Thursday, April 25, 2013
True wisdom is so hard to find in the world and in people. We seem to seek it everywhere. When we have a decision to make and we are thinking over the right thing to do, what are we really wanting? Wisdom to know the right thing to do. We seek it in so many places. Self help books, speakers, pastors, family, talk shows, the latest fad, and the latest bestseller. Most of these things and people may have some great advice to offer. But how do we know? How do we know what we read or what someone says is wise? How do we know to really take that advice to heart? How do we know that they don't just have only knowledge? Knowledge does not equal wisdom. We could make the choice to follow that book, or that person and be led wayward again and again only to keep seeking the answer to the problem we started out with. How can we know TRUE wisdom and come to recognize it?
Ask God for wisdom and for Him to reveal more of His heart and mind to you. Read your Bible. Ask God to show you what He needs to speak to you about your life and pray for wisdom. How many times have we gone astray trying to go off our own smarts or the smarts of someone close to us, only to be disappointed at the results. How much better it is to have the gold, but then have the wisdom to know what to do with it. What a disaster to have the gold, and squander it because we were not wise.
The Bible says:
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (NIV) James 1:5
How many times in your life have you prayed for God to make you wise? Such a simple thing, but we so often fail to ask.
We must also compare the sources of wisdom we get in our lives to the Bible. If someone is an "expert" on parenting, we must also compare what they say to the Bible, or we can go astray. If someone is an "expert" on marriage, let's then look at what the Bible has to say about what we heard, to see if it lines up. God uses many people to speak to us, Christian's and many times non Christian's. The test is our meditation on what we have heard and let in our lives as well as our praying about it and comparing it to the Bible. We will less often go astray when we follow these steps. As Christians we often fail to put everything to the test of our faith and forget that God is the ultimate source of wisdom. We often look to everything outside of God and the Bible.
I like to think of the Bible as the ultimate self help book. God wouldn't create a universe and people in it, and then fail to give us a manual. That's what the Bible is. We need to stop thinking of it as some old fashioned book with stories in it of battles and of Christ's birth, death and resurrection. It is so much more. It has all we need in it! Need God to speak wisdom to you about your children and how to parent? Read your Bible. Need God to speak wisdom to you about your relationships? Read your Bible. Need God to speak wisdom to you about your job, your finances, what to do next in your life? Read your Bible. You get the idea.
I'm not saying that some books and people aren't brought into our lives that aren't God inspired. God uses many things to teach us wisdom, and many of these are great, God inspired, and help us grow on our journey. But FIRST, where do we turn? If we are first turning outside of God that is a sin. Turn first to God, and turn first to your Bible. Pray He reveals His wisdom to you, and then brings whatever sources of help or wisdom into your life that you may need, and pray you will recognize God and recognize the sources of wisdom that are truly Godly. Use your God given discernment and God will give you the answers you seek. We pray to God about the needs in our life. We pray "God help me with finances," God help me to be a good parent." What is missing here? "God give me the wisdom to know what to do with my finances." God give me the wisdom to know how to be a good parent." "God give me the wisdom to use my discernment."
Ask God for wisdom. Turn to your Bible and prayer first. Use your discernment to know if God is bringing you His answer in some form in your life. You will make fewer mistakes, know the peace of God, grow in wisdom and begin to know and understand God more.
Prayer: God, it is so hard to find wisdom in the world. But I will not find it in the world. I will find it in you. Help me to be wise God, and give me listening ears and a listening heart. Help me to know you more and to each day see your wisdom with clear eyes.
1 Corinthians 1:19-21
For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside." Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Wisdom brightens a man's face and changes its hard appearance. (NIV)
I thought, “Wisdom is better than foolishness, just as light is better than darkness."
Thursday, April 18, 2013
As much as Jesus wanted to run away from His crucifixion He knew God wouldn't let Him out of this hardship. How much He must have wanted to run over the hill and escape. But His God would be watching Him. He followed God and we were given a savior. God knew this must happen for the world to be saved, but He still wept for His son. God may allow things to happen for our own growth or for reasons we will never know in this life, but He still weeps with us.
Jesus asked "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:45-46) God did have the opportunity to save Jesus from this. But He knew without this we would not know God's love for us. We cannot grasp this without Jesus' death on the cross. In my own suffering I have gained knowledge of Christ's sacrifice and His love for us. Would I know this in my heart, mind and soul without my own suffering?
