Showing posts with label Wisdom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wisdom. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Eight-Cow Wife

The Eight-Cow Wife by Patricia McGerr, appeared in the February 1988 version of Reader's Digest. This story is a creative example of investing in marriage. Take the next 10 minutes to digest why Johnny Lingo a primitive Pacific island, where a man paid the dowry for his wife in cows. Two or three cows could buy a decent wife, four or five a very nice one. But Johnny Lingo had offered an unheard of eight cows for Sarita, a girl whom everyone in her home village thought was a very plain-looking, backward young woman who probably wouldn't bring a dowry of one cow, let alone eight!

"Get Johnny Lingo to help you find what you want and then let him do the bargaining," advised Shenkin as I sat on the veranda of his guest house and wondered whether to visit Nurabandi. "He'll earn his commission four times over. Johnny knows values and how to make a deal."

"Johnny Lingo." The chubby boy on the veranda steps hooted the name, then hugged his knees and rocked with shrill laughter.

"Be quiet," said his father and the laughter grew silent. "Johnny Lingo's the sharpest trader in this part of the Pacific."

The simple statement made the boy choke and almost roll off the steps. Smiles broadened on the faces of the villagers standing nearby.

"What goes on?" I demanded. "Everybody around here tells me to get in touch with Johnny Lingo and then breaks up. It is some kind of trick, a wild-goose chase, like sending someone for a left-handed wrench? I there no such person or is he the village idiot or what? Let me in on the joke."

"Not idiot," said Shenkin. "Only one thing. Five months ago, at festival time, Johnny came to Kiniwata and found himself a wife. He paid her father eight cows!"

He spoke the last words with great solemnity and I knew enough about island customs to be thoroughly impressed. Two or three cows would buy a fair-to-middling wife, four or five a highly satisfactory one.

"Eight cows!" I said. "She must have been a beauty that takes your breath away."
"That's why they laugh," my guest said. "It would be kindness to call her plain. She was little and skinny with no--ah--endowments. She walked with her shoulders hunched and her head ducked, as if she was trying to hide behind herself. Her cheeks had no color, her eyes never opened beyond a slit and her hair was a tangled mop half over her face. She was scared of her own shadow, frightened by her own voice. She was afraid to laugh in public. She never romped with the girls, so how could she attract the boys?"

"But she attracted Johnny?"

This is the story Shenkin told me:

"All the way to the council tent the cousins were urging Sam to try for a good settlement. Ask for three cows, they told him, and hold out for two until you're sure he'll pay one. But Sam was in such a stew and so afraid there'd be some slip in this marriage chance for Sarita that they knew he wouldn't hold out for anything. So while they waited they resigned themselves to accepting one cow, and thought, instead, of their luck in getting such a good husband for Sarita. Then Johnny came into the tent and, without waiting for a word from any of them, went straight up to Sam Karoo, grasped his hand and said, "Father of Sarita, I offer eight cows for your daughter." And he delivered the cows.

"As soon as it was over Johnny took Sarita to the island of Cho for the first week of marriage. Then they went home to Narabundi and we haven't seen them since. Except at festival time, there's not much travel between the islands."

This story interested me so I decided to investigate.

The next day I reached the island where Johnny lived. When I met the slim, serious man, he welcomed me to his home with a grace that made me feel like the owner. I was glad that from his own people he had respect unmingled with mockery.

I told him that his people had told me about him.

"They speak much of me on that island? What do they say?"

"They say you are a sharp trader," I said. "They also say the marriage settlement that you made for your wife was eight cows." I paused, then went on, coming as close to a direct question as I could. "They wonder why."

"They say that?" His eyes lighted with pleasure. He seemed not to have noticed the question. "Everyone in Kiniwata knows about the eight cows?"

I nodded.

"And in Narabundi everyone knows it, too." His chest expanded with satisfaction. "Always and forever, when they speak of marriage settlements, it will be remembered that Johnny Lingo paid eight cows for Sarita."

