WISE SAYING #31

Posted October 31, 2014 by Rex Boyles
Categories: My Daily Bread

Proverbs 31:30; “… but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

Those words from the wisdom of God … are one of the reasons that I decided to post on this “daily bread” site each day of October; because I wanted to honor – even praise – my mother (and father).

There is so much more that could be said about them – and should be said. It could have been – should have been – said in a better way; but I decided to do it this way to add to the ways I have tried over the years to honor and praise them.

But for now let me use the words of God to describe the best woman I have ever known.

“The heart of her husband has confidence in her …”

(Ask my dad, he will confirm it.)

“She brings him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

(They knew each other for over 75 years and were married for over 65.)

“… she is pleased to work with her hands.”

(Usually taking care of her boys and making cakes and pies.)

“She also gets up while it is still night and provides food for her household …”

(Breakfast, dinner, and supper with a few extra helpings for friends we brought home.)

“She begins her work vigorously …”

(Knew how to multi-task before the word had been invented.)

“She extends her hand to the poor and reaches her hand to the needy.”

(Taking meals to the hungry or visiting the sick or comforting the grieving.)

“She is clothed with strength and honor …”

(If you met her, you knew it was true. If you watched her age, you will never forget it.)

“… she can laugh at the time to come.”

(Even in her last days, she laughed and helped us do the same.)

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue.”

(She was my first and best teacher – even now.)

“She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

(When her joints ached … when her heart ached, she took care of hers.)

“Her children rise up and call her blessed, and her husband praises her …”

(We loved her – love her even now. Should have praised her more.)

“… a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.”

(I will praise her – praise God for her, and I will teach my children and grandchildren to do the same.)

Enough of that.

It makes sense … doesn’t it … that if you find a woman (a man) like that – you claim them – you keep them – you “praise” them?

So … today … as I read through Proverbs 31; seeking the wisdom of God for my life … I want to “praise” my mother (and father) … want to praise my wife … want to teach my children and grandchildren to be that kind of woman or man … find that kind of woman or man … praise that woman or man.

Wise saying #31 – “BE … FIND … PRAISE!”

P.S. Day Thirty-One … read Proverbs 31. Want some homework?

  1. Read the list – one more time – of the characteristics of the praiseworthy woman (or man). What do you need to do become that kind of woman (or man)? Begin to be …
  2. Read the list – one more time – of the characteristics of the praiseworthy woman (or man). Do y ou know one? Thank them for their example – and thank God for them.
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WISE SAYING #30

Posted October 30, 2014 by Rex Boyles
Categories: My Daily Bread

Proverbs 30:32; “… clap your hand over your mouth!”

Didn’t my mother try to teach me the quiet game, so that I could learn that you do not have to talk to breathe? Didn’t my father say to me more than once, “Rex, you need to stop talking and listen.”? Didn’t the sign on my High School Principal’s desk read, “Put your mind in gear before you put your mouth in motion.”? Didn’t that old preacher friend of mine quote the axiom: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”?

No clever way to say this … but sometimes I just need to shut up!

When my words are hurtful … whether I intend them to be or not … I just need to shut up.

When my words are foolish … whether I recognize it or not … I just need to shut up.

When my words are dishonest … whether I admit it or not … I just need to shut up.

When my words are useless … whether I believe it or not … I just need to shut up.

When my words are vulgar … whether I am playing or not … I just need to shut up.

Enough of that.

It makes sense … doesn’t it … that if the Lord, Himself, chose not to speak – to suffer in silence – during one of the most stressful times in His life, that it might be wise for me to apply this wisdom from God to my life and lips … and just “clap” my “hand over” my “mouth” – just shut up – when I am under stress or in trouble?

So … today … as I read through Proverbs 30; seeking the wisdom of God for my life … I want to learn to be quiet – to be “quick to listen and slow to speak”[i] … to speak only when my words can be of some encouragement – some help to building up[ii] those who hear my words.

Wise saying #30 – “JUST SHUT UP!”

P.S. Day Thirty … read Proverbs 30. Want some homework?

