Tag Archives: proverb

Wisdom Wednesday: Dance to the Rhythm

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Have you ever really, really looked forward to something only to have things change and cause your heart to sink? Seems like I’ve been experiencing a greater share of disappointments lately. I thought I was already pretty flexible and spontaneous, but with encountering so many changes in plans, I can’t help but realize God’s hand at work, teaching me to become more adaptive and able to roll with the punches.

If the rhythm of the drum beat changes, the dance step must adapt.” —African proverb

“The wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water molds itself to the pitcher.” —Zen proverb

Sometimes we become angry when something upsets our plans. The apostle James explained that we become angry and fight because we aren’t getting what we want. (James 4:1-3)

“Flexible people don’t get bent out of shape.” —Unknown

“Satisfied desire is sweet to a person; therefore, it is hateful and exceedingly offensive to fools to give up evil [upon which they have set their hearts].” —Proverbs 13:19 TAB

Sometimes even if we don’t realize it right away, a change in plans can actually work out better in some way, or at least in the long run. One example involved two events scheduled for the same day. I had planned on attending a “Blessing of the Bikes” with a friend, and had to change plans when a zip lining birthday celebration for my mother-in-law was scheduled for the same day. Because the zip lining event was originally scheduled for early afternoon, I felt free to take on partial duty coverage for one of my firefighter brothers. I agreed to cover from the night before up to a certain hour the next morning. The night before the zip lining event, I was informed that the reservation was for one hour after my duty would end, giving me no time to shower and travel to the destination. Then it was changed to the very hour my shift would end. Fortunately, my daughter was able to take my reservation. I also thought that since I could no longer participate, I could possibly go on the “Blessing of the Bikes” ride after all! The possibility did, indeed, exist, until it was decided that they would be departing half an hour before my shift ended. At least I was able to have breakfast with them! Things worked out well in the end. My daughter was able to take my place and go zip lining and celebrate with her Nana, and I was able to do driver trainer on one of the fire apparatus for the first time.

“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” —Proverbs 13:12 KJV

Another reason to be flexible, spontaneous, and able to adapt is because of love. I was talking to a former firefighter recently, and he related a time when he had come home late at night from a structure fire in -40° weather. He and his gear were frozen, and as he was thawing in the kitchen, his wife (at the time) complained that he was dripping all over the floor. Although it’s very likely as a firefighter’s wife, she had already faced many changes in plans and disappointments, to react in such a way to a frozen hero was… cold. Martin Luther said, “Faith, like light, should always be simple and unbending; while love, like warmth, should beam forth on every side, and bend to every necessity of our brethren.”

“Yielding flexibility is a virtue of an ever-expanding heart.” —Molly Friedenfeld, author

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If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Disappointment and Hope

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Who Needs Watering?

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Lord, open our eyes to see those who are dry and in need of watering, even if they are smiling and trying to be strong.

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Is Your Window Broken?

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Ever heard of ‘The Broken Window Theory’? I hadn’t until a few months ago when our deputy chief referred to it during one of our fire department meetings. Although ‘The Broken Window Theory’ is based on the premise that disorder leads to crime, within the framework of the theory is a principle that can be found in the book of Proverbs.

I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man. —Proverbs 24:30-34 KJV

Whether it’s a broken window, things left undone or out of place, or disintegrating relationships, it conveys a sense of complacency and apathy, and can become a new ‘normal’ if left neglected or disregarded. Those directly or indirectly involved are basically saying, “I don’t care enough,” or “It’s not my problem or responsibility,” or “We don’t feel led to get involved”. Neglect leads to disorder, disorder leads to chaos, and chaos leads to tragedy.

We are all a part of something, even if only a part of humanity. We all have a responsibility. If we want peace instead of chaos, happiness instead of sadness, beauty instead of ugliness, success instead of failure, and growth instead of decay, then the little things matter, and it’s up to us to take ownership and fix the broken windows.

