Ultimate Wisdom

Last week I posted a quote on some of my social media channels that simply stated: “Our opinions don’t matter if they don’t square with God’s Word on the matter.” This seemed to me to be a fairly uncontroversial statement, but one anonymous reader really took me to task for using the hashtag #objectivetruth. Apparently, he thinks there is no such thing. 

But don’t we all rely on objective, external standards all the time? For instance, a gallon of gasoline is a gallon regardless of where you buy it, or whether you feel like it’s a gallon or not. And when you go to pay for your gasoline, the price isn’t based on how the gas station attendant is feeling at that moment, but on the objective amount posted. 

Psalm 49 is somewhat unusual in that it is a “wisdom psalm.” This psalm feels a lot more like something we would read in Proverbs or Ecclesiastes than it does a prayer or song in the Psalms. 

For instance, the first four verses of this Psalm sound a lot like the opening verses of the Book of Proverbs. And verses 5-13 of the Psalm echo what Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 2. 

This psalmist—like Solomon—wants us to understand how important it is to get wisdom. So we are urged to listen intently to those who have hard-won insight, to those who have “been there, done that” so that we don’t have to repeat their folly. 

What is that wisdom? It can be broken down into two profound statements:

(1) Everyone dies. 

That can be a really depressing truth IF your focus is building your own kingdom. If all there is to life is what you can earn and build before you die, only to realize that your “kingdom” ends at your last breath, that can be very depressing. 

However, this realization that everyone dies can be a very liberating truth IF your focus is on the eternal kingdom that is awaiting you in Heaven. When you realize that Jesus is preparing a place for you to experience ultimate joy and unending pleasure forever and ever, then you will live here for what’s coming next! 

(2) Our eternal destination after we die is determined before we die.

If someone told me that he had discovered the secret to immortality, and then he died and came back to this life to tell me that his theory was correct, I would be wise listen to him. 

That’s exactly what Jesus did for us!

He told us that He would die on a Cross and that He would be raised back to life. AND HE DID IT! His hard-won insight, His “been there, done that” wise words to us are this—“Believe in Me. I died to pay the penalty for the sins that will keep you out of Paradise. So place your faith in what I did, and ask my Father to forgive your sins. Then I promise you that you will spend forever and ever with Me in Paradise!” 

THIS objective truth determines everything else about our lives. 

So I’ll repeat it again—

“Our opinions don’t matter if they don’t square with God’s Word on the matter.” —Craig T. Owens

Join me next Sunday as we continue our series looking at the Selahs in the Psalms. 

Beware Of Loving Praise From People

jesus-always“Beware of loving praise from men more than praise from Me. One of the effects of the Fall is that people are overly concerned about what others think of them…. I don’t want you to be preoccupied with how other people view you. I have lovingly shielded you from being able to read the minds of others. What they think of you is really ‘none of your business.’ People’s thoughts are unreliable—distorted by their sinfulness, weaknesses, and insecurities. Even if they praise you to your face, some of their thoughts about you will be quite different. I am the only One who sees you as you truly are. … Instead of seeking praise from men, seek to see Me looking at you. My loving approval of you is shining from My face.” —Jesus (in Sarah Young’ s book Jesus Always)

23 Other Quotes From “15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth”

15 Invaluable Laws of GrowthJohn Maxwell is extremely well-read! It is obviously that he uses many sources to sharpen and refine the teaching principles he shares in his books. I recently finished reading 15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth, and as usual, Dr. Maxwell shared several quotes from others which I found very highlighter-worthy. Here are a few of them…

“What great accomplishments we’d have in the world if everybody had done what they intended to do.” —Frank Clark

“A mistake is simply another way of doing things.” —Warren Bennis

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” —Jim Rohn

“Can there be a more insidious word? Later, as in ‘I’ll do it later.’ Or, ‘Later, I’ll have time to write that book that’s been on my mind for the past five years.’ Or, ‘I know I need to straighten out my finances… I’ll do it later.’ ‘Later’ is one of those dream-killers, one of the countless obstacles we put up to derail our chances of success. The diet that starts ‘tomorrow,’ the job hunt that happens ‘eventually,’ the pursuit of the life dream that begins ‘someday’ combine with other self-imposed roadblocks and lock us on autopilot.’ —Jennifer Reed

“No one can produce great things who is not thoroughly sincere in dealing with himself.” —James Russell Lowell

“Probably the most honest self-made man ever was the one we heard say: ‘I got to the top the hard way—fighting my own laziness and ignorance every step of the way.’ —James Thom

“It’s impossible to consistently behave in a manner inconsistent with how we see ourselves. We can do very few things in a positive way if we feel negative about ourselves.” —Zig Ziglar

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” —Peter Drucker

“The wise man questions himself, the fool others.” —Henri Arnold

“The successful person has the habit of doing the things that failures don’t like to do. The successful person doesn’t like doing them either, but his dislike is subordinated to the strength of his purpose.” —E. M. Gray

“Where many people go wrong in trying to reach their goals is in constantly looking for the big hit, the homerun, the magic answer that suddenly transforms their dreams into reality. The problem is that the big hit never comes without a great deal of little hits first. Success in most things comes not from some gigantic stroke of fate, but from simple, incremental progress.” —Andrew Wood

“A bad habit never goes away by itself. It’s always an undo-it-your self project.” —Abigail Van Buren

