Posts Tagged ‘ Wisdom ’

Reliving Responses to Christmas: God’s Parents

Back in the first year of this blog, I did a short Christmas series, beginning with this post.
Shall we relive the memories? Okay!


It is time for a special series … THIS WEEK ONLY!

Yeah, I kind of gave into some of the materialistic hype. This special is only available the week leading up to this Christmas.

I have a seen a few similar series going around, but mine is better because … uhhh … I am doing it this week? This series is about how people responded to the birth of Jesus.

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
Luke 1:26-38

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Matthew 1:18-25

God clearly chose these two to raise the boy Jesus for a reason. Other than being descendants of David, they also were kinda righteous, as humans go.

Take Mary:

  1. She was presented with something impossible: pregnancy without … the fun part. Her reaction to hearing this: “Help me understand how this is possible!”
  2. With a response that would make most humans say “Yeah, okay. Whatever that means!” she replies “I do not really get it, but I will follow You and see what amazing things you can do!”

Now Joseph:

  1. His first response to the unknown was to protect the girl he loved yet bow out gracefully. He wanted to protect himself (not bad) and the girl who apparently had been unfaithful, someone who apparently had sinned rather egregiously. He was a pretty cool dude, man!
  2. He has a dream telling him that the baby will be God and save people from their sins, therefore he should still marry Mary. Based on that dream, he complies. This is really all we know about Joseph (other than he and Mary forgot Jesus at the age of 12, and he also looked for Him). Personally, I see there is more than enough information here to understand his character: awesome!

What can we learn from these two?

  1. It is okay to have doubts, provided you are willing to listen to God (or His messengers).
  2. It is okay to question God, provided you are honestly seeking answers and not trying to justify yourself or simply asking rhetorically from disbelief.
  3. Sometimes, perhaps many or most times, we will not fully understand (if at all) what God is doing, but that is okay provided we continue to follow His leading.
  4. Enduring something inconvenient can lead to amazing blessings!

What about you? When you have doubts do you listen for God’s leading? Do you ask God any of the who, what, when, where, why, or how questions expecting a reply and being open to the answer? Are you willing to move forward in your confusion and lack of understanding? Do you trust God? If you do, amazing blessings await. To be fair, the blessings may not appear until eternity, but a lifetime of worries and pain is worth an eternity of peace and joy. (Think of a road trip someplace, like Disneyland or to family you have not seen in a while. It may be uncomfortable getting there, but the joy and experience of getting there almost help you forget it or even make it worth it.)

Counting On (Daylight Savings) Time

Alrighty, everyone!

If you are not in Hawaii or Arizona (where I am!) – or a few small pockets – then you are waking up to Daylight Savings Time adjusting your clocks back an hour!

Now, if you are grumbling about being an hour early for church, here is some advice:

Do all things without grumbling or disputing …
Philippians 2:14 (ESV)

If there is any silver lining to DST beginning and ending every 6 months-ish, it is that it serves as a reminder to live out another biblical teaching:

So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 (ESV)

Happy Sunday!

Go worship God in word, deed, and thought!

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 02/22/2015

(This is showing up late, because I put in the wrong date in the scheduler!)

Find the hidden easter egg of wisdom, and get some clues at Proverbial Thought!

One thing I really enjoy about some movies and television shows is the idea of easter eggs, those little things hidden in the story and imagery that may not be noticed the first time through. (An example of this is how the pizza delivery truck from Toy Story can be found somehow in all of Pixar’s movies.)

There are easter eggs in life, too. I do not mean those plasticky ovoids full of candy, nor eggs dyed in fun colors. Rather, those interesting things we find that bring joy and happiness to our lives.

What is the greatest easter egg? (You may know where I am going with this …)

Does not wisdom call?
    Does not understanding raise her voice?
On the heights beside the way,
    at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside the gates in front of the town,
    at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:
“To you, O men, I call,
    and my cry is to the children of man.

I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me diligently find me.

