Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Good Sense of Wisdom

By:  L. Adams

“If you really want to gain knowledge, you have to begin by having respect for the Lord. But foolish people hate wisdom and training.” (Proverbs 1:7, NIRV)

The Hebrew word used here for fear suggests reverence and awe. A person seeking wisdom is willing to bow down to God simply because of the awe and respect they feel for Him. This phrase also suggests total dependence on God.

I am reminded of my relationship with my earthly father. My Daddy was a wonderful man whom I loved with all my heart and respected so much. He was the perfect example of a godly father. Highly respected in our community, he was a fair and wise man. Yet I knew my boundaries with him. I had a proper fear of him. Not the kind born of bad experience (unless you would call the holy discipline of spanking ‘bad’), but rather awe and respect for him. I loved him with all my heart and desired to please him. This is the ‘fear’ of which the Bible speaks.

Our culture does not teach this kind of fear or respect, therefore, it is a concept many people do not fully understand. Respect means that I trust the other person and esteem them, or hold them in high regard. It also means that I am willing to be submissive to another person. Oh yes, the 'S' word--submit. To respect another causes one to desire to please that person and perhaps even emulate them.

As Proverbs 1:7 tells us, a fool does not feel the need to respect God and therefore lacks the wisdom and knowledge that comes only from God. In fact, the fool chooses to go the opposite direction from wisdom.

I like this quote from Walter Lippman:

"It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf."

The fool is like a deaf audience. He has no way to gain wisdom because he doesn’t understand or respect the way to wisdom, which is the Lord. The fool refuses to submit to God because he doesn't trust God.

When I fear the Lord and walk before Him in respect, He makes me so much wiser than I should be. Really, I am a blonde underneath the Miss Clairol on my head, so sometimes I am stunned by the wisdom that God gives me.

I don’t want to be a fool!

How about you?

Let’s learn to respect, trust and submit to God in order to get a dose of WISDOM.



Orig Title -  A Dose of Wisdom


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Monday, January 6, 2014

We Can’t Afford Not To forgive

By:  M. Noebel

Have you ever heard those words before? Forgiveness is hard to do, but with God's help, we can forgive. The definition of forgive is to pardon or excuse. It means that we no longer blame others or are angry at those who did us wrong.

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins Matthew 6:14, 15

God tells us that forgiveness is not an option if we want God to forgive us. We are not perfect; we all make mistakes. We will not all agree on everything all the time. We must understand that and learn to forgive those who intentionally or unintentionally hurt us. Yes, we may have a moment of anger, but we must not become slaves to anger. We need to repent for harboring bad feelings against others so that we can be set free.

The Bible tells us in 1 Samuel 16:7 that the Lord looks at the heart. What does He see when He looks at our hearts? We want to have clean hearts and hands when we stand before God. Look at what the psalmist David said:

"Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me"Psalm 51:10

"Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure…"(Psalm 24: 3, 4a, The Book).

We want to stand before God and know that He is pleased with us. We don't want to carry the sin of unforgiveness in our hearts. When we pray, we want to know that God will answer our prayers. We certainly don't want this willful act to hinder our prayers.

"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins" Mark 11:25

If we continue to have bitterness in our hearts and lives, we do not show the love of God. The Word of God tells us that we cannot even say we love God if we have hate toward someone else - 1 John 4:20 so what must we do? Colossians 3:12 tells us to "clothe yourselves with compassion." Philippians 2:4 says to "look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Galatians 6:2 instructs us to "carry each other's burdens." Ephesians 4:32declares, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you."

The lines are drawn. The Word is clear. We must forgive! No matter the offense, no matter how much pain we feel, we must forgive. We can't take revenge or even gloat when our enemy falls (Romans 12:19-21; Proverbs 24:17

Let's ask God to fill us with His love for those who have offended us. Let’s learn to walk in love and peace. We will be glad we did.



Orig Title -  Forgive - Can We Afford Not To?


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Embracing Resistance

By:  G. Markland

One afternoon while running an errand near the oceanfront in Virginia Beach, I decided to go an extra block and take a peek at the ocean. The air was cold, in the 40s, and cloudy, with a slight drizzle. It was a typical off-season day. The boardwalk was deserted/ So with my pick of the benches, I sat on a choice one, stretched out my legs, stuck my hands in my jacket pockets, and looked out over the water.

