Learning even more

Pr. 9:9:  “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” 

So, the reason I’ve been MIA for a few days is that I fractured my tibial plateau on Tuesday night.  (the top of my shin bone)  Everything has been taking 3 times as long to do, so I’m just starting to adjust.

For the next 6 weeks I cannot put Any weight on my leg.  Here on day 3 (only 5 weeks and 4 days to go!!), I am noticing something beautiful taking place.  Although I have casually taught my children how to do laundry, sweep, etc., they are now going to get a deeper experience with it as they help out around the house.

This morning my son not only cleaned up his mess, but put everything exactly where it should be without me reminding him to do so.

My children are wise.  They know how to do quite a bit.  What I am witnessing and realizing now, however, is that by the end of this 6 weeks, they will be much wiser and much more capable of taking care of themselves and our house.  They are going to grow in ways they otherwise would not have.

This is how it is with the Lord.  No matter how much we know about the Lord, His word, and His precepts, the more we dig and study the more we will learn.  His wisdom will continue to fill us throughout our lives.  When we are willing to be taught, we will continue to learn.

Maybe we have read the parable of the wicked vinedressers 84 times.  We may have read the book of Galatians through every few months for the last 20 years of our lives.  There may be times when we find ourselves mindlessly speed-reading through them, but the truth is…we can always learn more from the Word of God.  Because His Word does not return to Him void, there is always something to glean from it.

If we find ourselves casually reading the Word, we can ask the Lord to help us give a deeper experience by taking more responsibility upon ourselves for what we’re learning.  Perhaps we need to find someone who needs to be instructed.  That may cause us to look for more wisdom as we read.  Things we never noticed in those scriptures will suddenly have new meaning.

Maybe there is some kind of ministry for which we need to become responsible.  Learning God’s word to ensure we are filled with Him in order to pour Him out onto others will cause our study time to become more intentional.

Maybe our light has just grown a bit dim.  Reading with the goal of raising the wattage in our light that shines for Him may help us to take on a bit more responsibility with our study time.

Like my kids, maybe it’s the time in our lives when we need to learn more, dig deeper, and grow in ways we didn’t realize we were ready for.  Perhaps now is the time when God has something even more for you…and for me.

Growing with you,

jamie

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Feeding the hungry

Pr. 10:21:  “The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of wisdom.”

This verse instantly makes me think about my Pastor.  Give or take a few services, he feeds thousands of God’s sheep in the pews 144 times each year.  Not only that, but he ensures that we are being fed during the other services, equips us with daily devotions, sends out blogs almost daily for extra nourishment; and for 40 extra days each year, at his urging, we gather as a church for very personal and intentional time with the Lord.

Certainly, our Pastor disburses to us the Bread of Life and the Living Water on a continual basis.  Anyone who is truly hungry or thirsty for eternal things, and encounters our Pastor, will find provisions awaiting them there.

How does our Pastor feed so many?  I think part of it can be summed up in a declaration he made several years ago.  He declared that Jesus is the true Pastor/Shepherd of our church and our earthly Pastor is merely the servant charged with carrying out God’s will in our midst.  He has submitted his life and his will to the Lord Jesus Christ, and as a result, the Bread of Life literally moves throughout our midst without hindrance.

He also diligently studies the Word of God.  His study of the Word is intensive and intentional, and his eyes are continually opened in new ways to “old” verses and passages.  He is open to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit in not only his life, but in his studies.

He is also unafraid to ask listen to and ask questions of others around him with regard to scriptures.  He truly wants to know what others have gleaned from the scriptures and is constantly seeking more from God.

I read Luke 2:46 today which says, “Now so it was after three days they found Him [Jesus] in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.”

This is a wonderful example that Jesus set for us.  Vs. 47 says, “And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.”  When we get into the presence of God, when we diligently seek Him in the temple, when we ask questions of and listen to those who are laboriously in the Word, and when we seek answers in His Word, we find understanding and answers.

This Proverb says that fools die for lack of wisdom.  When it comes to learning more of God, we cannot afford to be headstrong, proud, hardened, or unteachable.  We must be willing to submit to Him in order for Him to reveal Himself more and more to us.  We must be willing to consider the teachings of those whose job it is to dig into the Word, find the answers, and guide us through that understanding.

