Why become wise?

Pr. 7:4:  “Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your nearest kin.”

Wisdom is a wonderful thing.  We should always be striving to become more wise.  Wisdom brings with it things like prudence, diligence, discretion, respectfulness, humility, boldness, confidence, intelligence, ability, understanding and reason.  These are definitely qualities that are wonderful for us to have in this life.  Wisdom can help us be successful in our ventures, maintain and cultivate healthy relationships, and keep us from making choices that will endanger our lives.

It’s interesting; however, that Paul told the Corinthians that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  Does that mean we shouldn’t try to become wise?  Does that mean we shouldn’t grow and learn?  Of course not!  God has gifted each of us with different talents and abilities.  Not only that, but He has given us each different capacities for learning and different interests that He has intended for us to use in pursuit of the eternal goal.

We all have something different to offer this world.  Paul reminds us that God did not call many wise or mighty people.  He has chosen the foolish and weak things to bring Him glory.  I for one am weak.  (I didn’t want to admit to being foolish.  ha!)  Truly I am weak, though, and indeed foolish in many ways.  I am not the wisest or mightiest.  Paul himself said to the Corinthians,

For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.  And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

That’s it.  He didn’t come to them in his own wisdom and power, but in God’s.  And why?  That their faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.  That’s exactly what our own weakness and foolishness can show in our lives.  When we think in worldly terms, we think of those things only as pure weakness.  Think of it the way this way, though.  When the weakest person gets up and allows God’s Spirit and power to use them in a mighty way, how much more powerful is that for us to witness?

If you know someone is barely able to walk or speak or move, but, under the power of the Spirit, they begin to shout, jump, or minister to people, is that not an amazing thing to witness?  If you hear someone who is mentally handicapped in any way begin to speak in a way that inspires and encourages and glorifies the Lord, is that not a power thing?  It is.

Our weaknesses are not weaknesses when we use them to glorify the Lord.  Yes, we should still strive for wisdom, but let it be through God’s strength as we rely on Him and His Spirit to guide us.  Let us allow Him to use us as a vessel that brings Him glory!

Foolishly,

jamie

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Clothing choices

Pr. 31:25:  “Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.”

Strength and honor are her clothing.  This is such an interesting verse to me.  I like the idea of being clothed with strength and honor.  What a beautiful attire.

I am not strong in body, but with God I can absolutely be strong in spirit.  It is the Lord that gives me strength.  It is in my weakness that the Lord perfects His strength within me.  It is the Holy Spirit that empowers and equips me.  The Lord, alone, is my strength; for nothing is impossible with Him.  No matter what this life brings, the knowledge that the Lord will never leave me nor forsake me gives me such strength that I can continue forward, in His care.

Honor can come in many ways.  When we do what we say we will do, we are being honorable: keeping promises and commitments, following through, showing up.  Telling the truth is honorable, especially if we can also understand that sometimes truth needs to be delivered in a loving and kind way.  (Sometimes the truth can hurt)  Treating others kindly and respectfully shows them honor, and thus brings honor back to ourselves.  I could go on and on.

Honor is a beautiful accessory to our wardrobes, for sure.  It is something we can ask the Lord to continue to grow in our lives.  I think it is something akin to holiness, which is never out of style.

“She will rejoice in time to come.”  When we have been wearing such beautiful things in our lives, of course when we look back over our lives we will rejoice.  What a wonderful legacy we will have been leaving behind us.  What beautiful footprints we will have laid down in which others can safely follow.  What a glorious testimony we will have given; one of glory to our God and trust in the One who gave us strength to make it through.  🙂

I can’t help but smile as I think about it.  The clothes in my closet certainly won’t bring any level of satisfaction at the end of my life, but this strength and this honor…Oh, Lord, let it be.  Help me, daily, Lord, to wear the attire that has been described in this verse.  I want to honor You above all, Father, and to bring glory to Your name.  I want to be able to show that it was by Your strength that I was able to do things that would have otherwise been impossible.  Help us all, Lord, in the matchless name of Your Son, Jesus.  Amen.

Richly clothed,

jamie

I’m #1! I’m #1!

Pr. 27:2:  “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips”

We sometimes want to brag on ourselves for a number of reasons, but man, isn’t it so much better when some random person brags on us?  It really is.  (Although I do occasionally tell people when I complete I’ve been putting off and tell them, point-blank, to be proud of me. 😛 )

I’d also rather brag on someone than to hear them go on and on about their own accomplishments.  ha!  It may surprise some of those people to hear that, but when you are doing a good job of something it usually doesn’t go unnoticed.

I was helping in a 6th-8th grade cooking class this year and there was a student that was constantly looking for ways to be helpful.  Honestly, you couldn’t have stopped her if you tried.  She went out of her way to be helpful; even staying longer than the other students to make sure everything was cleaned up.  She also had a smile on her face and was just a delight to be around.

I praised her several weeks in a row.  Then, one week, as I was drying the dishes she was washing, I asked her about her helpfulness.  She told me that her New Years Resolution for 2018 was to be more helpful.  Well, she was definitely nailing that one!  What a lovely resolution.

I was reading Eph. 5 this morning that said that we should be imitators of God.  Jesus said that He came to serve and that we should do the same.  This young lady had resolved to imitate the greatest Servant I know, and I know that I’m not the only one who noticed.  Her obedience to His Word will earn her a reward from the Father.

