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Parental Wisdom

"Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories."  ~John Wilmot

Any parent, worth his or her salt, will readily admit to ignorance on any number of subjects – especially parenting. It can be frightening when we consider the consequence for our children and the perpetual admonition to them to pay attention to us. We step back from overhearing them being told to do so and remember how many parental lessons we missed, ignored, or discarded along the way. How much easier would life have been if we had been mentally and emotionally present in the parental school of wisdom?

Homer doesn't make things easier when he remarks, "It behooves a father to be blameless if he expects his child to be."

Perfection eludes us and the quest for perfection haunts, us, but grace equips us to take the risks involved in doing our best and letting go of the rest. We are hard put to find all the right words or address all the important issues in parenting. Robert Fulghum landed squarely on the truth when he said, "Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you."

Our children are always watching. It is up to them whether or not they will listen. That is their responsibility and capacity, especially as they grow old. It is also ours, who have grown older, not to forsake the wisdom of the past as no longer relevant. Solomon wisely said, "Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. "(Proverbs 1:8-9 NIV)

He then enters into an extended teaching about the dangers or rejecting that teaching and pursuing a life of riotous activity without regard to ethics and morality. The bottom line is that you are more attractive, effective, and fulfilled if you take the time to learn what is being taught. And our children have a better shot at life if we take the time to teach them. Furthermore, we have a better chance of teaching them well if we revisit what we have been taught and take it to heart.

As a rock song from the 60s put it, "and the beat goes on."


Fear that Leads to Knowledge

The concept of the fear of the Lord has only relatively recently come into some disrepute and distaste. Somehow it does not find a comfortable seat at the table of our kind and gentle theologies where a grandfather God presides over the earth with benevolent indifference to how we respond to truth and where there are no harsh words or hard choices to be made.

That God that no one fears is benign and dispassionate.

At the same time, we pay $10 to be frightened by some grotesque creatures of the screen or fictional mass murderers and walk away commenting on what an enjoyable and relaxing experience it all was.

More legitimately, we are grateful when we have those life-saving wakeup calls with regards to our health, our safety, or our driving habits. We tell everyone that such experiences were just what we needed and that we were heading for disaster without their intervention.

We visit places like Yosemite and they take our breath away. We gaze into the deep canyons and are overwhelmed with awe. We stand and stare at the mighty waterfalls with admiration for their power, appreciation for their beauty, and intense awareness that we better not fail to take their dangers seriously lest we fall and, swept away, never return.

Yet we recoil at the notion of fear of a loving God who is powerful enough to have created all these natural wonders, just and able to preside over the judgment of all that harms humanity, and wise enough to outthink our greatest minds.

Solomon affirms in Proverbs 1:7 that, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."

To take God seriously, or if one is not a believer, to at least take nature and its fierce forces seriously, is where one starts to gain knowledge and, from applied knowledge, wisdom. We wish that our children could learn the meaning of burning hot without ever being burned. We'd love for them to appreciate danger without ever having a cut or a bruise. We would be thrilled if they could learn social skills and respect for authority without ever having to be disciplined.

But it doesn't happen that way in the real world.

We must learn to reverence God and the mighty forces God has created by occasionally coming up against them and being overcome by their power. Thus we learn. Thus we grow. Thus our fear turns to something joyful and gratifying – the kind that the psalmist sung about with glee and gratitude. It is the kind that the wise embrace even as they embrace a kind and loving God who delights to forgive and invites mankind into intimate fellowship through grace.

Add Value to What You Already Know

The author of Proverbs crescendos his litany of purpose for compiling the teachings contained therein with this goal in Proverbs 1:6, "To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings."

The implication seems to be that we keep learning more so that we may better understand what we have already learned.

Here again, the New International Version enhances our understanding, "… for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise."

I quote that to emphasize the word, "riddles" for "dark sayings."

One thing the disciplines of counseling, coaching, and mentoring have in common is the task of helping people process what they have already internalized. Processing leads to understanding. Sometimes it is one additional ingredient, like salt in a stew that brings out the flavor of the whole.

Just because we think we have already learned something does not mean we are done with it forever. It may be that our understanding up to this point has been useful and adequate, but like any tool, there may be uses and applications we have not considered, complexities of meaning that we have not grasped, and implications we have not pursued to their intended ends.

By adding to our treasures of knowledge and wisdom, we can deepen our understanding of what we have already learned.

There is a great beauty to that reality.

Wiser and Wiser

Why do wise people get wiser?

It is because they listen and commit themselves to a lifetime of learning. It is because they are not afraid to get guidance and counsel. They are discerning enough to know that they don't know everything. They are wise enough to recognize the gaps in their wisdom. They are smart enough to know when they need to consult someone smarter.

Proverbs 1:5 says, "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels."

The NIV translates it as a proactive admonition, "let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. "

Whether it is an observation or an imperative or both, the truth is clear to any serious observer. The wisest people among us are never satisfied to remain where they are. They are never content to go through life with yesterday's understanding. They want to go deeper on the truths they know and wider to embrace a broader spectrum of knowledge. They listen and learn and keep on doing so.

If you aspire to some higher level of understanding, do not take short cuts. Do not seal the lid on any jar of wisdom you may possess on any subject. Never close your mind. Never stop reading. Never shut out the world. Never feel that you have a handle on any area of discipline, including the Bible.

You always have more to know and more room to grow.

To whom and what do you listen and where do you go for counsel?

  • First, and most obviously, the compiler of the proverbs invites the reader to hear the words of his unique and inspired collection of sayings and teachings. Many people read a chapter of the book of Proverbs every day – the one that corresponds to the day of the month. There are thirty one days in 7 months, thirty in 4, and 28 in February. Making proper adjustments, all the chapters are read 12 times a year and they have been practicing this learning discipline for years and continue to see new truths and applications. Usually this is just a part of a daily Bible reading plan that includes the whole wise counsel of scripture.
  • Second, any person wishing to become wiser will read the literature of the past and that of the present. He or she will pursue a curiosity about current affairs, subjects of particular interest, literature in his or her profession or trade, and personal development books and articles.
  • Third, wise people keep up with the news in my opinion. They do not blind themselves to the world in which they live nor do they abdicate their responsibility to become informed citizens.
  • Fourth, wise people listen with their ears to teachers and speakers who challenge them. They engage in actual or virtual dialog with these people and bring their own presuppositions into question regularly. Without abandoning their core values and commitments, they sometimes change their minds about views that they discover are misinformed or unfairly biases.
  • Fifth, they engage in interesting and stimulating conversation, often asking people's views and listening to their answers.
  • Sixth, they seek advice and counsel from experts, sometimes people who may not have their breadth of knowledge and experience but who have insights into areas where they might not be as well informed or knowledgeable.
  • Seventh, they often rub shoulders with the young and gain their perspective. This requires humility for some people, but it serves to stretch their minds and stimulate their thinking. As they are questioned, they find new ways to tell their own stories and are often surprised by what they hear coming out of their own mouths. Young people keep wise people young.
  • Eighth, they also seek out the elderly, even those who may have been marginalized and cast aside as no longer valuable to society. They seek them out and listen intently.
  • Ninth, they consider what they read and hear and mull it over, sorting it out, weighing it, and reflecting upon it. Some of what is collected will be discarded. All of it will be sorted out. Some of it will be put into practice immediately and some later. But everything will be considered.
  • Tenth, they accept new challenges and learn new skills, always on adventure, always curious, always full of wonder.


Thus, wise people seem to just get wiser and wiser.

The Discreet Elegance of Prudence

We must be taught to be subtle. It is an art form. It is a delicate touch, a certain finesse with which we exercise discretion and restraint because we have lived long enough and learned enough to know how. The teachings of the elders inform us that we are not bound by the constant torrents of haste to act on every impulse or to react to every challenge. Knowledge and discretion train us to be deliberate, sometimes hesitant, and always careful to do and say the right thing.

Proverbs 1:4 complements the list of benefits of the wise words contained in this timeless book. It says that the proverbs exist also, "to give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion."

It is an elegant art, this skill of subtlety. It is as valuable at what it prevents as what it facilitates. Because of its power to diffuse hostility before it becomes out-of-control anger, it is a useful tool in the avoidance of all manner of trouble. Because it is not merely a form of damage control, it enables us to make friends, build alliances, and create positive scenarios where they have not existed before.

If we aspire to a life of peace and success, we do well to study more of the wisdom that has come to us from a long train of parents and grandparents. We can learn on our own, but we will do so by much trial and error that can be bypassed if we stand on their shoulders. That way, we can make our own mistakes and pass on that wisdom, built of the foundation of scripture and history, to a new generation who can continue to build.

Wisdom through the Awful Grace of God

You can discuss this post at The Religion Forum.

I was just browsing, looking for that quote from Aeschylus
on the awful grace of God. Naturally, most links were to Bobby Kennedy's speech on that terrible night in 1968 when he had to inform the gathered crowd of the death of Martin Luther King, whose holiday is coming soon. He was advised not to attend the rally for fear of violence. He went anyway. As we near the observance of Dr. King's birthday and commemorate his life, I think Kennedy's words offer and fitting tribute and reminder. I think that at this very time, with so much tension and violence in the world, these are two voices that must be heard.

What Aeschylus said was, "He who learns must suffer, and, even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God."

He wrote these some 525 years before the birth of Jesus. He was the father of Greek tragedy and, in play, "Seven Against Thebes," laid the burden of human evil at the feet of human beings. Acts of wickedness, he suggested, arise from ambition, greed, and human frailty. Human beings are responsible for their own behaviors. Some lead to great suffering, but there is more meaning to suffering than the laws of consequences.

Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King both taught the world that practical wisdom, forged in suffering, can and does result in justice, righteousness, and equity. Both showed us, as well, how powerful movements for justice and peace can arise from the suffering of those who choose to face it with dignity.

King once said that all unmerited suffering is redemptive.

That is the social backdrop for this reminder of a very personal truth. The ancient words of Aeschylus both haunt and heal the soul. They had spoken to Kennedy in his hour of deepest grief. They speak to us today with penetrating insight into the nature of our humanity and the loving kindness of a God who shapes us through adversity.

Aeschylus, the playwright had wrestled with reality and had come to a conclusion that could not be accounted for by his culture or religious setting. We don't want this blessing, but God finds a way to deliver it to us. Wisdom, the kind that makes a difference in the world, the kind that makes a difference in us, is a gift, a gracious bestowal of a gracious God who speaks to us amidst the turmoil of our times and our individual torment. The world is at war. The economy is in spasm. The future is uncertain.

Yet, we can embrace, against our will and out of our despair, our own pain as a means to a greater end. It is an overused cliché, but we can grow bitter or better. It is our choice. If we grow better, fairer, kinder, more compassionate, and more passionate for justice, the world can also get better – no matter how grim the prognostications of our times may be.



Here is the printed speech by RFK:

Ladies and Gentlemen - I'm only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening. Because...

I have some very sad news for all of you, and I think sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it's perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in.

For those of you who are black - considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible - you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.

We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization - black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: "Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

(Interrupted by applause)

So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, yeah that's true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love - a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke. We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We've had difficult times in the past. And we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it's not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.

(Interrupted by applause)

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.

Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people. Thank you very much. (Applause)

Robert F. Kennedy - April 4, 1968

Instructions for Living

I read the Proverbs for instructions because the proverbs contained therein were written for instruction of a very specific kind. They were written to teach us how to live. They were given to show us how to deal wisely with people and with issues, and how to do what is right and just fair by others. Proverbs 1:3 puts it this way, "To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;"

Discipline and prudence are not birthrights. They don't instantly appear in our lives. They are acquired skills and learned behaviors. We have to be taught. In order to be taught, we must be willing to learn and receive feedback from outside sources.

The humble person is willing.

That person has hope.

One might assume that righteous, just, and equitable behavior just comes naturally for people of good will. If that were true, no one would ever have to grapple with difficult ethical questions. Yet, we all do.

There is something of a science of doing right and it is an art form as well. We come with desire and intent and we submit ourselves to instruction with the understanding that some issues are too complex to be shrugged off as obvious. There are too many layers for us to settle for a surface judgment. We need the skills that good teaching and wise mentors provide.

The wisdom of the ages and, in this case, wisdom as a gift from God informs us of perspectives we would not have otherwise considered.

If we think we already know it all, we are going to miss something and we will not be at our best when the perplexing challenges of life arise.

Be a lifelong learner, always listening, ever reading, and constantly absorbing truth and keep coming back to the Proverbs for practical instruction.

To Know Wisdom

Two big questions related to the acquisition of wisdom are:

    Will I know it when I see it?

    What am I going to do with and about it when I get it?

If we answer those two questions, we in the territory of Proverbs 1:2, "To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;"

There is no appreciable difference between the translations here. The ESV translates the second part of the verse as, "to understand words of insight." The NIV is essentially the same, but emphasizes attaining wisdom and discipline in the first part. Peterson is fresh as usual in The Message, "Written down so we'll know how to live well and right, to understand what life means and where it's going;"

That is why we keep reading the proverbs. We need to develop a keen eye for recognizing truth when we see it and the discipline to receive instruction. At the same time, we need to cultivate a process by which we immediately apply what we have learned, understood, and assimilated into our lives.

To know wisdom is far more than to know something and store it in our cerebral files. It is more than being able to wax eloquent about the subject. I can talk for hours about things I have never experienced and even be half-way convincing. To really know wisdom is to know it experientially and to be as familiar with it as we are with the basic routines of our lives. It goes from our heads to our hearts and then, to our hands.

When we learn to live what we know, we start to know what we know.

The Solomon Factor

I have read the biblical book of Proverbs many times. The sayings contained within remain fresh, penetrating, and practical. If I am discussing them in a business context, they are the best advice on productivity in all of literature. In terms of relationships, moral and ethical decisions, work ethic, academic pursuit, spirituality, and every area of life, they are always pertinent and insightful. In fact, the impact with which these teachings penetrate the hard veneer of human frailty is as timely as today's news. No ancient book is as telling about the human condition. It speaks equally to those who struggle to overcome destructive behaviors and to those who aim for excellence in pursuit of their dreams. That is why I keep coming back to them and present them as the wisdom they are to both people of faith and those who may not yet embrace the faith of the Bible. Their appeal is universal. In them, I find God speaking. Others may just see them as helpful advice and a window in our common soul. Whatever the case, their value is such that I write about them frequently here and will continue to do so.

Proverbs 1:1 introduces the sponsor, collector, and author, Solomon with these words, "The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;"

Solomon inherited his post as king. And yet, history demonstrates that many kings have come to their thrones by chance, only to lose them by negligence, abuse, and incompetence. Solomon solidified his leadership through the exercise of practical wisdom. It was all he asked for from God, to have a discerning heart and mind. He was sought out for advice. As I have said in other articles, he was one of the earliest leadership consultants and personal coaches. People came to hear him and ask questions. Then they paid him.

Some observations on Solomon's attitudes and effectiveness are tentative, but obvious to me.

