Wisdom for my Sons

Month: January, 2012

A man is known by the company he keeps. 1.31.12

From Evernote:

A man is known by the company he keeps. 1.31.12

"The great leader attracts to himself men of kindred character, drawing them towards him as the loadstone draws iron." Character by Samuel Smiles

You can get a quick read on the character of a man by the company he keeps. Many can argue this point till the sun goes down, but like will always attracts like. What a man truly values and esteems can be seen in the closest associations he keeps…personally and professionally. A mans inner circle is a sacred place…one few are allowed in. A man reveals his discernment and wisdom by who he chooses to allow in…secretly staying close to what he wants most. Men that desire Godly character seek out and hang close with men of Godly character. Men that esteem wealth alone will compile well-to-do friends irrespective of character. Men that love women associate most closely with other womanizers. So on and so forth. Action. My sons, whether you choose to except it or not, you become the product of your closest relationships. Those closest to you revealing your true values and your heart. This a great way to see beyond words and test the true character of yourself and others. Remember always…a man is known by the company he keeps!

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the right guy? 1.30.12

From Evernote:

the right guy? 1.30.12

It is senseless to pay tuition to educate a fool,

since he has no heart for learning. (Proverbs 17:16 NLT)

Good people are hard to find…whether personally or professionally…talent is rare. Why is it such a rare commodity? The more I think about it the more I believe it is because it requires a special level of both talent and character. Talent in having great apititude for a certain a skill and character in having a strong drive matched with a endless desire to learn. Sadly, rather than complementing each other, they historically have more of an inverse relationship. As talent goes up, focus on learning diminishes for the more one "arrives," the more one feels they know everything. Once the spirit of teachablitity leaves, a ceiling is created forever capping ones advancement. Action. My sons, the greatest trait to look for in any man, especially in determining if he is the right man for a job, is identifying the strength of his desire to learn. It’s simple math, the stronger the drive and desire to learn…the higher the levels of advancement in all areas of life. Talent easily breaks under pressure and adversity, while the desire to learn is pure and intrinsic…providing unwaivering persistence in advancing through life’s difficulties. Desire in life to be this type of man.

How should the wise man speak? 1.29.12

From Evernote:

How should the wise man speak? 1.29.12

The wise are known for their understanding,

and pleasant words are persuasive.

From a wise mind comes wise speech;

the words of the wise are persuasive.

Kind words are like honey—

sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. (Proverbs 16:21, 23, 24 NLT)

A wise person gets known for insight; gracious words add to one’s reputation. They make a lot of sense, these wise folks; whenever they speak, their reputation increases. Gracious speech is like clover honey-good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body. (Proverbs 16:21, 23, 24 MSG)

These verses are great as they logically layout how a wise man’s speech should be experienced by others. Pleasant words are persuasive. Words of the wise are persuasive. Therefore a wise mans words are pleasant…gracious in speech. Gracious by definition means kind and courteous. A man who is gracious in his speech speaks with genuine concern for his listener. He is not a people pleasure for truthfulness is critical, but his speech is uniquely crafted to be well received…persuasive only to the degree the listener’s best interests are at heart. Action. My sons, a mans speech and his ability to deal with people is everything in life. The brightest minds in the world are many times rendered useless for they refuse to learn how to communicate their knowledge effectively and persuasively to others. Strive to be gracious always in your speech, as a leader always using your words to serve others, by guiding and persuading in the direction that is best for them.

…gift of a quiet mind. 6.13.11 & 1.26.12

From Evernote:

…gift of a quiet mind. 6.13.11 & 1.26.12

"Contentment lies within a man, in the heart; and the way to be comfortable, is not by having our barns filled, but our minds quiet. The contented man…is the happy man." – Thomas Watson

The God given craving for happiness, satisfaction and contentment, begins first at a very large fork in the road. Both paths promise to reach the end goal of contentment…one being through outward pursuits the other through internal cultivating of the heart. Perhaps that is a better way to evaluate how we are truly doing…is by the peacefulness and quietness in our minds and hearts. It is amazing…if that is the blessed state and true life….then the lens we use to evaluate circumstances can change dramatically. Material blessings now if worried over continuously…are not in fact blessings at all…but a curse robbing us of peace and contentment. Action. My sons. Always evaluate your life by the condition of your heart… peace, satisfaction, joy and contentment are the fruit of a well condition heart before God…anything that robs you of those divine gifts, are simple revealers of sin and idols…that we must work to release our grip of, so we can enjoy the fuller reward

Whats the goal: clean life or fruitful life? 1.20.11, 1.21.11 & 1.23.12

From Evernote:

Whats the goal: clean life or fruitful life? 1.20.11, 1.21.11 & 1.23.12

Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest. Proverbs 14: 4

When the messiness of life gets tiring…this verse is always so encouraging. Our flesh longs for the clean, easy, peaceful life…a clean barn with no oxen and no mess to clean up. Why is that I wonder? When we know that strength of character and a fruitful harvest is found in over coming the difficult challenges of life. A strong ox is needed for a large harvest, but with the ox comes a dirty barn full its mess. The greater the harvest, the more oxen that are needed…which means more of its mess to shovel. The truth is…times of ease are huge liabilities to our character, when resistance and challenges in life are disguised assets. The greater the harvest, the greater the amount of work and the greater the mess… the clean easy life produces little if any fruit. Action. My sons, a great-godly, fruitful life is continual hard work and is messy, but know that it fosters strength of character and fruitfulness by which the world around you is nourished and blessed. A clean easy life is a lazy mans empty goal that reeks of selfishness…the blessed life of the servant is found in hard work and cultivation of strong godly character.

