Wisdom for my Sons

Month: December, 2011

Joys of self-control. 12.4.10 & 12.29.11

From Evernote:

Joys of self-control. 12.4.10 & 12.29.11

"The life of self-control is no barren deprivation, no wilderness of monotony. Renunciation there is, but it is the renunciation of the ephemeral and false in order that the abiding and true may be realized. Enjoyment is not cut off; it is intensified. Enjoyment is life; it is the slavish desire for it that kills. Is there anywhere a more miserable man than he who is always longing for some new sensation? Is there anywhere a more blessed being than he who, by self-control, is satisfied, calm, and enlightened? Who has most of physical life and joy—the glutton, the drunkard, and the sensualist who lives for pleasure only, or the temperate man who holds his body in subjection, considering its needs and obeying its uses? I was once eating a ripe, juicy apple as it came from the tree, and a man near me said, “I would give anything if I could enjoy an apple like that.” I asked, “Why can’t you?” His answer was, “I have drunk whisky and smoked tobacco until I have lost all enjoyment in such things.” In pursuit of elusive enjoyments, men lose the abiding joys of life." -James Allen

Self-control being the art of steering clear of the false to pursue and cultivate that which is true and better. Self-control is difficult because it is always abstaining from fleshly desires…so much so that a man can over time begin to wonder why bother…why abstain from so many joys? What am I gaining in the end?….when in reality self-control is in fact the gate way to the abundant blessed life. Lack of self control over long periods of time leave us like the man that desires the apple…his soul longs for the ability to enjoy life but his pursuit of sinful pleasure in his devices, has left him without the ability to enjoy life. Sin is like meth, it is addictive and as God promises…will be guaranteed to result in death…leaving a person so far from a satisfied life…that life becomes a personal hell on earth. Action: My sons, esteem and pursue the habit of self control…it will keep you free from the cursed life of sin and bring about in your life joy, satisfaction, peace and blessing beyond your wildest dreams.

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The key to life! 12.28.11

From Evernote:

The key to life! 12.28.11

My father taught me,

"Take my words to heart.

Follow my commands, and you will live.

Get wisdom; develop good judgment.

Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.

Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.

Love her, and she will guard you.

Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!

And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.

Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go.

Guard them, for they are the key to life. (Proverbs 4:4-7, 13 NLT)

The question throughout the history of mankind, "what is the meaning or secret of life?" Funny, but Gods Word answers it…it’s wisdom…aka knowledge of God. Knowledge of God is the key to life, for wisdom pulls the world’s curtain back reveling Gods blueprint for life and creation. Wisdom providing the context which allows the details of life to have meaning. Once wisdom begins establishing a truer context for life, one has a baseline to develope and exercise good judgement. Get wisdom! Develope good judgement! The father telling his son that the wisest thing he can do is to pursue wisdom…knowing that the deeper his son knows God…the more life makes sense, functioning like a master key. Action. My sons, life for you will head in one of two directions…this I guarantee. For you’ll either believe God, trusting that this is true or you spend your entire life chasing counterfeits only to waste your life and later arrive at the same conclusion. The wise man seeks to learn from the experiences of others. Remember truth is truth…whether you choose to believe it or not does not change the fact that it is true, governing the rules of the game. Life is designed by God, this is true…the only way to understand life more is to better understand its Creator and the Creators intended design.

Oh, the joys! 12.26.11

From Evernote:

Oh, the joys! 12.26.11

Oh, the joys of those who do not

follow the advice of the wicked,

or stand around with sinners,

or join in with mockers.

But they delight in the law of the Lord,

meditating on it day and night.

They are like trees planted along the riverbank,

bearing fruit each season.

Their leaves never wither,

and they prosper in all they do. (Psalm 1:1-3 NLT)

Oh, the joys of those who know the source of a blessed life. They know where their strength and joy is found, Gods Word…much like the stream, providing the fuel for us to flourish in season and out. History supports water fostering life, as civilizations begin by water. Water, like Gods Word, is the sustainer and flourisher of life. When planted beside his Word and in it daily, we flourish…remove ourselves and we begin to wither and die. The further away from it we get, the more joy and blessing elude us…until like a dead tree, we eventually show little evidence of life or fruitfull ess. Action. My sons, in life there is one major decision that will most greatly impact you for better or worse…and that is whether you choose to plant yourself daily in Gods Word. When you plant…you don’t move, it is a permanent location for all of life…so choose to plant yourself in His Word. Do so, and you will experience blessing-flourishing and fruitfullness no matter the circumstances in life. Choose not to, and your soul will slowly wither, feeling cursed…experiencing little joy or blessing beyond Gods common grace, no matter how good life is. This decision is the main fork in the road of life…how you handle His Word effects all other areas of life going forward, miss here and you miss everywhere.

