The Verbs #23 (Do What I Do)

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Dear child, I want your full attention;

please do what I show you.

Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 23:26). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

For much of my life, I caught more than I was taught! I mopped up what those around me were dropping. Of course, there is also those that use another line, “don’t do as I do, do as I say”. The problem with that is that actions speak louder than words. Here, the scripture gives us a parenting 101 class. In telling his son to give him his full attention, he then asks the child to do what I show you.

In terms of life, I pray that our lives are worthy of our children watching. My friends, they really are mopping up everything that you are dropping. They may not be hanging onto every word you say, but they are certainly watching every action that you make. For us to be role models to our children, let us lead lives worthy of being followed. Whether you like it or not, someone is following your example.

I have learned over the years with my children, I need to tell them what to do, show them what to do, and then watch them do it. There are some assurances in that process. First, I am practicing on communicating with them, so they understand the expectation. It is very difficult to hold someone accountable to an expectation that was never given nor explained. How do they know if they are succeeding or failing to meet an unspoken standard or expectation? We often assume that someone knows what we are talking about. I hear people say all the time that you should over communicate. I have come to understand that over-communication doesn’t exist. There is simply communication and non-communication. If you properly communicate, they’ll understand the expectation.

Secondly, show them how to do it. Many times, in verbally communicating something that you’ve done a hundred times, you forget a simple step. While that step may be so simple to you, that you even forget to mention it, it is vitally important to the process. So, going beyond the verbal, you show the person exactly how it is done.  Some people are verbal learners; others are visual learners. You have covered both bases. There is also a leadership lesson wrapped up in this, because not only are you asking them to do something, but now you are showing them how to do it and it proves that you are not asking them to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself. Showing them how to do it reinforces everything that was just verbally communicated.

Lastly, watch them do it. This is a great time to not only coach them up, but it is also a time to jump right back in and correct any behaviors, actions or habits that could form early on. So often, we tell them what to do, and then we go on to something else. But remember, they might need your assistance again during the process. Simply go back to point number one. Start over again. Tell them how to do it, show them how to do it, and then watch them do it.

I have discovered in that little process, that often what I said to do, doesn’t always line up with what I do. Then there are times when I am watching them do something, I will correct them. My children then say, “Well, that’s how you do it”. I quickly realize, they are watching, and I am glad they are.

In terms of my spiritual life, I desperately desire for my kids to follow after their parents when it comes to their walk with the Lord. I have worked hard over the years at not being melancholy about my kid’s spiritual walk. The main way that I do that is to be passionate about MY walk with the Lord. Sure, I pastor a church. You would think that it would be easy to be passionate about the Lord, church, worship, praise and prayer. However, I believe in this arena, I have an extremely tough assignment. My assignment is to ensure that Jesus, church, worship, praise and prayer, do not become common. My kids attend nearly every service that happens at our church, even the multiple services on Sunday. My oldest daughter usually serves in an area of the church for the first two services and then worships with Melissa and I at the third service. At this point in the day, I have already preached twice, worshipped twice and held numerous meetings. I could take the time off at the third service, hang out in the foyer, relax a little. However, she’s watching me. I want her to learn how to worship from me. So, I go out every service, and yes I worship for myself, but I also go to show my daughter how to worship a King!

In the end, my job is to train up a child by telling them how to live, showing them how to live and then I get to watch them live out a life that is worthy to be followed!

The Verbs #22 (Protect Your Name)

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A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich;

a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank.

Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 22:1). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

 

The King James Version renders that verse…

good name is rather to be chosen than great riches,

And loving favour rather than silver and gold.

 

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Pr 22). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Maybe you’ve heard the old saying “your reputation precedes you.” This phrase is usually spoken when you meet someone, and their reputation is either so good or so bad that you feel as if you already know them. The reality is that you judged them before you ever met them. Now that you are meeting them, every action, thought and word is being filtered through the reputation that you had previously heard.

