Poetry Saturday—Not Understood

Not understood. We move along asunder; 
Our paths grow wider as the seasons creep
Along the years; we marvel and we wonder
Why life is life? and then we fall asleep, 
Not understood. 

Not understood, we gather false impressions 
And hug them closer as the years go by; 
Till virtues often seem to us transgressions; 
And thus men rise and fall, and live and die 
Not understood. 

Not understood! Poor souls with stunted vision 
Oft measure giants with their narrow gauge; 
The poisoned shafts of falsehood and derision 
Are oft impelled ‘gainst those who mould the age, 
Not understood. 

Not understood! The secret springs of action 
Which lie beneath the surface and the show, 
Are disregarded; with self-satisfaction 
We judge our neighbours, and they often go 
Not understood. 

Not understood! How trifles often change us! 
The thoughtless sentence and the fancied slight 
Destroy long years of friendship, and estrange us, 
And on our souls there falls a freezing blight; 
Not understood. 

Not understood. How many breasts are aching
For lack of sympathy! Ah! day by day, 
How many cheerless, lonely hearts are breaking! 
How many noble spirits pass away
Not understood. 

Oh, God! that men would see a little clearer, 
Or judge less harshly where they cannot see; 
O God! that men would draw a littler nearer
To one another, they’d be nearer Thee, 
And understood. —Thomas Bracken

Book Reviews From 2018

Saturday In The Proverbs—What A Waste! (Proverbs 29)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy (Proverbs 29:1).

God gives us SO MANY opportunities to experience His blessings, but when we continually flout His laws, we squander what we could have enjoyed. 

We waste things like…

  • …personal growth (vv. 1, 19)
  • …nurturing relationships (vv. 2, 5, 8-11, 24, 27)
  • …wealth (v. 3)
  • …leadership opportunities (vv. 4, 12, 14, 18, 26)
  • …escape from heartache (vv. 6, 15, 17, 20, 21)
  • …relieving others’ suffering (v. 7)
  • …revelation / insight (vv. 13, 19)
  • …growing in righteousness (v. 16)
  • …lasting peace (vv. 22, 23, 25)

Don’t waste what God wants to give you! 

True Love Liberates

“Love is not our only emotional need. Psychologists have observed that among our basic needs are the need for security, self-worth, and significance. … 

“My sense of self-worth is fed by the fact that my spouse loves me. … We reason, If someone loves me, I must have significance. …

“I am significant. Life has meaning. There is a higher purpose. I want to believe it, but I may not feel significant until someone expresses love to me. When my spouse lovingly invests time, energy, and effort in me, I believe that I am significant. Without love, I may spend a lifetime in search of significance, self-worth, and security.

“When I experience love, it influences all of those needs positively. I am now freed to develop my potential. I am more secure in my self-worth and can now turn my efforts outward instead of being obsessed with my own needs. True love always liberates. …

“Love is not the answer to everything, but it creates a climate of security in which we can seek answers to those things that bother us.” —Dr. Gary Chapman

Alien Friendships

As Peter wraps up his letter, he reminds us of his purpose in writing to us aliens and strangers

    • encouraging you = speaking encouraging words to your heart.  
    • testifying that this is the truth = speaking thoughtful words to your head. 

But Peter also says that he wrote this letter “with the help of Silas”—some translations even say “by Silas”—indicating that Peter needed someone to come alongside him with words of encouragement and strength, as much as he needed to deliver those words to fellow Christians. 

Peter mentions three people that were alongside him. These folks are instructive for us too:

  1. Silas 

Peter called Silas a faithful brother. The Greek word he uses for brother is adelphos, a word which usually meant someone who shared the same parents. But Peter modifies this to mean a Christian brother whose heartbeat with the love of Jesus the way his did; someone who shared the same Heavenly Father.  

Silas was a recognized church leader and a companion of Paul (Act 15:22, 30-32, 40). He had quite an extensive and impressive resume, and he also had the full endorsement for such notable people as James, Paul, and Peter. 