  1. Stop talking … just for the day (or maybe just an hour or so). Don’t speak unless spoken to … unless you have some specific purpose for your words.
  2. Listen. Since you are not talking, it will be easier to hear what others are saying. Listen and understand what they are trying to say.

[i] James 1

[ii] Ephesians 4

WISE SAYING #29

Posted October 29, 2014 by Rex Boyles
Categories: My Daily Bread

Proverbs 29:25; “Fear of man will prove to be a snare …”

God said, so that settles it … but I can witness to the wisdom of that statement. I lived too many years of my life trapped by my “fear of man”.

“What if they don’t like me?”

“What if they get mad at me?”

“What if I hurt their feelings?”

“What if … what if … what if” – the thoughts – the feelings – the fears I lived with for most of my life … which affect me even today.

Not sure how I became ensnared by such fears; because my mother and dad never seemed paralyzed by the “fear” of what “they thought” (i.e., what others were going to think of or say about them). They genuinely cared for people – but never seemed to be controlled by the attitudes or actions (and reactions) of others … like I was. I obsessed over what “they” were thinking about me … worked overtime to ingratiate myself to “them” … suffered anxious days and sleepless nights wondering and worrying about how “they” felt about me or what “they” were going to say about me.

That “fear” became a snare – just like God said it would. Not surprising – huh?

Enough of that.

It makes sense … doesn’t it … that the way to break out of that “snare” would be to “trust in the Lord” … for he who “trusts in the Lord is kept safe”?

Ask Noah, who had “them” questioning him all those years he built that boat in the middle of nowhere – but the Lord saved him and his family. Ask Moses, who had “them” criticizing him every time they got thirsty or hungry or tired – but the Lord escorted him home at the end of his journey. Ask David, who had “them” mocking his age and despising his exuberance for the Lord, but the Lord delivered him from the lions and bears and giants and kings. Ask Paul, who had “them” threatening – even beating – just for what he dared to believe, and the Lord reserved a crown for him, which He will give to all those who love His appearing. Ask Jesus, who had “them” questioning – criticizing – mocking – threatening him to death, but the Lord raised Him and exalted Him.

Why would any of us think that “they” are ever going to be okay with us … pleased with us … proud of us? “They didn’t appreciate – respect – or honor the Lord, himself.

So … today … as I read through Proverbs 29; seeking the wisdom of God for my life … I want to quiet the questions – concerns – anxieties about “them” that entrap my heart and distort my intentions – by learning to trust in the Lord.

 Wise saying #29 – “DON’T GET TRAPPED.”

P.S. Day Twenty-Nine … read Proverbs 29. Want some homework?

  1. Make a list of the people you “fear” the most. What are you afraid of … really? What it the worst “they” can do to you?
  2. Baby steps. Do something that you know God wants you to do – that is going to make “them” mad – disappointed – or upset with you. Once it is done … how bad was that – really?

WISE SAYING #28

Posted October 28, 2014 by Rex Boyles
Categories: My Daily Bread

Proverbs 28:19; “… but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.”

My mother and dad grew up out in the country – on the farm. Mother’s family didn’t have much – she would use the word “poor”; but Dad’s family was better off – not rich – but comfortable.

They both learned – early on – the necessity of daily chores and the benefits that come from taking care of those responsibilities. (If you want eggs, you have to feed the chickens and gather the eggs – every day. If you want milk, you have to feed the cows and milk them every day.

Even though they came from different economic experiences, they both believed in taking care of daily chores. They made sure to include us boys in those responsibilities, as well. They believed (and tried to teach us) that if you work hard – do your daily chores – take care of your responsibilities, you will have all that you need – and even more.

Even now, my dad – 89 years old – gets up every morning and takes care of the chores.

They didn’t believe in “get rich quick schemes”, and they warned us about them. “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” The only time they ever wasted any money on anything like that was when I convinced them to do something that I had let some con man convince me to do. I still regret that. Hopefully, I have learned my lesson.

Enough of that.

It makes sense … doesn’t it … that the God, who authored the law of “reap what you sow”[i] would reward those who work – take care of their responsibilities – do their daily chores.

