Wise Guys vs Smart Guys–James 3 Part 2

Throughout time, there has been a long-standing competition between those who are smart vs. those who are wise. It usually plays out that one who is young challenges one who seems simple and old. The story usually turns upon the young one pursuing a plan to get the best of the older one.  What happens, typically, is the young one twists and turns plans and connives and seemingly gains the upper hand–only to find, in the end he/she has been bested by the older and wiser person. 

The truth is wisdom will always dominate smart. Wisdom is gained through a well lived life. Those who attain it, do so after many trials and tests.  They have become battle ready and made solid by the years.  They no longer seek their own glory, because–they have learned that there is little permanence in such things as human approval.

Instead, the wise seek to share their gift with those that have come after–in an attempt to build a legacy of wise people; who will in turn reflect God and not themselves. As that becomes a pattern, the church and the nation will become greater than anything imaginable.  God created us to be like him–as we conform and are transformed in his image; then we are able to do and see things immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Eph 3:20.

Make no mistake, it is great to be smart! But, when one can die to one’s self an allow God to be in charge–God’s wisdom, that he gladly shares generously (James 1:5), will make you better than you could ever imagine–and you will simply be grateful, humble and ready to share it with whomever is ready to become wise–as well.

God Bless You

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their 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, demonic. 16 For  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. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

The Face of Wisdom–Proverbs 8 continued

What does Wisdom look like? It is the person never too busy to help. It is the world leader that makes the tough decisions on behalf of others not simply for political expediency.  Wisdom is the wealthy person who is defined by character and not by net worth.  Wisdom is the humble laborer that raises his family to be loving and honest—seeking ways to make a difference. It is the teacher that impacts a generation and the judge that does not allow circumstance to define law.  Wisdom appears in all walks of life and in all races, sexes and ages.

 The one commonality among the wise—their love for God and their desire to seek him in any and all circumstances. The wise do not allow the troubles of the day to define them…They allow the Lord and his teachings to define them.  Often, ones wisdom is enhanced by trials and tribulation, however, it can also be defined by discretion and restraint.  To be wise, one need only to trust and follow the Lord.  Then as we seek him, he gladly imparts his truth and his character upon us.  That truth and Character has eternal implications that we could never fathom on earth—but, it will carry us through any and all circumstances, as Paul said in Philippians 4, “I have learned to be content in any and all circumstance—whether well fed or hungry, living in plenty or in want—I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13

 God Bless You

“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;     I possess knowledge and discretion. 13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil;     I hate pride and arrogance,     evil behavior and perverse speech. 14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine;     I have insight, I have power. 15 By me kings reign     and rulers issue decrees that are just; 16 by me princes govern,     and nobles—all who rule on earth. 17 I love those who love me,     and those who seek me find me. 18 With me are riches and honor,     enduring wealth and prosperity. 19 My fruit is better than fine gold;     what I yield surpasses choice silver. 20 I walk in the way of righteousness,     along the paths of justice, 21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me     and making their treasuries full.

The Wisdom Road is Safe and Complete–Proverbs 4 Part 2

Clearly this devotion series has always had an overriding theme—The Amazing Journey.  The theme came from 2 Timothy 4:7—“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race and I have kept the faith…”  But the first clear parallel to the path comes from the Proverbs.  In chapter 3, Solomon reminds us if we turn the control over to God he will make our paths straight.  Here, in chapter 4, Solomon compares journeys for those that follow God and those that do not.  Solomon lays it out like a roadmap—if you trust God and live a humble and righteous life, then you will experience long life and peace.  If you choose to take short cuts and make your own way, you will live a chaotic, and destructive life. 

He makes clear that the path of the unrighteous always seems shorter and easier.  They always spin it to ask who better to captain your journey—than you!  The answer is simple—The creator and master of the universe—God! Like any architect or manufacturer—he knows how to do this better than anyone! He designed and built it.

