Saturday In The Proverbs—Wisdom (Proverbs 1)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

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

Would you like to see things others don’t see? How about if you could have insight that others don’t have? What if you could keep on getting more, and more, and more knowledge that really mattered? That’s what this entire Book of Proverbs is all about, and the opening chapter sets the tone for the rest of the book.

You have to decide: do you trust God’s knowledge, or do you trust yourself more?

God is to be revered above all else.

God is to be delighted in above all else.

God is to be listened to above all else.

That is what defines pure knowledge: God’s knowledge.

The path to wisdom, then, is to accurately apply God’s pure knowledge.

Lady Wisdom—thankfully for us—makes herself readily available IF we will listen to her. If we do, we will have the best insights into how to use this purest-of-pure knowledge which God gives. When we operate in God’s wisdom and God’s knowledge, He is pleased and He is glorified.

There is always another option we could choose. We could listen to things that others say is “knowledge,” and we could try to figure out things on our own. But if we do, we also have to be willing to accept the consequences for applying that “knowledge” (see vv. 29-31). Ummm, no thank you, I’d rather not be called a fool! 

13 Quotes From “No Limits”

John Maxwell has a unique and gifted way of challenging his readers to move forward by giving them both the motivation and the practical steps to do so. No Limits is no exception. You can check out my full review of his book by clicking here. Below are the first set of quotes from this book that I would like to share with you.

“What stops people from reaching their capacity often isn’t lack of desire. It’s usually lack of awareness.”

“Sad is the day for any man when he is absolutely satisfied with the life that he is living, thoughts that he is thinking, deeds that he is doing, until there ceases to be forever knocking on the door of his soul, a desire to do something greater for God and his fellow-man.”

“Dysfunctional people want others to function on their level. Average people want others to be average. High achievers want others to achieve.”

“Emotionally strong people honor their relationships while at the same time guarding against letting others control them, especially in difficult relationships.”

“What’s the fastest way to make a relationship better? Make yourself better so that you have more to give. That requires an abundance mind-set.”

“How can we make things better? If you’re already successful, this is a fantastic question to ask yourself and your team. Anytime we’re successful, there is a temptation to be lulled into a feeling a false security, to believe that we have arrived. But the greatest detriment to continual success is relying on past success.”

“No one has ever had to work at limiting their capacity. That happens naturally. The world tries to talk us out of working hard. We convince ourselves that we can’t get ahead. We feel down, and we watch our lives go downhill. There are even people who will tell you that others have put you there, that the system is rigged, that successful people have pushed you down and have gotten to the top by stepping on you. Well, I have good news for you … Your production capacity is within your own control.” 

“No one has ever stayed the same, while at the same time rising to a higher level. Being willing to change is one of the prices we pay to grow.”

“Repeated choices to take responsibility give you mental and emotional momentum, which only makes you feel stronger and better about yourself.”

“Everyone sees people’s success without realizing that 90 percent of what leads to it is unseen, yet that 90 percent is what makes it possible.”

“The bottom line is that you cannot manage your life if you do not manage yourself. You cannot maximize your capacity if you cannot increase your discipline.”

“Resilient people don’t focus on the negative experience. They focus on what they can learn from the experience.”

“Winning is overrated. Growing is underrated.”

I will be sharing another batch of quotes from No Limits soon, so stay tuned. To check out other quotes I share daily, please follow me on Twitter and Tumblr.

No Limits (book review)

I always get excited when I get to read a John Maxwell book because I know right upfront that I’m going to be getting life-changing insights. As usual, No Limits lived up to my expectations!

The premise of this book is simple: Most of our limitations are self-imposed, but if we could see a way to blow the cap off those limitations there is no limit to the level of success we can achieve.

The book is built around John Maxwell’s capacity challenge, which says, “If you grow in your awareness, develop your abilities, and make the right choices, you can reach your capacity. In other words: Awareness + Ability + Choices = Capacity.”

No Limits is built around the three components in this capacity equation. First, you will learn how to become aware of what may be limiting you; then, you will learn how you have the ability to develop the capacities that you already have; and finally, you will learn how to make the daily choices that will maximize your capacity.

The book contains a link to a “Capacity Quiz,” which is a great help to identify the areas in which you especially need growth. It’s a good idea to take this quiz before diving into the material in the book so that you can pay special attention to the weakest areas as you are reading.

John Maxwell continues to stretch and mentor me in leadership growth like few other people have. I believe he will do the same thing for you, too, if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and go to work on blowing the cap off all your limits!

I am a Center Street book reviewer.

Thursdays With Oswald—Are You Self-Made Or God-Made?

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Are You Self-Made Or God-Made?