  1. He received an abundance of wisdom because he wanted it badly enough to ask for it and abandon other concerns to attain it. We are not going to become wise through chance or passive indifference. We must hunt it down and invest our time and resources in its acquisition. The attainment of wisdom requires sacrifice.
  2. His wisdom grew as it was exercised practically and in the service of his people. He made himself available to help even the lowliest of the land solve their problems. He was generous with this gift he had received and did not reserve it only for those who could advance his interests.
  3. He understood and taught that wisdom is of no value unless you do what you know to do and ought to do. It is never the mere accumulation of knowledge. That activity is merely a game of trivia. For Solomon, wisdom was more about doing than knowing.
  4. He understood that wisdom was about making the right moral choices, doing the right thing in our dealings with others. One could not be wise without being fair, compassionate, honest, just, and diligent.
  5. He understood, taught, and practiced a vital relationship between wisdom and work. He correlated hard, steady work, balanced with sensible rest, with success. He correlated laziness with persistent failure. He worked hard and built a great legacy. He taught others to do the same.
  6. He was humble enough to know that his great wisdom was a gift which he merely received and exercised. He was dependent on someone greater and wiser. Humility, he would say in so many ways, opens our minds to possibilities we have not yet considered. Those possibilities open doors of understanding that are unattainable by those who are self satisfied and proud.
  7. He taught and practiced a lifestyle of lifelong learning and seeking. He knew that every great teacher remains a great student.
  8. Solomon knew that all wise men seek advice before making great decisions that affect the lives of people and their own destinies. He knew that people, like ants needed to work together in cooperation for a great cause. He knew the value of people.
  9. He also knew human nature and the flaws we all must contend with. He knew the kinds of temptations that trip people up are common and avoidable, but only if we recognize them and stay alert. Overconfidence, he realized, was a much a danger as lack of confidence. Solomon knew that sinful, broken people need a God of grace who is always available to help those who are prone to fall.

Perhaps I will still with this and, after some years and a few breaks, will be able to comment on each verse in this book that has been such a transforming influence in my life and the lives of many.

The Solomon factor is about how one man, thrust into a position of leadership, desperately sought the one thing he knew he needed most for the demands of his life and career, wisdom; it is about how he found it and passed it on to the rest of us.

More on Solomon - Leadership Guru - Proverbs 1:1 Part 2

In Proverbs 1:1, the greatest collection of practical wisdom the world has ever seen is attributed to a man who never advertised, promoted himself, or had a fee schedule. Yet, recognized leaders sought out his counsel, traveled long distances to meet him, and payed him handsomely for his advice.

To what might Solomon attribute the attraction?

First, one cannot discount natural gifts. God had gifted him early in life with leadership abilities. He had a natural affinity for wisdom that deepened his desire to grow in this area of his life and request a wise heart as his first and primary gift from God. He played to his strengths, but his strengths were in place from the beginning.

None of us can change our basic aptitudes, but we develop them with differing levels of commitment and skill.

Solomon was committed to developing his abilities and he started the process by asking God to give him a discerning heart.

The he put feet on his prayers and began to collect all the positive truth, sayings, and life lessons he could. He collected them and practiced them.  The Bible does not say that Solomon wrote all the Proverbs, just that they were his. There were his in that he wrote some, collected many, applied all, and thought deeply about them, memorizing and teaching them to others.

We are all given a certain capacity for wisdom and leadership. How we develop that capacity has a lot to do with seeking it as Solomon exemplified in his prayer request, collecting it by reading and listening, and applying it in our every day lives.

As used in Proverbs, wisdom is defined as practical choices that are moral, pragmatic., and centered in lasting values.

If you want to get paid for what you know, learn some lessons from Solomon.

The World's First Business Consultant - Proverbs 1:1

My wife chooses books by title and by reading the back cover. She also has favorite authors to whom she gravitates, but primarily, she is a title/back cover book picker.

I see the author's name first. I seek out the latest books by my favorites who are most likely people whose wisdom I trust.

Thus, as Solomon identifies himself in Proverbs 1:1, it is an attention getter for me and others.

"The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;"

Solomon was the world's first business consultant, life coach, motivational speaker, and professional wise man. People paid him just to be able to hang out with him, listen to him, observe him in action, and ask for his advice.

Some might call him a leadership guru.

For that reason, it is impossible to gloss over the first verse of Proverbs as an insignificant footnote. It is what gives the entire book credibility.

So, I ask myself. Who is seeking my advice and counsel? Who is willing to pay for it? What is it worth?

Solomon began his illustrious career by asking God for wisdom above all else. God heard and granted his request.

Perhaps that is a good starting place for all of us.

Left Wing/Right Wing

Yet another reason why I resist wearing labels such as "Conservative" or "Liberal" with an upper case "C" or "L" comes to surface as I hear the word,"wing" attached to directional terms such as "left" or "right."  This comes from a guy who cannot tell you off the top of his head what a "red state" is as opposed to a "blue state" or why they are opposed at all.

Words I like to describe words like these are "deceptive," "misleading," "ambiguous," and "meaningless."

But back to the wing metaphor. My grandson brought me one shoe to put on his foot the other day and I sought to explain to him why he could go outside with one shoe on and what it might be like to feel lopsided.

Then, I thought about airplanes and realized I wouldn't consider getting on a left-winged or right winged airplane. I prefer my aerial transportation with two wings. Balance means a lot to me at that elevation.

I read an interview with a guy today who thought he'd always been on the left wing of a theological issue. Then, he said, a movement emerged that went further to the left and left him in the center. When you are in the center, you might lean to one side or the other, but you are still in the middle.

"Talk of the Nation" had articulate spokespersons for "both" sides of the Guantanamo Bay issue before the Supreme Court today. Both made sense and I felt a tug of "leaning" as each spoke and ended up in balance after weighing all the arguments.

Now there is a sticky issue where the definitions have been in flux.

I don't want to live in a one-winged society. I am not impressed with one winged philosophies and would not feel happy about a brain with a single hemisphere. I want a multitude of counselors helping me look at all sides of any question. This is true in politics, religion, and business.

Proverbs 18:17   says, "The first to present his case seems right,  till another comes forward and questions him."

I think that is by design. Truth is simple, but not simplistic. The best course of action may not always be the most obvious. We need point and counterpoint to make good and wise decisions.

Perhaps that is why the American people as a body politic can be so shifting in their political party loyalties. As a people we know that you can't fly the "airline of state" with one wing - nor a business, nor a life.

If you are a decision maker, make sure you are getting good information and that all of your advisers are not always in 100% agreement. If you are not wrestling with some of the major matters that come before you, you are probably not getting the best out of your own abilities to think clearly and objectively.

We all have biases and they are helpful when they inform us. They are dangerous when they blind us. They are disastrous when the rule us.

Fly with both wings!

How do you fly with both wings?

  • F - Face your own limitations in perspective, knowledge, and ability to know it all. There is a vast storehouse of knowledge that no human will ever possess. The only all-wise and all-knowing one is God and He ha distributed bits of His knowledge widely among diverse peoples.
  • L - Listen carefully to what others are saying. Respect those with whom you disagree and who disagree with you. Consider that people who are wrong about one thing may have insight into something else. Never throw out babies with the bath wash or dismiss the value of people because of your prejudices.
  • Y - Yin/Yang it. The truth of a given situation may dwell in the tension between paradoxical opposites and failure to look for it there will deprive you of the truth you seek to make a good decision.


The Postive Power of HUNGER

I was a little taken back as I sat in the training session for aspiring vacuum cleaner salesmen and heard the trainer say, "I hope you are all in serious debt or financial trouble. If you are, you will be successful."

I didn't like what he said at the time, but I came to understand that he was right.

The wise teacher of the proverbs tells us, "“A worker's appetite works for him, for his hunger urges him on” (Proverbs 16:26 NASB). This can be known through careful observation and is as true today as it was in Solomon's time.

You have to be hungry. At the very least, you must possess an appetite for more. If you are satisfied, you will stay where you are. If you are complacent, you will not exert extraordinary effort in any direction. If you are resigned to your circumstance or to the world as it is, you will not do much to change either.

Even Jesus said that those were blessed who hungered and thirsted for things to be right (ie... righteousness).

What does the hunger that works for us and drives us on look like? Let us break it down.

H - HATE. Hunger involves hate, not in the sense of vitriolic preoccupation with a destructive emotion toward other people. but the broader definition of detesting something to the point of turning away from it. You must be willing to make a clean break with your addiction to an undesirable condition in order to embrace something better. Some people are addicted to their self identities as poor failures and hopeless "losers." It takes something as dramatic as hating those designations to break free of them. Like Scarlet O'Hara you declare that you will never be hungry again. - except for the next goal.

U - URGE - We have used this word before to point to something inside that goes beyond rejecting the old to the idea of being drawn toward something in a powerful and compelling way. When you are deeply hungry for food, that hunger urges you on. You move in the direction of your goal. It drags you out of bed and out of the house. The urge is powerful and is empowered by the faith and hope that what you long for is possible with God's help and with your commitment.

N - NOTICE - When you are hungry for your goal, you start noticing things around you that you have previously ignored, things that remind you where you are going, examples of what you desire.You notice other people on the same path. You notice books, articles, and information designed to equip you in the fulfillment of your dreams. You notice open doors and opportunities. You notice people in a new way.

G - GRASP - Having identified a goal for which you hunger, you are always grasping in that direction. You hold what is in your grasp and reach for what is beyond it. You also grasp concepts you never would have paid any attention to before because understanding them is a means to your desired end. You make grasping a tool in your belt for reaching that to which you aspire.

E- EXHAUSTION - you stop at nothing less than the exhaustion of every effort in the service of your goal. if you haven't tried everything, you are not done. If you have not tried some things several times and several ways, you are not finished. If you have any energy left, you use it. of course you pace yourself, get adequate rest, and care for your body and soul in the process, but you DO NOT QUIT until all options are exhausted and even when they seem to be, you look for more.

R - RESILIENCE - When you fall, get up. When you fail, try again. When you falter in your faith, renew it and never let entertain discouragement for any longer than it takes to be encouraged by positive people, scripture, prayer, and your own commitment to keep on keeping on. Successful people are resilient in their hunger. They are often the folks that stayed in the game just a little bit longer than everyone else, tried a few more tricks, and refused to quit. They are knocked down, insulted, wounded, and wearied, but they have elastic in the back ends of their trousers so that that they bounce when knocked on their posteriors. Be that kind of person and your hungry appetite will drive you to success.

To your success!

Refilling the Trough and Other Ponderables

"Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox." - Proverbs 14:4

The crib or "manger" here is the place where the grain is stored to feed the oxen. Ironically, it is not only the place where the ox is energized for labor, but it is through the ox's labors that it is filled.

So it is with our efforts; they produce the fruit necessary to replenish our strength for more effort and the cycle never ends.

One might argue that the way to get motivated for work is to work.

Here are some more fillers from Proverbs 14-15. I'll keep the comments to a minimum and give you some titles to propel your thinking.

The Positive Power of Thinking - PERIOD!
"The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,but the folly of fools is deception." - Proverbs 14:8 (NIV)

Smart and successful people think before they act.

Don't Be So Sure
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." - Proverbs 14:12

If sincerity were enough, you could travel in any direction and get where you were going in the same amount of time. Check out your facts.

The Tears of a Clown
"Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness." - Proverbs 14:13

Don't be deceived by outward appearances. There is pain all around. Understand that, and you will make yourself more valuable as a friend.

Wake Up and Smell the ...
"The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going." - Proverbs 14:8

Naivety  may not be your friend. Learn to be skeptical without growing cynical.

Hot Heads and Empty Pockets
"A quick-tempered man does foolish things,and a crafty man is hated." - Proverbs 14:17

If you want to get ahead, you must learn to get along. Act in anger and lose the battle.

Big Talkers and Little Doers
"In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury (poverty)" - Proverbs 14:23

There is very little profit in talking a good talk if you can't deliver the goods. Jude called this sort of thing, "clouds without water."

Still the Waters or Stir the Pot - Choose
"A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." - Proverbs 15:1

In the cafeteria of your vocabulary are many words. choose the ones that will accomplish good purposes.

Only Followers May Lead
"A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise." - Proverbs 15:12 (NIV)
"The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness." - Proverbs 1:14

Those who are unwilling to take correction will never get beyond where they are. As Jesus said, seekers are finders.

Party Time
"All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast." - Proverbs 15:12

Two people face the same events in their life. One identifies himself as "oppressed." The  other has chosen to be cheerful. That determination makes all the difference in outcomes and total enjoyment of life.

In the same way, this is true:

"The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway." Proverns 15:19 (NIV)

As long as you are looking for obstacles, that is what you will find. If you are inclined to look up, life will be a highway leading to your dreams.

Talking Yourself Into a Ticket

"A fool's talk brings a rod to his back, but the lips of the wise protect them." - Proverbs 14:3 (NIV)

I used to teach traffic school and later supervised other traffic school teachers, some of whom were police officers. They told me some hilarious tales of how people had talked themselves into tickets - just by talking - too much.

I began to notice this in my classes as people told their stories and  I would sometimes remark, "You talked yourself into that ticket."

In other words, the officer was inclined to let the infraction go, but with the driver's words and attitudes in his or her face, it made the citation inevitable.

In any given situation,your words can turn the outcome into something positive or negative. Consider them before uttering them.

This is true in business and in every other form of human interaction. Words count.

Now, for a laugh ... from Blinky Productions:

And another ...

Builder or Destroyer?

"Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." - Proverbs 14:1

Are you a builder or a destroyer?

Keep in mind that whatever you do in this regard, it is to your house that you do it.

If you act out of anger or impulse, you are likely to be taking a sledge hammer to your hard work. If you undermine the foundations, the building will fall. If you undermine people in your sphere of relationships, you have summoned an army of termites to bring destruction to your own intended habitation.

Be careful to calculate your actions with a bnias toward building. Otherwise, you will not be happy with the results.

Love the Process

Do you love the results of wisdom, but hate the process?

Wisdom is key to success in any endeavor. Without it, we falter at some point. For that reason, we all want it - and we want it right now. We want to be wise and successful. We want it immediately.

We all want good results, but it is the few who are willing to embrace the means by which good things come who actually receive the benefits.

Proverbs 12:1 says in the KJV, "Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish."

In the NIV, the word "instruction" is rendered, "discipline." The word for "brutish" is "stupid."

The meaning is the same. If you love the results, you will learn to love the process. It is "stupid" to expect  to grow without discipline and instruction.

It takes a degree of humility to submit to mentors, teachers, and coaches. It takes a truckload of open-mindedness to ask questions when we think we know the answers. It takes great wisdom to listen with the admission that we don't know everything.

Those who are willing to make such an admission are those who acquire greater wisdom and more useful knowledge.

Learn to love the process even if it stretches you beyond your ordinary comfort zone. Don't just endure it; enjoy it. Make it an adventure.

There are some other proverbs in chapter 12  that help me understand the reluctance of people to learn while they profess the desire to know.

Verse 12 says, "The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit."

"Net" means "plunder." Plunder is something you take from someone else after they have done the hard work and gained it through effort and application of truth. Plunderers gather up the fruits of war that others have earned.

