Seeking Comfort?

Seeking Comfort?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.  2 Corinthians 1:3-14 NIV

Whatever it is we need, we can find it in the Bible in order to try to make sense of the daily events that give us cause to wonder–what is happening in our world.

When we need to understand the foundations laid–those events that shaped history and brings us to this point–we find answers in the books of history in the bible.

When we need to understand the achievements and calamities of good leadership and wicked leadership–we look to the history that summarizes how Kings functioned–who made great strides and who represented evil incarnate.

When we need wisdom we seek it in the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.

When we need a song to soothe our souls or ignite rejoicing–we seek in the Psalms.

When we need to understand how God uses people to warn the masses of impending dangers we look to the Prophets–from Isaiah to Malachi–never forgetting Elijah and Elisha or anyone else God used including Deborah and Esther.

When we need to understand a true love-relationship–we look to the Songs of Solomon.

When we need to understand the Plan of Redemption–we look to the Gospels and for a more personal accounting of the life of Jesus–we embrace John’s Gospel.

When we need to understand what the 11 remaining disciples did and accomplished, we look to the book of ACTS (often analogized as–Acting Christians Terrorizing Satan).

When we need to understand how God intended the Body of Christ to function–after the resurrection–we look to every book in the New Testament up to Revelation.

When we need to understand eternal life–we look to Revelation and seek wisdom from God in understanding the vision God showed John.

Though there are skeptics in the world who refute anything Bible, we can see–if we have understanding and spiritual insight–how God prepared His people to deal with those as well.

Whatever we need–God has already provided and now it is up to us–to continually seek Him to keep us on the right track.

We are indeed without excuse--for we have history to show us what happened when mankind refused to obey God; we have the present to see what happens when those who claim to know God–lie for their own benefit; and we have the future–to plan for our children and grandchildren–teaching them to trust God in all things and to make sure they understand the purpose of knowing history so we won’t keep making the same mistakes. For if we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeating the mistakes made in the past and they will inevitably change our present and our future.

The comfort we seek is in God’s Word, not in trusting people–for the sake of a party–when all the people are not the intended beneficiaries of all decisions made.

But change is coming–look for it and be prepared to engage in greatness!

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With A Little Understanding!

With A Little Understanding!

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young— let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:1-7 NIV

When people dismiss the value of a quality education, it usually means they think they are superior to others and don’t want the competition. We see that trait in what is happening in the White House.

In spite of their “level of education,” they lack understanding and knowledge and experience to even be in the White House–from the top to the bottom.

What’s needed in order to get “a little understanding” is the following:

  • Background knowledge of the party a person claims to represent in politics.
  • Knowledge of how government works (read a good civics book or find a version of Schoolhouse Rock for those who are functionally illiterate).
  • An intense inquisitiveness to understand various cultures and their needs (visit museums, watch documentaries that illustrate the complexities of life on earth and the importance of appropriate interactions with others, spend time reading in libraries and not just “favorite” books).
  • Having a capacity for demonstrating compassion and empathy without launching missiles at those one might dislike.
  • Realizing that the world evolves and will not stand still simply because one lacks understanding of how things are done and that there is more than one perception about every issue.
  • Understanding of who Christ is and all He represents (read a bible)
  • Making sure one’s physical and mental capacities are functioning optimally.

 

People shouldn’t be “too hard” on Sean Spicer for after all, he simply doing his master’s bidding. He is simply a parroting buttwipe–repeating what he’s told to say. So, not only does he need to visit the Holocaust Museum, they all need to visit every museum on the mall and beyond to get a better understanding of people and what governing people from all walks of life–really means.

Perhaps, someone should arrange a “walking tour” for everyone in the White House so they get obtain  a little understanding of what it means to be there.

But perhaps, my thoughts are simply fantasy–just a dream that we’d actually have people in the White House who know what they’re doing and why. Did I say dream–more like a nightmare from which I hope we’ll wake up soon.

What I’ve learned from living is that there is so much that I don’t know that I can appreciate learning something new–everyday. I look for opportunity to learn something knew, never completely satisfied with what I already know.

But then, I trust in The Word of God–“Wisdom is the principle thing and with all of your getting, get understanding.” If we get beyond thinking we know all there is to know, we’d be surprised at how much there is to learn–on a daily basis.

