Category Archives: 08 Wisdom 101

WISDOM 101 – Chapter Eleven (VII)

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The Man Who Gives Freely – Part One

It’s strange to me coming back to the scriptures, after 20 years of not reading them to find that I don’t agree with a lot of what I am reading. In my Bible School days I swallowed the camel whole (see Matthew 23 verse 24) I accepted everything I read in the “good book” as 100% acceptable and bona-fide.  Back then it would be unthinkable to go through the teachings it provided and treat it like a pick and mix, but nevertheless that is what I am now doing, in gleaning wisdom here.

I do want you to question what I am saying in the same way I am questioning whether I agree with what I am reading. Most of all, I would love you to open up the scriptures for yourself and do the exercise that I am doing. Please go and see for yourself what wisdom you can find in the book which is helpful, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, there is so much that can help you to be found in the pages of ancient wisdom; I hope I’m going to find some now.

Proverbs 11-24

Hurray! Here is something that resonates well with me! Solomon is still writing in these good versus bad lines and it’s obviously the first part of what I read that has me jumping for joy. Here is the wisdom I came here looking for, that if you want to be wealthy you need to become a conduit for the blessing of others. The more you freely give, the more you will receive; to hold onto the blessings you have and not to share the excess will mean in future you will lack your needs

It is like collecting enough Manna from the desert in the morning to last a few days (See Exodus 16 and Numbers 11 in the scriptures) it will just go bad on you.  Like attracts like, so if you are a giver then that which is needed by others will come to you. Those who do not hoard and give out of the excess they have not only are seen as being a blessing to others, but like Dickens Scrooge on Christmas morning experience elation and joy in the blessings they have received.

Proverbs 11-25

It seems like the scriptures are saying, what goes around comes around. Elsewhere in the book it says “in the same measure you give out, it will be given to you” (see Luke 6 verse 38) it’s also strange how much of the scriptures I remember despite being away from them for so long. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (see Matthew 7 verse 12) seems to be the advice being given here. If you want your business to prosper be generous in all your dealings.

COSTCO V WALMART WAGES

I worked for a family firm of builders for many years and the thing that stood out to me about them was the loyalty of their staff. In an industry where people are always moving from one employer to another I am sure the generous wages they paid had a lot to do with things being the way they were. Conversely, I had another employer who paid the lowest wages in the country, (confirmed by their accountant) who had over 100 employees leave in a period of 2 years.

Proverbs 11-26

This verse reminds me of the saying “There’s enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed!” People who store and collect things up in a time of recession help to stagnate the economy whilst they become rich. They buy things for a knock -price because people are in desperate need of money to buy essentials, they will not sell what they have bought until they are able to get much more for it than they bought it for. Such people are trading on other’s misery.

This verse speaks of food being withheld from those who are hungry and although our economic system isn’t the same I see the equivalent being those who are being forced to get food from food banks. Here in the UK where there are thirteen million people in the fourth largest economy in the world living below the poverty line and one million visiting food banks each week; whilst the multinational companies get away with paying little tax whilst the government seems inept.

Proverbs 11-27

If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, keep looking. That which you are seeking is seeking you! Whether you seek good or evil in your life, you will find it. I don’t think Solomon meant that anyone would deliberately search for evil for themselves, but that as they seek it for others it will surely come to them. What goes around comes around; so make sure you are looking for good things for yourself and others, if you are in business seek win/win scenarios.

Love and light to you from Andrew :) <3

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WISDOM 101 – Chapter Eleven (VI)

8D2CF7243D5B4B018DB848E3A395F8A2The Trustworthy and The Talebearer – Part Three

Three thousand year old wisdom from the wisest and wealthiest king who ever lived. I have decided to come and seek the advice of Solomon as written down to be able to let his son Rehoboam know what his father’s advice was, should Solomon not live long enough to share this wisdom face to face. Some see this text as the “Word of God”, I see it as wisdom that has stood the test of time. I am here to learn from this wisdom so I can run my business and life successfully.

I am not writing a commentary on the Book of Proverbs, although at first glance it may seem that way. I am sharing my impressions and insights as I read through these verses of ancient text. I am not looking at the original Hebrew meaning, or what scholars and commentaries have to say about these words. I am merely shining my own light on what I am reading, I intend to be a unique prism who encourages others to read these words for themselves.

Proverbs 11-19

 In a dualistic universe where there has to be and up for there to be a down, a top for there to be a bottom, a right for there to be a left, and inside for there to be an outside; there has to be a right for their to be a wrong, righteousness for there to be evil. Both sides of the equation must exist, but as all things in existence those who don’t want to transcend this dualism challenge us to choose sides. If you put me in a corner and make me decide which to do, I will choose to be righteous.

However, it is also true to say that that which I consider righteous, you may consider evil; our own perspective has a lot to do with the way we believe and act. Your truth and mine may differ, and therefore I am concerned about the implications of “the righteous will live and those pursuing evil will die” unless the righteousness spoken of here is defined by the one whose life is at stake. Our own conscience would be the only fair arbitrator on this conundrum in my view.

