Tag

wisdom

It was a heated argument: “Your mind is so closed that no one could get a new thought in there even if they used a sharp wedge.” “Oh yeah,” he replied. “You’re so open-minded that your brain can’t hold anything that makes sense!”

Each of us has developed our own way of thinking about and looking at things. Solomon once said that the way we think falls between two bookmarks “Simple minded and prudent.” Being “simple minded” means anything from being overly gullible, too hot-headed, arrogant, reckless, foolish or crafty. On the other hand, some people are “prudent.”

The “simple minded” are so confused that they are willing to believe anything said by anybody at any time. Whatever they hear makes sense to them, and if it is a popular idea that most people embrace, it’s always right. They lack insight, sound judgment and clear thinking.

The “prudent person,” however, has both evil and good intentions. Evil intentions would be using one’s knowledge in a way that is sinister, shrewd, or misleading. Good intentions would be using one’s knowledge to discern the truth, understand people, know what is going on, looking for opportunities to serve others, and how to make wise decisions.

The wisdom of a prudent person comes from “giving thought to their steps,” or, what they plan to do. They carefully consider choices and consequences, weigh every option and opinion, and make their decisions on wisdom they have gained from their teachers. However, not all teachers honor God. So, the Christian must make decisions according to God’s Word.

Prayer: Lord, may we choose wisely those who we allow to influence our thoughts and guide our thinking. May we choose our teachers carefully before we trust them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps. Proverbs 14:15

“I may not always be right,” he said as though he believed it, “but I’m never wrong. Never!” Impressive!
We sat there wondering if he knew what he was saying, trying to convince himself of such insanity, or wanting to create fear in our hearts about his power. It really did not matter. All of us, including him, realized the folly of his speech.
However, there are many who believe as he believed: they are incapable of being wrong. They refuse to accept the counsel of anyone and after making a decision become even more resolute and stubborn. Solomon had something to say to people who hold that opinion of themselves: “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.”
Ultimately and finally, those who have that attitude about themselves are on a path to self-destruction. When looked at from a biblical point of view, they refuse to accept the role of sin in their lives, their need for a Savior, or the reality of God’s judgment that awaits them. Their world view is completely distorted.
The wise, however, “listen to advice.” Even though they may be embarrassed or disappointed when someone who loves them corrects them, or points out a “flaw,” they know that it is for their good. Those who listen to the advice or counsel of someone with spiritual insight and wisdom will be rewarded. Listening to and accepting the advice of our “elders in Christ” is the “wise” thing to do before making any decision.
Prayer: Lord, break the hardness of our hearts when we think we “know it all.” Lead us to those who are spiritually mature, love You deeply, and are biblically wise. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” Proverbs 12:15

“You know,” he said stroking his beard, “I have a problem learning from my past sins.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. “Most people say they learn from previous experiences - including sins.”

“Well,” he said with confidence, “I can prove them all wrong.”

“How can you do that?” I asked. 

“Well,” he said, stroking his beard once again. “It’s easy. Have you ever committed the same sin twice?”

“Unfortunately, I have,” I replied. 

And before I could explain what I was talking about, he said with great confidence, “I rest my case.”

Repeating the same sin more than once is common in the lives of many Christians. Others often lose sight of what living the Christian life is all about and are not even aware of their sins. Some become careless about their responsibility to live in obedience to God’s laws and are unconcerned about their lifestyle. We forget that we are accountable to God for everything we have and do. Perhaps it would be helpful if we took some time to do an inventory of the sins we know we frequently commit. To reflect on our past and its problems may keep us close to God and avoid repeating our sins!

The children of Israel had this problem. Listen to the Psalmist: “But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel.” If we focus on the great things God has done for us, and if we seek His counsel and wait for His guidance, we can avoid repeating our sins.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for the great things you have done for us! We want to live a life that honors You and is free from sin. May we look to You for Your power to resist temptation and falling into sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel. Psalm 106:13  

