Category Archives: Wisdom

Ask (and Listen) for Wisdom

All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. -Proverbs 8:8‭-‬9, KJV

God does not lie nor deceive.

Why, then, do more people not hear the truth of God’s Word?

People ignore God’s truth or devise ways to disregard it.

Case in point:

But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
Luke 9:45

Firstly, fear and pride might get in their way. They are too intelligent and independent to simply ask (and then listen). Or they are afraid of the implications.

Secondly, God conceals it. Whether this is by not allowing them to understand or simply allowing them to remain ignorant, they never hear the truth.

Further:

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Romans 1:21‭-‬23

They refuse to understand.

Therefore, break from the mold. Seek truth. “Ask God, who gives generously to all, and he will give wisdom.” (James 1:5)

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Wisdom Calls To All Children

“To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of man. -Proverbs 8:4, ESV

The call of wisdom is available to all – young and old, male and female.

Everyone.

This verse should serve as a reminder that God expects us to not only respond to the call, but to do all we can to help others hear it, too.

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Deuteronomy 6:7

Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Psalms 34:11

He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children
Psalms 78:5

You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Deuteronomy 11:19

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4

Especially when they are young.

But something to remember is that, in God’s eyes, we are all children.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4


She Still Calls

Does not wisdom cry out, And understanding lift up her voice –Proverbs 8:1 NKJV

Common Sense?

There used to be this thing called common sense. It was employed by many people to not do stupid things.

Then the late-1990’s came along, quickly followed by the early-2000’s. They brought with them shows and movies that focused on stupid pranks and stunts to get a laugh.

Our society thought it was okay. Harmless, even.

But they let so many people get away with these stunts that more people found it entertaining and okay.

The common sense of the land became “whatever brings you happiness.”

The New Sense

What has this fostered?

  • Open flagrancy of rules to make a dollar
  • Truth is relative
  • Happiness is the ultimate goal, regardless of the cost … to others

The only thing that is common is that “I can do what I want, so leave me alone.”

She Still Calls

If this is true, then how can we claim that “Wisdom cries out” in the midst of a selfish, uncaring society that seems to ignore wisdom?

Because we still hear the desire:

  • “But that’s not fair!” -Where does a sense of fairness come from?
  • “Give us justice!” -Where does justice find a voice?
  • “I should have known better!” -Some people still learn.

People still hear Wisdom’s cry, even if only a little. They desire the effects of Wisdom, but they ignore the warnings.

And this is why we need strong preaching and teaching in the Church. Wisdom often speaks through others. And Christ, the wisdom of God, calls His Church to proclaim to a lost world. The Church, His bride, has made missteps, true.

But she still calls.


How Should I Treat Insight?

Image result for insightHere is the deal about wisdom. God has a goal for me. God wants me to be wise. God wants me to understand Jesus. God wants me to know how to love. God wants me to have insight.

Insight is the spiritual quality that enables me to appreciate God’s mind and will in matters of behavior, truth and providence. This is important where right perception is not obvious. Some things can elude me. They seem to be a mystery. Then boom! God breaks through. All of the sudden, I get it. Yea God!

Talk to Wisdom as to a sister.
    Treat Insight as your companion. | Proverbs 7:4

Insight is akin to wisdom and understanding. It is given by God and is to be sought by believers.

  • I need to be on speaking terms with wisdom. Wisdom needs to be as close to me as family, like a sister to me.
  • Insight, in addition to wisdom, is critical to my well being. Insight should be my closest friend, always with me.
  • Wisdom and insight together should be my close companions. They go hand in hand like trusted friends and family. They compliment each other.

I can count on Jesus to give me insight. Things that were unknown are now knowable and known. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, makes plain what was a mystery.

“Consider what I say, for the Master will give you understanding in everything.”  2 Timothy 2:7 (NASB)

“By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of the Messiah, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit.” Ephesians 3:4–5 (NASB)

 


Honoring Mothers

My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: – Proverbs 6:20 

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, but today is the last day in Proverbs chapter six. Therefore, I thought I would go ahead and give a little shout-out to my mom, Marie Baker. I thank God for her and for her wise counsel. I could have been a completely different person without a godly mother like her.

To her credit, I don’t think my mother would have turned out the way she did had it not been for her own godly mother, Lorene Cagle, my granny.

Then there was my dad’s mom, Mary (Hughes) Baker. She was an interesting woman to have as a grandmother…half Cherokee, the wife of a tractor-driving moonshiner, and one who threatened to “wear me out” if I ever got into a fight I didn’t win. She might not have been the “godliest” woman, but nevertheless I remember some of her advice to this day.

1941 Bunting Glider

Just this week I finished restoring a vintage 1940’s-era front-porch glider. The glider has been in my family (on my dad’s side) since it was new, but it had fallen into disrepair after years of neglect and exposure to the elements. I kept track of the restoration project with photos I posted on Facebook, noting the effort was an act of love for Mother’s Day.