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Neglect Destroys

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Wisdom Wednesday: Sing, Whistle or Blow Bubbles

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One of the easiest and fun things we can do to improve our mood and health is to breathe. Have you ever found yourself breathing so shallowly that you were almost unconsciously holding your breath, especially in moments of concentration or stress? Breath equals life.

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” —Genesis 2:7

“Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and all good things will be yours.” —Swedish proverb

As you may have heard or read, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” and while doing deep breathing exercises can help us feel better, there are fun ways to get more oxygen into our bodies.

 

Sing!

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“Singing lightens sorrows.” —Spanish proverb

 

Play a wind instrument or just whistle!

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“Breath is the music of life.” —Indian proverb

 

Blow bubbles!

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Bubbles are like wet kisses floating in the air, waiting to pop and tickle the one who touches them.

Although all these things may not equal deep breathing exercises, they do encourage a greater intake of oxygen and can create a positive mood and improved health.  Blowing bubbles is also whimsical, relaxing, and can produce fun and entertainment when children leap and run to pop them. So the next time you feel stressed, take a moment to breathe.

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If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Laughter

 


Wisdom Wednesday: Keep Your Heart

Photo credit minus type:  Nithya Ramanujam via Free Images

Photo credit minus type: Nithya Ramanujam via Free Images

This post is mostly for young people, but since I’m not immune, it’s a good reminder for those of us who are on the other side of the hill, too, especially for those who may be just starting a new stage in life.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” —Proverbs 4:23 NLT

I, and I’m sure many others my age and older, can confirm the validity of Proverbs 4:23, because the course of our lives has been determined by what our hearts have followed. For some, it has been a pretty good road, but for others, it has been hard and filled with regrets. Although some people would say they are grateful for the lessons learned, if they could go back and have a do-over, they would.

“To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.”  —Chinese proverb

“We’re prone to let circumstances fuel our emotions. Then our emotions dictate our responses, and so we become victims of our circumstances and of our emotions…” —Nancy Leigh DeMoss in Trials That Reveal Your Heart

“Look not upon your desires and your heart will not be confused.” —Chinese proverb

Sometimes flattery grabs the attention of our hearts, because it fills the common need of acceptance and love. Compliments and encouragement are one thing, but be careful of flattery that is intended to capture your attention for selfish reasons.

“The ear is the road to the heart.”  —French proverb

Sometimes our present circumstances are tough or even bad, and all we want to do is escape, and we go for the first person or circumstance that would appear to rescue us.

“A fleeing person is not choosy about his road.” —Japanese proverb

“Whether you understand the motivations of your heart or not, really what’s driving your actions, and what’s driving your life and how you fill your day, actually comes back to what you believe is actually gonna bring about the most fullness of life possible for you.” —Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Fig Leaves, Lies and the Grace of God

“If you want to know where your heart is, look to where your mind goes when it wanders.” —Unknown

“Your feet will bring you to where your heart is.” —Irish proverb

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  —Jesus

“For where your treasure is…”

The deeper meaning of Proverbs 4:23 reveals the value of our hearts. Most other English translations more accurately read similarly to the NKJV, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Our hearts are like a water spring, a source, and everything in our lives flows from it, and that is what determines our course. It is like a life giving spring, but if it becomes polluted, it can mean disease or death, suffering and heartache, so we must guard it well.

I would be the last person to tell you that it’s easy to control the direction and affections of your heart. And changing the course of that direction can be especially difficult when it involves the heart of another as well. Have you ever found yourself involved in a relationship and found it difficult to let go because you didn’t want to hurt the other person? They usually end up getting hurt in the end anyway, so it’s better to guard your heart— and theirs— from the beginning.

“He is most free from danger, who, even when safe, is on his guard.” —Latin proverb

“It’s okay to follow your heart, but take your brain with you.” —Nicole Hill

 

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Breaking & Making Habits and God’s Plan for Your Life May Not Be What You Think It Is

 


Wisdom Wednesday: Balance Is Key

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“Moderation in all things.”

“Even in adultery?” a response was shot back.