For whoever finds me finds life
    and obtains favor from the Lord …
Proverbs 8:1-4, 17, 35, ESV

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. . . . And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:22-24, 30-31

 

easter eggs

our lives are like easter egg hunts

we spend our time looking for truth

every so often we find something

that our spirits will just cling to

pieces of God that we hold on to

trying to get Him to seem real

but are we missing the whole picture

are we missing out on a bigger deal

what if we are the easter eggs

that even in all of our searching

we were the objects being sought

we are desired by Jesus the King

in all of our looking around

we miss that He was looking first

that we were created for Him

and that is why He came to earth

we can keep on searching for truth

for we will not fail to find it

when we realize He is the Truth

and the real reason we exist

and He started His search for us

from back in eternity past

desiring fellowship with us

and that is all that He asks

April …

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

For this April Fool’s Day, I offer no pranks or jokes, only this: Psalm 14 (and Proverbs 1:7) (ESV)

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
    there is none who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
    to see if there are any who understand,
    who seek after God.

They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
    there is none who does good,
    not even one.

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
    who eat up my people as they eat bread
    and do not call upon the Lord?

There they are in great terror,
    for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would shame the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is his refuge.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
    When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
    let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

And the answer:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Okay, so I offered one joke: because here one more passage with the ultimate answer! As found in 1 Corinthians 1:

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

America, Taxes, and Choices

Tomorrow is July 4. In honor of the day, HAPPY 236TH BIRTHDAY, USA!

It also seems appropriate to gear my post toward current events in this nation. Let first warn that this is merely a very short summary, not a specific and detailed explanation. This is also not an attack on one political party or support for another (but it sure will seem like it). I merely am using an example. (Though it is no secret I do not care for Obama as POTUS)

This past Thursday, June 28, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) voted 5-4 in favor of upholding the Affordable Care Act (affectionately named Obamacare), with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority summary.

To sum up the basics:

  • everyone is guaranteed health coverage;
  • all people must have health insurance;
  • if you do not have health insurance, you are fined every year.

The Obama Administration, including Obama himself, said this Act was not a new tax.

This claim caused conservatives to decry the Obamacare as a violation of the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, which allows the Federal government to regulate commerce but not to force citizens to use one specific good or service.

Most people (including the Obama Administration) thought the conservative leaning SCOTUS would strike down Obamacare based on this Act. Instead, they upheld the law as a tax.

The Administration praised the decision.

Conservatives and many Americans were very upset and felt betrayed.

At least one conservative praised the decision.

Erick Erickson wrote an article titled I’m Not Down on John Roberts. He argues why Roberts did the right thing:

  1. He kept the court above partisan politics;
  2. He kept the Law political instead of legal (stemming from reason 1);
  3. He “expanded” taxation powers, but he limited the Commerce Clause powers of Congress;
  4. The Democrats (and anyone else who supported Obamacare) are now fighting an uphill battle in an election year, especially seeing as a new giant tax was levied against everyone;
  5. He took away the Democratic Party’s recent argument that Obama needs to be re-elected to remove conservative activist judges;
  6. He galvanized Conservatives.

As Erickson put it here, “I am disappointed, but not distraught. In reading his opinion, I conclude Roberts is playing at a different game than the rest of us. We’re on poker. He’s on chess.”

Why do I share this on a blog about theology and Christian living?

First is this: “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.” (Proverbs 8:5, NIV)

Clearly, both Democrats and Republicans, Conservatives and Liberals, the Left and Right do not understand justice. Both cry for it, but neither understands it. Both have hoped for courts to save their laws or deny the laws of their opponents (Remember SB1070 of Arizona or Prop 8 of California).

Both sides have resorted to sneak attacks and scape goats, letting others take the fall for their underhanded practices, while barely actually representing those who have elected them.

