A passion for pie

Some people dig a fork into the pie but are too lazy to raise it to their mouth. MSG Proverbs 19:24

The sluggard buries his hand in the dish and will not even bring it back to his mouth. ESV

I have read and discarded this verse many times.

I can assure you that if there is pie to be had I AM IN! Lets talk about pie.

1621614705_9d532f2d58I love steak and Guinness pie with chunks of torn beef, chicken and ham pie with creamy sauce, mince pie like your granny used to make, shepherds pie and cottage pie with mashed potato perfectly crisped on top, (who knows the difference?). Oh please don’t forget Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, a delight which fueled my achieving the Four Peaks a few years ago. Pukka Pies with the obligatory mushy peas are another midlands specialty. Scotch pies with their delicious over-sized crust are heavenly and one of many reasons to go visit Scotland this year. To this day pies remain the BEST reason to go to a football match in England. Please somebody invent the Bacon Pie.

….. and now for dessert!

2606707419_53cc00f380Our American cousins get confused when we talk about pies with meat in them… its all about sweetness. Seriously if ever there was a reason for traversing the continental US. You could start with key lime pie in Florida swing by for an Apple Pie in the Big Apple, sidestep and tuck into a Shoofly pie in the burgh, pecan pie from every place imaginable, before getting hot and sweaty with a Mississippi Mud Pie. You’ll find peach pie, mixed berry pie, blueberry pie, plum pie, peanut butter pie, banoffee pie, hot cherry pie, rhubarb pie, a personal favorite apple and raspberry pie and of course pumpkin pie. After that road trip we will be entitled to sing “Who ate all the pies?”

It is unimaginable to me that someone might be sat down, presented with any of these sublime pies, dig their fork in the pie and then fail to taste and enjoy. Right now at the very thought my lips are watering.

If you have read the first post in the Proverb to Prayer series you will remember the challenge to face up to these proverbs to let them speak truth to our lives and to allow them to spark a conversation with God about how he plans on transforming our lives.

Look around you what do you see?

As I write I sit in our kitchen where a few months back I redecorated walls floor and ceiling. I moved a radiator to allow a new sofa and installed a new dishwasher. Yet despite my short lived focus we still have no kickboards under the cupboards and a bare window at one end of the room. Those who know me know I am one of the many men who fail to finish DIY projects.

Rewind a year, what has God said?

Proverbs seriesHow has God spoken through His word or other ways in the last months? What ‘pies’ has God set before you? Have you received and consumed. Have you acted, prayed about and shared this sustenance or did you say that looks nice and leave the word of God intact, untouched?

In what ways has Gods sustenance provided you with faith to act?

Steak & Guinness pie Image: Some rights reserved by yashima

Blueberry pie Image: Some rights reserved by thebittenword.com

Featured Image: Some rights reserved by garryknight

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Satisfied? Proverbs 13:25

An appetite for good brings much satisfaction, but the belly of the wicked always wants more. Proverbs 13:25 MSG

I have thought about appetites and desires quite a bit since reading a little about St Ignatius of Loyola and his practice of guiding people to discern between desires that lead towards God and those that lead away.  He taught that those desires that lead towards God are in fact graces (gifts from God) and those that lead away, temptations.  However this proverb forces us to address the issue of satisfaction and it’s source.

pr13-25

What is satisfaction? A simple definition is ‘The fulfillment or gratification of a desire, need, or appetite; fulfillment of a need or want’* Yet this proverb suggests that true satisfaction is a result not of the fulfillment of a desire but is connected in some way to the object of that desire.

How satisfied are you?  Are you content or do you find yourself always frustrated, wanting more or wanting things to change.  I wrote these few lines while listening to the famous hymn “It is well with my soul”

“When my life is in the flow of an unstoppable river of peace, then I am satisifed.