Learn to view troubles differently. 12.22.11

From Evernote:

Learn to view troubles differently. 12.22.11

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:2-4 NLT)

So what is Gods goal with an individual’s life? …Make us more like Christ. Which if broken down logically means that our character would look and function more and more like that of His son. So maturity of character is Gods main goal in our lives. It sucks, but the reality is that times of smooth sailing don’t do much for our growth, they almost do the reverse…for we get soft. The wise man should say, "ok God, if that is true, your goal is my goal…I want to be a strong godly man who grows aggressively and is continually maturing in character." When that becomes the goal…troubles and challenges become great opportunities for joy. They are exactly what we need for endurance and strength of character to grow. Action. My sons, oh…how I wish I could master this view of difficulties and troubles in life, embracing them like we should. It is so hard and counter to our flesh which wants peaceful, easy living. Never stop working on this…fix this verse in your mind and everytime trouble comes, dwell on it…repeat it a million times if you have to. Don’t be deceived; the good, blessed life is one full of challenges to overcome…for you will always be growing and advancing in Gods purpose for your life. Force yourself to learn to love difficulty for it is a special opportunity for great joy!

Changing bad habits. 12.21.11

From Evernote:

Changing bad habits. 12.21.11

"Best way to change a bad habit is to track it for at least 31 days. Writing it down brings awareness to what is normally a subconcious action…a habit. And if you’re really serious about change share it with someone, as awareness plus transparency does wonders for changing bad habits." -ak (idea of tracking from "Compound Effect" by Darren Hardy)

Oh it’s getting to be that time a year again…Goals for the year ahead and reflection on the year that has passed. Reflection is great, as it allows for windows of time to see if our actions are aligning with who we desire to be. Do our daily habits align with our goals? Habits, or subconscious action, function much like a current in a river; very hard to see but very powerful in moving you in a certain direction. So how does one spot and correct bad habits when they are so hard to see? Logically the secret lies in awareness, making the subconscious behavior become conscious, the invisible…visible. Tracking a behavior makes it visible and open for adjustment. Action. My sons, if there is a bad habit that continually frustrates you, don’t be overwhelmed…simply commit to tracking it. Whether its your eating, time management, spending, etc…carry a little book or your phone with you and commit to writing it down, tracking the daily details of the specific behavior. You’ll be amazed at how being aware of our actions and tracking them for at least a month, will in itself redeem the bad behavior replacing it a new good habit. If you’re really serious about change, find a trusted friend and share the tracking of your actions…for nothing brings accountability like transparency. Remember always great men of God don’t do what everyone else does…they are different-standing out with excellence holding themselves to a higher standard in life.

Prayer triggers. 12.19.11 & 12.20.11

From Evernote:

Prayer triggers. 12.19.11 & 12.20.11

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT)

Our God is great as He commands us to be joyful, prayerful and thankful always. Given the nature of it being a command, it must be something we have control over…not anything subject to outside circumstances. Joyfulness, prayerfulness and thanks illness…like our clothing for day, are attitudes we choose to assume. Today I choose be joyful and thankful in all things. Today I choose to pray without ceasing…but how does that command practically play itself out, when life and work requires so much continual focus; we’d never end up geting anything done. Perhaps establishing simple prayer triggers throughout a day become simple ways to commune with God admist the hecticness of life. Simple things we have to do everyday, like meals, driving, going to the bathroom, waking up, going to sleep…so on and so forth, provide brief opportunities to cultivate the habit of continually praying. Action. My sons, choose each day of your life an attitude of joyfulness and thankfullness in all things. Establish simple daily prayer triggers that work well for you, so as to take time remembering and communing with God throughout our busy lives. Both habits will serve and bless you well in life.

