on proverbs 4 and rockin’ the right path

Do not set foot on the path of the wicked  or walk in the way of evildoers.  Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble.- Proverbs 4 : 14-16

Do any of you remember D.A.R.E.? I sure do..i thought it was just awesome..getting to skip out on lessons and getting cool tshirts and such. As a fifth grader, I adored the cops who would come and speak to my class..now, 16 years later.. i wonder how many of them have given me speeding tickets? But, anyways..as my mind travels down the halls of my old elementary school I see cartoon yellow jackets decorating the walls..the smell of those square pizzas drifts from the cafeteria..scribbled in hot pink marker, I have the words “Lacy and Briana BFF” written on my hand..  I look down to admire the pair of purple jeans and keds that I am wearing but I’m distracted away from my super cool “look”  by the sound of kids screaming, “just say no”, that is echoing down the hallway from an unknown classroom. How many of us passionately yelled “just say no” and meant every bit of it..in 5th grade, at least as far as I know..i dont remember too many of us drugging it up in the bathroom. To be drug and alcohol free was the cool way to be in 5th grade. Now…lets fast-forward time a couple of years to high school. Speaking from personal experience..things are the complete opposite from the happy days of recess and lunchboxes. To me, highschool was peer pressure, acting like a complete idiot, and wearing too much black eyeliner. Unfortunately, adult life isnt that different. I mean, things change..you have to grow up and accept that you’re not 16 anymore..but, just because the rhythm of life is a little different you still have to deal with many of the same struggles..only now, the bad decisions we make cause far worse complications.

Its not skipping school anymore because you drank too much last night..now, it’s not being able to provide for yourself or for your family because you lost your job for calling out too much. It’s not just a trip to the Principal’s office anymore..now, when you break the rules it’s a speeding ticket, jail, or even penalties from unpaid taxes. Just because the outcome of our mistakes may now be more detrimental doesn’t mean that there still will not be people in our lives who are constantly trying to pull us down..people looking for company to join them in their destructive habits. Like it says above..do not step foot in their path. If you are trying to quit drinking..then dont go to the bar with your friends. If you are trying to overcome an addiction to shopping..dont call up your shopping buddy for a free for all at the mall.

Sometimes in life it is critical that we step out onto a new path..onto our own path. Im not saying you should start hating all the people in your life who encourage you to make bad decisions..I’m just saying maybe you should evaluate the people who you allow to influence your life..your future. If the bad out weighs the good then maybe it is time to cut some ties. Maybe it is time to put the things that you really desire for yourself and for your family first. Putting your future and your family’s future first is not gonna be some rockin’ party..however, living a life where you hold yourself accountable for every action that you make will pay off..one day, when all the people that you left behind so many years ago are paying the price for their foolishness..the path you chose will have led you to a far better outcome..and to me and hopefully to you as well, that is what matters most.

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on proverbs 3 and sacrificial lattes

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. – Proverbs 3:27

Before you read any more i want you to do something for me..please stop and just look around at the place in which you are sitting. What do you see? I’ll tell you what I see.. When I look around my tiny living room I see my dog  lazily sprawled out on my hand-me-down couch.. my 12 dollar lamp from Ikea sitting on the end table that I rescued from the side of the road a few years back..I see my sweet son playing in his exersaucer that I bought off craigslist..behind him I see the curtains that I found at Goodwill slightly dancing because of the air vent below them.. I see our tv; i wont even begin to describe all the random toys, pictures and knick knacks laying around.. but that just about sums up what I see. Above it all, one thing drastically stands out when I survey my surroundings..I see blessing. I see extreme wealth.

How I can be so thankful for the shabby contents that fill my humble living room may have you puzzled right now. I hope not..but some of you may even feel sorry for my children..sorry that they have to be raised in such circumstances. Please dont feel this way..hopefully by the end of this post you will feel differently.

  Standing there with the hot sun beating down upon his head, almost as if they were trying to find some relief in the sweat that poured from his brow, the flies relentlessly buzzed around him. The things his senses processed that day would paint a memory onto his mind that would never be erased.  As he stood there, on the primitive tarmac waiting to board his plane, the overwhelming odor of jet fuel lingered in the stagnant air that surrounded him. Just as he was about to board his plane he felt a hand tugging on his shirt..turing around, his eyes fell upon a woman closely clutching her baby to her breast. “please sir, please sir take my baby with you,” she pleaded as she extended the crying baby towards him. In the eyes that bulged from the infant’s sunken face and in the pleading eyes of the child’s mother the man saw the same thing – hopelessness. Looking out the tiny window, as he sat in that plane, the sight of that mother weeping for the baby that she could not feed..weeping for the baby that she could not keep alive flooded his soul with a pain that, even now, he cannot forget.

The man in that story is my father. Some years ago, he went to Haiti on a missions trip and this is what happened when he was at the airport waiting to fly back home. Can you imagine a future so grim..so hopeless? Can you imagine looking into the eyes of your crying son or daughter and seeing no tears because they are so dehydrated from the diarrhea and vomiting caused by the tainted water that is all you have to give them? Can you imagine a world that gives such a small hope of survival..a world so barren that the loving mothers living within it would beg for their children to be taken from them..just so their children could be swept far away from the cold poverty into which they were born? This is a way of living that even the poorest American cannot imagine. In Haiti people are so starving that they eat patties made from mud, oil and sugar. My children might have a lot of tuna casserole and PB&J’s in their future..but i am so lucky..so blessed to say that they will never have to eat mud just so their tummies will quiet down. In America we have food stamps and wic to lean on in times of trouble..however, think of the billions of people all over this planet who have nothing. Approximately 25,000 people die of hunger every DAY, about 9 million people per year.