We tend to plunder the surface fruits of other people's discipline, but real fruit comes when the search for truth goes deep in our lives.

That is why it is the "root of righteousness" that bears fruit.

Plunder will last until the first scorching heat or freezing rain, but that which is rooted in sound discipline and the natural processes of growth will last and continue to bear fruit.

So do your own work with the people that have come into your life to guide you. Study, read, listen, ask questions, observe the masters, allow them to observe you, and accept correction.

Verse 15  says, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise."

You can be right in your own eyes and still not prosper because your eyes have blind spots. Hating the process of discipline often manifests itself in an unwillingness to submit our ideas to the scrutiny of others and listen to their counsel.

The fool is not lacking in confidence, but it is false confidence based upon false assumptions that he is always right.

Verse 24 - "The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute."

Verse 27 - "The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious."

The lazy man may actually gain something and not be willing to do the follow-through to apply what he has gained.

Maybe you have been to a workshop and have taken meticulous notes - even made to-do lists to implement the moment you got back home or to work. Then, you put the notebook in a drawer and forgot about it.

You have not roasted your game. It just rots.

Our problem is that we have been conditioned toward laziness and we reject the process of discipline and learning because it looks too much like work. Follow-through is even harder.


It is hard work, but it is work that produces positive results and continues to do so. Wisdom perpetuates itself because it never stops loving the process and never stops desiring more and investing in growth.

What is the PROCESS?

P - Perpetual learning. You are a student of life for the rest of your life.You will never come to the place where you are not a student no matter how many people call you, "teacher."

R - Receptivity . You can't pour water into a container with the lid on. Take the lid off of your attitude and drink in what is being offered. Keep your knowledge to yourself from time to time so that you can gain the knowledge of others. Proverbs 12:23 says that a prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself all the while a fool is blurting out folly. There will be plenty of time to tell what you know and impress the socks off of people. Don't waste the time for learning by spouting what you already know.

O - Observation. Part of the process of learning is observing the world and people around you. Be a student of people and their behaviors. Imitate successful people. hang around so that you can observe. Sometimes it is just being there. Proverbs 13:20 (NIV) says, "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm."

C - Counsel. Wise people who are getting wiser are always seeking advice and counsel. The are checking our their own impressions and not relying on what they already know. They seek counsel from the old and the young, from teachers and students, and from God.  Has it ever occurred to you why lawyers don't represent themselves in  court (or doctors don't operate on themselves?). There is a saying among those in the law profession that goes like this: A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for an attorney."

E -  Eagerness. Loving discipline implies an eagerness for it. It suggests that the individual seeks out mentors and teachers, opportunities to learn, workshops, audio lectures, books, journals, Internet sites, and companions who can help him learn and grow. The eager learner embraces correction and accountability and wants to know when he is on the wrong track.

S - Simplicity. While the process may seem complex, it is in the sense that it organizes itself as it is lived out in life. Discipline applied from the outside is not complicated. We are given instructions and assignments and we do them. We sign up for an entry level course and are given a text book. We look at the book and think it is to simplistic for us. So we go out and gather material that is out of sequence rather than submitting to the simple discipline of the course. The result it confusion. Don't despise the simplicity that is presented to you in order to consider yourself deep or advanced. Every new discipline starts out at the beginning for us. Don't skip first base.

S- Stages. All learning takes place in stages and some of us like to skip them. Don't. Take your steps one at a time. Occasionally, you may be able to skip one, but more often that not, you will discover later on that you missed an important building block and you will have to go back to that stage to get it.

Love the process and the process will bring you the results you desire.

The Dream Factory

To Do Lists -A New Book by Sasha Cagen

I have been a long time advocate and practitioner of to-do lists. Never would I have imagined that someone would actually take the time to collect, catalog, and reflect upon the to-do lists of other people. Sasha Cagen has made the effort and accomplished this feat in To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us.

When I make a to-do list, I am setting priorities, reserving (dedicating) time, committing myself to objectives, and more importantly, praying about my day because "many are the plans of a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21 - NIV).

To-do lists are almost always overly ambitious and yet, I often inflate the importance and difficulty of some of the things that i put on my list. As a procrastinator, I find some items keep showing up again and again when a little five minute effort could eliminate them forever.

How I develop my lists, as Sasha Cagen suggests, reveals much about what I value, how I think, and how effective I am at accomplishing my goals.

The wise teacher of Proverbs (21:5 - NIV) said that "The plans of the diligent lead to profit  as surely as haste leads to poverty."

So this is very a very important as well as entertaining territory.

I approve of Sasha's work and recommend her blog.

You can order her book here and you can watch her talk about it in the video that follows.

Sasha Cagen: To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us

Sasha Cagen: To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us

Thanks to my MySpace friend, Mind's Eye for calling my attention to this treasure and potential classic.

How to Ride a Horse - A REAL Horse - Plus a Bonus

OK - [email protected] has actually written a wonderful article on how to ride an actual horse. I felt obligated to point to it since some folks are using Google to retrieve that information and coming up with my business and theological advice. Here is is:

How to Ride a Horse

And while I am here, let me learn a few things from this author and skill.

The authors says, "you never know when you might find a time when you are for one reason or another on the back of a horse."

That is so right. no matter what our intentions might be starting out, we might find ourselves in a place or on a mode of transportation that cannot be accounted for by our own manipulative efforts.

So, according to ccunning, we need to take seven things into account: proper attire, proper position, basic control, actually riding, stopping, and getting off.

I don't know what attire you might need in your business, ministry, or other project, but you need to know. Then you need to secure it and wear it. that includes actual clothing and accessories and the ethereal clothing of proper attitude, demeanor, and vocabulary. Read what needs to be read. Listen to what is being taught. Wrap yourself in the attire of good preparation.

Always be preparing for whatever is next. Job 29:14 says, "I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban."

Whatever it takes, put it on.

Getting on the right way is vital because first impressions with horses and people tend to last. Horses will buck us and so will people. The advice to try not to kick the horse is quite transferable. Good starts are more valuable than many, many restarts.

It is vital for the horse rider to acquire the proper position of the horse and it is equally vital for the business rider to position himself/herself as well within the organization, with colleagues, and with his or her support system. With horses, there are varying positions based upon riding style and the shape of the saddle. However, all require making necessary adjustments to equipment and with regard to our own bodies. So it is in business and projects. Adjustments are always necessary.

Basic control is an area of horse pedagogy that is affluent with rules. Most of these revolve around the issues of respect and communication. The rider must respect the horse not just as a vehicle, but as a living sentient being with feelings and inclinations.  The rider must also establish effective give and take communication  avenues and skills. How is that different than working with people in an organization. Power "trips" don't work very well with horses or with people.

There are three general movements in actually riding the horse: walk, trot, and canter.

Walks are east for riders. With the proper posture and, at times, help, anyone can ride a walking horse. It is a good place to start and a wonderful place to spend most of our times.

Trots are more difficult. A trotting horse is impressive to watch with its two foot rough gait, but it is tough to ride. It is good for a show, but not the most comfortable for sustained activity.

Make of these what you like. Most of our business life is spent walking, being "found faithful," and moving forward a little bit at a time. Slow progress is the surest and often, the most satisfying, but there will be times of canter as well, interspersed by showy moments of trotting on stage to receive recognition and give thanks.

The canter is a time of increased speed The gait is rhythmic and the speed can be frightening and intimidating. It is a time of faith in the horse and in the process. Experienced rides and coaches teach us techniques for just riding with it and letting the horse carry us.

There will be all of these moments in your ventures and you need to learn how to ride them.

There will be times when you stop and you need to do these well and with class. The getting off is, according to the author, pretty much just the opposite of getting on. It just needs to be done well and with respect for the horse.

Whatever horse (business, project, ministry) you choose, you need to learn and practice the skills specific to the horse and the riding style. You can do it.

- Tom Sims, The Dream Factory,
Revised article on Optimism,
First in the series on How to Ride a Horse

About That Horse

So, you are trying to narrow your options with regard to a business opportunity, ministry emphasis, or project and you are exploring various vehicles (horses) that will enable you to accomplish your goals.

Sometimes I ride a horse with a limp and still get to where I am going.

For instance, a couple of weeks ago, I announced an acronym for the word "optimist" and just discovered, a few minutes ago, that I had spelled "optimive" instead. Now, as far as I know, there is no such word, but I still got the point across ... unless no one was paying attention.

There is no perfect anything in this world or this life. Only God is perfect.

I chose the better of two options to fix the error. One was to invent a new word, which i seriously considered. The other was to change the words in the acronym to comply with the time-honored spelling and yet maintain the meaning of the lesson. I chose the latter.

So, we are not looking for a perfect program or a flawless horse to ride. We are just looking for the one that is right for us at this time. I think I can spell H-O-R-S-E, but check me and let me know if I mess up.

My friends on CompuServe have known for years that when it comes to speelink und tuping i sumtimes meke errers.

H - I have lots of H words that fit. You want a Healthy horse (company, program) which you will know by examining its History and by the Helpfulness of the people answering your questions. All of those "h"s will help you discover the HEART of the organization. You want to affiliate with a group whose heart is good and one that you can put your heart and soul into. Listen to your heart and examine the heart of the company for compatibility.

O - OPPORTUNE moment. Is this the right time in your life for this affiliation and the right time in history for success with this organization. What does the market tell you? What are the futurists saying? look carefully for timing issues.

R - RIDE-ABILITY - Can this horse be ridden?  That depends on the strength of the horse and the skill of the rider. If the rider has no skill, are there good trainers available? Is this something you can do or be helped to do? What strengths lie in you that can be developed to do this sort of business or ministry? You are much more than you have already become, but you must play to your basic strengths which will often be somewhat communicative with your interests, passions, and desires.

S - STABILITY - Is this company currently financially stable? What is the state of its finances, indebtedness, and financial accountability? Are there mountains of lawsuits piled up against it? Is it complying with the law? Are its leaders people of integrity? Are its corporate values clear and congruent with its behavior and your own values? Is it producing some real verifiable success stories? Are a significant (not necessarily the majority) number of recruits sticking with the program and consistently building growth?

E - I want to do two here: EXPERIENCE and EXPENSE - First, is there are coming together of your own experiences, the experience of people in the mentoring support team, and the upper level leadership of the organization so that there is a foundation upon which you can build. One can make up for the other, but not all can be weak and there needs to be some significant experience at the top. Second, what does it cost to get in and really get going? Ask about hidden costs, ongoing investments, and the cost of tools and training as well as the costs for initial sign-up and monthly product purchases. Have all this information ahead of time. Credible sponsors will tell you. There is no success without some investment. Don't shy away from that, but count the cost and consider if this is an expense you can afford by stretching yourself, making some sacrifices, and being very careful. Do not become immersed in unsecured debt (with a few exceptions) to get started and do not choke out your success because you have not planned to make the necessary investments.

These are things you consider up front.

If you and the horse both qualify, saddle up and get started.

- Tom Sims, The Dream Factory,
Revised article on Optimism,
First in the series on How to Ride a Horse

How to Ride a Horse

I just found a great article on the net, simple, readable, and accurate on how to ride a horse. I will be citing it and building a post on its concepts in a day or two.

Why would I search for such a thing?

I was just going over some of my business affiliations in my databases yesterday and it occurred to me that I had way too many. I need to narrow the field and concentrate on a few things during the limited amount of time I allow myself away from ministry, family, and writing to dabble in business.

You can't ride too many horses in a day.

The last real horse I tried to get on buckled under my weight. I knew then that it really mattered which horse I chose to ride.

A good horse can take you to success, but you must pick the right horse for you and ride it well. There are some excellent horses (business opportunities) out there for average people, but not all of them are right for you. I enjoy evaluating many of them, but I can only do a few of them well.

What is yours? In order to answer that question, you need to develop an understanding of your own passions, strengths, and interests as well as the resources you bring to the table.

If there is any interest in this subject, I will keep writing about it for the next few days.

Know this: There is a horse out there with your name on it and you can learn to ride it well. You may need to look around the stable a bit, but you will find the right opportunity. You can do it.

Proverb for today:

"... pay attention and gain understanding." (Proverbs 4:1b)

Making WAVES

"Don't make waves."

You have heard that advice. You have heeded it. perhaps you have given it. Perhaps it is the top of your list of survival techniques. There is only one problem with it.

It is bad advice.

With currents come waves ... or perhaps currents are made of waves. Either way, they are necessary for change and change is necessary for growth.

No. Not all change is good, but no change is almost always bad.

We need waves to move us around, shift the sand under our feet, and to make life interesting.

Waves are indicators of influence and influence is at the heart of leadership.

The world is changing with or without our consent. Our resistance is futile and naive. We can only go against the flow of negativity by creating currents of positivity. We can only resist evil influences by making waves of our own. Holding our ground is impossible in a liquid environment. We just can't be lazy and expect to have a positive influence in the world.

Jesus described life in the Spirit as like having living water flow from us - fresh, moving, and refreshing.

Living water never accumulates in stagnant pools.

You must change if you are going to be an agent of change.

The first  six verses of Proverbs 1 are populated with gerunds: attaining, understanding acquiring, doing, giving, learning, and discerning.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of kn0wledge ..." (v7)

That which begins, continues. It flows. It makes waves. Knowledge is dynamic. It shakes things up, loosens faulty foundations, and stirs the pot of human experience. It also provides an exciting ride for those who are willing to go wherever it leads.

Here is your acronym for making waves that create new currents of thinking and bring positive change to the world through your business or ministry:

W = We. Make "we waves" because "me waves" are only about my interests, desires, and opinions. A "we-focus" acknowledges that everything a person thinks, does, and contributes affects other people. It embraces a team approach to life and business. It considers the needs and dreams of others and appeals to them in order to build a strong wave of agreement and energy. Selfish motives only create ripples; waves swell when we are "in it" together. Build a team and speak to the masses.

A = Affect. There are numerous definitions of this word, but I choose the one that means having an emotional impact. Humans are logical beings, but not entirely. We are not a race of Vulcans. We are emotional. We lead with our hearts and follow our hearts. If you are going to make positive waves in the ocean of humanity, you must speak from your heart to the hearts of people.

V = Values. People value what they value. We have social values that we share and personal values that tend to vary, but we all value something. Many of our core values are commendable. It is in the area of our attitudes where we falter. It is when we forget, neglect, or disconnect from our core values that our behaviors become unpredictable, destructive, and unproductive. The person  or movement that makes big waves will appeal to the core values of the masses and of individuals. You will create positive change through a positive influence when you make the connection between what people believe and cherish and what you are saying.

E = Exercise. We say it many ways, but it requires an exercise of will and energy to create waves of change and influence the thinking and behaviors of people. You must actually do something. Get out of bed, out of your chair, out of your house, and out of your comfort zone(s) and exercise your influence. Talk to people, write, speak in public, do visible deeds, invest your resources, and act in faith. Do something! Take risks. Go out on a limb. Struggle. Exercise. Your level of activity will reflect your commitment and determine your success - but make sure you are acting strategically, intelligently, and with focus.