The responder was being facetious in trying to defend his position in a discussion, but even though he used a logical fallacy, his retort does bring up a good point.  Moderation in all things obviously does not include immoral things.

“Immoderate desire is the mark of a child, not a man.” —Democritus

“Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things…” —1 Corinthians 9:25a KJV

“If there is one single secret to long life, that secret is moderation.” —George Gallup

Moderation and temperance for one person may be different for another, because the idea of moderating something has to do with measuring it, and temperance has to do with self-control.  One person might be able to eat a pint of ice cream without gaining weight, while another person gains weight just by looking at it.  One person might be able to have a glass of wine with a meal, while another person cannot stop at just one.

“Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance.” —Epicurus

“Hast thou found honey?  Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.” —Proverbs 25:16 KJV

“Even nectar is poison if taken to excess.” —Hindu proverb

“Enough is as good as a feast.” —English proverb

Moderation and temperance are not just about food and drink, it’s about every area of life— work, recreation, relationships, hobbies, sleep…

Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?” —Ecclesiastes 7:16 NASV

“Nothing brings more pain than too much pleasure; nothing more bondage than too much liberty.” —Poor Richard aka Benjamin Franklin

“Better learn balance.  Balance is key.  Balance good, karate good.  Everything good.  Balance bad, better pack up, go home.” —Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Breaking & Making Habits


Wisdom Wednesday: Use Some Common Sense

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Have you ever heard the phrases, “God helps those who help themselves” or “Let go and let God”? Did you know neither is in the Bible? Well, the principles are there, sort of, but there is a balance. God blesses the diligent, but He also helps us when we cannot help ourselves. Those who tend to be passive, might use the phrase, “Let go and let God” as an excuse to sit back and just pray about it, while those who like to be in control may need to learn to ‘let go and let God’. God expects us to use the wisdom and common sense He has given to do what we can do, and look to Him to do what only He can do.

“I hope none of you who have a garden are praying, ‘God, my garden is getting full of weeds and choking the plants. What do You think I need to do about it?’ You need to pull the weeds! You don’t need to pray about it! Just go pull the weeds!” —Steve Cobb

“Don’t stand by the water and long for fish; go home and weave a net.” —Chinese proverb

“Pray for a good harvest, but keep on hoeing.” —Slavic proverb

“Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” —Proverbs 10:4 NASV

 

If you liked this, you might also like… “Just Do Something” and “Don’t Panic”


Wisdom Wednesday: Don’t Fool Yourself

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Photo credit: vassiliki koutsothanasi via freeimages.com with text added

I don’t know how many times I have heard someone say, “Just follow your heart,” as if our hearts never lead us astray. Oh, I understand what they’re trying to say, but I have witnessed so much drama and devastation by people who have taken that advice and followed their hearts with wild abandon. Yeah, go ahead and follow your heart, but don’t neglect wisdom.

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.” —Proverbs 28:26

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you’re the easiest person to fool.” —Richard Feynman, American physicist

“I try not to kid myself. You know, I don’t mind romancing someone else, but to fool yourself is pretty devastating and dangerous.” —Bill Veeck, baseball team owner

How do we know when we’re fooling ourselves?

One indication that we are fooling ourselves is when two or more people risk losing our friendship by being brutally honest with us about something and we reject it, because it’s not what we want to hear or believe. Even if other people say the opposite about us, we would do well to consider if the assessment has at least some validity.

“To be human is to err, but it is truly the fool who perseveres in error.” —Latin proverb

Another indication is when we blame others for a lack of success instead of considering if we might possibly be to blame or at least share a part in it.

“Those who see the faults of others, but not their own, are wise for others and fools for themselves.” —Latin proverb

“A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” —Italian proverb

Yet another indication that we might be fooling ourselves is when we think more highly of ourselves than we ought. A common thing said by some Christians when facing adversity or resistance is to proclaim it’s because they are doing God’s will and are, therefore, under spiritual attack.  Sure, it could be a spiritual attack if the spiritual realm is really threatened by us, but it could also be our own self-importance and folly that is causing the adversity and resistance.

