Fools and Boasting!

Fools and Boasting!

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; and outsider, and not your own lips. Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both. Proverbs 27:1-3 NIV

Whenever we have to promote ourselves as being, “the greatest, the best, the most wonderful,” of anything–we indicate we do not trust the judgment of others.

If we take an honest look at the path trump has taken to the White House, we find (with careful scrutiny) he has been his own public relations promoter. The fact he lies about it is another issue, but he is the one who “called the press” and boasted of his exploits. He is the one who proclaims his net worth (which varies according to his feelings). He is the one who claims he is the only who can “fix the ills of the world.” More recently, his claim to coining the phrase, “priming the pump” is so ludicrous that many–including me–laughed at his lack of understanding of history. He also claims that “using solar panels to build a wall” is his idea when he actually got it from two contractors who were bidding for the contract. His claims also include having influence over Carrier and Ford and other companies when in fact, decisions made by those companies occurred long before trump was elected, but it didn’t stop him from trying to take credit for those company’s decisions.

Let’s face it–whenever people boast of their own prowess and knowledge–it’s because it would be difficult for others to do it–without evidence to document what they say.

Since it would be “gossiping” to some extent to talk about other people, I have to use myself as an example. I have seldom commented on how others perceive my ability to teach because I don’t know what they’re thinking unless they tell me. I love to teach and I have one goal when I teach–to make sure those sitting in front of me know more than when they first attended class. I tell each class–I’m there to help them to succeed since they need no help to fail.

According to my students–at least those who passed my classes–my goal was met. Those who didn’t pass the class either were slothful in attendance and did not complete required work.

Whenever I’ve been observed by colleagues or those in academic positions to observe me as part of an evaluative process, I’ve always been commended on my approach to teaching and engaging students in the process. Those written comments are documented as part of my employee file.

The student evaluations also document my ability to engage students in the process of learning as well as my own audit of every class. I always ask my students for their input on how things are progressing, what they need to know that has not been introduced, or if I need to try a different approach to information discussed. Their responses to my inquiries are always helpful and in a few instances, I’ve adjusted what I do based on their comments.

As another testament to my teaching ability, I was nominated by students to be included in the “Who’s Who of Teaching” for several years in a row.

If I had to assess my own abilities as a teacher I’d have to say, “I’m not the person to ask.” I love teaching and I love what I teach both in a secular settings and in ministry. I’ve been told I’ve very passionate when I present information and guide discussions and that would be true. If I didn’t have strong beliefs in what I do, I couldn’t do it well.

That being said, I have nothing to boast about when it comes to being president of the United States. I haven’t been in politics before now, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and opportunity to serve Everyday Americans. I know enough about leadership not to provoke those who are in alliance with me and to not abandon those who are looking for a leader to lead for all–not just some of the people, and to seek those who know more than I do to place in positions of authority.



Tooting Your Own Horn!

Tooting Your Own Horn!

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips. Proverbs 27:1,2 NIV

I can remember as a kid hearing the “older folks” say, “When you have to toot your own horn, you’re just making noise.” They would go on to explain that when a person has really done something worthwhile, praise coming from other people about the accomplishment means so much more than when a person exalts themselves.

That makes sense to me. Hearing someone else tell you how great you are at doing anything does two things for the average person. It bolsters confidence and instills humility at the same time.

I’m usually amazed at some of the things people say to me; especially since I don’t see me the way others see me. I’m competitive–by nature–and I’m usually competing with myself–always trying to find a way to do something better. As a kid, while other kids were outside playing, I was in the house reading a book because I wanted to be a better reader. When we (the girls) played sports with the boys, I wanted to be a better player, so I didn’t play like the girls (Miss Prissy); I played like the boys and was a tomboy until after I was fifteen years old. I loved playing touch football and beating the boys we played against. But it was because of those boys that I learned how to swing a bat and release after a hit without knocking someone out with the bat. I learned how to play basketball really well competing with the boys because they were taller and I had to try harder.

As an educator, I am always surprised when a colleague tells me what other students say about me. Personally, I thought my students hated my guts, so when either students or instructors tell me how my former students say, students recommend me to others–that’s invigorating, yet humbling. Hearing that makes me feel like I really have to step up my game–to keep the momentum going because I don’t want to disappoint me or others.  And though I think I’m a pretty good teacher, I’ve seldom said that to anyone. I’m creative and always looking for new ways to present basic–humdrum information because I don’t like being bored.

When introducing myself to a new class, I simply tell them my name and give them their first writing assignment–to Google me and then write about what they discover.  They share what they discover with the class and we move on from that point. I want them to know–I know about writing, but I don’t think I should spend class time trying to convince them.

So, when implementing this particular proverb to my daily life–I’d rather hear what others have to say about me than to say anything about me. Since I don’t see me as others do, I probably wouldn’t do a good job of telling anyone anything. I see me with the flaws and imperfections, but thankfully, a number of people look past them or don’t recognize them until I say something about them.

