“Don’t Even Go There”

How many of us have said those words? I know I have, and recently, as I continue on my trip through the book of Proverbs I was reminded that people have been saying those words (Well, kind of, anyway) for a long, long time.

In Proverbs 7 a story is told about a group of young men, among them one who “lacked judgment.” He was going down the street near “her” corner, walking along in the direction of “her” house. To paraphrase, the “her” in this story was “just a devil woman with evil on her mind.” But the youth, lacking judgment, was taken in by her wily ways “like an ox going to the slaughter, a deer steeping into the noose or a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.” (v.22-23) Get the picture? No doubt, this was not a good path to take.

This story is told to another young man by the father who was trying to teach him, protect him and prepare him for the dangers that would lie in wait for him. The dad’s advice, “Son, don’t even go there.” (Yeah, it’s another paraphrase)

The actual words are more like, “Pay attention to what I say. Don’t let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.” (v24-27)

Yikes! Okay, I think we get this picture, too. Or do we? Because it seems like even though we are often given some of the same warnings, we are like the young guy lacking judgment. We head right down the road sure we can handle whatever comes our way or just not caring about the danger. I think it was AC/DC who bragged about being on the highway to hell. (I didn’t realize they had gotten that from Proverbs, did you?) What’s worse is that we often see the danger, but do nothing to stop others we see heading down the path of whatever “her” may be waiting there.

As I read these words, I am reminded how important it is that we keep saying these words to our own kids. Who among us hasn’t watched some scary movie all the while yelling at the “judgment lacking youth” who decided to open the door, follow the sound, or look in the closet?

We’re like, “No! Don’t do it! Turn around! Don’t even go there!” And although we are more than willing to warn a fictional kid on the big screen, we often fail to give the same warning with the same urgency to our own children.

Of course, even more than just telling our kids where not to go, we need to be prepared to give the direction of where they need to go. We need to help them program their spiritual GPS so that they can stay on the right course and stay out of danger’s way.

Proverbs is a great place to share with your kids both the dangers and rewards of the choices we all make in ways that are easy to understand and sometimes even a little comical. With 31 total chapters, simply start with the chapter that corresponds with the calendar date and read verses from that chapter with your child. (The number of verses you read may be determined by the age of your children or the topic you are covering.) You can work through the whole book of Proverbs each month using different verses every time. If you miss a day, just check the calendar and pick up on that day/chapter.

Also, we found the book pictured above, Proverbs for Parenting, a topical book compiled by Barbara Decker, to be a great resource as we navigated the parenting pathway. Decker simply takes all the proverbs and categorizes them by virtue. Need some verses on honesty? She’s gotcha covered. Laziness and hard work? It’s in there, too. I suppose if I were parenting today I would just Google them . . . maybe not. You know how moms like books!

No matter what method you choose, choose now to spend time directing your children towards the right path through God’s word, and if you are still tempted not to be in the Word with your kids, take this one ordinary woman’s warning. . .”Don’t even go there!”–a pretty important warning to ignore.

Like My Daddy Always Says

Although my dad is a pretty great guy, I can’t say that remember too many things that he said that have stuck in my mind. (No offense, dad) He’s just not a words guy. He’s an action guy. I remember, instead, the things that he has done. Things like helping others, fixing just about anything, watching Laverne and Shirley and laughing until we had tears in our eyes, dancing with me at my wedding, encouraging me as a stay at home mom, and keeping his commitment of faithfulness with my mom for the past 56 years. But this post isn’t about my dad, it’s about another dad. You see, I’ve been reading through the book of Proverbs and I didn’t get very far before I imagined someone sitting and sharing these bits of wisdom from their daddy.