S - Stick-to-it-iveness. It is not a real word but it is a very real concept denoting perseverance, determination, and commitment. Making waves that produce positive change in the climate of business, ministry, and the culture may not be an overnight phenomenon. It most likely will not be. In fact, the price of change and influence is often frustration, weariness, resistance, opposition, criticism, and long hours of hard unrewarding work. It is the cumulative efforts of you, your team, and the unseen work of the Spirit who motivates and empowers you that produces results over time. Your job is to stick with it and not give up.

Making waves makes people uncomfortable and makes you the object of potential ridicule, but it is the price of change and it is a major factor in  the road to success in leadership and progress. Waves move things around and refresh the environment. Sometimes we catch a wave and sometimes we make a wave.

If someone says to you, "Don't make waves," smile and keep on making them.


Are you optimistic?

The Online Etymology Dictionary is my friend, confirming my quasi-informed suspicions about words and their origins such as "optimism."

When I say I am optimistic, I want to know that what I think I mean is what I am really saying. Here is their take on the word:

"1782, from Fr. optimisme (1737), from Mod.L. optimum, used by Leibnitz (in Théodicée, 1710) to mean "the greatest good," from L. optimus "the best" (see optimum). The doctrine holds that the actual world is the "best of all possible worlds," in which the creator accomplishes the most good at the cost of the least evil."  See the full article here

The greatest good, the least evil, the best of all possible worlds. These are lenses through which I choose to view life and goals which i have in every challenge, circumstance, and problem.

I am an optimist. A pessimist, by definition (pessimus = worst in Latin) looks for the worst. That being said, I think that there is another self-description that becomes an enemy of the optimum or best in our lives. It is being a minimalist.

I am not making a value judgment about art or design here. There is a value to minimalism, especially with regards to consumption and excess. I am talking about the potential of every situation. I am referring to the outlook of a person on life and growth especially with regard to the call to overcome our obstacles and to become all that we can be in life.

Two people can exist in the same milieu of circumstances, suffer the same limitations, face the same challenges, and be buffeted with equal opposition and one will succeed while the other fails. There may be any number of factors involved in these outcomes, but one thing we know given the scenario is that they are internal and volitional. In other words, they involve the choices that each person makes.

Of course there is no way to duplicate identical circumstances, but we can approximate them. Each of us is imbued with our own distinct mixes of gifts, strengths, weaknesses, genetic predispositions, family backgrounds, and belief systems, but even with those, we all have choices.

I think that one of the great deciding factors in our lives is in our choices to believe the best, the worst, or the least about where we are and where we are going. Brain science, behavioral research, and the worlds of business and performance motivation fall into line with anecdotal illustrations of the power of belief and attitude to determine what will be made of the "givens" in our lives.

These fall into alliance with the scriptures as recorded in such passages as Proverbs 23:7, " For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he ..."

Optimism is not fantasizing about a desired future. It is believing in its possibility and rallying our thoughts, prayers, and actions toward the realization of that future. It is acting on what we believe in and pray for. Proverbs 28:19 (NLB) distinguishes between wishful thinking and positive thinking resulting in positive actions:

"A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty."

In order to work the field, the farmer must believe that the process can and, most likely will, bring results. In order to have any validity to his beliefs, he must do the work. The two go hand in hand and both exist with the realm of the knowledge of God's sovereignty and love.

For those who like acronyms on which to hang their rhetorical hats, here is one for the optimist:

O - Over the top thinking as opposed to under the circumstances thinking.
P - Positive about the possibilities of proactive beliefs and action.
T - Truth - The optimist is not hiding his head in the sand, but standing in the sand and seeing beyond.
I -  Inspired and inspiring to others.
M - Makes the best of things rather than surrendering to the worst or the minimum.
I - Initiative-taking rather than waiting for things to work out.
S - Sacred values are important to the optimist who stakes everything on them.
T - Time expended and energy invested are what it costs and what is multiplied in a true optimist.

It is your choice. I get a little shaky sometimes,  I must confess, but in the  end, I always choose optimism because anything less is simply unacceptable.

A Dose of Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn says that some things are out of our reach until we develop ourselves. He says we have to stand on the books we read.

Here is another quote from Jim: "Success is something you attract by the person you become."

One more from Jim today: "Profits are better than wages. You earn a living from wages; you make a fortune with profits."

Proverbs 21:5 says, " The plans of the diligent lead to profit  as surely as haste leads to poverty."

Winning in a Time of Foreclosures

Foreclosure filings nearly double

LOS ANGELES (AP) Foreclosure filings across the U.S. nearly doubled last month compared with September 2006, as financially strapped homeowners already behind on mortgage payments defaulted on their loans or came closer to losing their homes to foreclosure, a real estate information company said Thursday.

read more | digg story

Proverbs 22:26
"Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge  or puts up security for debts."

There are legitimate reasons for borrowing and lending, but the biblical bias is always cautionary.

Matthew 18:25
Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

We do not live is such draconian times, unless one considers the threat of homelessness and bankruptcy as a form of slavery imposed upon our children. Certainly there is nothing new about the dangers of out of control, unsecured debt.

Paul's insight goes deeper than that of economics:

Romans 13:8
[ Love, for the Day is Near  ]  Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

The remaining reality is that there is some real suffering rising to the surface in the tide of our current human experience and the remedies are illusive.

You and I know that there is no significant bail-out coming from the outside and that we must each take control of our financial well being. There are only these possible solutions and like most things in life, it take a balance of all of them working in concert to effect change:

1. Spend less and borrow little. - There is never a bad time to be more careful about spending, especially on non-essentials in relation to credit. America's credit card debt is out of control. Spend what you can pay for on what you need. Ben Franklin was write in Poor Richard's Almanac when he observed that a penny saved is a penny earned. There is a biblical word for over-consumption and it is "gluttony." Through it, much debt is incurred because we believe we really must "have it now," and the credit card companies tell us we can and should:

Proverbs 23:2
... and put a knife to your throat  if you are given to gluttony.
Proverbs 23:21
... for drunkards and gluttons become poor,  and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

2. Save and invest wisely. Whatever you can save, save. When you have an opportunity to invest, do so with a eye toward the potential return. What investments will produce income? Study, learn, and do. The wise and virtuous woman in Proverbs was an investor:

Proverbs 31:16
She considers a field and buys it;  out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

3. Make more. One area where it is wise to spend is on your own development - especially, from a financial point of view, your financial, business, and professional education. There are many ways to make more money. One is to work harder and that can be good. Another is to work longer and that might be necessary. A third is the one you need to move toward and that is to work smarter by leveraging your time, energy, and knowledge. That is the core genius of network marketing and other concepts in marketing. The Proverbs elevates the value of work:

Proverbs 14:23
All hard work brings a profit,  but mere talk leads only to poverty.

For a list of business opportunities I recomend, check my links here at The Dream Factory.

Of course, you may have already found your vehicle and, if you have, it would be my honor to encourage you along.

These are financially critical times, but you can succeed with informed output of energy and commitment. Dream great dreams and move forward. Keep a positive outlook. Keep your hand and hearty open to others, and be confident enough in the future to be generous in your giving. Consider it an act of faith and move forward:

Proverbs 11:25
A generous man will prosper;  he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

As John Wesley said:

Having, First, gained all you can, and, Secondly saved all you can, Then give all you can.

You are on the winning team.

Tenacity or Stiff-Necked Oblivion

Tenacity is a good thing. Sticking with a dream, vision, or goal is a virtue. Sticking with it in the face of obstacles and hardships is heroic. ignoring one's critics when they are nitpicking our inspired visions involves resolve, courage, and integrity.

The extreme of that actually comes around full circle in opposition to virtuous tenacity and becomes stubborn, stiff-necked stupidity. It is the characteristic of not listening to sound advice or heeding warnings when our judgment is flawed, our motives are unsound, or our actions are illegal, immoral, or ill-advised. It is the sin of not seeking counsel and ignoring it when it is offered.

Proverbs 29:1 says," A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes
       will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy." (NIV)

The reason for sme of our failures is just this. we live in LaLaLand on the river known as De-Nial. We have no regard for accumulated wisdom, experience, or authority. We operate as mavericks in a world of self-interest and instant gratification.

We are warned, re-warned, and warned some more. The consequences of our courses are spelled out and we exempt ourselves from the laws of nature and of time-honored ethics. We are told what will happen if we continue with our dubious business and lifestyle practices and are surprised when one daty, after many breaks and numerous chances, it happens.

That is why it says "suddenly" and "without "remedy." It is not particularly sudden to everyone else, but it is to us because we have been denying the possibility of accountability . It is "without remedy" because there have been numerous remedies already offered and refused. At some point, the clock stops ticking and the payments are due.

This is just the way life is. You are not being singled out. Everyone has been very patient with you (see "numerous"). You have chosen the consequences.

You are not exempt.

Don't take shortcuts. Listen to advice. heed warnings. Do the right thing all the time. Play by the rules. Obey the law.

You have the capacity for great success and you don't have to sneak in the back door. Hold your head high ad march in the front door. that way, you will never have to worry about being evicted as an uninvited guest at the success party.

Don't sell yourself short.

You can do it! Do it th right way.

- Tom Sims, The Dream Factory
San Diego Airport, waiting for my next flight

Some Enemies of Success

It has been my practice and spiritual discipline for several years to read a chapter of Proverbs each day that corresponds to the day of the month. That landed me in Proverbs 23 today.

It is also become a discipline to apply some of what I have read to the realm of business and incorporate these truths into my coaching. Let me briefly touch on several today that seem to fall under the category of things that impede our success. What they all seem to have in common is the avoidance of the lure of instant gratification and all of it's manifestations: gluttony, drunkenness, envy, and the like. These are enemies of success.

I am quoting some of these verses today from The Message (See copyright and link information below).

It begins with some extremely practical advice:

When you go out to dinner with an influential person, mind your manners:
Don't gobble your food,
   don't talk with your mouth full.
And don't stuff yourself;
   bridle your appetite. (1-3)

Sometimes, people attend business meals with the idea that it is all about the food and their own gratification. Not so. It is about the meeting and the person of influence you are trying to influence.  Gorge yourself later. It has been said that J.C. Penny would take potential executives to dinner and decide whether or not to hire them by whether or not they salted their food before tasting it.

He needed no impulsive associates.

Don't wear yourself out trying to get rich;
   restrain yourself!
Riches disappear in the blink of an eye;
   wealth sprouts wings
   and flies off into the wild blue yonder. (4-6)

Keep everything in perspective. pace yourself. Don't become so addicted to your moment by moment, immediate success that you lose the long term benefits of those things that endure the test of time.

Don't accept a meal from a tightwad;
   don't expect anything special.
He'll be as stingy with you as he is with himself;
   he'll say, "Eat! Drink!" but won't mean a word of it.
His miserly serving will turn your stomach
   when you realize the meal's a sham. (7-8)

Again, do not let your gluttony interfere with your judgment. Whoever said that there is no free lunch was being overly cynical. However, there are not many. people operate with some degree of self-interest. Honest people in business are open about this and seeking win-win scenarios. I operate on the principle that I want you to get something from our transaction so that we can all be happy when it is done. Again, gluttony and naiveté are enemies of success.

Don't bother talking sense to fools;
   they'll only poke fun at your words. (9)

Have you ever done business with someone who "just didn't get it?" Another enemy of success is the compulsion to teach that person by banging them over the head with truth. Forget it. Move on to your own success. Don't let addiction to being proved right interfere with your success.

Don't stealthily move back the boundary lines
   or cheat orphans out of their property,
For they have a powerful Advocate
   who will go to bat for them. (10-11)

Dishonesty, based on greed and desire for momentary advantage that leads to cheating people is what is railed against here. god will Himself step in to thwart the success of those who build it by cheating the poor. The hand of justice may not strike quickly, but it will eventually set things right.

Don't for a minute envy careless rebels;
   soak yourself in the Fear-of-God
That's where your future lies.
   Then you won't be left with an armload of nothing. (17-18)

Envy is a major enemy of success. it takes our attention away from what we need to be doing, pollutes our attitudes, and poisons our relationships. Put it away before it gets in your way in a big way.

This includes all sorts of comparisons with other people.

The genius of network marketing is that you succeed by actually cheering for people to succeed.

Oh listen, dear child—become wise;
   point your life in the right direction.
Don't drink too much wine and get drunk;
   don't eat too much food and get fat.
Drunks and gluttons will end up on skid row,
   in a stupor and dressed in rags.(19-21)

In contrast with wisdom is the success enemy we call substance abuse. Include in that category all forms of alcohol, illegal drugs, excessive use of legal drugs, and addictive sexual behaviors (which produce drugs through our endocrine system). Add addiction to food, called gluttony which produces lethargy and  so many ailments and you have a cluster of enemies to success. we could go on and on about ways they rob us of vitality, resources, time, energy, motivation, and positivity

These were as much of a problem in Solomon's day as they are today  for those who indulged in them. The problem is that there seems to be a growing trend toward these forms of self-indulgence accompanied by media affirmation that we should do the things that make us feel good and that pleasure is our ultimate god.

Not only is that not spiritually true, but it is practically disastrous.

How do we avoid that enemy? Moderation is the key to avoiding addiction in some behaviors. In others, absolute abstinence may be in order because of the  power of certain substances to establish a quick and certain foothold in a person's life.

Addiction is a major enemy of success and friend of poverty today.

Consider these symptoms:

  • Drowsiness
  • Sleeping late
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inattention
  • Irritability
  • Uncontrolled spending
  • Health problems
  • Missing appointments
  • Incarceration
  • Inability to drive safely
  • Broken relationships
  • Legal entanglements of a civil nature
  • Exposure to severe liability
  • Loss of drive
  • Preoccupation with satisfying momentary urges
  • Laziness
  • Much, much more ...

All of these are problematic in and of themselves. Together, they decimate your capacity for success.

Get some victory in this area of your life quickly if you wish to succeed. Hint: A vital, growing, committed, and healthy relationship with Jesus Christ and a local church is a beginning context for all sorts of life liberation and personal growth.

Listen with respect to the father who raised you,
   and when your mother grows old, don't neglect her.
Buy truth—don't sell it for love or money;
   buy wisdom, buy education, buy insight.
Parents rejoice when their children turn out well;
   wise children become proud parents.
So make your father happy!
   Make your mother proud!  (22-25)

A know-it-all mentality is an enemy of success. Stop listening to elders and mentors and your will stop growing. Listen. Read. Study. Attend workshops. Read the Bible as if you have never read it before. Spend whatever is necessary, literally (money) to educate yourself. you are your most valuable resources. never stop investing in yourself.


Dear child, I want your full attention;
   please do what I show you. (26)

Don't just learn truth. practice it. Another enemy of success is gathering knowledge and storing it up for the future. Put new knowledge into practice quickly. Don't hide it in your conference notebook files.

A whore is a bottomless pit;
   a loose woman can get you in deep trouble fast.
She'll take you for all you've got;
   she's worse than a pack of thieves. (27-28)

Sexual indiscretion has been the downfall of many an otherwise successful man or woman. Don 't fall for it. Compare a few minutes of pleasure with a lifetime of success, fulfillment, and significance before wandering down the path of momentary ecstasy.

