Friday, July 31, 2015

Gain Wisdom Accept Correction

Proverbs 1:8-19
8 My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. 9 What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck. 10 My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! 11 They may say, “Come and join us. Let’s hide and kill someone! Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent! 12 Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave; let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death. 13 Think of the great things we’ll get! We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take. 14 Come, throw in your lot with us; we’ll all share the loot.” 15 My child, don’t go along with them! Stay far away from their paths. 16 They rush to commit evil deeds. They hurry to commit murder. 17 If a bird sees a trap being set, it knows to stay away. 18 But these people set an ambush for themselves; they are trying to get themselves killed. 19 Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money; it robs them of life. (NLT)

On the path of gaining wisdom God has placed fathers and mothers as or primary guides in this process. Proverbs 1:7 cut straight to the heart of the matter by explaining all TRUE knowledge begins with reverence toward God and a healthy respect for discipline. Parents who are themselves committed to God balance the scales of wisdom: The father supplies correction and the mother offers instruction. When we, as children, ignore mama’s instruction, daddy gives us the correction and redirection we need to get us back on the path of wisdom.

My father, an extremely quiet, was an example of Godliness and discipline. One experience that stands out in my mind from my early teen years happened just after, when I was 12 or 13. In my parent’s home the evening meal always consisted of meat, potatoes, vegetables, bread and butter. There was always a butcher’s knife on the table. On this particular evening, I was being a typical, mouthy, disrespectful teen/preteen and I hear, “That’s it! I’ve had enough of this!”

The quiet, peaceful man I knew as daddy, got up, grabbed the butcher knife, and looked at me. I had never heard him yell and I certainly never seen that look before. I got up and began running through the house yelling, “Daddy don’t kill me! Please, Daddy don’t kill me! I promise I’ll be good!”

My father had no intention of killing me, but that spanking made an impression on me. When we ignore Mama’s instruction we will face daddy’s correction.

The first instruction “If sinners entice you – Turn your back on them!” These words found in verse 10 are followed by several statements they may use to tempt us into their schemes. They are just wetting our appetite for sin.

Verse 15 restates the instruction, “Don’t go along with them – Stay far from their paths!” This second warning is followed by the results of sinful behavior until we see in verse 17 sinners do not have the brains God gave a bird. Sinners get caught in their own trap. “They are trying to get themselves killed.”

At this point we run head-long into the stop sign of verse 19, “Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money – It robs them of life.” This is in contrast to John 10:10 where we learn Christ came that we may have life more abundantly. Stay off the path of the simpleminded! Gain wisdom, accept correction, and follow the path that leads to Life Eternal. Check the link below.

The Bible and a Belt

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Purpose and Foundation of Godly Wisdom

Proverbs 1:1-7
1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; 2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. 5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: 6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (KJV)

Solomon – Son of David – King of Israel recorded these proverbs to accomplish a three-fold purpose. 1) They are to teach wisdom to the simpleminded. 2) They are to teach discretion and discipline to the young, and 3) they are to offer understanding and insight making the wise exponentially wiser.

Everyone achieving a successful life is the goal of these teachings – Success not measured in human terms – But success fulfilling God’s plan for our lives. Speaking only for myself, “I desire a successful life – On God’s terms!” If that is your desire as well, join me in exploring and applying these proverbs to current situations in life.

The heart of Solomon’s teachings is found in verse 7 of chapter 1. The fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. (NLT)

If we are going to build successful lives we must begin with the correct foundation. Examine your life today as I examine mine. Is our version of success predicated upon reverence for God?
Is our knowledge base drawn from the well-spring of God’s Word or the cesspool of human desire?

James 3:17 “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (KJV)

The journey toward wisdom begins upon a firm foundation. We must sweep away dividing influences and focus on God’s attributes. He will open our eyes to wisdom, discipline and success.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Wisdom Matters

James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (KJV)

Common sense is becoming less and less common. Unwise decisions seem to be the trademark of this society. This trend is directly related to the removal of God from everything public. Sound judgment and righteous actions adorn the lives of those who have submitted to God’s authority. Those who do not acknowledge His authority or seek His wisdom will corrupt and defile everything they touch.

