Posts Tagged ‘ Wisdom ’

Building on the Rock

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock…And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” Matthew 7:24, 26 NRSV

MP900447716[1]Jesus made it clear that the wise man builds his house on the rock. The foolish man builds his house on sinking sand.

That’s a great principle, and an awesome truth. I can truly say that I want to be wise, and I certainly want to build my life on the rock, and avoid sinking sand at all costs.

The problem is, knowing exactly what things are solid ground and what things in life are sandy soil. The writer of Proverbs helps us with that. Proverbs 14:15-22 gives a list of contrasting characteristics that define what actions wise and foolish people do. The actions of the wise build lives on solid ground. The actions of the foolish build on sinking sand.

The wise consider their steps.

They exercise caution.

They count the cost before making decisions.

They turn away from evil.

They orient their lives around truth.

They passionately pursue God.

The foolish believe everything.

They throw caution to the wind.

They show no restraint.

They are careless.

The are quick-tempered and impulsive.

They act foolishly.

They fill their mouths with lies.

They plan evil and pursue folly. Proverbs 14:15-22 paraphrased

I want to live like a someone who is wise, as I’m sure you do. These are simple reminders of what we all need to do to continue building lives that are both rock solid and pleasing to God!

Ethics & Relationships

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:16-17 NRSV

MP900439536[1] One of the favorite courses I took in college was a course on ethics. The instructor was frail white-haired gentleman, who knew how to cut right to the heart of an issue, and then apply the principles of the Christian faith to the problems of daily living.

Now, more than 30 years later, I don’t remember any rules he taught or principles he proposed. What I do remember is a man whose life was fully given over to loving and serving Jesus Christ. He lived and breathed his faith. He walked with Jesus every step of the way. It was out of the relationship he had with Jesus Christ that his ethic developed.

My ethics are the principles by which I live. I didn’t wake up one day and choose what ethical principles I follow. My ethic gradually emerged as I spent more time growing in my faith and drawing closer to Jesus. As my relationship with Christ matured, the principles that would guide my life became clearer. When I think back, that is exactly what I saw in the life of my professor so many years ago.

MP900422584[1] In my opinion, wise people aren’t wise because they just know the right thing to do. Wise people have a relationship with their Creator. They humbly receive the love and grace offered them by their Redeemer. They submit to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Then, those experiences so shape and transform them that they are able to see the truth and apply it in powerful ways to the challenges and dilemmas of life.

We could argue about what’s right and wrong. In the end, whoever shouts the loudest and argues the longest will probably win. But as Christians, we are called to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Out of that relationship love will grab hold of us, open us to truth, teach us wisdom and guide our hands to doing what God wants done. In my book, that’s the best ethic of all!

What Do We Know?

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1Corinthians 1:18 NIV

00384891 The story of Jesus’ death and resurrection seems like foolishness to many. I imagine that if they knew of your faith in Jesus Christ, they would think you a fool. For them, the idea of a dead Jesus risen from the grave is more myth or fairy tale. It’s a nice story, and maybe there is a moral in there somewhere, but that’s about it.

From their perspective, it really doesn’t make any sense to bet your life on a dead Jew, who lived two millennia ago. Sure, he was a good man and a wise teacher. But today people are a lot wiser. We know a lot more. So what Jesus said was okay for the simple-minded people of ancient times, but not for us.

The problem with that line of thinking is it makes our thoughts, our ideas, ourMP900385346[1] personal perspectives the starting point for determining truth. Everything else is judged against what we believe. What arrogance! How could any of us even begin to pretend our ideas are the standard against which all other ideas should be measured.

Fools think they know it all. But what do they really know? That’s the issue raised in today’s thought-provoking video. The most troubling part, is that many don’t even know how wrong they are, and are missing out on the opportunity to have power of God at work in their lives!

Click here to watch the video. Then let the truth that was proven true in the resurrected Jesus be the standard around which you build your life. Trade in foolishness for faith in him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life!

Be The Good News!

