Smart knowledge and wisdom

My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2     turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,
3     and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4     and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5     then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6     For the Lord gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7     He holds victory in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8     for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
[Proverbs 2:1-8]
Technology has made it possible to access knowledge, facts, trivia and data in the blink of an eye.  Simply ask Siri (iPhone) or go to Google and they will tell you what you need to know.  If my wife and I are out and about and we come up against a question we don’t have an answer for my wife says to me, “quick, poke your phone“; like I am the keeper of all knowledge and information. Sometimes I get a big head about this until I realize that I am really not that smart…just my phone is.
But even though I may not be the keeper of all knowledge and information I do have access to it.  No…not my trustworthy smart phone but rather scripture (which I happen to have on my smart phone).  Anyway….the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Granted…the Bible is not going to tell me how much the world weighs or how much plankton a whale eats (like I really need to know that), but the Bible will tell me what I truly need to know:
The Bible tells me I am a sinner and how God has redeemed me through Jesus.
The Bible tells me how I am forgiven when I confess my sins.
The Bible tells me how I am to treat others.
The Bible tells me that I can have hope in the midst of trials.
The Bible tells me…
If we are not seeking God for information and wisdom we are missing the boat.  Knowledge and wisdom gained through this world is fleeting but that which comes from God is eternal.  That’s why I love going through the Proverbs often.  There is so much in there that is very practical; advice that is timeless.  One would think that some wise sage from this time and place wrote them., but that is not the case.  This is wisdom that comes from God.
“Poke your phone” if you need some information but go to God for true wisdom and knowledge.  Be fed through scripture and prayer.  Be nourished by the Gospel.  Find life through Jesus.
Seek the Lord and live!
edh -|—

Fear and Fools

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
[Proverbs 1:7]

Those who fear God; have a reverent awe of God, desire to know more about God AND to know God.  They desire to know who this God is that would go to such lengths to save them and desire to have a close relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.   The fear of God does not cause one to run away but to run to.  And their running to is the path of Life; a running they do through faith in Jesus.  They realize, though, it does have it’s challenges, but they know Jesus is with them on their path.  Fearing the Lord leads one to know all they need to know:  Jesus.

Fools on the other hand desire to simply wallow in their own waste and filth (A gross metaphor but it works).  They have no desire to know Life.  They have no desire to grow and be challenged.  Fools walk a path of destruction as they rely on their own feeble “strength” and “knowledge” (something that can not even be compared to God) to get through the day.  Fools have no regard for the Law of God.  They don’t meditate on or learn God’s Law.  They have no regard in knowing how God commands people to live.  For a fool, the Law is simply a list of suggestions;  something to follow if it serves them and doesn’t interfere too much with their life.

In what category do you find yourself?
Fear the Lord and don’t embrace your waste and filth.

edh -|—

Destruction and rewards

I came across this verse in my morning Bible reading today and it caught my attention:

Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.
(Proverbs 13:13, ESV)

One can never go wrong by maintaining a discipline of daily Bible reading and prayer.  I have been thoroughly blessed by God through reading God’s Word each and every day.  But don’t get me wrong:
–It doesn’t keep me from pain and suffering.
–It hasn’t shown me the secret location of a pot of gold.
–It hasn’t increased my territory.
–It doesn’t give me special protection.
–It hasn’t straightened out my checkbook.
–It hasn’t done the things that the world wants to happen.

But rather…what does God’s Word do (at least for me):
–Gives me a peace like the world can not give.
–Reminds me of what God continues to do for me.
–Show me stories of God’s amazing faithfulness despite our sin.
–I feel a joy that goes beyond happiness.
–I have felt more bold in my witness.
–I have hope within this messed up world.
–It gives me guidance in my roles as pastor, husband, friend, leader, etc.

I have indeed felt rewarded…not because of MY effort in maintaining this discipline but because GOD is faithful.  This is God’s doing, not mine.  I don’t celebrate my effort.

The temptation is to think that if you are more faithful in your spiritual disciplines that God will bless you because you’re being more faithful, but it just doesn’t work that way.  We are “rewarded” because it is the nature of God’s Word.  You aren’t rewarded because of YOUR strict discipline of eating fruits and vegetables but because that is just what they do…it’s their nature to be good for you despite the kind of person you are.

The “reward” of God’s Word is there, you just need to open your eyes to what God has done FOR YOU through Jesus Christ.