So that's the answer, I thought with disappointment. All this mystery and wonder and the explanation's only vanity. It's not enough for his ego to be known as the smartest, the strongest, the quickest. He had to make himself famous for his way of buying a wife. I was tempted to deflate him by reporting that in Kiniwata he was laughed at for a fool.

As we spoke a woman entered the adjoining room and placed a bowl of blossoms on the dining table. She stood still a moment to smile with sweet gravity at the young man beside me. Then she went swiftly out again. She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. This girl had an ethereal loveliness. The dew-fresh flowers with which she'd pinned back her lustrous black hair accented the glow of her cheeks. The lift of her shoulders, the tilt of her chin, the sparkle of her eyes all spelled a pride to which no one could deny her the right. And as she turned to leave she moved with grace that made her look like a queen.

When she was out of sight I turned back to Jonny Lingo and found him looking at me with eyes that reflected the pride of the girl's.

"You admire her?" he murmured.

"She--she's glorious. Who is she?" (I couldn't help, but think -- if she was a servant, how difficult it must be for homely Sarita, having to daily be in the presence of such a beautiful woman. And what a temptation for Mr. Lingo!)

"She is my wife."

I stared at him blankly. Was this some custom I had not heard about? Do they practice polygamy here? He, for his eight cows, bought both Sarita and this other? Before I could form a question he spoke again.

"This is the only one -- Sarita." His way of saying the words gave them a special significance. "Perhaps you wish to say she does not look the way they say she looked in Kiniwata."

"She doesn't." The impact of the girl's appearance made me forget tact. "I heard she was homely. They all make fun of you because you let yourself be cheated by Sam Karoo."

"You think he cheated me? You think eight cows were too many?" A slow smile slid over his lips as I shook my head. "She can see her father and her friends again. And they can see her. Do you think anyone will make fun of us then? Much has happened to change her. Much in particular happened the day she went away."

"You mean she married you?"

"That, yes. But most of all, I mean the arrangements for the marriage."


"Do you ever think," he asked reflectively, "what it does to a woman when she knows that the price her husband has paid is the lowest price for which she can be bought? And then later, when all the women talk, as women do, they boast of what their husbands paid for them. One says four cows, another maybe six. How does she feel--the woman who was sold for one or two? This could not happen to my Sarita."

"Then you paid that unprecedented number of cows just to make your wife happy?"

"Happy?" He seemed to turn the word over on his tongue, as if to test its meaning. "I wanted Sarita to be happy, yes, but I wanted more than that. You say she's different from the way they remember her in Kiniwata. This is true. Many things can change a woman. Things that happen inside, things that happen outside. But the thing that matters most is what she thinks about herself. In Kiniwata, Sarita believed she was worth nothing. Now she knows that she is worth more than any other woman on the islands."

"Then you wanted..."

"I wanted to marry Sarita. I loved her and no other woman."

"But--" I was close to understanding.

"But," he finished softly, "I wanted an eight-cow wife."

The most valuable treasure a husband can have at home is a healthy marriage.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Proverbs 4 Sept 2014

The greatest king refereed in the Holy Bible, King David, advises his son Solomon,

Proverbs 4:4 “Take hold of my words with all your heart;
    keep my commands, and you will live.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding;
    do not forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
    love her, and she will watch over you.
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
    Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
    embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will give you a garland to grace your head
    and present you with a glorious crown.”

Pay attention to the amount of respect King David places on Lady Wisdom.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Qualities of Lady Wisdom

On February 11, 1861, Abraham Lincoln left Springfield, IL to become the president of the United States. More than a thousand families gathered to say farewell, and here is what he told them:

Today I leave you. I go to assume a task more difficult than that which devolved upon Washington. Unless the great God who assisted him shall be with and aid me I must fail; but if the same omniscient mind and mighty arm that directed and protected him shall guide and support me I shall not fail -- I shall succeed. Let us all pray that the God of our fathers may not forsake us now. To Him I commend you all. Permit me to ask that with equal sincerity and faith you will invoke His wisdom and guidance for me. With these words I must leave you - for how long I know not. Friends, one and all, I must now bid you an affectionate farewell."

Of course, Lincoln never returned. It is no surprise that wise men seek presence of God and His wisdom. Lincoln sought them to solve those challenges faced by the country.

