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Showing posts from July, 2011

Wisdom Speech

Today's readings are from Proverbs 16, 17, 18

Many of the Proverbs deal with something that is "everyday" with us - Speech. The way we talk...not just outwardly, but even within..what we say to our own selves, constitutes our speaking. Proverbs uses language of "the tongue", "speak", "words", etc...to make the point: what we say and how we say it has profound implications to each of us.

"The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction." (Proverbs 16:21 NIV)

"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." (Proverbs 16:24 NIV)

"A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends." (Proverbs 16:28 NIV)

"A wicked person listens to deceitful lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue." (Proverbs 17:4 NIV)

"Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out." (Proverbs 1…

The Fool

Today's readings are from Proverbs 10, 11, 12.

At the beginning of Proverbs 10 there is a shift in language. Now, instead of narratives of wisdom, individual pithy statements - Proverbs - begin to appear. One after another they extol some aspect of wise living. There is emphasis on speech, on greediness, on wise living, on marriage, etc... Each on can stand on its own and the context is limited to the immediate sentence.

One of the themes that repeatedly surfaces in these individual proverbs is the life of a "Fool". The Fool is not just someone who does a foolish thing. We all have had times where we did something that was foolish. The Fool is a person who lives without regard to wisdom in relation to God.
For example:

The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. (Proverbs 12:15 NIV)

Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool. (Proverbs 10:18 NIV)

The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool's heart…

Wisdom...What is it?

Today's readings came from Proverbs 7, 8, 9.

The writer of Proverbs makes a number of statements that describe wisdom in it's various facets. Wisdom is like a beautiful jewel. It doesn't have a flat surface, or a front and back side. No, it is multi-faceted with each side reflecting some aspect of God's character. What is wisdom?

"The fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." (Proverbs 9:10 NIV)

This fear aspect is not a cowering fear. A fear in which there is a dread of approaching because there is an assumption that He is stern, judgmental and harsh is not the fear of the Lord.

This fear is a based on awe, a sense of wonder, a respect of God that sets Him apart in mind and feeling above all other beings. What can we say of the character of God? He is not our "buddy", but He is our "Father". He is not tolerant of sin; but he knows that we are but "dust" - creatures who si…

The Path of Wisdom

Today my readings came from Proverbs 4, 5, 6.

The passages in Proverbs today concern wisdom in several areas; but nothing can be more predominant in the text than the area of sexuality and wisdom. Whatever the area that wisdom touches, the fact is:

For your ways are in full view of the lord, and he examines all your paths. (Proverbs 5:21 NIV)

Our ways are before the Lord. It might be bothersome to think that for some, but it need not be. What God desires for our lives is the growth of wisdom. As a Father and Mother desire to see their child "grow up" so also our Father is patient and a teacher, in terms of growing up.

One of those areas to grow up in is in terms of our sexuality. The author in Proverbs makes it clear, our moral choices don't begin in the head, but in our souls...in our heart:
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)

It is a matter of much more than sexual fidelity...as important as that is. In…

Wisdom

Today's readings are in Proverbs 1, 2, 3. The subject is "wisdom".

"Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God." (Proverbs 2: 2 - 5 NLT)

One of my dictionaries describes wisdom as: "wisdom - the trait of utilizing knowledge and experience with common sense and insight" The life of every believer in Jesus Christ is called to live in wisdom.

Where does it come from? The end of vs 5 says that it results in "gaining knowledge of God." He says to tune our ears to it...look for it in every place we find ourselves. "Where is the wise here?" If the answer is "there is none", then question whether that place is even where we should be. The author says "cry out for insight", "ask for…

Praise

Today I finished reading the Psalms...from 145 - 150.

All of these Psalms that end the book of Psalms are songs of Praise. Tomorrow I'll gather with my church fellowship, and although our music is not professional in quality, still with voices raised we will sing praises to God.

Why? First of all, because God is worthy of praise.
Praise the Lord!
How good to sing praises to our God!
How delightful and how fitting! (Psalm 147:1 NLT)
He deserves praise for his character, his grace, his mercy and judgments. He is wisdom and strength...the God above all gods. There is no one in the universe that deserves praise except for God. All humans beings, myself among them, can be good people, filled with virtue, integrity and godly character; but we know that human beings can also fail and can show that they are not forever these good things...not so with God. He is worthy of praise because these attributes are with him at all times, and in all places.

