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Posts Tagged ‘deceit versus honesty’


Proverbs 13: Walk With the Wise

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Book of Proverbs is a compilation of refrains that come to us over the centuries. We avoid their advice at our own peril; we integrate their lessons for our own good, and for the good of all.

Intelligent children listen to their parents;
    foolish children do their own thing.

Whether we see ourselves as wise or foolish, there is always something to learn from our elders; wisdom is, after all, the patience to listen for, and to respond positively to God’s Word.

Careful words make for a careful life;
    careless talk may ruin everything.

A good person hates false talk;
    a bad person wallows in gibberish.

We know that words matter. Harsh words create anxiety and deepen rifts while positive words enrich our lives and open us to transformation.

A pretentious, showy life is an empty life;
    a plain and simple life is a full life.

The lives of good people are brightly lit streets;
    the lives of the wicked are dark alleys.

Societies based on profit have difficulty understanding God’s goodness. Cultures with structures that care for the marginalized will give preference to the poor when making decisions. Do we live in dark alleys or on brightly lit streets?

 Arrogant know-it-alls stir up discord,
    but wise men and women listen to each other’s counsel.

Easy come, easy go,
    but steady diligence pays off.

We know that humility is the best foundation for a fruitful life. Openness to Jesus as The Word of God brings us the persistence, fortitude, and hope we will need to serve as disciples of Christ.

Ignore the Word and suffer;
    honor God’s commands and grow rich.

Sound thinking makes for gracious living,
    but liars walk a rough road.

Honesty in all our ways may be difficult but trustworthiness comes with great efforts. While we may temporarily deceive those from whom we hide, we know that ultimately the truth will always come forward.

Become wise by walking with the wise;
    hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.

Scholars believe that the Book of Proverbs is a gathering of sayings brought together after the exile experience of the people of Israel. After huge loss and great difficulty, the faithful discover that both their actions and their words matter deeply. They also know that nothing and no one hides from the Creator. As New Testament people, we have as a model the actions of Jesus as he lives out The Word of God. As Easter people, we have the presence and consolation of the Spirit to buoy us up when we are lost or frightened. For all of these reasons, let us decide to walk with the wise rather than play with the foolish.

Today’s verses are taken from THE MESSAGE translation of the Bible. When we compare other translations of these words, we find that the difference between the wise and foolish is not that difficult to distinguish.

 

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Zechariah 8:15-17: LessonsIf-You-Tell-The-Truth

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Scripture gives us clear instruction on how we are to act and what we are to say. Our free will allows us to choose this disciple path or reject it for the road of comfort that is wide but that has many pitfalls. The narrow path appears more dangerous and has fewer travelers; but it leads to the narrow gate that opens for us eternal life.

The prophet Zechariah reminds of God’s word: Do not fear! These then are the things you should do: Speak the truth to one another; let there be honesty and peace in the judgments at your gates, and let none of you plot evil against another in his heart, nor love a false oath. For all these things I hate.

God says: When my prophet tells you that I hate lies, insincerity and evil, he speaks to you in his dual way. I want you to understand that I call all liars to honesty. This is difficult for those who believe the stories they weave for they find it nearly impossible to live without the illusions they have conjured. I want you to understand that authenticity is essential in my kingdom. Integrity sets a standard that some of my children despise for it cannot be manipulated. I want you to love goodness. Genuine mercy can only come from a heart that loves and so if you find that it is challenging for you to love your enemy, ask me to help you with this problem. My compassion is infinite. My patience never-ending. My hope is outrageous. My fidelity is unmatchable. My love is wider, broader and deeper than you can understand . . . and it is within you now, looking for your willingness to be transformed. This is my instruction for you today. Allow these words to enter your bones. Allow me to heal your broken heart.

Use the scripture link to compare versions of these verses and listen for God’s instruction.

Enter the word Instruction in the blog search bar and explore other posts about God’s lesson plans for us.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

matthew7_1[1]Matthew 7

Lessons in Serenity

As Matthew closes this section of his Gospel he records Jesus as speaking plainly and simply to his followers.  There really is no mystery here.   What must we do to gain serenity?

Jesus tells us clearly.

Stop judging others and tend to your own progress.  The criticisms we level at others are a good place to begin with our own self-development.  We critique in others what we dislike most in ourselves.  Let us recall the negative comments we have made about others and let us lay them out neatly.  We will find an apt and accurate map of the journey we must take.

Matthew-7[1]You are pearls of great price so there is no need to claw your way over those you perceive to be in your path.  Once we see where our journey must take us we will want to relax into the great gift God has for us.  All of our striving and fixing and arranging may, in fact, be counter to the work we must do on ourselves.  Let us learn to bear good fruit in due season.

Ask the creator for all the desires of your heart.  Who knows us better than the hand that carved us out of nothing?  Fashioned us in God’s image, we do not have to search long or far to discover why we are here or where we are going.  Who leads us better than our human and divine brother Jesus?  He understands the dichotomy we hold in our hands, the tug from two directions, the calling of two diverging worlds.  Who abides with us more faithfully than the Spirit?  God’s wisdom and grace dwell within us to guide, protect and console.

matthew_7_13_14_by_phoenixoftheopera-d4247gw[1]Discipleship is difficult and the way to peace is narrow.  Quick fixes, easy solutions, pat answers, immediate satisfaction, and feelings of control and power must be put aside in favor of process, dialog, reflection, shared decisions, forgiveness and redemption.

Expect false leaders.  And work to be honest followers.  Integrity, honesty, courage and persistence are wells from which we must draw.  We must learn to rebuke gently, to walk humbly, to accompany without judging, to pray ceaselessly.

You have a choice to make; build on sand or rock.  We are free to choose.  Stand on solid ground where everyone is open and honest, or allow ourselves to slide into the shifting world of denial, obfuscation and illusion.

The way is clear.  The path is open.  The winding is narrow but there are signs along the way.  These are lessons in serenity.

And so we pray.

Matthew7_24sm[1]Patient and loving father and mother, help us to refrain from judging lest we lose ourselves in the trial.  Remind us that we are well loved and well protected.  Repeat to us often that we are to knock, ask and seek.  Support us as we sift through true and false teachers and leaders.  Lead us out of the boggy quicksand of a life lived with the only goal of personal comfort.  Steer us away from all that is alluring.  Lift us to stand on the rock that is both fortress and refuge.  Guide us always back to you.  We ask this in Jesus’ name, together with the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Reflect on the past week’s posts and determine what lessons for serenity you hope to learn in the coming season of Advent.

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