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. Luke 16:19-22 NRSV

Jesus’ story pointed out the chasm between the comfortable lifestyle MP900446698[1]of the Pharisees and the grave needs of the poor. I don’t know what motivated this rich man. He obviously didn’t want to know anything about the pain just outside his walls. That may have been a convenient way to live, but it was ultimately foolish, as Jesus pointed out.

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in myself, or my own pleasures, that I too miss the struggles, the needs, and the very real pain that’s all around me. The story of Lazarus reminds me how foolish I am when I refuse to see or do anything about the pain and suffering just outside my door.

But I have to confess, as I read this story I often think it is talking about someone else, someone other than me. After all, I am not rich. But I do enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, and I there are times I think more about maintaining that lifestyle, than the needs of hurting people.

MP900427635[1] Commenting on Jesus’ story, Jill Carattini writes, “There are far too many…Lazaruses who are still waiting, waiting for men and women of faith to be the good news they proclaim.” Her words remind me that I am to be the one who, like Jesus, answers the cry of the needy, stands with the grieving and comforts the sick. I am supposed to be the good news I proclaim!

There is nothing wrong with feasting sumptuously. There is something wrong with self-indulgence that completely ignores the opportunity to love and touch the world with the living truth of Jesus Christ. Wise people see and respond to the needs around them.

Why not pray with me today: Lord, help me to be the good news I proclaim!

Real Money

Happy are the wise.There is no better income than finding wisdom. Nothing has a better payoff than having understanding.  Proverbs 3:13-14 adapted

A pastor I worked with and deeply respected told me, “There is never a money problem, it’s always an idea problem.” In other words, money is never the real issue.

That may sound strange to anyone struggling with mounting MP900443794[1]debt and dwindling income. To them money is the answer. If they just had a little bit more, if they could just hit the lottery, then everything would be better.

I’m not sure everything would be better. I do think they would have less financial stress, but that doesn’t mean their lives would be better.

What we really need are some new ideas, and some new ways of doing things. What we need is the kind of wisdom and understanding that helps us to rise up, meet our challenges, and go in a direction that’s consistent with God’s plan for our lives.

With that kind of wisdom, understanding and decision making ability, we would be able to see our way through the tough times. We would be able to stay on course and continue serving God. Best of all, we would be able to be happy and hopeful, even in the most difficult of times.

MP900309399[1] Money is nice, but wisdom is better. Investments are good, but nothing gives a bigger payoff than understanding. So pray for wisdom. Ask God for understanding.

Then you will discover the richest treasure there is!

Do What’s Right

His God instructs him and teaches him the right way. Isaiah 28:26 NIV

MP900431118[1] For the most part, I try to do what’s right and avoid what’s wrong. The trick is knowing what’s right!

Lawrence Kohlberg was  a psychologist who studied moral reasoning. He found that at the most basic level what’s right is what gets you the things you want. At a higher level, what’s right is defined by what is required for social order. But at the highest level, determining what’s right depends on higher moral principles.

That tells me if I want to do what’s right in a particular situation, I have three ways I can go. I can follow the rules. Following the rules will help me get what I want. If I go a little bit further, I could try and be a good citizen and follow the laws of the land.

MP900399592[1]But if I’m looking to be a good and faithful servant of Jesus Christ, then I  will turn to the principles God gives in the Bible for faithful followers to follow. Those principles don’t negate rules and laws. They transcend them. That’s because they come from the author of all wisdom!

All this comes from the LORD Almighty, wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom. Isaiah 28:2 NIV

In the end, doing what’s right depends on what I want. If I want to satisfy my own selfish desires and indulge in a pleasure-filled life, then I should follow the rules for worldly success. If I want to live at peace and keep myself out of trouble, I will follow the laws of the land.

But if I want to please God, I will go one step further. I will apply the principles given me in God’s Word to set my course, to guide my behavior and to live a life of faith!

MP900422534[1]I like Kohlberg’s work because it reminds me that I have a choice. What I do depends on what I want. You have a choice too.

Let’s choose the higher ground and practice the principles God gives. Then we will get what we really want: the presence and power of God at work in our lives! What more could anyone ask for!