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Summary: The wise father shares with his children the keys to getting the most out of life.

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Keys To A Good Life

Proverbs 1:8-19

Wisdom can come in strange ways.

Illus. Two men were out hunting in the northern U.S. Suddenly one yelled and the other looked up to see a grizzly charging them. The first started to frantically put on his tennis shoes and his friend anxiously asked, "What are you doing? Don't you know you can't outrun a grizzly bear?" "I don't have to outrun a grizzly. I just have to outrun you!"

I. The Importance of Home (8-9)

Proverbs 1:8-9 Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, 9 for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.

Balance is preferred (having a father and mother in a home). God created the home with a father and a mother for a reason. However, in our world, having a present mother and father is becoming the exception. And having a godly mother and a godly father is extremely rare. But that is God's plan.

Listen to the instructions of your father and the teachings of your mother. Let's look at each of these.

Teaching and instruction. Teaching, to distribute information. Instruction, to demonstrate and discipline.

"You may pay the teacher to educate, the psychologist to counsel, the coach to discipline and the pastor to instill values, but the majority of the responsibility still remains with the parents." Dennis Davidson.

Ill. In the jungles of eastern Sri Lanka, 15 soldiers of a government COMMANDO UNIT were SAVED BY TWO DOGS adopted as mascots. According to a news report, the soldiers were completing a 10 mile hike when their dogs sensed danger. Running ahead toward a water hole where the unit planned to rest, the dogs suddenly began barking and circling the area. The troops searched carefully and found 12 buried grenades attached to a taut wire trigger.

It's intriguing to think about those two jungle mascots whose senses were tuned to the smell of danger. The soldiers escaped serious injury and even death because they listened to those barking dogs.

It's disturbing to realize, however, that sometimes we are apt to give lesser credibility and attention to more faithful protectors. How many times have we resented a father's warnings or a mother's advice? How often have we grown tired of a pastor's pleadings or a fellow believers cautions?

Parents and grandparents, how many times have we failed to be as faithful to our God-given responsibilities as a barking dog.

Our parents' instructions add beauty to our lives (graceful garland of honor). The pendant or chain about our necks also represent beauty, but also that which brings great delight to children. Though teachings, instructions, and discipline from parents and grandparents may seem grievous for the moment, they will be a source of great delight if heeded. Such were those worn by one who was prized and valued.

A valued child is one who is cared for enough to be corrected and taught. It is an honor to obey parents because it proves your value. Truly, it will be a beautiful garland on your head and gold chain about your neck. A garland was also a reward for an athletic win.

Illus. Charlie Sheen in his rebellious, sinful living may proclaim himself to be "Winning", but his lifestyle, choices and eternal destiny will point to forever "Losing".

Mat_16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

If your friend does not like your parents, or your parents do not approve of your friends, that is a strong warning of wisdom.

Before I pass from this thought, we must recognize that every home situation is not ideal. Some parents are facing the reality of raising their children alone, without a partner, and are tired of hearing that it takes two. There is nothing more hopeless than being told something is not right but there is nothing health you can do about it.

Some of our young people are being raised with one parent and that is absolutely not their fault and is beyond their control. If you are in one of these less-than-ideal situations, there is still hope. Your situation is no surprise to God and His grace will not fall short.

Psalm 68:5 promises, "Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation." God can supply what you are missing in your home. Wives, he can make up for the absent or absentee father. Husbands, He can compensate for the absent or unfaithful wife. Children, He can be your loving Father or the supply from the missing Mother. God's grace is beyond sufficient for you, but only if you commit fully to Him.

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