Early on in my life my parents instilled in me a sense of pride about our family. I understood that my actions, whether good or bad, were a direct reflection on my family. My parents raised me to not only respect myself, but to also respect my family. We were trained to live our lives in such a way that we would never bring shame to our family. I knew then, and I still know today, that I live not just for myself, but I also represent my family. Now that I am a married man with kids of my own, I represent so much more now than I did then. We walked with a respect for each other, for our family name. I was a McKinnies. With that name came responsibility. When I went to school I knew not to disrupt, or cause trouble, because when I came home dad was not going to side with me. Now, before you start judging my parents as harsh or mean, let me explain.  I cannot remember a time when my parents disciplined me physically. I do know that I would have much rather been disciplined physically, than to have speak with my dad. I told my dad one night, “I wish you would just hit me, rather than talk to me.”  I knew that I had let him down and he just kept talking. I was filled with so much guilt; not that I had been caught, but because my dad had to stay up and wait for me. I had let him down. I had failed in upholding the expectations he had set for me.

Early on in my life, I learned that if I made my dad proud, then I would be a success in this life. We were taught to have a strong work ethic. If we were going to do something, then not should we do it, but we should give it all we had! We were taught respect. As a kid when I would spend time with my friends and their families. My parents would instruct me, “Jason, you say yes ma’am and no ma’am, yes sir and no sir.” And then just before they turned to walk away, one final reminder, “Jason, you mind your manners.” Why would they do that? Because my behavior when I was with my friends and their families, was a direct reflection on them. I represented them, so I was instructed on how to behave, function and operate in a manner that would be pleasing to my family.

As I grew older, it wasn’t so much about manners as it was integrity, trust and faithfulness. Consistently, I was reminded to never let my good be spoken evil of, and I needed to keep myself from the very appearances of evil. These were just a few of the reminders on how to be a good person. All of this was the measure my parents took to ensure that when my reputation preceded me, it would be good. That upon meeting someone, I would not have to have my life filtered through innuendos, rumors, etc. They were protecting my name as much as they were protecting their name.

I enjoy history very much. I was excited when I came across this story about Alexander the Great.

Alexander the Great reviewed his troops one day, and one of his soldiers slouched a bit.

“What’s your problem?” Alexander asked him.

The soldier explained that he had been out on the town the night before.

“What’s your name?” Alexander asked.

“Alexander,” the soldier answered.

The general said, “Either change your conduct or change your name.”

When I entered the corporate world, the company I worked for reinforced the principles that I was raised with. Consistently we were reminded that we were in the image business. Your conduct, as a partner in this company, is not only a direct reflection of your character, but also a reflection of our company. Therefore, they established three questions we were to ask ourselves when we were in doubt.  These were the three primary guidelines we were to abide by in regards to our integrity.

1. Is what I am doing moral, ethical and legal?

2. Would I want what I am doing to be published in the newspaper?

3. How would I feel, if my family were to find out?

What were they doing as a company? Protecting their name, and I was the representative.

Now that I am the Senior Pastor of the Worship Center, I think about those guidelines nearly every day! I now represent so much more than a corporation. I represent each of you. I have a responsibility to protect the Name that we carry, the Name that I preach, the Name that I wholeheartedly believe is the answer for the world. The Name of Jesus!

By protecting my name, I in turn, protect His Name!

The Verbs #21 (Be Honest)

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The Verbs #21 (Be Honest)

A lying witness is unconvincing; a person who speaks truth is respected.”

Proverbs 21:28 MSG

http://bible.us/97/pro.21.28.msg

To protect the guilty, a few identities in this devotional have been changed.

Maybe you have encountered a person, or maybe more than one, like what I’m about to describe. This is the person that is only telling the truth when their mouth is closed. Quite literally, I have watched people lie about lying. Everything that is stated, typed or conveyed by this person must be sorted through a filter. You’re not sure what is truth and what is a lie. It is hard to have emotion about much of what this person is saying to you. I have encountered more than my share of people that are unconvincing.  Once you’ve lied to my face, I go to one of the unlisted gifts of the spirit. The gift of suspicion, which means everything that person tells me, or that I hear from them, is suspect. It is false until proven otherwise. That is a sad state, because what happens if they are telling the truth.

“Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.”

Proverbs 21:23 MSG

Truly, one of the main themes of Proverbs is literally one of the old adages that our parents would tell us as kids. God gave you two ears and one mouth. Listen more and talk less. I could also add that our mouth was designed and created by God with the ability to be closed, our ears were not. The book of Proverbs is reminding us that if we listen more and talk less, we bring peace into our lives; however, if we talk more than we listen, we often bring more trouble into our lives.

We are going to speak, but when we speak it should be with honesty. The scripture states that a person who speaks truth is respected! I may not enjoy, or like what a person is telling me, but I’d much rather have them tell me the truth. I may not like it but I will respect it. But I also believe when we speak truth, we should do it in love. Especially when using the Word of God to state that truth! The word of God is a sharp sword. Using anything as powerful as God’s word without love will destroy a person. Many people have weaponized the word of God. The purpose of the sword of the word is to cut away things that are harmful to us. That is love.

If you were in a burning car, strapped to a seat, unable to free yourself from the carnage and flames, I would use a knife to cut away what was keeping you in danger, so that you could free yourself or I could pull you through to safety. I may not know you, but I am operating out of love for you.

Truth does the same thing. Jesus declared that He was the way, the truth and the life. He has come to cut away the things that are endangering us, so that we can be free. Truth will set you free. We are the ones that God uses to introduce people to truth, so we need to make sure that we represent Him well. Introduce Him in love, but speak truth. We use the sword, the Word of God, to cut away things in our lives that have kept us trapped, locked up and hindered.

A beautiful thing about truth is that it never changes, it remains constant. It never runs with the crowds, is never exaggerated, and it is never a different version based on who you are. It is just truth.

I never want my testimony, or my experience with truth, to ever be suspect because my life, my mind or my story has changed for the worse! I want my words and my life to be respected, so I must operate truthfully.

In the King James Version, Proverbs 21:28 says, “A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.”

It doesn’t mean that He speaks constantly but rather consistently.

Let us be consistent in speaking truth in a lovingly manner!

 

The Verbs #20 (Loyalty)

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The Verbs #20 (Loyalty)
“Lots of people claim to be loyal and loving, but where on earth can you find one?”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭20:6‬ ‭MSG‬‬
We live in a world that has developed a throw away mentality. If something becomes a little aged or broken, we simply throw it away and replace it. We have disposable plates, disposable cups, disposable silverware, disposable diapers, even disposable phones. I think you get the picture.  The simple message is that we often don’t take the time to identify the root issue of an item that is completely broken or not working properly. If a computer slows down, we just go buy a faster one. If it glitches, we completly wipe out programs and get the latest and greatest new one! Even in our clothing, we wear an item one time, dispose of it and then purchase the latest fad. We are geared, even instructed, to  be “out with the old and in with the new”!
That same mentality is creeping into our relationships The moment that a relationship slow downs, has a few glitches, there is the temptation to dispose of it, wipe it out and start fresh with someone else.
In March of this year Melissa and I will be married 17 years. If you believe that our relationship has been without glitches, slow downs, or without some messes along the way, you are sadly mistaken. To say there is a lot of water under the bridge is an understatement; however, during the seventeen years of our relationship we have built a stronger and higher bridge. We are the bridge. Our duty is to stay above many of the issues that cause things to slow down or speed up.
You see, water under a bridge really doesn’t affect the bridge. A bridge (relationship) is not built overnight. Early on, when we were first building and forging our marriage, the water affected us. We were trying to build something and the storms came. It affected us because we hadn’t had the time to get our bridge built. Storms are just a part of it. You have to just keep building. If you will remain loyal to each other and to God, you will build a relationship that can withstand the storms. It’s then you move on to another phase. The same storm can occur but it doesn’t have an affect, because the water just flows under the bridge. It doesn’t flood your marriage. It doesn’t slow your marriage down, it doesn’t cause the glitches it might have before, because your bridge is higher and stronger!
Now that Melissa and I have built a bridge (relationship), we haven’t stopped maintaining, improving or working on our bridge. Nor should you! Regardless of how long you’ve been in your relationship, you need to keep building, maintaining and improving your bridge!
If you are just starting out in a marriage or a relationship, don’t go into with a disposable mindset. Go into with your eyes wide open, knowing that storms will come, but have the mindset that we will stick it out!
When people look at your life, may they know your life exemplifies loyalty! A lot of people say they are loyal. They say “I will be with you”. Don’t just say it, do it!