It was a little windy, as the rough waves crashed ashore making that unmistakable sound of the sea. Looking up at the seagulls flying, I noticed the drizzle had stopped. So I decided to enjoy the fresh sea air for a while, and maybe even get a little inspiration from the nature that God created. 

Sitting there in the cold, my attention was drawn to a seagull flying above the boardwalk, about 10 feet in front and above me.  Hovering perfectly still, his wings gave a slight flutter as he faced into the wind, which was blowing strongly. At first, I felt sorry for him as he was getting nowhere in this wind. 

But by facing that wind, he was kept aloft by its force. For a few moments he opened his wings, without flapping them, and remained stationary, directly in front of me, suspended in mid-air. 

As I observed this remarkable sight, the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “I’m not keeping you back, I’m keeping you up.” 

Maybe like me, you can relate to that seagull. Have you ever felt stuck in you life? Seemingly held back and not going forward? The Lord let me know that He’s not holding us back; He’s holding us up. 

As I pondered that thought and watched the seagull closely, I realized that if the seagull had flown away from the wind, he would have been blown down to earth. But by facing the resistance of the wind, with a slight flutter of his wings, he was lifted up. So when resistance comes against you, if you face it, put your nose into the wind and flap your wings. You’ll be lifted up and not cast down.  Resistance will lift you higher!

“You make the clouds your chariot; you ride upon the wings of the wind.” (Psalms 104:3, NLT)

When you pursue your goals and dreams in life, at some point you will inevitably encounter resistance. Think of King David in the Bible. He was chosen to be King as a young man, but the current King Saul put unrelenting pressure on him by trying to destroy him. Through the years of persecution from King Saul, David honed his skill as a guerrilla fighter, a strong leader of men, and a man of character and honor. Resistance lifted him to become the King he had been chosen to be.

Think of the early church. Great persecution came against the early church. Many were martyred for refusing to deny Christ and many had to flee for their lives. But this unrelenting pressure of persecution caused the church to become firm in the faith and spread far and wide in order to survive. Resistance lifted the church throughout the known world in 300 years, becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire.

If you turn from resistance and run, it will smash you to the ground. You’ll be crushed and your flight, as well as your dreams, will be over. So instead of looking at the winds of resistance as something formidably holding you back, look on it as something that God is using to hold you up and make you strong. Embrace resistance, and it will raise you to the heights you dream of reaching! 

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31, NLT)


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Friday, January 3, 2014

This is Now Your Time, Seize It!

By:  John L. M.

Get aggressive and go after opportunities. They usually don't find you, you must find them. The reason most people don't go very far in life is because they sidestep opportunity and shake hands with procrastination. Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried. Don't be out in the backyard looking for four-leaf clovers when opportunity knocks at your front door.

For the tenacious there is always time and opportunity. Are you waiting on opportunities, or are opportunities waiting on you? I believe you should take the initiative and live your life on the offensive.

William Menninger said, "The amount of satisfaction you get from life depends largely on your own ingenuity, self-sufficiency, and resourcefulness. People who wait around for life to supply their satisfaction usually find boredom instead."

Albert Hubert remarked, "Parties who want milk should not seat themselves on a stool in the middle of the field and hope that the cow will back up to them." The door of opportunity won't open unless you push. It is always a bumpy, uphill road that leads to heights of greatness. Being on the defensive has never produced ultimate victory. 

"A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds," said Francis Bacon. It's more valuable to find a situation that redistributes opportunity than one that redistributes money. Have you ever noticed that great people are never lacking for opportunities? When successful people are interviewed, they always mention their big plans for the future. Observing them, most people would think, "If I were in their shoes, I'd kick back and do nothing." Success doesn't diminish their desire for dreaming.

There is far more opportunity than ability. Life is full of golden opportunities. Every person has a lot that they can do. Start with what you can do; don't stop because of what you can't do.

Great opportunities will come as you make the most of small ones. Many people seem to think that opportunity means a chance to get money without earning it. The best gifts we get are opportunities, not things. Seize them!



Orig Title:  Don’t Sit Back and Take What Comes, Go After What You Want