Psalm 53:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.” (KJV)

We as individuals, families, communities, states and nations are being called to seek God and His wisdom. It is found in the Bible. God’s desire for everyone is that we know Him, that we have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, and that we glorify Him with successful and disciplined lives.

The Bible has been labeled, “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” For that reason, over the next several weeks we will be exploring those instructions from the book of Proverbs.

If you are ready to ask God for TRUE wisdom, please join us as we discover God’s Wisdom Matters.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

No Sugar Added

Have you ever searched in vain to find just the right way to say something, asking yourself repeatedly, “How can this be said without sounding harsh, condescending, or just flat out rude?” I’ve struggled with that quest for a little over four weeks now and decided no matter how it is perceived I must speak.

I meet weekly with an accountability partner and the first order of business we address is The Prayer to The Holy Spirit. For all those unfamiliar with that prayer, I’ll present it here:

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in us the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and we shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may truly wise and ever enjoy your consolations. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Our goal in these weekly meetings is to recap the events of our lives and measure our successes and often our failures as Disciples of Christ. The other day, the thought struck me that Job – You know the man from the Bible who lost EVERYTHING on the same day – did not deserve the criticism he received from his “friends,” but this generation – That’s another story all together.

Job 15:11-13 11 Are God’s consolations not enough for you, words spoken gently to you? 12 Why has your heart carried you away, and why do your eyes flash, 13 so that you vent your rage against God and pour out such words from your mouth? (NIV)

For over 2,000 years we have enjoyed the blessings of liberty secured by the cross of Christ, and now the Church is trading that liberty for bondage to Political Correctness. It was for freedom that Christ set us free…freedom from sin…not freedom to sin! Job’s comforters were right judgment comes from God and the wicked will face His wrath. Is this generation cognizant enough to recognize the trouble headed their way? Is the Church willing to awaken and preach the GOOD NEWS of SALVATION?  Or, are we content to ignore the warnings?

Job 15:20-26 20 All his days the wicked man suffers torment, the ruthless man through all the years stored up for him.21 Terrifying sounds fill his ears; when all seems well, marauders attack him. 22 He despairs of escaping the realm of darkness; he is marked for the sword.  23 He wanders about for food like a vulture; he knows the day of darkness is at hand. 24 Distress and anguish fill him with terror; troubles overwhelm him, like a king poised to attack, 25 because he shakes his fist at God and vaunts himself against the Almighty, 26 defiantly charging against him with a thick, strong shield. (NIV)

There is no shield of protection if the opponent is God, and yet this generation seeks to discount, disgrace, and deny any and all Christian influence. Jesus faced the same issue. Is the Church so, blind as to think “WE” can bow to the will of men and ignore God’s Word?

Mark 3:2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. (NIV)

Wake up, repent or be damned! As my Aunt Flo says, “Get RIGHT, or get LEFT!” These are not political decisions. They are spiritual destinations – Heaven or Hell the choice is yours to make. Get right with God or be left behind – Darkness is on the rise. We can curse it or let the light of Jesus shine. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

History Matters Don’t Change it – Learn from it!

Mark 3:24-26 24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. (KJV)

History Matters Don’t Change it – Learn from it!

My last three years as a teacher in the public school system were spent teaching American History. I began each of those years with the quote: Those who refuse to learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them.

After a discussion to determine the meaning and validity of those words, I introduced the question: What makes America so great? For each of the 180+ days of the school year, seventh grade students were presented with assignments to discover for themselves the answer to that question. America and her history good, bad and often bloody does matter. History can be a wonderful teacher if we explore it with a desire to learn from it.

Today, it is shocking to me to witness the number of people who have no appreciation for the accomplishments and history of America. It is disturbing to watch as that rich history and the blessings of “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are being re-written or erased completely.

 Psalm 5:4-6  For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong; 6 you destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, Lord, detest. (NIV)

After watching the video series: How the States got Their Shape, as a final assignment I asked my students to redefine the US map and think of all the things they had learned about America the states and what makes this a great nation. I was struck to the core of my being at the results they presented.

1 Samuel 2:7 The Lord makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts. (NASB)

Each and EVERY student presented me with a US map divided in half NORTH and SOUTH. Across the northern half were written the words “Given to Canada” and across the Southern half the map read, “Given to Mexico.”

Are we as a nation writing God out of our History? Is God in return preparing to write America out of existence?