“The great composer does not set to work because he is inspired, but becomes inspired because he is working. Beethoven, Wagner, Mozart, and Bach all settled down, day after day, to the job at hand. They didn’t waste time waiting for inspiration.” —Ernest Newman

“Do not wait for a change of environment before you act. Cause a change of environment through action. You can act upon your present environment so as to cause yourself to be transferred to a better environment.” —Wallace D. Wattles

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a plan of action and follow it to the end requires some of the same courage which a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men to win them.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.” —Les Brown

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they may have planned for you? Not much.” —Jim Rohn

“An idealist believes the short run doesn’t count. A cynic believes the long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.” —Sydney J. Harris

“Every problem introduces a person to himself.” —John McDonnell

“Experience isn’t really the best teacher but it sure does serve as the best excuse for not trying to do the same silly thing again.” —Frank Hughes

“You will never stub your toe standing still. The faster you go, the more chance there is of stubbing your toe, but the more chance you have of getting somewhere.” —Charles F. Kettering

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” —James Baldwin

“No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.” —William Penn

You can read my book review of 15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth and its companion book JumpStart Your Growth by clicking here.

To read quotes from John Maxwell in 15 Invaluable Laws, click here.

P.S. And watch for more quotes coming soon!

J.C. Ryle On Popular Trends

J.C. Ryle“‘The fear of man’ will indeed ‘prove to be a snare’ (Proverbs 29:25). It is terrible to observe the power which it has over most minds, and especially over the minds of the young. Few seem to have any opinions of their own, or to think for themselves. Like dead fish, they go with the stream and tide: what others think is right, they think is right; and what others call wrong, they call wrong too. There are not many original thinkers in the world. Most men are like sheep, they follow a leader. If it was the fashion of the day to be Roman Catholics, they would be Roman Catholics, if it was to be Islamic, they would be Islamic. They dread the idea of going against the current of the times. In a word, the opinion of the day becomes their religion, their creed, their Bible, and their God.” —J.C. Ryle

Are you reading the Bible for yourself? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to help you think critically? Are you willing to go against the crowd to hear the applause from the nail-scarred hands of Jesus?

Poetry Saturday―Don’t You?

Edmund Vance CookeWhen the plan which I have, to grow suddenly rich
Grows weary of leg and drops into the ditch,
And scheme follows scheme
Like the web of a dream
To glamour and glimmer and shimmer and seem,…
Only seem;
And then, when the world looks unfadably blue,
If my rival sails by
With his head in the sky,
And sings “How is business?” Why, what do I do?
Well, I claim that I aim to be honest and true,
But I sometimes lie. Don’t you?

When something at home is decidedly wrong,
When somebody sings a false note in the song,
Too low or too high,
And, you hardly know why,
But it wrangles and jangles and runs all awry,…
Aye, awry!
And then, at the moment when things are askew,
Some cousin sails in
With a face all a-grin,
And a “Do I intrude? Oh, I see that I do!”
Well, then, though I aim to be honest and true,
Still I sometimes lie. Don’t you?

When a man whom I need has some foible or fad,
Not very commendable, not very bad;
Perhaps it’s his daughter,
And some one has taught her
To daub up an “oil” or to streak up a “water”!
And her grass is green green and her sky is blue blue,
But her father, with pride,
In a stagey aside
Asks my “candid opinion.” Then what do I do?
Well, I claim that I aim to be honest and true,
But I sometimes lie. Don’t you? —Edmund Vance Cooke

Favor

FavorThere’s a really cool comment in parentheses in the book of Exodus: “(The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people)” (Exodus 11:3; see also 12:36).

At Moses’ word bad things have happened in Egypt; in fact, nine bad things have happened so far. Blood, frogs, gnats, hail, locusts, and other nasty things have plagued the Egyptians, and still the general population—and even the inner court of Pharaoh—hold Moses and the Israelites in high regard!

The King James Version says it this way: “The Lord gave the people favor.”

Favor with people doesn’t come when I try to please people. Favor with people comes when I try to please God. 

People didn’t respect Moses because he cowered before Pharaoh, but because he feared God.

Ironic, isn’t it? We fear the opinion of people, which excludes us from the favor of God, which robs us of favor with people! 

To grow in favor with people, to earn their respect, I must be sold-out to God. I must not care about the opinion of people in order to be highly favored by people.

Thursdays With Oswald—Bitter, Dogmatic, Intolerant, And Utterly Un-Christlike

This 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.

Oswald ChambersBitter, Dogmatic, Intolerant, And Utterly Un-Christlike

     Spiritual maturity is not reached by the passing of the years, but by obedience to the will of God. Some people mature into an understanding of God’s will more quickly than others because they obey more readily, they more readily sacrifice the life of nature to the will of God, they more easily swing clear of little determined opinions. 

     It is these little determined opinions, convictions of our own that won’t budge, that hinder growth in grace, and makes us bitter and dogmatic, intolerant, and utterly un-Christlike. 

From Bringing Sons Unto Glory 

Ouch! It’s so important that I read God’s Word with a heart ready to obey whatever the Holy Spirit shows me, even if it means sacrificing what I’ve always thought to be true. I must not cling to my own ‘little determined opinions’ if I want to grow in spiritual maturity.

The contrast is crystal clear: Either I am maturing through complete obedience to God, or I am becoming bitter and dogmatic, intolerant, and utterly un-Christlike.

 

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