Jesus said, “So the last will be first, and the first last,” and “He who humbles himself will be exalted.”  (Mt. 20:16, Mt. 23:11)  Not only has she learned and chosen to humble herself, but she wasn’t shouting it from the rooftops for everyone to know.  It was only after I praised her and asked her why she was choosing to act so differently that she confided in me that she had made that resolution.

I was more than happy to praise this helpful young lady!  She had no need to brag.  I guess that’s the thing with being obedient to God’s Word.  When we are truly doing what it says, it works out just as it says it will.  Amazing, huh!?

This 8th grader can teach us a lot today.  Let’s learn from her example and start humbling ourselves the way Jesus told us to.  God will reward us, whether on this side of eternity or on the next.  You can count on it!

On the flip side, when we see someone doing just that, let’s make sure we say thanks!

jamie

Where’s the faithful man?

Pr. 20:6:  “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?”

I read a chapter in a book to my kids yesterday and, after I finished, I asked them what happened.  My daughter gave a quick answer, but my son was distracted and didn’t appear to be prepared to speak.  I asked him a question about it and, after pretending to think about the answer, he said he didn’t remember.  I asked him some specific questions about the story about things that would have stood out, and found out that he had not been listening at all…for the entire chapter!!  Grrrrr.  I was pretty frustrated.

Now what?  Was I to read the entire chapter over just for him?  Skip it and just recap it for him?  Make him read it on his own?  (It’s way above his “grade level” but that could be a good reminder for him)  Or perhaps I should just give up on that book entirely since it obviously didn’t grab his attention?  Anyway…

I was so frustrated at that moment that I decided it would be best if we moved on to another school subject.  I would decide what to do about the book later, but I was stewing on the inside.

Boy did he throw off my vibe for the day and my plans for our book reading time.  Why couldn’t he just listen?  Why didn’t I just make him sit beside me like I usually did?  So many questions.  So much stewing.  Why couldn’t he just be perfect, right?  haha!

How many times have my kids tried to talk to me and I’ve been doing something else and giving them half of my attention?  How many times have they told me all about something they’ve been working hard on in Minecraft and, while I “listened” to them enough to appease them, I couldn’t repeat it to you now if I had to because it didn’t really matter to me?

I know I’m not the only one.  We are all guilty of things like this.  When we see the faults in others, we compare their faults to our strengths.  That’s not really fair, is it?  Like this verse says, we all proclaim our own goodness, but not one of us are faithful.  Not 100%.  We are all just doing the best we can.

It’s good that we know who we are in Christ and that we have confidence in ourselves.  It’s when we start thinking ourselves better than those around us that we begin to err.  We have no business comparing ourselves with others…especially not fault to strength.  We each have our faults and we each have our strengths.  That’s why we work so well together as ‘the body’ of Christ; each having our own part to play.

Today is a new day.  My son will be sitting beside me today as we read, but my understanding cap is on and we will get through this together.

Team building,

jamie

Waging your own war

“For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.”  Pr. 24:6

I like having a safety net.

Yesterday I found my mind in worry mode.  There was no real reason it needed to be, but it was an indicator to me that I was looking to the wrong things in which to put my trust, that’s for sure.  Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  Since I wasn’t feeling that peace, I knew that I needed to set my mind on God, but I was struggling with that a bit.

Enter my wise counselors:  It was time for Bible study and prayer with my kids.  When we were talking about our prayer requests, I let them know that I was feeling worried.  They did not like that one bit.  I reminded them that I knew that I just needed to trust that God will take care of things, because He always does.  They wholeheartedly agreed.  And then they prayed for me, and the peace set in.

By building up wise counselors these few years, I have helped to wage my own war!  The Lord has given me all that I need and then some.  Not only has He given me His Word for me to depend upon and to use, but I now have wise counselors around me to add extra safety when I need it.

I am so thankful for a God who cares and provides!

Who are your wise counselors?  Where is your safety?  If you know, but you resist them, stop resisting.  God put them in your life for a reason.  If you’re not sure, then ask the Lord to show you.  He always provides for our needs.

Safe,

jamie

Turn away and live!

Pr. 4:14-15: “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil.  Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on.”

Oh, I have travelled on those paths too many times.  I want to remind us today that we are told to turn away and pass on.  There are good reasons for this.

Today happens to be the birthday of a dear friend of mine from back in high school.  Sadly, we can’t celebrate together because he passed away several years ago.

There was a night when he chose to take the wrong path.  He made some poor decisions with some friends.  Afterwards, when his judgment was impaired and his decision-making was affected, he chose to literally walk on the exact wrong path…a busy road, where he was hit and killed by a vehicle as he walked.

God’s warnings are for our protection.  He wants to protect us from the consequences of sin.  Satan always lies and tells us that there aren’t any.  He says that our decisions are our own and they won’t affect anyone else.  He convinces us that we can repent at a later time.

Friends, there may not be a later time! My friend did not have a later time.  He took the wrong path and he is gone.

Thanks to God’s grace, you and I have been given more time, another chance to turn away and pass on.  Let’s do that.  Let’s make that choice and be better off for it.  There is protection for us here and eternal life for us on the other side of this life!

In memoriam,

jamie