Monday, November 14, 2011

Keeping the peace

This is my first attempt at oils in Corel Painter...  it's fun but more practice would be good : )
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

When we were driving from Seattle to New Jersey to move here, the weather turned very bad.  There were heavy snows in the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington.  Storms were brewing all the way across the USA.  I prayed the whole time.  As we headed over the Cascades we heard about avalanche warnings on the radio.  Then we learned we'd just passed under one.  We weren't harmed, got through in the nick of time.   This could only have been God's hand protecting us.  It was definitely time to stop when one of the cats hung upside down from the roof of the car with his claws.  We made it to New Jersey safely.  Along the road we saw storms all around us, but for the most part stayed in a cloud free bubble.  No worries though, the highest point in New Jersey is 220 feet as opposed to Mt. Rainier at 14,411 feet.  I believe we're safe from avalanches now.  Should I say that out loud?

Here's some more wisdom for today.

Proverbs 17

1 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.
I agree with this.  I've lived in some houses full of strife.  I always hated to go home.  I remember looking around at the house and furniture, thinking, "This is a nice house, but why is it so miserable?"  Strife means angry, conflict, or discord.  It wears on people if it goes on constantly.  God's ways are so healthy.  So glad he gave us an Owner's Manual (Bible).

3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the Lord tests the heart.
Sometimes peace in our hearts is a miracle.  Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego had a bad day when they were told to worship an image of gold.  I love this story.  They refused and were forced into a fiery furnace.  There's a time to keep the peace, and a time to stand up for what is true.
19 He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” 25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” 26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” Daniel 3:19-26 NIV

Jesus came to rescue them : )  He shows His glory when He brings us through trials.  He tests our hearts- and makes our faith stronger.  He's with us when we need Him most.   Sharing our testimonies with others helps them too.

5 Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker;
whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.
I guess I just don't think about the Creator when I meet people.  When I see people, I see feelings first and then know how to proceed.  This is saying that anyone who mocks a poor person (financial or in spirit),  by making fun of them, or acting rude to them is actually showing contempt for God.  He created all of us.  When everyone is laughing that is good- including the one who was oppressed.

9 Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,
but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
I like this verse.  Covering over an offense means to forget it, don't talk about it, keep it a secret.

17 A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
This one is so true.  If I love a friend, nothing can take it away.  Even my husband, and we've had some pretty adverse times for sure.  I believe being a friend with our spouse is one of the most important things.

18 One who has no sense shakes hands in pledge
and puts up security for a neighbor.
Money can tear people apart.  It makes us competitive, selfish, even hurtful to others.  This verse describes making a pledge to pay someone elses debt if they can't.  Usually a person would do this for a friend who is doing well financially.  But, what happens if they aren't?  A friendship and trust is broken.  What I've learned is to never loan more to someone more than I can do without.  Don't expect it to come back.  If they repay me that's great.  But, if they don't, I gave them a gift in the first place.  No worries.  It's about being wise with money and keeping relationships safe. 

27 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint,
and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.
A warning to watch what I say.  Sometimes it means letting my husband make a mistake because he needs to understand.

28 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,
and discerning if they hold their tongues.
This is a beauty.  It's one of my favorite verses.  There's a time to be silent and not a fool, a time to listen.  Even when I'm a fool : )


  1. This blog is loaded with things to ponder and great scriptures. I loved the cat situation as you traveled East from the West. I can just picture that although in all our travels with between two and four cats at a time we never had one hang from the ceiling. :D Sometimes when things got scary one would jump in my lap though.

    Proverbs 17 is full of wisdom and practicality. One of my pastors made a practice of quoting a Proverb before each of his Sunday sermons using the same number as the date. So on the 17 of November he would quote something from Proverbs 17. It always rang a bell for me and still does because every so often I look up one on the corresponding number of the date.

    I especially appreciate the wisdom in Proverbs quote above: "Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,
    and discerning if they hold their tongues." My husband is a quiet man of few words. What most people don't realize is that this is partially due to a stammer he is still losing from his childhood. But this also enabled him to learn to listen from an early age. So he is very easy for most to talk to because this silence gives a glow of peace and warm acceptance to them. Not that he doesn't care or wish to have more dialogue; he is just better at listening than sharing. I am a chatter box who also cares. He is learning to share more and I am learning to listen better! We make a good pair! Yes, there is a time for all things and that means even in limiting prayers that go on and on using words endlessly. Surely God hears before we even speak because he knows our innermost thoughts. He wants us to be still and know He is God. He wants us to take the time to listen to Him. He also wants us in trust to know that He is the one in charge. Thanks for this thoughtful blog, Karen. Speaks volumes and made me reflect this morning. J.

  2. Thanks for your comments J. I really like the idea of looking up a Proverb for each day of the month. And, would love to hear my Pastor say one with each sermon. This wisdom is so real when I read it and makes so much sense, but hard to remember in real life. Your husband sounds like a wonderful man. My husband is quiet too. He has a hearing problem so he's more inclined to just listen too. He's a wonderful Occupational Therapist- his patients love him (as do I).

  3. "28 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,and discerning if they hold their tongues." Karen, this is my fave! Great advise. :)

  4. It is a great verse. Sometimes the Bible is so simple it just takes you by surprise. I should probably put that in my calendar : )