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A man was found dead next to a dumpster. As they looked in his pockets for his identification, they discovered several checks. When totaled, they were worth more than a thousand dollars. But, they did him no good. He never cashed them to receive their value.
As we read God’s Word, we find promise after promise – all having value to the believer when “cashed in.” But as with the checks of the dead man, they must be “turned into cash” to have any value. We must go to God and claim His promises to meet our needs.
James said that God “does not resent your asking. But when you ask Him, be sure you really expect Him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea?”
There are times when it is easier to believe in God than it is to believe in the fact that he deeply cares for each of us and our every need. Surely, if He is bound by His Word – and He is - we can go to Him “in faith believing.” We must always remember that nothing is so small that it escapes His concern, or that any problem is so large that He cannot solve it.
We limit God by the limitations we place on Him. The problems we have with our faith are our problems – not God’s. “Whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you,” said Jesus.Prayer:Give us a faith, Father, that is larger than our problems and a trust that matches Your power. Help us to grow in Your faith and not remain in our doubts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: James 1:1-8 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.
Imagine seeds with no soil. Or, fish without water. A body with no bones. The sun with no orbit. Lungs without oxygen.
“What insanity!” would be a natural response. It’s not the way things are. They fall into place naturally: Soil before seeds, water before fish, bones to support flesh, a path for the sun to follow, and oxygen to fill lungs. They reflect planning, and planning is a result of wisdom.
The story of creation in Scripture reflects wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. The universe unveils a very carefully designed plan that is controlled, orderly, predictable and dependable. Nothing is random. Yes, we have “unexpected events” but they pass, and life continues. Things may be different from what they once were, but the “rules” that govern the universe are still in place and always will be.
Everywhere we look we see God’s wisdom. And, when you think of it, wisdom existed before creation. This wisdom is actually “something God is!” It is the wisdom of God that guided creation. It is the wisdom of God that actively “keeps things together.” And it is this same wisdom that originates in God that will guide us and guard us and give us peace in life if we agree to live by His rules.
It is almost inconceivable to believe that the One who created all things, is in all things and sustains all things, would even consider sharing His wisdom with us! It’s His to keep!
Although His wisdom is available, it is conditional. If we want it, we must live an obedient, trusting life in keeping with His Word. Then, He will open the door to His wisdom and bless us.
Prayer: Lord, how marvelous are Your ways. Open our hearts to see “what can be” if we trust in Your wisdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 3:19-20 By wisdom the Lord founded the earth; by understanding he created the heavens. By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth, and the dew settles beneath the night sky. 
Embrace is a word that is filled with deep, loving memories for most of us. Others perhaps have never felt the intensity of love through the arms of a parent or spouse, a child or a friend. It implies hugs and squeezes; arms wrapped tightly around someone we truly care for and are a special part of our life. It can also be compared to holding on to an object for dear life - fearing that if we let go, we’ll be lost forever.
When we travel back to Genesis, we are introduced to the Garden of Eden and “the tree of life.” It appears throughout Scripture. Even in Revelation we read of new heavens and the new earth. It is a symbol of a long and fruitful, productive and an especially “blessed” or happy life.
“She (wisdom),” wrote Solomon, “is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who hold on to her will be blessed.” If we embrace wisdom, we have the assurance - or promise - of being blessed as a result of our efforts.
Unfortunately, there is no assurance or promise of the blessing. Blessings from God, according to His Word, do not come automatically. The “tree of life” is stationary and if we want its blessings, we must go to the tree and embrace the tree. We have the responsibility to go to the tree: the tree will not come to us.
So it is with God’s wisdom. If we want it, we must go to it and embrace it and cling to it as though we were clinging to a raft in a raging sea about to be swept to our death.
God’s wisdom is available. But we must seek it and embrace it.
Prayer: Lord, through Your love You make Your wisdom available to guide us and guard us. The decision to accept, however, is ours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 3:18 She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who hold on to her will be blessed. 
“Peace and pleasant paths sound boring,” some would say. “Life needs to be exciting, exhilarating, and certainly filled with many different events that are challenging and consuming.”
But, is there something more for us to understand? Certainly.
One of my dear friends sponsors an Indianapolis race car. Another played professional soccer for years. Then, there is “Greg the Sheriff” whose life is filled with sirens and radio alerts with calls to immediate action and life impacting decisions. Another is a pediatric anesthesiologist, who with one very slight miscalculation, would bear the results of that mistake into eternity.
There is one common denominator among all of them: a reassuring pleasantness that confirms their walk with God and their trust in His wisdom. Walking in the “ways of Godly wisdom” unites their “inner and outer man” and their lives become filled with joy and happiness, peace and satisfaction. In the midst of trouble and turmoil they all have gracious, delightful, enjoyable dispositions and being in their company brings blessings because they walk with God.