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that’s the essence of inhumanity. – George Bernard Shaw

How much good could we do? The answer to that is endless. What if you gave up buying a new pair of sunglasses..a drink at the bar..or gave up Starbucks once a week, and instead gave that money to a good charity. Do you know how much good your simple sacrifice could do..how many deserving children and adults could have food one more day because of the few dollars you spared.  Or, if you are like me and do not have the extra money lying around for sunglasses and lattes..im almost positive that you still have an extra can of food in your pantry that you could spare..ALL of us has a voice that can spread this message. If we all made it a point to not withhold good from those who deserve it..if we refused to ignore the plight of our fellow man..i cannot correctly sum up the overflow of joy and happiness that would fill our lives. Our world could be a different place..a place were innocent children did not silently waste away from hunger..a place where good people did not die from simple diseases, diseases that the pharmacy shelves in America are piled high with the medicine needed to cure them..a world where people had hope. Life.

if you want to start today..here are some links to several charities, all of which have the highest ratings given for financial accountability and moral practice. I am not affiliated with any of them and neither is my church..these are just a few of the ones I found while searching online. If you would like to search for yourself, http://www.charitynavigator.org/ is a great site that you can search and compare different organizations.

http://www.fortmillcarecenter.org/tag/fort-mill-food-bank/

http://www.loveachild.com/

http://www.cotni.org/

http://www.fh.org/

on proverbs chapter two and how to avoid staring into the barrel of lifes ugly gun

Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Search for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasure…then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will know how to find the right course of action every time. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise planning will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe. – proverbs 2 : 2-4 & 9-11

How fast would your heart start beating if you witnessed a toddler holding a gun..just imagine seeing a little two year old boy or girl standing there curiously staring into the barrel of a gun. What would you do? Oh my goodness, just the thought of it makes my stomach hurt. I pray that in a furious attempt to save a life, you would leap towards the child and snatch the gun away from them. If any of you reading this have children then you know what would come next..the child would probably burst into tears because their toy had just been taken. In those few moments after, can you imagine how you would feel? You know when you are truly startled how you can feel the blood running through your veins..I would imagine you would feel something like that. In a matter of seconds every tragic scenario would play through your mind..you would see the child on the floor surrounded by blood, you would see that precious little child in a coffin..you would probably even be able to hear the sound of yourself or the child’s mother weeping. It would be a life changing event. As all this was going on within your mind you more than likely would not even hear the child fussing because their shiny toy had just been mercilessly snatched from them. Can we imagine such ignorant foolishness? Of course we can..we were once that way..for a child lacks understanding.

How many areas of your life are like a loaded gun? Really search your current situation and think about it. For some of you it may be something that you cannot change overnight..but really tune your ears to wisdom, concentrate on understanding what it is that you can do to make right what may be putting your life in harms way..as it says above, search for it like you would for lost money or hidden treasure. Lost money or hidden treasure..how fast would you jump to it if there was money to be found? With how cut-throat this world is..it would be pretty fast, I’m sure. How much more precious is your future? How much more precious is your life? Or for others, your “loaded gun” could be something that could be changed in an instant..with one firm and thoughtful decision.

What ever your case may be, the verse that says, wise planning will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe..this verse could not hold anymore truth. How much joy could your life hold if every decision you made was a decision that had been wisely planned..one that you completely understood the consequences of. Don’t stumble through life in the dark..like an innocent child looking into the barrel of a loaded gun..you are here for more than that. You are here for a reason. You may not yet know what that reason is..but I promise..if you truly turn your heart to seek what is wise..what is just..and what is fair..one day it will all make sense to you. Like a prisoner set free your life will be..

a challenge for anyone who thinks that everthing in the bible is crap

I am going to start a journey through the book of Proverbs. This is really a personal thing..I have tried several times to do this, but my efforts have never been a success. That is a big problem that I unfortunately have..my endurance for things is so short-lived. I get so bored and burnt out far too soon..I cant imagine how much in life I have missed out on because of this. So perhaps, if i include you on this journey, i may have a better chance at finishing. Hopefully I will grow because of this..hopefully anyone who reads along with me will grow also.

Of course the Proverbs are from the Bible..but, a part of my goal here is to step outside of the obvious and try to show how things in the Bible are good and just regardless of religion. So many people steer away from anything biblical just because they dont want to involve themselves in any of that heaven and hell “stuff”..well, if you are one of these people, please give me a chance.  Let me make you an offer..a challenge. Over the next few weeks really attempt to let the things you read change your attitude and your actions. When we are done..if your life has not improved, I want to know.

The purpose of these proverbs is to teach people wisdom and discipline, and to help them understand wise sayings. Through these proverbs, people will receive instruction in discipline, good conduct, and doing what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will make the simpleminded clever. They will give knowledge and purpose to young people. Let those who are wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. And let those who understand receive guidance by exploring the depth of meaning in these proverbs, parables, wise saying and riddles. – Proverbs 1: 2-6

The above are the opening verses in the book of Proverbs..throughout the next few weeks please try and join me as I dig deeper and try to figure out different things that I can do to become a better person..a better wife..a better mother. And of course, more pleasing in the eyes of God..but, let me say it again, it is not going to be my mission to shove religion down your throat. It is my hope that together, we can become better people. As it is written in Proverbs 1:7..Only fools despise wisdom and discipline..lets not be foolish..myself included; my lack of discipline makes me the biggest fool of them all. I pray that I will gain some self-discipline from all of this…by me actually finishing this, we shall see if that happens.