When you “chase fantasies”, you are wishing to reap without sowing. You are expecting the eggs and milk without the daily chores. Of course, that won’t work!

So … today … as I read through Proverbs 28; seeking the wisdom of God for my life … I want to imitate my mother and dad – I want to experience the blessing of God that comes with doing my daily chores, and I want to teach my children and grandchildren to do the same.

Wise saying #28 – “DON’T CHASE FANTASIES.”

P.S. Day Twenty-Eight … read Proverbs 28. Want some homework?

  1. Make a “to do” list. Make it specific to your life and family. After you make the list – number them, according to their importance. (Remember sometimes the ones that seem so urgent might not be the most important.)
  2. Start doing your “daily chores” – one “to do” thing at a time.

[i] Galatians 6

WISE SAYING #27

Posted October 27, 2014 by Rex Boyles
Categories: My Daily Bread

Proverbs 27:17; “… so one man sharpens another.”

Used to watch my father sharpen his pocket knife … my mother’s kitchen knives … and our cotton-chopping hoes. It involved metal on metal … a metal file pressed at just the right angle … repeatedly rubbed back and forth until the edge was honed just right. It always involved some concentrated effort and the right about of pressure. Sometimes it even involved sparks.

I loved watching him concentrate – press – hone, taking his time to get it just right. It was one of those things that I always wanted to be able to do when I grew up. (Truth be told, when I got old enough to start doing that kind of stuff, I was never as good at it as my dad was – which is also true of a lot of things I grew up watching him do.)

Enough of that.

It makes sense … doesn’t it … that God would use this illustration: “iron sharpens iron” to advise us to seek out the kind of friends and relationships that would enhance our growth and hone our skills: “so one man sharpens another”?

I am not sure that he is giving me the responsibility of “sharpening” others – though, hopefully, my character and lifestyle would allow God to work through me in such a way. But I am certain that he wants me to associate with men, who allow God work through them in such a way. (Refer back to Wise Saying #13.)

I have been blessed in that way … even in those times where the pressure caused some sparks … by men like my father (first and most) … Mike White (who taught me to learn the Word and to remember it line for line) … Cline Paden (who taught me to see beyond my limits to the mission of God for every living creature) … Milton Caraway (who taught me to be diligent in all things as a preacher) … Doug Oakes (who taught me to rely on His grace and share it over and over again).

There are others, and at some point I should take the time to mention each and every one of them, honoring God because of them and imitating them in the lives of young men I know.

So … today … as I read through Proverbs 27; seeking the wisdom of God for my life … I want to seek out men of knowledge and grace – willing (even eager) to yield to their “sharpening”. But I also want to become that kind of man for my children, grandchildren and every young man that God may bring into my life.

Wise saying #27 – “SHARPEN YOUR SWORD.”

P.S. Day Twenty-Seven … read Proverbs 27. Want some homework?

  1. Find a man you respect and appreciate. Identify a characteristic he has that you want to model. Ask him to “sharpen” you – even if it causes some sparks.
  2. Pass on something you learn from that man to your son or grandson.

WISE SAYING #26

Posted October 26, 2014 by Rex Boyles
Categories: My Daily Bread

Proverbs 26:2; “Like a fluttering sparrow … an undeserved curse does not come to rest.”

I am on record … having said it publicly – privately – and in print … that I had a blessed childhood with parents and grandparents (on both sides) who loved each other and included me and my brothers in that love. I received nothing – NOTHING – but love – understand – acceptance – support – encouragement from my family.

That must have been why school was such a shock to my system. One of best friends makes fun of my teeth. A girl I liked teased me about my nose. An upper-classman compares me – unfavorably, of course – to my older brother. A coach mocks me in front of the team, intending (I think) to motivate me. A deacon at church accuses me of something I did not do – DID NOT DO – and mentioned in front of other church folks over and over again for years. A brother in Christ calls me aside to rebuke me for something he says that he knows I am thinking – which I wasn’t thinking.