Suffering can produce a deep understanding of life and all it's beauty and a true knowledge of the beauty of heaven. It produces a spirit alive with the knowledge of heaven and that heaven is not far away and those we love are right now, in this very moment, alive. We can't physically see heaven but it's a place alive right now and a place alive in our hearts, minds and souls.
We may never have the "whys" of our sufferings fully explained. We can learn, grow and understand Jesus more through them. When Jesus' physical suffering and crucifixion ended, what came afterwards? Resurrection, joy and healing. And yet Jesus bore and still bears the scars of the crucifixion. Yet, He is not a man of bitterness or hate. He is a man of love, compassion, and forgiveness. His scars do not define His heart nor lessen the meaning of His life. Instead they enhance the beauty, depth and meaning of his life.
How much in our own life do our scars paralyze us? Do we live in the suffering or crucifixion or the joy, love and healing? Do our scars lessen our importance? Suffering produces a real and deep joy, love and healing. Without suffering we never truly know God's power and presence. We cannot then without suffering know the beauty of the resurrection and the love of God.
Jesus' crucifixion and suffering did not make sense to many human hearts. It still doesn't today. We don't understand our own problems and suffering. We are doubtful, angry, scared, anxious, bitter and upset. We question our faith and we question God. These emotions are part of the human experience. Even Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus. (John 11:35) It is as Christians that in our faith we have hope in these times. We can see that there is beauty waiting for us on the other side. Beauty we may have missed out on without walking through our darker times.
When I see Christ's blood on the cross, I see His suffering in a new light. For only now have I gained a small, human understanding of His physical and emotional agony. The way He must have wanted God to take away His suffering and yet God did not and Jesus still trusted in Him. Jesus did not run away from the difficulty He faced. I see His blood shed for me, and for all. In the blood I see my sin, inadequacy, and unworthiness. After I see His suffering, I see joy. The joy of knowing I live in the freedom of God's mercy. I live in the freedom of Christ's love and death on the cross even though I know I will not be spared suffering in this life.
I know heaven and my children awaiting me (lost to miscarriage) are very close by and alive. How much I have wanted to run away at times from my own pain and suffering. Running would never work. Not knowing that Christ died on the cross for me and did not run. He trusted. I cannot be a coward. I must trust. And look at the beauty we can now behold if we take it, and hold on to it. Beauty after suffering. Heaven awaiting us after this life and our trials and sufferings.
Lord, help me to see through my suffering and pain. Help me to see the healing and beauty you will bring me. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on eternity, on You, so that I do not lose my sight in the blindness of my pain. Help me to see like Jesus did.
"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
Friday, April 12, 2013
I think it is so important that the word of God and the name of Jesus is in our hearts and minds daily. There is another place the word of God needs to be more often. On our lips. Do we speak of God daily to our children?
It seems that we will live our life and our daily grind without scriptures or the name of God even coming out of our lips once to our children. A simple verse, song, phrase, or book can help us in our tired moments to make sure that we are speaking of God to our children.
It seems "hard" to fit it in daily with all we have to do, especially with little ones. Making a before nap or bed routine of reading a few age appropriate Bible stories or faith based books and saying a verse or two before nap and bed is a great way to make sure you are taking the steps to speak of Jesus daily. And make sure to say prayers with your children every day, no matter how young (or old) they are. It is never to early or too late to start. Sing a song or say a scripture while you take a walk or are playing in the yard. Once these habits form you will notice new ones starting as well. Pretty soon it is embedded in your daily routine with your children.
We can't go through our days with no mention of God and then show up at church on Sunday, then go the rest of week with no mention of God again. To train and teach our children the name of God must be on our lips daily. The more I do this myself, the more I grow myself. I grow along with my children. By singing a simple song, saying a scripture with them for them to memorize I have been able to better maintain my own focus during the day. It helps our adult hearts to maintain focus on God every day. That He is the reason for living each day.
We can't call ourselves a Christian and then not have Jesus present in our minds and hearts each day. He has to be a focus EVERY day. Not on a whim, not when it's convenient, it must be daily. It must be how we are living our life, a path we are walking. We must convey this to our children daily. On our lips and through our words.
Teach the word of God to your children daily. More importantly, speak of it daily and live it daily.
“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9