Then we have to consider where our conscience originates, what makes us certain that something is righteous or evil? Is there an innate sense of right and wrong, moral and immoral; or is it that our conscience has been molded by those who were in authority in our younger lives and those we listen to today? If it is innate in all human beings then deep down we “know” which is the right path to travel to live, and which will lead to death.

If conscience is something that is a learned response then I understand verse nineteen to be saying behave the way that you believe to be right in your heart and you will live; if your perspective changes then so should your behaviour. Maybe Solomon is alluding to external forces not connected to you directly taking the lives of evil men and women. It seems strange in light of this scripture that we have a societal impression that “only the good die young!”

Proverbs 11-20

I don’t know if as I am writing this I am in combatative mood, because I have for a number of my articles been very accepting of what is being said in the text since my upset with the misogyny displayed in Chapter 7, again I find myself at odds with what I am reading here. I have already promised you, dear reader, that I would be open and honest with you. These are not sugar coated, towing the party line (whatever that might be) observations and impressions!

So why am I disturbed by what I am reading here? I see danger in the words of Solomon, as with verse nineteen the perception of what is perverse and what is blameless must be questioned. The implication so far, is that the reader knows which is which; but now the perspective seems to have shifted to that of the LORD. In another part of the scriptures it is suggested that “the mind of the LORD is not easily known” (See Romans 11 verses 33 and 34)

If we are being instructed to be blameless in our actions from the perspective of the LORD we are on a hiding to nothing.  These words leave me cold, they are a truism disguised as a wisdom. I don’t want my life to be one that the LORD finds abominable and yet I don’t feel that this helps me to behave in the way that will be acceptable, unless I end up subscribing to the full teachings of a religion which is man-made. Men have the tendency to get things wrong, I know I’m a man!

Proverbs 11-21

I think it is Lao Tzu that says “You will not be punished for your anger, but by your anger!” I do not subscribe to the Old Testament view that God is an angry dictator type being and for this reason I don’t like the vengeful God that is being alluded to here in verse twenty-one . I will admit to liking the idea that evil men will not go unpunished, and that the righteous will be delivered; until I consider my own lack of blamelessness and righteousness in my dealings with others.

I do not want to live in fear all the days of my life that because of something I did years ago that is coming to pay me back evil for evil, despite my journey having brought me to a place where I would not do such a thing today. The kind of god being described here is not the one I want to follow and yet I will remain here looking to glean what wisdom I can because I still believe that Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest man who ever lived.

Proverbs 11-22

Oh dear! Back to the misogyny again! I’m having a difficult time here dear reader, I can’;t see how this is going to help my business, the rantings and ravings of a man who really doesn’t seem to like women. It would have been easier to say “Eh lad, our Rehoboam, listen up to thy father – get yerself discretion. It’ll be reet good for helping ya get on wi folks!” Discretion is advised King Solomon when speaking to me about god’s most beautiful creation.

Proverbs 11-23

I am so glad to have come to the end of this article.  I suppose if we take onboard what is being said here, we are being given a clue as to who the righteous are. Those whose desires end in something good each time, but the King just can’t leave it there in his poetic dualistic balancing statements. He has to tell us that wrath is to be expected by the wicked, it’s just par for the course chaps. Being bad lads and such ain’t going to help you one bit in the long run.

I apologise if I have offended you, but before you accept my apology and keep your sensitivities unchallenged, please ask yourself if you really want to subscribe to the belief in an angry god whose lack of forgiveness for the bad guy doesn’t seem to mirror the teachings of other parts of the scripture. If you are certain that your discernment of what is right and wrong in god’s eyes is correct, then spare a thought for the humble who like me aren’t so sure.

Love and light to you from Andrew :) <3

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Wisdom 101 – Chapter Eleven (V)

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 The Trustworthy and The Talebearer – Part Two

Are you looking for Wisdom? Well, you’ve come to the right place, because that’s exactly what I’m looking too!  I have read the words of the scriptures in the past many times, but back then I was being spoon fed the doctrines  of the churches I belonged to. I now find myself 20 years on from my close involvement with Christianity reading the words of an ancient king who was known for his wisdom and wealth. My object here is to learn from 3,000 year old wisdom.

Proverbs 11-15

Someone you know comes to you and wants to borrow some money which the financial institutions have turned down because they believe them to be too big a risk. They ask you to be guarantor, what do you do?  I suppose it depends on how well you know them, or how able you are to meet the payments if they default, doesn’t it? If you turn them down it will make things awkward between you for a while or it may end your friendship.

King Solomon says that the answer to this question should be no every time. It may seem a little harsh at first glance, but we came here to learn from his wisdom and to be able to tell whoever may ask you that you aren’t refusing them your help in this way does not reflect on them personally. I am sure it will help you to be able to tell them that this is the answer you always give, to such a question because of the wisdom you received from an ancient king, will help you.

