Good day! It’s a beautiful Sunday here in Vermont. The grass here has turned a gorgeous shade of green. Soon I hope to get a hanging basket or two for the porch. I stick to the petunias. They seem the easiest to water and frankly, not kill.
Today I continue on Day 12 of reading the Billy Graham Words of Wisdom Bible Plan. By reading Psalms, you are supposed to strengthen your understanding of the divine while reading Proverbs will strengthen your relationships with other humans. These are a few items from the readings and just stream of consciousness ideas about them.
My devotional reading today was Matthew 5:43-48 and was about loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you. I have a hard time doing this but over the years, I learned that bitterness leaves a stain on my heart that can be used to turn me into an ugly person in regards to my character. Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping it hurts the other person. There’s been a few folks over the years I had to learn to forgive and it’s not an easy thing. You gotta keep doing it over and over again until it becomes a habit or second nature to forgive quicker.
As they say, when a relationship doesn’t work out, when he or she don’t want you no more and you gotta deal with the pain of rejection….you gotta learn to keep your head up high and “take the L”. Take the L means to take the loss. In a lot of cities, there is an L train or subway system. So, when you split up, you walk away and board that “take the L” train. Best thing you can do is get some separation space between you 2 until you can lick your wounds and heal yourself and that takes time, at least 2 months generally for me.
Another valuable lesson I learned from a preacher once is “you just gotta flush it.” When we make a mess using the restroom, do we turn around and look at what we did forever? Nah. We flush and don’t think much more about it and move on. Likewise, we gotta learn to move on from things that hurt us. Sitting there staring at the mess ain’t gonna fix it. Make peace with it, flush it, and move on.
Ok, so here are the Psalms and Proverbs quotes:
Psalm 56 “My soul takes refuge in you.”
I visited a refugee camp once in Gaza. The living conditions were pretty rough to say the least. The bathroom I used was a tent with a trough down the middle that you squatted over to pee. I slept on the beach with a super dirty twin thin mattress that was brown and a brown woolen blanket. What really surprised me is how many happy kids were running and playing in the streets and having the grandest time without a care in the world.
Poverty is all about mindset and perception. Some folks can spend their whole lives at a low income and be happy. Others, lose their things and go from riches to rags and become so very miserable. Everybody loves a rags to riches story but I kinda like a riches to rags story too cause the people learn to value ordinary folks all over again and to count their blessings and enjoy the little things. It’s a harsh miserable lesson but a good one.
Likewise to the little kids in the refugee camp, people that trust in God or the Universe and take refuge in them during difficult times seem to fair a little bit better. They are more patient and serene:
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Psalm 57 “My soul is among lions.”
So this passage makes me thing of Daniel in the lions’ den. He was a good government employee for King Darius but he had enemies that reported he was praying on his own time and doing things the King did not approve of. So, although he did not want to, King Darius ordered Daniel put into a den of lions overnight and they closed the door. They assumed the lions would devour Daniel.
The next day, the King and his advisors came to the den and opened the gate. To their wonder, they found Daniel sitting calmly inside. Daniel said that the lions’ mouths had been closed by God and Daniel’s prayers. Still it must have been nerve racking to sit in a room in the dark with prowling lions and fighting lions.
I wouldn’t sleep a wink.
Sometimes we go into situations where we feel outnumbered or surrounded or we just got a bad intuitive feeling about it. This story is a good reminder that prayer, trust, and courage might help.
Psalm 58 “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.”
I don’t know about this one. Is evil and deceit a learned behavior or is it ingrained in the DNA prior to birth? This would be an interesting scientific experiment maybe to study the impact of genetics on criminal behavior later in life.
Psalm 59 “God is my defence.”
Hold the line.
How many times have you heard this in football games? The defensive players don’t get the honor of the quarterback but they are just as worthy and hardworking on the team and have been responsible for many great wins in the NFL.
There’s a passage in the Bible about Watchmen on the wall. It reminds me of Game of Thrones with ice zombies and ice dragons and such. But the passage is just about being aware of contemporary events and being a watchman to warn others of upcoming problems or concerns and to “blow your trumpet” as they say or “sound the horn in the deep” or “blow the shofar” to help others. It reminds of those old Viking movies and such where the scout in the tower blows the horn to announce arrivals or dangers to the town.
Psalm 59 “Save me from bloody men for lo, they lie in wait for my soul.”
On average, about 1.4 million people visit hospitals in the United States every year for emergency treatment for assaults. I looked this up. There’s no way I’d know that.
I was wondering how many homicides occur on average in a year in the US and it is approximately around 26,000 people. For every 100,000 people, 7 people die of homicide.
Proverbs 12 “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.”
Nothing more humiliating than an awful spouse that doesn’t listen to you or openly respect you in public. The worst place to get yelled at by a disrespectful spouse is Wal-mart.
Proverbs 12 “Better is the one who is slighted but has a servant than he who honors himself but lacks bread.”
Some folks like to front.
It’s better to be humble and wealthy than prideful and poor. There’s a lot of folks living in mansions that can barely pay the bills or buy some PB & J and bread for dinner.
I’ve been thinking about an alternative living arrangement in the future for our family. We want to downsize and maybe either live outta an RV when the kids go off to college or we can build a tiny home like they show on all those YouTube videos. This would be less cleaning, more money in our pocket, and easier way to travel around if we wanted to.
Proverbs 12 “A prudent man covers shame.”
This line is interesting. Prudence, I suppose, requires discretion and holding the tongue but is this omission of truth? Not really unless asked directly. Best to keep your cards close to you when playing Texas Hold’Em and not reveal your emotions until the time when you can comfortably without losing a chance at the pot of money.
“You gotta know when to fold em, know when to hold em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” (Kenny Rogers, The Gambler)
But you also, like George Strait says, gotta keep an “Ace in the hole.” Keep some stuff hidden, especially assets and such that can be used later in case of emergency and such.
I got a few things here and there. I got some stuff I’ve lugged around for 20 years now hoping eventually they can pay off. I collect coins and stamps and all sorts of other fascinating stuff….some old Obama Presidency newspapers, some stamps from Jamestown 400th year celebration. Heck, I even kept some Covid masks thinking some day maybe they’d be as valuable as a Black Plague mask down the road. Who knows?
So that’s what I got for the Psalms and Proverbs readings today. Tomorrow is Day 13 and the readings are Psalms 61-65 and Proverbs 13. You are welcome to read along or provide comments. Thanks for reading and have a good evening!