How much better would our lives be with a little understanding about self, others, and the world around us!

 

 

On The  Journey–Pe!

On The Journey–Pe!

Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them.

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.

Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name.

Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

Redeem me from human oppression, that I may obey your precepts.

Make your face shine on your servant and teach me your decrees.

Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed. Psalm 119:129-136 NIV

The 17th letter and stanza–an expression of trust and sorrow.

If we look at this stanza and see the heart of the writer, we detect an appreciation for God’s Word and acknowledgment that continued study and meditation upon His Word opens understanding so that even the simple–unlearned person–can understand.

Have we reached that place yet–where we get it–and appreciate God’s love for us in that He has provided the means for us succeed–in spite of what the enemy does or who he influences?

The steps of a good man (person) are ordered by The Lord and He delights in his way (the way he obeys). Psalm 37:23. In the 37th Psalm, the writer acknowledges that God has already ordered the steps of good person and in this Psalm, the writer acknowledges they fall short and need God to direct their footsteps–according to His Word–so sin will not reign in their lives.

Are we there yet? Do we recognize that our steps are indeed–planned by God when we obey His Word?

Considering the rule of the day (historically) by men who chose to be barbaric in their positions to control and oppress people, we can understand why the writer wants to be redeemed–saved from the oppression men tend to burden people with in their religious tyranny.

Religious tyranny is a practice we see all around us–when men think their traditions and rules are more important than God’s Word. The traditional rules governing many religious people have led to people committing suicide and murder in the name of “religion.” Jesus tells us that because of our “traditions” we have made the Word of God of no effect. We need to conduct ourselves–according to God’s Word–and not man’s dictates which change as often as some of us change our underwear. This is the danger of our society–the fickleness of man–not adhering to God’s Word.

Like the writer, tears have flowed down my face on more than occasion if I dare listen to the news. I cry for the children whose parents have been killed. I cry for the parents whose children have been killed. I cry for the masses of people who have lost hope because of religious tyranny and I cry for all of us when we allow government officials to twist God’s Word to accommodate sin. A “twisted” truth is still a whole lie.

It is past time for all who Believe to open their mouths and spread the Gospel or to use social media networks to promote the Gospel. We will be held accountable for what we do and don’t do when it comes to God determining our level of obedience. We can and should use every avenue created to promote the Gospel--especially when we know so much hatred and bigotry are being promoted with the use of social media networks. What the enemy intended for evil, we can turn into something good and Godly.

Taking Time To Meditate!

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who mediates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither–whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:1-3 NIV

One of the most common responses from a Christian when asked how they’re doing is, “I’m blessed!” But are they really blessed as implied by The Word? From the Hebrew and the Greek, the word, blessed–means to be happy or happiness. So if we exchange the word blessed in this Psalm, the beginning would say, “Happy is the one…” If people are so blessed–happy–why is the church–the Body of Christ–in such a sad state?

Are we truly happy? Are we meditating on God’s Word, day and night or we just playing at memorizing The Word and think we have accomplished something?

From the dictionary, blessed also means to be divinely favored or selected or fortunate–from a purely biblical perspective–it is an adjective (words that describe).

To meditate on something (from the Hebrew and Greek) means to study, or declare. Do we truly meditate on The Word? Do we study it in order to declare it?

From the dictionary, to meditate (action word–verb) means to contemplate, engage, reflect and introspect–all which require deliberate actions.

One of the reasons the Psalmist can say that a person is happy when they are obedient to God’s Word is because the Psalmist has a relationship with God and hears Him, when He speaks–providing instruction and insight as to how He wants us to live.

Can we truly say we spend time with God, studying His Word, hearing Him provide us with insight as to the meaning or context of what He’s saying? Or are we more content to rely upon others to tell us what they think about God’s Word?

These questions keep cropping up in my spirit because of what I observe in others–those supposedly teaching The Word. Based upon my understanding of what I have studied, I see many who are merely teaching God’s Word out of traditional leanings, with no true understanding. The focus is more on a moan or a groan-coming from them–which is unintelligible for others to understand. So, if what we say is unintelligible (not understood), how do we claim that it is teaching? For in order to teach anyone, anything, what we say and do must be understood.

