Proverbs for Today

This Sunday I was reading the introduction to Proverbs in The Message and it inspired me to continue to dig into Proverbs on a regular basis and to meditate on the proverbs that God uses to speak to me.  In one of the videos I share the story of how Proverbs 11:2 impacted me years ago and again yesterday it was the verse that God was using to conform me to the image of Christ.  Anyway, I hope this introduction will inspire you like it inspired me.

Many people think that what’s written in the Bible has mostly to do with getting people into heaven—getting right with God, saving their eternal souls. It does have to do with that, of course, but not mostly. It is equally concerned with living on this earth—living well, living in robust sanity. In our Scriptures, heaven is not the primary concern, to which earth is a tag-along afterthought. “On earth as it is in heaven” is Jesus’ prayer.

“Wisdom” is the biblical term for this on-earth-as-it-is-in-heaven everyday living. Wisdom is the art of living skillfully in whatever actual conditions we find ourselves. It has virtually nothing to do with information as such, with knowledge as such. A college degree is no certification of wisdom—nor is it primarily concerned with keeping us out of moral mud puddles, although it does have a profound moral effect upon us.

Wisdom has to do with becoming skillful in honoring our parents and raising our children, handling our money and conducting our sexual lives, going to work and exercising leadership, using words well and treating friends kindly, eating and drinking healthily, cultivating emotions within ourselves and attitudes toward others that make for peace. Threaded through all these items is the insistence that the way we think of and respond to God is the most practical thing we do. In matters of everyday practicality, nothing, absolutely nothing, takes precedence over God.

Proverbs concentrates on these concerns more than any other book in the Bible. Attention to hear and now is everywhere present in the stories and legislation, the prayers and the sermons, that are spread over the thousands of pages of the Bible. Proverbs distills it all into riveting images and aphorisms that keep us connected in holy obedience to the ordinary.

-Eugene Peterson

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George Lowden

I took a trip to Ireland with a bunch of youth workers in February and it was a great time. I expected to be inspired by the life of faith that Patrick lived. Interestingly I think it was the life of faith lived by George Lowden that was equally as inspiring. He was going to go into missions with YWAM as a young man but his father and a WYAM missionary encouraged him not to. At the age of 23 he began making gutairs without books or the internet to tell him what to do. He would simply do what was within his power to do and pray to God to help him make great gutairs. His prayers were answered and he was able to make awesome gutairs. After just four years became world famous making accustic gutairs for some of the biggest names in the music industry. It was cool to see the heart of a missionary in a gutair maker. George Lowden was an inspiration to me of the passion that every Christ follower should have to do great work and honor their God.

So if you have an extra $5000 or $10,000 laying around and want to buy a gutair I know a great place to get one. They’ll even let you tour the factory. :-) You might even be inspired to more fully give your life to Christ in the process.

Saint Patrick’s Confession in American English

I had a special treat for you that I wanted to send out on Saint Patrick’s day of this year but I was so saddened by what Saint Patrick’s Day has become that I didn’t want to send it out and cheapen the life of Patrick.  Over the last few years I have read about Saint Patrick from others.  They often talk of his willingness to depart from the tradition of man and the church to reach people with the love and message of Jesus Christ.  Some of the stories that circulate are obviously legend but some miraculous things seem from history to be true.  It’s funny how the Catholic church that now celebrates and exhalts him with the rest of the world actually put an end to the type of ministry that he was doing with lay ministry and the priesthood of believers and decreed that church should be done in the Roman way.  I think the world would have been a much better place and the Church would be much stronger today had Rome not stepped in and quashed the way church as done in Ireland in the 500′s.

This year, for the first time, I read Saint Patrick’s Confession and heard form him in his own words.  I think as I heard the stories about him in Ireland and read his words I was struck not by his missional ways of conforming to the culture but of how he stood up for things that he felt God would have him to do and his strength of character.  When he heard the voice of God he reacted in obedience.  I was inspired by his willingness to follow Christ no matter what he thought the consequences might be.

I have a modern translation of his confession that I changed to American English.  It is less than 11 pages long and well worth the read.  Saint Patrick’s Confession