I couldn’t change my teeth – even though I tried removing the “yellow” by scrubbing them with bathroom cleanser. I couldn’t change my nose or become my big brother. I couldn’t please the coach or the deacon or the brother.

But I listened to every criticism – every cutting remark – every judgment based on nothing more than that persons prejudgment of me … AND I TOOK THEM TO HEART.

By letting those words –curses – live on in my heart, I let people, who had not right, damage me – rob me of the joy of just being me – deceive me into denying the gifts God gave me – destroy any confidence that I could be something special in the Master’s hands.

Enough of that.

I have believed – for a while now – that it is always right to agree with God. So … if God made us “wonderful” and “precious[i], how could we ever let someone – anyone – make us feel less about ourselves that what God created us to be? Maybe we just didn’t learn from the wisdom of God – maybe nobody ever told us the advice God has for those, who have heard those “undeserved” curses.

If I wouldn’t let a bird – “fluttering sparrow” – nest in my hair, why would I let an “undeserved curse” rest in my heart. No matter who said it … what they said … why they said it … how they said it … “an undeserved curse” should not – must not – live on in your heart or head.

So … today … as I read through Proverbs 26; seeking the wisdom of God for my life … I want to fortify myself, as well as my children and grandchildren, from the damage that can be done by an “undeserved curse”.

Wise saying #26 – “SHOO THE BIRDS.”

P.S. Day Twenty-Six … read Proverbs 26. Want some homework?

  1. Read John 2:24. Do you think Jesus understood this wisdom from God?
  2. Read 1 Corinthians 4:1-4. Do you think Paul understood?
  3. Make a list of all of the “curses” that live in your memory – who said it – why they said it – how they said it. What are you going to do about them?

[i] Psalms 139

WISE SAYING #25

Posted October 25, 2014 by Rex Boyles
Categories: My Daily Bread

Proverbs 25:15 “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded …”

Hollywood is fascinated with the mystique of men, who have initiated change – real change – culturally, religiously, politically, etc. Movies, documentaries, and specials that deal with Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. (to name just a few) flourish and spawn additional sequels and spin-offs. Each of those men (and other men and women, who could be mentioned in the same breath) had an obvious and pervasive influence on their world.

But before there was a Lincoln, Gandhi, or King, there was the One they claimed was the inspiration for their missions in life – Jesus. And His influence went beyond just a cultural, religious, or political transformation. He changed – really changed – the world for all time – even in view of eternity.

How did He do it? I know that there were miracles that amazed people and ignited a faith that can move mountains. There was also teaching – truths that can set you free – promises that can transform your life – spoken with authority and confirmed by signs from God.

But there was a man, “approved by God”[i], demonstrating those wonders – speaking as the Son of God; and He was “gentle” and “patient”. Though He lived in the public eye for little over 3 years, He changed people’s lives. Even though He never won an election or formed a political party or fought in a bloody war, He changed His world. Even though (and because of) He was executed like a criminal and laid to rest in a borrowed grave, He defeated His enemies, formed an army of brothers, and broke through the gates of hell to open a “strait and narrow” way to eternal life and glory.

It makes sense … doesn’t it … that Jesus must have listened to His Father’s advice – that “patience” can change a ruler and being “gentle” can break a bone?

He tried it. It worked.

So … today … as I read through Proverbs 25; seeking the wisdom of God for my life … I want to give it a try … with my wife and children … with my brothers and sisters … with my boss and co-workers … with my friends and neighbors … with anyone for whom I would like to change their destiny.

Wise saying #25 – “BREAK A BONE.”

P.S. Day Twenty-Five … read Proverbs 25. Want some homework?

  1. Identify the “ruler” you want to change … the “bone” you want to break. Be specific: Your mate? Your child? Your boss? Your roommate? Your parents? What changes do you want to see?
  2. Once you have identified the person of concern and the changes you anticipate, pray for them – the person and the changes – then get started being “patient” and “gentle” with them. (i.e. No more nagging or sarcasm or rolling eyes or mean looks or snide comments – just “patient” and “gentle” like Jesus … all day … every day until something changes – even if it is you.)

[i] Acts 2