Attitude is a choice. 11.2.10 & 1.20.12

From Evernote:

Attitude is a choice. 11.2.10 & 1.20.12

For the despondent, every day brings trouble;

for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15

One of the greatest freedoms God gives man is the ability to choose his attitude and state of mind every day. Man does not have direct control over all of life’s circumstances, but the one thing he has complete control over is his thoughts and attitude. Life as it relates to contentment gives man two options….he can live with continual frustration at what life has not provided him or he can choose to receive all things with gratefulness and receive each day as a gift. One resulting in cursed frustrated life and the other being a blessed abundant life. Action. My sons, Control what you can control…decide daily to align your attitude and thoughts according to what Gods desires for his kids…choose to be joyful, grateful, humble and never deviate no matter how good or bad the circumstances may be.

The one constant of leadership. 4.29.11 & 1.19.12

From Evernote:

The one constant of leadership. 4.29.11 & 1.19.12

"A general leading troops may be uncertain about an outcome. But he must lead with certainty, engaging the enemy by using the best plan he can imagine." -Ed Rowell

As Andy Stanley described, the presence of uncertainty does not indicate poor leadership, but instead reveals the need for leadership. Uncertainty shouldn’t surprise us, instead it is the one constant of leadership, since by nature the leader is the one out front being the first to encounter challenges. As responsibility increases complexity and uncertainty grows, because one is dealing with more intangibles. Decisiveness is a critical component of good godly leaders. Action. My sons, as you grow, your decisions are only as good as your information and assumptions you are basing them on…there is wisdom in the counsel of many…gathering good information, so you can make clear confident decisions amidst a world of uncertainty.

Loving Labor or enforced slavery. 2.12.11, 5.13.11 & 1.18.12

From Evernote:

Loving Labor or enforced slavery. 2.12.11, 5.13.11 & 1.18.12

"Work is of two kinds—it is either loving labor or enforced slavery. The man whose sole object is to get through his work in order to draw his pay, who has no love for, and no interest in, his work beyond what it represents in cash, is a slave and not a true worker. He labors only under the compulsion of necessity. His entire interest is in getting instead of in doing. He gives his labor irksomely and perfunctorily, but receives his pay with eagerness, striving when he thinks he safely can, to give less and less labor, and get more and more wages. “Less work and more pay” is the cry of slaves and not of men.

On the contrary, the man whose heart is centered in his work, who aims at the perfect performance of his duty, is a true worker whose usefulness and influence are cumulative and progressive, carrying him on from success to greater and greater success, from low spheres of labor to higher and higher still. Thinking little or nothing of the wages, and much of the work; caring not for the gaining of reward, but eager and willing in service…fitted by virtue of his unselfish labors to receive the greater excellence and the fuller reward." -James Allen

This little excerpt is cool in how it describes the biblical truth that it is more blessed to give than receive and how that plays itself out in the work environment. The satisfaction and joy of work is found in using our unique skills and abilities as a means of serving and blessing others. The perfecting and mastery of God given skills and craft is what truly motivates, while also bringing God great joy. Think about it…He created us with the unique skills, so imagine how He must smile when His kids are living out how they are uniquely created…the creation fulfilling it’s intended purpose. Action. My sons, in your life work will truly either be a loving labor or enforced slavery, with your heart being the determining factor. Be a self-focused getter and you’ll experience bondage…be a selfless giver focused on others and you’ll taste the sweet blessing of labor how God designed it.

What’s the aim? 1.17.12

From Evernote:

What’s the aim? 1.17.12

"…for life always follows the aim, we always take the direction of our life purpose." -Orison Sweet Marden

Strong and formitable is the man who knows why God has him here? Who knows how he has been uniquely created and who knows the responsibilities he has been given. The world steps aside for the man that knows why he is doing what he is doing? Sadly, weak…ineffective men struggle for they have no aim, no direction to pursue…no purpose. Much like a sailor who doesn’t know where he is going…any wind becomes the wrong wind. So, What’s the aim? Action. My sons, know and discover your God given responsibilities and purposes in life! The sooner in life you can do this…the better. Most men share the same realms in life…God, family, friends, health, calling (work), money, ministry. Take time before its too late…understanding God’s design and man’s sovereign responsibility in each of these relms. Only then will you identify the proper aim and direction by which to set the coordinates for your life.

Source of foolishness. 1.16.12

From Evernote:

Source of foolishness. 1.16.12

Only fools say in their hearts,

"There is no God."

They are corrupt, and their actions are evil;

not one of them does good! (Psalm 14:1 NLT)

The fool lacks a fear of God…missing the first thing needed for a life of wisdom to begin. No fear of God, no soil for wisdom to grow. Fools are a truly dangerous folk, for they function in life with no inherent sense of accountability. In their minds there is no God, therefor there is no truth and ultimately no settlement sheet on our lives. The fool thinks the proverbial estate owner is out for good with no plan on returning to weigh the faithfulness of his managers. Action. My sons, beware of being foolish in life…acting as if there is no God. Know that He sees all and is returning to reconcile the condition of His estate. Know that the question is coming from Him…"how did you manage what you were given…give an account?" Desire to be a man that fears God, diligently grows in wisdom and flees anything that resembles a foolish state of heart and mind.