When storms destroy all that I have, then I am satisfied

Whatever I have or have not, I am satisfied

When all my flaws, failings, deceptions and betrayals are destroyed then I am satisfied”

Proverbs series

It turns out that our satisfaction is not dependent on getting the object of our desires but in the nature of the object of our desires.

But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

Featured Image: Some rights reserved by jessiejacobson

12 Social Media (G+) Proverbs

These dozen proverbs are written as advice on how to live well in the digital world of Google + and other social media networks.  They are inspired by The Book of Proverbs chapter 18.   Enjoy!

  1. Any friend/follower/circle dude who is interested only in themselves is basically a ball of spit

Loners who care only for themselves spit on the common good. 18:1

  1. If you can’t listen, think and respond, you are basically just slobbering on your keyboard (tablet/phone)

Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse; all they do is run off at the mouth. 18:2

  1. There are bucket-loads of crap posts but a few finely crafted gems

Many words rush along like rivers in flood, but deep wisdom flows up from artesian springs. 18:4

  1. A dumbass post starts pointess fights, HIT MUTE

The words of a fool start fights; do him a favor and gag him. 18:6

  1. In all seriousness, what you post changes who you are

Fools are undone by their big mouths; their souls are crushed by their words. 18:7

  1. Don’t learn to hit the mute button?  You will end up with a bellyache

Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly? 18:8

  1. Social media is a co-operative canvas, bad habits and lazy posts are ugly graffiti on top of inspired sketches

Slack habits and sloppy work are as bad as vandalism. 18:9

  1. You look stupid and rude when you comment without reading the post

 Answering before listening is both stupid and rude. 18:13

  1. Read carefully, if you are wise, the daily insight will stick

Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights. 18:15

  1. Be generous with your comments, people will notice

A gift gets attention; it buys the attention of eminent people. 18:16

  1. Kind, friendly comments are as good as fresh fruit on a hot day

Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest. 18:20

  1. When it comes down to it, life is really about people, wives and husbands, friends and family, boyfriends and girlfriends, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mums and dads, and all those other people you should be loving right now, including those on the other end of the internet connection.

Find a good spouse, you find a good life— and even more: the favor of God!…… Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. 18:22&24

The Centre

Proverbs chapter 18 is practical wisdom for living life well.  It covers many subjects, marriage, friendship, work and much more.

Tucked away in the middle of this collection of pragmatic guidelines is a real odd ball. It’s simply out of place.  Or is it perfectly placed?  Here is 18:10

God’s name is a place of protection— good people can run there and be safe.

At the centre of life is the name and nature of God; All powerful, all knowing God who is home

Featured Image:  Some rights reserved by andrewrennie

How do you read the Book of Proverbs?

So I’ve been reading the book of Proverbs for the last while and have noticed a tendency to read them in a certain way.

How do you read Proverbs

Lets read a few proverbs from chapter 12 to illustrate what I have observed about myself.  Take a few moments, read each one carefully.

6- The words of the wicked kill; the speech of the upright saves.

8- A person who talks sense is honored; airheads are held in contempt.

13- The gossip of bad people gets them in trouble; the conversation of good people keeps them out of it.

15- Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice.

16- Fools have short fuses and explode all too quickly; the prudent quietly shrug off insults.

23- Prudent people don’t flaunt their knowledge; talkative fools broadcast their silliness.

24- The diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work.

Many of the proverbs in the Book of Proverbs identify 2 people; the wise man and the fool, the bad person and the good, the wicked and the upright.

Getting it wrong

Let’s get straight to the point – When I read the Book of Proverbs I invariably end up being the good guy!  Join me in a brief review.  In verse 6 above did you cast yourself in the role of the upright whose words save?  Go on have a look.  How about verse 8?  I cast myself as the bloke who talks sense, not the contemptuous airhead!  You?

If you are anything like me you cast yourself as the good guy every time.  Think about it, re-read them.

When I began to realise this I saw how utterly useless my reading of the Book of Proverbs actually is.  Unless I happen to read a relevant proverb while I am in the throws of asking myself whether I should listen to a particular person, my reading of this book is largely pointless.