     It is possible to be perfectly real to ourselves but not real to God; that is not reality. It is possible to be perfectly real to ourselves and real to other people, but not real in our relationship to God; that is not reality. The only reality is being in harmony with ourselves and other people and God. That is the one great reality towards which God is working, and towards which we are working as we obey Him. … 

     The critical moment in a man or woman’s life is when they realize they are individually separate from other people. When I realize I am separate from everyone else, the danger is that I think I am different from everyone else. Immediately I think that, I become a law to myself; that means I excuse everything I do, but nothing anyone else does. ‘My temptations are peculiar,’ I say; ‘my setting is very strange; no one knows but myself the peculiar forces that are in me.’ … This sense that I know what other people do not know, that I have a special intuition that tells me things, is even more dangerous than the sense of individualism because it leads to spiritual deception in a religious nature and to hard intellectual conceit in a natural nature. … 

     Self-realization naturally cares nothing about God, it does not care whether Jesus lived or died or did anything at all. For ourselves we live and for ourselves we die; that is self-realization that leads to death and despair; it is absolutely and radically opposed to Christ-realization. True self-realization is exhibited in the life of Our Lord, perfect harmony with God and a perfect understanding of man; and He prays “that they may be one, even as We are one.” … 

     God’s purpose is to make us real, that is, to make us perfectly at one with all our own powers and perfectly at one with God, no longer children but understanding in our heads as well as in our hearts the meaning of the Redemption, and slowly maturing until we are a recommendation to the redeeming grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

From The Philosophy Of Sin

Oswald Chambers says we have a choice: Will we try to be a self-made man or woman, OR will we allow the Holy Spirit to make us a God-made man or woman? Only the second option puts us in touch with ourselves, others, and God.

4 Blessings From Trusting God + 1 Curse For Not

Choose lifeWhen you have a decision to make, isn’t it nice when you know the outcome of each option ahead of time? I mean, it makes it way easier to decide when you know what you’re going to get with each decision.

Like just before the Israelites head into the Promised Land, God says, “You can choose Me and have a whole lot of blessings, or you can choose another god and miss out on all My blessings” (Deuteronomy 30:11-20).

Easy choice, right?

I think the songwriter of Psalm 125 had that Deuteronomy passage in mind when he wrote his song of ascent. Basically, he says, you can trust God (v. 1) or you can walk on crooked paths (v. 5). What does it mean to trust God? Literally it means to have a confident expectation that He is Who He says He is, and He does what He says He’s going to do.

To help make the decision easier, the songwriter lists four blessings that come when we trust God—

  1. We become as secure and unshakeable as Heaven is (v. 1).
  2. We experience God’s “surroundedness” over, around, above and beneath us (v. 2).
  3. We escape evil’s clutches (v. 3).
  4. We experience God doing good for us (v. 4).

Of course, we can also choose not to trust God. We can try another path on our own. The curse for doing that is pretty sad—God will allow those who aren’t responsive to His voice to walk away from Him (v. 5).

Just like the story of the prodigal son (in Luke 15), the Father will allow you to walk away, but He will continue to long after you. And hopefully like that wayward son you will “come to your senses” and return to your Father. When you do, He will run to you, wrap you in His love, restore you to His family, and allow you to experience all of His blessings again!

The choice is up to you. I pray you will choose life and blessing and surroundedness, and God’s goodness toward you.

It’s Your Choice

ChoicesIn just seven verses, Jesus tells us how to experience God’s blessing or be prepared to say, “Woe is me!” What a contrast! Check out Luke 6:20-26.

The four blessed promises are in verses 20-22, and the four woe warnings are in verses 24-26. Connecting them (v. 23) is Jesus essentially saying, “You can have blessing, or you can have woe. Your choice.”

There is a secure reward and eternal blessing for those who—

  • are Earth-poor and Heaven-rich
  • are dissatisfied with anything but the things of God
  • weep over the present sinful state of humanity
  • are persecuted, excluded, insulted or rejected by the world because they identify with Christ

But woe to those who—

  • want riches and comfort now
  • are satisfied with what the world can give
  • laugh at the smutty things of Earth
  • desire worldly popularity above hearing God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”

Choices must be made every day. These choices lead to either blessing or woe

Choose the blessings!

What Are You Looking At?

Blue eyeI read a fascinating article on some recent research on how eye movement can effect moral decision-making.

The researchers found that, “people asked to choose between two written moral statements tend to glance more often towards the option they favour.” And also that a decision can be influenced by asking for an answer immediately after the person looks at what you want them to choose.

The Bible has much to say about where our eyes are fixed, and how that impacts our life decisions―

I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Psalm 36:1)

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning…. (2 Peter 2:14)

Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye (your conscience) is sound and fulfilling its office, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound and is not fulfilling its office, your body is full of darkness. (Luke 11:34, Amplified)

I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman. (Job 31:1)

Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. (Proverbs 4:25, Message)

So … what are you looking at?

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