Who are the people who are always crying the blues?
   Who do you know who reeks of self-pity?
Who keeps getting beat up for no reason at all?
   Whose eyes are bleary and bloodshot?
It's those who spend the night with a bottle,
   for whom drinking is serious business.
Don't judge wine by its label,
   or its bouquet, or its full-bodied flavor.
Judge it rather by the hangover it leaves you with—
   the splitting headache, the queasy stomach.
Do you really prefer seeing double,
   with your speech all slurred,
Reeling and seasick,
   drunk as a sailor?
"They hit me," you'll say, "but it didn't hurt;
   they beat on me, but I didn't feel a thing.
When I'm sober enough to manage it,
   bring me another drink!" (29-35)

In short, all forms of self-indulgence and drive for immediate satisfaction and  instant gratification are the enemies of your success. Conquer them and conquer the world!

All the best for your success - Tom Sims, The Dream Factory

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002  by Eugene H.  Peterson

Justice for All

These words and ideas are mine and reflect only my opinions, but  they are deep convictions and they have led me to forms some relationships with organizations that address some of the inequities I have observed in society.

Is the American ideal of liberty and justice for all a reality?

It may be more so in the setting of criminal law than practical law. Even in criminal law, the outcomes are often inadequate.

The Justice for All Act of 2004 (The Justice for All Act of 2004 (H.R. 5107, Public Law 108-405) is, like most legislation, a bit deceptive in  its name. It covers an important, but severely limited issue of allowing victims to speak at sentencing hearings for perpetrators of crime against themselves.

In a system where there is little relevance in the trial and punishment to the victim and minimal relationship between the entities and issues involved and the final outcome, this is an important consideration - the right of the victim to address the victimizer and confront that person with the impact of his or her crime.

Of secondary, but great importance, is the impact that such speech makes upon juries and judges in sentencing.

What it fails to address is any notion of restorative justice, reconciliation, or restitution, but merely fits within the status quo of a systems that tends to run on its own steam in its own predetermined direction.

Nor does it address the inequities in the system where the poor are often inadequately represented, where dispute resolution in civil matters is weighed to the advantage of the privileged, where prisons are becoming factories for the training and production of hardened criminals, and where victims get warm and temporary feelings of being "vindicated," but no resolution comes to address restoring what they have lost.

It is a rather unimaginative system where advocates of reform generally look within the system as it is to revise and improve rather than affect radical overhaul in thinking and implementation of justice.

Justice is not retribution, but neither ought it be divorced from the emotional realities that crime actually damages relationships, causes pain, and brings loss to people. That is is true for crime, and equally true for injustices in business and family relationships that fall into the arena of civil law.

Other considerations in the matter of justice for all include assuring the integrity of the  gathering and presentation of truth by enforcing civil rights protections to all citizens equally. It requires giving equal access to all citizens to courts and due process as a way of  redressing civil concerns. It necessitates fairness that balances a sterile dispassionate process with a fair, compassionate, and empathetic cadre of real people dealing with real people.

There are some real heroes in the system and  have recently featured one in a posting,

Criminal justice is meaningless and punishment is a mockery if the state is not compelled to prove its case against its citizens beyond a reasonable doubt with honesty and the purest of motives. It is equally meaningless unless every effort and overture has not been made toward restoration of the victim and, if possible, the broken relationships.

An adversarial system, at its best is designed to insure fairness. In practice, it sometimes circumvents the possibility of reconciliation, full disclosure of truth, public safety interests, and redemption of human potential. The awful truth is that we are all flawed human beings with an imperfect system and inadequate resources.

We just have to do the best we can, but we must keep striving.

A disturbingly and tragically growing minority of the population will come into contact with the criminal justice system as defendants or victims. Each must be afforded their rights and laws must address the process that insure accurate verdicts, appropriate sentences, and proper restitution.

However, a majority of Americans will come into contact with every day law, legal questions, contracts, covenants, and matters where legal advice could give them an advantage and, at least, a fair shake.

At the moment, we have the system we have. It is imperfect, but it is what it is and is among the best in history for large societies. we all partake of it and the question is, how well we can avail ourselves of our rights.

Everyone needs a will.

Everyone will sign legal papers at some point in their lives.

We all make major purchases. We all come into conflict with perplexing legal questions. Most of us marry and have children. We get sued or threatened with suits. We get traffic tickets, have accidents, incur liability, and have job related disputes - often between well meaning and decent parties.

Whenever possible, mediation is the best course. However, knowing the law and receiving good advice can often help people avoid legal entanglements, broken relationships, and financial hardships.

The sad fact is that most people fall into the great middle place between those who are entitled to free representation and those who can afford private counsel.

That was the place that Harland Stonecipher found himself in years ago and became the impetus for his vision to bring "Justice for All" to a reality for ordinary people through Pre-Paid Legal. Though I am an independent associate, my comments here in no way reflect their official position. What will accurately portray Pre-Paid Legal's views and story is a documentary set to air on Court TV on September 29. I urge my friends to watch and  become informed. For more information, anyone can check out my  links back to the company's web sites.

Justice For All

For more information on Pre-Paid Legal services, click picture or go to my site.

If you are interested in Identity Theft protection, check out the IdentityTheft Shield site.

If you are interested in referring others or developing your own business as a Pre-Paid Legal Independent Associate, go to the Get Paid Daily on the Internet site.

For my fellow theologians and Bible scholars who wish to do a quick overview of uses of the word, "justice' in scripture, GO TO THIS LINK.

In fact, the book of Proverbs informs the system some well that these stand on their own without necessity of comment.


”I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice …” - Proverbs 8:20

”The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth should not betray justice.” – Proverbs 16:10

”A wicked man accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the course of justice.” – Proverbns 17:23

”It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the innocent of justice.” – Proverbs 18:5

”A corrupt witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.” – Proverbs 19:28 

”When a king sits on his throne to judge, he winnows out all evil with his eyes.” – Proverbs 20:8

“When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” – Proverbs 21:15

“Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.” Proverbs 18:28 

Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court,” – Proverbs 22:22

”… do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end if your neighbor puts you to shame?” – Proverbs 25:8

“By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.” – Proverbs 29:4

”The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” – Proverbs 29:7 

”If a wise man goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.” – Proverbs 29:9 

”If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will always be secure.” – Proverbs 29:14

”Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the LORD that man gets justice.” – Proverbs 29:26 

“Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." – Proverbs 31:19 

(Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society)

The point is that it is an American, practical, and spiritual value - justice for ALL.

- Tom Sims The Dream Factory



Don't Pan the Plan

There is a seemingly disingenuous urge on the part of practitioners of spiritual things to shun strategic planning as something outside the realm of the Spirit. It is as if we do not believe God cannot enter into the process of preparation, but must show up at the last minute in order to get all the glory and save us from any mental or physical effort.

Don't pan the plan.

At some later date, I will do a study of the concept of planning in the book of Proverbs and throughout the scriptures, but for now, i will limit myself to a few verses which live in proximity to each other.

The first reminds us that it is better to plan well and with many advisers than to proceed like a charging bull against all odds to follow our hastily formulated ideas of what needs to be done.

"Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed." - Proverbs 16:22

It does not mean we follow all the advice we get. It means we seek it, hear it, consider it, and formulate our strategies in view of it.

Of course, "There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan  that can succeed against the LORD." - Proverbs 21:30

That is an ultimate safeguard, but no one wants to butt up against that wall of last resort. We would prefer to apply Proverbs 16:3 which says, " Commit to the LORD whatever you do,  and your plans will succeed."

So, somewhere between stubborn, willful confidence that excludes all voices but our own on one side and hyper spiritual "go-with-the-flowism"  on the other is the place of good planning.

Good planning happens when we start with commitment to God. If you are not at that place in your spiritual journey, then at least go for truth. We start there and finish there.

It is a deficit of truth in planning that is often responsible for failures. We either did not have enough information or we did not interpret it accurately.

Then, we need good human advisers who are wise, informed, or skilled. These come in many forms:

  • Experts in their fields who make up for areas where we are not as well informed.
  • Generalists who have the ability to analyze data and strategies across a wide spectrum of disciplines.
  • Strategists who understand how processes work and how to map out the progress of a pan from start to finish.
  • Consumers who can tell us of their own self interests. They are the sources for much of our demographic information.
  • Spiritual mentors who help us seek God and examine our own motives.
  • Prayer partners who encourage us, mirror our hearts, and intercede for us.

We don't need to pan the plan; we need to plan the "I can!"

Our problem is not that we over-plan and exclude God; it is that we exclude Him by not planning enough and unconsciously exclude Him that way.

The commitment is the start, finish, and every breath of the planning process.

How to Diffuse the Fuse of the Infused

This proverb is probably not just for critics. It may apply to complainers, insubordinate subordinates, hard headed students, confrontational friends, unreasonable clients, irritated supervisors, and infuriating customers.

It teaches us to diffuse the fuse of the infused and prevent an explosive situation.

It is just good personal and business policy and it comes straight from the book of Provers, chapter 15, verse 1:

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger."

Notice two things that are not promised or stated.

We are not told that anger will not be present or directed toward us and we are not told that harsh words will necessarily create it where it does not exist. That may be true at times, but it is not the application here.

This admonition is about how to respond when the anger is already surfacing and it is coming at you.

Our natural tendency is to react rather than respond, to take offense, plan defense, and build a fence. The wise teacher or Proverbs counter-intuits as he often does. He recommends that we meet hostility with calm words and gentle speech and so take the fire out of the fuse that is sizzling toward an explosion.

Teachers know the power of lowering their voices to gain the attention of a class in turmoil. Customer service representatives are trained in this practice. Good law enforcement officers are skilled at restoring peace and bringing order with a display of quiet strength. All professionals learn that it is best not to escalate a bad situation to the next level of fury and cultivate the skill of the quiet answer.

Is it your desire to be successful or to would you prefer to win a shouting contest?

the promise here is biblically and psychologically sound. When the other person begins to speak faster and louder, counter it by speaking slower and softer. When the other attacks, find a way to receive his or her words with grace. When Someone tries to pick a fight, find a way to build a bridge.

there is no way to instruct the reader in all the techniques in one article. The purpose of this note is to create a willingness to try a better way.

Friends have been shaped from potential and former enemies. Loyal customers have been birthed from the labor pangs of conflict.

It is possible to turn away wrath unless you prefer to stir up anger.

Here's to your success.

- Tom Sims  - The Dream Factory

For more insight, I recomend:                Bob Burg: Winning Without Intimidation : How to Master the Art of Positive Persuasion in Today's Real World in Order to Get What You Want, When You Want It

Bob Burg: Winning Without Intimidation : How to Master the Art of Positive Persuasion in Today's Real World in Order to Get What You Want, When You Want It

What Do You Really Want Out of This?

Sometimes in life, business, and ministry, you encounter people, situations, and attitudes that make your blood boil. Your visceral reaction is to stomp the living daylights out of that raunchy attitude, express your indignation over the unjust situation, and put that person causing you difficulties in his or her place.

Quick, harsh words will do the trick and it will be all over.

Will they? Will it be  over?

What do you want? What do you really want?

Do you want your check cashed, your order filled, or your question answered? Or do you want a fleeting moment of carnal pleasure watching someone else suffer discomfort and deflation of ego?

Do you want the problem solved or do you prefer to escalate it to the next level?

Do you want the relationship mended or maimed?

Do you prefer to make an enemy or a friend or client?

Do you want to create a bad memory or a pleasant one?

Do you wish to be destructive or productive?

Do you even like yourself enough to do what is in your own best interest?

Self foot shooting is a national sport among those who would rather bath in the sulfur baths of self-justification and indignation than back up, back off, and win.

Proverbs 15:1 says, "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger."

What is your goal here? Is it the brick wall of wrath that is more like swimming against a current than going with the flow? Is it escalating anger that gets you no where? Do you want to make your adversary angrier or would you prefer to make him or her a partner in reaching your goals?

It is really up to you, but harsh words and unbridled anger will never be your friends on the road to success. They form an attitude that, for many, is the one roadblock to personal progress. Those who possess it find endless excuses for not succeeding and they all involve someone or something that has gotten in their way and impeded them when, in fact, it is this attitude that has been in their way all along.

So, ask yourself and be honest, "What do i really want out of this?"

Once you know, adjust your attitude, soften your response, and go for it!

Plots and Plans

Proverbs 14:22 contrasts the plots of evil with the plans of goodness:

Do not those who plot evil go stray?
But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.
(New International Version)

Realistically, there is not much difference between a plot and a plan, but in this case there is a vast difference and it is in the adjectives. Good and evil are eternal opposites and their contrast is enough to make the plotting of sinister things dark and ugly. Such plotting may be thorough, logical, and brilliant in its intricate design, but it leads the plotter and all of his followers astray.

Not every proposal that comes across your desk is worth the investment of your time, energy, and good name. Examine it. Know who it is that is originating it and what motivations have brought it as far as your attention. Even you can be led astray if the story is good enough.

On the other hand, there are people with grand and noble motives and a desire to do good and live with integrity. These folks also plan and they do so carefully. They may be clever and detailed as well. But they are different. They lead to love and faithfulness for they are rooted in these qualities.

Proposals of such a sort are worthy of your consideration. You may not choose all of them, but you can safely consider them .

By their fruits you shall know them." - Jesus
Matthew 7:16

The Top 25 Home-Based Business Ideas

Here is a good article for people toying with the idea of developing a home based business from AllBusiness.Com and Yahoo Finance. Look it up as The Top 25 Home-Based Business Ideas first published April 11.

Of those listed, several might be of interest to network marketers or those who market primarily over the Internet.  All of them have some overlap, but I will highlight a few that were mentioned in the article.

# 1. Personal trainer. If you are marketing health and wellness products, energy drinks, or vitamins, one of your best resources is the army of personal trainers who exercise great influence over highly motivated clients several times a week. Recruit these folks as distributors and third party their sales for them. Be sure to find a reputable company for which to distribute quality products.

# 3. Tutoring. There are several tutoring companies that are headquartered online. Using SKYPE you can tutor remotely all over the world.

# 4. Business coaching and # 5 Consulting. Network marketing is an industry that is built on the concept of everyone having a coach/mentor with the "system" as the support and curriculum. In network marketing, your coach comes with the package and this is a tremendous selling point as you recruit people. They will have the opportunity to learn from successful winners in the industry.

10. Desktop publishing. This is one business that can be developed remotely over the Internet. Begin to develop some templates that will enable you to customize clients' work while expediting your own assignment.

# 16. Gift baskets and  # 17. Wedding planner. I am no longer an IBO with Quixtar, but they have a wonderful specialty business that, until recently, was called "The Gift Incentive Program." This is a wonderful, lucrative, and attractive product that includes many specialty items ideal for weddings and gift baskets as well as so many other applications.

# 18. Personal shopper. This is an ideal fit for Quixtar IBOs as well as people who have developed a sophisticated index/catalog of affiliate shops. You can  shop from your own stores for the best bargain and right fit for your clients.

There are other good suggestions in the article as well as some excellent opportunities not mentioned. Read it and learn. Then come back for some other recommendations for profitable, turn-key, home-based businesses with built-in coaching and support.