Have you noticed this beautiful poem about Lady Wisdom in Proverbs 3. It starts and ends with the word, 'blessed'. Those who find Lady Wisdom can vouch - she is the most beautiful. Her presence is the most desirable. Furthermore, she has everything every human being is craving for.
Proverbs 3:13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
    those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
    and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
    nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
    and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
    those who hold her fast will be blessed.
Lady Wisdom is someone we want to know very well, while we are still alive and awake. Her company we will enjoy immensely and it is worth looking forward for. Her presence can be sought - she does not discriminate anyone based on their intelligence. Anyone with a good heart and pure spirit can approach her. The desire to do what is right and just in God's eyes is the first steps toward wisdom.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Proverbs 1 Sept 2014

Let us examine the first book of Proverbs today. Life is too complex for any individual to handle all by himself.

King Solomon talks to us as an experienced loving father. Pointing us away from the wrong paths to the right, he states the purpose and theme of proverbs, "For gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight." This is not the worldly wisdom he is talking about - rather Godly wisdom.

A key point to notice here is that, this sort of Godly wisdom is attainable by those who do not possess it. Without holding it back, he gives the secret away:

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

If I am ignoring God's wisdom, then I am a fool.

He portrays Lady Wisdom as the most beautiful woman, calling us to follow her into her house - to the place of victory and achievement and success in life.

King Solomon has caught my attention using his introduction, and let me listen to what he has to say in those coming verses.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


In the last century, a tourist from the United States visited the famous Polish rabbi Hafez Hayyim.

He was astonished to see that the rabbi's home was only a simple room filled with books. The only furniture was a table and a bench.

"Rabbi, where is your furniture?" asked the tourist.

"Where is yours?" replied Hafez.

"Mine? But I'm only a visitor here."

"So am I," said the rabbi.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Payment in dry leaves

Once upon a time in India, two students completed their studies and asked their master what sort of fee they should pay him before they left. The master was pleased with their sincere love and gratitude. Though he never expected any sort of fee from them, this was his final moment to test their devotion, discipline and sense of duty. In an effort to impart bit more wisdom to his students, he said, “Go into the forest and bring me some dry leaves that is of no use to anyone.”

Thinking of it as a strange mode of payment, the students set out to the forest with the goal of accomplishing their assigned task.

As soon as they entered the forest, they came across a small heap of dry leaves beneath a tree. When they started picking up some of them, an old farmer came running and said, “Please put those leaves back into the heap. I have collected them for my field. After burning, their ashes will make excellent manure, which will help me grow a rich crop.”

The students left the heap and went a little further into the forest. There they saw three women collecting dry leaves and putting them into their baskets.

“What do you do with these dry leaves?” asked the students.

“We pin the intact leaves together with reed-pins to make dinner plates for temples; this earns us enough livelihood to support our children. We also use the torn leaves as a fuel for fire.”

The students then went further into the forest. They saw some dry leaves under a tall tree. As both were looking at them, a big bird swooped down and, picking up one leaf, and flew away. The students noticed the  bird carrying the leaf to a tree branch, where it was building a nest of dry leaves and grass. They did not wish to take away the dry leaves, which were useful to the bird.

Both boys then decided to go back to their teacher. On the way, they saw a small pond in which a big dry leaf was floating on the water.

“Finally a big dry leaf with no use,” said one of them.

As they picked up the leaf, to their surprise, they saw two red ants who seemed to say, “This dry leaf has been our life-boat. Without it, we would have drowned in the pond!”

The boys, thereafter, gave up all hopes of finding dry leaves that are of no use to anyone and unhappily returned to their master.

In a sad tone, they uttered to their teacher, “Sir, forgive us for not bringing you any dry leaves per you wish. All the dry leaves that we saw were being used for some purpose or the other."

“Dear children,” replied the teacher, "I am so happy for the gift you gave me today. The wisdom you have gained, about the importance of even seemingly unimportant things like dry leaves, is the best payment I can every receive. Even a dry leaf is of great use and help to man, bird and insect. How much more precious then should a man’s body be when it is put to good use! Therefore, take excellent care of your body and use it to make your life as well as the lives of others happy.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Few thoughts to chew on

“Going to church does not make you a Christian anymore than going to McDonald’s makes you a hamburger.”

"Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behavior does."

"If you don't walk the walk, it's probably best not to talk the talk."

"Your words mean nothing if your actions are the complete opposite."

"Having true faith in whatever it is your believe must be shown through actions; believing is only half the battle."

“To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world.”

“Real friends are those who, when you feel you've made a fool of yourself, don’t feel you've done a permanent job.”

“A coincidence is when God performs a miracle, and decides to remain anonymous.”

“Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side.”

“You don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to.”

“Lead your life so you won’t be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.”

"Don't allow your wounds to transform you into someone you are not."

“Life is like an onion; you peel off one layer at a time and sometimes you weep.”

"May your dreams be bigger than your fears, your actions louder than your words, and your faith stronger than your feelings."

"Every exit is an entrance somewhere else."

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Let us dance

Let's share a letter written by an 83-year-old woman to her friend.

Dear Bertha,

I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting in the yard and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time working.

Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.

I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the first Amaryllis blossom.

I wear my good blazer to the market. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries. I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it for clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank.

"Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.

I'm not sure what others would've done had they known they wouldn't be here for the tomorrow that we all take for granted. I think they would have called family members and a few close friends. They might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think they would have gone out for a Chinese dinner or for whatever their favorite food was.

I'm guessing; I'll never know.

It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew my hours were limited. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and parents often enough how much I truly love them. I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, tell myself that it is special.

Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God.

Believe that someone somewhere in this world cares for you. Right this moment, someone is thinking about you.

"People say friends must always hold hands, but true friends don't need to hold hands because they know the other hand will always be there."

Life may not be the party we hoped for,
but while we are here we might as well dance.  

Love you,

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Do you like cheese?

Few years ago, Dr. Spencer Johnson used to narrate a story "Who moved my Cheese" to Ken Blanchard. After hearing it several times, Mr. Blanchard encouraged Dr. Johnson to publish it in the form of a book. When Dr. Johnson published his work after few years, it became an instant success. During the occasion of’s tenth Anniversary, this book was named the #1 bestselling book title in Amazon’s history.

For those who do not have the time and patience to read the original book, here is a short 11 minute video.

When you settled down and have 11 minutes to spare, I highly encourage you to watch this, whether you like cheese or not - you could store some nuggets for life.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Heaven's enemy

Heaven, the Abode of God has taken at least couple of different forms. One was the Heaven we read in Genesis - that place where God was surrounded by ALL those angels which He created. Now, the subject of Angels is a fascinating one; one that is rarely spoken in Christian circles - thereby leaving us with a gaping void about these heavenly creatures.

The other heaven is where God resides now. The future heaven will be when He comes and lives with us.

Most of us do not know this, but we are not supposed to worship Angels. Just like humans, angels worship and serve God (Isaiah 6:2-3; Revelation 22:8-9). In ancient times, angels were able to take on the form of humans as they delivered messages for Him

Angels were mostly created on the first day. Job 38:1-7 indicate that angels were present as eyewitnesses during the creation of our Universe.

All these angels are believed to be present in the Garden of Eden even after Adam and Eve were created. Bible speaks of those angels. God designated Lucifer as the "Angel of Worship." He was assigned to dwell in the awesome presence of a perfect and holy God. To fulfill this task, Lucifer had to be perfect too, and he was one step above the rest of the angels, both in appearance and wisdom - He was an Archangel.

Ezekiel 28:13-15 You were in Eden,
    the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you:
    carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,
    topaz, onyx and jasper,
    lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mountings were made of gold;
    on the day you were created they were prepared.
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
    for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
    you walked among the fiery stones.
15 You were blameless in your ways
    from the day you were created
    till wickedness was found in you.