The Verbs #19 (Let it Go)

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11 Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget.

Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 19:11). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

In 2013 Disney released an animated film titled “Frozen”. In the film, Princess Elsa of Arendelle possesses a uniqueness. In the beginning, this gift is used to create moments of enjoyment with her younger sister Anna. One day while playing, Elsa accidentally injures Anna. Their parents, the King and Queen, rush both siblings to a colony of trolls where Anna is “healed”, but her memories were also altered to remove traces of Elsa’s unique gift. Elsa is warned to learn to control the gift that is in her. The King and Queen isolate both sisters within the castle. Elsa shuts out Anna, causing a rift between them. The rift continues as isolation has caused insecurities. Each time there is an issue or a conflict, it is ratcheted up by the distrust caused by the shutting out of Elsa to Anna. The Film has a song that really catches the theme of the movie. That song became one of the top songs of the year, winning multiple awards. It was the feelings of one who made a mistake, who hurt someone unintentionally. Yet, was isolated and restricted, from being around the ones that she loved. So, once she was outside of the restrictions she begins to “Let it Go”! Why couldn’t there had just been a conversation between all of them, then and there about truth of the matter? Healing would have happened and relationships would have never been hindered. So often we try to cover up, instead of opening up. 

In life, mistakes are made, and hurt is brought on. More often than not, the hurt is unintentional. Words are spoken in the heat of the moment, actions are taken without thought of the repercussions. People’s futures are forever changed by a moment. That moment is now dictating, relationships, positions and even finances. It all started as an innocent mistake, now it is led to a complete separation of relationships. I have witnessed so many families, businesses, and marital relationships destroyed over the failure to “let things go”! To just open up and say, “I’m sorry, I hurt you, how can I make it right?”

We as people somehow believe that by letting something go, that we are placing our approval on the event. Forgiveness isn’t making an excuse for the behavior, forgiveness is actually protecting you from becoming destroyed by harboring feelings towards that individual for a mistake. Intentional or unintentional it was a mistake, and as the Proverb tells us, smart people know how to hold their tongue, and your grandeur is to forgive and forget. In other words, let it go. It is often easier to say I’m sorry, than it is to say I forgive you! 

Forgiveness actually has more to do with you than the other person. Take a look at what Jesus stated about this…
“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.
Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Mt 6:14–15). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

See forgiveness has so much more to do with me than them. By forgiving I prove that I’m not weak, rather I am strong. I am strong enough to understand that people do make mistakes. I am also smart enough to know that I am not perfect, and I desperately need forgiveness. I will not get forgiveness without offering it to others. Sometimes you’ll need to accept an apology that you never actually get, and just forgive them without it. It’s more about you than them anyway. 

The King James Version of the bible renders Proverbs 19:11 like this 

11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger;
And it is his glory to pass over a transgression

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Pr 19:11). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

It is your glory to pass over a transgression. While reading that scripture, my mind is captured by the phrase “pass over”! This phrase is a huge phrase in the bible. It’s beginning is during the plagues placed upon the people of Egypt. The last plague was the “death angel”. The angel was instructed to visit the land of Egypt and any home that didn’t have the blood applied, death would come upon the first born of that home. However, if the blood was applied to the home, then the death angel would “pass over” that home and spare that family from death. (Exodus 12) The blood is what covers our mistakes, transgressions, or sins. When we ask for forgiveness then the blood is applied to our lives. 
Every time that there is an offense in our lives, or someone hurts us, we have a choice. We can either “pass over” it and spare the individual, or we can bring death to the relationship. Which will you do? 