You can show them this verse in the scriptures, but I would suggest that you could consider if you are financially able to give them the money they need, without expectation of part or full repayment, but maybe we should wait and see if Solomon has anything to say about my idea later.  It seems to me that the amount of interest people are charged for borrowing money should be enough to support the wisdom of Solomon on this matter, do you agree?

Proverbs 11-16

I am not sure as I read this, if the intention was to contrast the graciousness of women with the violence of men or weather it is Solomon’s intention to speak of the different types of human being there are from a lifestyle point of view, rather than from which sex they belong to.Surely you could equally say A gracious man gets honor and violent women gain wealth? I don’t suppose it matters really, what we are here for is the wisdom contained in the words.

It’s a fact that people gain wealth through forceful means, but I think the point Solomon is making here is that honor is to be desired more than wealth. the honorable person is a far better character to know than the violent one, even if the violent one is wealthy! I am reading these words of Solomon because I want to become wealthy like him and yet I am sure he is not intending to encourage his son or any future readers of his words to take up violence to become wealthy.

Proverbs 11-17

If you want proof of my conclusions about the previous verse then you need not look any further than the next words of Solomon to be found here in verse seventeen.  In an energy universe what you send out comes back to you; we read later in the scriptures “Cast your bread out on the waters and it will return to you after many days.” It’s the law of karma, the measure you give will be returned to you, cruelty and kindness each have their own reward.

In business (as in the rest of life) it is always possible to find a cruel and a kind way to deal with others. Solomon is clear which way he thinks we should deal with those our lives touch and his reasoning for being this way is impeccable logical in my view. I suppose we are all tempted to “get one up” on our competitors or rivals, but what might seem like a good idea could end up being a double-edged sort that comes back to hurt us.

Proverbs 11-18

I seem to be on the right track here. What kind of a reward do you want? If given the choice: deceptive wages or a righteous reward? Maybe you don’t mind, but whatever your answer, my desire is for the reward that is due to those who sow in a way that is not deliberately attempting to deceive others. I want the reputation of one who is trustworthy, even if known for my mistakes, they are seen as genuine ones and that as a result I gain wisdom through them.

WISDOM 101 – Chapter Eleven (IV)

Proverbs 11 Intro 4

 The Trustworthy and the Talebearer – Part One

As you may know if you have been following my “WISDOM 101” my original intention was to write down my impressions and insights on re-reading the book of Proverbs, with a 20 year distance from the teachings of the church and my involvement with it. Back then as a preacher and teacher of Christian evangelical orthodoxy, I read commentaries, prepared talks and generally lived and breathed my intellectual life in the church, after attending Bible School in 1979/80.

I am realising that it may take me even longer than I second guessed to complete my task here. Initially my intention was to write 31 articles in the months of June and July 2014, one for each chapter of the book of Proverbs. I got off to a good start writing the first 10 articles by the 19th June. Then two weeks ago I took up the gauntlet again and decided to take a more detailed look at Chapters 11 and following and I wrote three articles on the first eleven verses.

Here I am at the end of July a third of the way through my task, and I have not only decided to be more detailed, but other things I am doing right now have prevented me from writing any more since a week ago Wednesday, but I am determined to press on, it will take as long as it takes. I am determined to find out what King Solomon the wisest and richest man who ever lived (if you believe his PR, and I do) has to teach us about business and becoming wealthy.

Proverbs 11-12

I am guilty as charged on this one! I am not as bad as I used to be when it comes to judging others words and actions out loud. The words of Jesus  from the beginning of Matthew 7 have come to haunt me to many times in the past “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get!” for me to ignore them. When you point the finger, there’s three pointing back at you!

I tell my son, the teenager, it’s great to have opinions but it’s not always good to share them. So, why do we want to share our opinions? I think it is because they usually put us in high-standing in our own opinion of ourselves and that makes us feel good.  Most of the things that you and I do in our lives have the intention of making us feel good. Even if we are helping others it isn’t entirely selfless, because do someone a kindness will make us feel good.

If you want to feel good, find a strategy that will leave a pleasant taste in other people’s mouths, seems to be what Solomon is getting at here. My Mum used to say to me, quite often if the truth is told, “If you haven’t got anything good to say, then don’t say anything at all!” A man (or woman) of understanding remains silent rather than belittle their neighbour or their business competitor. It seems strange to me how many times I forget this wisdom, how about you?

Proverbs 11-13

A childhood rhyme comes to mind here “Tell tale tit, your tongue will split, and all the little doggies will have a little bit!” It doesn’t seem to be enough for Solomon to advise his son not to speak ill of others, he feels it is necessary at this point to add, don’t share confidences that people have entrusted you with. Don’t be a talebearer or a gossip! It seems true to say, that it makes us feel good to reveal that we know something about another human being  that no-one else knows.