More importantly, I strive to please God, not people. I know if I live according to His Word, more than likely He’ll be pleased, even when I don’t think I’m good enough–I know, He still loves me. And maybe, just maybe, I’m a little too hard on myself. But I’d rather look at me–with a critical eye, than to look at me with an appraising eye and attempt to say anything about me.

What I’ve discovered about most people is this--if they have to tell who they are–chances are–they are not all they think they are. The more people brag about themselves, the greater the likelihood that others will see their flaws and not their accomplishments. That’s what happens when we have to toot our own horns; we invite closer inspection.

Worldly Wisdom is The World’s Way; Grace is God’s Gift!

“Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.” (2 Corinthians 1:12 NIV)

One of the problems we have in our society with boasting–being puffed up with pride–is that we tend to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We boast of our accomplishments as if we do everything on our own, never giving credit to the One who gives us the wisdom and the grace to accomplish–anything.

But there are some who when they are in the spotlight for winning an award who give thanks to God--I believe with the greatest hypocrisy–since God would not inspire them to sing songs with filthy, inflammatory lyrics, influence them to behave in unseemly conduct in movies and television, or in writing books that are total filth.

Then there are the few–who have accomplished much–who have no problem acknowledging God as the driving force behind their achievements.

I believe when we acknowledge our inability to think of doing anything worthwhile in and of ourselves and admit that it was the grace of God who kept us going–headed for the prize then we will have good success. Worldly wisdom–thinking about how we can impress the world or seeking the world’s way of doing things doesn’t amount to much to brag about. One of the reasons people claim they don’t believe in God is because of science.  Well, I believe in science, too, but God created the world before we had use of the term, science. It is His wisdom and grace that has given mankind insight to understanding anything they understand about how He created things. And yet, with all that scientists (those who study and analyze to explain) have accomplished, they have yet to accomplish–recreating anything from absolutely nothing. Everything man has “invented” was because of the things–God had already created.

So, if we’re going to brag about our accomplishments, let’s give the credit to God who gives wisdom to all when we seek Him for it.

At the age of 46, I completed a Bachelor’s degree; at 50 I went back to school to get teacher-certification, at 52 I completed my Master’s degree and kept going until at 58, I had completed the coursework for my Doctorates degree. I have written over 25 books, published a gospel quarterly, written several plays, conducted a community choir, served as a volunteer chaplain in prison ministry for over 5 years, as well as in VA hospital, and have been promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ for over 30 years–because of Him and who He is in my life. Hallelujah! I am still going strong because of Him and everything I do, is to bring honor and glory to Him! He has blessed my coming and going and I know He will continue to do so as long as I focus on the things He has called me to do.

My boast is in The Lord and the grace He gives for me to accomplish all He has planned for me to do. Worldly wisdom–considering my age–would have kept me from doing anything, but God’s grace was sufficient and carried me through, reminding me that age is merely a number used by man to measure our time on earth. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me and gives me His wisdom to succeed. And the best thing is–He is not a respecter of persons; what He’s done for me, He’ll do for anyone who Believes and obeys Him.

What Do They See?

“If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message,” (2 Corinthians 12:6 NLT).

With this statement Paul is making, it appears that when we are telling the truth, we are not necessarily boasting, but some could take it that way. Why should this matter? If we’re going to create an environment in which people will want to know our Risen Savior, we must make sure that they “see” us living what we preach and not just hear us–boasting about what we are able to do through Him.

If we are indeed a new creation in Christ Jesus, do people see us doing the same old things we used to do that kept us in a quagmire of ungodly living?

Are we living with others in an intimate relationship outside of marriage–as God defines marriage?

Are we subjecting ourselves to the fallout of using illicit drugs?

Are we mindful of the laws designed to protect the innocent and do we adhere to them?

Are we allowing our tongues to wag and snag others into the pits that kept us receiving God’s best in our lives?

If we say we are born again, and yet–others see us as though we have never heard of Jesus Christ, what benefit is that to the Kingdom of God?

Are we not aware that we when we “say” one thing and yet do another–we are hypocrites?

Do people see us being friendly and courteous to others–no matter what the situation that arises?

Do they see us respond calmly to negative events or do we clown like the heathens and then–five minutes later–we are heard praising God?

If we really want to win others to Christ, we must become “living epistles read of men” for the glory of the kingdom of God and not our own.

It is not what people hear us say that convinces them our God is an awesome God–it is what they see us do–in trying times as well as the good times–that convinces them of our God.

God is faithful to keep us focused on Him when we allow Him to do so. If we’re going to boast–let this be our boast–He is faithful–and we must learn to do the same.

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to become more like You with each breath we take and show others by what we do, not what we say–just how awesome You are.