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June 2008

How to Stay Out Of the 'Fools' Club

Dwight L. Moody, the great American Evangelist, sometimes received letters that were critical of his sermons, and usually without a signature.  One night as he stepped up to the pulpit, a deacon handed him a note.  Moody looked at it and smiled.  Looking up he announced to the audience;  "Over the years I have received a number of critical notes from people who usually don't sign their names, but this one is different."    As he held up the note for the people to see, they were surprised to just read the word 'FOOL'.  Moody continued,   "This person wrote their name but forgot to write the message!" Do you know the book in the Bible that mentions the word 'fool' the most?  The book of Proverbs.

The words fool, foolish & foolishness are found 80 times!   A young person commented to me recently that she found the book of Proverbs very unusual to say the least, as it hasn't any real story line,  just a lot of instructions.  What did it all mean?  Firstly, it was written by King Solomon who, although he made many mistakes in his life, (at least 999) had the wisdom to learn from them.   Secondly, Solomon knew that a short pithy proverb was more likely to stay in our memory rather then a lengthy statement.  We sometimes do it today, for e.g.: 'With friends like that who needs enemies.', 'The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,'   and so on...The book of Proverbs tries to teach us to learn from the mistakes of others.

Someone has called the book 'A Manual for Living' and in Chp. 1 it says, "Here are sayings that will help you recognize wisdom and good advice... They can teach you how to live intelligently, and how to be honest, just and fair."   Knowledge is used 50 times, and wisdom is used 110 times. We usually define knowledge as the ability to acquire facts (in today's information age we need to make sure the facts are correct) while wisdom is the ability to rightly apply these facts. Let me pick out just a few gems:  Firstly, Proverbs 1:7 says;  "To have knowledge, you must first have reverence (respect) for the LORD. Stupid people have no respect for wisdom and refuse to learn." -- The Good News Bible.

Knowing God is the basis and source of all true wisdom.  Young people and new Christians, if you learn this early, your life's journey will be made much easier.   Proverbs 15:31 "Listen to good advice if you want to live well." The Message (Bible) Chp.  14:23 "Hard work always pays off; mere talk puts no bread on the table." - The Message (Bible)   Chp. 18:9 "Slack habits and sloppy work are as bad as vandalism."  The Message (Bible)  Chp. 12:25 "Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks us up." The Message (Bible) Chp. 8:32 "Young men and women listen to me.  Do as I say and you will be happy." - The Good News Bible. As we follow the wisdom of Proverbs, we will lead a joyful, meaningful & very fruitful life!

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