See also:  Income Opportunities

- Tom Sims, The Dream Factory

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."

Be Hungry

Proverbs 16:26 says (NIV), " A laborer's appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on."

It was the year 1975 and I had been married for less than a year. I had recently quit my job on a church staff and had turned down two j-o-b (just over broke) jobs for the opportunity to set my own hours (translate that: work 70 hours instead of 40), set my own limits, and set my own pay in the vacuum cleaner industry.

Only we called them "home maintenance systems"

In the training, our manager had placed a $100 bill under one of the chairs. I did not get it, but I did make the first sale in the group that night and got a $100 bonus on top of my commission.

I sold it to my wife and it still works in our home.

Back in the training, our leader said something I will never forget, something encouraging, uplifting, and comforting, "I hope you are all broke and badly in debt."

I felt my heart warmed ... or was that heartburn?

He meant that he wanted us hungry because without the hunger, we would not care enough. Without it, we would not be desperate enough to get up and do what needed to be done. we would not knock on the extra doors, walk the extra miles, or put forth the extra effort required to beat the numbers game that is sales.

It was raw sales without internet, tools, CDs, business cards, or brochures. We lugged around a huge piece of equipment in one hand and a "premium" gift in the other in hopes of bring invited in for a 1-and 1/2  hour demonstration and presentation.

We had to be hungry. I was starving and I sold 5 that summer including the one I sold to myself. There were two in one day, one in a house without carpet and a "No Solicitor's" sign on the front door.

I love to tell that story. It is my claim to sales fame.

Starvation would have taken deeper hold if it had not been for my wife's j-o-b, some savings, some preaching honorariums, and the five commissions.

but I got the point and gladly accepted the pastorate of two small country churches in August and turned in my home maintenance system.

But selling was in my blood and I have done it here and there ever since, both in the work of the ministry and helping to supplement my ministry in the world. I got the principle of big numbers and applied them to Sunday School enrollment campaigns. I came to understand necessity of appetite and hunger in driving us toward success.

Hunger is the prevention of a negative experience. Appetite is a positive propellant toward a goal or dream that we have so deeply embraced that to be without it is painful, unbearable, and disastrous. it is the kind of pain that works for us because it gets us up and gets us going.

Where do your hunger and appetites lie? If you are not consumed by any, get some.  Otherwise, you will stay where you are, satisfied and stagnant.

Feel those pangs!

NOTE: Sometimes on the road to our larger dreams, we need to generate a financial base to support what we feel called and driven to do and to be. I have found several options for laying that foundation in the areas of network and affiliate marketing. Work from home on your own schedule and make the time you need to pursue your passions. My primary network marketing commitment is Prepaid Legal and it would be an honor to help you build a Prepaid Legal business. To find out more, visit this site: Getting Paid Daily. If that does not work for you, I am now working with some people who are distributing ACT energy drinks as one of my streams of income and helping people set up profitable businesses in that growing industry. Visit this ACT site All of this information and an annotated list of opportunity links can be found on my MySpace page, at the Dream Factory, and here at: INCOME OPPORTUNITIES WITH TOM SIMS


Selling is an honorable profession. Not only is it honorable, it necessary for the well being of economies, peoples, and the needy. Sales facilitates distribution and distribution brings the necessities of life to our doors. If the distribution system were to break down, we would be plunged into a rapidly escalating worldwide crisis of hunger. Our life support systems would come to a halt. Medicines would not be delivered. people would die; others would suffer.

Never apologize for selling. As a direct  or network marketer, you probably have many names for what you do, but the selling part is honorable. You are the life blood of the economy.

You move things.

You are an educator.

You feed, clothe, heal, and provide essential services for the masses.

You encourage people and give them hope.

You build communities.

Solomon develops a contrast between hoarders and sellers. See it in four different translations.

Proverbs 11:26:
The King James Version - "He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it."

The Message - "Curses on those who drive a hard bargain!Blessings on all who play fair and square!"

The New Living Translation - "People curse those who hoard their grain,but they bless the one who sells in time of need."

The New International Version - "People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell."

Selling is, as The Message translates it, the art of "playing fair and square."

There are times for giving things away, but nothing can be sustained that way. A fair and quality product for a fair price is a win-win scenario that keeps production and distribution alive.

Hoarding is selfish and unproductive.

What do we hoard?

Sometimes we hoard information that would help people make better decisions, buy better products, improve their lives, and create a better income and lifestyle.

D.T. Niles said that evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread. In a way, so is sales. Not to tell is to let the other person starve for lack of information.

Hold your head up high; you are doing important work. Now, go out and DO IT!

Still Not Ready?

Here is an acronym to empower your resolve: The FAIR DEAL

F = Facilitation
- If you are dealing fairly with people, you are the facilitator of a process that they really want and need to happen. You are a facilitator, not a manipulator. You are helping them reach THEIR GOALS AND GET WHAT THEY WANT AND NEED. Is this not also true of evangelism?

A = Acquisition   - Things need to move from hand to hand along a pipeline from point of origination to point of use. You help that happen by providing the support, information, guidance, and contacts that make it possible. As sales professional, you are a servant in the arena of acquisition.

I = Integrity - People choose to do business with you because they know you, like you, and trust you. Integrity bolsters this trust. You must always do your best to tell the truth and act in an honest, ethical, and forthright manner in all you do. You will elevated the profession of sales, the ministry of evangelism, or even the pastorate by your integrity. Lack of integrity in any of these areas of endeavor is devastating to the reputation of all. Solomon advocates fair dealing. Proverbs 11:1 says, " The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight."  Integrity always pays in the long run.

Here are some helps for operating with integrity:

  • Under sell and over deliver. Make that a habit. Always surprise people by doing more than you promise, faster than you guaranteed, and with a bigger smile than when they signed the contract.
  • Admit your lack of knowledge and willingness to try to find answers. Don't make them up.
  • Rehearse the truth not a lie. What you say in private will lodge itself in your mind and emerge from your lips.
  • Don't try to elevate your product or business opportunity by cutting someone else's down.
  • Sell only what you can believe in without doing mental contortions.If you do not believe your own message, find one you believe and deliver it.

R = Relationships - Remember that selling is not a product business; it is a people business. work constantly on your people skills and highly value people. Love them. Try to get them the best deal. Serve them. enjoy them. Never see them merely as a means to an end. People can see through that. Make a friend and earn a long term business relationship. All of this works in ministry as well.

D = Dependability
- With all the integrity in the world, if you are flaky and sloppy about your appointments, other people's time, and your commitment to returning calls and correspondence in a timely and courteous many, you will be perceived rightly as undependable. If you have to wear yourself out at anything, make it in the area of promise keeping and respect for the time of the people you serve.

E - Even-handedness - For a deal to be fair, everyone must win. No one goes away thinking he "took" the other. There is a mutual understanding that the seller deserves a fair profit and the buyer deserves a fair price.

A - After-the-sale Attention
- If you are going to do repeat business with someone, it will most often be because you stand by your product and remember your clients after the transaction of the deal. They are, after all, now your friends. Remember them. Stay in touch with them. Do little things for them. Most of all, make sure that they are happy with the deal and, if not, try to fix it.

L = Leverage - In network marketing, we talk a lot about time leveraging. Sales is all about leveraging - time, people, knowledge, contacts, associations, affiliations, and our ability to expedite matters. There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of the power of leverage to improve the product that our clients receive and the profitability of our own efforts and that of our teams. Along the way, you will find people who see the power of leveraging and you can invite them to share its benefits by becoming part of your team.

Go out and do it now and know that you are an important part of making the world go around today.

Andy  Andrews Affiliate Link

Tom's Blogsphere


My primary network marketing commitment is Pre Paid Legal. it would be an honor to help you build a Pre Paid Legal business. To find out more, visit this site: Getting Paid Daily


Doing What Needs to Be Done

Eating Crow

No one likes to "eat crow," grovel, or admit that they were wrong enough to get into a predicament from which they need help extricating themselves. It sears one's pride and devastates one's self-esteem and the quicker we get it done, the better.

Sometimes the choice is between swallowing one's pride and going broke.

Swallowing pride is uncomfortable. Being broke is much worse.

The teacher in Proverbs 6:1-5 hits the nail on the head:

" My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,  Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler."

Here is the scenario. The son has made promises he can't keep, albeit in good faith, by cosigning on someone else's loan. That person might have been a friend he trusted or a stranger who "took him in." either way, he is now seeing the error of his ways and the danger signs ahead.

Solomon wisely counsels him, "Grovel!"

Go now and eat crow. Do it fast; do it with all your energy. GET OUT OF THAT DEAL!

No one wants to hear this. Part of us would rather go under than bow down. We would rather bluff our way through life than humble ourselves and do what is best for ourselves and what is right by God and man.

Pride will hurt you, my friend. It will hurt you in the wallet and it will hurt you in the heart.

This is a practical reminder from the Proverbs that we are not always right and when we are wrong, the most prudent thing to do is admit it and repair the damage as quickly as possible.

Would you rather be right or rich?

How to get Ahead

Ants have always been a source of fascination for me. Their collective intelligence and capacity for production is amazing. I used to tread water on the deep end of our swimming pool and observe them move in and out from  the cracks  with a precision and organization that could not be explained by the presence of a "queen" buried in there somewhere.

Essentially, their work is unsupervised, without instructions, and self-motivated by something intrinsic to their nature.

They get it done and they get far enough ahead to be self-sufficient as a community.

You never see a frustrated or worried ant.

In fact, if you divert him from his immediate mission, he seems to carry on his larger mission by simply finding another task and doing it.

There is so much to learn from ants. thus, Solomon said in Proverbs 6:2-8:

"Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. "

This teaching is placed in the Proverbs as a counter to laziness. If industry and self-starting are keys to getting ahead, laziness is an expressway to getting behind.

Solomon  writes to the sluggard with the hope that, by observing someone getting it done, he will get with it himself and  be motivated.

It is easy to self-motivate when we see the results stacking up minute-by-minute, hourly, or even daily. it can be tougher if it takes longer to see progress. in that case, we must learn to visualize it and measure it differently.

However we inform our psyches of the benefits of steady, hard, conscientious work, be assured of this, it is worth the effort.

If you want to get ahead, you must work at it and you must motivate yourself to do so.

How to Get Behind

If there is a sure-fire expressway to getting ahead, there is a steep slide to getting behind. Just do nothing. Stay in bed. Roll over for another hour. Be late for work. Miss appointments. Be unreliable. Do sloppy work. Complain a lot. Grumble when you are assigned a task. Move slowly. Frown. Just be lazy.

Solomon understood this and spoke of it in Proverbs 6:9-11:

"How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man."

Why does he call it a little sleep and a little slumber? Because that is what we call it when we rest excessively. Everyone needs sleep. God designed us so that we require down time. However, the sluggard wants a little more and a little more and a little more.

He never gets caught up.

He is extremely successful at failure and, while he may feel or confess to be miserable, he is unwilling to do anything to change that state.

It takes effort to get out of bed. It takes an inner drive and a shock to the system to wake up and do what needs to be done. it may even be painful for you.

What you have to ask yourself is, "What is the greater pain, getting up or being broke?"

It is really all up to you.

Tom's Income Opportunities Business Principles
Tom's Blogsphere
Thumbing Through Pastor Tom's Bible

Getting Paid Daily

Listen Before You Speak

Attention is costly. Otherwise, we would not have to pay it. Like any sound investment, paying attention pays well.

The teacher in Proverbs 5:1 says that by listening well to his words of insight, we can maintain discretion and preserve words of knowledge with our lips.

The path to good speaking is from the ears to the head, through the heart, and out the mouth. Most of us listen some, at least peripherally. We listen selectively. We listen with bias, thinking we know what to listen for and extracting tidbits to bolster our own arguments and pitches.. consequently, we lose both discretion and knowledge. What proceeds from our lips is not nearly as instructive, edifying, and truthful as it could be.

Solomon admonishes us to listen well. To pay attention this way costs us time and energy. The cost is in the spelling of WELL:

W - Listen with WONDER - That is jaw dropping, gaping, eyes-wide-open awe and inquisitiveness. we come to the school of life and sit at the feet of our elders expecting to learn, awed by our own lack of knowledge and the vastness of what can be known in the larger presence of what cannot be known. Without wonder and reverence for the unknowns, we have nothing to say.

E - Listen with ENGAGEMENT - That is exemplified in the picture of a student on the edge of his or her seat, staring at the teacher, glancing down at the paper, feverishly taking notes, asking questions, making mental application, and processing the new found knowledge outside of class. Engagement increases the volume of learning exponentially.

L - Listen with LAUGHTER -  I do not mean frivolity, sarcasm, or contempt. I mean with a sense of fun  and enjoyment. Let joy fill your learning. The ancient Hebrews spoke of the law as a thing of great joy and celebration. "To think," they must have thought and said, "that someone in Heaven, the Creator of all things, cares enough for us to give us such practical instructions on how to live in peace, harmony, and justice." Learn with laughter and learn to laugh at yourself when you see yourself in the bad examples. Things will get better.

L - Listen with a LOVE of learning. Cherish the opportunity, every opportunity to listen to the wisdom and insight of others. Ask deep questions and linger long over the words being shared with you. Allow them to go from your head to your heart. Soon they will proceed from your lips and you too, will be a preserver of knowledge.

It will cost you something to listen well, but you can afford it. it pays well.


image from kenbraddy.files.wordpress.com
"Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint." - Proverbs 23:4 (NIV)  

This may seem like a rather strange admonition, but it is absolutely necessary to remind ourselves of its truth. Many people simple do not succeed in the race to riches because they wear themselves out in the first lap or two. Or they accumulate some quick wealth and lose health or life itself and never get to enjoy it. Short sprints in life's long haul are necessary for completetion of the marathon. Pacing oneself, taking breaks, knowing limitations, setting boundaries, and balance are some of the secrets of maximum effectiveness.

PACE yourself.

P - Practice restraint. Solomon urges us to hold back some effort. Usually it is unproductive, frenzied, thoughtless activities that we need to curtail in order to be more effective.

A - Assign yourself times to work and specific tasks to do. Also assign yourself times for rest, refreshment, and recovery. Assign and follow through. Keep your life in balance.

C - Create spaces for thought, reflection, renewal, and creative thinking. Create space for family. Money is not the most important thing in your life. It is the freedom to pursue what is valuable that makes money  attractive. Do not lose that perspective.

E - Excuse yourself from attempts to overload you (by others) or yourself by yourself with good things that rob your energy from the things that are best. Make wise choices.

I also recommend The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal.

Differences and Commonalities

In this life, there are some things that set us apart from others, our differences, and there are things that we have in common with all humanity. What sets us apart is the repulation we build through our choices and relationships. What draws us together is the reality that we have all been created by God with an equal dispensation of His love, grace, and creativity.

You Can't Buy a Reputation

Proverbs 22:1 -  "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is beter than siler or gold."

You cannot buy a good reputation, but a good reputation is like currency. It will open doors and create the trust and good will necessary to transact business in a cynical world.

