You may not believe in God. You may not know Jesus. And you may be smirking or smiling right now.
But whether you believe the Bible or not, if you read it, it will surely evoke some sort of emotion within you. And that reaction just depends on what condition you are in at that precise moment.
Full of Hope or Hopeless
When I was a lot younger, my friends and I started a business venture which I fondly describe (only to myself) as “selling hope”. I do not want to go into details, but it has absolutely nothing to do with God, with Jesus or the Bible. I just felt like we were marketing and selling a “commodity” which may or may not give you 100% of what you are hoping for but it will for sure (100%) give you hope. Okay, we weren’t selling lottery tickets or anything like that, but that idea indeed crossed our minds multiple times, we just felt it wasn’t for us.
Life Goes On
But that’s the way it is, we go through life either being hopeful or hopeless, either having faith or disbelief, wanting to live another day or just quit, striving for a dream that has became unreachable or to still go all out for it. Or life can just be a matter of waking up and living one day at a time and as simple as being happy or not for another day.
Why Read The Bible
When I was young, I read the bible just because. I mean, just because it was there, just because somebody told me to, just because I was fascinated by the amazing stories (and pictures of those bibles for kids) and just because I wanted to find out what is it that is in there that seem to make some people go absolutely crazy about it.
And you know what? I read many of the books of the Bible, I mean I didn’t even realized that the entire Bible is just not one book but it was a book composed of at least 66 smaller books. It was long, much of it hard to understand with words that are impossible to pronounce. And at times, it just seems so unreal and so over my head.
And I didn’t realize that it was probably meant to be or that it was supposed to be like that. At least for me, it was. I read it anyway but I didn’t get anything out of it. But then one day our business ventures came tumbling down one by one, we were running out of money and the bills kept on piling up. But before all that happened, somebody invited me to come to their church and I went and just like that, I had a real hunger to read the Bible and finally when I did, I was able to understand many of the things that I failed to see the first time I read it.
And all these years, over ten years later, I am still reading it and most days it still blows my mind away with something new that I didn’t get to see the last time I read it. And honestly, if I had not done so, I probably wouldn’t be able to imagine where I could be right now. For inspite of the tradegies, the missteps, the miscues, the mistakes, the miscellaneous, I am still alive and full of hope and wanting to share these to others who might be going through the same things I did and are still struggling with it today.
Bible Verses That Inspire Us
For those who constantly feel guilty about their current condition, those who blame themselves for the bad situation they find themselves in right now and for those who feel they are not worthy to be righteous in the eyes of their God–this verse has always kept me above all these: (all bible verses are taken from the New International Version, unless otherwise indicated)
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
Now in the Message Version, it will be easier to understand why:
No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.
Yes, we all go through it, we all make mistakes, we all can get past it and even if we fall down, we still can stand up and dust ourselves off and go on. Nothing we have done, even how bad it was is unique to us, we are like everybody else. We are human.
Dealing With Death
I have seen many deaths in our family and those of close friends, and each one was a tough time. In the end, you see other people more distraught than you are and you wonder what you can do to help them instead of focusing on your own grief or current condition.
Psalm 23 is arguably the most famous song of King David and pretty much a chart-topper at any memorial service.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
When my mother passed away, I wanted to share a bible verse and of course the first thing that came to my mind was this, the twenty-third psalm: “the Lord is my Shepherd”, “thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me”, “and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” soothing, comforting, calming, consoling, apropos.
Although even if my whole being wanted me to share that well loved verse, instead I opted out to share among close family and friends portions of Ecclesiastes 3, written not by King David but by his son, King Solomon.
A Time for Everything
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Yes, time, the single commodity that we all have the same quantity of each and every day, twenty-four hours or 1,440 minutes or eighty-six thousand 400 seconds. And that’s a whole lot.
But how we spend that time is up to us. Indeed there is a time for everything, we just have to personally decide which one we will carry out at which particular time.
Although a few times we are so out of ourselves, we cannot decide which one to do. We shut down, we lash out, we completely blow up, we give up, or we lift our head up and we go head on.
But it is not always that black and white.
And that is why we have the Bible, specifically the Book of Proverbs which we can turn to and read up on, day in and day out. And doing so sure has its advantages. And yes, even if you don’t believe in God or the Bible, you’ll surely get some nuggets of wisdom that you can use at your time of need. And yes, maybe, just maybe we can finally find some answers to some of our most nagging questions.
And these tidbits are not unlike other advise which you would probably read up on anyway at any Wisdom 101 Book out there, bestseller or not, famous author or not, long dead or still alive, ancient or contemporary. Who knows, you’ll probably end up telling yourself, “Oh, so that’s where that bit of advice came from.” Oh, yes, for lots of contemporary and traditional wisdom tidbits we now have can be traced back to the Bible and a lot of them to the Book of Proverbs.
Proverbs – A Word Of Advise For Almost Anything
For those of us who rejected schooling or being told what to do at an early age, and who now find ourselves suddenly twenty-thirty-forty-fifty somethings, who are wondering what happened, here’s some good reading:
Proverbs 5: 11-13
At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent.
You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction!
I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors.
And of course as they say, remorse is always at the end, not at the beginning of your life. And if that is the case, all we can tell ourselves is “If I only knew then what I know now.”
And for some of us who might be sitting down there and have seen our youthful strength and vigor pass us by without anything much to show for it:
Proverbs 6: 9-13
How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-
and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.
In life you will forever be confronted with somebody mean, somebody angry, somebody who hates everything and when that happens, here is my favorite dispute ender:
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
It always come in handy when confronting an angry customer, client, boss, office mate or just about anybody.
Now, here’s a word or two for the wise and the not so wise.
Proverbs 17: 27-28
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.
Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
Yes, as they say, less talk, less mistakes.
Now for those who are wondering if they have real through thick-and-thin friends, let us hope you do not have to wait to find out later on, when the fun and the money runs out.
Wealth brings many friends, but a poor man’s friend deserts him.
Some say casual drinking is fine and others even swear it is good for you, but for those who think they can control their alcohol even once it has taken a real good tight hold on them, it is good to be forewarned.
Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
Now for those who marry someone they only met in the last 24 hours or those who believe that they can
“change” their spouse’s behavior once they get married, here are some words of advice. Note: you can interchange the words husband or domestic partner in place of the word wife.
Proverbs 21:9 and 21:19
Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.
Now we can go on and on as noted by the bible writer John, who said that if he wrote down everything it will fill up all the books in the world and in this day and age, we can fill up the web as well, but if you wish to learn more of the same, the entire Book of Proverbs, especially Proverbs 10 all the way to Proverbs 22, aptly subtitled “Proverbs of Solomon” contains hundreds of one-line wisdom morsels which you may have not read yet, but in time you’d probably hope you would have.
And you can do so right now, you can even make it a habit to read at least one proverb a day.
Proverbs 23 up to Proverbs 31, are more of the same, including more Proverbs and Sayings of King Solomon, as well as Proverbs and Sayings of King Lemuel and Agur an Oracle.
In this day and age, it is not hard to do and it is free too. You can download free apps for that in your smartphone, you can find them free online or you can ask for a free bible or borrow one at many places, such as your local churches and libraries.
So in essence, help can be there for you 24/7, wherever you are in this world. Remember God helps those who help themselves (okay contrary to popular belief that advice did not come from the bible).
Lets us end with this proverb which is taken right off Proverbs 8 Verses 32-36
“Now then, my sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways.
Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it.
Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.
For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD.
But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death.”