There are many relationships in my life that I value, more than I value the need to be “right” in order to keep those relationships, I just need to “pass over” some things, hold my tongue (or my fingers), and realize that God WILL and HAS dealt with all of it already! 

Someone said that forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free, only to realize that you were the prisoner! Set yourself free, by offering forgiveness!

The Verbs #18 (Protection)

10           God’s name is a place of protection—
good people can run there and be safe.

Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 18:10). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

I absolutely love this scripture. Allow me to explain why I love this text. The New King James renders this verse…

10          The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.

The New King James Version. (1982). (Pr 18:10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Someone once said, the sweetest sound in any language is the sound of one’s own name. If you’re walking down the street and someone calls your name, you stop dead in your tracks. That person has an immediate effect on you simply because he or she knows your name.

It is amazing to me that God knows my name. Not only does God know our names, but Isaiah 49:16 tells us they are engraved on the palms of His hands. Can you imagine walking down the road, your head hung low, thinking everyone has forgotten about you? Then suddenly, you hear your name. And the one that you meet face-to-face, eye-to-eye, the one who knows your name, is Jesus. Whether you know it or not, He does call your name. He does know your name. The sweetest sound you’ll ever hear, is when Jesus calls your name. I think about Lazarus. Lazarus was dead; yet when Jesus called His name, death couldn’t prevent him from hearing his name being called. I do believe that was the sweetest sound Lazarus ever heard.

You should be encouraged, because there is nothing that can stop you from hearing when Jesus calls your name! It will be the sweetest sound that you have ever heard! I believe, that as much as it means to us when we hear our name, it means something to God when we call on Him. Anytime that you are in trouble, just call on the Name of the Lord! When you call, He becomes a strong tower that you can run into and be safe!

The Verbs #17 (Stay Positive)

           Evil people relish malicious conversation;
the ears of liars itch for dirty gossip.

Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 17:4). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

In order to change the way you speak and how you think, you have to change what you are listening to. You’ve heard the old adage, “garbage in, garbage out”. One of the most difficult things to do is to be positive while being completely surrounded by negativity.

Each year, I write out ten goals. It is a way to keep myself on track. I have a vision of where I want to go and who I want to be.  I was raised up to be an optimist; however, life has a way of taking the wind out of your sails. I have been transparent, that 2016 was an extremely difficult year for me personally. One day Melissa came to me, and in her way of setting me straight, said you’ve never been this negative before. It was then I started to notice it in myself. I was really falling on the side of being negative.

Without a doubt, some negative things had happened, but always before I had could compartmentalize the issue or issues, and stay positive. So, when it came time to write out my goals for 2017, my main goal is to stay on the positive side of positivity. I even went as far as to write down how I intend to accomplish this goal. It’s one thing to have a goal; it’s quite another to have a plan to achieve that goal.

The scripture above gives us an insight into people who like a negative conversation. I refuse to allow myself to relish in a negative conversation; likewise, I refuse to have my ears itching to hear (or my eyes itching to see on social media) what is negative. If I want to be positive, then I cannot fill my ears, my mind and/or my life with negativity.

Yes, I understand that the person who does the speaking carries responsibility for talking negative; however, I have the power to decide what I want to hear. Have you ever thought about the conversations that you are engaged in? Have you filtered it through this thought from Paul?

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Php 4:8–9). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

If I want to stay on the positive side of positivity, I must think on things that are true, noble, reputable, the best and not the worst. In order to keep my mind thinking that way, I need to set up guards on what I hear. I may not be saying those things; however, by listening to another person’s negativity, I have allowed a seed to be planted. It’s not a seed of positivity, it’s a seed of negativity. I am practicing an equally destructive behavior by listening to the destructive talk. When someone begins that kind of talk my friend, it’s time to walk.