Being the source of new information puts us in a place of power, we become to go to person when people want to know, it gives others the impression that we are wise. However, when the tales we tell are about the private lives of others, the long term effect is that people won’t take us into their confidence, they will keep us at arms length and we will end up with very few friends. In my work as a Life Coach I must keep confidences, so I am glad I gained this wisdom early.

If you or I want to be considered as trustworthy in our businesses, keeping confidences will be of great help. Think! Who would you rather do business with, someone who will reveal all the inside knowledge on what you are doing to all and sundry or those who and hides all the secrets you share away from others? Maybe there aren’t many people who hold to this high standard in business today, I hope I am wrong about that; but I know which type I’d prefer to work with.

Proverbs 11-14

We all need guidance and leadership, no matter how old or wise we may have already become. It’s no good enough to have great presentation skills, if what you are saying isn’t helpful. If wisdom isn’t at the cause of the guidance we are receiving right now from our local or world leaders, then the effects will be ruinous for us all. Make sure you know the character as well as the politics of those you vote for. The guidance we get sometimes can be worse than no guidance at all.

To make sure that the counsel we are receiving is going to be helpful in guiding us to where we want to be Solomon suggests that wisdom will come from going to as many of the people who seem to have got their act together as possible. Don’t just ask that trusted friend when you need help, go and see what the brightest minds and the most successful people you know have to say about you problem before taking any action.

WISDOM 101 – Chapter Eleven (III)

Proverbs 11 - Intro 3

  The Godless and The Upright – Part Three

As I said in an earlier article it is not my intention here to tell you what to think or believe about the words of these or other scriptures. I am merely bringing to you my own impressions and insights of what I find here. My hope is that you would open the Book of Proverbs for yourself and decide what meaning these words have for you. I believe that they may have a different meaning on different days, but they will speak right into the heart of the situations we find ourselves in.

I am specifically looking into the Book of Proverbs to find advice of how to run a successful business and how to be good with money because up to now in my life I have either chased it in an unhelpful way, or shunned it. It was as I read Proverbs 10:22 I had a revelatory moment and saw that it is god’s desire for us to be blessed with riches and since then I have wanted to uncover the way that god expects us to behave on the path to personal wealth.

Proverbs 11-08

As the term “the righteous” is used I see the need to identify with this concept on my way to wealth, it is obvious from the things I have read that it is the righteous who if they have wealth, have received it in a way that is approved by the writer of Proverbs. King Solomon was an extremely wealthy man who funded the building of the most ornate building that had ever been built at the time of it’s construction, his words therefore are to be trusted.

Verse eight is probably not be speaking about wealth alone, but if you want to keep the riches you have, being righteous seems the way to go! If you are in trouble your very nature will either come to your rescue or take you deeper into the mire instead! The talk of “the wicked” in negative terms may be misunderstood today, where the language has changed and someone or something that is termed “wicked” is thought of as good, in the scriptures, wicked means bad!

Proverbs 11-09

There are sins of omission and sins of commission! In this context the wicked, the ones who say evil words may refer to bad advice that people give you, or just that because they don’t tell you the full story and you act on their words you’ll get into situations that will cause you untold damage and maybe even be ruinous. If you listen to the words of the righteous however your life will improve and you will be blessed instead.

This of course begs the question: “How do I know who I am listening to? Is this person what the scriptures call “wicked” or “righteous?” Maybe it’s not immediately obvious, but in this context I would personally listen to the words of those whose lives I admire rather than those who may be financially well to do, but had an attitude towards others that I didn’t like. Later on in the scriptures Jesus says: “By their fruit you will know them!”

Proverbs 11-10

People are cruel, they love to see the good guy win, but they also like to gloat when the bad guy gets his come-uppence! Whether we should be glad when the bad people around us get their “just-deserts” could be open to question, maybe we should be compassionate and caring towards those who are so obviously taking a pathway to destruction? All I know is that I don’t want to be one of their number, I want my life to be rejoiced over for the right reasons.

Proverbs 11-11

There are many cities on Earth, cities of culture and history, cities known for the violence they endure or create. Wherever people gather together in communities, the question is : “Will they be a blessing or a curse to the other groups of people around them?” One bad deed doesn’t deserve another, two wrongs don’t make a right and yet those who are attacked often retaliate and that just makes things worse.

We must be careful with both our words and our actions, that they stir up those around us in the communities we live in to do good and not evil, to be a blessing and not a curse, to exalt our cities, towns and villages and not to bring them down. It seems a simple enough notion that if accepted and followed would bring peace rather than the sword, bullet, bomb and rocket? People who care more about having vengeance instead of peace, will always have more to suffer.

