Love All the Children (Proverbs 22:6)

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”—Proverbs 22:6

Children are the seeds of the change we desire. If we teach our children sound principles, we can completely change the world in only one or two generations. Education has always intrigued me. I’ve always tried to be a good example for the youth in my circle. At this stage in life and ministry, my desire is to expand this part of my heart and vision. The reason so many young people seem lost is because they aren’t taught. If a child’s parents are lost, what hope does the child have, except someone else interjects some wisdom, love, affection, mentorship, and guidance?

Our ministry is under a major renewal and this year we will start some type of mentorship initiative. What exactly? I’m not sure. But from what I’m seeing in the community, many children just need to know that someone cares. Young people also need economic empowerment. You may never become famous. And I may never have my name in lights. But together we can change the world. Each child that we touch changes the destiny of their entire bloodline. It has an exponential effect. Love all the children.

Learn from Others (Proverbs 21:2)

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.”—Proverbs 21:2

No one is right all the time. We should listen to other people’s perspectives. We should always value our thoughts and ideas. Thinking for one’s self doesn’t mean excluding everyone else’s thoughts. It means that we think before making a judgment; we think before making a move. But again, we’re all right in our own eyes. I know I tend to think my ideas are generally right. Thank God I’ve learned to have a quieter nature. Being quiet has saved me from embarrassment. I’ve misjudged people a number of times. But because I kept my comments to myself, nobody knows about these erroneous thoughts.

The real story is in the heart. God sees the heart. People’s behavior doesn’t tell the whole story. What’s causing their behavior? How did this person end up in this situation? Why does this political group view the world this way? When we realize that the heart tells the real story, our mind begins to open. Listen to other people’s perspectives more. Learn from others.

Review Your Drinking Habits (Proverbs 20:1)

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”—Proverbs 20:1

Father Hurley taught that drinking in moderation is acceptable. But what does moderation mean? We generally think of moderation as not too much and not too little. In Aristotle’s ethical philosophy though, moderation is based on the individual. Moderate drinking for a severe alcoholic is no alcohol. For a young person who just turned 21, moderate drinking should mean one shot, in a controlled environment, to observe their body’s reaction.

I stopped drinking alcohol in October 2010. The Spirit said, “If you keep drinking, you’ll turn into an alcoholic.” I wasn’t a heavy drinker, so the directive seemed strange but I obeyed. This October will mark 7 years and all I can say is that obedience is better than sacrifice. Drinking—in and of itself—isn’t bad. But all of us need to regularly keep watch over our relationship to alcohol.

Being drunk isn’t a good state to be in. About two years ago, I was in a pizzeria in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was about 2am. I was waiting for the Megabus to come, so I could come back home to Chicago. While eating my slice of pizza, four young ladies came in, got in line, and ordered. Three of them went back out. They left their friend at the counter by the front door. She was sloppy drunk. She kept slipping off the tall stool. I kept an eye on her. She kept winking at me—probably thought I was interested in her. Actually, I felt sorry for her. And I didn’t want someone to slide her out the door in her condition. I was relieved when her friends came back—about 15 minutes later.

Having a cocktail or two is fine and all. And I won’t condemn anyone who drinks. But remember our subject. Review your drinking habits.

Love the Poor (Proverbs 19:4)

“Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour.”—Proverbs 19:4

The political party in power in our country today needs to internalize this wisdom. Too many people demean the poor and needy. As spiritual minded people, our task isn’t to tear down but to build up. The poor are isolated. The poor are left in failing schools, failing neighborhoods, and with a failing infrastructure. And it’s not always because everyone is poor. For example, in Illinois, Chicago’s tax base makes up 20% of the state education revenue. But when the state issues money back out, Chicago only gets 15%, while other smaller—and richer—districts get more than their fare share back.

The wealthy have many friends and hangers on! I’m writing this during tax season and when the tax refunds start being deposited, everyone will have friends. There will be parties, vacations, and shopping sprees. But when the money is low again, the friends will be scare. Praise God for wisdom! I hope everyone is getting something from this study of Proverbs. Love everybody. Help everyone that you can. Love the poor.

Identify Your Gift (Proverbs 18:16)

“A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.”—Proverbs 18:16

Everyone is born with a gift waiting to be revealed to the world. I must credit Steve Harvey for emphasizing this verse in his two success books. As he states, everyone is born with a God-given gift. We don’t find our gift but rather we discover it. And once we discover our gift, we must begin working it to the fullest.

Your gift will make room for you. As you start walking in your God-given gift, you will then discover your purpose in life. God made us and placed us here for a reason. As you walk in your purpose, doors will begin to open. At first, the doors may seem small, the steps may seem short, but you must continue on. As you focus on your gift and purpose, you will begin to see opportunities abounding all-around you. Every step you take will lead you closer to your goals.

Some opportunities will come in the form of meeting the right people. Now, the right people aren’t always millionaires ready to write you a check. (Although I’m sure none of us would mind that!) But the right person could be a mentor. The right person could be someone that tells you about a vocational class, which leads you to more opportunities. But all this goodness starts with a single step. Identify your gift.

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