I finished it on Friday, and my mom was completely thrilled with the result.

This morning I recorded a sermon to be aired on the radio tomorrow afternoon. Believe it or not, I preached from this very chapter, specifically from Proverbs 6:20-23. The main point that I tried to make was how godly and wise instruction from a wise and godly mother can make a huge difference in our lives.

We are told to “bind” the instruction of our fathers and mothers to hearts, even to tie them around our necks (v.21). The reason for this is pretty simple…

When you walk here and there, they will guide you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; when you wake up, they will talk to you. For a command is a lamp, teaching is a light, and corrective discipline is the way to life. – Proverbs 6:22-23 CSB

How valuable are the teachings of a godly mother? Think about it:

  • Wherever you roam, no matter how far you go, a mother’s guidance can give direction, keeping you from dangerous paths.
  • Sleep can be peaceful, restful, and restorative when you lie your head down knowing you’ve done things correctly, have no regrets, have confidence in the future, and know you’re loved.
  • As you go through your day, as you face new circumstances, the godly wisdom of a godly and wise mother will surface in your memory, giving you the sense that you’re not alone in the decisions you must make.

How many lives have been shattered on the rocks of misfortune, all because they didn’t listen to their mothers?

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”
-Abraham Lincoln, U.S. President

When all the matriarchs in my life are gone on, and one day when I’ve passed on to my own heavenly reward, I hope my children will remember the impact my mother and grandmothers made on my life.

Maybe they’ll think about them as they sit on that old, front-porch glider.


Follow your Father’s and Mother’s Good Advice

Dorothy and Everett Wilson wedding photoI am a very fortunate man. My father gave me excellent advice. My mother taught me about love. I don’t know how they saw it but that was what they were doing. They were very wise.

As a part of the “greatest generation” ever, my father lived through the great depression and survived World War II. He knew what he was doing. It wasn’t haphazard. His father had taught him. He taught me.

His wisdom serves me well. When I heed it, I am successful.

Good friend, follow your father’s good advice;
    don’t wander off from your mother’s teachings.
Wrap yourself in them from head to foot;
    wear them like a scarf around your neck.
Wherever you walk, they’ll guide you;
    whenever you rest, they’ll guard you;
    when you wake up, they’ll tell you what’s next.
For sound advice is a beacon,
    good teaching is a light,
    moral discipline is a life path.

~~King Solomon Proverbs 6 (The Message Bible)

Mom's love of countryAnd then, there is my mother.  It is true I am a product of my mother’s love. She cared so much for us. She passed away when I was 12. I always felt her love. I owe her so very much. I wish I could thank her in person.

Someday I will. I know she believed that.

Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” —Robert Browning

This is the very cool thing. I have a heavenly Father who is amazingly wise. He sent his son Jesus to show me wisdom and does so every day. My earthly father led me to my heavenly Father.


Heeding the Warning

And now, O sons, listen to me,
and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your honor to others
and your years to the merciless,
10 lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
11 and at the end of your life you groan,
when your flesh and body are consumed,
12 and you say, “How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!
13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
or incline my ear to my instructors.
14 I am at the brink of utter ruin
in the assembled congregation.”

Proverbs 5:7-14 ESV

I look for the context when trying to understand any message better, so when I hear the warning summed up in verses 12-14 in this part of the proverbs, I look to the verses preceding it to understand why it is given.

The audience of this passage is being urged to listen to a particular bit of wisdom and not forget it: keep far away and do not come near (being unfaithful to God). I see this as a big, bold-lettered sign on the straight and narrow path saying “wrong way” or “danger, keep out”. This is a warning against things of the flesh, the ways of the world, or in other words, that which causes us to sin (to separate ourselves from God).

It can be rather easy to get caught up in our own designs, or so focused on following certain directions (like a figurative GPS) that we miss the warning right in front of us. Honoring others and putting our trust in false teachings or false teachers will lead away from the best path, no matter how good it sounds or in line with current thinking. Yet, if we adhere to the truth and “do not depart” from it, we will be able to see the unfamiliar territory and turn away.

Giving our years to the merciless, those who do not have our best interests at heart will lead to wasted time and possible destruction. For when we follow someone else’s plan, as opposed to Gods, many wrong turns and necessary U-turns will be sure to follow. Yet again, if we adhere to the truth and “do not depart” from it, we will be able to see the wrong turns ahead and continue on the straight and narrow path instead.

As much as any journey is to be enjoyed, wrong turns and wasted time can be exhausting. And when the purpose of the journey is for anyone or anything against God’s glory, it is worthless, for “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36) Instead, adhere now to God’s wisdom and see the danger in being unfaithful to Him, lest you find yourself on the path to utter ruin.