Secondly, we praise because it is …

Quiet Trust

The Psalms today are from 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132. These continue to be the Psalms of Ascent...the pilgrimage journeying Psalms of the believer who heads through life with a deep desire to discover God. In these Psalms is this short, but meditatively amazing thought.

"Lord, my heart is not proud;

my eyes are not haughty.

I don’t concern myself with matters too great

or too awesome for me to grasp.

Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,

like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.

Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

OIsrael, put your hope in the Lord—

now and always." (Psalm 131:1 - 3 NLT)

I love the imagery the Psalmist portrays. If it were possible to put our lives in such a state. It would be "wonder full" to find the soul in such a condition. To have a quiet trust that surpasses the stresses and busyness of life, the struggles and the difficulties; as well as the euphoric highs of everything is good.

I want this as much as…

Mountains of Security?

Today I began reading the Psalms of Ascent. They are the Psalms numbered 120 - 133. Why Psalms of Ascent? Because as faithful Jews returned to Jerusalem for the various festivals every year, they had to "walk up" to Jerusalem...no matter what the direction they came from. The "ascended" to the city where the Temple stood and made their pilgrimage in stages.
So, these Psalms marked their progress. Little by little as they walked along they prepared their hearts and souls for the reason they were going to Jerusalem. It was here that they would meet with God...offer their sacrifices...worship and pray...even though they did all of those things in their hometowns anyway. Jerusalem was the treasured city, the holy city, the city of David, the city of God.

One of the early Psalms, 121 says so beautifully:

"I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?" (Psalm 121:1 NASB)

The mountains in Israel became a stumbling block to many J…

Psalms for Life

Today my readings came from Psalms 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95

These Psalms are full of promises, wisdom, life "stuff". I'll call them Psalms for life. In other words, they speak for themselves...there's very little need to clarify, explain, dissect for understanding. For example here's a tour. If nothing else, meditate on these verses today:

Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
so that we may grow in wisdom. (Psalm 90:12 NLT)

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1 NLT)

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to the Most High.
It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning,
your faithfulness in the evening, (Psalm 92:1,2 NLT)

The Lord is king! He is robed in majesty.
Indeed, the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength.
The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. (Psalm 93:1 NLT)

But the Lord is my fortress;
my God is the mighty rock where I hide. (Psalm 94:22 NLT)

Com…

The Paradox of faith

Today's reading is from the Psalms: 86, 87, 88, 89

As I read these Psalms this verse stood out to me:
"You are their glorious strength.
It pleases you to make us strong." (Psalm 89:17 NLT)

I looked at that verse and thought about it a lot. You see the Psalm before this one is probably the darkest of all the Psalms. I dare say one would not read Psalm 88 as an encouraging reading. It is full of despair, hopelessness, anger, and questions. Then in turning to Psalm 89, the light comes on, the darkness flees, and hope is returned.

That is "paradox". Contradictory truths. Both are true. Both reflect reality. The problem comes when we can't see both. Our faith is not a matter of God doing what we want, but of our seeking to understand what God wants. It is he who is our "glorious strength". In my weakness - of which there is much - God shows himself to be strong. He can/does make me strong, but I need to appropriate that strength, or forfeit it …

Finding Purpose

Today's readings were from Psalms: 68, 69, 70, 71

I'm continuing to read through the scriptures in a year. This is a practice I've been attempting to do for close to 30 years. I don't always make it through in entirety. I've had years where I've missed days and therefore missed sections. I've always found it hard to read through the Prophets simply because they are so despairing. But now I'm in the Psalms and it is a joy and delight to be there.

For example, today I ran across this verse that only in recent years has meant so much to me.

"Now that I am old and gray,
do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
your mighty miracles to all who come after me. (Psalm 71:18 NLT)

It's a prayer that I can pray. It's been a privilege of mine for the last ten years to see much of that seemingly come to past. I love teaching God's word...my prayer is that I will first live it out myself!

But I believe God's …