Although you won’t find these words in the Scriptures I’ve referenced, these are the way I’ve been hearing them in my head as I read. (Yeah, I know hearing voices in your head can be a little risky, but here goes. . . )

It’s like my daddy always says,

“Be sure to listen to your momma and me.” Ch. 1 Verse 8

“If someone tries to bait you, swim away.” Ch. 1 Verse 10

“You gotta look for wisdom like a treasure. . . cuz it is one.” Ch. 2 Verse 2

“If you find it, you will understand the things of God, and when you understand the things
of God, just about everything else will make sense.” Ch. 2 Verse 4-5

“Don’t just listen to your momma and me, remember what we say. It’ll make all the difference
in the world.” Ch. 3 Verse 1

“Trust in the Lord, not in yourself. Give Him the credit and He’ll show you what you need to
know and where you need to go.” Ch. 3 Verse 4-5

“Never forget your money is really His money. He’s just letting you take care of it for Him. So
take good care of it.” Ch. 3 Verse 9

“Don’t get all rattled when the Lord disciplines you—He does it cuz He loves you, just like I do.”
Ch. 3 Verse 11

“If someone deserves good, give it to them. If someone needs something and you have it, give
it to them. In other words, be a generous with whatever you have, cuz whatever you have, you got it from God.”
Ch. 3, Verse 27

“Pay attention now, I’m talkin to you.” Ch. 4 Verse 1

“Guard your heart, your life is there.” Ch. 4 Verse 23

“Your mouth is not a dump, so get the trash out of it.” Ch. 4 Verse 24

“Keep your eyes on the target.” Ch. 4 Verse 25

“Some risk is good. Some is stupid. Know the difference. It will keep your feet on the path.” Ch. 4
Verse 27

“Flat out, there are some things the Lord DOES NOT LIKE. Don’t do them.” Ch. 6:16-19

“When you brain tells you, “Let’s not go down that path,” make sure your feet are listening.
Ch. 7 Verses 7-8

And so it goes. As I read through the book of Proverbs, I hear the loving voice of my Daddy/Father leading, teaching, talking, warning, encouraging and showing me the way to go, and as I put His wisdom into practice, I hope someday to hear my sons say, “Like my momma always says. . . . .”

What’s your favorite Proverb or piece of advice from your dad? I’d love to have you share it here.

Being Verbs, Doing Verbs, Helping Verbs and Pro-Verbs

It’s been my privilege and my pleasure over the years to occasionally teach some Language Arts classes for the 5th and 6th graders at the Christian school which resides in our church. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I love how fun language can be, and how it helps us to see, well, to see just about everything in a new light. I mean, language is that thing that gives us a way to talk about that, “something to talk about” we are always wanting to give people. (Insert song now playing in my head here!)

Verbs always seem to throw our kids (and their parents) for a loop. There are just so many– so many different kinds, and so many different tenses, and it can be really hard to know how to use which ones at which time and for what reason.

In class, we start by looking at the “being” verbs: am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been. I like to call them the “equal” verbs because you can usually tell if a verb is a “being” verb if you can put an equal sign to your thought. For example, I am a Christian. I = Christian. Yes! Being verbs are all about just that being—being who we are.

“Doing” verbs are a lot of fun because they are the action of our life. They are, of course, the things we “do.” I run; I jump; I eat chocolate! You get the picture.

Next we add in the “helping” verbs. Not so simply put: a being or helping + a doing = a verb phrase; and a verb phrase helps to give us a much clearer picture of what we are trying to communicate. For example I can say, “I am writing a blog post now” versus “I write blog post now,” or “I not eat Dove chocolate,” versus “ I am not eating Dove chocolate right now! (But I kind of wish I was. . .)

Yet time and time again, my students will get their “beings” and their “doings” and their “helpings” confused.

Enter spiritual application. . . (Dramatic music inserted here)

We often get our “being” and our “doing” confused as well. We tend to be a little more Martha than Mary, a little more Peter than John. We get so caught up in “doing” for God that we forget all about just “being” who he has called us to be. Before we know it, we get caught up, roped in and burnt out because we have forgotten to add the “helping” of the Holy Spirit to our “being” and “doing.” But when we learn to put all the pieces together, we find that we are beginning to live in such a way that we give the world a clearer picture of what we are trying to communicate—that God loves them so much that He sent His only Son for them.

One of the best places I know to help ease pendulum swing of either being all “being” or all “doing, “ is in the book of Proverbs. In children’s ministry we call them PRO-VERBS–Sayings in the Bible that are both PRO (like famous, positive and excellent) and have VERBS (teaching us how to be, do and help). When we take a look in The Book, we can always see all kinds of ways that God is showing us how to be like Jesus, do what He wants and help others to know Him. And that that’s something to talk about!


One of my favorite Proverbs is in chapter 2 verses 1-8

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will undertand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.

Do you have a favorite Proverb? Post it below. . .