Most importantly, though, we must know the Word and be willing to be led by the Holy Spirit, so that we may, in turn, begin to feed those around us.  People around us are hungry for the Bread of Life, and thirsty for Living Water.  Sometimes it is up to us to release those things to them.  We must feed some people ourselves, but we must have something to offer.  We can’t leave it all up to 1 Pastor.

Dig in so you can dish it out!

jamie

Consider who is instructing you

Pr. 22:19:  “So that your trust your trust may be in the Lord, I have instructed you today, even you.”

Years ago I was hooked on a show about clothes and makeovers.  It was pretty inspiring, and funny, to boot.  I eventually noticed that I was overly worried about the clothes, or lack of clothes, in my closet and I quit watching the show.  I am now content again with the blessings God has given me.

Any subject in which you invest your time instructs you, and draws your focus.  When I watch cooking shows a lot, I think about food and cooking a lot of the time.  When I research health and wellness, my thoughts tend to revolve around those things.  When I listen to music, my thoughts begin to be influenced by the words and ideas that I hear.  I must be careful what I allow to instruct me.

Have you considered the purpose of those things you are allowing to instruct you?  Whatever I immerse myself in becomes something on which I focus and I notice my thoughts returning to them over and over.  I find the same to be true of the Word.  When I immerse myself in the Word of God, my thoughts remain focused on the Lord, on His promises, on His commands, on His wisdom, and on His faithfulness.  The Word runs through my mind throughout the day and I see applications of the Word in my daily life.

In whom or in what do you want to place your trust?  This verse tells us that the instructions are given so that our trust may be in the Lord.  If you want your trust to be fully in the Lord, then you must continually be instructed by Him.

When I was watching the show about clothes so often, I began to lose confidence.  Why is that?  I dare say I was being instructed to trust in clothing, money, and outward appearances.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with dressing nicely or buying nice things, but I noticed within myself the feelings of discontent that indicated to me that I was beginning to trust in something that can just be thrown away.

God’s faithfulness endures forever.  He is the same God yesterday, today, and forevermore.  If we are going to receive instruction, I think it wise that it be the instruction of the pure, proven, and living Word of God.  Certainly, there is nothing wrong with learning new things, but when our lives become about things other than God, we are trusting in dust and ash.  God’s faithfulness proves that trusting in Him is not only beneficial, it is eternal.

If you truly want your trust to be in the Lord, the God Most High, the Creator and Sustainer of this universe, then you must be instructed by Him.  He is wisdom.  He is peace.  He is the Comforter.  He is the Lord of all.  Open up your heart and mind to His instruction, and reject any instruction that causes you to trust in lesser things.

Taking notes,

jamie

God will keep the evil from pouring forth

Pr. 15:28:  “The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.”

How do we wisely study how to answer, instead of allowing our mouths to pour forth our immediate thoughts, risking allowing evil to come forth?  Frankly, we must be full of the Word and the Spirit of the Living God.  When we are living according to our flesh, we fight in the flesh and winning the battle over the tongue will most certainly be out of reach.

When we live and walk according to the Holy Spirit; however, we have the calm assurance within to know that pausing to study our answer is the strongest thing we can do.  Studying how to answer takes humility, patience, trust in, and reliance on the Lord.  Did God not say that vengeance is His?  He said His name is our strong tower and when we run to it, we are safe.

Deliverance:  is that from us, or is that from the Lord?  Just like in the victory over Goliath, God is the One who brought it, through David’s faith.  The small boy who faced the giant was as unable to defeat the him as all the other well-prepared soldiers.  No matter how we’ve prepared our horses and chariots (or words) for battle, the victory belongs to the Lord.

My grandfather always told my mom, who then told me, “don’t make big decisions when you are emotional.”  I think that advice was very similar to this verse, as words can do much damage.  Pausing to study our answers does not make us weak; it reminds us that our strength comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  When faced with a situation where we have a choice to speak immediately or wait, we must ask God to help us trust in Him and the truth of His word.  If we pause and pray, God will guide us.  He is always faithful.  Trusting in Him will always bring the ultimate victory!

Studying in faith,

jamie