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! 

How Marriage Can Heal Hurts

“Why is your wife so sensitive to others’ opinions? Why does your husband have such a difficult time making decisions? Why does your wife find comfort by slipping off by herself and eating food she knows is disgusting? Why does your husband find comfort in electronic fantasy? Don’t just tell me what your spouse does. Tell me why, and then we can talk about the pathway of love and healing. If you don’t know the why, you’re just an accusing judge who knows nothing of love, only something of punishment. I am not excusing sinful or abhorrent behavior. I’m just asking you to have some empathy about the fact that we live in a cruel world, vicious in its treatment of the people we marry, as well as a positive vision for how profoundly a cherishing marriage can heal past hurts.” —Gary Thomas, in Cherish

Thursdays With Oswald—Happiness Or Holiness?

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.

Happiness Or Holiness?

     “Beauty” means the perfectly ordered completeness of man’s whole nature. When once a man’s mind is upset, that beauty begins to go, the equilibrium is upset. This accounts for the characteristic tendency abroad today: ignore sin, deny it ever was; if you make mistakes, forget them, live the healthy minded, open-hearted, sunshiny life, don’t allow yourself to be convicted of sin. … 

     Happiness means we select only those things out of our circumstances that will keep us happy. It is the great basis of false Christianity. The Bible nowhere speaks about a “happy” Christian; it talks plentifully of joy. … Happiness would be alright if things were reasonable; it would be ideal if there were no self-interest, but everyone of us is cunning enough to take advantage somewhere, and after a while my inclination is to get my happiness at your cost. … 

     What kind of peace had Jesus Christ? A peace that kept Him for thirty years at home with brothers and sisters who did not believe in Him; a peace that kept Him through three years of popularity, hatred, and scandal; and He says, “My peace I give unto you”; “let not your heart be troubled,” i.e., “see that your heart does not get disturbed out of its relationship to Me.”

     But remember Jesus Christ has to upset the old equilibrium first. When a man is probed into by the Spirit of God, the waters of his conscious life get troubled and other ideas emerge. If I am going to follow the dictates of the Spirit of God and take up the attitude of Jesus Christ to things, it will produce an earthquake in my outlook. … “If you would be My disciple, says Jesus that is the cost.” …

     Take up any attitude of Jesus Christ’s and let it work, and the first thing that happens is that the old order and the old peace go. You cannot get back peace on the same level. If once you have allowed Jesus Christ to upset the equilibrium, holiness is the inevitable result, or no peace forever (Matthew 10:34). 

From The Shadow Of An Agony

Quite simply: I can live for my own happiness, or I can allow my “happiness” to be momentarily upset by allowing the holiness of God to reign in my heart.

Happiness eventually comes to an end, but holiness ultimately leads to the enjoyment of God forever!

The choice is yours: “IF you would be My disciple….”

The Key Decision For Influential Men

Influence like JesusNo matter how you look at it, being a Dad is hard work! Men have this constant balancing act between being tough and being tender. Guys have to have their game face on at work, and their family face on at home. They’ve got to work hard knocking down work competitors, and then work just as hard building up their family members.

But there is one key decision that will determine how successful a man will be at work, at home, in his social circles, and even in his relationship with God. 

In Acts 10 we meet a centurion named Cornelius. Centurions were professional military officers in charge of a centuria (usually 100 soldiers). Centurions were always “on the clock,” never letting down their guard nor their professionalism.

All of the centurions mentioned in the New Testament have noble characteristics associated with them. Whereas someone might be uncertain how a typical Roman soldier would behave, people felt more assured when the centurion was on the scene. Even Roman governors like Pilate, and Jewish kings like Herod, all seemed to fully trust the judgement, honesty, and resourcefulness of centurions.