Perhaps that is one reason Solomon said,"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is beter than siler or gold."

First things first is an axiom that applies in so many ares of life. Getting rich quick does not promote a good reputation. Getting rich or successful systematically in such a ways as to be transparent and to help others along the way creates reputation and esteem.

If you are consistently honest in your business dealings, the word will get around. You will develop a reputation for honesty, fairness, and quality work. You cannot buy that, but with it, you can make a number of purchases.

Isn't that what a credit report is? Isn't it a formal statement of a person's reputation for keeping commitments?

Have you ever tried to get a loan with a lousy credit report?

There is no dollar figure on a good name. You earn it over a lifetime and it is well worth every minute invested in it.

Common Ground

Proverbs 21:2 (NIV) - "Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is Maker of them all."

There is an equality in the essential meaning of what it means to exist as a human being in this world. Each person is crafted by God. There is no birth distinction between rich and poor, no genetic predisposition dictating one's economic prospects. While people differ in talent, intellectual aptitude, and certain personality leanings, each is offered the possibility to become fully what they were made to be.

To be rich is to come into one's own.

It is to fully develop all of one's potential and live out one's purpose on this earth. It is to, through a process of trial and failure, to succeed and prosper according to God's design. It is to follow the Maker's dream implanted in the heart and to pursue that dream all the way.

What are you doing this very day to that end?

I would like to make some simple suggestions for today as you travel the road to success:

1. Avoid potholes, pitfalls, and speed bumbs. Approach life's highway as a defensive driver.

Proverbs 22:3 - A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

Don't live in utter oblivion to danger. wake up from denial. Pklan for contingencies. You were made by the same Creator as those who get caught in traps every day. You are special, but not special enough to be exempt from the laws of nature.

2. Humble yourself before God today. Worship Him. Take some time for worshipful reflection.

Proverbs 22:4 - By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.

Perspective comes when we hold ourselves up against the template of divine holiness. With perspective comes the realization of our God given potential for a full and meaningful life of purpose.

3.  Pay your debts and avoid future debt. Do something today to move you closer to debt free living.

Proverbs 22:7 - The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Debt is slavery. Use it wisely and rarely and only to accomplish goals that cannot be accomplished without it.

4. Be careful what you plant. Think about your deeds and consequences.

Proverbs 22:8 - He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.

All of your choices matter. Make good choices today, righteous choices.

5. Practice generosity today.

Proverbs 22:9 - He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

You only save in this life what you give away. Do something for the poor today.

6.  Overcome the temptation to be lazy and half-hearted today. Take initiative.

Proverbs 22: 13 - The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.

You will find many excuses for NOT doing what needs to be done. Take action to overcome that. Make momentum your friends by creating it with positive action.

7. Be just and wise.

Proverbs 22:16 - He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.

Don't do something that will harm people who are poor already and don't harm yourself by giving away unnecessary gifts to people who don't need, want, or appreciate them.

8.  Guard your good reputation.

Proverbs 22:26 -Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.

One of the best ways to lose a good reputation is by cosgining other people's debts. You may be tempted to lend your good name today. Be careful.

9. Respect agreements from the past. Have a long memory. God does. Be lawful and full of integrity. If there is some doubt about whether something is right or wrong, err on the side of caution to do the right thing.

Proverbs 22:28 - Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

10. Be dilligent. There is no substitute for faithfulness. Stick with your assignment and work hard.

Proverbs 22:29 - Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.

God has created us with a measure of equality. What sets us apart is what we do consistently and faithfully in His grace and in obedience to His truth to build a repuation that is ours alone. The deeds we do to build a good name will also help us build a life and a business. Practice these ten principles today on your road to success.

Musings - But Not Necessarily Amusing

I read Proverbs every day and often comment here on one or two related to business, wealth, or work.

These today are just some that spoke to me about how we think followed by a reflection on my own thinking and start/stop/start behaviors.

Proverbs 21:1 - (NIV) The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD;
       he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.

Somehow in some wonderfully mysterious way, God works through the thinking and heartbeat of leaders who are committed to Him to plant, sort, develop, and nurture ideas and thoughts.

Proverbs 21: 2 All a man's ways seem right to him,
       but the LORD weighs the heart.

We almost always assume our thinking is right, but God knows and He alone can judge and manipulate our motives. This is not to make us fear our thoughts, emotions, and motives, but to create a sense of them being tentative. It should prompt us to put some things out there for God's evaluation. It is in that spirit that I wrote the following for a MySpace buletin today:

Left Brain - Right Brain - Brain Strain

I found an old journal in my pile of rubble with a resolution inscribed on the front page:

"I decided the other day ... to begin a left-handed journal. I hope to access some level of me not frequently seen."

First impression: Discomfort and Frustration. I fel like a person learning basic skills after a stroke.."

"So this is my right cerebral hemisphere. Hi!!"

About three entries followed and the whole book went blank  for a while.

So much for the resolution and the right hemisphere. It was an interesting if not short-lived exercise.  I did find a poem in there though:

"Death spoke to my friend..
Hope beckoned and he responded.
Now the only silence
Is the emptiness
Where he is not."

I am not sure what friend I wrote that for or if I could not have written it with my right hand, but there you are.

The point is, that I started something and didn't finish it. Actually, I came back 4 years later and wrote some more.

I could castigate myself for that and feel depressed. Then I might as well include all of my unfinished tasks in one huge depression. As long as I was throwing my hip out of joint kicking my read end, I might as well include all of the partially completed books, loose notes, and assorted projects that I intended to get to some day.

I start a lot of things.

I finish a few.

I think I finish more this way than I would if I never started anything.

The point is that you are who you are and you are wired the way God wired you. Go with the flow that is God's flow through you. Don't try to be me or anyone else. Be the best you that you can be by God's grace.  Celebrate your uniqueness. Develop in your character and discipline.  Don't be afraid to start things. Try to finish some - hopefuly the truly important things. Let things sort themselves out along the way. Try the right brain; try the left; either way, stay in your right mind. Let your creativity flow. Dream great dreams. Attempt great deeds.

And save your false starts - you may come back and finish them later.

IVA - A Sweet and Real Lady

Integrity, Vulnerability, and Authenticity  - IVA

Are you real? You know the answer, but the clincher is how people perceive you. Do you come across as real? If not, you are paying a high price because your credibility account is overdrawn in the minds of people over whom you wish to exercise influence. People have built in radar censors for character. Three qualities will not only help you become real in the perception of others, but in reality itself.

Integrity is what you are when no one is looking. It is how your values, attitudes, and behaviors are integrated in your life. It is  an invisble inner quality that always, ultimately, manifests itself outwardly.

Vulnerability is your willingness to let other people examine your life and test the quality of your consistency. It is your willingness to risk rejection and pain because you are confident in the core values of your life.
Authenticity is the result of the first two. it is what makes you unquie and real. It is what verifies your claims and makes you a credible person that anyone would desire to deal with. Write me anytime. I would love to be an encouragement to you.

Keep up the good work and keep the dream alive!

How To Make Someone's D-A-Y Part Two - Spell It!

Yesterday I suggested that the very desire to make another person's day is an indicator of character and a predictor of success in that endeavor.

Today, I will start to spell out how to do that by examining the word, "D-A-Y." First let us look at a proverb for today, Proverbs 19:1:

"Better a poor man whose walk is blameless
       than a fool whose lips are perverse. "

To apply that to our theme, we might paraphrase it this way: "While wealth and prosperity can open doors, create opportunities, and enable us to do much good for others, it would be better to do without it if it meant that our words wounded rather than healed,  deflated people rather than inflating them, and discouraged rather than encouraged."

Words are powerful and how we use words will determine much of our success in making someone else's day.

And the god news is that if you make the day of enough people, it will eventually lead you on the path to success.

We don't have to choose between our success and that of others if we are willing to put our primary focus on helping others succeed.

Now, here is the D-A-Y

D = Decision. You make a decision about the kind of day you will have. You make it early; you make it firm. You decide that whatever comes your way, "The is the day that the Lord hath made; I will rejoice and be glad in it." It is always a decision and if you make it, it will rub off on others. While you make the decision, early in the morning, to have a great day, decide to bring others along as well. Pray for opportunities to encourage, lift, and serve people. They will come!

A = Attitude. It is aways about attitude. Attitude can make or break your day and will affect others. Positive attitudes are contagious, but so are negative attitudes. If you walk around all day with the attitude that is selfish, angry, resentful, and bitter, that will take the wind out of people's sails who are living on the edge. Not everyone has learned the power of a positive decision. They need to see a living example of positivity - YOU! If you carry your decision to have a blessed day with you throughout the day and reflect that in your attitude, those same people will see and catch some of your spirit. Smile at frowns; speak gently to harsh voices; deflect criticism; be kind when you are treated without kindness. Be the master of your moments and your emotions.  Elevated your attitude and you will elevate others.

Y = Yes, Yes living. It is a no-no world. All around us, people are looking for reasons to be critical, to disagree, to complain, to gossip, to make other people feel small. You have chosen to live the opposite way. You are looking for areas of agreement. You are searching for the YES. You are endeavoring to find things you can compliment and affirm, people you can encourage, and lives you can touch with God's love. You are actively giving out smiles. Your goal is to build and what you are building are people.

The only two things that will last forever are the Word of God and the souls of people. One builds the other.

Make a decision to have and promote a great day. Put on the attitude of positive thinking and living, the attitude of love and grace. Put it on the same way you put on a cheerful shirt in the morning. Look for yes every where and build upon each yes you find. Decision - Attitude - Yes = DAY.

Have a great one.

A Proverb for Anything

Proverbs 16:3 is a proverb for anything and it is so outlandish and broad that it is wonderfully difficult to fully embrace:

          " Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
                     and your plans will succeed."

At first, this looks like a "get out of jail free " ticket for all sorts of ridiculous pursuits. One might ask, "Well, suppose I want to rob a bank? Will God help me be successful in that?"

You might be successful and it might be because you pervert some eternal principles to your own selfish and destructive ends, but that is not what is promised here. One must balance the counsel with the whole counsel of scripture while taking  such a simple word at face value.

"Commit to the Lord." - That presupposes a full, not a partial commitment. It is the sort of commitment that changes and refines our plans. Balance and inform this with the two proverbs that come before:

"1 To man belong the plans of the heart,
       but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue."

"2 All a man's ways seem innocent to him,
       but motives are weighed by the LORD. "

This process of committing begins with the planning process. It starts with our thinking. It introduces creative transformation and profound spiritual insight into the realm of our strategic development.

This time  to start committing is when we start dreaming and scheming. Then, God can shape our dreams, goals, and plans.

We tend to be naive. We know not our own hearts. But God knows and He has a dream to plant in each of our hearts. It is not His intention for us to go through life spinning our wheels and never accomplishing anything. He wants us to succeed in the ways that He defines success.

That means "whatever."

Some key words inform us and instruct us:

Commit - To fully commit is to place something in the hands of another, but it is also to give ourselves wholeheartedly to the dream and the tasks that make the dream come true. When we commit our lives to Jesus Christ, we place them in His hands and He places a mission in ours. It is likewise true of our plans and goals. Would you characterize yourself as a committed person or are you more casual about your objectives? Commitment is a key element in any successful person's formula for accomplishment.

The Lord - By His very Name and nature He is qualified to manage all of our contingencies. He is the Center of all things. It would be a serious insult  and utter stupidity to say, "Lord, you can be Lord of my soul, but I'll take care of my business." Vance Havner said, "He is Lord of All or He isn't Lord at all." Consider what lordship means in your life and how serious you are about having a center that holds all things together.

Whatever - Whatever you do is an all-encompassing concept. Make a list of  as many tasks, concerns, goals, and objectives you have in as many dimensions of life as you can think of. Begin to bring these before God. Don't try to be systematic or compartmentalized in this exercise. Just free associate.

Do - Action builds results, not endless analysis. Strategy that does not "get done" brings no fruit. Great ideas do not produce wealth or success. Acting on great ideas does.

Plans - Some well meaning people believe that planning is nonspiritual. They are wrong. Not planning to succeed is equal to planning to fail. Plans do not guarantee instant success, but well thought out and prayed over plans, over the long haul, allowing for set-backs, risks, and failures, will bring ultimate success. The difference in nonspiritual planning and the kinds that brings success is the spiritual dimension we enter through commitment and prayer.

Succeed - We must redefine success and a process toward an ultimate, worthy dream. Earl Nightingale defined success as "the progressive realization of a worthwhile ideal." The road to success is paved with the cobblestones of failure and heaps of heartache, but if one is committed to the Lord and to the mission/dream, movement toward success is inevitable if we leave the final evaluation of our lives to God.

Money - Troubles or Treasures

The house of the righteous contains great treasure,
       but the income of the wicked brings them trouble. (Prov. 15:6, NIV)

"It's only money."

Not necessarily.

You don't need to have me point out the obvious to you. Some people have money pass through their hands with no effort or gain. Still others suffer the worse fate of having money actually complicated their lives to the point of causing them all sorts of trouble.

Others see money transformed into treasure, something it is not in and of itself.

What is the difference? Is it the quality of the cash?

Not at all; it is the centering of the person. A RIGHTeous person is someone in RIGHT relationships with his or her Maker, within Himself.herself, and with other people. Furthermore, to be RIGHTeous is to be aimed at and heading in the RIGHT direction. It is not perfection; it is relationship and direction.


R - Follow the advice of Solomon and "REMEMBER your creator in the days of your youth."  (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Righteousness is first and foremost being rightly related to God and that is the primary, core issue of life upon which all others are built. The fear of the Lord truly is the beginning of wisdom.

I - INVEST in relationships - especially your relationship with God, but also with those closest to you. Relationships require engagement and energy, time and commitment. Beginning and center and emanating outward, relationships are the key to lasting success in ministry and in business .. Sound relationships promote longevity on jobs and in business which ultimately means income security over a long period of time without the kind of trouble that income without good relationships brings. People skills are make or break issues in most people's success or failure.

G - GRAVITATE toward the right direction. Move toward solid outcomes. Let truth and integrity be the gravitational poles of your life along with love, respect, and honesty. Make friends with the scriptures and great, uplifting books and consult them for the general direction of your life. Cultivate a life of prayer and obedience to God's Spirit which will open you to specific direction in your life. RIGHTeousness is not about perfection, but direction. When we lead righteous lives, we are moving in the right direction. This is a gravitation toward progress in your personal and business life.

H - HEED course correction directions by remaining sensitive to the Spirit, open to constructive criticism, and responsive to accountability and wise counsel. Ask some key people in your life to ask as buffers against extreme divergences from the right path in your life. When they seek to helm you make directional corrections, listen, value, and evaluate their counsel against all the evidence and be appreciative. Sometimes this is just the kind of advice that will keep you from squandering your wealth or making very expensive mistakes.

T - Be THANKFUL. Gratitude keeps everything in your life in proper perspective. Be grateful to God and to people for every blessing. When you hold all the treasures in your life with an open, generous, and thankful hand, you will experience less tension and actually make fewer major blunders.


Seek to lead a RIGHTeous life. It makes the difference in every dimension of life - even in the area of wealth.