Don’t relish in it! Don’t let your ears begin craving negative talk! Join me this year in staying on the positive side of positivity!

The Verbs #16 (Peace with your enemies)

           When God approves of your life,
even your enemies will end up shaking your hand.

Today, let’s take a look at the life of Jesus. The greatest enemy of the day was the Roman Empire. In the region where Jesus was ministering, the representative of the Roman Government was a man by the name of Pontius Pilate. The Romans were the enemy of the Jews. Many times, the disciples assumed that Jesus was coming to overthrow the empire of the Romans. They believed that Jesus came to set up a new kingdom, the kingdom of the Jews. Without a doubt, I believe Pontius Pilate considered a person a threat that had the kind of influence, or reputation, that Jesus did. In a more modern term, Jesus would be considered an enemy of the state. It would leave you to understand, that if given the opportunity to eliminate such a threat, certainly Pilate would have taken the opportunity. However, at the time that Jesus was arrested and turned over to the Romans, Jesus stood trial before Pilate. His life was now in the hands of the enemy, the Jews. His future, all that people had said about Him and who he was, could be crushed by the enemy. Instead, after a trial, Pilate stated he found no fault in Jesus. Pilate could’ve eliminated the threat, and sentenced Jesus to jail. But Pilate found nothing on Jesus. He did send Jesus to Herod, “king of the Jews”, who ruled the Galilean province. Jesus faces another trial, and again, an enemy finds no fault in Him. Jesus is sent back to Pilate, and one more time there is nothing to be found to bring a charge against Jesus.

13 Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, 14 said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; 15 no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. 16 I will therefore chastise Him and release Him” 17 (for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast).
The New King James Version. (1982). (Lk 23:13–17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Three trials, yet Jesus’ enemies couldn’t find anything about, or on, Jesus. Now with His own people, that was a different story. We as Christians should live our lives to be pleasing to God. And in our efforts to be pleasing to God, God will cause our enemies to be at peace with us. Sadly, we often try to please people, instead of God. This leads to our enemies finding fault with our efforts. Just remind yourself that your duty is to love God and to serve God. That is what is pleasing to God.

The Verbs #15 (Good Counsel)

22           Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail;
take good counsel and watch them succeed.
Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 15:22). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

This verse has been one of my life verses. There is much in this life that I do not know; however, I do know people who know much of what I do not know. My objective in any decision that I make, is to find those people and ask them questions so that I become knowledgeable on the situation. For much of my life, I have pursued people that are much older and wiser than I am. I have found that hanging around people that are at a higher level than I am, causes me to rise to a higher level.

In my speaking with other people, I listen to what hurdles they have overcome, what trials they have been through, and I listen to see how they handle circumstances that are not life’s best. How do they operate and handle the obstacles that come in this life? How do they handle themselves publicly and privately in a crisis? Why are these questions important to me? Because I want to handle myself in the ways they have handled themselves. I too, want to overcome the obstacles, hurdles and trials in this life, and by listening to their advice, I might avoid additional crisis’s, obstacles and hurdles.

I seek out people, invite them to lunch, just so I can ask them three questions. Certainly, it will relate to areas in which I need help. There isn’t a single person that has made it by themselves. Every person needs help. Let me remind you that when you see a turtle sitting up on a fence post, you can be assured that the turtle did not get there by itself. The same thing holds true with us. Somewhere along the way, all of us have had some help. Early on in my leading at the Worship Center, I received so much help. One would think, now that I have been here and we have had a great revival, that I may not need any more help. On the contrary, I receive more help, and now I desire more help than ever before. Never be ashamed to ask for Godly help, advice or counsel; however, when you ask for Godly help, advice, and counsel then you should strongly heed that advice. That is exactly what this Proverb is stating; refuse good advice and watch plans fail.

