Wisdom from Heaven

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“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.” James 3:17

The condition of our heart affects all things.  How we see the world.  How we interact with the world.  How we see others.  I can’t get past how important it is to care for our heart.  The Bible provides so much instruction on how to trust our heart to God, how to guard our heart, how to confess our heart. If our hearts are set on Jesus, they will be open to wisdom from heaven.  The following prayer by James Goll, a Prayer for Spiritual Eyes, really resonated for me.  I have referred to it several times:  “Lord give me that spirit of wisdom; grant me that spirit of revelation so that I will be captured by Jesus Christ. Release the shafts of revelation light into the eyes of my heart, that I might know the hope of Your calling, that I might know the glorious inheritance that lives inside of me, and that I might know the surpassing greatness of Your power that works in me.”

Ephesians 1:17-21, Isaiah 11:2, Luke 12:12, Luke 14:26

Misplaced Affections

“2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3

Well-meaning people speak into our lives.  Sometimes out of concern. Or fear. Or a need to control or influence.  Some will scoff at walking by faith.  I think of Peter walking on water to Jesus.  Peter was doing fine until he took his eyes off Jesus. Then the storm and waves became the focus of his attention and he began to sink.  The beautiful part is that Jesus took his hand and rescued him from the waves and helped him back in the boat.  Out of all the disciples, Peter was the only one bold enough to step out of the boat.  He had the faith to do the impossible, making it possible.  In order to be “delivered” we have to turn off the noise in the background that distracts us from God’s voice.  And then we have to be obedient and trust that “the Lord is faithful.” Not put our faith in what we see.  Instead put our faith in what God says.

Galatians 6:12-16, Mark 5:34, Matthew 14:22-32

God is Able

 “We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.” Romans 8:28 The Voice

If we are confident, we are able to rest in God. We will not worry about tomorrow.  We will enjoy today and all that God has made.  We will enjoy how He made us in His image. We will take our time.  No need to rush.  We will not look to others to make the way for us.  We will be prepared to stand alone – firmly, confidently and grounded in God.  He will be our provision and our anchor.  We will keep our eyes on Him.

It is important that we are careful not to create idols out of things by becoming reliant on them for a reflection of success or performance. If we rest in God, we will hear His voice.  A transforming and healing voice for broken hearts, sickness, disease, and addictions.  He is the Mighty Chain Breaker.  Freedom can be found in Him.

Galatians 5:1

People Pleasing

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NIV

I have always been pretty independent.  A leader by nature.  However, I picked up patterns of people pleasing along the way. Particularly for approval of those that I cared for and respected.  The most dramatic crossroad happened for me in ministry.  I was serving in a ministry that was not feeling aligned with what I was sensing from the Holy Spirit.  I ignored occasional internal conflicts.  Finally, God spoke.  Audibly.  Loudly.  He asked if I loved Him.  Of course I said yes!  He asked again and I said yes again.  He asked a third time and asked me to walk away from the ministry.  Then I began to negotiate with God.  Very quietly I heard Him say, “I thought you loved me.”  I felt like I had been punched in the gut.  I dropped the ministry like a hot potato.  Transformation followed with eyes on Jesus all the way. I have never looked back. It has taught me to hold onto things much more loosely and rely on God to direct my steps. I am very thankful and much more tuned in to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7

Calm After the Storm

“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”  Hebrews 12: 11 NLT

I have been in storms.  Just about every kind you can imagine: weather, emotional, relationship, work, family, and financial.  None of them are “enjoyable.” I can say that after the storm is over, there is a big sigh of relief.  The realization that the struggle has ended.  Peace.  Peace on the other side of the conflict or challenge.

The peaceful harvest in this verse refers to the fruit of righteousness that springs from faith on the other side of correction.  As we practice our faith we will need correction on occasion.  God loves us too much not to redirect us.  However, we can count on the peace from the victory on the other side of it!

Hebrews 12

Total Dependence

Paleo-Hebrew-Alphabet-Chart

“For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.” Proverbs 2:10 NIV

In Hebrew, the word for wisdom here means experience and shrewdness.  The word for knowledge means ability and discernment.  When I examine that verse without God’s grace, it has a sharp edge of self-reliance.  It could even go to a place of arrogance or over-intellectualizing.  At its worst it could become predatory.  However, when I look at it with God’s grace, it becomes a complete and total dependence on the Father.  It is reliant on His wisdom and His knowledge, not mine.  He is all knowing.  Not me.  Grace changed everything in this verse for me. God’s grace grants me mercy and compassion.  Jesus died that I can experience God’s grace.

Father, thank you for Your grace.  Wow, that takes a load off!

Ezra 9:8, Romans 5:2, 1 Corinthians 15:1

What Do You Want (John 1:38)

This is so beautiful that I just had to share!

THE RIVER WALK

sidewalk

Read: Job 22:1 – 25:6

Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them. They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” (John 1:38)

Relate: A block north of where I live is Main St. Some towns might have another street name but in each city in America I believe there is a street just like our Main Street right here in Binghamton. It gets a lot of foot traffic. A lot. I don’t care if it is sunny and seventy or negative 5 and the wind is battering against anyone not inside, there will be people walking on Main Street. For one reason or another, I even find myself walking it most days.

When I picture the disciples following Jesus, I can almost picture it as an encounter on Main St. Jesus is walking down the street and these two guys are following behind. Each…

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Every Good Path

Every Good Path

7 He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.” Proverbs 2:7-9 NIV

So here is how it breaks down for me, In God:

Upright = success

Blameless = shielded

Just = course is guarded

Faithful = protected

After all these things we will understand every good path: what is right and fair and just. So, I pray that all these characteristics will operate fully in my life.  I pray that I will walk upright and respect others who do as well. I pray that I will be blameless in all things, seeking to emulate Your character. I pray that my course, actions, behaviors and intent be just in all things. I pray that I will stand firm on your Word.

Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:9-10

A Lighthouse

The wise will pay attention to these words and will grow in learning, and the discerning will receive divine guidance,.” Proverbs 1:5 The Voice

The initial building block for knowledge is wisdom.  Proverbs 1:1-7 is rich with instruction and a description of what wisdom looks like.  The more time I spend in God’s Word the more I am thankful for the wise way He deals with my heart.  I am also very thankful for the way He loves me, beautifully and elegantly.  It truly is my desire to be a reflection of His love and wisdom to others.  As I ponder what that reflection might look like, the image of a lighthouse comes to mind.

A lighthouse is light that is reflected.  It is a beacon in a storm.  It’s designed to stand firm and withstand intense conditions. It provides safe harbor. It lights the way to provide protection in rocky and dangerous places.  It is a beacon to save the lost and light the path to safety. Lord, let me be a lighthouse.

Proverbs 1:1-7

Days of Our Life

“Teach us to number our days so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 NIV

Number our days.  That could be interpreted as living each day like it is our last.  But even then, what does that mean?  For me, it means perspective.  How do I live my life from the perspective of what it looks like in totality.  I have had seasons of selfishness and opportunistic pursuits.  As I am getting older, I am starting to consider more thoughtfully and intentionally what I want to do with the days I have left.  It does not feel like retirement!  I feel more of a sense of urgency in accomplishing things that make a difference.  I have a desire to tuck into God more closely so that His wisdom governs how my days are spent to accomplish His desires instead of my own.  I have put more selfish things aside as I focus more on Him. It’s invigorating.  It’s renewing.  It’s just not about me anymore. I am filled with excitement and anticipation of how God will use my days.

Psalm 39:4, Proverbs 2:1-6