Do they have moments that challenge and threaten their “pleasant, peaceful attitudes?” Of course. But, in the midst of those moments, their confidence is not changed nor do their skills become impaired. Why? Because of a peace that comes from God.
The word for “peace” is shalom. It is not a peace that eliminates or ends turmoil and turbulence in their lives. Instead, it is a peace that comes from being satisfied with doing God’s will, being grateful for His gifts, following and trusting His wisdom and worshiping Him.
Prayer: Lord, give us Your shalom! Fill our hearts with Your wisdom and our minds with determination to obey Your teachings. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 3:17 She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying.
Whenever I hear the word “gain,” I think it is related to “weight,” especially my weight. There are very few mornings that I do not step on the scale to get my “daily report” on what I ate yesterday. Most nutritionists do not recommend such a program. But, my hope to see the arrow pointing downward remains steadfast.
A gain or increase can be good or bad, exciting or depressing, encouraging or discouraging, depending on what the gain refers to. If we depend on the stock market, a gain can be a good thing. But, if we see a gain in our debt, it can be disturbing. Our gains or losses, for the most part, are usually in the physical or material realm.
Solomon speaks of a particular type of “gain” - of being able to achieve some “things” that will last as long as we live. These “gains,” these valuable lessons are available and offered to us in Proverbs. Our “attaining” more of God’s wisdom, or “life gains” is very important for all Christians because we are constantly challenged to “grow” throughout Scripture, and Proverbs provides this path for us if we want to grow.
The word used for “wisdom” in this verse also means skillfulness - applying knowledge that comes from God to our lives every day. If we do so, we will “do the right things the right way.”
When we go one step further, we come to the fact that it is possible to develop decision-making skills that are God-honoring and enable us to establish life-principals that will bring us success. God’s proverbs can guide us through life, help us in our relationships with others, lead to good practices in business, enrich our homes, and bless God and others.
Prayer: Lord, You've left us “no excuses” on how we are to live life if we are Christians. Thanks for the directions on how to live a successful life! Now, give us courage! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 1:2 For gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight. 
Can we put a price on wisdom?
We do that with property and stocks, technology and education. It seems that everything in our world has some value to someone. Some things are more valuable than other things. And almost everything is worth something to someone.
Solomon had just about everything anyone could want. Perhaps, he was simply thinking about “things” one day and gave some great advice: “You know what?” he said. “Get wisdom!” Why? Because wisdom is more profitable than silver, it yields better returns than gold and is more precious than rubies. Nothing compares to it, because it leads to a long and peaceful life, riches, honor and pleasant paths. Oh, those who embrace wisdom will be blessed.
What a return on a simple investment! When we invest in the things of this world, we have no assurance that we will ever see their value grow. Often, the opposite happens. And, if our investments exceed our expectations, what will we gain in the end? Will it include any of the benefits or gifts that Solomon describes? Or, who can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that any of the “things” the world has to offer will bring any happiness?
Years ago I had a friend who advised me: “Larry, you always know how wise a man is by whose advice he listens to and follows.” I discovered he was and is right.
God, through Solomon, gave us “great advice.” Over the years it has proven to be accurate, trustworthy and reliable. To follow it has endless rewards!
Prayer: Lord, there is no better investment, if we want eternal returns, than to pursue Your wisdom and ways. Give us Your strength to do this. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 3:14 For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold.
Can we put a price on wisdom?
We do that with property and stocks, technology and education. It seems that everything in our world has some value to someone. Some things are more valuable than other things. And almost everything is worth something to someone.
Solomon had just about everything anyone could want. Perhaps, he was simply thinking about “things” one day and gave some great advice: “You know what?” he said. “Get wisdom!” Why? Because wisdom is more profitable than silver, it yields better returns than gold and is more precious than rubies. Nothing compares to it, because it leads to a long and peaceful life, riches, honor and pleasant paths. Oh, those who embrace wisdom will be blessed.
What a return on a simple investment! When we invest in the things of this world, we have no assurance that we will ever see their value grow. Often, the opposite happens. And, if our investments exceed our expectations, what will we gain in the end? Will it include any of the benefits or gifts that Solomon describes? Or, who can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that any of the “things” the world has to offer will bring any happiness?
Years ago I had a friend who advised me: “Larry, you always know how wise a man is by whose advice he listens to and follows.” I discovered he was and is right.
God, through Solomon, gave us “great advice.” Over the years it has proven to be accurate, trustworthy and reliable. To follow it has endless rewards!
Prayer: Lord, there is no better investment, if we want eternal returns, than to pursue Your wisdom and ways. Give us Your strength to do this. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 3:14 For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold.
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