“God and man think him a fool who brags of his own great wisdom.” —French proverb

“Self-exaltation is the fool’s paradise.” —Italian proverb

“I believe in my mask—The man I made up is me. I believe in my dance—And my destiny.” —Sam Shepard, American playwright, actor and director

And lastly, another indication that we might be fooling ourselves is when we cause drama, because we feel the need to be heard and vindicated. It is one thing to vent to one or two close friends privately. It is another thing to broadcast our perceived wounds and injustices to the masses, unless, of course, broadcasting a true injustice would actually benefit the masses.

“A fool carves a piece of his heart to everyone that sits near him.” —Italian proverb

“Wise men talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.” —Plato, Greek philosopher

“A fool is like the big drum that beats fast but does not realize its hollowness.” —Malay proverb

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Seek Counsel


Wisdom Wednesday: Mind Your Own Business

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Have you ever regretted getting involved in someone else’s argument and wished you had minded your own business? Although sometimes it is good to act as a mediator, it is best to do so only when asked, and even then, it is sometimes wise to stay out of it. How do you know when to stay out of an argument when asked? Consider first those who are arguing. If they are generally reasonable and just seem to need another opinion, then inquire about the disagreement. If the disagreement is something that can be settled easily, then it’s probably okay to get involved. Otherwise, it’s probably best to stay out of it. The exception is if you are in authority, e.g. a parent training young children how to handle disagreements, because teaching them is your business. But sometimes, allowing your children to work out their own disagreements under your supervision as part of the training is also best. The point, though, is not to invite trouble.

“When you invite trouble, it’s usually quick to accept.” —H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

“Who is always meddling into other men’s affairs, leads a dangerous life.” —Spanish proverb

“When you live in reaction, you give your power away. Then you get to experience what you gave your power to.” —N. Smith

“Don’t get your knickers in a knot. Nothing is solved and it just makes you walk funny.” —Kathryn Carpenter

“It is easier to keep out of a quarrel than to get out of one.” —Latin proverb

“The go-between wears out a thousand sandals.” —Japanese proverb

“Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!” —Unknown paraphrase of a J.R.R. Tolkien quote

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: When to Speak or Not to Speak


Wisdom Wednesday: Broken Teeth and a Foot Out of Joint

"Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint."  —Proverbs 25:19

“Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint.” —Proverbs 25:19

While trying to decide the topic for this week’s Wisdom Wednesday, I was reminded of a dream I’d had. Although I have heard many people say they have had dreams in which their teeth fell out or broke, I’d never had that dream until three nights ago. I was still trying to decide between two topics when I found out that someone hyper-extended his foot this evening. Broken teeth, foot out of joint? I couldn’t ignore the ‘signs’.

“Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint.” —Proverbs 25:19

Have you ever been surprised to find out who your real friends are during times of trouble? Although I try to be a good friend even during times of difficulty and need, I’m sure I have disappointed the expectations of family and friends at one time or another.

“In times of difficulty, friendship is on trial.” —Greek proverb

“The shifts of fortune test the reliability of friends.” —Cicero

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” —J.R.R. Tolkien

“He that trusts a faithless friend has a good witness against him.” —Spanish proverb

“He’s my friend that speaks well of me behind my back.” —Thomas Fuller

Have you ever been surprised by the faithfulness or generous support of those far away as opposed to those who are close?

“A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand.” —Kahlil Gibran

“We are attractive and winsome when in Christ’s name we ask questions and truly listen, when we share the suffering of another, and when we risk everything to be authentic.” —Denis Haack, Founder and Director of Ransom Fellowship

“The genuine friend, who is affected with the joys and sorrows of another, is a medicinal cordial, the sanctuary of the heart, the delight of the eyes, and worthy of confidence.” —Hindu proverb

“And, sometimes love looks like inaction when you’re really choosing not to enable.” —Jennifer, blogger in Rucksack Full O’Rocks

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Disappointment and Hope

 


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