If I’m stepping on toes today, good! We all need someone to remind us that we have not arrived at perfection and when it comes to teaching God’s Word, we should always meditate–study it so we can give clear understanding, before we attempt to teach it to anyone.

I am setting aside time for deliberate meditation upon Psalm 119 in the coming weeks. This is not just to memorize it–since I tend to be extremely forgetful–but to understand it–in its entirety and to be able to line it up with the rest of God’s Word. For all of God’s Word should line up–it’s context should never change even one scripture.

The World is changing and from what I can see–we are in dire need of understanding–all of God’s Word as Paul tells Timothy, ” Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.” (I Timothy 4:15 NKJV)

And that is precisely what I plan to do–give myself entirely to concentrating on The Word, one verse at a time. So, if you are inclined to read my understanding every day, great! If not, oh well. If you know Psalm 119 well enough to teach me, don’t hesitate to comment on what I say. I am very teachable and sometimes–I may not hear God completely, but it’s not because I’m not listening–traditional perceptions sometimes get in the way.

Here’s to getting the traditional perceptions out of the way so I can clearly understand what the Psalmist is saying to us–from then to now–in the 21st century and how it applies to our lives in this changing world.

 

 

 

Wisdom Continues To Speak!

Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun. Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it. Ecclesiastes 7:11,12 NIV

If any lacks wisdom, let them ask of God who gives it liberally and will not find fault with those who ask. (James 1:5 paraphrased). If God will give us wisdom when we ask for it, why don’t we ask Him, instead of trying to impress others with wisdom, we don’t have.

Wisdom thinks before acting.

Wisdom is calm and rational.

Wisdom seeks increase in understanding.

Wisdom pays no attention to rumors and will not encourage negative responses to anything.

Wisdom contemplates every matter before making a decision.

Wisdom rises above the fray of adversity in the hands of the foolish.

Wisdom obeys authority and as a result is an authority of all who seek her.

Wisdom speaks truth at all times, even when truth hurts.

Wisdom admires wisdom in others who know God, stays far from the foolish who think they know more than God.

Wisdom resolves problems and does not cause them.

If wisdom is an inheritance, then we must resolve to gain more wisdom and the only true wisdom comes from God. For if we leave an inheritance of wisdom in our children, they will the capability of making wise decisions, after gathering all the information they need in order to make the decision. If we leave wisdom as an inheritance for our children, they will be empowered to keep wisdom flowing from generation to generation.

But if we have not wisdom to exercise in all things, what are leaving as an inheritance for those we leave behind? Money, by itself is not the answer for we know fools and their money are soon parted–they spend it as fast as they get it. Money can be taken or lost and the Word tells us that “the love” of money–the desire to obtain it by any means–is the root of all evil.

But wisdom–once obtained–belongs to the one who has obtained it and it can never be taken or lost. For true wisdom is the ability to seek knowledge and understanding of what the knowledge is.

I am a consummate researcher. Anything I desire to know, I research and then I research more to gain a better understanding of what it is I have researched. This is a constant cycle for we–none of us–will ever know all there is to know. We just keep learning (as wisdom dictates) and I look forward to learning something new–every day.

If we scorn wisdom and getting understanding of knowledge, we defeat ourselves and the enemy wins. “Wisdom is the principle thing and with all of our getting, we must get understanding.”

If we are willing to hear and obey, wisdom will continue to speak to our hearts.

 

What God Has Prepared!

“We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”–the things God has prepared for those who love him–these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:6-10 NIV)

Every time I get discouraged (and I do–momentarily) about the things I see, I ask God to speak to my heart and show me the way I should go. For those who understand hearing Holy Spirit and understand that Holy Spirit will only speak those things that God speaks, we know–no matter what things look like--God has prepared something great for those who love Him. 

What has He prepared for you? Only Holy Spirit can reveal God’s truth and wisdom to those willing to hear and obey.

And when we are in the midst of doing things and challenges arise, we must be mindful–at all times–of the wisdom we have with access through Holy Spirit. We do not have to know how to do all things, but if we are willing to listen, He can guide us in all things. When others attempt to advise us with their limited “human wisdom” we can go straight to the throne of God, and get wisdom from above–and sit back and watch how amazed others are or will be by the things God accomplishes through us.