Centurions worked hard to get where they were, and had some well-earned perks:

  • Good pay (one built a temple, Luke 7:1-5).
  • “Men of authority” with soldiers and servants reporting to them (Matthew 8:8-9).
  • Opportunity for advancement (Rome was the dominate world force).
  • A certain degree of autonomy (they had their own residences (Matthew 8; Acts 10).

In order to keep this position, they would have to buy into kurios Caesar (Caesar is lord). To do otherwise was to put their position and future advancement at risk.

Yet Cornelius was different. 

He was a trusted centurion, but something unusual stood out about his life. Luke the historian describes him as devout and God-fearing, mentioning his pious activities of prayer and giving to the poor. Cornelius’ own soldiers referred to him as righteous and respected by notable people in the community.

But probably most telling of all: God noticed how committed Cornelius was (see Acts 10:3-4)!

Cornelius had a lot to lose by rejecting kurios Caesar for, as the Christians said, kurios Iesous (Jesus is Lord). Yet after carefully weighing his options, he saw that trusting God was the best thing he could do for his family. His view of the eternal outweighed anything that he could gain in the temporal.

This one decision changed everything! 

Because Cornelius trusted God, look at the expansiveness of his influence, not only at home, but at work, and among his friends and extended family, and throughout his community:

  • His family—ALL his family were devout and God-fearing (v. 2)
  • His employees—a devout soldier (v. 7)
  • His community—respected by ALL the Jewish people (v. 22)
  • His relatives and friends—his relatives and close friends (v. 24)
  • In fact everyone around him—we are ALL here in the presence of God (v. 33)
  • And most importantly, with God—your prayers and gifts have come up as a memorial offering before God (v. 4)

Fellas, you can have this same level of influence if you, too, will decide to live karios Iesous: Jesus is Lord. If you will do that, you can have said about your life what was said about Cornelius and Jesus: “God anointed ___________ with the Holy Spirit and power, and he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him!” (see Acts 10:38).

Mitosis

MitosisThis is a thought-provoking short film about the power of a decision, and the consequences that flow from that decision.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading & watching from today…

“[God] will be infinitely merciful to our repeated failures; I know no promise that He will accept a deliberate compromise. For He has, in the last resort, nothing to give us but Himself; and He can give that only in so far as our self-affirming will retires and makes room for Him in our souls.” —C.S. Lewis

“To live well is the way to die well. Death is not our first foe but the last; let us then fight our adversaries in order, and overcome them each in its turn, trusting that He Who has been with us even until now will be with us until the end.” —Charles Spurgeon

“It  is sin in the heart that makes one say, ‘This is far too hard for me!’ The yielded heart, on the other hand, becomes free, and obedience is no longer a burden. For the surrendered heart, it is all joy.” —David Wilkerson

Membership in your local church is one of the most important things about you.” Read more from Jonathan Parnell on the local church.

Warning: Essure birth control is deadly for women!

Amazing new insights into how God designed plants to manage their hours of sunlight in the photosynthesis process.

Rick Warren on homosexual “marriage”: The church must not cave-in.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell on the importance of making good decisions…

“Some people don’t lead their lives, they accept their lives.” —John Kotter

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” —Albert Einstein

The danger of redefining marriage: How The Decline In Marriage Is Fueling Inequality.

An important post from Tim Elmore for parents and teachers: How Stress Disables Empathy In Students.

My cousin, Dick Brogden, has an amazing year-long devotional book called Live Dead Joy. Get the Kindle edition now for only $2.

“How may I tell when satan hinders me? I think you may tell thus: first by the object. satan’s object in hindering us is to prevent our glorifying God. If anything has happened to you which has prevented your growing holy, useful, humble, and sanctified, then you may trace that to satan.” —Charles Spurgeon

“It is good to come to the understanding that while God wants us to be holy and Spirit-filled, He does not expect us to look like Abraham or to play the harp like David or to have the same spiritual insight given to Paul. All of those former heroes of the faith are dead. You are alive in your generation.” —A.W. Tozer

Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.” —C.S. Lewis

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