  1. She who is in Babylon

Babylon is a code word almost universally agreed to be Rome, but there is some debate as to whom the “she” is. Some think this is the church-in-exile in Rome, and some think this is Peter’s wife (Matthew 8:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5). 

Whether the church or Peter’s wife, they/she are anonymous servants of God, but never for a moment forgotten by God, nor is their reward going to be lacking (Matthew 6:1, 4). 

  1. Mark

Peter calls Mark my son. Again, he takes a word that originally meant “my offspring” and changes it to mean Mark was his protegé. 

Mark had traveled with Paul, then left Paul mid-journey, and was eventually reconciled to Paul (Acts 13:5, 13; 15:36-41; Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11). 

Mark listened to and recorded Peter’s accounts of Christ’s earthly ministry and wrote the first Gospel that was produced. His Gospel became one of the main reference documents that Matthew and Luke referred to in writing their Gospels. 

Here’s the point—There are no dispensable people in the Church! 

You may be like Silas with many talents and an impressive resume and references. Or you may be like the “she” who is an anonymous helper to others. Or you may even by like Mark who made mistakes but was given a second chance to make good on your commitment. 

You need a Silas, a she, and a Mark in your life. And you just may need to be one of those to someone else. 

“You can deceive yourself with beautiful thoughts about loving God. You must prove your love to God by your love to your brother; that is the one standard by which God will judge your love to Him. If the love of God is in your heart you will love your brother.” —Andrew Murray 

So let me ask you to consider something vital: Are you remaining faithful to your Christian family? 

Saturday In The Proverbs—Relationship Builders And Killers (Proverbs 27)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

Do not boast… (Proverbs 27:1).

This proverbs has some noteworthy relationship builders and relationship killers. 

Relationship Builders

  • Humility (v. 2) 
  • Confronting in love (vv. 5a, 6a)
  • Contentment (v. 7)
  • Minding your own business (v. 8)
  • Giving good advice (v. 9)
  • Investing in family friendships (v. 10)
  • Exercising wisdom (v. 11)
  • Using foresight (v. 12a)
  • Investing in yourself so that you can invest in others (v. 17)
  • Serving others (v. 18)
  • Honest self-assessment (v. 19)
  • Good work ethic (vv. 23-27) 

Relationship Killers

  • Boasting (vv. 1, 2)
  • Provoking a foolish argument (v. 3)
  • Jealousy (v. 4)
  • Unexpressed love (v. 5b)
  • Insincere flattery (vv. 6b, 14)
  • Ignoring the signs of impending trouble (v. 12b)
  • Cosigning a loan (v. 13)
  • Arguing (vv. 15, 16)
  • Envy (v. 20)
  • Not handling praise humbly (v. 21) 
  • Not listening to correction (v. 22)

To keep our relationships strong and vibrant, let’s kill the killers and build the builders! 

Don’t Live Beneath Your Capacity

“The most common cause of living beneath our capacity is that we have chosen to walk alone rather than to walk together. You will never sustain greatness or fulfill your God-given calling if you see people as an obstacle to your destiny rather than as essential to fulfilling God’s purpose in your life. … 

“The truth is, there are relationships that will keep you from the life God created you to live. There are people whom you need to extricate from your life because they pull you back to the person you were rather than forward to the person you must become. Yet this must never blind us to the deeper truth. We were not created to do life alone, and if we want people to be for us, then there need to be people whom we are for. …  

“People don’t slow you down; the wrong people slow you down. When you choose the right people, when you find your people, your life begins to come together in a way that it never could when you walk alone. … 

“When you surround yourself with great people, it elevates who you are. If you want to have great character, surround yourself with people of great character. If you want to take great risks, surround yourself with a tribe of risk takers. If you want to live a life of adventure, then choose a tribe that makes life an adventure. You will become who you walk with. So imagine the implications if you decide to walk with Jesus.” —Erwin McManus, in The Last Arrow

You can check out my review of The Last Arrow by clicking here. You can also check out some other quotes I’ve shared from this book here.

%d bloggers like this: