Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding

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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. — James 3:17,18 NIV

As we read yesterday, wisdom is defined as more than just getting facts and knowledge of things, places and people,  It includes the ability to use that knowledge to make proper decisions that lead to correct actions.  We can have knowledge upon knowledge, but it is worthless, perhaps, even dangerous, if it is built on the wrong foundation, a foundation of inerrant knowledge. That is why the Holy Spirit, through the writer of Proverbs, tells us

7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. ​– Prov. 4:7
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. — Prov. 9:10
 
So, we lay the foundation with knowledge, we build walls with wisdom and the finishing touch is understanding.  Therefore, we must be very sure that our knowledge is based on a foundation of knowledge that includes The Holy One (Jehovah God) and Jesus Christ. Then we must be sure that our wisdom comes from heaven.  We can know this if it is ” first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere”‘  So, any so-called wisdom that advocates anything less than these qualities is not from heaven and is not of God. (Kind of reminds me of the parable of the houses — one built on the Rock and one built on the sand,) If we want others to recognize us as the children of God, then we must show love to our brothers and sisters.
10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. — 1 John 3:10
Since the wisdom that is from above is impartial, we must show love to all of our fellow human beings. This love requires us to be peacemakers.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers,  for they will be called children of God. — Matt. 5:9
If we want to be obedient to our Father in heaven, we will endeavor to become peacemakers unless that action requires us to violate the Holy Scriptures. Jesus was/is the ultimate peacemaker, but He had limits as shown by His words to the Pharisees and His actions when chasing the traders out of the temple. He had perfect knowledge, perfect wisdom and perfect understanding.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-06-2018

Trust and Follow the Pathmaker

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11 Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. ​- Hebrews 6:11 NIV
Accepting Jesus as our Savior is the first step on a  journey from here to heaven. We know our destination and we know that our arrival has been secured by the blood of Jesus. The huge difference in this trip and one that we might plan to take here on earth is that we don’t know the specifics of the route.  Generally, we know that it is ever onward and upward, but what does that entail on a minute by minute basis?  We are facing a great unknown and we must take every step by faith.  

 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” — Romans 1:17 NIV
So we must study the gospel to know the way.  There is no earthly GPS that is going to lead us to heaven. But, God, in His great mercy and love for us installed a guide within us when we accepted His Son as our Savior.  We must learn to listen to the Guide to stay on the path. The way will not always be smooth and level.  It can get rocky and there will be valleys and mountains.  Just remember that every valley has two mountains and we travel from mountain to mountain not knowing what is over the next  one.  The important thing to KNOW is that we are never alone and if we get lost on the journey, the great Shepherd will leave the flock, come find us and carry us back to the straight and narrow path.  
 

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight
— Proverbs 3:5, 6 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 05-10-2018

Mind Control

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12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. — Hebrews 4:12,13 NIV

Since God knows our every thought we need to be very careful of the thought patterns that we allow to develop. Of course, thoughts drift into our mind and that is beyond our control to a point.  But we do have control over whether or not we dwell on those thoughts.  In Corinthians, we are instructed to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”.  We can also take some control of our thought patterns by making better decisions about the things we read, the things we see, the conversations that we have and the people we associate with daily.  We must be careful that our pride doesn’t lead us into believing that we are influencing others more than they are influencing us. The things and the people that we spend the most time with are the ones that influence us the most. Pride says “I would never” but we all have at some time or other done or said those things that we are not proud of later.  Those things that we did and the words that we spoke are results of thought patterns that we have developed over the years.  We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us purify our hearts and minds. We can help by studying God’s Word and making it a bigger part of our daily thought patterns.

 11  I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you. — Psalm 119:11
 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me. — Psalm 51:10 NIV

23 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus— Phil. 4:7 NIV23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. — Proverbs 4:23 NIV

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 05-07-2018

God’s Love Never Fails

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8 Love never fails. — 1 Cor. 13:8​a NIV

God’s Love

“Love never fails.” When I read these three words, I am at once convicted, confused and totally devoid of understanding what they mean. In a world where the divorce rate of the general population is at or higher than 50 percent and parents abuse their children, where does “love never fails” fit in?  In a world filled with violence and wars over religions, how do we reconcile the fact that “love never fails”?  Is it possible that what we, as humans, think of as love, isn’t love at all?  Is it possible that what we have come to know as “love” is nothing but an emotion or a word we use so we can have a close association with others? Have our fears of rejection and loneliness caused us to settle for something that is far less than what God intended and demonstrated to us?  Do we “love” to get or to give? It seems that humans love to get what they want and/or need and God loves to give us more than we could possibly ever need. As a human, I am not capable of love that never fails, but my GOD IS LOVE THAT NEVER FAILS. We are saved by grace through faith that gives us the hope of eternal life and full understanding one day. All of this because the greatest of all things is the love of God that has never failed and it never will. So, I cling to God and cry out to Him, “teach me God how to love in the truest sense of what You mean by love.”

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 04-06-2018

Things Not Seen

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1 Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. ​- Hebrews 11:1 NLT

Hebrews, Chapter 11, is known as the great faith chapter. It lists those that are in God’s Hall of Fame for the Faithful. We must stay grounded in the Word and continue to ask God to make us more faithful. Our prayer should be like the cry of the Father of the boy possessed by a demon. He said, “I do believe, but help me over come my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Unbelief or no faith is the sin that caused Jesus to die on the cross for us. All of our sins are just outward expressions of our unbelief. We fear because we do not believe that God can and will take care of us. Over and over in the Bible, God tells us “do not fear”, yet, we fear anyway. He tells us “do not worry” about physical needs, yet we spend a lot of time stressing out over whether we will have enough of this or that. Think about this: “If we can’t trust God to provide the little things, how can we possibly believe that He can save our soul”? What part of “do not” do we not understand? When Jesus, while on the cross, said “It is finished”, He was serious. Our part is to “seek you first the Kingdom of God and all its righteousness”….. The rest of that verse (Matt. 6:33) is God’s business and He is always faithful to take care of His business.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 03-03-2018

Focus On Jesus – He is the Message

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I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready – 1 Cor, 3:2 NLT


Up until the death of Jesus, the people would follow after certain Rabbis, the great teachers of religion in that time. These Rabbis taught the Old Testament laws and rules, as well as those who taught idol worship. Now there was a new plan of salvation instituted with the death and resurrection of Jesus. In a sense, it is understandable that the people, at that time, would have been inclined to follow the teachers and not just their teaching. Paul is telling the Corinthians that they aren’t yet able to understand the message. They must first learn that it is the message that is important and not the messenger. Until they understand this and have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord, he is not able to teach them in more depth. We still have the same thing happening in our society today. We have people who are misled and think that the messenger is the savior, thus we have cults and incidents such as Jim Jones, where people follow their leaders even unto death. Paul was concerned that the people in Corinth would turn back to the law or false religion. He wanted to be able to get them grounded in the faith by teaching them about living a Holy life after being saved, so that they, in turn, could make disciples of others. Today, we have many people who are saved and then become unsatisfied with Christianity because we don’t teach them to live holy lives. They drop out of church because we don’t teach them that living for Jesus is hard, but the joy and the end result is more than worth the effort.

57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.–1 Cor. 15:57 NIV


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 01-31-2018

Show Them That You Care

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 14 But even though my condition tempted you to reject me, you did not despise me or turn me away. No, you took me in and cared for me as though I were an angel from God or even Christ Jesus himself. – Gal. 4:14 NLT
 

In this letter to the Galatians, Paul reminds them that he became as much like them as possible without violating his conscience. In our words today, we would probably say that he spent time making friends and building a bridge of confidence so that they would be more willing to listen to him. As the saying goes “people have to know you care before they care what you know”. As it turns out, Paul got to spend quite a bit of time in southern Galatia because of his sickness that he developed. This may have been the beginning of what Paul later referred to as “a thorn in the flesh”. It was very possibly a severe eye disease causing some amount of pain and facial dis-figuration. Paul implies that it might have made some of the people treat him badly and others would have plucked out their own eye and given it to him. But Paul pushes on and asks them the same questions we must ask ourselves and others today. Does our telling you the truth make us your enemy? Or once you know and understand the truth, does it make any sense to turn away from it? Just as Paul did, we have to get the people to understand that our witnessing to them is not because we feel that we are better or more holy than they are. It is because Jesus died for all of us simply because He loved us enough to do that for us. And His love for us requires us to show that same love to others.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 01-09-2018