What do you believe?

What Do You Believe?

What Do You Believe? What are your values, your non-negotiables, what do you “stand for”? We all have some set of ideas about how things should be, how we should live our lives – Our moral imperatives!

These are surprisingly varied. We have all heard of the “Golden Rule”. Some see this as “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”! Others think it means “He or She who has the gold makes the rules”! And, there maybe other variations with which I am unacquainted. In the old comedy western movie “Water Hole Number Three” staring James Coburn, there is a recurring chorus in the background music “It’s the Code of the West to do unto others, do unto others, before they do unto you”!

My point is we may not all have the same values due to culture, family of origin, past experiences, and even religion, but we all have some code we live our lives by, for better or worse, good or evil. Today I want to acquaint you, or perhaps reacquaint you, with a set of ancient principles which, when looked at objectively, are just “Common Sense”.

I am a Christian, and I’ll tell you what that means to me at the end. The information I’m about to share with you is for everyone. Yes, everyone – crooks and cops, Baptists and Atheists, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Democrats and Republicans, and all other vocations, religions, political persuasions, sexual preferences, colors and skin tones. I say colors and skin tones because I believe we are all the Human Race.

Now Here It Comes! In the Old Testament part of the Bible is found the book of Proverbs. Humm …… Proverbs……When I hear that word I think of “Chinese proverbs”. Wise sayings of Confucius (551-479BC) or other philosophers. Clever words found inside a fortune cookie, or in the daily newspaper horoscope. The book of Proverbs mostly believed to have been written by King Solomon (990-931 BC) who reigned as King of Israel for 40 years. Solomon became King as a young man when his father, King David died. Because of his youth Solomon lacked experience in being a ruler. One night God came to Solomon in a dream and said “Ask for anything you want and it will be yours”! Solomon does not ask for wealth or long-life, but instead for Wisdom – “A decerning heart to distinguish right from wrong”! God granted his wish, plus gave him unsurpassed wealth and honor.

Solomon awoke and realized it had been a dream. But Solomon did become the most renown King of his time because of his wisdom and subsequent wealth (See 1 Kings, chapter 3 if you want more).

Okay, no more hitting you over the head with the Bible, but this was necessary background to understand who Solomon was in history. But whether someone asks me about learning life skills, or how to live a successful and peaceful life, or where they should start if they want to read the Bible, my answer is likely to be the same: Read Proverbs! Why? Because it’s just “common sense” information. It will remind you of what is just the plain truth on its face, things you already know, but may not be applying in your daily life. If you want to ignore references to God or the Lord in some of the sentences, that’s up to you. Even if you’re an Atheist or hail from other religions, reading Proverbs will open up the way to a better life and better way of thinking.

Here is the cool thing about the book of Proverbs – There are just 31 chapters and, coincidently, there are no more than 31 days in any given month. So, you can just open the Bible to Proverbs and read a chapter each day which only takes about 5-10 minutes. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just forget about it – no guilt – and read the chapter that corresponds to the current day of the month. And, when you do finish all 31 chapters start over. Why keep reading what you have already read? Simple – These proverbs contain verses that hold critical truths and when you reread them – no matter how many times you read them – your common-sense thinking will be renewed every time. Why? Because the words – the verses – are “pregnant”. What? Pregnant? I mean you will get a little more meaning from it and maybe even new knowledge every time you re-read it. So, if you are looking for timeless, ageless Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding to encourage and fortify yourself everyday against stupidity and foolishness, this is for you. No fee, no charge, no gimmick, just a few minutes of your time.

So, what’s the point? Your 5 or 10 minutes per day is low-cost insurance against stupidity. Think of it as an “umbrella” policy that prevents bad decisions. Here’s a sampling of what to expect as far as reminders to use common sense.

  • Don’t hang with foolish or dishonest people.
  • Don’t become so arrogant that you think you have all the answers.
  • Do what is right and you’ll sleep better at night.
  • Laziness will lead to poverty.
  • Gossips can not be trusted with a secret.
  • Stupid people always think they’re right. Wise people listen to advice and correction.
  • Let other people praise you, never do it yourself.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet these few basic principles are among the many common-sense practices that Solomon chooses to pass on to us, because he knew we often “blow it” on the most fundamental, straightforward stuff.

Try it for a week and see what you think! I confident you’ll find you are making better decisions for yourself, and better than some of the people around you. You may eventually start to be seen as the wise, go to guy or gal to consult when an issue comes up.

Enjoy and let me know how the one-week challenge went!

(Oh, I almost forgot! What being a Christian means to me. Plainly as I can state it – It means I am a righteous man, trying not to sin, who believes in the promise of John 3:16 – That Christ allowed himself to be publicly executed for my sins, and the sins of the world, and then came back to life on the third day to prove that eternal life can be a reality via repentance. The Power of the Demonstration!)

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Gary Sorg
Welcome, I'm Gary Sorg!

Born and raised in a small central California farming town, Gary Sorg is no stranger to life’s endearing and challenging moments. He spent twenty years with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department, earning a bachelor’s in criminal justice and a master’s in correctional counseling along the way. Then he went on to a second career for the State of California Department of Justice at the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. When not writing, Gary enjoys traveling with his wife, Janie, Bible study with friends, riding his motorcycle, target shooting, and time with family. Gary and Janie live near Sacramento.

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