Do SOMETHING! - Today's Proverb for Work and Wealth

Proverbs 14:23 - "All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty."

In today's readings of Proverbs, one stands out to be as instructive in the matter of work and wealth.

It has to do with the value of hard work and it suggests that there is always profit in hard work.

It does not define that profit as always being a commission at the end of the day. in fact, the profit for today may be that step of character development that leads to the next level of skill that leads to eventual income.

The harvest, the sale, the royalty, or the commission may be off in the distance, but today's hard work is contributing to that pay off.

On the other hand, the fruit of mere talk is clearly defined as poverty - no money, no profit, no advance toward one's goals. Talk is good, but mere talk is fruitless. More than that, it is a thief, robbing us of precious time and draining our energy and enthusiasm.

Your assignment for today is to do something to advance toward your goals. Do something purposeful and intelligent. Don't wait for it to be the perfect something. Don't wait for a guaranteed and immediate payoff. Make an effort, the best you can with what you have and what you know right now. Be willing to make some mistakes and move forward.

There will be profit in it.

It pays well.

Some suggestions for doing SOMETHING today are:

1. S - Serve . if you can't thing of anything else to do, serve someone in some way. if you are in business, do something to serve your clients or customers. If you are in  ministry, serve the people God has called you to shepherd. Do something unexpected and unprompted.

2. O - Out-perform yesterday's effort. Take it to the next step or level. Compete only with yourself and out-perform yourself.

3. M - Mean  it. If you do something, do it with your heart. Guy Williams is a master. I sit in the back of a Starbucks - HIS Starbucks - and watch him talk to everyone  within any proximity of him. He represents an extremely credible company with a dynamic product and a powerful business opportunity and he never sells. He just talks to people. as he says, "When it goes from your head to your heart, the rest is  a slam dunk." He means it.

4. E - Expect something. Our proverb doesn't exactly tell us what to express in terms of profit, but it tells us to expect SOME SORT OF PROFIT. That is because it is a timeless law of God's universe. The universe did not create that law. God did and God enforces it. He rewards honest, purposeful effort and the positive attitude that believes His word on the matter to be true.

5 - T - Talk, but Temper Talk with Traction. Traction happens when we dig in and move our wheels across the surface. It requires some inner propulsion and intentionality, but there is no advantage to our endlessly gunning our engines to gear up for activity. Act and move.

6 - H - Hang out and Hang in. Your work will most likely involve "being there" where people are. Sometimes the first thing you need to do is put yourself in the right location. From that point, be open, available, and consistent. for much of what you want to accomplish, you will need to make friends over the long haul. Hang in there with your hanging out - but get out today and start hanging.

7 - Insist on your own activity, you are your own supervisor. No one else is going to make you do what needs to be done. accountability partners are helpful and running buddies are necessary encouragement, but there is no substitute for self-motivation. Take care of it. read what you need to read. Listen to enough of what pumps you up and then, when you still don't feel like doing something, do it any way. insist on it.

8 - N - Need what you are working for. Need it deeply. Find that place inside of you that longs for the fruit of your labors. Cultivate the need. Visualize the payoff. Keep it before you. Need it.

9 -  GO for it! At some point you have read all the points and it is time to take action. go out and do so.


Read the entire article HERE and more encouragement at The Dream Factory. Also posted on my MySpace blog and at The Entrepreneur's Table .

Taming the The Rhinoceros

"If a rhinoceros were to enter this restaurant now, there is no denying he would have great power here. But I should be the first to rise and assure him that he had no authority whatever."— G.K. Chesterton to Alexander Woollcott

The creature would certainly have a passing influence, but it would never be confused with positive leadership with the capacity to produce long-term life transformation. At best (or worst) it can alter the the circumstances of our lives through brute force.

In fact, the sheer power and imposing strength of the rhino, if it were a metaphor for those qualities in our lives, might be a detriment. Peter Drucker observed that, " No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human."

Real leadership is more about character than charisma. It  must be something that can be duplicated in other people who are willing to develop in character and pay the price of integrity and consistency.

"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a market for great leadership.

Not only do we have the opportunity to find those kinds of people in our lives, but we can be that kind of person to someone else. In fact, the cycle is not complete until we fnd ourselves on both the giving and receiving ends of mentorship. You can be more, but you can also be the person who invites and inspires someone else to be more. Never under estimate your capacity to be a positive influence.

Intimidating people, beating them up, overpowering them, out-talking, and staring them down will only produce temporary results and not positive ones at that.

How then might we lead as to inspire people to reach their next level of greatness?

  1. Love them. It may seem trite,      but it is a reality that a trust worthy leader is someone who not only      loves his/her followers, but communicates that love in service, refines it      in prayer, and oozes it in words of encouragement and sensitive silence.      Jesus declared and modeled that the good Shepherd lays down his life for      his sheep.
  2. Elevate them. Desire and      drive their rise to prominence. Take a back seat. Rejoice when they prosper.      Swell with delight when they are recognized. Brag on them and let them      take the bows.
  3. Accelerate their opportunities      to learn, grow, be exposed to other great leaders and to expose themselves      to the public. Pass on books, articles, audio teaching, and event announcements.      Take them places and introduce them. Give them assignments that will      stretch them.
  4. Mentor as a friends, a coach,      a parent, and a sibling. Mlost of all, be a posiitve, practical, and observale example. Be available. Listen, advise, and applaud. Become      their cheerleading section and be available.

That is L for Love, E for Elevate, A for Accelerate, and M for Mentor = LEAD!

"You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that's assault, not leadership." — Dwight D. Eisenhower

If you want fast results that will produce no enduring fruit, release the rhinoceros in you in some crowded place. If you want to be a leader who inspires people to greatness, however, LEAD.


Proverbs 13 for Work, Wealth and Business

Ideally, we would post these on the day  pf the month that corresponds to the number of the chapter, but that is ideal and just isn't going to happen. Here are some of the verses from chapter 13. While it is not entirely possible le to separate out those pertaining to wealth and work, these deal most specifically with those issues.

2 - A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.

The difference between two business entrepreneurs may transcend mere technique and product and go to the character issue which drives business strategy. there are bullies in business who seek to win by intimidation. Then there are those who speak well and whose words are gracious and compelling. One group has an appetite for sweet words and the other for violence. Temporal success may come to the latter, but it is bitter and tasteless, and even disastrous as evidenced in the next verse:

3 - He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

4 - The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

It is not mere desire that achieves our goals. certainly desire is a component of motivation, but motivation ends in movement and with steady, diligent movement, there will be no long term results. Lazy people simple are not achievers.

  7 - There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.

"Maketh himself'" can be translated, "presents oneself as" or "pretends to be." Sam Walton drove his truck between his stores. It was not out of pretence; it was who he was. He had no need to pretend. Some desire the status of wealth. Others want the real thing. Stop pretending and "putting on airs."

Humility is good business.

8 - The ransom of a man's life are his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.

There are good reasons and bad reasons for accumulating wealth. the less noble reasons revolve around status, self-indulgence, and lust for power. the noble reasons include the opportunity to be generous, to exert positive influence, to provide for one's family, and this: to be prepared for the dangers and contingencies of life. Some people who are poor are oblivious to threats and assume that there will always be a safety net below them. These are not necessarily those who are circumstantially poor, but those who suffer poverty of the soul and spirit - who possess no dream or motivation to be more than they are. when the time of crisis comes, they will be surprised while the rich will be prepared.

11 - Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

There are many ways to get rich and dishonesty is one of them. Those riches, however, have a short shelf life and  will whither away - especially in eternity. However, those who build their wealth honestly and conscientiously over time will continue to grow. Thus we read in the next verse that long-term goals lead to sweet fruition:

12 - Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

18 - Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.

Successful people are always learning, always seeking counsel, andare willing to accept correction. Pride leads to poverty and shame.

And again, the fruit of working for a goal is accentuated in the following verse:

19 - The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.

22 - A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

It is a good thing to build an estate. A good rule of thumb is that articulated by Warren Buffet - "enough to do something with, but not enough to do nothing." What we want to leave our grandchildren is an opportunity and an inheritance can often do that. As you build your wealth, consider the generations to come. Perhaps we should apply that as a society to our stewardship of the earth.

23 - Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.

25 - The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want.

There are two ways to squander a fortune: (1) bad judgment and (2) wickedness. we have all seen it and we must all reject these stumbling blocks. Real wealth is as much about how long as it is about how much.



Proverbs 12 for Work, Wealth, and Business

To continue with the Proverbs project that I started on the 11th, here is the next offering:

9  -Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant
       than pretend to be somebody and have no food.  (NIV)

You have to settle on what you are after in business- prestige or real, honest to goodness money. Do you want people to think you are loaded with cash, honor you, and be in awe of you while you are wondering where you are going to get your next meal or do you want to be doing well enough to have people working for you? Are you willing to sacrifice the accoutrements of self-importance and labor in obscurity for that which brings security to your family or do you insist on pretension and recognition? There are many fancy cars on the highway being driven by people who cannot afford them. They cannot be considered wealthy. They are broke at a higher level of debt.

    11 - He who tills his land will have plenty of bread,
         But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense. (NASB)

The NIV calls this pursuit, “chasing fantasies.” There is a big difference in a dream and a fantasy. The kinds of dreams that come true have goals and action plans attached to them and are possessed by people who are willing to work for and toward them. Tilling the soil of success is the key to sorting our worthless pursuits from grand possibilities.

    12 - The wicked man desires the booty of evil men,
         But the root of the righteous yields fruit. (NASB)

If your heart is not right in this area of your life, you will be attracted to unscrupulous schemes and cutthroat maneuvers. However, if you are grounded in right thinking, living, and relationship to your Center (God), you will enjoy real fruit.  The results of doing business the right way (right = righteous) is sweet tasting, juicy success from the tree of life.

14 Well-spoken words bring satisfaction;
   well-done work has its own reward. (The Message)

Engage in work that is rewarding in and of itself.

24 -  Diligent hands will rule,
       but laziness ends in slave labor.  (NIV)

You have to work if you want to get ahead. Laziness will not only fail to set you free, but it will get you deeper and deeper in the hole of debt and servitude. Plan your work and work your plan. Do what it takes and see yourself emerge as a leader.

27 The lazy man does not roast  his game,
       but the diligent man prizes his possessions. (NIV)

There is some dispute about translations here, but the bottom line is that lazy people waste whatever they acquire. Imagine ordering 1000 brochures for your business and never giving any of them away. Does that sound outlandish? Of course it does. However, we have all either done it or have known those who have. Take care of business – whatever it is.

More Proverbs on Money and Wealth

The book of Proverbs has much to say about wealth, work, prosperity, and stewardship. How we acquire wealth, how we spend it, and how we share it are all important issues along with our attitudes toward money and prosperity. This is not the prosperity gospel, but the gospel (good news) about prosperity is that if it is correctly defined in an unrestricted manner that includes spiritual intangibles , sought as something peripheral to more important values, rooted in enduring biblical principles, and built in increments by hard-working dreamers, it is possible.

That was a long sentence with quite a few qualifiers.

1  -The LORD abhors dishonest scales,
       but accurate weights are his delight.

The first thing we need to know from today's proverbs is that God cares how you get your wealth. You may accumulate riches through dishonest business practices, but if you do, do not confuse your positive bank balance with the favor of God. He detests dishonesty and cheating. When faced with a moral dilemma about how things "measure up," choose to postpone your profit and do the right thing.

One possible benefit is that you will get "caught" being scrupulously honest and fair and the resulting reputation will eventually bring customers, loyal ones, to your door.

4 - Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

Wealth can be a very good thing. It can buy us time freedom. It can afford us my comforts. Just living in wealthy


means that we enjoy the luxuries of street lights, public libraries, schools, and police protection. But we need to understand the limits of wealth.  It is absolutely powerless to afford eternal benefits and protections. If you have to choose between righteousness and wealth, choose righteousness. Stay rightly related to God and stay on the right path.

10 -  When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices;
       when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.

Righteous people have a cheering section on their quest for prosperity. Rank and file citizen love your success story if ypou are the kind of person they can admire and emmulate. Otherwise, they just shake their heads in disgust and cry out "poetic justice: when your plans are foiled.

15 He who puts up security for another will surely suffer,
       but whoever refuses to strike hands in pledge is safe.

God has something to say about smart business practices also. Co-signing is not equiilant to generosity. Generosity is encouraged; putting your name on someone else's business deal is risking your reputation and stability unnecessarily and unwisely. You also risk your friendship with the person for whom you co-sign because that issue will dominate your thoughts toward her untill the obligation is completed. It will complicate your relationship and poison your interactions. Be smart with your money. Be even smarter with your credit and good name.

16 - A kindhearted woman gains respect,
       but ruthless men gain only wealth.

"Only wealth" is how the teacher describes the benefits that come to ruthless people. is it true that ruthless business practices can result in profit? Of course, but ONLY profit. Can hard-hearted, hard-nosed negotiating that walks over the opponent bring final rewards? Yes, but ONLY financial rewards. What is lost is respect. The business person who is respected in the community for kindness and fairness will enjoy a different sort of prosperity that is likely to include financial success - and it will be long-term.

17  - A kind man benefits himself,
       but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.

Kindness comes back to the kind person in so many ways: freedom from trouble, avoidance of lawsuits, good will, peace of mind, and even fair profit. Cruel people will be in constant conflict and turmoil. Don't be short-sighted in business.

18 - The wicked man earns deceptive wages,
       but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.

So, what is so bad about deceptive wages?  For one thing , they are not sure and for another, they're not rewarding. Those qualities of wealth are reserved for the righteous. Stay in close  relationship with God and keep your moral compass pointed due north (spiritually). You can make money otherwise, but remember that it is ONLY money.

24 - One man gives freely, yet gains even more;
       another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.

Yes. It is a mystery! Yes. It is counterintuitive. How can giving produce gain? There are many "real world" illustrations that can show the connection, but the primary rule is that which exists in the invisible spiritual world that governs the ultimate affairs of humankind. God set it up that way.

25 - A generous man will prosper;
       he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Prosperity, whether it is material, relational, spiritual, or emotional, flows from a deep spring of generosity. In your business, put others first. Concentrate on delivering more than you are paid for and God will bless your business. Use your business as a means for giving to people and to Kingdom purposes, and He will give to you.

26  - People curse the man who hoards grain,
       but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell.

Selling is an honorable profession, especially as a counterpoint to hoarding. Believe it or not, some people fall so in love with their products that they refuse to display them. However, this principle goes beyond that rarity. What you offer has value and people need it. Don't keep it to yourself. Folks don't know what they don't know. Tell, them, show them, and let them buy from you. Be willing to sell.

27 He who seeks good finds goodwill,
       but evil comes to him who searches for it.

Seeking good is seeking God. Always seek God and seek His good in others. If you like people and see the imange of God in them, they will be your best friends and people like to do business with friends. Build goodwill.

28 - Whoever trusts in his riches will fall,
       but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.

Finally (for today), don't trust your riches. Trust God. Your "stuff" will not last forever. God will and whatever you give to God will take on eternal qualities. Trust God.

Scriptures quoted from the New International Version - Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society