointing oil and the incense that burns in the Holy Place.

 

g. 27:10 As translated from the Aramaic.

 

h. 27:11 Or “that I may answer those who reproach me.”

 

i. 27:14 Or “He who sings in a loud voice early in the morning, thinking he’s blessing his neighbor, is no different from he who pronounces a curse.”

 

j. 27:15 Or “a constant drip on a rainy day.”

 

k. 27:19 As translated from the Aramaic and the Septuagint.

 

l. 27:21 Or “by the things he praises.”

 

m. 27:22 Or “If you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle like dried grain, still his foolishness will not depart from him.”

 

n. 27:24 The Hebrew says merely “riches,” while the Aramaic adds “power [dominion]” and the Septuagint adds “strength.” This translation combines them.

 

o. 27:24 Or “a crown” or “diadem [dominion].”

 

p. 27:25–27 An agricultural analogy is used in the Hebrew and Aramaic. The analogy of a farming enterprise has been changed to business here in order to transfer meaning. It is literally “Gather the hay of the field and hills, and new grass will appear. Lambs will provide clothing, goats will pay for the price of the field, and there will be enough goat’s milk for you, your family, and your servant girls.”

The Passion Translation®. 

Copyright © 2017, 2018, 2020 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc

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