Secondly: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16, NIV)

I do not completely agree with Chief Justice Roberts, but he did make a very wise play from a conservative standpoint. When he made his decision to uphold Obamacare as a tax, he refused to play by the rules set up for him in the recent political climate. He still played by the rules of politics, but he put the responsibility for change back into the hands of the people. In his words:

Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect people from the consequences of their political choices. (Emphasis added)

Which leads to the final point: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7, NIV)

Our nation is in the position it is in not just because of our elected leaders. For far too long the citizens of the United States of America have by and large voted in reaction to policies and people. Most people do not look into politicians histories or voting records. Most people do not look into facts as presented.

Most voters vote on how they feel or how a politician makes them feel.

No wonder our nation (and many nations globally) are so torn and divisive.

I am not telling you for whom you should vote. Instead, you should not play the fool but know what politicians are saying, how they stand, and how they have acted.

Pay attention to the details. Do not just react to what you think you know or what makes you angry, upset, or happy. To do so can lead to consequences you may not like.

Seek God. Make wise decisions.

Undelightful Fools

Last week I offered some commentary on some of the turmoil caused over the Trayvon Martin shooting. The truth is that, while a lot of what I said was looking at Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, it was about so much more. Honestly, those two demonstrate symptoms of underlying currents of various other problems in this nation.

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Romans 1:28-32

This is a story about our world, our nation … me.

I readily admit that, even though I may be quite amazing, I am really messed up without Christ.

I first believed in Jesus Christ as Lord in 2000. I had a lot of ups and downs in my walk with Christ. In 2003, I met a young woman. Our relationship also had a lot of ups and downs. I let her get between me and God. I let me get between me and God.

I became worse than I was before I first believed.

I made a lot of bad choices during this time: in my relationships, at work, with church.

I became a gossip.

I would share stories with more or less actual relation to reality than the true events.

I would cheat and steal.

I even considered cheating on that young woman on a few occasions.

I even considered suicide once.

I became cool, but people began liking me less. I became the life of the party, but I began caring less about people. I was a great listener, but I gave myself over to all sorts of the things listed in the passage above. I actually led people away from God and celebrated very sinful things.

I was just like most of our world.

Look around. Are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton the problem with our nation?

They get attention, because we willingly give it to them. We listen to people who cause more division than peace, because (though we may not always admit it) we enjoy the division.

It makes for great stories. We get to feel involved. We get to know the dirt on others. We get to share our opinions.

We like to entertain ourselves. We like to feel important. We like to have power. We like people paying attention to us.

Al and Jesse are not the problem. The problem is that the Church has not done what it should.

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:1-5

We are all called to seek and save the lost (see Matthew 28:18-20) and lift each other up in the Lord.

The problem is not Al and Jesse. It is not people killing each other. It is not people saying and doing horrible things to each other (or not doing good things, even).

The problem is I want to be the one in charge. We each want to be God. We each want to run the Church.

How about we let God do that?

The Fool’s Delight

This last week a friend of mine blogged about some of the silliness surrounding the Trayvon Martin killing, and I re-blogged it over here. Today, I look into it further.

An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment.

A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.
Proverbs 18:1-2

I often wonder if men such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton knew they would become such media lightning rods when they began public speaking. I like giving the benefit of the doubt that they truly began as individuals seeking equality and peace.

However, it would appear that, as it is said, “power corrupts.”

These are men who seem to enjoy the spotlight more than true justice to the point that they say some truly foolish things.

These are men who seem to enjoy saying what they think both before and after they understand what may be happening.

What is worse is that they are ordained ministers. They are ones who are to fight for peace and equality, yet we get statements that sound more like race-bating than many of the situations of which they speak.

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
James 3:13-4:1

Men such as these are not following God. They delight in themselves and this world.

Pray you will not follow this path. Pray for the wisdom of God, that He will direct your heart. (And here is a reminder to go read Proverbial Thought and what the amazing contributors have to say. I am still amazed I am allowed to write with these amazing people!)

Pray for these men, as well, that they will truly seek God and become men of peace.