The “destruction” that comes into play when we stray from God’s Word is:
–Focus on our strength ~ which is never strong enough.
–Looking to the world for happiness ~ which is always fleeting.
–Our outlook on life extends only as far as THIS life will bring you ~ death.
–Hopelessness when times get tough.

So go to God’s Word for GOD is faithful!  Seek God and He WILL be found.  Dwell in God’s presence for that is pure joy.

Hallelujah and Amen!

edh -|—

God vs. Man

Proverbs 29:25 says “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”

Brings up an interesting question, doesn’t it?  Who do we fear more ~ God or man?  Who’s opinion do we care about more~ God’s or man’s?  Who do we try to please more~ God or man?  Who’s direction do we follow more~ God’s or man’s?

I can’t help but think (and confess) that I fall into the trap of trying to please people in my life more than God.  It is almost like I am more afraid of their judgment of me more than God’s.  Maybe it is because man’s judgment of us is more immediate in some ways.  Maybe it is because we choose to give people in our lives more power than they should have so we feel the need to listen to them and consider seriously what they say.  Sometimes we are afraid of letting people down.  Sometimes we consider their experience and knowledge more valuable than God’s.

But Proverbs tells us that it is not wise to rely on (or fear) man over God.  People in this life may want the best for us but they do not see the whole picture ~ God does.  People in this life may think they are wise, but that wisdom is foolishness compared to God.  People in this life have their agendas but God’s plan is perfect.  Some people in this life want to have power over us but God is the one in control.

I am not saying that we ignore people in our lives.  God does work through people in this world to accomplish His purposes.  The issue at hand is this:  Who do we fear more?  Basically…when a major decision is upon us we need to seek out God first and try to determine what GOD wants us to do.  Maybe that is through other people, but in the end, the fear of God is what leads to wisdom.  The fear of man is nothing more than a snare.

[I just love it when God is this timely with what I am reading in scripture 🙂  God is indeed faithful.]

Praise be to God and Amen!

-edh-

Proverbs 28:5

The text that caught my attention this morning was Proverbs 28:5.  Here’s what it says:

“Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.”

One of the reasons I am reading scripture is this verse.  The fact of the matter is that I am an evildoer; a sinner.

We all are.

And the only way I can come to a true understanding of right and wrong is through seeking out God.  I have my own version of right and wrong but it often conflicts with God ~ so I need to seek out God and learn from Him.

God is the one who sets me straight.
God is the one who convicts me.
God is the one to teaches me.
God is the one who guides me.
God is the one who LOVES me.

I need God’s direction and wisdom ~ we all do.  Seek God out and learn His ways.  Don’t try to speculate rather hear it from the Authority ~ the Creator of the universe who is madly in love with you.

-edh-

Reading through the Bible

A couple months ago I started a reading program that will take me through the Bible in a year.  I have started programs like this before but have always gotten behind…and eventually stopped because I got so far behind.  But so far I am still going strong.  I begin each morning by reading my “assigned” texts on my Droidx smartphone and then I post a verse or two to Facebook; verse(s) that have caught my attention.  But when I have done that I usually don’t make any comments about those verse(s); no explanation of why they caught my attention.  My plan here is to offer a few words on this blog of why those texts hit me on a particular day.  I might not post something everyday but I do plan to use this as a spiritual discipline in helping me engage scripture more deeply.

But before I begin this particular spiritual discipline I want to say a couple words about the spiritual discipline of scripture reading.  I know there are many of you out there that read scripture daily (or often).  But I also know there are many out there that don’t.  Allow me to encourage you today to either continue or to begin.

Each day when I read my 4 to 5 chapters I always (and I mean always) encounter something meaningful.  God uses those morning moments to speak to me.  Each morning a particular verse grabs my heart and it becomes clear that I need to share it.  This morning it was Proverbs 25:21-22 which reads as follows:

“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”

Even though there is a “burning coals” aspect of this text in relation to my “enemies” I still find this text challenging.  It is usually easier to turn away from your enemies and ignore their plight.  It is tempting to think that helping one’s enemies is a sign of weakness.  But in the eyes of God it is not weakness but rather strength and a sign of the love of God in your life.  It puts God in control.  How your enemies react to your kindness is not your problem.  This text challenges me, not just today, but everyday.  But even so I am glad God hit me with this today.  And I hope God strengthens me to show this kind of awesome love to all.

So…you don’t read scripture?  Get to it.  God is waiting to share some incredible truths with you as well.

Praise be to God!

-edh-