Wisdom 101 – Chapter Eleven (II)

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 The Godless and The Upright – Part Two

I found that quite surprising yesterday that I found so much to say about just the first three verses of chapter eleven. I don’t know how things will turn out long term with my articles now I’ve changed the way I’m doing it, so you will like me have to wait and see. I want to get to the heart of the wisdom contained in the Book of Proverbs especially any help it’s words can give me in how to run a successful business, so here we go again! 🙂

Proverbs 11-4

This is one to wake up to any morning, if you are looking to become wealthy! As you will know if you have read my blog before is that wealth is something that for many years I have avoided, but now I am again seeking. I want to take the balanced view on this now; because in my early years I was materialistically focused and more recently I have been spiritually aware, it’s time to marry the two philosophies together.

What I feel in reading these words from verse four is that it is ok to become wealthy, to desire riches, but not to the extent that it will bring you to a difficult place where your conscience will be troubling you. Like many other people I have made mistakes in my past with money and chasing after it, which I am sorry for and wish I hadn’t done. I want to become wealthy in a way that hurts no-one, especially my peace as I lay my head on the pillow each night before I sleep.

Proverbs 11-5

Have you ever tripped yourself up, either metaphorically or in reality where you don’t quite manage to put one foot in front of the other? It is the height of foolishness, to be the one who causes your own downfall, you have to agree? Elsewhere the scripture says “There is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s end is in destruction!” I think it was Oscar Wilde who said “There is one thing worse than not knowing and that is thinking that you know, when you don’t!”

If we are to avoid such mistakes in life and in business, we need to act in a way that we would be pleased for others to know exactly what we had done, regardless of the day or time. When we do our trajectory in this life will be straight and we will get where we want to be a lot quicker and we won’t go meandering off in a way that will trip us up. This scripture says that those who don’t live their lives in a right and proper way aren’t just making mistakes, they are wicked!

Proverbs 11-6

It seems to be a natural law, that those who live their lives in a right way, will get out of many prospective difficulties just because of the way they act. Put the righteous under pressure and they will do what comes naturally to them , they will be true to their character. This will be of great help to them and their plans in the long run. If you want to build a business that will last all the tests that will come it’s way then treat those you meet the way you would like them to treat you!

Lust and treachery, on the other hand, are enticing but captivating in the way those involved don’t expect them to be. The expression “He was hoisted on his own petard!” comes to mind.  It is in our own interest to “do unto others as you would have them do to you” not so we can be seen as a goody two shoes type character, but so we can escape the karma of what the wrong actions will make of our lives and do to you and I!

Proverbs 11-7

I don’t want to have my hopes to die with me, and my expectations to come to nothing! I have a vision for my family when I am gone, for my children, my grandchildren and those yet to be born to see ” the goodness of the lord in the land of the living!” I suppose that these scriptures have mapped out for me and for you how to avoid that unpleasant outcome. If we want the world to be a better place for your family as a result of you being here, we know what you must do!

Wisdom 101 – Chapter Eleven (I)

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The Godless and The Upright – Part One

In June I set out to write an article about each chapter of the Book of Proverbs in which I was offering my impressions and conclusions as to what each chapter of the book said to me. Having been brought up in the Methodist Church and going to Methodist Bible School* and then attending and being part of the leadership in the “House Church” movement, I relished the chance after over 20 years of not attending church to see what the scriptures said to me.

Therefore,  having not studied the bible, not heard any sermons or read any commentaries for many years I wrote an ten articles in June, one for each of the first ten chapters of the Book of Proverbs.  I started this project was because I heard Mark Hoverson of ILN speak for two hours on one verse of Proverbs (Chapter 12 v 24) and was reminded of my desire 20 years earlier to see what the scriptures said to me personally, without all the background noise of others.

Here in the middle of July and I no longer feel it is adequate to write one article per chapter. My intention now, is to be much more detailed in my approach to my task. I do not intend writing a commentary, or to research what others have said; I am intending to continue, as before, giving my impressions as I read the verses of this amazing book of wisdom. I am not here to tell you what the Hebrew words means, just what my reading of the English says to me.

I am not an authority on this or any other book in the scriptures, but I have an open heart and I am willing to receive insights that may help others into accepting the wisdom of King Solomon from 3,000 years ago. My hope is that some of what I have to say here will be not from me but through me; that some of the divine spark will be here for you the reader. I leave the matter in your hands, you decide what I have written is inspired and what is not.

Proverbs 11-1

My Mum used to do a lot of baking and sometimes she would let me weigh the flour or the butter. We had a pair of scales and some weights, you put the weights at one side and the flour or butter at the other. This was how she made (along with a lot of love and flair for cooking) the perfect cake by having the right measure of ingredients. If you want a perfect life you need to make sure the scales of your perception are working correctly.

As I read these scriptures I have an ulterior motive, I am looking for advice on how to properly run my business life. When I see this verse I think of the business principle of win/win; that both parties to each of the transactions that I will be involved in, within my business life must gain something of benefit from it. It seems that fairness in trading is also one of the important aspects of business from a scriptural point of view too!

proverbs 11-2

I have been taught from an early age that grace and humility are some of the best characteristics to be found in human beings. To be gracious in our dealings with each other is not just saying our please and thank yous but an attitude of love towards those we meet which can be summed up in the word Namaste!  We should respect the spirit of the one who gives us life in the people we meet. If we are humble the scriptures tell us elsewhere we will be exalted.