Due to pride, Lucifer sought prominence, and wanted to be worshiped just like God. However, God did not like this idea and therefore stripped him of his beauty, position and rights to heaven. Recall that Satan was desperate and asked Jesus to worship him.
Matthew 4:8-10 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”
Then one day, Archangel Lucifer was thrown out of the heaven. In an effort to weaken God's powers, he did his best to take as many angels with him to form a coalition against God. He wanted all those angels to worship him. Hundreds, or even thousands of angels were confused - without having the slightest idea of whether to stick around with God, or to follow the ousted Lucifer. Majority of them, due to the fear of Lucifer hurting them left God's presence. All those who left are termed demons.

Lucifer hated three things - God, God's creatures and God's abode - heaven. After being expelled by heaven, his next aim was to turn God's creation against him. That's when he took the form of a serpent and arrived near Eve. He succeeded in his mission. The human race had fallen. Lucifer introduced sin and even death into the world. He did not stop there - rather he started spreading the lie about heaven to those fallen people and has succeeded quite a bit on that level as well. Being the prince of deception, he does his best in  robbing the joy of heaven from the minds of ordinary people. He prevents us from seeing God's heaven, and works hard towards getting it off our spiritual radar. The chief lie he promotes among us is that, "there is no life beyond earth - death is the end. Hence love those things of this life and party as much as you can, while on earth."

One would think Lucifer - aka Satan, would be called a a prince of darkness. However in the Bible, he is called as and angel of light.
2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
Listen to this carefully - Satan tries to put on a nice, harmless disguise and appears as the one standing up for good (rather than evil). He tried to be that "Mr. Nice Guy" by offering to feed Jesus while he was hungry in the desert.

The very same Satan is capable of appearing in front of us, disguised as God, or even Jesus. Isn't that a spine chilling, hair raising thought? How would we be able to identify Satan at that instant, as we could hardly tell the real Jesus from real Satan. I've been meditating on this question for several weeks now, and think I have the answer.

When God created everything, including those angels, Lady Wisdom was God's companion, standing beside our Lord.
Proverbs 3:19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place;
Proverbs 8:22 "The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old;
Only with the help of wisdom, we can tell the difference between Lucifer and Jesus. Jesus was filled with wisdom and hence could tell that he was not being offered food, rather was being tempted and tested by Satan.

A word of caution - we are not strong enough to resist or withstand Satan. Never be deceived into believing that we can out-think, out-wit, out-subtle, or spiritually overcome Satan by ourselves. His powers and "wisdom" will put us to shame. Jesus Christ is the only one who has defeated Satan, and Jesus will come to our rescue when we ask him at times of need. Lady Wisdom will enable us to see that we are facing our diabolic enemy, when we truly are.

Get wisdom, get understanding - let your eyes be opened, and may you be able to see God's "Road-map for Heaven."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Biblical Phrases - 1

Those exploring through the English language, will be surprised to learn numerous phrases that made it's way from the Holy Bible. There are more than 100 of them. Today we will look at few:

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
This expression means that it is better to have an advantage or opportunity that is certain than having one that is worth more but is not so certain. "A bird in the hand," is yours, and it's not going anywhere unless you let it go. But if you leave it and go for "two in the bush," there is no guarantee you'll catch them, you might end up with nothing in the end. In essence, don't be greedy and stick with what good things you already have, instead of going after something you'll probably never get.
Ecclesiastes 9:4 Anyone who is among the living has hope — even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!

A drop in the bucket
A very small proportion of the whole commodity.
 Isaiah 40:15.Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
    they are regarded as dust on the scales;
    he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.

A house divided
A house divided in opinion will not last for long - literal meaning.
This was part of a speech made by Abraham Lincoln to the Illinois Republican convention in 1858. In the speech, Lincoln noted that conflict between North and South over slavery was intensifying. He asserted that the conflict would not stop until a crisis was reached and passed, for, in a biblical phrase Lincoln used, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” He continued: “I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall - but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”
Luke 11:17  Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.

All men are liars
Only God is truthful and He is the source of truth, not men.
Psa 116:11  in my alarm I said,
    “Everyone is a liar.”

All things must pass
Nothing lasts forever- every good and bad thing will eventually end.
Matthew 24:6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Proverbs 10

Today is July 10th and hopefully you are reading Proverbs Chapter 10 today. All I will do is just scratch the surface and leave the rest for you to learn and meditate.