Solomon wrote the Proverbs to his son Rehoboam. Rehoboam took the throne as king after Solomon died. To give a little perspective on the story I want to share with you, I must tell you about what happened towards the end of Solomon’s life. Solomon began letting his relationship with God slip. He begin to live in a way that was not godly. (I Kings 11:1-6)

Much was happening in the kingdom towards the end of Solomon’s reign as king, and most of it bad. People in the kingdom were being forced to flee to other nations to escape death. Solomon brought in idol worship, and instead of governing wisely, Solomon placed a heavy tax burden upon the people. The choices made by Solomon, to choose women over God and money over the people, caused an enormous weight to come upon the people. This weight caused a nation that was once wealthy, healthy and unified, to collapse upon itself.

Ultimately Solomon died, and his son Rehoboam began to reign in his place. At the time of Rehoboam coming to the throne, the Bible states this:

Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had gathered to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of this, he returned from Egypt,* for he had fled to Egypt to escape from King Solomon. The leaders of Israel summoned him, and Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel went to speak with Rehoboam. 4
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (1 Ki 12:1–4). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Notice who came to speak with Rehoboam. The leaders, those who had left Israel and the whole assembly, went to speak with him. That’s quite a group of people coming to meet you on your first day in office. Here’s why they wanted to meet with him:

 “Your father was a hard master,” they said. “Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects.”
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (1 Ki 12:4). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Here they are, giving the new king a way to unify the country, gain loyalty and make the nation a pleasant place to live again. They laid it out; here is the advice, counsel and steps you need to take in order to have a successful kingship.

Rehoboam asked for three days to think about the council’s advice. Here is what happened in those three days. He asked the older men who had been counselors to his father.

The older counselors replied, “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.”
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (1 Ki 12:7). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

But Rehoboam rejected the advice. The counsel of the elders was rejected. Rehoboam then went to his friends, the younger men who had grown up with him, who were now his advisors and he asked them what he should do. Here’s their response…

10 The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! 11 Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!’ ”

Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (1 Ki 12:10–11). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Wow. If you look at these two pieces of advice, you can immediately recognize the vast difference between them. One was good advice and the other should have been rejected on its face; however, Rehoboam did exactly as his father told him not to do. He rejected the good advice and went with the advice of his friends. It cost him. It cost him dearly. The kingdom divided and civil war was narrowly avoided.

Let this proverb and the practice of it become a part of your life. Seek good counsel, then don’t ignore it. Your life will be the better for it. Your plans will prosper by taking and heeding the advice of wise counsel.

The Verbs #14 (The Golden Rule)

The Golden Rule

The golden rule is defined as a rule or law of reciprocity that relates a principal of treating others as one would wish to be treated themselves.

Jesus said it this way in Matthew 7:12

“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.

Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Mt 7:12). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

It is a simple rule of thumb to guide our behavior. I am starting to think that this simple message isn’t simple enough for some people. We live in one of the fiercest generations! We are angry, frustrated and greatly impatient with other people. We simply do not have grace for each other, nor do we extend grace to each other. Yet, we demand grace in our mistakes, failures and shortcomings.

Proverbs 14:14

14  A mean person gets paid back in meanness,
a gracious person in grace.

Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 14:14). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

One of the best lessons I have ever learned in my short life, came through an object lesson from the corporation that I worked for. We were taught to place the person that we were having difficulty with, in our chair behind our desk. Then we would sit where the employee would normally sit. We would then ask questions of them such as, if they were us, and we were them, how would they handle the situation at hand? It usually had an amazing outcome. I had employees literally tell me they would fire employees that did the same thing they were doing. Yet at the same time, didn’t see the irony in the moment.

I try every day to handle each situation in terms that I could handle if I were in the other position. If I were the one failing, how would I like to be handled. I sure wouldn’t want to be kicked while I was down, so that challenges me to lift others. Why? There might be a day when that person is in a position to administer justice and/or mercy, and I want them to remember how I handled them when it comes time for them to handle me. Ask yourself the question, “how do I want people to treat me”, and then begin treating them the same way. You’ll be amazed by the results!