Maybe this is where the well known saying “Pride comes before a fall!” comes from? From a business point of view, I am sure people who may look for certainty of delivery of what is promised and the appropriate skills from those they are to trade with; nevertheless do not like arrogance or over confidence from their business partners. Those showing humility are indeed wise, they are not too sure of themselves but have a balanced view of their abilities.

Proverbs 11-3

The road ahead is an image that is constantly on my mind, it is so full of expectation and promise and yet there is a level of uncertainty as to where the path may lead. In verse three we are given an insight as to how steady and comfortable progress can be made! The word integrity hints at one of the simplest of instructions to  guide you and I to the life we would prefer, but speaks also of a way to live that will keep the right sort of people in your life.

In business crookedness often seems to pay dividends, but as the scripture says elsewhere: what is the advantage of gaining the world if you lose your soul in the process.  Don’t look at the one transaction that although win/lose has the unscrupulous trader smiling from ear to ear; look at where those transactions lead in the long run. If you want to build a business that lasts, that you can pass on to your children and grand-children, act with integrity every day!

Love and light to you from Andrew :) <3

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*Cliff College, Calver, UK in 1979/80 , which holds a Conservative Evangelical view of the Scriptures

Wisdom 101 – Chapter Ten

1815

 THE PROVERBS OF SOLOMON

“The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it!” – Proverbs 10 verse 22 (RSV)

All that we have read so far in the first nine chapters, and I have put into my own words, via my musings and impressions, have been merely a pre-amble to what follows. At the end of Chapter Nine I was struggling to think of a strategy that would make sure I entered the “House of Wisdom,” it seemed possible to me that those without wisdom could easily find themselves inside the “House of Folly,” a place I didn’t want you or I to go!

As a scene setter I have now found this very helpful as an introduction to Chapter Ten, because I feel like I have had the choice made easy for me. Here at last is the wisdom I was seeking all laid out before me to eat and drink, with no fear in my heart I have come to the wrong “House.” Nevertheless, I am going to be honest with you the reader of these articles and if I disagree with the wisdom contained here I will tell you and explain why.

The Wealth In Wisdom

In the first section of this chapter, we have a kind of rhyming couplet contrasting the wisdom of the wise with the foolishness of the fool. The first part tells us tells us who is wise the second part of the “rhyme” tells us about the fool. It’s almost like having the occupants of the two houses in Chapter Nine revealed to us so we can differentiate between them. Maybe you can do what I did and measure yourself against these descriptions and see who you are.

In many things I do judge myself to be wise and yet according to these first twenty two verses there is one area of my life where I thought I was being wise and I wasn’t. When I typed out the heading for this part of my article (all the headings are taken directly from the RCV – the Revised Standard Version of the scriptures) I thought it might refer to wealth other than money, and that the wisdom it shared about money would be consistent with my own beliefs.

Sadly my wisdom on money, according to Chapter Ten is foolishness! I based my belief around money on what I thought to be the teachings of Jesus. That it was more difficult for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. He said “the poor you have with you always” and was sad when the Rich Young Ruler wouldn’t sell up and follow him. I therefore decided to stay as poor as possible!

I don’t think I was ever told that we were poor because the rich were evil; but I assumed that because my both my parents worked more than one job and that they were diligent in their labours, that it could only mean one thing. That the rich were idle people who made others work hard to create great wealth for them, how evil can you get! Or maybe because we were church folks, that anyone who had money must have morals that stank and did deals that people like us didn’t.

In this world I grew up in you can see why I wanted nothing to do with filthy lucre and ill-gained wealth. I didn’t think it possible for you to gain great wealth and not use people or live always with a guilty conscience! I had been told that God had cursed all human beings in the Garden of Eden, when He said “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3 verse 19 – RSV)

So, no chance to becoming rich without being a bad person; and a life of hard labour ahead, just like my Mum and Dad. They were excellent people and despite buying their own home didn’t amount to much financially. They were rich in many other more important to them things, like love, family, friendships, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control and I wanted to be like them! looked up to them as people and I still do!

And yet my families wisdom and mine about money has been wrong all along, we have been foolish in holding the beliefs that we have. I have been told that riches are seen by those of the Jewish faith to be a blessing from God; I dismissed such a notion because why would God bless those he had cursed to hard labour with wealth. Riches from God would be an escape from His curse and that is something He wouldn’t do, go against Himself.

Proverbs Ten, verses 4,15 and 22 all seem to be approving of wealth and showing it to be the blessing of God. Verse 16 seems to back up part of my philosophy, but following on so soon after the contents of verse 15 to quote it by itself would detract from the full meaning of what the chapter is saying. I have read the Christian Scriptures many times in the earlier years of my life and on two separate occasions all the way through; how did I overlook these three verses?