In our lives there is a lot of noise! The volume is overwhelming and the message is simple—Trust no one and especially not God! As in Solomon’s day, that is a roadmap to destruction. Don’t take the bait and fall prey to the lie.  Trust God and follow him humbly and expectantly—Then you will be safe even in chaos, and you will be able to join Paul in fighting the good fight, finishing the race and keeping the faith—That IS the true model of success.

God Bless You

Dear friend, take my advice;     it will add years to your life. I’m writing out clear directions to Wisdom Way,     I’m drawing a map to Righteous Road. I don’t want you ending up in blind alleys,     or wasting time making wrong turns. Hold tight to good advice; don’t relax your grip.     Guard it well—your life is at stake! Don’t take Wicked Bypass;     don’t so much as set foot on that road. Stay clear of it; give it a wide berth.     Make a detour and be on your way.

16-17 Evil people are restless     unless they’re making trouble; They can’t get a good night’s sleep     unless they’ve made life miserable for somebody. Perversity is their food and drink,     violence their drug of choice.

18-19 The ways of right-living people glow with light;     the longer they live, the brighter they shine. But the road of wrongdoing gets darker and darker—     travelers can’t see a thing; they fall flat on their faces.

 

Roadmap to Wisdom–Proverbs 3 Part 1

So, what does it mean to be wise—if one was to draw it out on a whiteboard, what factors are included in the life of the people that embrace wisdom? In Solomon’s mind there were several factors.  First—listen to your parents…there are no people in your lives that are more unconditionally in love with you and want you to have a good life.  Often their ways seem antiquated or irrelevant, but, as we grow older we learn to spot the traps of life and can save our kids from falling into them. They truly want for you to have a great life—listen to them.

Next, allow your defining traits to be love and faithfulness.  If you are remembered for those traits, you will be universally loved and favored by both God and others.  So few people focus on loving and caring for God and others—when they do, they stand out and literally change the course of the world they live in.

Third, trust God to define your path and lead you.  Allow him to call the shots—He knows all, sees all and is the author and creator of your story.  If you allow him to lead—he will do so with such joy that your journey will be remarkable.  It is like touring a city with a local historian—they bring out the nuance and beauty like none other.

Finally, Trust God with your stuff—give the best of your time and money. Like any father, he will not allow you to outdo him.  He will bless you in ways that are amazing.  He will make your legacy both wonderful and beautiful—and despite your circumstances, you will be considered rich beyond belief.  That, is the body of Wisdom.

God Bless You

My son, do not forget my teaching,     but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years     and bring you peace and prosperity.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;     bind them around your neck,     write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name     in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart     and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,     and he will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;     fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body     and nourishment to your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth,     with the first fruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,     and your vats will brim over with new wine.

Wisdom the Bridesmaid???–Proverbs 1 Continued

We have all met them.  Perfectly lovely people who have for one reason or another not been able to connect with another.  We all pull for them and want so badly for someone to scoop them up and love them—and yet, alas, it never seems to happen.  That is Solomon’s illustration for wisdom.  So many people say they want to be wise and insightful.  We want the answers to life’s difficult questions and issues.  Solomon indicates that it is us–not wisdom.  Like the girl never picked at the dance, no one is willing to partner with wisdom.  Some would say it’s just too weird—wisdom is not their type.  They prefer sarcasm and google.  Others shy away feeling they are not worthy to have such an amazing partner.  Still others flirt with wisdom but just want what it will give them not caring instead what it will make them.

Wisdom, like the beautiful maiden, stands arms outstretched longing to be embraced.  But, we have to want to be wise and not simply knowledgeable.  What’s more, wisdom does not share the stage with base emotion and trash thought—She expects a desire to remain humble and to diligently seek God.  Finally, wisdom requires faith in God and his timing in order to be the lasting influence in our lives—This ain’t no one night stand. It is a covenant relationship that comes with age and commitment to service.  James 1 sums it up quite nicely—“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God who give generously and without judgment.  But when He asks let him ask in faith—or he will be like aa double—minded man.