Given this realization I am left with only 2 choices.  Either I am altogether awesome or I am reading the book of Proverbs completely wrongly.  Without any risk of false humility it’s fair to say that I need to rethink how I am reading this book.

How do we get it right?

So if this book is not about making me feel self righteous or convincing me that these ‘others’ are the people who should really be reading the book then how should I be reading the book?  How do others approach the book.

Warren W Wiersbe said this about the Book of Proverbs…

…we must not think that this wisdom is a set of rules or a collection of success formulas that anyone can occasionally apply as he or she pleases.  Following God’s wisdom is a full-time endeavor.

I think I agree with him.  Eugene Peterson in his study on Proverbs, commented;

“On earth as it is in heaven” is Jesus’ prayer.  “Wisdom” is the biblical term for this on-earth-as-it-is-in-heaven everyday living.

I have 3 personal responses to these comments:

  1. The Book of Proverbs exists to help us follow God and not just His wisdom.

We must be careful not to substitute wise living for living close to God.  It is possible to follow the Godly wisdom of the Proverbs, at least in part, while not seeking to follow God.  The truth is this wisdom will enhance your life, but God desires that we love Him with all of our heart, soul and mind.  Living well is not a replacement for loving God, it is a product of loving God.

We will know we are reading the Book of Proverbs correctly when the result is a heart turned towards God.

  1. The whole Book of Proverbs is about me!

The whole book is about me and it’s about you.  The truth is I fit both sides of the coin.  Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice.  I do both!  This proverb is not to help you identify whether you are foolish or wise, it is like the tip of an arrow piercing us carried by the full weight of the whole Word of God.

In response I need to participate in the work God desires to do in me.  In response I need to stop using Proverbs as a comparison between myself and others.

  1. The Book of Proverbs is a guide to living a Kingdom of God life on earth

Yes, it is a book about life here on earth, it’s about relationships and work, money and honesty, prudence and good talk.  The Book of Proverbs is clearly more about earth than heaven, but I must never separate my daily life from my spiritual life.  The two are one. What I do everyday is as much my walk with God as how I worship or pray.

My response to this ‘practical’ wisdom ought to be prayerful.  Jesus prayed, “Your Kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven”, I too ought to read these Proverbs and prayerfully seek Gods help in living on Earth as in Heaven.

 

 

Proverbs series

So here’s the deal.  I’m gonna keep reading the Book of Proverbs, but I’m gonna be careful not to use them to compare myself to others. I’m gonna prayerfully ask God to help change my daily actions to reflect His Kingdom.

I would like to invite you to join me.  As I continue to read the Book of Proverbs I am going to write some prayers and share them on this blog, you are very welcome to write some prayers from Proverbs and share them in the comments below or email me at jonny@tentmaker.co.uk if you prefer.

Featured Image: Some rights reserved by yoshi87

Hands up anyone?

Check out Proverbs 18:13

  • If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.
  • It’s stupid and embarrassing to give an answer before you listen.
  • Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish
  • Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.

Hands Up Anyone?I read this Proverb a couple of weeks back and shared it with Harrison (6) over breakfast.  Harrison’s response?  “There are people like that in my class.  They have their hands up before the teacher even asks the question!”  (spoken with more than a hint of ‘how foolish is that’)

I have to hold my hands up and say “Yep that’s me” , I speak before listening.  It is my foolishness and shame to have answers for people long before I listen to them.  Harrison’s words made me think though.  There are sometimes when we really should have our hands up, but they remain at our side.

  • In confession – ‘Yep that was me’
  • In worship – You alone are worthy O Lord
  • In response – Here I am, send me
  • In celebration – Think of when your team scored that last-minute goal

106054-barcelonas-supporters-celebrate-a-goal-by-their-team-in-central-barcel1

Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel!  Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem!  The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.                                        Zephaniah 3: 14-17

Worth Celebrating?