Verse 4 suggests thats that if we work in a particular way we can’t help but become rich. Diligence is the way to go! Verse 15 tells us that poverty is ruinous to the poor mans life and the rich mans wealth seems to be spoken of in a very positive way. Verse 22 is the killer verse for me, it leaves us in no doubt whatsoever that the way to get properly rich is through the blessing of the LORD because there is no sorrow attached to that type of wealth.

Verse five suggests that hard work will be rewarded and that sleeping when the harvest needs to be collected is shameful! My Dad often talked about “Making hay whilst the sun shines” and my personal development training informed me that “the opportunity of a lifetime, only exists for the lifetime of the opportunity. I believe that it is harvest-time in my life. That I had planted many crops, sowed much good will and the time has come to reap the rewards.

Verse eight encourages me to do so, to collect the harvest; because once you have received wisdom, and I most certainly have today, you have to act on it or the result will be ruinous to me. Walking with integrity, speaking words of life, storing up wisdom is the way to go. Working my way to wealth from this day on, to provide for my needs, the needs of my family and the wider world is the mission I accept willingly, maybe you would like to join me in these activities?

Fear Of The LORD Prolongs Life

When I see the word LORD in the scriptures I see it differently to the way I saw it in my Bible College days. Back then LORD in capitals was an English representation of the tetragrammaton, the vowelless word for God in Ancient Hebrew YHWH or JHVH. It was described as the unpronounceable word for God, because no-one was allowed to say His name. When I see LORD or God now, I think of the energy force that sustains the universe in all its simplicity, diversity and power.

For example “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (see Proverbs 9 verse 10) for me now means that we must respect life energy and creative force wherever we encounter it, to not do so may be perilous for us. Back then in Bible school God was described in terms of His omniscience (all knowing), omnipresence (being everywhere) omnipotence (all powerful) and him being eternal (having no beginning or ending); today for me God is the source!

The final ten verses, please read them yourself, seem to be a precursor to the words of Jesus I learned in a Sunday School song “The wise man built his house upon the rock and the rain came tumbling down. The rain came down and the floods came up, but the house on the rock stood firm. The foolishness built his house upon the sand, and the rain came tumbling down. The rain came down and the floods came up and the house on the sand fell flat!” Enough said?

Love and light to you from Andrew :) <3

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Wisdom 101 – Chapter Nine

wisdom-and-follyWISDOM AND FOLLY CONTRASTED

“Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you!” – Proverbs 9 verse 8 (RSV)

If you want to become wise you will consider the criticism that comes your way, you will weigh it up and not see it as an attack but as someone possible shining a lamp to light your way. It may be that in the end you dismiss what it is that was said to you, but to be wise you will allow yourself to be open to criticism. This is no way deflects from you following your purpose, if there is any truth in what is being said about you and you listen, it will speed up your arrival.

Chapter nine of the Book of Proverbs is asking us to look carefully at all the sensory input we are currently receiving. Yes there will be an amount of rubbish that needs to be discarded  but not at the expense of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” It may seem like a tightrope walk to begin with, but if we persevere eventually the road we are taking will widen as we begin to see the difference between folly and wisdom.

Wisdom is described as a house that is firmly established, her foundations are strong and she has prepared to feed all those who want to eat from her table. The invitations have been sent out in such a way that everyone should be fully aware of the fact that her house is open and her table is set for you and I to go and feast there. Wisdom particularly wants those hungry for her knowledge and insight to come and eat.

This is not just an invitation to come and eat, but a challenge to completely change your way of life. Most of us seem to adopt the so called “wisdom of the age” or “follow in our Father’s footsteps.” If our Father was a wise man (not just in our eyes, but in the eyes of others too) then things will go well for us, but if not, what then. Samuel Taylor Coleridge said “Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom!”  and yet common sense is not wisdom!

 Without wisdom we are all on a hiding to nothing! I don’t know about you, but as I read these words, in my mind I am already running with haste to wisdom’s house, I know I need to eat from her bountiful table! Maybe the food will be too rich for me to digest to begin with, but that is ok I will eat a little and wait until my stomach can accept it, but I will become wise! If you are what you eat, then I will eat wisdom; if what you think about comes about, I will think wise thoughts!

As the quotation at the top of this article clearly states, people who don’t want to hear wisdom or become wise, won’t thank you for sharing your wisdom with them. In fact according to verse seven, you are likely to be verbally and physically abused for sharing your knowledge and insights with such a person. Maybe this is why the wise become wiser and the rich become richer? You can’t help those who won’t help themselves.

I have avoided speaking about the spiritual dimension to all of this and have not mentioned God in the first eight articles I have written on the Book of Proverbs. You no doubt have your own beliefs about God and I don’t want to persuade you to change your mind about them; however what I am going to say now is to help you to understand my perspective on verse ten of Chapter Nine and maybe some other explanations I will share with you in future articles.

