Abundant Wisdom

1 Timothy 2:1–4 (ESV) ~ First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

James 1:5 (ESV) ~ If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

Oh God of all wisdom,
Wisdom seems to be in short supply,
But people stepping up to the microphone are abundant.
People raise themselves up to be leaders.
People raise others up to be leaders.
But rarely is it considered: Are they wise?
Rather, what is considered are qualities that are flawed and fleeting:
Appearance
Power
Money
Intelligence
Ability to make people feel certain things
Ability to manipulate words.

But wisdom, oh wisdom, is in short supply.
Without wisdom, we can not lead Your people to fear you – to live peacefully.

Oh God, You give generously to those who ask for wisdom.
Oh God, I now ask that you may give wisdom generously to:
Our president
Lawmakers on every level
Judges
Lobbyists
Teachers
Law enforcement
Media professionals
And so on and on…

And, oh God, I ask for wisdom for myself.
May I be a wise leader:
in my family
in my church
in my community
May I strive to glorify you and be obedient.

Oh God, wisdom is indeed in short supply, but not with You. So please give generously out of Your infinite supply that we may lead peaceful lives glorifying You. I don’t ask for my glory or for my comfort but for Your glory.

Oh God of wisdom, please give generously – please give generously.

Through Jesus Christ my Lord I pray,
Amen.

Who is Your Counselor?

Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.
[Psalms 119:24 ESV]

Who is your counselor? For many, counselors are found on Facebook or Twitter or other social media forums. The counselors are celebrities and other so-called experts in whatever one is seeking “counseling”. A major event happens in the world/nation and people rush to social media to see what their favorite celebrity is saying about it, because you know, they certainly are non-bias and wise (sense the sarcasm). A tragedy happens in one’s life and they seek comfort in the finite things/people of this world.

The psalmist in Psalm 119 seeks his counseling in the Law of the Lord. He searches scripture and seeks to know the wisdom of God. A major event happens and he goes to scripture. A tragedy has taken place in his life, and he goes to scripture. Who is your counselor? I am going to fill you in on a secret. Are you ready for this?

Celebrities don’t know it all.

Don’t get me wrong, there are good things out there on social media. I mean, I’m writing this post on a social media platform. My point is, be careful who your counselors are. Make sure the source of the counsel is the Word of God. Seek GOD’S wisdom for then and only then will you find true counsel.

The Pastor -|—

One in Purpose

Father God,
You are holy and merciful.
You save us from eternal death
and place us in Your kingdom.
Our call, then, is to proclaim
the wonders of Your name
through Jesus Christ,
but Satan seeks to divide us.
May we seek reconciliation with You
and with our brothers and sisters
that we may be one.
To You be the glory
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

All I Want

Father God,
there is much that I want.
Sometimes my list looks eerily like a letter to Santa.
I want this…
I need this…
I must have this…
All things that I think will make me happy.

But none of them bring you glory.

—————————–
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” 
(Psalm 32:9)
——————————

And then I am quickly reminded of what brings You glory.
You are glorified when I seek to be instructed by You.
You are glorified when what I want is You.
You are glorified when my happiness is wrapped up in You.
You are glorified when I am satisfied in You.

And so I seek instruction from You.
I seek wisdom from You.
I seek to glorify You.

Teach me
Lead me
Show me

And therefore, all I want for Christmas is YOU,
oh God.
All I want for Christmas is YOU.

The (seeking) Pastor -|—

Mistakes

What is the best mistake you have ever made?

I can’t remember being asked a question like that before yesterday, so when it came it caught me by surprise.  I mean…it almost sounds like a contradiction ~ a good mistake?  Often times we want to put mistakes in our rear view mirror as quickly as possible and move on.  I have heard it said that we shouldn’t dwell on our mistakes.  I HAVE been told to learn from them but I have never really looked back and pondered what my “best mistake” was.

When I was asked that question I paused; looked off into the distance as if I would find something out there, and tried to recall some past mistakes.  Recalling mistakes was not the hard part, but trying to prioritize the “good ones” was difficult.  Maybe I have moved on too fast from mistakes without soaking in what I learned.  Maybe I have not connected certain learnings, skills or knowledge with past mistakes.  I am not sure what it was.  After what I deemed an uncomfortable silence I started talking about a conflict I was involved with, early in my ministry, that involved a break down in communication.  I rehashed the situation briefly and began to recall what I did wrong.  I learned through that particular situation to be more aware of what various groups in the church are doing and to be more proactive in communicating with leaders in the congregation.  I learned that I need to keep my emotions more in check and to exude a non-anxious presence during a conflict.  At the time I did not enjoy the situation but I would say that was one of my “best mistakes”.

So…what is your best mistake?

-edh

Wisdom

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written:  ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligent I will frustrate.’  Where is the wise man?  Where is the scholar?  Where is the philosopher 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 know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe…For the foolishness of God is wiser that man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-21 & 25)

When we rely on our own knowledge and wisdom we get things wrong:  We think we know how to treat people, but we don’t.  We think we know what is right for the church, but we don’t.  We think we are judging people appropriately, but we aren’t.  When we rely on our knowledge and wisdom we miss the big picture, people get hurt and we don’t see the wisdom of God.

In the grant scheme of things, knowledge is easy to acquire, but true wisdom takes time.  Wisdom takes patience and prayer.   King Solomon did not pretend to know how to rule Israel.  He did not attempt to rule Israel on his own.  Solomon did not attempt to use his own (limited) knowledge and wisdom (see 1 Kings 5) to lead people.  But Solomon, when asked by God for anything, asks for wisdom to lead.  We can learn a lot from Solomon.

We can’t pretend to know how to act in the church without faithfully listening to God.  We can’t pretend to know what is the best way to treat people without faithfully listening to God.  We can’t pretend to be “wise” without asking God for wisdom and then being faithful in listening to God.  True wisdom comes from God.  True wisdom sees people on an equal “playing field”.  True wisdom does not judge certain people better or more worthy than others.  True wisdom is humble and gracious.  True wisdom seeks reconciliation.

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

If we truly want to see and know God, we need to rely on the wisdom that only comes from God.  The foolishness of the cross is salvation…to undeserving people.  And those undeserving people are none other than YOU and ME.  So let’s us give thanks to God for his “foolishness”.  Let us seek God and ask for his wisdom.  Let praise God always and forever.  Amen.

-edh-