Prayer triggers. 12.19.11

From Evernote:

Prayer triggers. 12.19.11

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT)

Our God is great as He commands us to be joyful, prayerful and thankful always. Given the nature of it being a command, it must be something we have control over…not anything subject to outside circumstances. Joyfulness, prayerfulness and thanks illness…like our clothing for day, are attitudes we choose to assume. Today I choose be joyful and thankful in all things. Today I choose to pray without ceasing…but how does that command practically play itself out, when life and work requires so much continual focus; we’d never end up geting anything done. Perhaps establishing simple prayer triggers throughout a day become simple ways to commune with God admist the hecticness of life. Simple things we have to do everyday, like meals, driving, going to the bathroom, waking up, going to sleep…so on and so forth, provide brief opportunities to cultivate the habit of continually praying. Action. My sons, choose each day of your life an attitude of joyfulness and thankfullness in all things. Establish simple daily prayer triggers that work well for you, so as to take time remembering and communing with God throughout our busy lives. Both habits will serve and bless you well in life.

Calling attention to mistakes. 12.16.11

From Evernote:

Calling attention to mistakes. 12.16.11

"Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly" – Carnegie

In life and work, it’s all about people. The brightest minds in the world rendered useless and even distructive without refined people skills. The ability to accomplish good work with and through people, is the primary work of a leader. Great leaders having an uncanny ability to bring out the best in others…reinforcing good behaviors while mastering the art of properly correcting mistakes. Correcting mistakes is hard for it easy offends and deals with the pride we all share. Speaking about a mistake indirectly helps discuss "the issue" firmly and directly…not "the person," helping keep clear from personal offense and prideful backlash. Action. My sons, in life…whether with your wife and kids, friends or co-workers…work to speak to mistakes and issues that need correcting indirectly. Exhchanging the sharp direct "you" with more indirect words of "we" and "I". We and I help share ownership of the mistake, telling the person we are in this together…winning as a team and losing as a team. Remember always, the intensity of conversation can always be increased if an issue continues to persist, but it is impossible to go backwards after coming down too hard on someone for the damage is already done. Learn well the skills and art of dealing with people, for it will serve and bless you well in life.

Always hungry, never full. 12.14.11

From Evernote:

Always hungry, never full. 12.14.11

The godly eat to their hearts’ content,

but the belly of the wicked goes hungry. (Proverbs 13:25 NLT)

An appetite for good brings much satisfaction, but the belly of the wicked always wants more. (Proverbs 13:25 MSG)

Both the wicked and godly eat, yet one leaves the table content and satisfied, while the other remains hungry always longing for more. When we look outside of God for our satisfaction in life, we start down a dangerous path for which there is no end. We begin fueling appetites and desires that can never be filled…for what initially appears good, functions like a curse. For the godly heart, contentment and satisfaction is theirs to be had today. For the wicked of heart, content and satisfaction appear close at hand…never to be attained. Action. My sons, your longings for contentment and satisfaction are conditions of the heart that are yours to be enjoyed fully today…no matter where you are at. Contentment and satisfaction come from a heart that knows God gives us each day all we need for perfect joy and satisfaction in life.

Lady Wisdom. 12.13.11

From Evernote:

Lady Wisdom. 12.13.11

Skilled living gets its start in the Fear-of-God, insight into life from knowing a Holy God. It’s through me, Lady Wisdom, that your life deepens, and the years of your life ripen. Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life; mock life and life will mock you. (Proverbs 9:10-12 MSG)

Where does wisdom and insight begin? Why is wisdom’s foundation in fearing God? Skilled living begins with accountability before God, an understanding that as stewards we will be called to give an account for our life. The perfectly righteous eyes of our loving Savior should invoke a healthy fear as we live out each day. Insight grows with our ability to connect the dots in life…call it common sense. This ability can only grow as we deepen our knowledge of the One who created and designed all things, better aligning our actions with his intended purposes. It is only when we live with the accountability and insight of God, that life truly has the ability to deepen and ripen. Action. My sons, know that Lady Wisdom, aka the knowledge of God, desires the best for your life. Pursue hard after wisdom and your life will permeate blessedness of heart condition, not always circumstances. Know that if you buck Gods system, mocking lady wisdom…life will mock you back, burying you beneath the effects of your poor decisions. Be wise and be blessed my sons.