When I read “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” my perspective is that Wisdom herself is another word for “the LORD.” Scientists are looking for a mathematical equation which will express “The Theory of Everything.” They say it will be represented by something even more simpler than E=MC2, I do not know how to express everything scientifically, but philosophically Wisdom or God expresses it for me.

To be fearful, in the sense of respecting and being concerned at what effect ignoring the LORD, or Wisdom will have on us will start us on the path to having the supreme knowledge and insights that maybe today we are lacking. If you haven’t embraced a desire for wisdom already, now is the time to get your act together. It’s time to desire Wisdom, like you never have before, because if you do, there is a promise of long life to be found in verse eleven.

Wisdom always described here as a she; so don’t be surprised to find Folly described a woman too! This “foolish woman” has also built her house and invites people to go and eat with her. Her invite is the same, and it’s seems so much easier to go there in secret and eat stolen food; but in the long run it will prove to be extremely costly; because your life is at stake if you go there. You wont know before you enter that those who are spiritually dead are already her guests.

Yes, the houses of Wisdom and Folly may look similar on the outside, the invitations to go and eat there equally desirable. Folly may look more exciting, and those without wisdom will not know the difference until it is too late. Therefore we are left in the street to realise that we have a choice to make: Jesus said “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it!”  Matthew 7 verse 13 (NIV)

Love and light to you from Andrew :) <3

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Wisdom 101 – Chapter Eight

reid-proverbs

 THE CALL OF WISDOM

“Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold; for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her!” – Proverbs 8 v 10-11 (RSV)

When I first came to the book of Proverbs, I believed I would find some new insights that I haven’t heard or thought of before. After all who doesn’t wan’t more wisdom? Any help we can get to have a better life is worth considering and embracing. Solomon was obviously wanting to warn Rehoboam, his son, about the danger of going after the pleasures of this life, rather than seeking wisdom, the last three chapters were clear on that.

Maybe what I lost sight of last time, was that Solomon saw a distinct choice between following and embracing the temptations of the flesh and pursuing and holding onto wisdom. He speaks of both wisdom and temptation as females, following one leads to life, following the other leads to death, whether that is meant as physical or spiritual life or death, initially doesn’t seem to matter, although spiritual death is the real killer.

Please remember it is my intention to cut through the religious language and go straight for the wisdom contained here. Those reading these articles of mine may well be offended by me taking out the talk of God if they are strong believers and those who haven’t read the Book of Proverbs (which I urge you to do, so you can get your own insights) may initially think there is nothing for them here, but I can assure you there is!

The Call Of Wisdom

Coming here I was one looking for wisdom, calling out for her and yet it seems she was calling out to me (verse 1)! I suppose we are all guilty of not taking the time to listen. Wisdom and understanding it would seem are hidden in clear sight! It is down to which sound you focus on which determines what can speak to you. Wisdom is speaking to you now, are you interested in what she is about to say? Here’s your chance and mine to get “wised up” it is prudent of us to do so!

Many of us are searching and have searched for truth; wisdom speaks, her words are righteous, she speaks of noble things and of the truth! When you find knowledge, when you know the lessons wisdom has to teach, then it is all straight-forward and easy to understand. Better than gold, silver and jewels is wisdom, because if you listen and you haven’t got any of them, wisdom will show you how; and if you have worldly wealth, wisdom will help you to keep hold of it.

Wisdom tells us to shun pride, arrogance and perverted speech and to hate evil. Wisdom has many gifts to give us, such as counsel, insight and strength. It is with wisdom that Kings successfully govern, reign and rule. Wisdom gives wealth to those who love her and keeps their bank accounts full. It was as a result of considering a new business plan that I came to read these words, so I am glad to see that the Book of Proverbs, the Wisdom of Solomon is addressing such things.

The Eternity Of Wisdom

We are told that wisdom preceded everything else; wisdom is literally “older than the hills!” From a scientific point of view the laws of physics and quantum physics must proceed everything that exists, so to find out that everything emanates from wisdom makes sense.  Wisdom is so wise because she has lived and is aware of everything that exists and how it came to be there; personally I can’t think of a better teacher, than one who knows it all and has seen it all!

Wisdom was glad to see the sentient ones come to life, the ones who could reason and understand at a deep level. I wonder how disappointed she was when by far the majority of humankind seemed to have no interest in being enlightened with the wisdom she was longing to share with each and everyone of us. The fact that we have freewill means that we don’t have to listen to wisdom and we can go on into the darkness that persists without her, should we choose to.

The Invitation Of Wisdom

Listening to wisdom isn’t the end of the matter, it is merely the beginning! If you want to get happy and stay that way, you must not neglect the wisdom you have learned; you must put it into action! We need to serve wisdom, wait close by her, ever attentive to her words. If we do, we have found life; if we don’t we are choosing to love our own injury and death. I am now willing to listen, I’m ready and waiting for all the wisdom that has been promised! Bring it on!

Love and light to you from Andrew 🙂 <3

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