Knowing that it is He who accomplishes our success is key. Without God, I could do nothing–worthwhile–for I am totally dependent upon Him. When I need answers and cannot rely upon others to provide them, I ask God and He shows me what to do. Through His wisdom, I have achieved success in areas that amazed me and left others shaking their heads. But when God speaks to us and we see the end results of our obedience, we must not allow our accomplishments to go to our heads, thinking we know anything. I freely admit–I know nothing but God’s love and I know His love will see me through anything and because I am willing to hear Him, I can say with confidence–“I can do all things through Him who loves me” and I know, “Nothing is impossible with God”. Having this mindset–keeps me moving forward–with great expectation–ready to see and receive what He has prepared for me.

Though the naysayers and doubters would rather complain than believe and trust in God, I will stand firmly, immovable, in my faith in God and my willingness to hear Him. We must be careful when we must interact with others because their lack of faith can creep into our spirits and cause us to miss what God has prepared for us, when we are distracted by the “noise” of unbelief and doubt.

Human wisdom is totally lacking when it comes to understanding the things of the Spirit. Those without benefit of Holy Spirit’s guidance will never understand those who operate with Holy Spirit guiding them–every step of the way. Remember, no one has heard or seen nor can they imagine all the good things God has prepared for those who love Him!

When We Fail, Who Do We Blame?

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.” (Proverbs 16:18, 20,21 NIV)

The Word provides us with much insight about wisdom and pride. Not only through the proverbs, but through James who says, “If any lack wisdom, ask of God who gives liberally and won’t upbraid (find fault with) us for asking” (James 1:5 paraphrased) It would appear from this simple statement that James understood all that was said about wisdom through the insight given to Solomon and other sages.

Wisdom is referenced as a  female in several places, but the female reference is also used to warn against adultery and other folly.

A wise person receives correction and instruction from wise counsel. Only a fool rebels against correction and instruction.

But who is wiser than God? No, not one human being is wiser than God. God gave Solomon wisdom and Solomon shared what God had given him, but he never assumed he was wiser than God.

Proverbs 4:5-9 NIV

vs. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.

vs. 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.

vs. 7 The beginning of wisdom is this: “Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

vs. 8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.

vs. 9 She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.”

When we ask God for wisdom–insight to solving problems and addressing issues, we must not only hear what He says, but know how to apply what He says. For instance, we can obtain information and not know what to do with it and if we don’t know what to do with the information we have, what good is it?

If we establish guidelines and protocols to ensure order in all that we do, yet we do not follow the protocol and chaos erupts, what was the point of establishing the guidelines in the beginning?

Many motivational speakers, successful corporations–large and small–understand that without a sound plan and adherence to the plan–success is not possible.

Jesus tells us in another passage of scripture that,”a wise person considers the cost of building anything before they start to build.”(Luke 14:28 paraphrased).

On the flip side of exercising wisdom is the conduct of a fool who allows his pride to rule. And there is much said about fools in Proverbs,

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7 NIV),

“The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” (Proverbs 15:2 NIV)

“The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not upright.” (Proverbs 15:7 NIV)

“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.” (Proverbs 15:18 NIV)

What I’m taking from all that is said about wisdom, knowledge and fools, is that if we don’t know God or know how to seek Him when making decisions, we set ourselves for failure because we allow our pride to keep us from seeking Him.

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22 NIV)

Herein is the heart of the matter. When we think that our plans can succeed without wise counsel or consideration of all involved in the planning, our plans are doomed to failure. Though they may appear to succeed for a moment; the final outcome tells the whole story.

The difference between success and failure of any entity or individual lies in the ability one has to set aside pride (the “I” mentality) and to seek wisdom from wise counsel. If we do not think we need to heed wise counsel and instruction, then our failure is our own and we must look within to determine how we change the course of events.

Are we wise enough to seek God today for every decision we make or will we allow our pride to cause us to fail? We are the only ones who can make that decision for God does not make anyone do anything.

I pray God’s wisdom will overflow into your hearts today and pride will never be the reason for failure in any area of your lives.