If you have not begun, yet; today is the best day to court and win the hand of Wisdom in your life.

God Bless You

20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; 21 on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech:

22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? 23 Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. 24 But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, 25 since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, 26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you—

Wise Sayings From a Wise Guy–Proverbs 1 Part 1

Giving back—that is the answer of why the wisest, richest and most powerful leader of Israel took time out of his day to write the proverbs. To understand the proverbs, one must understand the author.  Solomon was the Son of David.  He was God’s pick for King.  When he became king—God met him directly, offered him anything he wanted as King–wealth, power, fame—Solomon told God, as a young king, he wanted wisdom.  God was thrilled.  God said, as you have asked for wisdom—I will make you the wisest king that has ever lived.  In addition, since you chose wisdom over fame, power and fortune, I will also give you all of those things. So it was—Solomon became the wisest, most powerful, most wealthy and most influential king of the nation of Israel.

Sadly, despite all that God had provided the king—like many of us—Solomon began to believe the hype.  He became proud of his wisdom, his wealth and his power.  He literally made his life an experiment.  He did everything that men do to find happiness.  He sought treasure-and accumulated more than he could ever spend—it left him empty.  He sought love—he had 1000 wives and 300 concubines—it left him lonely.  He sought world renown as the most prominent and wealthiest leader in the world—yet his power gave him nothing more than the kings before him. He dived head first into every sin imaginable—still he was unsatisfied.  At the end of his life, the “wonder king” realized all his ventures were nothing more than foolishness and his original plan as a boy king—to have and use God’s wisdom to lead justly and selflessly was the most amazing life of all.

It is from that place, that the wisest man of all time penned the proverbs.  He wrote them for his son—the one who would be king.  His hope was that he could help him to avoid the wasteful empty life Solomon made for himself.  While, the proverbs did not mold and save Rehoboam- his son and successor, it has shaped lives through the centuries and gives men some very practical life directing wisdom, that if followed, will unleash the power of a Godly king.

God Bless You

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

for gaining wisdom and instruction;     for understanding words of insight; 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.

I Samuel 24 part 2–The Inevitable Truth of God’s Power

Saul knew he was licked. Or so it would seem.  David could have easily killed him and taken the kingdom that was given to him.  But, David trusted God and spared Saul’s life.  In a moment of lucid thought, Saul was able to see and hear the truth.  David was clear—I could have killed you, but that is not my task.  God sees what is happening—he can and will decide the right course.  Saul knew that was true and that he should never have taken the path he chose—so for the time he simply asked David to spare his family and then he went home.

Even evil can see God’s work and leadership.  In difficult moments in life, we see the worst of us do noble acts.  We see the seemingly godless people come to the realization of God and His power.  What is sad, however, is that when we who know the truth act as Saul did, and intentionally choose independence from God over freedom in him; then we become people we would neither recognize or want to be around.  But, even in those times and places in our journey, we can wake up and turn back…Saul did.  When we repent, God is faithful to forgive and restore—if we submit to His leadership. There is no magic formula, there is no quick fix.  There is simply our daily commitment to follow God and his eternal commitment to protect, provide and lead us to an eternity with him.

God Bless You

 12 “May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you. 13 As that old proverb says, ‘From evil people come evil deeds.’ So you can be sure I will never harm you. 14 Who is the king of Israel trying to catch anyway? Should he spend his time chasing one who is as worthless as a dead dog or a single flea? 15 May the Lord therefore judge which of us is right and punish the guilty one. He is my advocate, and he will rescue me from your power!”

16 When David had finished speaking, Saul called back, “Is that really you, my son David?” Then he began to cry. 17 And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil. 18 Yes, you have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it. 19 Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the Lord reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today. 20 And now I realize that you are surely going to be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will flourish under your rule. 21 Now swear to me by the Lord that when that happens you will not kill my family and destroy my line of descendants!”

22 So David promised this to Saul with an oath. Then Saul went home, but David and his men went back to their stronghold.