Those first nine chapters of Proverbs are considered as an introduction to the Book of Proverbs. It essentially teaches us that our life is a grand total of all those decisions we make everyday. Who, what and where we are today, is a result of the sum total of choices and decisions we made up until yesterday.

Chapter 10 is where King Solomon begins those short sentences with powerful meanings - the real stuff.

The first verse speaks about those various choice children have - either to bring home honor or dishonor. In this verse, it does not matter what our current age is. It neither matters whether we have both our parents alive or around us - it is a tribute we can pay towards their sacrifices in order to foster their legacy. The right thing to do is to bring them honor. Ephesians 6:1 tells us to obey our father and mother. As a general rule, God designed parents in such a manner they will only ask their children to do what is right.

In the second verse, King Solomon contrasts a life used to earn tainted wealth versus upright living. Acquiring wealth is certainly a wonderful thing and wealth is an excellent servant, but it makes a hopeless master. Around us, there are numerous ways to acquire tainted wealth. Those shortcuts leading to tainted wealth seem to promise lot more in a relatively brief period of time. Those stepping onto that path become blind of the destructive power of tainted wealth until it starts swallowing them. Such wealth has no lasting value. Righteous living, on the other hand does not seem to promise much in the short run, but it emerges as a true winner in the long run. We should treat wealth as a means for living and only worship Our Lord; He is sure to take care of all our needs, including wealth when we walk upright and honest.

May the rest of this chapter shed further wisdom into your soul.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Reading Proverbs

Today is May 1st and hopefully some of you are starting to read Proverbs for the first time. The journey of a thousand mile begins with a single step, and one has to start somewhere.

Of all those Biblical books, Proverbs compiles a list of short practical instructions for living wisely on earth. It accounts for the myriad circumstances encountered in a person's life and suggests principles specific for those situations. Lady Wisdom encourages us to make wise choices than foolish mistakes.

One theme which is echoed numerous times is “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” King Solomon encourages us to live righteously under the authority and direction of God.

The Purpose of Proverbs: To be Wise (Proverbs 1:1-7)
As a virtue, Wisdom is the spiritual ability to use everything for the glory of God.

Wisdom is a virtue but it is also a Person. We cannot have the virtue without the Person

To Be Wise These Are Necessary:

The basic tool needed to be wise (Proverbs 1:4, Proverbs 1:6-7)

The gift needed to use that knowledge (Proverbs 1:2, Proverbs 1:5-6)

The means of obtaining knowledge (Proverbs 1:2-3, Proverbs 1:5, Proverbs 1:7)

The means of enforcing instruction (Proverbs 1:7)

The source of knowledge (Proverbs 1:1-2, Proverbs 1:6)

The spiritual foundation of it all (Proverbs 1:7)

Proverbs are pithy statements brimming over with imagery from the real world.

Read the Proverbs!
Live the Proverbs!

Credits: Ronald Hanko

Saturday, April 19, 2014

James 5

There is a special danger with wealth - it wraps people in a false security. The rich who have brought hardships and trials upon the innocent hardworking people will be severely judged by God. Believers who are put through such trials are suggested not to grumble against one another - they should wait for the Lord patiently.
James 5:9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
We are supposed to learn from Job's patience, look at what Lord finally brought about, and learn from it. Do not swear by heaven or earth – let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no' be 'no'.

The suffering should pray, the joyous should sing psalms, the sick should be prayed for and anointed. The prayer of faith will save the sick.

James cites the example of Elijah - he prayed for no rain, and there was a drought for three and a half years. Later when Elijah prayed for rain, it rained.

He who helps a sinning brother will save a soul from death.
James 5:19-20 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

James 4

Switching from peace to conflict, James teaches that the root cause of quarrels and fighting is envy - setting our hearts on something we want and determining to get it, no matter what. Instead, we can ask God to give it to us. If God does not give it to us, it is because we are asking Him with the wrong motives - for our pleasures.

