Pithy Maxims are Proverbs!
In the Online Dictionary "Pithy" is defined as ..." Precisely meaningful; forceful and brief:" and a Maxim is "a succinct formulation of a fundamental principle, general truth, or rule of conduct.".... "a saying."
"Short sentences drawn from long experience" is a great description of a proverb offered by S. Michael Houdmann of www.gotquestions.org
The Hebrew word for Proverb/ Parable is mâshâl -- משׁל which has Strong's number 4912 and is defined, in part, as a pithy maxim.
It carries some sense of superiority in mental action; properly A PITHY MAXIM, usually of a metaphorical nature; hence a simile (as an adage, poem, discourse): - byword, like, parable, proverb.
A community that has an established identity has a shared history which includes a shared vocabulary. It is often true of a biological family, social group, and even of business corporations as well. This is one of the challenges of integrating new people who do not know that a simple phrase or comment they hear really carries great meaning for the group.
There is no intention to be secretive or "elitist" in this. It is just the result of studying and experiencing life together. These meanings will be made known as they come up over time, but we thought perhaps it might be helpful to others to see what kind of pithy maxims have grown in this community. Perhaps it will help you identify them in your community and strengthen your ties and boundaries
"Pray, Stay and Don't Run Away!"
This is probably the first and longest established maxim in SAM. It begin simply as "pray and stay" for encouragement for those who were both desiring to belong somewhere--in this case with SAM-- and terrified of it at the same time. Sometimes it is hard for people to understand how one could experence both simultaneously but we see it quite often--even among those who do NOT believe they have experienced any serious abuse or harm in their lives. It has to do with the existence of both love and fear bonds in relationships and with each person's history of relationship experiences. Developing a relationship with a group of people is both desirable and risky. If people you were supposed to be able to love and trust have hurt you, it becomes very difficult to stay close enough to a person or a group long enough to find out what will happen there.
Family life has become so chaotic over generations that many people no longer know what a healthy relationship with appropriate boundaries even looks like. Similarly, there have been so many abuses of power in the world at large and within the institution of the church that again, people often do not really know what a functioning group with healthy and loving boundaries would be.
To be honest, we would also have to say that there is good reason to be cautious as there are many unsafe people and groups. The development of discernment as to what leadership or shepherd one places oneself with is both an essential skill and one that is not well developed in those who have experienced abuse. In our society today independence is the valued standard rather than the Biblical picture of interdependence with one another under Messiah's authority. A Scriptural picture of a Torah pursuant community includes the concept of interdependence and an authority structure of a plurality of elders. However, the ability to exercise that authority within a structure will greatly depend on the level of commitment of the members as is discussed more thoroughly in the introduction to the "What Shepherds Need to Know" series.
There are different kinds of authority or "rule" and "mashal" conveys some of that difference. This is the kind of rule that is spoken of in relationship to Messiah, our Great Shepherd, who rules us in a benevolent way, and is the kind of rule that the sun and the moon exercise as well as the kind of rule of a husband to a wife. The other kind of rule is as of a tyrant, which is "radah" Strong's #7287. One of our goals in SAM is to develop and encourage each of us toward maturity through a kind of mashal leadership, thus pithy maxims are a part of who we are. But we realize that benevolent authority will only happen as we are ourselves submitted to the authority of Messiah Yeshua and so continue to regard mutual accountability between members and leadership as crucial.
If someone experiences something that frightens them and they have been able to examine the fruit of the group enough to know that it is good, we encourage them to pray, stay and not run away. In this way, the difficulties become the very ground through which we all mature and confidence grows in Messiah in each one of us, not in one another's flesh, so to speak.
It can be a complicated subject, especially when dealing with people who have Disociative Identity Disorder, what used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder, now DID for an acronym. One part of a person strongly desires to be a part of a faith community while another part does everything possible to sabotage that very thing. We believe that there are more people with DID than has been commonly recognized and that their struggles often contribute to the difficulties of community life.
"Remember, Remember, Remember!"
This phrase is another of our oldest maxims. It grew from the need for each person to keep their focus on what YHWH is doing in their lives moreso than whatever the current circumstances might be. In times of great distress the repetition is a reminder that we really need to work at holding these Truths in the center of our being, right there in our mind's eye, in order for them to become relevant and actually applied to the circumstances, not just some intellectual fact.
Remember what He has done in your past in order to be able to remain strong in confidence of what He will do in your present and future.
Remember what He has done for our forefathers.
Remember Who He is and who we are to Him.
Remember He is a covenant making and keeping God!
"His Grace is for when we FALL short, not for when we AIM short."
This phrase is one I began speaking many years ago, even before SAM came into being, but it has been an important part of our recognizing the challenges of working toward maturity. Dietreich Bonhaeffer spoke of "cheap grace" and I suppose this phrase is quite similar. Though we are grateful that there is grace for us in times of need, may we never fall into presumptuous sin and just do whatever we desire, counting on that mercy in our arrogance.
This short phrase grew out of our understanding of the need for protection as we walk through life. This picture addresses the need for corporate protection, not just an individual. It is the picture of Roman soldiers that defended themselves from flying arrows by walking in an organized group of rows, holding their shields ahead, aside, behind and overhead thus being encased in a shell of shields, "turtled" so to speak. This concept is explained in some detail in our presentation "The Importance of Echad in Community." Though we don't have physical shields at this time in life, we do see the need for a spiritual shield of prayer over us individually and us as a group. When a person recognizes they are in some kind of challenging situation or an emotional storm of some kind, we have learned to bring it up to find out if others are experiencing anything similar. Many times they are so we find it helpful to address these spiritual forces from our position together as a part of the Body of Messiah as well as individually, in positional Truth, above powers, principalities, thrones and dominions.
Using the phrase, "Turtle Up!" is our shorthand for a call to prayer and standing in our authority. It may also mean a physical standing together in facing a situation but is far more than just standing.
"This Bride wears army boots, not flip-flops!"
We first came to this understanding with the teachings of Rebecca Park Totillo, Who is the Bride? many years ago. Being made a set apart people, holy to YHWH, is a challenging process to say the least. It involves the development of spiritual disciplines such as prayer and study of the Word, and the renewing of our mind. More so for those who have come out of some kind of occult background but difficult for anyone who is seriously drawing near to our Messiah Yeshua. His family is also His army, and for us that is primarily being an army of worshippers which will be evident in our goals descriptions. We recognize that this process is not for the faint at heart and that we all need encouragement to stand firm. As anyone with military background will know, as you train--so will you perform. This maxim helps us to remember that our circumstances are not always what they appear to be and that we will likely not always be living in any kind of comfort. Our decision and our lifestyle need to reflect our standing as part of Messiah's army, ready to do spiritual battle as needed. It is part of the building of character in which we learn to do the hard things simply because we know they are right and part of our obedience to our Elohim, even if they are inconvenient to us. Anyone who thinks that they will wait to develop their spiritual discipline and strength until the circumstances demand it we believe will find that it will be very difficult, maybe nearly impossible, to do so.
"We need to be adaptable so we are adoptable."
A New SAM Pithy Maxim-2015
The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge:
[but] fools despise wisdom and instruction.