Nick Poindexter

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Tag: Proverbs (page 1 of 2)

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Like a madman who throws flaming darts and deadly arrows, so is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I was only joking!”
-Proverbs 26:18-19 (HCSB)

Ever played a joke or prank, only have to have it completely backfire on you? You know the situation… You’re picking around with someone and then find out later that they thought there was some truth behind your words. And what is our natural first response? We get defensive and say, “C’mon, man… Can’t you take a joke?”

In Proverbs 26:18-19, Solomon describes that exact predicament — someone who deceives others, and then in turns tries to justify it by simply pointing out that it was intended as a joke.

Interestingly however, he doesn’t just say it’s wrong. Solomon takes it one step further by comparing that type of person to a madman running around wildly throwing darts and shooting arrows into the sky. One can’t deny the obvious danger presented in that situation. Sure, there’s no harm initially, but what goes up must come down. Eventually gravity will take over, the darts/arrows will return to Earth, and they will penetrate deep inside something.

In other words, if you think playing the “joke” card is a legitimate defense for trickery, lies and deception, then you are off your rocker.

Our words hold a lot of power, and Solomon here is reminding us to be careful with them — if used irresponsibly, they can be a weapon that pierce the heart as easily as arrows pierce skin.

In the end, “I was only joking” is nothing more than a lame excuse. It does not undo the damage. The consequences of what comes out of our mouths is ultimately our burden to carry.

So be cautious and attentive with your words. Don’t carelessly throw them around in the name of “fun” or “humor.”

Because what goes up must come down.

Why Do We Fall?

Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin.
-Proverbs 24:16 (HCSB)

Near the beginning of the movie Batman Begins, a young Bruce Wayne breaks his leg when he accidentally falls into the opening of a cave. Using the situation as a teaching moment, Bruce’s father calmly says to his injured son, “Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

Mr. Wayne asks a great question: Why do we fall? Or, another way to ask it… Can there actually be a purpose from a fall?

Proverbs 24:16 tells us that even righteous, godly people fall and sin. And matter of fact, it says they will fall many times (that’s the symbolism of the “seven”). However, on first glance we almost have to re-read the verse because our natural thought is that a righteous man never falls. But is that fair or even reasonable? According to this proverb, the biblical expectation of one that is righteous seems be more concerned about the response to sin, more so than the sin itself.

Our righteousness before God is not determined by whether or not we fall. We all fall. That’s why we need a savior. Therefore, now our righteousness before God is determined by what is done after we fall.

I personally feel that our true belief and appreciation of the sacrifice of Jesus is demonstrated most by how we respond to our sins, shortcomings and wrongs.

For example, when you fall, do you make up excuses or rationalize your behavior? Do you wallow in your shame and throw a pity-party? Do you abuse the grace of God and continue to do what caused you to fall in the first place? Or do you run to Jesus, acknowledge the transgression, take responsibility, pick yourself up, and learn from the offense?

Those who understand the seriousness of sin and of Christ’s forgiveness react in the latter.

So the question is not if we fall, but rather when we fall, how do we respond? Sure, it’s just a comic, but what does Batman do after he falls? He rises. And so should we. The godly will get back up.

Righteousness is the goal. Falling is the stimulus.

That is why we fall.

It Does A Body Good

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
-Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

I recently saw some statistics on stress that baffled me. According to the American Medical Association, 75% of all illnesses and diseases are stress-related. On top of that, the American Institute of Stress says that up to 90% of all doctor visits are for problems connected to stress.

But this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Solomon made the same point clear thousands of years ago when he penned this proverb. This simple yet applicable advice rings true today… Having a positive outlook on life can do wonders health-wise. Alternatively, having a negative view withers you up.

This attitude carries over to the people we are in contact with as well. Ever been around someone who is invariably unenthusiastic, discouraging, and pessimistic? Solomon is right. It really does such the life right out of you. But cheerful, joyful people? They change everything for good like medicine.

And don’t just take modern doctors and medical organizations’ words for it. The Great Physician himself agrees. One of the major themes of Jesus’ first sermon was simply “Do not worry.” Specifically, in Matthew 6:27 he says, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” You think Jesus was getting at something?

As a child I remember the ad campaign to promote the consumption of milk based on its health benefits. The slogan was “Milk: It Does A Body Good.” While that may be true, it’s not the only thing…

A cheerful heart. A positive outlook. A Christ-like perspective.

Whatever you want to call it, it does a body good.

Master Your Craft

Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand in the presence of kings.
-Proverbs 22:29 (HCSB)

When it comes to the success/career department, we love to make excuses, don’t we? We often try to justify ourselves by piling on the “reasons” we are where we are. I’m no exception, unfortunately.

A common one seems to be, “If I only had this, I could do that.” And what happens when we actually get “this”? Do you gain instant credibility? Do you skyrocket up the corporate totem pole? No, it usually just exposes us to news areas where we feel insecure. The bar is reset, the excuses start rolling again, and the cycle continues.

Simply put, excellence breeds success, not excuses.

I know that idea sounds more like something used to pump up a basketball team, but it really is the essence of this proverb. Solomon’s point: You want to be a success? You want to be proud of what you do? You want to stand in the presence of the best? Then do your job. Do it well, do it right, and do it now.

If you’re a teacher, teach with passion. If you’re a banker, deal with integrity. If you’re a carpenter, work with precision. If you’re a dairy farmer, pump that milk with the best of ’em. If you’re a janitor, mop those floors like nobody’s business.

Whatever you do, master your craft.

Give To Gain

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
-Proverbs 11:24 (ESV)

Here Solomon provides us with an unusual paradox: If you want to become richer, give.

This seems odd at first glance and is certainly contrary to the “more, more, more” attitude of the world today. We are taught that life is all about making the big bucks. Make as much as you can so that you can own as much as you can. We’re even told that you’ve got to have money to make money. So why in the world would Solomon offer this seemingly backward and financially-hurtful advice?

Simply put, God wants to bless us, and he is especially generous to those who are generous first. And we’re not just talking about money here — it can be things like your time and energy as well.

Want to know the secret to becoming rich? Give. Because the more we give, the more God gives back as well, allowing us to give more again and the cycle to continue.

It may not make mathematical sense, but you’ve got to give to gain.

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