Strife within the Christian community arise from covetousness, lust and murder, dominated by their desire for pleasure, and praying amiss. Friendship with the world is enmity with God.
James 4:4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 
James advises us to humble and repent; submit to the Lord and resist the devil - he will flee.
James 4:7-10 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Who are we to judge each other? Our life is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Do not act as if you are independent of God’s will. Do not boast about tomorrow. We have no control over our life - it is in the hands of God.

If anyone knows the good they are supposed to do and doesn't do it, it is a sin.

James 3

Those who want to be teachers in the church should first learn to control their tongue. Self control is the only way in which the most uncontrollable and contradictory member can be brought under control.
James 3:7-8 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Human tongue has a contradictory character, both cursing and blessing. This ought not to be – no spring yields both salt water and fresh water.

Wisdom shows us how to do good works. Merely earthly wisdom is bitter, envious and self-seeking.

Pure wisdom comes from God an shows in itself, gentleness, peace, mercy, and is without discrimination or hypocrisy.

James 2

James denounces favoritism. He wants believers not to discriminate, or show preference to a rich man over a poor one. God has chosen the poor to be rich in faith and heirs to His kingdom. The rich are the ones who exploit the poor and drag them into court.

Love your neighbor as yourself. Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
James 2:9-10 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 
Judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement.

James condemns faith without work or deeds. Faith is dead faith if not accompanied by practical assistance – eg providing for a needy or destitute brother or sister.
James 2:18-19 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
By works faith is made perfect. In case of Abraham, faith and work were acting together. Faith cannot be separated from works; faith without works is dead, like the body without the spirit.

James 1

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, writes to the twelve scattered tribes. He has three key themes to address:
(a) Encountering trials,
(b) Wisdom,
(c) Riches and poverty

(a) Encountering trials
James urges his readers to count it a joy when we fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. God uses those trials to produce endurance and over time to make them mature and complete.

(b) Wisdom
If we need wisdom to handle various trials, we should ask God, trusting His generous character that He will grant us wisdom.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 
Those who doubt are compared to a storm tossed wave of the sea - such double-minded, unstable individuals should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

(c) Riches and poverty
Believers who find themselves in humiliating financial situation can always put their faith in the high standing with the Lord. The rich should remember that the riches will fade away like a flower in the field, or as grass withered by the sun.

James goes on to repeat those three themes once again.
(a) Encountering trials
Trials also mean temptation. Those who persevere under trials will be blessed with crown of life. Temptation is brought about not by God, but by our own desires, which lead to sin, and then to death. Every good and perfect gift is from above, from the Father of lights.

(b) Wisdom
Wisdom leads believers to be "quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." Human anger does not produce the kind of life God desires. Get rid of lives of moral filth, and accept the word that is planted within us. 

(c) Riches and poverty
Apart from keeping ourselves morally pure, we should take care of the needy - widows and orphans in their distress.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Proverbs 16 Mar 2014

  1. While men make elaborate plans, God has the final word. 
  2. For our plans to take shape, submit our work to the Lord. 
  3. The only thing that deflects evil is the fear of God. 
  4. Better to be right and poor, than to be wrong and rich. 
  5. God cares about honesty at workplace - our business is His business. 
  6. Better to get wisdom than gold; get insight rather than silver.
  7. Bigger the ego, harder the fall. 
  8. Things work out when we trust in God. 
  9. True intelligence is a spring of fresh water, while fools sweat it out the hard way. 
  10. Appetite and hunger are incentives to work harder. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Proverbs 14 Mar 2014

  1. Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home, while Sir Fool comes along to tear it down brick by brick. 
  2. Those who lead an honest life show respect to God. 
  3. A wise speech always evokes respect. 
  4. Watch out for those false witnesses - they make a business out of lies. 
  5. With an open mind, anyone can meet Lady Wisdom right at their doorsteps. 
  6. Those who are wise watch their steps and always avoid evil. 
  7. Foolish dreamers always live in a world of illusion. 
  8. Everyone loves a winner, while everyone shuns a loser. 
  9. Those who are wise accumulate wisdom. 
  10. Fear of the Lord builds up confidence.