Substantive Faith
Virginia Satir and My Telephone

Stay On Your Toes


On your toes patricia-palma-984528-unsplash

Photo by Patricia Palma on UnsplashStay on your toes.

The admonition is to be alert and take nothing and no one for granted. Live life on tiptoe in anticipation, but also in awareness of  what is going on  over the horizon.

Boasting vs Believing About Tomorrow

We are to make faith declarations and dream statements as freely as we breath, but boasting is another matter. It presupposes that we are self-sufficient and need neither God nor other people to reach our aspirations and excludes gratitude from the success equation of our lives.

Thus, the writer of Proverbs declares (27:1).  "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day will bring forth." (New International Version)

Of course we do not know. There are variables beyond our oversight and capacity to predict. We do not control other people's choices or the heartbeat of nature. There are larger purposes than our own and we function best when we view our lives as part of a larger plan and submit ourselves to a greater will.

When that happens, the dream that is planted within our hearts is a dream we must pursue and can pursue with divine guidance and power. However, we do not know what valleys of sorrow or storms of trouble through which we must pass.

We cannot boast about the time frame.

All that we can determine are our choices and our beliefs and these we must control or they will be controlled by the circumstance.

You can believe in tomorrow without boasting about it. You can predict your own success without presumption. You can embrace a life of faith without  assuming that there will be no battles to fight or hardships to bare. You can control your decisions without controlling all of your circumstances.

You can choose to be an overcomer without knowing what tomorrow will bring.

You can live in absolute ignorance of the specifics of the future and remain positive if you know and trust the One who holds tomorrow.

Another Form of Dangerous Boasting

One of the principles of network marketing is edification. we edify up-line and down-line. That is also true in the church, ministry, and every business and social endeavor.

Proverbs 27:2 says, "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else and not your own lips."

On might ask in panic, "How can I be sure that they will? If i don 't toot my own horn, who will toot it?"

Simple. It will be those you have built up in the eyes of others. They cannot wait to build you up. They will have, not only the desire, but the incentive, to increase the esteem others have of you by their own words.

The greater your credibility, the greater the credibility they can give to you when they speak.

third party credibility is the lifeblood of marketing and all forms of networking and it is the right thing to do.

Acknowledging all that as true, we return to the essence of the proverb: humility. It is the humble man or woman who does not destroy his or her own reputation through self-serving bragging. That sort f person undersells and over-delivers.

Dull Stupidity

Don't be stupid.

The word "stupid" is offensive to some and rightly so. It has to do with being in a permanent stupor or daze and letting life pass by without our notice, attention,l or intervention.

I know some really smart, stupid people who wander in and out of stupidity and allow their businesses, ministries, and lives to wander down paths of least resistance through minefields of needless danger with little awareness or care.

That is unnecessary.

Proverbs 27:12 says (NIV), "The prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it."

How much trouble in your dealings can you chalk up to inattention to detail?

I know it is boring, especially for "hunters" like many of us. We are ambitious dreamers, focused on our multiple goals who do not want to be bothered with petty problems and possible snags in our drive toward success.

We must choose to be aware of the environments in which we operate or enter into stupors to our detriment.

That is what so many do when they dull their senses with chemical addictions and other forms of addictive behavior.

"If I don't see it," they delude themselves by declaring, "it is not a problem."

Wrong! It is when we don't see it that it becomes a problem. If we see it, especially down the road, we can take positive action and turn the potential danger into our own advantage.

Don't be stupid. Wake up and take the proper refuge.

Sharpen Up

Are you taking full advantage of the opportunities that come to you with arms and legs every day?

You have been gifted with associates above you and below you on charts made by human hands who have the capacity to add value to your life with every conversation and as you observe them.

Some of them make big mistakes, but even they are not useless. You can use them as examples of what not to do.

You can learn from everyone with whom you come into contact.

Proverbs 27:17 in the NIV says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."

How does this happen? Many ways. Perhaps we can touch on a few of them with the word, SHARP.

S = Seeing - We observe the other person's life, choices, habits, techniques, strategies, behavior, and interactions and learn. If we will watch people closely, we will collect valuable information and will observe timeless principles being fleshed out in their lives. Paul once told some of the disciples to follow him as he followed Christ.

H = Hassle - The word means "struggle" or "contest," but we use it to refer to the resistance we sometimes get when we need to reevaluate our behaviors and choices. So it is sort of a struggle that begins within us and continues as others compete with us or challenge us about our behaviors. we get sharper and either change our choices or become stronger in them. Never discount the benefit of a good hassle.

A = Accountability - If we are never accountable to anyone, we will drift into an undisciplined and unproductive life. That is almost always true because God has made us for community and has designed systems of accountability into the framework of churches and businesses. Network marketing employs that principle. So, call your upline or your pastor, or your accountability partner and do it regularly.

R - Respect - We learn respect for ourselves by respecting others, We learn respect for others when we reverence and respect God and His handiwork in fashioning people so magnificently. When you look upon one of those polished pieces of iron with arms and legs, you are looking upon the very handiwork of God. You will get sharper by respecting people.

P - Practice - People give us the opportunity to practice principles, to practice our presentations, and to practice our principles. People sharpen people through practice, interaction, conversion, struggle, and shared labor.

Don't be a loner. If you make the choice to do it all yourself, by yourself, you will suffer unnecessary setbacks and delays. Let other people make you sharper and let them benefit through their association with you as well.

How is Your Fig Tree?

Proverbs 27:18 NIV) says, "He who tends  a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who looks after his master will be honored."

This is pretty simple:

Do your job.

Do your best.

Then, do better.

Treat your job, if you still have one, like it is your own business and act in the boss's interest as if his or her success if yours.

Even if you are trying to retire with all the energy and ingenuity you have  during your off hours by building your own empire, do your job with diligence and be conscientious.

There will be fruit. Sometimes the fruit will grow in places you do not expect, but it will grow and you will eat it.

Of course, once you get your own fig tree, you will get a bigger share.

Counting Sheep

Some people think of counting sheep as a way of falling asleep. I would suggest it as a metaphor for staying awake and alert.

Proverbs 27:23-24 says (NIV), "Be sure to know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations."

Your business or ministry will not thrive, grow, and prosper without your attention. Your people will not become all they can be without your help. Your organization will not be protected unless you protect it.

You must pay attention to what has been entrusted to you.

Your network needs your knowledge and you need to know what is going on.

Technology is your friend. We have phones, e-mail, databases, back offices, and so many tracking tools ... but we need to use them.

We cannot assume that everything will take care of itself and that matters will be OK if we ignore them. We need a hands-on approach while trusting people, systems, and the leaders we train. We have to know what is going on with our flocks.

You are a shepherd over your business or ministry. It is your job to care and guide.

Relaxed leadership is fine; disengaged leadership is disastrous. Inattentive and apathetic leadership hurts your entire organization and all the people in it.

Some of the things that require your attention are:

1. The raw numbers. You need to be tracking the internal trends within your system.

2. The attitudes and morale of your people. Look for subtleties that need to be addressed before they become problems.

3. The trends in your industry and in those societal factors that effect and affect your industry and the attitudes of people toward it. don't be the last to know.

4. Technological advances and innovations. Don't be caught off-guard.

These are just a few of the signposts to which you need to pay attention. The bottom line is: PAY ATTENTION!

The rest of the passage (25-27) is a promise:

"25 When the hay is removed and new growth appears

       and the grass from the hills is gathered in,

26 the lambs will provide you with clothing,
       and the goats with the price of a field.

27 You will have plenty of goats' milk
       to feed you and your family
       and to nourish your servant girls."